Who will I be?
Underneath all of this…this coping that I do, what is there?
It’s very unsettling –
To not know one’s own self. To not know where the metaphorical cancer starts and where “Me” ends.
End is a loaded word. I am not ended yet and this struggle in particular will not end me. But in some sense, finding my boundaries and what is “Me” and what is “Not Me” is really important. Some particularly bad days feel as if the abuse were a cancer: a Glioblastoma Multiforme, spreading itself out into all the support cells and integrating themselves into the surrounding tissue like a tree putting down roots. Glial tumors are heinous monsters; aggressive and cruel. Generally, they live by the if-I-can’t-have-it-then-I’ll-make-sure-no-one-else-gets-it motto, spreading through any loose section and wrapping itself around healthy tissue so when you remove it, you have to remove healthy tissue too. And surgery can’t get it all. My medical friend said, “Everyone who gets Glioblastoma Multiforme dies of Glioblastoma Multiforme.” I looked it up. It is truly awful.
I do not have this. Cancer is itself a horrible thing. I struggle to put into words the way I feel because it will hopefully help me believe true things, get the bad stuff out of me, and get better. I know using a cancer metaphor is extreme. I feel that it is the right metaphor at this moment. The self-hate I inherited is causing mental, physical, and emotional pain still. My body has been shaped by this. It has been my companion and tormentor since before I have memories. I have so many scars. So. Many.
My compulsions to excoriate must be deeply rooted in my psyche and I haven’t been successful yet at removing the problem. No matter how much I read about body positivity and self-love and feminism, I still have triggers and reactions that necessitate social contortions, or withdrawl from life, or a number of other coping cycles. I’m sure it’s all connected somehow which is why a holistic approach is the only one that works but I can’t do that for myself. I need help. So now I have help. But it’s not fixed yet! I feel like I’m stuck and will never make progress again!
You know what? It doesn’t seem to matter that I can look at that paragraph and recognize the lies my abuse is saying inside my head. I can’t just know about it and then, hooray, all better. (At least, that’s not what is happening.) And that is frustrating and disappointing.
Maybe I hate that I share genes with bio-dad.
Maybe I hate my skin and body for not conforming to the male gaze.
I hate that I was born female. (At least that’s what it says on my birth certificate)
I was not going to write that.
My mind didn’t want to admit that that is true. I hate that I was born female and I’ve been trying to convince myself to be okay with it instead of walking down that emotional road. I’ve been trying everything to convince myself that I’m a good body-posi, enlightened, Trans-Inclusive, Intersectional Badass who doesn’t buy into the myth that femme things are weak and inferior. Who fights the Patriarchy in all it’s forms.
And I’ve been over here dragging around this cumbersome Patriarchal burden of self-hate.
Hi, everybody. I’m a Mysogynist. Time to deal with that.
Edit: The image of a man holding up his freshly removed skin was visceral and appropriate, but didn’t look right AT ALL in the final published version. Let’s just say it was *ahem* centered poorly.