Monday, April 10, 2017


If I didn't mention it, I am back in therapy.

Last week, the therapist (yes, she understands Trans issues- very well in fact) and I discussed Forgiveness.  She asked me what I saw it as- how I defined it.  The only word I could think of is "Surrender."

Yes, I know that's not good.  In fact, it's really bad.  I have never been a forgiving person at all, and I know it's a nasty character flaw.  So the therapist asked me, as a bit of homework, to try to define it better than that.

I figured to define it, I had to understand Why I can't do it.  I mean, it's easy to say "I forgive you" but it's FAR harder to actually mean it.  To let go of whatever Pain the other entity caused.  As my veteran readers know, I'm not very good at letting go of Pain- in fact, I hoard it.

Why?  That's outside of the scope of this entry.  And I have no idea in the first place.  Speaking of that, Religion is also out of the scope of this entry, so spare me the theology, please.

I've spent several days thinking about it.  Last night, I worked from 8 PM to 5 AM, and I had a lot of time to think.  And, I think I may have dug something up.

I don't Forgive- because I'm rarely Forgiven.

I'm not talking for stupid little things like accidentally spilling someone's drink or passing gas in an elevator (which, of course, I've never done.)  I'm talking the Big Ones.  Like Transitioning.  *

How do I know this?  Because people keep throwing my Sins back in my face.  Even years later in some cases.  It seems like my every misstep is recorded and ready to play back at a moment's notice- even things I didn't realize were mistakes.  It's like watching your life roll past your eyes, but only the parts where you screwed up.

"It`s not the torment of the flames
That finally see your flesh corrupted
It`s the small humiliations that your memory piles up"

And people wonder why I have Trust issues.

In any case, Forgiveness, like Trust, goes both ways.  In any case, some things are beyond forgiveness.

Of course, carrying all those grudges gets heavy.  But I don't see it as carrying a grudge- I just cut the person out of my life (if possible.)  It's much harder if the entity in question is your employer, and Yes, I have had employers who seemed to delight in cataloguing my every Sin (but not the good things I accomplished- funny that.)

Ok, so having identified the WHY of it, can't I be the bigger person?  You know- Grace and all that?  Forgive even when They don't?  I'll come back to this.

A very dear friend last week was very hurt by someone they deeply cared about from their past.  She asked my advice, and I gave it.  But it made me think- how would I have responded to that situation?  Well, knowing me, I would've been crushed for quite some time, taken it out on myself, and never spoken of it to anyone.  And I'd never have forgiven or contacted said person again.  That is NOT the advice I gave this person.  I told them how I TRY to purge it- by writing.

This person, like most people, has a far greater capacity for forgiveness than me.  Maybe that's why they are happier.

So, why not just forgive and forget?  Release the burden?  Well, that's the problem of having a sharp memory- it's VERY hard to forget.  And I have the scars to prove it.

So, this appears to be the crux of the issue- WHY can't I just do that?  Why can't I be the bigger person?  Well, maybe I'm TIRED of being the "bigger person."  Maybe I'm tired of "turning the other cheek" only to have it beaten bloody.  Maybe I'm tired of constantly being the person who "let's things go" only to be stepped on again and again.  Maybe I'm tired of being perceived as Weak.

Maybe I have drawn the line and said "NO MORE!"

Or maybe I did- years ago.  Maybe one of those many nights of quietly crying myself to sleep as a teen, I made the conscious decision NEVER to forgive and NEVER to forget while there was breath in my body.  Maybe I wanted- NEEDED to inflict the Pain back at my tormentors.  To have my Vengeance.

Sounds corny as hell, right?  Like a bad Batman plot.

Maybe that happened- but if it did, it's lost in the blur of Pain that time has become.  I remember a LOT of pain from my childhood/ teen years.  I remember the insults.  The beatings.  The loneliness.

So, it could be said, I was practicing for transition.

Going into work the other day

Wow.  I just typed all of that in a burst of like three minutes.  And I feel drained.  And I'm not going to edit it.  (Except to put an asterisk where it began.)

So, if that's the heart of the matter- that's why I said that forgiveness is "surrender."  And I'm so very very tired of surrendering.

To be Transgender is to Fight.  Every day.  For your dignity.  Your human rights that others would deny you.  For your very Life.  We Fight.  We Fight.  And we Die.

We Die. At Their hands and our own.

There is no forgiving that.

Be well.


  1. Sophie -

    From things you have said in your blog in the past, I have a few ideas about your problems which would be worthless to talk about here. Instead, I'd like to discuss what you discussed in today's post - Forgiveness.

    Something I've learned is that forgiving others (or at least, letting things slide) allows you not to be possessed by your anger at others for their misdeeds. We all are maliciously hurt by others from time to time. And there is nothing we can do about it. Because we're trans, it's easy for people who hate to point at us and say to themselves: "Hey, there's a target!" So we get hurt.

    We have a choice to either feed that anger and desire to get back at our enemies, or to forgive them. Forgiveness helps starve the anger, and allows us to stay clear headed. But this is the much harder choice, because we must accept pain rather than respond by causing others to suffer pain of their own.

    In my blog, I mentioned an incident involving a Queen Bee and a social group that a friend and I once belonged to. The Queen Bee responded in anger when she saw herself in an unflattering light (of her own projection, not of mine) in my blog. She got angry at me, especially when I mentioned in another forum (Facebook) that I would not be attending an unnamed social group anymore, as I was no longer wanted there. The Queen Bee got even angrier, posting in another forum that she was upset that I shouldn't have left the group - as if she wanted to embarrass me if I attended the meeting. By not holding any anger at her, and by not wanting to make people upset, I stopped the cycle of actions that would hurt me.

    Now, another friend also was a member of that social group, and was also attacked by the Queen Bee. But this lady couldn't let go of her anger towards the Queen Bee. So she couldn't even talk about this group after a couple of weeks.

    The difference between me and my friend is simple - I chose not to hold a grudge against the Queen Bee, and effectively forgave her. Yes, it's easy for me to forgive - I don't ever have to see these people again. And you must see many of the people who attack you on a regular basis. You have a harder road to walk in life.

    You said that others have thrown your sins back in your face after years. First, you have to forgive yourself. That's hard in itself. I hate embarrassment, and will try to cover things up rather than suffer that feeling. Once something is out in the open, it's hard to be embarrassed. So I learned to forgive myself so that I won't be so embarrassed if awkward behaviors come up. Then, I learned to forgive others, so that I short circuit the vicious circle of hate and anger.

    I'm going to assume one thing about your choice of topic for today - that incidents in your life related to pain, religion and therapy triggered thinking about forgiveness. Hopefully, you will gain the tools (from wherever they come) to deal with your pain, and to short circuit the vicious circles that cause you to suffer when uncaring people try to harm you....


  2. Oh, Sophie, your posts are always so honest (a rare commodity). I don't have any answers and I don't endure the kind of abuse you face, but I think forgiveness is so hard in today's climate. I am way too angry all the time about things our customers feel they can say and do. It is hard to forgive people who choose to be hateful and selfish. Like I said, no answers, but appreciation for your words. Hugs!

  3. Sophie, I'm going to let you in on a little secret...forgiveness has almost nothing to do with the other person.

    When someone hurts us, in the moment it's perfectly natural to feel angry and resentful. But afterwards? That's a choice. It's like putting a dog collar around your neck, attaching the leash, and handing it to the person who hurt you and saying, "For hurting me in the past I'm voluntarily giving you power over me, now and in the future. You'll dwell in my thoughts and go on causing me pain."

    When we're hurt like that we leap to our own defense and a voice inside of us comforts us by saying that the pain will not go unavenged, that we won't forget how we were wronged, ever. Holding hate in our hearts feels good, it feels righteous...but it's also poison. At some point we have to take off that dog collar and say, "This is stupid." Nobody keeps us prisoner to our feelings but us.

    Forgiveness isn't about being the bigger person or turning the other cheek or anything that the other person says or does or doesn't do in response. It's about first forgiving ourselves. Not because we did anything wrong, but because we need to tell that little protector voice, "Look. I know you're frustrated because we never got that sweet revenge you promised me all those years ago, and good job holding on to this grudge all this time, but I need you to let this one go. I forgive you for not making good on your promise and not protecting me the way you wanted to. But it'll be okay."

    Forgiveness is about letting go of the anger and forgiving ourselves for not holding on to it. The little protector voice wants to prove our self-worth by standing up for ourselves, but it doesn't understand that our self-worth isn't measured by others or how much hate we hold. It's measured against the scale of our own actions.