Last night I read an interesting blog post over at Jamie/James’ blog, which has stirred up much discussion in my head. One part particularly stood out:
The truth is, it’s almost always easier to feel angry than to feel even momentarily powerless. It is easier to say, “I hate my high school,” than to say, “I couldn’t make the people there respect me.” It’s easier to say, “The Bible says God hates gay people,” than to say, “My belief system does not account for these people I don’t understand.”
Go back and read that again, it’s pretty deep. Here’s what I make of all this.
At the dinner table one night at work someone posed the question: who’s the bigger hater, me or this other guy. Unanimously and in perfect unison, everyone responded: me. Now, I don’t usually come across as a hateful person, much less a negative person, or someone who is dislikeable. Quite the opposite, I’m usually seen as bubbly and positive and happy. However, after knowing me for a little while, my dark side slowly reveals itself. I like to label it as extreme cynicism – a pervasive disbelief in the world and its betterment.
It’s not really hate, but it boils down to hate. I don’t hate anything in particular; I hate everything. The abundance of hate has convinced me that yes, situations might improve, but the improvement is unlikely, improbable, and nearly impossible to effect any measurable positive change. I hate that I can’t do anything about everything.
Other people’s hate is so irrational it’s not something I can change through words or actions. It’s something they have to change within themselves. Each person has to shift their inner perspective, and come to terms with the fact that their hate is not really hate – it’s misunderstanding, and disappointment, and disbelief, even uncomfortable unease, masquerading as a strong negative feeling towards others.
But these emotions are so potent so as to provoke people to harm others. How, then can we turn hate around, when it is grounded by such strong, irrational beliefs, based on the impulse to escape one’s own negative feelings? As objective and biased observers, we need to help others translate their hate, reveal what’s really behind it, help them understand and overcome it, and with that stamp out the negative feelings driving this hate.
So you see, my hate is merely a learned helplessness, a total loss of hope that real hatred can be erased, a desperate struggle to understand the incomprehensible urge in people to act irrationally. But despite this black vision of the world, I keep trying, and keep hoping, and it’s this “hate” that keeps me going.
I’m Trans and I Don’t Hate My Body
I’m going through what many would dub a “rough period” right now, being 3 days post surgery and all. And this blog is about me. So regarding hate in relation to me and my body… I don’t hate my body. It’s mere coincidence that these musings come at the exact moment that I am mourning the loss of my once perfect body. Because it was that: no ailments, no disfigurements, no scars, nothing.
Sure, I’m a bit chubbier than I should be, but I don’t hate my belly. I’m merely uncomfortable seeing it, and as James mentions, we musn’t let this unease turn into hate, and I make a conscious effort not to. However, my unripped abdomen entices me to push myself, to be active, to seek out physical activities. More importantly, it cooperates when I cooperate. Unfortunately, my love for chocolate chip cookies and sleeping in is much, much stronger than my hate for my belly. I don’t hate the fact that I’m super short (5’0, 1.52cm!). Even when my line of sight is comprised mainly of elbows, chests, breasts, and in extreme situations the occasional navel, I have come to accept my stature, or lack thereof. (Much like I tried to accept my assigned gender, but that was a failed experiment.)
This isn’t to say I have a pristine self-image; I’ve grappled long and hard with my physical self (gender issues aside), and still do. Countless times I’ve cried about one or other physical feature, immutable or not. But I don’t hate it. I appreciate what I have, and try to change what I can. The dislike of certain parts inspires change, it drives my will’s motivation so I may mold my body in positive ways. And a big disclaimer here: this probably wasn’t always so.
I didn’t hate my breasts. They were perfect, they were the envy of all other breasts – just beautiful. Their only flaw was their very presence on my body; their perfection a major reason for my hesitation to undergo surgery. And so I mourn them, and the loss of perfection in my body, which I feel I will never achieve again. (And I generally don’t like breasts, I’m just saying mine were much more than acceptable than most, and I always took great care in appreciating that.)
As beautiful as my breasts were on their own, they were not a real part of my body. Everyday I was driven to rip them off (gently), maybe even preserve them somewhere, for it is a shame to lose something so beautiful. Besides, I wasn’t treating them very well. “This [squishes her face with both hands] is not a life” says my significant other, as she refers to my breasts’ past life. And she’s right. They felt disassociated from me, they didn’t belong.
I peeked at the scars again today during my “shower” / medieval tub rub-a-dub-down. I don’t hate them, but they’re still not mine, not a part of my body. I don’t own them yet. It’s been a delirious few days, and the majority of the sensation and visibility around my chest has been a tight bandage and creepy tubes coming out of the sides. Just like my breats were disassociated from me, so is my new chest right now. Slowly I’ll come to terms with it, I’ll see it everyday and grow accustomed to it. The physical change is just too sudden, and my brain has to catch up. Yet I’m certain I won’t hate it. And my hope is that I’ll love my body a little bit more.
In Conclusion, Math Saves the Day
Seeing as I’m still in a state of dazed druggedness, if any of this fails in coherence I blame my altered nervous system and not my grammatical incompetence. In honor of James’ valiant math equation explaining sex reassignment, I reiterate my firm belief that math conquers everything. I leave you all with today’s picture of my super geeky shirt and radioactive-colored underwear.