I’ve mentioned, in pieces, before about how my sense of gender has shifted and played itself out in a non-conforming way over years. It has moved along the spectrum from more masculine to more feminine to some muddle thereof…
So much of that has been driven by my physical self. And when I say physical self, I mean me not being in touch with what that means.
At the beginning of this year I made a few decisions (not resolutions!) to change my life. I needed to get both my physical self and emotional self in order, but I also needed to get them to talk to each other. For my entire adult life, I have refused to define myself, or others, as physical objects. That disconnect has been costly and it only started to click for me as the holidays ended and I was left holding the pieces of something that I didn’t even know was happening.
I can’t talk about that suffice to say that it opened my eyes in a different way and lessons that have been waiting for me to learn them, well, they were learned painfully and abruptly.
We are not solely intellectual beings. We are not just big brains sitting in tanks and walking around in non-physical bodies (thank you for that imagery, Matrix!) and I fought, bitterly, against that. I didn’t want to be measured or looked at through a physical lens because I didn’t know my body, not in its entirety.
I didn’t look in the mirror.
This is not about sex or masturbation; I’m proficient enough in the former and not a big fan of the latter. This is about something deeper than that. It’s about having a …self-intimacy. Knowing your body’s limits, knowing how that plays with your confidence and security, knowing and wanting and desiring and loving yourself as a whole being.
I have always been a physically fit and active person, but the last few years whittled some of that away. The sporting activities took a backseat to the drinking activities; the social and dating activities became intellectual arguments and pursuits, and the love and emotionality fell out of it (though, I can look back now and doubt that there was much of it to begin with).
I started with a personal trainer. I dropped my depressive hard-drinking friends. I stopped drinking (for a period). I stopped just reading books about cognition and theory. I took more days off from work: I started walking through parks; I started sleeping more; I started learning mindful unproductiveness; I played; I did things outside my comfort zone; I re-engaged in the world in a new way.
I looked in the mirror and decided the parts that I needed to let grow and gave them the space to do it.
I feel comfortable in my skin, in my body – it’s a new sensation. Now when I go out and I meet someone, I’m not just studying their reactions from a distance, I’m feeling them with them. I’m reaching out and touching; I’m touching – it’s a revelation for me to initiate and to have joy in the response. I am grounded; I am solid and I exist on this physical plane for the first time I can ever remember.
I’m still learning to love all of me. It’s a work-in-progress and it never needs to finish; it just needs to keep going.
I just need to keep looking in the mirror so that I can keep seeing all of me.