Saturday, May 28, 2011

part 1

{insert dating horror story here.}

"So why do you put up with that?" she asked, the obvious question.

The answer is simple: I'm not very good at being a woman. Why would I expect men to treat me well? It's not like I can pull off my side of the bargain.

According to unreliable sources, this is fairly normal for survivors of sexual abuse. Not being bad at femininity per se, but being uncomfortable in one's own gender and sexuality, whatever they may be. Awhile ago I read some articles about how uncomfortable it is to be transgendered--living with the feeling that you, in your body, are simply wrong--that you belong in a body of the opposite sex, and that until this situation is remedied, you will continue to be trapped and wrong. It was uncanny, reading, because the sensation they described was so familiar. . . except that I've never felt the wrongness of me could be solved by assuming a masculine body.

It is painful to live in flesh that is not your home. I've had a few moments, alone in a dance studio, when what I saw in the mirror and how I saw myself from the inside started to match up. But the instant another person walks in, this ends. Suddenly, in a million ways physical and otherwise, I am inadequately feminine. And because I live in a cultural context where my irrevocable womanhood is the first and probably most important thing anyone will know about me, "not a very good woman" is "not a very good human."