About bears and pears: maggie in little boxesland
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
Now, I will save you the rest of the lyrics of this classic Malvina Reynolds song for the next karaoke night. But it was too good an introduction to the theme of this blog not to use it. I want to talk boxes.
Now, it is part of the human condition to think in boxes and categories. Imagine being a caveman or cavewoman running into a bunch of sassy pears; that's an invitation to go for it and get covered in pear juice. Running into a bunch of sassy bears; that's an invitation to run for it. So it's a good thing to know the difference between the two, hence our brain categorizes everything we see/hear or feel in the boxes safe/dangerous/sweet/poisonous et cetera, et cetera.
But thinking in boxes to rigidly can be a risky thing in itself. For example, the neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky had to find out that in the Finnish language there is no difference between the sounds of the letters b and p in a rather peculiar way. He was seeking advice, for reasons not to be digressed upon, on how to perform testicular biopsies on baboons. The expert in the field was a professor of Finnish descent, and after walking him through every step of the process with a heavy Finnish accent he advised the young neurobiologist to practice on a bear. Now in Robert's world the sounds b and p were in a separate box, in the Finnish professors world they were not. Now imagine the havoc that could have ensued if Robert would have stayed thinking in his own boxes and instead of buying a dozen pears would end up wrestling a bear into submission to go for his balls.
But I am digressing here, this is not science direct but Erofights. If there is one world that is so full of boxes it is the wonderful world of sexuality; there is one to fit every taste. That comes in handy to establish who and what you are into and who and what you are not into. If you're into pussycats you don't want to date a dog. If you identify as a foot fetishist, a latex aficionado won't be your first choice. But on the other hand, with so many boxes around, finding the one you yourself fit in can be an arduous task.
In my first blog I related about my long journey towards accepting myself, but after completing that gargantuan task, the next one was already waiting for me, trying to describe myself, as people sooner rather than later started to ask: "so what exactly are you?"
Sooooo....I accepted that I have gender dysphoria, but also accepted my body as is. What did that make me? In the trans community I immediately received some flaming retorts for my choices: you're not real, you are a danger to our cause, you do not belong in our box. You are a sissy!
The sissies I met were also apprehensive of me though, since for me dressing up was empowering and not necessarily sexually arousing.
So I felt like being in a classic catch 22: "you belong in a lunatic asylum, but the lunatics think you're crazy."
So there I was, yearning for belonging and community. But was I a transvestite then? A tgirl? A drag queen? Genderfluid? Non-binary? Your ordinary bearded lady? Gayflexible? Bi? Pan? Sapio? Every box seemed to have its self appointed guardians, dutifully protecting the entrance from anyone slightly different. Shouting: not one of us! And that is where boxes become a negative instrument. In the words of Robert Sapolsky: when you pay to much attention to boundaries you lose the big picture, and lose sight of how similar beings or objects on both sides of the boundary are.
Now I must say that during the past few years I also met some wonderfully supportive trans people and some utterly adorable and sympathetic sissies. In the end I decided that I do not fit in a box, and I don't need to and don't want to (although I absolutely love to stay in my sensory deprivation box at home but that's another story), my box is called me, a box with the label Maggie. In that box everyone is welcomed, me especially.
Now I don't want to say that you have to think outside the box all the time; no one should be persuaded to have interactions one is not comfortable with. But it never hurts to get to know people outside of your preferred box, you might find out that despite the differences they are more similar to you than you might think.
And above all, don't let yourself be defined by boxes. You are you, you are absolutely unique, and that is just awesome.