Adolescence, over and over again

I’ve been thinking about adolescence today.  A while ago, I posted some thoughts about the idea of genderqueer transition — what does that even mean and what terms make sense to us as non-binarily gendered people?

Today I was looking at pictures of trans folks and reading their stories (Transfigurations). The challenges of adolescence came up a lot — both the first adolescence that happened when they hit puberty and the second one that hit when they transitioned.  That got me thinking of my various adolescences.  The one where my body pushed me past androgyny into definitive femaleness.  The one a few years ago when my male self was fully recognized   — that one was nearly as rocky as the first.  And now, as I’m trying to integrate/transition/transform into a fully realized, authentic genderqueer adult.

Each of these transition points in my life have a lot in common:  awkwardness about my body, weird lack of recognition of myself in the mirror sometimes, emotional mood swings, a feeling of exhaustion, ache and stress in my body, confusion about who I am supposed to be, how I’m supposed to act and a lot of searching for guides and mentors.  With the first adolescence, there was a fairly well known endpoint to it all — mature womanhood.  When Kyle burst forth and began asserting his personhood, there was a lot of soul-searching about whether full ftm transition was something we should pursue.  He didn’t have a lot of patience, but who could blame him?  He’d been put in a kind of stasis in a female body for over 25 years and then came back to consciousness to find that not only had he missed our 20s, but our 30s as well.  There was a lot of confusion, and then a very rough and painful rapid progression from 17 years old to 40 something.  My face even broke out during this time, even more than usual.

At this point we don’t see ftm transition as something that would improve our situation, but we are still seeking an endpoint.  And it does feel remarkably like another adolescence. My body sometimes feels ill-fitting, like an awkward collection of mismatched parts… or as I said on Facebook the other day, an island of misfit toys.  Though I don’t know exactly how to get there, I know I want to come to a point where I feel more at ease with my reality, this multiplicity, this mixed bag of gender in a single sex body.

I am a lot of years away from my earliest adolescence, and in reality, I am getting closer to menopause every month.  What will menopause be like as a bi-gender person?  I have no idea but you know I’ll tell you all about it.

Adolescence, transition, integration, non-binary gender.   The further I go, the more I discover about how my gender was effected by the different phases of my life, by the external and internal feedback I got.  Wherever I’m going with all of this, my aim is to be as authentic and self-actualizing as I can be.  Some of my very earliest memories are of questioning gender based roles and restrictions.  Seems I haven’t strayed very far from my early truths and as I look to my future, I know this is my path, as confusing and awkward as it may be at times.

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