I met with a friend the other day and she said something along the lines of “I have always seen you as a female and I think I always will”. Not a quote but close and it captures the meaning. I am a pretty accepting and patient person and found myself smiling and not saying anything. Thinking: give her time, be patient and one day she will look the fool if she doesn’t adjust. It has been close to a week since we talked and she said this and I don’t think a day has gone by where I haven’t thought about it and felt a knot in my gut around it.
I know everyone in my life has an adjustment period they need to go through around this. Many have known me for decades. I know I need to be patient and tolerant. And I wonder at what point does patience and tolerance border on self harm. I feel I need to say something to her and if I don’t there is a feeling of denial going on in me. Not that I am in denial about my identity – I will not do that again. But somehow in not standing up for myself…maybe it is a simple as denying the pain she causes by staying so stuck. Somehow I perceive her statement as an affront and as a denial about the reality of my experience – as if her experience of me is more true and real then my experience of myself. This really does piss me off as in all my years as a human being I know no one can know me better than I know myself. Mostly it hurts. My experience is real. I want to tell her and anyone else for that matter who try to keep me in the box of a female that in so doing they are disrespecting me and my experience. And then I get caught in not wanting to disrespect anyone else’s experience which I likely border on with such a proclamation. So how to honor her process while honoring mine as well?
Manning up. There is a book newly out by this title – since I heard it, months ago, I ask myself in many situations how can I man up right now? Maybe this is another opportunity to man up. To hold my ground with honor and respect for myself and her. To speak openly about what her statement moved in me, without blame or judgment, with authentic expression of self. Responsive not reactive.