"It was fear of myself that made me odd" - how discovering myself as omnigender & fluid freed me
"It was fear of myself that made me odd." That’s the title of one of my favorite Alexisonfire songs that got me through the summer of 2007, but we’ll save that story for another time. For now I’ve chosen that title as it sums up perfectly how I feel when I look back on how “mentally ill” I was for the majority of my life.
I feel so clear headed and in my body now, I can’t help but wonder if all my “mental illnesses” were actually just symptoms of me misunderstanding myself and fearing who I be.
I wonder if we were all born with parts of us that the society/world we entered into presented the illusion that was “bad” or “wrong” and so we’ve all hidden them and that’s what causes our suffering, but I must admit, I’m only wondering that because I believe that’s what happened to me and I'm apparently only just starting to grasp that everyone's experience is different from me. I guess that's a trait 5 year olds learn...never too late for this soon-to-be-37 year old.
To me, it feels simultaneously like unlocking my gender is the capstone to 9 years worth of deep inner work while also being kindergarten to an entirely new class.
Here's what I'm coming to understand about this human I'm experiencing life as: I was born a being that is omnigender and fluid (particularly enjoy spending time feeling what I've discovered is coined: "Angeligender") , queer, on the spectrum, sensitive, intense, neurodivergent in many ways, and generally confused about what the world is/was. I was always trying to copy “humans” and figure out how they did it - how they knew what was “cool” and what was “not cool.” And how somehow all the choices I thought to make seemed to fall in the second camp, even though it all seemed to arbitrary to me. At least when I'd copy cats or trees, I'd feel like I fit in.
Maybe that’s why I’ve been hunting the feeling of “cool” all my life.
Maybe (she says with a cheeky grin), I was born so super cool my timeline couldn’t even handle me!
That’s how I feel today.
It was safe for me to play the role of female straight girl who seems to have their act together because I “could do it.” Even though it sucked and I hated it. (But also, from this new perspective, I secretly loved the struggle and pain…there’s something so satiating about getting to have had that experience now that I'm on the other end of it)
I just thought that was life. Shitty, scary, cold, uncaring, terrifying, better for everyone else. I wrote my first suicide letter at age 10 - the same year I had terrible anxiety that would keep me up all night that I might grow a penis overnight and be “found out.”
You can laugh at that. I do.
Only back then, I had hidden the fear of being "found out," from myself even. I didn't know what it meant because there were no role models of beings like me. I just knew something about me was "wrong" and "off" and "shameful" and needed to be hidden even though I was raised in the most loving household. Who I am was just too outside the examples I was given of what humans are to believe what I was was "right" let alone even just "okay."
But since discovering the outside world as a literal mirror to my inner world these past 9 years, everything changed for me.
I realized, it really was fear of myself that made me odd. That gave me pain. It was all me.
I started to know myself as every pronoun in a way that didn’t make sense logically but felt comforting and soothing.
I started to realize the real thing I’ve been attracted to all along is the energy a person brings to me. Which is why I had trouble pinpointing specific “type” or “gender” to be attracted to. Maybe there is a specific physical body I like, I’m definitely open to that, but so far it seems to be just energy (...okay, okay, and sharp canines) that is the through-line.
But I didn’t understand pride or why people felt like they needed to “come out.” I've felt for at least 6 years I could love any human and that gender meant nothing to me. At all. I felt no pride for any of it. I felt like I was just a chooser and all of it was arbitrary.
However, post-near-death-experience several months ago that I still need to write about, I knew there was more going on. And I knew I needed to explore it.
So, I did what any weirdo who needs to work things out while performing does, I rented a stage at the Hooker-Dunham theater in Brattleboro to work out all sorts of things - like my gender identity - in a new monthly show. I started this strange variety comedy talk show titled Free Satan, inspired by how I view myself as everything, including satan (my own inner demon). Therefor if I can just free that part of me instead of letting it control me from within while I pretend to “ignore it,” I feel so much freer and happier. So I wanted to create comedy that gives others that feeling too.
My first episode of the show was during pride month. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to address the topic of Pride in the show, even though I knew there was something there for me, but when my friend showed me a picture of herself as “prideasaurus” (see above), I got this strong feeling that I just needed to have a “coming out” talk to this dinosaur on stage.
Not because I felt pride though. The original reason was that I had a feeling there was no way I was alone in feeling what I was feeling (whatever it was) and I hadn’t seen anyone ever talk about it so my intentions were to be of service to others…
But, it was the audience that was in full service to me.
For, thanks to the absurdity of that night, I finally have true PRIDE. I get it now. And I have a feeling it’s only going to get better!
The way I had planned the “coming out talk” on the show, was to let different people within me (just the main ones, not all of them - idk if everyone feels like they’re made up of many, but I’ve met myself as many bodies in my imagination and they’ve played real roles in who I am) come out and share their gender identity and sexual orientation.
As I sat there on the stage, introducing a few aspects of my identity, I was simultaneously hovering over myself looking down with a bird's eye view at all the separation I’ve made. I could see my physical human talking (and looking *Awesome* btw, look at her in the pic below), but I could also see all these fragmented parts of me that I was introducing and felt this massive irony that as I sat on that stage calling myself a “chooser” of my identity, that I was choosing to be so SPLIT!
I didn’t know what to do about it, but as I know now, that part that doesn’t know doesn’t matter nor does it affect me. I just relaxed and trusted our grander self to take care of me. To do whatever necessary to help me see more clearly.
And over the course of the next few days, I started clicking together like a Transformer. As if all those parts of me were just building blocks, making some new Voltron-like being: the REAL Marisa.
The one I’ve just come home to.
And the best part? I can feel there's a further in terms of entering my body and this experience even more, but it already feels so amazing that I'm in no rush and simply eagerly awaiting the unfolding.
For after that experience on the stage, I was reflecting on how when I introduced the part of me I had been calling Malcolm (who I perceived at the time of the show as the primary man within me, who I named after my Hebrew name Malca Leah) all I did was show “his face.” I didn’t think I could have him speak on stage because I thought he was too buried. But when I got home and looked in the mirror, he was looking back at me laughing going, “you might as well have called me Malca Leah instead of Malcolm. That’s just your perception of what I am honey, but I am you. I’ve been the main Marisa all along."
He told me later: "It’s the woman in you that’s more masculine that you’ve been meeting, you gotta let her out now, not me. I've been able to play in this body a lot freer than she has.”
And I get, that might sound confusing to someone else. But if it does, imagine if you were born feeling how you feel into a world that feels the way I do and makes sense of the world through omnigender and fluidity instead of just one that never changes. You would’ve been lost too!
This realization that I *am* Malcolm, he is Marisa, he’s been me all along, there is no separation - that realization caused me to start sinking more deeply into my body. The feeling of being a man looking out the eyes of this female body makes me feel so alive. So true to who I am. And also, I still feel like a woman, and like much, much more that I don't mind keeping to myself for now. It’s all one. I don’t have to squeeze any parts of me out. They all fit together perfectly!
I am my own divine masculine and divine feminine and so much more - and it’s not only all okay, but it’s so fucking beautiful! How alive do I feel to own this? How much better can life be if I keep accepting myself this way?
I’m so sorry I pushed myself out, but I’m so happy to be here now it doesn’t even matter. None of my previous pain matters any more!! Genuinely, it feels so far behind me now, I feel freer than I've ever known.
You can learn more about that in this song I'm writing here:
I’ll be honest, I don’t know what this means, logically, but I do know my work has been letting go of the illusion of “logic” and listening to what *feels* good and right to me personally moment by moment, which is forever shifting and changing in delicious ways.
Now, can I say that the brainwashing of growing up in a society that basically tells you (and I’m paraphrasing, but we all know I’m right and that it’s hilarious in the darkest way) “women are equal to men, but men are the real humans and women are not,” doesn’t have anything to do with this? Nope. Because yes, maybe I’m just connecting to my “real” self and I’m associating that “real self” with male due to brainwashing. Who fucking knows.
BUT, I will say this,
and this is what matters to me more than anything:
I now have context to all my decades of pain. Hiding SO MUCH of who I am (gender, sexual orientation, neurodivergence) and being in constant fear of being “found out,” was playing so deeply in the background I couldn’t even see it. No matter how hard I looked.
(More about that coming through comedy in the next episode of Free Satan 7/27)
Haha every time I looked in the closet I found something new and surprising, but for so super long this is what I was finding: “Wow, I really respect and admire trans and queer people. Wish I could be like them. Wish I could love anyone too. Too bad I’m only a straight woman.”
As if we’re not the things we wish to be! LOL
But now that I have accepted this IN my physical body and not just as some lofty philosophical concept I agree with, it’s like it released everything else I thought was in my way.
Getting to the bottom of: “oh, I’m just different, this is how I operate best and feel best and it’s okay and I can own it now,” getting to the bottom of that makes me feel like I literally LOST an entire human made out of fear and suffering. She’s gone.
Which, by the way, I’m still settling into how I wish to be called. I’m not used to being called “he” because so far in this timeline I haven’t known “he’s” like me.
But this is the kind of “he” I am.
Which means there’s other “he’s” like me!
It doesn’t change anything, except that my internal experience is completely different and I no longer can tolerate doing what doesn’t feel best to me (or at least aiming to do what feels better than that which I’ve been expected to do all along).
There’s so much more about this to unravel. And I suspect and hope that my life is about to get more fun, wild and exciting for me. I feel so lit up from the inside out, I want to bite into the Sun.
And it makes me wonder: if I had just been allowed to be the little sensitive weirdo who sees themself as a boy in a girls body who is also a girl, and much much more, and nothing all at once, who is able to love anyone who’s energy calls them to them, and who relates just as much to trees, and grass, and rocks, and dirt and cats and dogs, as they do humans, would I have ever been diagnosed bipolar 1, along with all the myriad of other labels I was given?
What if my decades of anxiety and depression were just because I was rejecting the most very basic parts of me? What if the symptoms of ADHD I was told I have is just an ability to follow energy flows and intuitive guidance? What if my spectrum-y traits I’ve been hiding - which are mostly physical, as it turns out I was doing a bad job at hiding the social ones - where I have to shake my body and do things that appear like twitching, what if that’s just me moving energy?
I’ve been holding back those - now involuntary - movements SO LONG that I was clenching all my muscles in all my body to prevent it from happening, even when relaxing on the couch. My husband (who has been a complete angel supporting me so deeply in my journey) pointed out years ago I would sit with my legs straight out of the couch and feet totally flexed. I was all balled up and tense trying to keep my body from looking “abnormal,” and it was causing physical distress. I’m SO much happier stimming, rocking and letting energy flow through me as I appear to “spaz.”
And what if my sensitivity was just a gift, to help me keep on a specific awesome path I’d like to take?
What if all things I thought I was “wrong” for as a small child, are actually the things that are super powers and gifts to me now as an adult?
That’s how it feels.
Okay, so back to pronouns and labels. Honestly, I’ve been given too many labels at this point to care about one more, BUT, these new labels (trans, queer, neurodivergent) come with so much empowerment compared to any labels before. Now that I’m truly owning what I am, I feel so free and alive and can’t go back to hiding.
I know I need to tell everyone about this, now that my body feels too good to keep it secret any more. But at the same time, I feel such little importance about announcing it because I feel now like I’m lining up with the me that has always known. Like there’s nothing to force or prove any more.
I am not used to the pronoun he, and I don’t even know if I *need* to experiment with it, but I know it’s what I am. I know I chose a female form because the guy I am likes to be that best.
You can still call me “She” or “they” or whatever you please, just know, I might be too not used to being called “he” to know you’re referring to me.
I may eventually just land on “they,” but I like being everything. I feel so free. Don’t stress about getting pronouns wrong with me. I truly don’t care. I just care about being honest *with myself* about what I am, which is ever evolving.
So don’t be surprised if I start looking a little “different.” I’ve let myself play the role of brainwashed girl who was just trying to look good for everyone based on societies norms and expectations (which is also a fun game for me), but now that I’m IN ME, I just have to be true to whatever I like and that may look different sometimes, and it may not. I have a feeling that in the future this message will be redundant as so many will feel and express similar thoughts/feelings.
I truly believe this is just evolution. We’ve been collectively wanting change - more unity, more peace, more freedom for self expression - and so we’ve manifested humans born into bodies that can do just that (autistic, queer, neurodivergent in general, nonbinary, etc). And I’m one of them. You’re welcome. I’m glad to be here.