I have been working through the “My New Gender Workbook” by Kate Bornstein. This book is pointing me in some good directions of self discovery and understanding. Although I am a heterosexual male, I have never been comfortable with the presumed associated gender role. For example, at the ripe old age of 61, I can say that I have never watched a professional football game from beginning to end and I find most sports. I am somewhat surprised that in the graduate level classes I teach, over 90% of the students in the field of study are female. Over the years I have often found myself in book studies where I was the only male. At first, I was hesitant to join feeling too much the odd person out. I found myself thinking “I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to come off in my presumed male gender role and dominate the discussion.” And then I thought “I don’t want to say too little because I don’t want to appear dismissive or aloof since I am the only male in the group.” At a certain point, I just said screw it – this is an interesting book or area of study for me and I am going to participate.
At the same time, I know many heterosexual women who love football, would not be caught dead in a Carl Jung discussion group, and so forth.
What I like about the Bornstein Workbook is that she celebrates the ambiguous, that which does not fit into a nice neat category. Whereas biological sex may be more set by natural traits (though not that simple or straight forward either), cultures create gender roles.
I have taken great comfort and direction in the saying “To Thine Own Self Be True” printed on the AA anniversary coins/medallions. I enjoy that in recovery I do not have to figure out to conform to someone else’s expectations but to discover or uncover my own true self and direction in life. That true self comes from nurturing and celebrating a person who is not anesthetized with addictions. Perhaps one of the greatest things I enjoy about recovery is that at any point in time, if I were to look back say 5 years, there is no way I could have predicted where my recovery path would have taken me. That is a real trip!