Friday, October 21, 2005

What it is like

Yesterday, I addressed answering questions. Believe it or not, this came from an e-mail. Every sort of transgendered site I've seen asks the questions the writer asked me and I answered them as best as I could, although honestly I'm still quite confused on the whole thing myself.

When I was in the process of leaving the Mormons, I learned of a phrase called cognitive dissonance. In fact, if you look up any site about people leaving religions you'll often find this phrase used. Cognitive dissonance merely means you're having trouble reconciling two contradictory ideas. As a psychological theory it is not totally accepted, but is useful in understanding the process.

Unless you've had feelings of gender confusion, you might not understand the discomfort or pain that comes with it. Most of us suffer from cognitive dissonance related to it, too. I don't know how many of us are religious, but I've heard it said that spirituality is higher among transgendered people. Whether this is bragging to make people feel better or legitimate I cannot say. I've only ever seen it on a web site once.

So, we're faced with the issue of how to reconcile two pieces of contradictory facts, similar to the process I went through when leaving the Mormon church. That came down to a black-and-white decision of logic, but when it comes to male or female I cannot separate emotion out of it at all. My mind won't accept the idea that my body is male, and therefore, my mind should be as well. So, I'm left with cognitive dissonance that will remain for some time as they are to me, two irreconcilable ideas.

Normally, rational thinking and logic helps me resolve these issues, but this is one that stubbornly refuses to let itself be submitted to any sort of logic process. At times it's annoying and I wish I could tame it, but this conflict is part of who I am and likely will not be resolved for some time.

I hope that gives you some insight into what this whole thing is like for me. The mold my spirit fit into was simply the wrong shape – or that's how I feel about it most of the time now.


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