Friday, March 03, 2006

Why do I feel such a sense of shame when someone uses the wrong pronoun or terminology for me? Last night at karaoke Miss Jacqueline described me as one of her "favorite girls" at the end of a song.

The feeling is always the same- the pleasure and enjoyment of the moment is snuffed out, and I feel physically jarred, and my belly clenches a little, like fear and sadness and embarassment and anger all trying to catch hold. If I was feeling attractive, or confident, or good about myself, that disappears, too.

Now that I think about it, not all that different from those times before I got my glasses when I used to walk into closed screen doors all the time because I didn't see them. I'd be hurrying along at full speed, focused on something in the distance, and just slam right into it, brought up short and convinced everyone was noticing.

Yeah. It's like that, a bit.

I'm just having trouble dealing with how much it feels like shame. What am I ashamed of? I suppose it is pretty huimliating to have one's identity invalidated in front of a roomful of people.
And it's definitely worse when I'm in front of people who only know Eli. I feel like Eli gets ratted out, impugned, quite against his will. People who knew me before, well, I don't like it, but at least I don't feel like they're getting a shock, being misinformed. I'm still burdened with a touch of feeling bad about feeling bad about it, because I don't want to be ashamed of myself, but I don't like being disrespected with the wrong terminology, and I really don't like it when that further outs me to people at a time not of my choosing. No surprise there.

The physical sensations of it are eerily consistent, though. And always the tension immediately starts radiating through me, ending up in my shoulders, which hunch up defensively. I'm getting tense now just thinking about it.

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