Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Friendships

I blogged yesterday on my desire to share the special intimate friendship that is unique to women. Here, I'd like to extend that to thoughts about friendship in general.

It seems to me that there is nothing unique to women in having this form of relationship unique to them. I see that men sometimes form a special bond, which takes a different character completely, yet is just as unique and precious. I see it between men and women, lovers, where a special dynamic of the two sexes blends, often, to another unique form of friendship. I see it among my trans friends, where a connection built on the common experience of living in a physical incongruity bonds us instantly in shared experience.

There are many species of friendships. Mother and son. Mother and daughter. Father and son, father and daughter, grandparents, whoever – the common experiences, and disparate characteristics of age, hormones, body, soul, blend into different types, each unique and precious.

I never formed that male bond with another man, though I've witnessed others who have. Sure, I had friends, but not that special male-to-male bond. It was impossible for me to form such a friendship, because to do so, I would have to be someone other than who I am. You cannot have that bond without honesty, and I could not be honest and still develop it.

Not so the female/female bond. I can be completely myself and embrace and experience that friendship, and in fact, I have always desired this friendship intensely. That part is in my power. The part where my female friend perceives me as female, and so returns that bond and completes the circle, is up to her.

It may be this aspect of intimacy that creates so much pain for transpeople when they attempt to live in the roles assigned to them at birth. Humans are gregarious animals. Our social needs are intense, and vitally important. One of the cruelest punishments, or tortures, is solitary confinement. People locked alone without human contact for too long often go insane.

Similarly, people who do not expose who they really are to those around them experience some degree of isolation. This isolation will remain no matter how intimate they might be with someone, because the unique, special form of relationship that is natural to them in regards to that person can never be developed. Gender is far more important to the human psyche than sex. Gender is a vital part of every human relationship. Sex is only important in a few.

I am blessed with a number of these special bonds. And thanks to my transition, I am no longer isolated. I am finally blessed with the one that has been missing for my entire life.

6 comments:

aj said...

wow

seda

you give me so much hope

thanks for being open and writing your stuff

anne said...

Hey girlie,

I hope I'm always your friend! Girlfriends are the best, but a friend who is also a fantasy writer--well, that's too cool.

I also think you're more interesting than had you been born female. You have a unique perspective that you should honor and not just mourn what you wanted to be. It's cool what you are, be there. But I'm not good with boring people!

I still owe you a b-day brew, dear!

hugs
me

David Carrel said...

"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." -Proverbs

Friends mean the world to me and it would be really hard to survive without them. I didn't have any close ones growing up, but praise the Lord, I did during and since college.

Great post Seda!

Seda said...

AJ - thanks!

Anne - I hope you're always my friend, too!

However, we want what we want. I'm not about to deny that, anymore. I think it's good to mourn the opportunities I've lost by denying it, just as I celebrate that you have been one who has given me what I want! Thank you.

David - Thanks!

The Hangar Queen said...

I don't think we're any different from most people for wondering what might have been.
Most people will ask a 'What if?" question in their life.
The trick is knowing that your chosen path is truly the right one for you.That's where you and I have an advantage.Our chosen path is hard,difficult and often lonely.We're often bamboozled by it's twists and turns but we KNOW it's the right one for us.Even if that certainty only comes from the sure knowledge that the other path is the wrong one.
The right path is everything and sometimes friendships have to be sacrificed to it.It's a cruel hardship when that happens but it almost invariably their choice.

Seda said...

You nailed it, HQ. When I consider things like that, I'm actually grateful to be trans. Hell, it is what it is and I am what I am. And I like who I am. But, like you say, getting here wasn't really that easy.

There's something about looking deeply into the face of death that changes your life. Even when your physical health is safe, and you only know that death will come soon by your own hand if you don't change something fundamental.

Dramatic? Fuck it. It's real.

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our
Beloved's.
~Hafiz