February 1998

Well, February has come and gone with little incident. Not that it wasn't busy, just nothing really new. I'm back in the newsgroups, as things have returned to their usual state. It's nice not having it be such a hostile atmosphere.

Laura grew tired of me and has moved on. I thought that this would have bothered me more than it did. While I was hurt by this, I got over it pretty quickly. She told me I had to learn to stand up for myself. Well, I seem to be doing quite well, thank you very much!

I've started attending a gender exploration workshop. It's a twelve week workshop and seems really good. First time I've been in a group of people who could all relate to how I feel. I feel quite comfortable there.

As I continue to explore all of this gender stuff, I've had a bit of a shift in mindset. While, for the most part, I identify more as a woman than a man, I am finding that at many times, I seem to feel quite neutral: not really a man, and not really a woman. This other state has probably been there all along, I just never recognized it as such.

I find it difficult to describe. I'm not really sure what it is supposed to feel like to be a man or woman. Whatever it is, I've never really felt like a part of the men's side. I play the part (more or less) and pass as a man (some times better than other times) but don't really belong. This is OK, as I realize that it just isn't who I am. At the same time, I feel more like a woman. Again, I'm not really sure what it is supposed to feel like to be a woman, but that's how I feel. For me it seems, man is not the antithesis of woman. Note that I said I feel more like a woman. More like a woman than what? It's like if I add up all the parts, I never hit 100%. Something is missing.

This leaves me in a strange spot. I never really feel like a man, and feel somewhat like a woman. But why must I feel more one way or the other? Is there a gap in my self? If so, what fills in the gap? Why does anything have to fill in the gap? Why can't I just simply be? Why do I need to be any particular gender at all?

I think that this is where I'm heading. On a day to day basis, I'm finding that I feel more neutral than anything else. The best I can describe it is like not having a particular gender at all. It helps explain this continual shifting I experience. By not being locked into any specific self-imposed gendered state, I am free assuming whatever state strikes me. Sometimes, it's decidedly more man than woman, other times the reverse. Still, at other times, it is both and neither all at once.

A sidebar for a moment.

In existentialist terms, this is much like Sartre's paradox of Being (the world) and Nothingness (the self or consciuosness.) We ask, "Who am I?" and find that we have no being of our own. We borrow and derive our identity (our being) from the world around us. We are nothing inside, lacking content, with our identity being an empty formalism. Basicly, we can only say that which we are not:

But wait, what about consciousness? Surely that is the one thing which is truely our own? Well, what is consciousness? Describe it without describing it's contents... If you remove all the contents of consciousness, you are left with, well, nothing! Consciousness has no real properties of its own. It is a lack, an emptyness; it is only that which it borrows.

We wind up describing reality in the negative mode. By using the word 'not', that which is not, now is. Consciousness exists by not being! But, no matter what being you may borrow, you are not that borrowing. At the same time, you are not the negation of what you are borrowing. Every borrowing is a pursuit of being. We flee from one borrowing while persuing another. We try to both hold on to and let go of reality at the same time.

OK, enough existentialist theory for now. Yea, it's confusing, but you probably get the idea. I feel that the above is a bit extreme, but does express the idea of how I am comming to view my gender.

I'm not a man and I'm not a woman. At the same time I am not not a man or a woman. The binary gender system can not accomodate this seemingly paradoxical statement. I borrow whatever gender is appropriate for the moment, shaping it to fit the situation. We all do this; it's just that most people are not aware that they are doing it. It's a liberating feeling, having acknowledged this, as I feel much less stress over the shifting feelings that I have.

This all boils down to how I've felt all my life:

Why can't I just be me?

Without worrying who or what I am. Hmmm... Maybe I can.

So, I guess it was an eventful month after all. One thing is for sure, I'm not the person I was in January. This just keeps getting better...

And that, me droogs, brings February 1998 to a close...

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