Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Led by my emotions

I guess some people are built to feel things more poignantly - the knife of heartache cuts deeper, the rushing streams of passion run stronger. The highs and lows of life are adorned with vivid sensory accompaniment.  Truth be told, I've always been an emotional person and never held back tears. Yet it seems like this year my eyes have wept oceans of salty sadness - sometimes for a reason, just as often for none that I can discern.

Transgender woman, how have your emotions changed?
For the first time in my life I have cried so furiously that I could not breathe. I remember each texture as I lay curled on my bed hyperventilating from overwhelming sadness. I remember the wash of no-longer-warm water cooling against my skin in the bath, as I wailed with hopeless anguish contemplating a bitter future.

Again, and again, and again the tears have come. Bidden and unbidden. I feel my mind trapped in a cage of emotions. Even as I see myself hurtling towards an irrational action, there is nothing I can do to stop it - the emotions inside of me must be heard, they must play out. So I say things out of hurt, or anger, or grief. I try to rein in myself and act with thoughtful aplomb. When I am centered, and strong this works. But more often it fails to break through, live a wave desperately crashing against the cliff side only to be repelled by an immovable force.

Am I more emotional after transition?

This is a question I've been asking myself for a while now. My past fades into dim memory, but I feel almost certain that I held the reigns of my actions more tightly in the before. Is it the hormones? I remember being joyful earlier in my transition, but perhaps my joy held an equal sway over me. So it is merely the ebb and flow of my inner tides, and not a more emotional self coming through.

Perhaps it is the trauma of my many surgeries that have put me more in touch with the world. They gave me an empathy for those experiencing pain, and a keener ear to hear the drumbeat of my own. I'll be the first to admit that I still feel the aftershock of the surgeries.

It is late tonight, and I feel drained, but I am eager to hear your perspective. How did your emotional state change after you transitioned?


  1. Transition is such an emotional place, in itself, that it's been hard to say. The highs have been high and the lows (recovery from surgery for me) have been low. Things are settling down, and I feel rather more centered now; and more centered in my heart, specifically. Is that more emotional? Maybe; I suspect I cry and stop crying more swiftly than I did before. I don't get as carried away by self destructive fantasies when things are hard. There's also, for sure, a calmness in the heart, as well. I connect more quickly and deeply with people, with less fear and protective armor... I won't watch nasty violent movies anymore. Hmm - I do think that there's a truth that's based on feelings, quite apart from "rational, empirical" truth. So much of this is related as much to giving myself "permission" to be and feel things differently... I guess I want to discuss this again with you in about 5 years. As I said at the start, transition is such a big time in and of itself, it'll be good to see this all sort itself out over time.

  2. Over that last four years, thought they have been hard ones and not due to my transition either, I have found that watching, reading or hearing something can stir up an emotional response in me far more quickly than it ever did before. And it doesn't have to be something sad, it could be something happy or romantic, or it could be just the way it hits me.