Tangled Web

Deceptions of a transgender guy

Chrysalis

Chrysalis

19 Comments

“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything.
Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t you
so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.
~ Unknown”

This quote was sent to me by a friend after she learnt of my transgender journey. On the same day, Eli from drugssexpolitics wrote in a post titled, I am still me…,

“If anything it [testosterone] has brought who I have always been into clearer focus. I am more me than I have ever been with all the quirks and eccentricities that I have always encompassed.”

Sunset

The psychologist Carl Gustav Jung wrote on The 4 Stages of Life:

But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie.”  ~ Carl Gustav Jung

He is referring to getting older, but it got me thinking about my own life’s journey as a trans person. Another friend said she would miss the person I had been. Have I transformed into somebody else in the afternoon of my gender journey? Has the person whom she knew in life’s morning, left the stage? In some of my sessions with my sage, one of my parts was present. She called herself, “The Girl” and in later sessions she was absent. Another part mentioned that she had gone back to the past. But she is still there and will always be, even if I wish her away.

Boy and mirror reflectionPart of my struggle to lose weight, is rooted in my self-image. I do not see myself as overweight, as I have conditioned myself over the years to see beyond the husk in the mirror, to see a body of which I could not take ownership, as I did not realize I could. Now that I am confronted with changing physically, my focus has deepened to examine my real being and more questions have emerged, especially now that I am starting to make peace with the idea that T is not part of my future.

Simona Kapitolina writes in an article, I’m Proud of Being Trans, and I Don’t Care About Passing, “While recent trans stories in the mainstream media may help with issues around trans visibility, the way the public has engaged with these cover stories has placed an enormous emphasis on the cult of “passing.” To “pass” is to be perceived as the gender with which you identify. But our increasing obsession with it, is a dehumanizing social construct, as it hinges on other people’s idea of what trans women [people] are expected to look like.” (My brackets.)

Has my focus on external changes blinded me to the changes that have taken place internally? To a large extent, I am secure in who I am. Age does this to you. But having only learnt my true identity in the afternoon of life, has put me on shaky ground. Kat from Dandelion Fuzz writes about her son, also Kris’, transition, “When I look at Kris, I still see a work in progress. He hasn’t found his way yet, but how can he when he’s still trying to figure out who he is. He’s got a long way to go, but he’ll get there in his own sweet time.” (Post: Words don’t come easy). On the one hand, I envy him his youth and the years he has ahead to come to terms with being male. On the other hand, I am grateful that I do not have to navigate the other currents of the ocean that is adult life again, having survived and learnt to avoid most of them. But I still need to find secure ground in the knowledge that I have not physically changed, but merely awakened, and that what is, had always been.

ChrysalisStill I wonder: Are there aspects of my personality that will still emerge like a butterfly from a chrysalis, totally different, bearing no resemblance to what I had been before? Will the core of what I am and had been, change?

I know B is scared that the person she had grown to love, will crumble and turn to dust. It scares me a bit too. I know me, have been living with me for more than half a century. I have met a few of my parts in therapy and I like and love them. Are/will they now manifest(ing) differently, even without T? And will those who have considered me a friend, still want to be my friend?Snake skin

I’d like to believe that the core me is still there, but that like a snake, I am just shedding an old skin to allow for further growth. I am but at the beginning of my inner journey. Who will awaken? Or are they already awake? The journey is not only an adventure, but a terrifying one.

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. ~ Carl Jung”

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Author: Kris

Hi! I'm Kris. I live in South Africa with my life partner of 27+ years, whom I call B or Madam in my posts. We have a Pug dog child, Remi, also known as Pooch, who has graced and enriched our lives for the past 12 years.

19 thoughts on “Chrysalis

  1. I think some people, particularly young people, or people who were feminine before transition, want to “remake” themselves in all ways when they take testosterone. They shed one false front (femininity) for another false front (masculinity) that they are more comfortable with. I think those of us who have muddled along trying to be as authentic as we can, who have lived by being gender non-conforming, eccentric, and stubbornly holding onto our true selves – we do not change inwardly much by taking testosterone.
    In other words, I don’t think it is the testosterone that changes people inside (outside absolutely and I am envious of it) – if people change inside it is because they choose to do it.
    I will say that my personality has slightly changed since coming out as trans and getting top surgery – I am more comfortable and confident – and people pick up on that – but my basic character, beliefs, and values remain unchanged. Like Popeye, I am what I am.

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    • I agree with the more comfortable and confident – even if I have not come out completely. I am also envious of that outer change, but sometimes we cannot have it all. Take care, Jamie.

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  2. I am definitely seeing myself as a shedding snake, stuck in society’s (or to be more exact, my patents) conforming skin. It’s so nice to have a skin that fits ME and don’t itch, chafe or is too tight! I’m shedding a lot of what people perceive as me, but reveal the real me instead. If people don’t like that, they have never liked ME, just the person I’ve projected and that’s kind of sad if they couldn’t see the difference. My wife told me just yesterday that I haven’t change at all – the true me anyway.

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    • Your wife is a wise woman! I agree, it is sad if people’s views of us are skin deep and it is their loss if they cannot live with what we reveal under the skin. Take care, friend.

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  3. Good to read you again Kris! I have been considering blogging about this as I again got a comment from someone who I have not seen in a few years that “old name:” is gone. The internal and the external manifestations make us who we are. I have been so hyper tuned into the internal, core me for so long (since the outer me never really matched),that I do not feel that I am anyone other than who I have always been. I am evolving and growing and becoming as I always have. But others… I am beginning to get really curious about what it is people see or associate with one’s beingness. It is not always that core self. And somehow the core self gets lost to them in the deepening of a voice, or change of externals. And people have such projections about gender, that perceiving gender changes (even tho I have always been gender non conforming and masculine) makes them go onto some auto-pilot of believing we are no longer who we are. It is painful and frustrating. If I had more time and energy, I would put together some sort of survey to understand perceptions of beingness and what people base their perceptions/ assumptions on.

    On another note, I am gad that you are finding peace with your situation and B’s unwillingness to consider you taking T. You are who you are with or without T, and it sounds like you are really embracing this. Keep on being you!

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    • Hi Sky. I am still a journey to the mind away from finding that elusive peace, so I still have not reached it to embrace it. Working on it by thinking, writing, introspection..
      And what currently emerged is a new sort of calm after the anger storm. May it last. Take care!

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  4. Love that quote. It sums up how I have shedded those aspects of myself that felt as if they were forced upon me by parents and society and peer pressure.

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  5. I’m so glad you’re writing again! This post really spoke to me, especially the Jung quote at the beginning as well as Eli’s post that you shared. I’ve been really struggling with this concept of who I used to be and who I am now and how I want to honor the past while moving forward with my life as it is. I needed to read this as much as you needed to write it. Thank you Brother!

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  6. This is something I think about a lot. Is there a core “self” and how much of it is influenced by our own appearance? I suppose it is usually gradual, like shedding skin cells, which is why faster changes like haircuts, makeovers, hormones and surgery have such a shock factor: is it still “you” under there? Maybe being trans is the Act of Becoming made more visible.

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    • Yes, to many of us change is coming later in life and people have become used to us in an outer shell over a number if years, even a lifetime. I like your “Act of Becoming made more visible”! Take care, Dar.

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  7. Very well expressed my friend. I think people assume that HRT will suddenly turn you into a completely different person. That isn’t true though, your fundamental you-ness it pretty stable. I love reading your thought process. Keep well Kris

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