RSS Feed

Tag Archives: analogy

If I Were Mechanical Michelle

I was attempting explain to my therapist what the tipping point was like where I realized my mind was locking up leading my pursuit to transition. As usual, I relied on a common analogy to explain a more complex issue. It’s a habit of mine, often hated by others who bank on the avoidance of understanding to curtail further discussion. I like achieving that effect, so I do it all the time now.

“It’s like when you have the Task Manager open on a Window’s machine and the CPU usage turns bright green.” The first thing he asked me was what a ‘Task Manager’ is. I should not have been surprised as I had to explain what Facebook was the previous session, and spent half of another teaching how to back up his Outlook file. He never did make good his joking threat to refund his fee that week, but nevertheless. We have all struggled through a thousand and one clumsy ways of trying to describe our feelings to cisgender people. It’s no easy achievement, and as far as I know, it hasn’t been accomplished yet. It’s harder than those fifth grade assignments of describing what a peanut butter sandwich is to someone who never heard of bread. Even if we could take that approach, the listener is as likely to tune out as quickly as old Mrs Eckert did reading, “So there is this stuff called flour…”.

I thought using an analogy would be a wickedly clever way of at least capturing tiny aspects of this, even if they were wide right of the mark. Of course I didn’t take into account the possibility of having to describe the universally understood elements, putting me right back into sandwich land. It was like explaining an exceptionally funny joke, punch line and all, but I finally got the message across. Once I did a few fancy demonstrations, locking up his PC to the point of forced reboot, he understood and felt it was as an apt an analogy as he had heard. I’m not convinced he got it though, there being a suspect motive of saving his clunky old machine from my crazy experiments, so thought I would put it out there for critique.

Computer operation over the years has come to resemble the workings of human thought. They really have to in order to make them marketable, as an operating system that mirrored a cats thoughts would be infuriatingly difficult. To make them even more intuitive, an exploratory trepanation hole was installed in the form of the Task Manager. This allows the user to see all the various process currently running, in both the forefront and the subconscious of the machine, and how many resources they are using. Each use some percentage of both the memory and  processing capability. Usually, any given process is decent enough to use only what is needed, leaving enough for all the other necessary processes. Sometimes, however, things go wrong.

No one really know why (If you do, shush! Don’t ruin my analogy, please.) some background process chugging along suddenly goes crazy and starts sucking up more and more of your resources. At first you notice things are just a bit… off… but no importance. Sometimes you don’t even know it’s there, and if so, usually it was easy to put it out of mind. The situation becomes harder to ignore when drafting a simple document takes hours because that little “I’m doing something, you are going to have to wait” icon starts popping up more and more. After a while, forget trying to start something else, or god forbid, attempt to surf the web. Now the document has turned translucent with a little “Not Responding” message at the top. Great. Just great.

You may not have been ready to stop what you are doing to go and try to address this, but it got to the point where there is simply no going forward until you hit ‘ctrl-alt-delete’ and launch task manager to figure out what is going on. Sure enough, some bugger of an application is hogging 100% of what you need to even function anymore. You try to do the easy thing and ‘end process’, but either a warning of dire consequences comes up, or the computer simply refuses to let you. This thing is way too critical, and you need to either address it for real, or throw the whole damn machine away. Such is the chain of analogous events that bring one to transition. It comes down to this if the world expects to get any further use out of you.

OK, I do admit this isn’t perfect, and might not even apply to everyone’s unique experience, but it sure does mine and I can guess I’m probably not alone in this. Any comments are greatly appreciated. Yes… I know some of you are Mac users and my little example doesn’t apply in your wonderful little land where nothing ever goes wrong and apples grow on trees.

I’m Not the Easter Bunny!

I’m always looking for yet another analogy to explain aspects of the trans experience to cisgender people. I’ve got a lot of them, but this time I figured I would go seasonal in order to beat this dead horse just a little bit more. I think I used this one on my therapist, who reacted with great boredom having heard me pontificate on “what it’s like” yet again, after hearing the same types of things for a good 30 years. You probably haven’t, so hopefully you have a few more months before you would rather pour Draino in your eyes rather than read another of my posts.

Imagine being born and having your earliest memories being people coo over what a cute little Easter bunny you are. One of your parents is one, as are about half the people you know. From the get go they are dressing you in ridiculous looking vests, shoving baskets in your hands to carry around, and sticking you in with other bunnies who are all too excited to go hopping around on these giant, giant feet. Problem is, you don’t really feel like an Easter bunny. There are these tooth fairies around without the big ass ears, cumbersome feet, buck teeth and wear much prettier things than the damn vest. Why don’t you look like them?

It’s difficult to even take yourself seriously in situation. The mirror is clear confirmation that you are indeed the Easter bunny. People provide independent confirmation of this continuously and feel the need to correct you any time you start acting too tooth fairy-ish. God forbid anyone catches you waving around a magic wand or ditching the vest for a tutu. Maybe they never do, but your impression is that it would not be good. Why doesn’t this fricking outfit have a zipper anyway?

Getting older is a huge bummer. You and the fairies didn’t really look that different in your salad days, but now the damn ears is growing like crazy and there is fur all over the place. You are pressured into hiding eggs, which doesn’t feel very natural at all. Collecting teeth does, but lack of opposable thumbs makes this a vague frustration. On top of it all, a lot of the other Easter bunnies now act like that asshole tribe of rabbits from Watership Down. Not only will they bite each other’s ears off, but give fairies in proximity a brutal thumping as well. The association with them is downright nasty and uncomfortable. What to do, what to do?

Perhaps emulating fairies here and there will be enough to fulfill you. You find the ears can be tucked down under a tiara, a reasonable approximation of wings can be attached, and fur that can’t be shaved (too obvious when mingling with the other bunnies), can be covered with some opaque fairy colored nylon. It’ not the same, but still, it’s something. Soon you come to find there are other bunnies who like to do the same thing. Finally, you are not alone! You come to find, however, that a lot of these other bunnies seem to have different reasons for doing the same thing you do. Very different! Not quite fairy on not quite fairy stuff. Eh, just not your thing. Again, you feel alone and depression creeps in. Eating carrots seems pointless, and you’ll kill yourself if you have to hide another egg. You are a fucking Easter bunny and that’s it; it gets harder and harder to imagine what this world has for you.

You have heard of these semi-mythical bunnies who live as fairies all the time, and do things that make them virtually the same. This of course involves telling everyone you are not really a bunny but a fairy. Other bunnies like to joke about this because it threatens their sense of rabbitude. Even some of the fairies treat this derisively. Once such a thing seemed like an insurmountable impossibility, but now it’s looking like the only thing left. This is going to be difficult, but a path up to daylight filled with spiders and snakes still seems a sight better than being buried alive. You look for help.

As it turns out, there is a lot that can be done! The thick white rabbit fur you always hated can be permanently removed. A regular infusion of pixie dust and egghiderone blockers can make you look and feel much more fairyish and round out some of your bunnyness, not to mention grow small, but real wings. You can even take the final step and have the infuriating ears removed. A few more nips and tucks there, a grind down of the big buck teeth, and you are downright fairyish! The only thing you can never do is fly. You may have feelings about that, but even some fairies can’t either. It’s the smallest of prices.

%d bloggers like this: