Monday, July 31, 2006

The Hunchback of Violet Lake 

One of my psychiatrists wanted to film me talking about my life. He said I was unusually interesting and he wanted to share our sessions with his colleagues. I asked him if he wanted to film me so he could get me to watch myself saying preposterous things. He said no, and I said no. I can accept watching myself in all my glory, but I didn’t like the idea of paying him $125 every 45 minutes to entertain and enlighten his colleagues.

That was back when I needed the recommendation of a psychiatrist to qualify for what is commonly referred to as a sex change operation. He wanted to deconstruct me in order to talk me out of it. I spun my wheels with him for about a year, but it was interesting, and even fun. For the recommendation, I found a psychiatrist that knew better than to try to talk me out of a decision I had made years before.

The need to switch gender is a difficult thing to understand, let alone justify. The story I told here distorts my personal history and skips over the difficult parts. It amounts to a lie, but that’s a minor thing compared to what it conceals. I wrote:

My dual nature first manifested itself when I was a young child. By the time I reached puberty, I had two distinct "minds": one male and the other female. By the time I graduated from high school, the female was dominant. By the time I graduated from college, I was living my life as a woman.

My feminine nature did first manifest itself when I was a young child, but then it disappeared until I was 12. It disappeared again towards the end of my junior year in high school, and didn’t surface completely until my senior year of undergraduate school. By the time I finished graduate school, I was living my life as a woman.

That still omits the difficult parts, but at least it doesn’t make my hair stand on end. Now I can fill in the blanks.

Don’t be afraid.
When I was 3 or 4 years old, my favorite person was my grandfather’s aunt Rafaela. She was small and thin and frail; and she had a glass eye that she let me hold sometimes. One day when she and I were alone in the house, she had a heart attack and died. As she was dying, she asked me to sit next to her and hold her hand. I was too afraid to go near her.

After Rafaela died, she visited me several times. My mother can tell you about the spooky conversations. When my parents and grandparents begged me to stop, her visits decreased in frequency and duration; then it was only to give me a hug and tell me where my grandparents were hiding her glass eye. The last time she visited me, she told me that she couldn’t visit anymore, and she told me to never forget that she would always be watching over me.

Rafaela was the one that made me aware of the luminous cosmic jewel in my pocket. When I was a young child, I knew things about myself and the world that I still find difficult to explain - such as the knowledge that I was going to be a woman one day. I also knew about what I’m doing here right now.

Rough Seas
When my family moved to the U.S., the challenge of a new environment became my focus; the things I knew about myself and the world became the subject of my daydreams, and then of my dreams as life sublimated the mind of my childhood.

When my family moved to Pennsyltucky, the trauma of having to start over in the boonies gave me my first taste of depression, (as I entered into puberty.) The mind of my childhood resurfaced and I started to draw myself in the mirror - in various states of undress - wearing my mother’s clothes. The drawings were beautiful; they were in a red notebook that disappeared one day.

Then my parents sent me to Catholic schools for the next 5 years. The schools were good, but they put me in the situation of having few friends outside of school. The mind of my childhood grew strong enough to force two realizations: I’m doomed, and Christianity is fancy idolatry. The former depressed me further, and the latter made me unwelcome in Catholic school. The top nun told my mother that I’m evil.

Lost and Found
The existential angst made me attractive to girls for the first time. Until then, the only thing that excited me sexually was thinking about my own feminine nature. I avoided thinking about men in a sexual way because my first stop was always the memory of getting raped as a young child. And I didn’t think about women in a sexual way, although I certainly knew that it was expected of me. When girls started paying attention to me, I was flattered and surprisingly willing. My feeling of doom subsided for a while when I discovered that I was able to function acceptably as a male. That was during my senior year of high school.

I met a girl that wanted me more than anything in the world, and I convinced myself that I wanted her too - so much so that I re-imagined my dreams to include a wife and kids. I will always love her, but our relationship was the type of disaster that brings out the worst in people. She manipulated me and lied to me; I used her body, and abused her feelings by having sex with other women. I got her pregnant twice, and she had abortions both times. To make matters worse, I got one of her friends pregnant too.

By my senior year of undergraduate school, I despised myself. A good friend forced me to confront the miserable state of my soul and it mortified me. I was becoming a great painter despite my personal problems, but that wasn’t enough to save me. I wanted to die. At my lowest point, someone offered me LSD and I accepted. It was a reckless thing to do, (and the last time I did acid,) but I’m glad I did because I found the way - as implausible as it may seem - to save myself.

It hasn’t been easy and I still have obstacles to overcome, but - remarkably - I almost match the vision now. Recently it occurred to me that I was born with so much natural ability that I had to handicap myself to make it interesting. ;)

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?