To react, or not to react

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.

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8 Comments

  1. What a shitty thing to say. It makes sense you want to say something about it, not to retaliate but, as you said, to share that what she said hurt you.

    I believe we all have the right to name our own genders. We should honor the time it may take others to adjust to changes, and they should honor our right to say who we are. To my mind, there is a crucial difference between someone who’s struggling to catch up (maybe messing up pronouns, etc.) and someone who says, “I will never catch up,” implying that they see no need.

    I found that when I’ve had similar experiences, I feel WAY better when I say something–even if the person doesn’t learn a thing. We I say nothing, I carry the experience with me and replay it over and over. When I say something, I hold my head high and move on with my life. Above all, speaking up lets you send a message of respect to yourself.

    Rabbi Hillel said, “In the place where there is no man, try to be a man.”

    • Rimonim – yes, I need to say something. She is actually a good friend and I believe that she will be able to hear me. She is working hard at understanding and this is just another learning for us both. And it does feel like a self respect thing to speak honestly! Love the quote by Rabbi Hillel!

  2. In my opinion (for whatever it’s worth) and based on what I am currently processing though…

    Someone else’s experience, perception or judgments of you are simply their ego and from their level of consciousness. Nothing anyone can say, think or feel changes who you are. You are a beautiful soul, just as this other person is. Only you choose how your soul expresses itself to the material world.

    Allowing negative feelings about someone else’s perception is only hurting you. You could either express that hurt to them, or see it for what it truly is. Not about you at all, simply their perception. Would saying anything change their perception? Probably not and I’m sure in time they will come around. I would internally bless them and where they are and let it go. It means nothing…only you can give it meaning. Choose not to…

    xoxo

    • Mountaingirl – I totally hear you. I do know this is her stuff and not mine to take on. Likewise, I know she is really doing her best to understand this process and can only grow as much as I push her limits or challenge her statements. I also know I cannot expect a given outcome; I can only speak my truth. And in so doing feel a sense of peace and resolution within for being honest. I will absolutely bless her and the process, give thanks for the growth opportunity, speak my truth and move on. Thanks for the reminders. Our egos are very interesting things indeed.

  3. As your mom, I can totally understand your old friends feelings. It is hard to see you as a son and not the sweet Sarah that I gave birth to. It is an awesome thing you are doing and I know it is hard when we don’t just accept it and see you as a man. It is a really big adjustment for many of us. I just hope you can be patient when we forget to call you Sky or say something that hurts. We don’t want to hurt you – it is just a huge adjustment for us

    • Thanks mom. I cannot tell you how blessed I feel to have you coming on this journey with me with all the acceptance and support you offer. I will continue to be patient and I am grateful you could acknowledge that you weren’t even trying there for a while to remember to call me by my name Sky and that you will now. That means a lot to me.

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