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gender dysphoria: Amelia, Hibby, & Hannah

April 4, 2014

I’m finally doing the tangible work of reorganizing my priorities. That means lots of my old possessions . . . have to find new homes. I’ve gotten rid of most of the easy stuff; the harder things are, well, murkier. How do I know when to stop getting rid of things? What guidelines am I using for what I’m keeping? When it’s time to add new things, how do I know which ones are good (for now-me, not old-me)?

Some years ago, when I first learned I had emotion color synesthesia, I thought it might be interesting to create “mood boards” for my moods. I didn’t actually do it because it felt like too much work. That feels ironic now because if I’d fleshed out the colorways and patterns for moods and wyxzi then, I’d already have a much clearer idea about how to do what I need to now.

Basically, I don’t think I can proceed until I create mood boards. Part of my problem all along has been that the proportions of time I spend in various wyxzi are all out of whack. For instance, I need to be in Amelia a lot more often than I am. But because I’m surrounded by colorways and patterns that preclude Amelia, I essentially have to fight my environment to achieve Amelia. Which means it doesn’t happen that often.

I have no idea when I last experienced Hibby. It’s been months and months. Probably for similar reasons.

Hannah is . . . slightly different. She likes plaid, and now that I’m allowing myself to like plaid, there’s plaid stuff everywhere.

Yesterday, for the first time, I visualized a colorway for Hannah: cobalt blue, red, and a splash of lime green. I want to be Hannah, but . . . I can’t (so far). I’ve bought fabric Hannah likes. I’ve saved pictures from magazines that she likes. I . . . sort of . . . have a sense of her, but . . .

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Hannah doesn’t like Amelia. And as far as I can tell, Hannah . . . feels contempt for Hibby.

So I haven’t been able to allow myself to be Hannah, because Amelia and Hibby are necessary for my life to be worth living.

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As I’ve mentioned here before, my mother has gender dysphoria, even though that’s a term she’s probably never heard, and I seriously doubt she would claim it.

My mother was raised to believe that girls are worthless and stupid. But, since for the first 7 years of her life her father treated her as “the son he never had”, she apparently grew up thinking she was essentially . . . a boy. Not just a tomboy, but an actual boy. Her best friend was a boy. She did boy things. She thought like a boy. She was somehow socialized like a boy.

And then my uncle was born.

And my mother found out . . . she wasn’t a boy anymore.

But if she took up being a girl, that would mean admitting she was worthless and stupid. And, she wasn’t even 8 years old yet. These are problems that adults don’t know how to deal with!

I don’t know what my mother actually did, and since we’re estranged, I can’t ask. But from the outside, it seems like . . . Cognitive Dissonance became her new best friend: She has a whole bunch of attitudes about gender that are completely antithetical to each other, but somehow they coexist in her mind.

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{This entire subject is so painful and so prickly that I am currently clutching a skein of the prettiest pinkest fibers I own, and I’m still having trouble not sobbing. So I’m going to take a little detour.}

For the last week or so, I’ve been thinking about the kid’s show with the performing rabbit that I heard about last fall, which I never did see, because I got sick the day before from the stress.

Even now, when I think about going to see the show, I still feel like I would have to talk to the man who runs it ahead of time, and then I start crying. This is a fun thing that my inner 5 year old wants to do, and I’m so scared of telling anybody that I just want to be excited! About a performing bunny! . . . that I haven’t been able to go. I’m crying right now.

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Just like how, in my family of origin, you could either be an SJ, NTJ, or worthless . . . and I was actually NFP, but I “chose” NT as my identity because at least it sort of made sense to me, unlike SJ. . .

In my family of origin, if you were a girl, you could be a tomboy, or you could be a vamp.

(My mother’s sister seems to fit into a third category, because she wasn’t tomboy or vamp, but I’m not sure my mother thinks of her sister as a girl.)

My mother seemed to see the options as a progression: first you are a tomboy, and then (at puberty) you become a vamp. And after that, somehow you are both? I’m not quite sure of the particulars.

That does seem to be the route my mother took. And my sister took it. Somewhat luckily for my sister, my father was able to dote on a tomboy–vamp, as the “apple of his eye”.

I was . . . sort of a tomboy, I guess. Because that was allowed. I did like climbing trees. I liked bugs and snakes. I liked rocks. I loved getting dirty. I wasn’t squeamish. My best friend was a boy; I didn’t understand girls at all. I was very independent.

But my family of origin was very . . . binary. I’m the oldest so it always seemed to me that whatever I was should set the standard (if we had to have standards, which I didn’t think we should), but somehow . . . I wasn’t the right kind of tomboy. My (younger) sister was, therefore, she set the standard. And then I somehow became “a paler, less interesting” version of my sister. Even though . . . we’re not actually similar . . . at all.

She was allowed to be the pretty one — and there can only be one of everything — so I had to be the smart one, as the sucky consolation prize. No one in my family actually valued intelligence, or thoughtfulness. (Not kindness either.)

We were supposed to be . . . BOLD and expressive and adventurous . . . but only in socially-approved ways.

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One of my deepest darkest secrets? I really love pink. I really love bunnies. And baby animals. I want to wear ribbons or flowers in my hair. I love wearing skirts that twirl!

I yearn to be . . . sweet and tender and . . . lovable. I want to be . . . a GIRL.

Amelia and Hibby are girls.

Hannah . . . doesn’t think of herself as a girl. Girls are stupid and worthless.

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