Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Promises, promises...

It's been positively ages since i posted. A lot of this has to do with not really having anything to say. A lot of it has to do with managing a mental illness i contracted as a wee one. i suffer from gender dysphoria. All my life i have seen it as a disorder and managed it, doing what i could to turn this seeming disadvantage into an advantage. For example, while i have pretty much always been bisexual, experimentation showed me that men, by and large, are unimaginative and disconnected from the sensual. The innate sense of body-poetry is statistically to be found in a much lower percentage of the population of men than in the population of women and much less developed in men, on average. This has effectively biased me toward women as lovers. From the outside this looks like a heterosexual orientation. From the inside, my gender dysphoria gives me key insights, if experience is any guide, into the desires and gratifications of my lovers. This experience sets up an extremely powerful positive feedback loop.

i believe that the disorder had several concomitant causes: my father died in an automotive accident when i was 3 weeks old, leaving a void for male identification for the first 4 years of my life. As a father of 5, with 3 boys, i can tell you that having a male presence is extremely formative in the first 4 years. Additionally, my mother remarried when i was 4 and my relationship with my adopted father was not exactly smooth-sailing. There wasn't a lot of drama, but there was an antipathy, and more or less societally sanctioned low-grade physical abuse that played into my already weakened sense of male identification. Whatever i have learned from my experience of my parent's parenting, it was the importance of my mother establishing a heart-to-heart connection. And, this core understanding (an understanding of each other's cores) is what i have endeavored to establish with my kids. But, it also set up another push toward the gender identity disorder: mother/woman = heart-to-heart = living; father/man = blank = dead. Finally, i think that my brain chemistry was fertile ground for these environmental factors to manifest in this way. Not every male child faced with these environmental factors ends up with this kind of disorder. From glimpses into the structure of my behavior and perception, i'm pretty sure that my brain was already predisposed to twisting certain wires, a kind of physical misdirection of the urge to "have" a woman and the urge to "be" a woman. (There's a wonderful quote from Sartre -- something to the effect that we confuse wanting to know the truth with wanting to be the truth -- that i reflexively reflect on whenever i think about my situation.)

While i can talk about my condition in a relatively calm, detached and mostly intellectual fashion this does not mean that i chose lightly the word "suffer" in the phrase "suffer gender dysphoria". There are basic disconnects in almost every social engagement that cause me psychic distress on a minute-by-minute basis. For a period of about 5 years, this condition was in abatement, but it flared up again about 18 - 24 months ago and i have been in extreme emotional and psychic duress during this time. There are periods where that old, strangely recursive image of the person in the control room of the head operating the body, is a good metaphor for my experience -- but with a twist: there's a woman operating the controls of a male body. She's inept and the gestures are either overplayed or underplayed inappropriately because she has no feel for the role. It doesn't resonate; it doesn't connect.

Like most people with this disorder i have experimented with presenting as female. i have been more or less successful as passing. This offers certain level of relief but introduces more stresses than relief because it cannot be well integrated into the life i have been living, recently... or at least, i have not seen a way to integrate this behavior into this life; no doubt there is a workable solution. i have also experimented, very carefully, with hormones. This is also a mixed bag. It makes me feel even more clear about some essential internal "femaleness" but dramatically exacerbates the discomfort of the male characteristics "i" "have". So, currently, i'm kind of slogging through while the mental and emotional outlook loop around on a rollercoaster with a lot of very precipitous drops.

i face a kind of habituated suicidal ideation that i know just eats up energy and cycles. During the period of the condition's abatement the suicidal ideation nearly vanished. Now, it's back. i don't particularly identify with it, but i know that energy and coherence is leaking when i am conscious of this activity.

Now, why have i given this entry the title 'Promises, promises...'? Well, the very fluid mental and emotional shifts concomitant with my condition give rise to a really basic questions about who is here to make and uphold promises -- like regular entries to a blog or responsible attendance to professional or familial duties. And frankly, these pale to the burning desire to make a life through which Music can enter the world and the equally burning desire to make a fundamental contribution to mathematics. It is hard to drive -- no i find it impossible to drive with the level of focus and intensity necessary to put myself in the proper mode of service to these aims when this central source of energy, the connection between gender and identity, is so compromised. Put it another way, one minute one Idea is automating the machine the next another. And, no One -- no Unity, no Integrity -- is making these promises. They are made by a multiplicity. Consequently, moving in anything like an organized path towards the aims is far from what appears to be happening.

i've begun to see the promise in another way, though. It's a means to try (in the sense of test, or put on trial, but also in the sense of trying it on -- to assume the virtue as a Friend says) coherence, and through trial to grow it or at least develop a relationship with it. And this blog is a way of making promises -- mostly to myself -- about explicating some notions i feel central to the aims in my sights. So, i am promising here

  • to get the entry about economics and the machinery of quantum mechanics up in the month of Oct;
  • i am also promising to write an entry about the Grinch's mistake in December (i want to write it now, but timing on this one is important and the discipline to wait is crucial).
  • to keep up regular postings -- i don't have a schedule, yet -- but i promise to find an acceptable interval in which entries will be posted.


Blogger MTavlieva said...

;-)was extremely intriguing...after having known sth through our comparatively short common experience to confirm other expectations I was having abt you. It was good acknowledging this.

6:37 AM  

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