Femininity, he said, is part of the ego. He was talking about Carl Jung the psychiatrist, and it was obvious that my psychologist had taken some of his expertise from one of the fathers of psychiatry. The point was that people have both the masculine and feminine and even though this was a few years ago that I’d had my sessions with him, it had stuck with me. What was the cut off point? I mean when you think about it where was the border where I am a male with more feminine traits than most or so much so that I am, when it comes to gender, female with a male body.
It was a bit of a get-out clause to some extent. I could just say to myself the ‘easiest way to get through the whole gender thing was to just accept that I am male with female traits’ so much so that it would affect who I am, what I like, what I wear and how I interact – but then there is always that remaining something. That little thing that says I’m not completely comfortable in my body. It’s not just about lipstick and dresses, it’s about how I feel in myself. In my own skin. That little something extra that says it’s not just about being male who is much more the female than male.
I drove to the local hospital. The local mental health unit as I had done over the last three or so years but now it was an appointment with a psychiatrist who was random as far as I wouldn’t remember who he was. It wasn’t like when I had first been attending where we would explore who I was. At least that was the case with the psychologist. Since then I had been with the gender identity clinic in London but locally they still needed to see me. To, sort of, support me but more so to tick those boxes to ensure the money spent in funding my referral to London was being well spent I suppose.
I sat in the waiting room with the receptionist who was tapping away at the keyboard and daytime television beaming out from a television hung on the wall to keep us entertained. Within a few minutes a woman had burst out from the corridor exclaiming to the receptionist ‘he’s given me the wrong medication.’ The psychiatrist followed calmly to reception. ‘He gave me someone else’s address.’ she continued, “Go on, ask him what my address is.”
‘I just asked you to confirm your address and then you called me an arse hole.’ he said calmly clarifying the situation.
The receptionist had looked at me briefly in a kind of sorrow and apology with just a short glance.
It didn’t matter that this was holding up my appointment. I felt relaxed. I felt that anything I could do to help, no matter how small, would make me feel better for it. I felt like my attendance was just a box-ticking exercise. A counter signature on the cheque that was funding my further referral for help.
After some frustration the psychiatrist asked the patient to leave the premises while asking the receptionist to call someone to ‘escort her off the premises.’ She left on her own terms.
It was sad that someone who was a patient had to be ejected from help through her own frustrations. Those frustrations that I suspected had come from the pressures of her own life and problems that were redirected to the psychiatrist. The receptionist apologised to me for the wait, “He shouldn’t be too long.”
“That’s ok – ” I said, “Let him have a coffee and take five minutes.”
“I think he’ll need something stronger.” she said.
It wasn’t long before I was in one of those three consultancy rooms that I had so many deep and meaningful discussions in the past about the depths of life, gender, relationships and the soul. It was crazy to think about some of the discussions I’d had with the psychologists in the past that were ripe for dissecting at a lecture of psychology.
I sat at the metal framed office chair next to his desk and updated him on my progress. I knew more than he did. The gender clinic in London had continued to update my GP more than him and the mental health unit and this continued to annoy them as the gatekeepers of funding. Despite the utilitarian expectation of the session we chatted. It came down to this, was I going to move on with my gender, tell people, live the role, be myself, or was I still unsure. As he said, if I wasn’t making progress then the gender clinic would just keep booking appointments and money would be spent. It wasn’t pressure to do something, but it was more a suggestion that if I wanted to do something about my gender, then I needed to do it; I needed to do it now.
It wasn’t a deep discussion but on the way home it ran around my mind, femininity or female? Did I really need to keep going with this or could I just be happy with being that certain percentage of the female side of me and not needing to be anything more whether psychical or just mentally. I remembered the beauty in the conversation I’d had with the psychologist all that time ago describing how males can have both the masculine and feminine side and I thought, for that moment, did I really need more than this. Did I really need more than I have right now?
The rain hammered down on the windscreen of the car on the way home and even thought it wasn’t that far home I had thought so much in that short journey. Doubt and fear. I felt myself reclining and reversing my the beliefs in myself. I thought back to all the progress I had made, the last six months, the last three years and how I had to believe in my own cause. The cause of progress to what I wanted in myself.
A few days later, late evening about eleven thirty, I looked at the sky and saw the stars sharp and contrasting against the darkness. It was that cold that even after stepping out of the house you knew that within a few minutes the cold would reach your bones and chill you through. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness more stars appeared and the sky became that glorious wonder of pin points where we were all made and that deepest depth of the unknown wonder that makes us realise how short our own time is and how selfishness in who we want to be is so important. It reminded me of that core feeling. That knowing that something about gender is beyond just the masculine and feminine. It’s a need. A need to be. Much like those stars, nebula and galaxies. I don’t know where it comes from and why. I just know it is.
Until next time.