Apr 7, 2008

Dealing with duality

One of the questions I had been asked recently from someone who is starting their transition is one of identity. For the most part Trans people are who they are, they have lived a specified identity for a period of years and built their relationships around that perceived identity. But is it really a much different identity?

My friend asked me if I had a hard time moving between the male wold and the female world as I’ve transitioned. To understand this one first has to know that at the point I’m at now I’m living as Karyn 90% of the time outside and not at all in my work life. So this means that it’s Kevin at work and around certain friends it is Karyn all other times, essentially seeming like 2 separate identities.

When we first start out we need a lot of aesthetics to help us identify with who we feel we are. In doing so we end up feeling better for a very short time until it is time to go back into the old persona. As we first go into counseling and start to learn self acceptance we have to start identifying with who we feel we are as opposed to who we allow the world to see every. It’s just part of the process. As we progress into that self-acceptance we start to identify less with the aesthetics and more with simply who we are.

For me this is simple. When I started earning my own self-acceptance I was told to do things that made me more comfortable. These are generally the things we will end up doing daily in our target gender. Clothes, Makeup, Nail polish or whatever steps need to be taken. As I got deeper into the process the less I needed the aesthetics to feel like Karyn I simply feel like I am more at peace with my inner self.

At this stage I don’t need to wear female clothes, makeup or jewelry to make myself feel more normal, I’ve earned that peace from within and identified with the tangible items much less. At this point I’m Karyn regardless of what I’m wearing, be in male jeans and T-shirt or girls jeans and a top. This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy or want to look nice anymore, I just don’t have to do that to identify with who I am on the inside and now I can do it because I want too, not because I have too.

So if I feel like going out without makeup ..no big deal, I’m still Karyn!!

When we hit a point such as this it can make you feel like you are straddling the line of 2 different worlds. Even at times my friends will say, when you are Kevin and when you are Karyn. The truth is the two identities are one in the same, Karyn just doesn’t struggle with the pain that Kevin had.

At this point in my transition I do at times find it very hard going back to being Kevin if even for a short time. It’s becomes a bit emotionally draining getting myself straight in interacting with other people. Last week in an effort to fill out my time card at work I mistakenly started to sign my card Karyn instead of my legal name. In another instance I actually referred to Kevin in a past tense without even thinking about it. It was no big deal, he knows what’s going on.

It doesn’t matter what stage you are at in transition or even part time dressing, unless you are fully transitioned you will deal with the duality issue. At times it can be a bit hard to get your head around and others it will be depressing to have to go back to your everyday self. Just remember that the qualities of one are the qualities of the other. You are who you feel you are even if the shell doesn’t always appear to be what the mind knows.

You’re just like a chameleon … LOL


No comments: