Thursday, October 21, 2004

Why my life has been so screwed up in so many ways . . .

I've been fighting this insane battle with the rest of the world for years, and while at first I thought it was me, I've recently come to the realization it actually IS in many ways the rest of the world.

Now before you go saying to yourself "This broad MUST be nuts!" hear me out! First of all, if you've found this blog, you've already been to my website and know that yes, I'm a woman through and through I just happen to have an interesting birth defect. My birth defect? I look, for the moment at least like a dude, which in the right hands could be a great gift. Mine unfortunately are just NOT the right hands!

The right hands? Well some women have the ability to embrace the masculine side of life, and a woman, who looks like a man, could be an avatar for great changes in the world we live in. A woman like that could get involved with womans issues and make for a commanding presence, be respected and treated like an "equal" in the "old boys club" and be a force for positive change.

My hands? Well try as I may, I cannot seem to find enough "masculine" energy to even hide the fact that I'm a woman. So, while I have a "male" exterior I'm told I still read as female in many important ways. Really the hardest part is communications with men. My entire life has been one failure after another when it comes to talking with men. Worse yet, I know enough to know what I'm doing wrong, I'm trying to talk WITH men and they don't do that.

One of the biggest differences between men and women is the way we communicate. Women talk WITH other women, share and exchange thoughts, feelings and ideas in a fluid, very temporal fashion. We spend the time to listen and be heard, and it makes for a much smoother more productive exchange. Men on the other hand TALK AT each other, even the best of friends make it more of a competition, than an exchange and quite honestly in general they are terrible listeners! Yes there are exceptions, but by and large their communications style is totally different than ours.

So, when men and women are speaking, certain changes happen on both sides of the conversation to try and meet halfway or at least in an ideal world that's what happens. We as women are experts in compromise, after all from an early age we are immersed in a male dominated world and have to learn certain suvival skills like this to protect ourselves. Because people assume they know me when they see me, simply put a man, they make certain assumptions and communicate accordingly.

The problem is no matter how hard I've tried, and Goddess knows I've tried, I don't have many of the communications skills for dealing with men, that my sisters do. When I was young you are what your cover says you are and are expected to deal with the world in like fashion. Everyone thought I was a boy, after all, one look and there was no question about it. Today there is a bit more tolerance and flexibility for TransYouth and some even manage to start a positive change toward "wholeness" before puberty! I had to adapt best I could and try to fit into a world that was (and is) as alien to me as it can possibly be.

When I say alien, it is far worse than simply needing to learn a new language, which it is all of that as well. However with the new language comes a whole different style and means of communications, and with no-one to help me make sense of it, I've never really gotten it. Making matters worse, and abusive father, who for the life of him could not get me to do anything right and hard as he tried to MAKE me understand his point he couldn't. That of course gave me less and less reason to try and make the situation work, and for the last ten years we were together there were two armed camps. He couldn't understand why his "son" was such a difficult, mindless idiot, never able to grasp the simplest of things or do what HE wanted the WAY HE wanted it to be done. I on saw a brilliant MAN with NO social skills or even socially redeeming values and could not grasp what he was shouting about all the time. Time and again I tried to talk WITH him and find out what was bothering him, and see where we could each give a bit of ground and meet somewhere in the middle. Never worked!

Making matters still worse was the defensive position I'd taken early on when I realized I was in an alien world. I'd been exposed to Star Trek and largeish doses of science fiction and romance novels growing up. Knowning that I was "expected" to be a man, I took material from sources I knew to fashion a "shell" with which I could then filter the alien world around me. Take the best and brightest of Starfleet, equal doses of Jamie Somers/The Bionic Woman, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, Julie Barnes/The MOD SQUAD, Judy Collins, Joan Biaez, Crystal Gale and many others, throw them into a blender with extra doses of Spock of Vulcan and out came the creature I was to be for 34 years of my life.

To the outside world I seemed too much like Spock, with large amounts of Kirk, Scotty and McCoy thrown in. Through this shell I protected myself and my tender heart from the ravages of Male savages, chief amoung them my father who was about as far to the right side of the gender line as I am to the left. He was pure alpha male, worse yet a skull banging rocket scientist, and everything was clipped near military style communications with the assumption that his word was law and would be carried out by his second in command (me) without question instantly. When I say rocket scientist, I mean that quite litterally, he designed and built some of the early guidance equipment Nasa used. Military style, well he WAS a retired Army Signal Corp Officer, and treated me as part of the chain of command.

How much did I seem like Spock at this point? "Arguments" with my father almost ALWAYS involved being sent to my room for being such a problem child. I had the pure GAUL, the unbeleivable NERVE to stand motionless with no visible display of emotion whatsoever and argue point by point everything he said in that cool, remote, detached Vulcan calm that I now realized fairly SCREAMED "You are an emotional savage and I'm so much better than you can ever be." Invariably HE would come up with a reason to strike me in punishment, that belt would come out and he'd take to me like the emotional cripple he was responding to his buttons being pushed. I'd only make matters worse with an attitude that in all my silence did even more damage, taking each blow with a silent "Thank you SIR, may I have another!" and not flinching in the slightest. Each blow fanned his rage and pain, because I wouldn't give him the satisfaction of a tear, whimper or emotion of any kind.

Years later a woman to whom I owe SO MUCH, took me aside and said; "Look I cannot be spending my time with a rock. You have NO body language, no expressions, nothing to indicate your alive let alone part of a conversation and I refuse to spend so much time with Spock or Data. You are going to have to figure out how to have some body language or I'm going to have to find a new boyfriend. Hell I cannot even tell you are breathing by looking at you, that just ain't right!!!" Which of course made me start dismantling more of my shell and letting the world near me in maesured doses. The ironic part of this is while I was Dating Pat, I was also hanging out with a very dear friend with whom I could relax and just be me, all the sheilding "The Shell" came down around Pam, but I had a hard time doing it with Pat. I managed something of a compromise and things got better until Pat decided she wanted to be able to see other people too.

Regrettably pulling down the shell was only half a solution, a stop gap measure at best, and lacking "proper" male communications skills my life and career history became a series of missed opportunites and blown chances becasue I lack the ability [to deal with men] most women would have learned at an early age. Making matters worse, MEN, seeing a "MAN" would deal with me as such, leaving me further behind the ball and lacking the requisite communications "skills" made me seem a trouble maker and malcontent. Didn't matter how much I knew, how much I could do, how well I could do it, THEY couldn't talk to me and as such, they didn't want me around. Sound familiar? Sure does, over and over I'd play out the same Macabre dance with one ballon full of hot air and testosterone after another, pretty much with the same results. Didn't matter how good I was at my job, I was "trouble" and let go or abused into quitting. Mind you there were a sizable number of positions I had where I worked with, and communicated WITH women, and never had these kinds of problems.

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