My healing journey has taken me back to my younger self, to ask for wisdom. To see what I was like, to see how I’ve distanced from aspects of myself that I want to reunite again. To remember and to ask new questions.
I loved being alone.
I loved to be in nature.
I loved to create and be in imaginary worlds.
I loved the stars.
I loved walks.
I loved to be reflective, to listen to my mind’s inner workings.
I was shy.
I’m returning to this wisdom. Through returning, I keep learning to access this intuitive wisdom, my empathic nature.
This fundamental draw towards friendship with humans, with the earth, with animals speaks to my nature—and one that I pushed aside for so long for the sake of productivity.
I’m returning because what I do stems from who I am.
And I’m returning to speak about gender.
I know that gender has always felt ambiguous to me.
Not ambiguous like it doesn’t matter.
More like, whenever a situation presented itself as “masculine” or “feminine” I felt like I needed to shift a part of myself to “fit in.”
I didn’t really have language for this though. I’ve never been into hair, make-up and dressing up. EVER.
It wasn’t even like I wanted to care that much about it though. I just didn’t.
I felt really uncomfortable because the only option it seemed like when I didn’t care about the things many women care about is that I was repressed.
And because I grew up in a very conservative Christian environment, it seemed like the only healing path sounded like this:
“You know, it’s really okay to bring attention to yourself. You should make yourself stand out. You deserve it.”
I liked sports. Played sports. Followed sports. I had several guy friends and yet I was overcompensating in this “masculine energy” (at least that’s how a lot of people refer to it.) because that’s how I learned to be recognized and rewarded.
Fight for power.
I never felt like I was in the wrong body. I never wanted to be a boy. Over time I realized I needed to let go of needing to overemphasize my masculine energy just to be seen.
Interacting in this unbalanced way didn’t serve me well. It didn’t allow me to know myself, know others, let go, receive.
In the holistic health world–this journey could be called balancing the masculine and feminine energy.
I needed this journey. I needed to know how much “feminine energy” I hold in my body. My empathy, my intuition, the way I nurture and cultivate myself and communities.
These energies are strong within me. But simply the divide doesn’t make sense to me.
I don’t feel masculine or feminine. I don’t feel like I belong to either gender. I don’t feel like these energies are separate and in need of “balancing.”
That’s known as agender–an identity in the non-binary spectrum.
As I reflect on how this has functioned throughout my life, the common thread has been my natural inclination for minimalism.
My aesthetic is simple & low maintenance (hair, clothing, make-up, jewelry). Things for me must be functional–and for me this is not a statement of repression.
But as a way to tread lightly on the earth, while not ignoring responsibility or personal power.
This way of being does amplify my spiritual/connection energy and it’s not saying the earth and the body are bad or meaningless.
It’s simply just a way I move through the world with greater connection, in love with myself and others, the Divine and the Earth.
The greatest movement towards understanding my gender occurred at the height of my illness when I was simplifying my lifestyle.
When my energy was so limited that I knew that to heal I would do less, eat less kinds of food, work less, see people less.
I knew in my body that less could be revolutionary.
And this movement wasn’t a commitment to minimalism.
It was necessary for my survival first.
Then my thriving.
Then my acceptance of myself.
So I keep on returning to my younger self for wisdom.
This kid who had a strong connection with nature, with kids, with older people, with the stars.
This kid who had strong, aggressive energy who loved to run, to be outside. This kid who both absolutely loved to win, and sometimes didn’t want to compete at all.
This kid who went through phases of dress up and dolls and wearing dresses non-stop because I loved them. This kid who also became really content with spandex, sweatshirts and sweatpants, and not as a way to hide.
This kid who spent summers building forts, who wrote letters to everyone, who fell asleep with books all around me in bed.
This kid who accepted this role of just trying to please. Who absorbed a lot of the energy of scarcity, even while living amongst privilege.
There was a scarcity of connection, of deep relational exchange in my family of origin.
And yet I had deep relationships with friends, with nature and I internalized that my depth was something to fear.
I realized that there were gender rules and that i didn’t really fit. So tomboy just worked for awhile. It helped me to make sense of myself.
But in order to make this “work” I suppressed a lot of my “feminine” energy.
Through oppressive church teachings about what it meant to be a “woman” I lost a huge part of myself.
I tried to be a tomboy, to be smart & to be good.
And I stayed in this place for a long time.
Just trying to please and do what was expected of me. I didn’t leave a lot of room for wonder or exploration anymore.
I was overwhelmed with this feeling of being different and being sick.
But being sick made me look at myself. And I learned to honor myself, to accept what I could not control and saw that many of the things I repressed in myself were keeping me sick.
It was from my own physical healing, where emotional and spiritual healing also occured (of course!)
Curiosity, life & wonder returned.
With that came questions about gender & sexuality–and then wonderings, and then affirmations.
Alyssa (she/her and they/them)