It is easy to look at my surroundings and see everything in two dimensions. People are not flat characters, but are dynamic. I think many know how it feels to imagine life a certain way and suddenly it is disrupted. There is a mourning that takes place during a character change. I desire to capture the heart of those who grieve the loss of themselves.
My reflection was a stranger…
Some are born to be deviant, but I had to learn how. The term deviant is usually used to describe someone in a negative light, but the actual definition refers to those who go against the social norm. This word can be used to describe villains like Joseph Stalin but can also be used to describe heroes like Mahatma Gandhi. Not to suggest that Joseph Stalin or Mahatma Gandhi had anything morally in common, but both were willing to challenge the status quo.
Everyone acts in deviance at some point, whether on purpose or by chance – it’s difficult to stay within societal lines. Looking back, I can see my struggle finding my identity in a world that was not made for me. As mentioned in earlier segments of my blog I struggled with the desire for normalcy and individuality. I was always careful about disrupting the peace. However, I knew I had to disrupt the peace to restore peace within my soul.
Spontaneous is not a term I would use to describe myself. When deciding, I moved carefully and would run every scenario of events that could take place in my head. My goal was transparency, but in the right way – in the right time. Perhaps my deviance would fly under the radar if I moved carefully and no one would notice my abnormalities. The goal was to have my peers understand that my differences did not take away from my humanity.
Despite our differences, I had much in common with those around me. We shared religion, ideologies, movies and humor. Relating to my peers became easier for me and they developed a deeper understanding of my character. I grew more comfortable in my skin and came to terms with my identity.
Within a few short moments my life was changed. I have not decided if I changed for the better or for worse. I could write novels about what happened, but I am not ready for that. All that I am sure of is that I walked away a different person then who I was. Humor and movies remained the same, but religion became distorted and ideologies began to shift. I became someone else and did not think this new person would be accepted in the same way. To be honest I do not think I could accept it myself.
All my surroundings felt unfamiliar to me. My body did not belong to me and the clothes that once belonged to me belonged to a stranger. I clung to the former things hoping everything would go back and I would be comfortable again. I spent hours tending to the hair that I hated but once loved, believing that would make me bounce back. I was in a deep denial, things were not as they were, and the past could not be relived. My reflection was a stranger, the man staring back at me was not the person I felt I was on the inside.
It took me a year of coping until I finally accepted my transformation. I woke up one day and said, “I am cutting my hair,” and scheduled my appointment. In high school I dreamed of shaving the sides of my head, I was inspired by the character Sokka from the cartoon television show, Avatar: The Last Airbender. I remember telling friends I wanted it, but everyone discouraged me from doing so. Even with their words, I do not think I would have cut my hair, growing up I was not allowed by my mother to grow out my hair. I rebelled later and stubbornly grew it out.
Cutting my hair was a different form of rebellion. It was a rebellion of my spirit. My hair that I had loved I destroyed. I gave up my pride and the belief that things could be as they were. I thought I would cry when the barber shaved the sides of my hair. Instead I felt content, a feeling I had not felt in a while. All year I had been in mourning over my past life and that day I reached contentment. I bought new clothes and I stood taller. I sought out what I wanted. I was bold and sometimes reckless. I was free.
I went through this entire metamorphosis in secret. What others saw as a simple style change was a rebirth. Although I had transitioned into a new being, the world had not done so with me. So, I lied… I vocally supported ideas I no longer believed in. I claimed a religion that no longer felt like mine. It was wrong, but it was necessary in my eyes. You were only able to thrive where I was if you were like the others and I was bent on succeeding.
The more and more I deceived the more monstrous it felt I had become. I was the one whom my Savior offered the bread (John 13:26). I was Judas the betrayer, the one who sat side by side with those who he called friends and lied to their faces. Today I admit truth, the truth that I once withheld from myself and later to others. The faith I once claimed and the values that I supported are no longer mines. Now that my deviance is known I am not sure whether I will be called a villain or a hero. Perhaps something in between…