Why do I feel like this?
Why can’t I be like other people?
Why am I the only one like this?
Why can’t I just be normal?
n.b.: As always, these are my thoughts, based on my own personal experience. I do not presume to speak for others or to anyone else’s experiences. Remember, your milage may vary – void where prohibited by law – do not fold, spindle, or mutilate. 😉
That last one is the killer: “Why can’t I just be normal?” … As if normal were something one could actual be. 😐
I’ve invested a huge amount of emotional energy over the years asking ‘why’ questions. I mean, it’s understandable – a 13 year old boy goes to sleep at night, hoping to wake up and find they have transformed into a girl – one might wonder why they would want that – and I did. As I got older, the feelings didn’t go away, but I became aware that whatever it was, there was something wrong about it – whatever it was, it wasn’t ‘normal’. I didn’t know of other people who felt this way, and I (incorrectly) assumed I was the only person like this. So I hid it as best as I could, building a ‘me’ that did his best to fit in with everyone. And all that time, I would ask myself “Why me?”
I would learn that there were other people who cross-dressed – that this was some kind of ‘kink’ (it’s not.) That kind of helped for a while, because I rationalized that everyone has some kink or another. But I realized it wasn’t a kink, and I was back to asking why. When I went ‘on-line’ and found there were other people who actually felt like I did, I thought I had found my answers. As it turns out, none of them knew either. I read books that talked about ‘brain sex’, hormonal imbalances, chromosomal anomalies, psychological issues… The most useful comment I found was from another trans person, who summed it all up: “Nobody really knows what’s going on…”
It’s true – they don’t. So many people, most of whom are not transgender, all spouting theories and suppositions about why trans people are trans. They want to (try) and explain the why of trans people, but never address the how… How do you live in the world as a trans person?
Once I began to deal with my transness, I rediscovered some of the philosophy I studied in college. What really helped to clear some of the ‘why’ fog was Albert Camus and the Paradox of the Absurd. Camus explains:
the ‘Absurd’ is the result of the “confrontation between human need and the unreasonable silence of the world.”
“…the unreasonable silence of the world.” Sounds about right… 😦
We all have questions – a lot of questions – and the world tends to be unyielding of answers. “How can we live in such a world?” Camus tells us that we need to we accept that ‘absurdity’ is a part of our lives – that we will likely never get all the answers for which we are looking – and that we need to continue on, in spite of ‘the Absurd’.
I found myself asking, “Do I really need to know why I am trans? If someone was able to explain it all to me in painfully complete detail, how would that help me?” It became clear to me that answering ‘why’ was not going to provide for me what I needed most: a way to move forward, and to live my life ‘in the world’ as a trans person. I realized that knowing why ‘I am’ did not change who ‘I am’ – or what I needed to do.
So, I stopped asking why. I stopped ‘researching’ and sifting through opinions and suppositions, and I started working on what I needed to live and to thrive as a person. I put all of that energy that was ultimately holding me back, into living. I stopped fighting and trying to be everything everyone else thought I ought to be.
Twenty years later, people are still debating and opining as to why we are trans…
Twenty years later, still, “Nobody really knows what’s going on…” 🙂
Sometimes ‘why’ is important – although in my limited experience, most of the time ‘why’ is a distraction. It pulls us a way from the real issues of “What do I need to do, and how will I do it.” Many years ago, I mentioned to my therapist at the time that she had never given me a diagnosis. Her goal, in her words, was to help her patients figure out what they needed to be happy in life, whatever that was. She smiled at my comment, and asked me “Do you need one?” I paused and told her, “No, I don’t think do, really.”
We are who we are – no explanation required. 😎
Happy Pride Everyone!
p.s.: Readers interested in a trip down the rabit hole of my philosophy can look here: Donna’s Philosophy: Why I believe What I Believe