#385: THE THIRD UPDATE, WHICH I FAILED TO DELIVER YESTERDAY, BECAUSE I HAD TO DO SOMETHING COOLER LIKE GOING TO AN ARTS AWARDS THINGY IN AN AIRPORT HANGAR
I was actually a little disappointed to have to leave my updates from my previous entry to go to the arts awards thingy. I was just getting to the part I really gave a damn about when the Fiery One walked into the living room with a spanky looking suit on. There was some inside-voice head-smacking on my part, because I never remember when there are events we have to go to, and I had to abandon the promised third update.
You are probably wondering what the hell all this lead-in filler crap is for if I am so hot about getting to this mysterious third update. I was just beginning to wonder that myself, but then I remembered that THIS IS WHAT I DO. I DRONE ON FOR PARAGRAPHS. I had better get to the point now, or we'll find ourselves in the middle of my grade four play when I played a rabbit and didn't know that you could totally see my underwear through my white tights.
I have received a few e-mails and comments asking if I would post the url to my initial coming out entry (if I must classify it as such here, although I do not personally) and if I could write more about my gender/sex awareness. If anything, I expected people to ignore my disclosure, or gloss over it out of discomfort or a sense of foreignness, or leave it alone out of sensitivity; I also thought people would roll their eyes as though of course, we already knew that or isn't she a little old for this? or why in the hell is she doing this over the internet?
I put my gender/sex awareness issue out there, so I was prepared to deal with whatever happened, but at the time I held this strange assumption that nobody other than me would give two figs about my disclosure. Apparently, people gave more than two figs. They gave four and five and six figs.
Then, I had a short e-mail exchange with Koan that made me reconsider my silence following the e-mails and comments I have received. She reminded me that what I write has an impact on others who, like me, need to recognize themselves in the world. She wrote: when we show even a little of ourselves to the world, we help others feel less alone. I forget that it's not just me knocking around in this little computer box.
So, here is a short explanation for why I have not linked back to the few entries I've written that touch on the subject and why I have not written more about it.
I don't link to my initial entry, because when I first wrote about my gender/sex awareness, I threw the term "gender dysphoric pansexual" out there. I wanted something that I could hang my hat on, because I worried that it would be difficult to discuss initially without a name for it. I am, at heart, an anti-labelist (that's with one L so as not to be confused with being against Patti Labelle), so even though I was clear that it was merely a term of passing convenience for me, not everyone else did, and it caused a bit of upset.
This is the number one reason why I have not linked back to that entry, even with repeated requests. If I link to that entry, I will get a slew of e-mails again about labelling and asking if I am really sure and telling me I'm brave or that I should get straightened out. If you find it, so be it. I am not hiding that post, but I am not highlighting it, either.
I don't write more about my gender/sex awareness, because it is a large and complex beast of a subject that I am not even sure I have the language for yet. I worry that I have already made missteps, and I want to reason through some things before I write a piece that makes me panic even as the ink dries.
I feel that there is less room for error with this than there is for my usual blathering and personal recountings. I need to be careful, gentle, forgiving. I want to be truthful and avoid unnecessary bluster. When I write about my gender/sex awareness, it means things to others beyond myself, and I need to honour that.
A friend of mine, Nell, once asked me How do you go about honouring your identity? I have spent a good deal of time considering this question, and to be honest, I don't know. I had an art teacher in grade twelve who taught us about negative space. She showed us how the so-called empty space around the objects we were drawing defined our objects as much or more than the drawing of the objects themselves. She gave us an assignment to draw the negative space instead of the object, and I was suddenly able to gain an understanding of the object in my drawing that surprised me.
Answering the question of how to honour who I am is a bit like that. I want to honour what I can around my emerging self, and perhaps if the things around me that I use to further this growing description are treated respectfully, I will also become a person who is empowered and no longer held under the thumb of fear and hesitation.
This path deserves what carefulness, gentleness, and forgiveness I can bring to it, because I have spent most of my life doing anything but honouring who I am. I want to do myself, the subject, and you well. I need to know that what I write about it is constructive rather than destructive, respectful rather than derogatory, and honest rather than oblique.
I am leaving town for the weekend, so this is it until Monday, and I feel like I am abandoning this entry. This is one of those entries that I feel really weird about posting, like some horrible thing is going to happen that I am just going to have to watch unfold and be helpless against. I have felt this before, and it never comes to anything, but just in case this is the time it does happen and some evil swamp monster out of a 1950s sci-fi film rises out of my router and scares me into a state of catatonia, I want to let you know that I am strong enough to make it through.