When My Self Abnegation Died and My Exuberant Joy was Born
Transitioning from submissive little woman to out bisexual feminist
It is stating the obvious to say each person changes over the course of their life. There are big changes and small changes, dramatic life-altering events, some for the better, some for the worse. We adjust. We adapt. Sometimes we grow and gain the strength to expand our horizons or sometimes we shrink and curl up and withdraw into smaller, safer spaces. Whatever the particulars, who you are today is not quite who you were a couple years ago, certainly not who you were a couple decades ago, and absolutely not who you were in childhood. Perhaps one way to think of this is that each of us lives a life that is a continuous string of “deaths” followed by “rebirths.”
However, I think that may be too trite a thing to say, too “Hallmark card.” We are also creatures of our environment and the people around us who have influence — even control — over us. Sometimes we have been brainwashed, and changing becomes a matter not of our natural evolution, growth and development, but rather an active struggle to fight to free ourselves from forces which have contained us, controlled us, indoctrinated us, held us down unbeknownst to us, and blinded us from seeing and embracing our own true potential and power.
The difference between who I was half a life ago — that woman born in 1968 and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah — and who I am now, in my early 50s, is the difference between someone who was a sleepwalker in a brainwashed trance versus a wide awake and joyous woman who feels more energized and alive and infused with a sense of purpose than I ever did before.
This transition was no mere Hallmark card event. This was the death of the meek woman in me who had been indoctrinated into tolerance for a patriarchal order. I say tolerance, not acceptance. One can come to tolerate unacceptable things. That is the bedrock on which all indoctrination is built, isn’t it? You tolerate things you really shouldn’t because, well, that is just the way it is, right? You recognize a hint of unfairness, a touch of injustice, and there are many things that you feel a bit irritating, but you tolerate it.