Transness.org

Exploring Gender Identity

Pain and Suffering

on August 13, 2012

The road is what you make it; however anyone can navigate a straight and level path.  Perhaps the journey is not meant to be easy, but instead to be challenging, eventful, and fulfilling.  Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

This is an important distinction which I wish to make clear.  Suffering is optional!  My definition of suffering is avoidable pain.  The example that best explains it is a pebble which has gotten into your shoe.  It is large enough to cause a blister and perhaps eventually break the skin, whether you stop and remove the pebble or not is up to you.  Leaving it in all day is suffering.  With this said let us now consider muddier examples.

Say you were born with a birth defect like a cleft lip or missing fingers.  The pain is indirect now and so the suffering is harder to avoid.  Or say the defect is more profound such as Down’s syndrome.  In these situations the pain is often more for the family than it is for the individual.  The opportunity to grow extends to all those around this person.  From my perspective it is a larger gift, if used in this way.  The point here is each challenge is an opportunity to share Love (God’s Unconditional Love).

Now let us consider gender dysphoria or transgender/transsexual.  The pain from this condition is often mental/psychological and so it is even further removed and harder to avoid.  It is possible to go your entire life avoiding this gender confrontation, and some do this very thing.  However now a days the treatment of hormones and surgery have become available to remove the physical distress this condition offers up.  Since this is really a mental/psychological condition do the physical changes remove the pain or simply remove the obstacles associated with it?  The latter would be my answer and so any treatment that does not include psychological therapies is useless in my opinion.  Perhaps the psychological therapy is all that is really needed!

After many years of walking this road of gender dysphoria I have concluded the real message here is about Love and acceptance of the self.  If you cannot accept yourself as you were born then accepting the body after surgery is simply another delusion.  With this in mind, to run off and have surgery early on is simply perpetuating the problem instead of healing it!  At some point surgery is a viable option, but not till and unless the individual is able to comfortably express love for the self.  Perhaps this is the gift a therapist can most assist the individual with!  The road to self-love is often a long one, however if gender dysphoria or any dysphoria for that matter is being experienced this is a sign, a call for help if you will.

When I first entered therapy for gender dysphoria I was told only about 5% of people successfully transition from man to woman or vice versa.  This is because many are comfortable somewhere in between, so this is not to say they are unsuccessful, but simply they did not realize where balance would be achieved or that the journey was really about learning to love the self!

🙂  Sequoia Elisabeth

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