There are days when you heart and mind are filled with happy, joyous thoughts.
This is not one of them.
It is partly the weather; it is chilly, cloudy, and right now, raining. I have no room to complain, I’m safe and snug indoors. Yes, I have a roof over my head and food in the fridge. I know there are far too many in this world who don’t have those things and so, among all of my thoughts and emotions today is a feeling of guilt.
Please don’t misunderstand, this isn’t a journey in self pity. I have been on the other side of these walls. Withstood the weather, shivering so hard I thought bones would break. I have felt hunger and still dream of digging through garbage cans. I have felt the crawling desire to be clean, just for a day and so I walked in the rain and cried because I didn’t have soap.
I know what it means to be without hope. Without family, friends, or anyone at all who gave a damn.
I know what it means to sleep with fear.
Here I am. I survived despite my best efforts. I am inside, clean, dry, and fed. I have family who love me, despite my best efforts.
The things is… I know this is all an illusion which can disappear in a heartbeat.
This is something I am reminded of in reading the stories of others. Those who have loved and lost. Whose families and lives have been forever altered in ways which can never be repaired. There are the voices of the misguided, the lost, the discarded and I can see myself in each of them.
The afflicted, the abused, the lost ones who slipped through, what to them, are not just cracks but gaping chasms in society.
I read their stories and I can feel a shadow of the pain they deal with every day.
Yet is it just that, a shadow.
I cannot tell even one of them, I understand. I can I? How could I? I have not walked in their shoes nor traveled their path.
I am here, with tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart wishing I could gather all of those hearts together and take their pain into myself for just a moment. To offer them even one, brief second of solstice.
More than this, I take this time to remember just how blessed I am and to not take anything, no matter how small, for granted.
I have seen life described as a river or a line. Even describing it as a path or journey suggests it has a beginning and an end, yet this isn’t completely my experience.
In many ways life is a series of circles. My thoughts and steps coming around to where I started. Sometimes I find myself caught in one of these, going around and round again until something breaks the cycle and I move into a new circle. There are times when movement is quick and sure, moving from one moment to the next, while other times it seems I will never break free. Then there are the layers of circles which make up months, even years. Cycles of my life which, when I have thought them done and over, somehow are ahead of me again.
Over the past several years I have seen this happen time and again. Old thoughts and fears I thought behind me rear up to be faced again. There are times when I feel as if I have gone nowhere at all, even though the truth is, I have travel miles.
This is the secret I am finally understanding, though I am a bit thick headed and sometimes I think I have to be beaten over the head with something to finally get it…
You see, even when I have travelled in a circle to arrive someplace I recognize; it isn’t really the same any more than I am the same person who passed this way before. Things have changed. I have changed. It is only my perception which deceives me into thinking otherwise.
An example is this; in the not so distant past I said my fear was in not being seen as my true self. I feared being mocked, ridiculed, or worse. The thought of being myself outside of my own house or at work was beyond my comprehension.
Now I have found these fears to be unfounded. It’s to the point where I realize I am having trouble being seen, heard, and accepted as anything other than female. At least by those with whom I don’t have a long history.
Sunday A and I went shopping. While at the store, I went to get some things from the frozen dinner section. On either side of me, at two different doors was an older couple. When I turned to go to my cart, an item slipped out of my hand and hit the floor. The man who was in front of me jokingly called out to his wife, “Did you throw that at me?” to which she answer “No”. “Well,” He said, “This lady sure didn’t do it!” His wife replied with something I missed, but you get the idea.
Why is this important? Because I was suppose to be out in “boy mode.” I have forgotten to charge my shaver the night before and so I hadn’t shaved. I sure wasn’t going to do anything to present as anything but male with my face feeling like sandpaper. So I was wearing just t T-shirt and jeans, with a baseball cap to hold my hair down. To me I was as scruffy as scruffy gets and I was still tagged as female.
Once we were out of earshot, I asked A, “What do I have to do to be seen as male; grow a full beard?” Maybe so…
I have mentioned this before, something has changed in a way I cannot put my finger on. I think it is a good change yet it is mystifying. For so many years I was seen as male even when I didn’t want to be, now all people see is a woman.
Please note I am NOT complaining, nor do I really wish to be seen as a guy… it’s just a strange place to find myself upon reaching the end of one of those circles I spoke about.
Before I was afraid of not being accepted as female, now I can’t get accepted as male and I suppose this does irritate me for some reason.
Maybe it’s a matter of seeing all those years of trying to be something, of trying to mimic others, of suppressing my true self, and in the end it is proving to have been a total waste of time and energy when I could have followed just one simple question to its logical conclusion decades ago… “Can I walk out the door and be accepted as a woman?”
I think I have the answer now…
Of course, if I had, then I never would have met A abad we wouldn’t have three boys I love with all my heart… Still, it’s annoying to think of what might have been had I not been caught in yet another circle…
I have lived my whole life in fear to one extent to another… fear of my parents, fear of the kids around me. Fear of failure… fear of success. Fear of relationships and fears of being alone.
Fear, fear, fear, and more fear… this has been a defining feature of my life for as long as I can remember and now I am standing here looking at it again. Not the same really; too much has changed for that, but fear none the less…
It is the fear of leaving the confines of the gilded cage. Of leaving the comfort of the known behind.
All of what I had built to try and pass as male has been left in ruins. Ripped down by my own hands and yet there is a part of me which wishes to hold on to the tatters even as they are torn away by the winds of change.
I can’t hide there anymore and so I feel exposed and naked before the world… and yes, it scares me to death. I can admit to such a thing now, there is no shame in feeling fear, only in allowing yourself to be controlled by it.
By Kira A. Moore
First In the Morning
By Kira A. Moore
Soul and Mind,
I have thought, more than once, to go back and read the early entires I posted here. Yet I have yet to do so. I think, now and then to look at how far I have come since then, then I realize I’m not ready. Not yet.
This was something which came up during therapy, part of a larger discussion at how far I have come since I started with Jodi. I mentioned I wasn’t ready yet to act on her suggestion I write an autobiography. It just isn’t time yet. As with so much of my writing, there has to be a need, a desire, a spark which drives me.
It’s one of the reasons I decided to unofficially join the “A Poem A Day” challenge for April. It is also why I tried my hand at the “50 Word Story” challenge. I want to be able to write more. I want to write better.
Still, there are many things I have to work through before I will be ready to attempt to write so much about myself… Yes, I know, this whole blog has been an exercise about “Me”, yet it is somehow different… like a discussion during group therapy… More of speaking to interested people who have no other stake in knowing me than the time it takes to read a post, which is different than those who might have paid for a copy of a book which they expect to be worth their hard earned dollars.
There is also the “McFly Factor” in which I worry my stories will be no good, that people will say I am not good enough… Yet another layer of self confidence to be worked through…
We talked about this past week and how I am slowly coming to terms with the fact it really doesn’t seem to matter how I am presenting because I am regularly being correctly gendered, even when I’m sure there is no way I could be seen as female… like what happened at my work physical; something I am still amazed and amused by.
Yet there are times when I am nervous about being outed, especially when the kids are with me. It’s mostly in smaller store and fast food restaurants. Bigger stores or places with crowds don’t bother me nearly as much; I guess it’s a matter of being lost in a crowd… I mention this only because I found myself in both situations today and the smaller restaurant was definitely more stressful.
Every day it seems I am little more comfortable with myself and less fearful of being confronted, still, there are some situations I feel safer just avoiding, such a restrooms. I’ve been learning the stores which have gender neutral facilities. If I’m being honest with myself, the odds are it more of an issue to me than it ever would be to anyone else… after all, how many times have I spoken of this fear or that only to have them never materialize?
You know, there have been somethings I haven’t spoken about. They have been too personal and I haven’t felt comfortable discussing them, but I need to mention something here which some will understand…
To say the relationship between A an I is complicated is an understatement in the least and has been made more so by who and what I am…
There is a level of mental and emotional intimacy I have found comforting which I fear might be lost as I transition further… that there is line out there beyond which our relationship will forever change, but I don’t know where it is and I won’t know I’ve crossed it until it’s too late to go back… If there was a chance to go back at all…
This is one of the big unknown which scares the daylights out of me, yet there is nothing I can really do to change the path I find myself on even knowing how much pain might be waiting in the future. Future pain… funny, as much as it hurts me now I should be terrified of what such a time would bring…
I know.. and Jodi agreed, I am gathering unneeded worries to myself, yet it is something which looms in the back of my mind…
As time passes I find myself feeling more at peace with myself. It is something beyond questions of gender or even identity; more of a calm which has come over the totality of who I am.
I have spent this past week trying to think less and feel more. To set aside the quest for ‘why’. No matter what the circumstances which brought me to this place and time, they were nothing but steps on the path and while I can appreciate the journey, now, this moment is what is important, not a past I cannot change… Would not change even if I could because it is what has made me who I am.
Still there are things which I am still learning about myself. Understandings of what I think and feel and why.
One of those things is the level of peace I feel with myself. Part of this is finally giving myself permission to be myself. Permission to be happy. To be satisfied with now.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds. I still find myself thinking of the past and what I would have done differently. I also look to the future and see it cast in shadow. I have to take a step back and a deep breath, then force my mind to let such things go. They do me no service.
I too find myself looking at my thoughts and emotions now and questioning myself. Am I sure I am doing the right thing? Can’t I be happy being what the reflection in the mirror wants me to be? The chain goes on and on…
Then a moment comes when I don’t just see myself… I understand.
Yesterday was such a time. I have gone this week without trying to present as anything at all. Neither male nor female, masculine or feminine; yet I have not suffered from any serious dysphoria as I have in the past and this was troubling to say the least. After all, shouldn’t the very thought of being seen as male send me into a depressive spiral as it has so often done? The why not now?
The answer came to me unbidden…
Because no matter what I may look like, how much effort I put into ‘presenting’, more often than not I am seen as female. It has nothing to do with hair, makeup, or even clothing. The reactions are the same regardless.
It is me.
All other things are nothing more than props.
I am the same regardless and people sense it and respond appropriately. I haven’t really thought about if I am ‘trans enough’… Trans is just a label like any other, it has only ever given me a sense of the ground beneath my feet and has never been the totality of my personhood. On the other hand I have wondered if I am woman enough. It is a core part of my identity, just as having blue eyes.
Funny how I just realized I have never once asked myself if my eyes are ‘blue enough.’
The answer to the question can be seen in the reposes of others. In the Mams and Misses. In the Ladies and the Hers and She’s I have received time and again, indeed, more so as time passes, regardless of anything I have said or done.
So it is that I have become comfortable with this body no matter what I do or do not do to present in a particular way.
This isn’t to say there aren’t things which I would change in a heartbeat if given the chance, because there are. There are those things which make me uncomfortable with myself, things which make me self conscience, which make me anxious or nervous.
There are situations and will go out of my way to avoid if possible, even to the point of discomfort.
I’m not sure it is possible to be me and not have these thoughts and feelings. What is important is they are no longer crippling.
It’s a strange sense of freedom I am still adjusting to.
Yet I wouldn’t change things for the world.
By Kira A. Moore
Pick up the
(Trigger Warning: Suicide)
By Kira A. Moore
Tonight is the
Put up or
Face the Devil
Please note, this in no way reflects on me personally. It was written in response to the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death.