Growing up I was socialized as a male. I do not blame anyone for this. It was a different time. I know that I sound like some old woman saying that. “Back in my day…” It was this socialization that instilled many of the traits that allowed to make me the person I was, and if I am being completely honest still very much am. The good, bad and the ugly. Many of the traits that I still fall back on are helpful. These include the love of family, the willingness to sacrifice for those who you love and the servant’s heart. These traits I see as non-gendered as they are seen as good traits regardless if you are AMAB or AFAB. (For those who do not know, AMAB means assigned male at birth and AFAB means assigned female at birth.) The only difference I can see in those traits is how we are taught to manifest them. In AMAB folks, these are to been shown with stoic and almost cold silence. In those who were AFAB, these are to be expressed with warmth and caring. Even as I write this I am seeing how this indoctrination affects the langue that I have using. Like how when I describe AMAB I use a word like “manifests” that feels more as a clinical diagnoses then a way of feeling, and with AFAB I used “warmth are caring” which feels softer and more gentle.
There were other traits that I was taught as well. These were not as beneficial to me I am finding out. In the world and society that we live in AMAB people are taught at a very young that they are to be strong, resilient and unfeeling. Yes I know I am speaking in very broad generalizations here and not all AMAB’s are taught this (#notallAMAB). I was taught that I was to go my way and repress my feeling because feeling were “for the women and the weak” and “a man was hard and unbreakable.” This also meant that I was expected that I should be able to everything that I set out to and on my own as much, and often more then as much, then I could. To ask for help was left for those who were failures and incompetent. Both of those things were seen as detestable and unacceptable. I was to be the one that helps all while need no one.
As I transition I am seeing just how wrong I was. Well more to the point, how wrong this message was and still is. I see how so many of my darkest moments could have been so much easier if I had reached out and asked for a hand up. If I am going to be honest with you, and myself I still struggle with this. Asking for help when you need it is not a sign of weakness but one of ultimate strength and humility. We are all finite people, regardless how you were assigned at birth. There are times that we have where it is not only difficult to go alone but that you really should not go alone. It is not wise or safe.
It is no secret that I suffer from depression, and anxiety. I think that I have been very open about it here and in my real life. Some days it ranges from a wispier on the wind to soul crushing and debilitating. For almost 40 years I have turned into my own head when things got to it worst. This has caused me to shutout and/or pushes away those who have cared about me most. I was so worried that I would become a burden to them that I felt that it was better for me to silently suffer. All this was often done with a smile and the best attempt to have a smile in my voice. When it got to the point that I could not fake it anymore I would just tell people that it was because I was tired and/or was worried about someone else. I felt that it was of to be showing concern for others publicly but not myself. I was not lying to everyone out of malice or the like. Well not deliberately but a lie of omission is still a lie. So to everyone I know and have dealt with in real life I want to say, for these sins, I am sorry.
So, good reader, why am I writing this rambling post, other than putting off studying for a final? It is because I have been blessed with some very good friends that have pushed me and almost unrelentingly been working on me to be open and honestly seek help from them when I need it. I have been told and educated that I am not a burden or a bother. I have been so strong for so long that I need to allow others to be strong for me. To these people in my life I cannot thank you enough. I know that it has not been easy to be my friend at many of times, so thanks you for sticking with me.
I am not there yet, my amazing readers. I am still working on it. I know that four decades of programing cannot be wiped out overnight by some mythical personality magnet to the hard drive of my history. I will get there. I have faith not necessarily in who I am not but who I will become. I know she is waiting for me on the other side and she is cheering me on. My message to her is this. Thank you love, I will not let you down.