masculinity, hamanity, and dysphoria

One of the things that really helps to pull me out of my dysphoria is to do things that are both intrinsically masculine* as well as a reflection of my humanity. It’s not always the deep chasms of dysphoria that I’m escaping; sometimes it’s just a twinge of sadness after something trivial happens or a moment of frustration when my body isn’t being the body that I want/need it to be.

The intrinsically masculine part seems a bit obvious in that if I’m not feeling masculine enough then reaffirming my masculinity in a personal way would be helpful, but the bit about doing something that reflects my humanity is equally as, if not more, important.

In the moments that I’m feeling dysphoric, I feel like my physical body is so wrong that the rest of me feels hopeless and lost. It’s a terrible thing to feel like the only tangible thing that is truly yours is false, and not only that it’s false but that it is so incredibly false that every intangible thing doesn’t even have value or worth anymore.

I can’t even count how many times I’ve been stuck in my cyclical dysphoric thoughts and reasoned that if a body is only as good as the sum of it’s parts, and if all of my parts were offensively inaccurate, then I as a sum of my parts must also be offensively inaccurate.

It’s a horrible place to be in, but it’s also completely incorrect; which is why it’s so important to do things that reflect my humanity.

In the most diluted and simplistic way, when I need a pick-me-up I like doing things that require me to use tools, that make me connect with other people, that make me use my strength and power, that make me reflect on what it means to be alive and what it means to live.

Things that I’ve done to help get myself out of a dysphoric place:

  • Wet shaving
  • Weight lifting
  • Volunteering at a men’s homeless shelter
  • Going for a meditative walk in the woods
  • Calling my dad and talking to him about life
  • Cleaning my apartment and thinking about the things in my life
  • Building things, whether it’s made of wood, cloth, or Legos
  • Playing with children
  • Visiting my parents or grandparents
  • Asking someone else how they are feeling and getting a real answer

Some of these things seem like normal things to do, and that’s the beauty of it. For me, dysphoria is all about losing perspective of what it means to be a normal version of yourself. Sometimes just doing normal things is all it takes to remember that the sum of your parts, no matter how offensively inaccurate they might feel, will always be exponentially more valuable and extraordinary than they would ever be divided.

* Of course, what is intrinsically masculine to me could be intrinsically feminine to someone else or, more likely, not necessarily intrinsically anything. It could lack association to either end of the spectrum. What I classify as “masculine” is based on how I feel, so bear that in mind through this post and this blog.

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