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Phase Shift

Up until last spring, I lived my life 120 degrees out of phase with myself, which is no easy thing. OK, I’m sensing some blank looks out there, so I think I better explain before I get the time honored ‘index-finger-twirled-around-the-ear’ gesture we like to flash behind the backs of people we consider crazy. Real nice by the way! Some poor soul is suffering a heartbreaking mental illness and you go and do that. For shame! Getting off my high horse for a second, I’ll explain in a little more detail.

In engineering terms, phase is… dammit Michelle, losing them again. Wait, don’t go yet, I promise to make this cool and not too sciency. Seriously, like Alton Brown cool. OK, not in engineering terms, 3 phase refers to 3 waves, all the same and going in the same direction, but 120 degrees apart from each other. Here is a picture. If you look at it all squinty like, it looks like one thing, one height and length, but when you look clearly, it is apparent we are talking about 3 different lines out of sync with each other. Since we live in a technologically advanced age and a huge portion of the population is still able to think science is bunk, it’s all right say that those three waves, or phases, are not even really aware of each other’s existence, or if so, barely.

Until last spring, I was like that three phase set of waves. My outward personality was one of them, my conscious thought was another, and my real identity, my spirit, was the third. All traveled along, none really having a good grasp that the others were there or mattered. It’s OK for this to be true in electric lines, and really it works better that way, but in a person it’s just going to cause a whole lot of problems. Without that synchronicity, the whole is weakened and gradually loses strength. Eventually either the signal just dies, or everything slows down to where the three catch up with each other. Lucky for me, I’m one of the latter cases.

I’m going to abandon the whole engineering part of this now because even though I’m sooo Alton Brown cool, I can tell you are getting bored. Also, in the real thing if the three touch it means really bad things, and totally not the case here. By late fall of 2009 I was slowing down quite a bit, by late fall in 2010 the whole operation was getting ready to collapse. By last spring though, my phases started to finally sync. I had no idea it would all feel so right. Damn the consequences, I would have sat in the road until I was all caught up with myself.

With the doom and gloom specter of dire cataclysm put aside I felt stronger and more secure. I was at a petting zoo with my spouse and son when her shoes began to pain her. I was in dude mode, but thought nothing of swapping with her. Incredibly the world didn’t end! In all the years before I used to sweat over the idea that the ordinary black socks I happened to buy from the women’s section would betray my freakishness in the event my pants cuff came up just a half inch too high. Body, mind, and spirit all working together for once, such notions appeared ridiculously superstitious.

The phase alignment flipped dozens of switches in my head I had no idea where even there. More came with hormones, but in the days before HRT just the simple coming together of self, something the cisgender world takes so for granted, made me 3 times stronger than I ever had been. I had no idea that all of what made me ‘me’ was traveling so far apart from the other parts, and how draining, worrisome, and fearful that really is. The empowerment of synchronicity is thrilling, intoxicating, and joyous. It is synergy; all parts working together to bear a load far greater than even a third of what each of the separate components could possibly shoulder. I truly don’t know how I got by.

Yes, the ghosts of where they all were remains and probably will for some time. Flashes of after image; brief powerful reminders with devastating emotional punch that can induce fear, panic and despair. They are only ghosts though, and not something I’m sure if I even believe in anyway. At the very least, not something I’m willing to share my power with. I’ll push through them though. I can do that now. I’m good now.

About michellelianna

I'm a transgender woman now in the maintenance stages of transition having all the electrolysis and surgery one can reasonably be expected to undertake. While busy exploring my new world, I took to blogging about it with dubiously popular results. I don't have quite as much to say as I used to, but I'm not quite done yet either.

9 responses »

  1. Thank you for sharing.

  2. One phase shifted woman engineer to another..well friend

  3. When I first went to university (long, long ago), I studied engineering. Then in a moment of lucidity, I switched to the social sciences. Now I remember why.

    You have managed to capture the essence of our existence in a way that even I, who has been struggling for three days on a relatively simple stastistical calculation, can grasp.

    I love your view of the world.

    I do have to ask, in such a way that will certainly destroy my remaining geek cred, does the meeting of the three phases cause an effect like in Ghostbusters when they crossed the plasma beams and blew up the Sta Puft Marshmallow Man?



    • Becky, your geek cred is well intact, because you have it exactly right! Ironically, when my phases were most out of whack, I blew up to closely resemble the Sta Puft Marshmallow man, though perhaps not as trim. They wanted me for him in the Broadway version you know, but I simply couldn’t wear the hat.

      Love, Michelle

      • It always comes down to the accessories, doesn’t it?

        Some day, when I’m feeling brave, I will show you my driver’s license photo. I look like Santa Claus before Slim Fast. (white beard and all)



  4. Three Phase, your right doesn’t work well if all three sources are not equally powered, 220 is 110 volts x2, 2 phase, if it’s not 110 on both sides your clothes drier for instance will end up failing. We are like that ourselves, we find balance for ourselves from our own community, Family, Friends, Job Ect.
    Being Trans is much like most things when you boil it down, we find our balance from many sources, we keep telling ourselves we’re good, we are, we’re a work in progress. We are always working to achieve and maintain a manageable balance. We can not afford to fail!


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