Sunday, March 08, 2009

Hitting The Gender Wall

Marathon runners talk about hitting 'the wall'. It's that point in the race in which you exhaust the glycogen stored in your body while using it for the quick energy that running calls for and start burning stored fat instead. That's brings on massive fatigue, and at that point in marathon parlance, you've 'hit the wall'.

There's a wall when you transition as well, but it's emotional. You try to live with the incongruent brain gender body mismatch, but feel more and more out of place and as if you're playing for the wrong gender team.

You feel out of sorts, confused, and disconnected. It's as if your sleepwalking through life. You know that something's not quite right, but can't put your finger on it. You continue to try everything to live as a 'man' or 'woman' in body but not in spirit, suppress that inner male or female by becoming more hypermasculine or hyperfeminine but you're still unhappy.

The frustrations mount in terms of life, love and relationships until you finally say, 'enough' and emotionally crash. At that moment that's when you finally realize or accept the fact that you are transgender.

Hitting the gender wall is emotionally painful and never comfortable. It's a emotional and difficult road with a few potholes in it. But in the end, you end up as a far happier person as you make the moves toward becoming the beautiful person you truly are and were born to be.


Gina said...

Monica, I would suggest there are 'walls' you hit post-transition as well. There is a realization you didn't have a girlhood, that you can't give birth (but you CAN parent), that the majority of cisgender people either don't view you has exactly female or, at least, a woman with an asterisk, that although there are many men who might be attracted by you, relatively few are proud to be seen with you, and that while you've come a loong way (and have every right to be so proud of that) there are things about you that will never look the way you want them to be, and you have to learn to be okay with that. To me, the post-transition wall is: transition is a blessing, but it's a highly imperfect/relative process. It's not the same as being born into a woman's body and having a woman's life (both the good and the not-so-good parts). It might mean falling within the ballpark realm of "woman" but might not get you where you wish you were. The Wall is realizing, no, I'm not everything I wish I were, don't look how I wish I looked, but I'm a woman to be proud of. That can be a very hard wall to hit when you've expended so much effort just to even get to that point. And I feel it's an important wall to climb over post-transition (whatever that means) if you want to find your center and move towards what really makes you happy.

Monica Roberts said...

Very good points Gina.

I'd add to it that sometimes we keep hitting that post transition one as well, especially those of us who strive for higher standards in our transitioned lives.