Know It In Your Heart

Written Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Something I've come to treasure at the end of a day is the opportunity to just sit and reflect - sometimes on the day itself, but often about much more as well... the past, the future, all the things in the present that seem to deserve a little extra attention and appreciation before I tuck all my thoughts in for the night and fall asleep.


There is a powerful magic in the still moments of a late evening, when things are slowed down and restful. It is an ancient and often tragically elusive truth that when your consciousness approaches stillness, it is easier to be aware of more of reality - a sort of grander incarnation of the temporal principles of relativity in physics. The less you move your mind, the more your mind can apprehend.


I've been fascinated with thought for so long I can barely remember when I first started turning my brain in on itself. Self-reflection is a vital resource for anyone, but through obsessive practice, I long ago warped the skill into a kind of crippled philosophical blinder through which I insisted on experiencing everything.


On June 10, 2019, I wrote something that seemed interesting enough at the time, but in hindsight, turned out to contain far more insight than I could have understood. There's half a paradox and half of a deep truth in there, but first, a (slightly simplified) excerpt from the journal entry itself:

One of the reasons I take my transition desires seriously is that they are very different from other things I want.


What should I get for lunch? Oh, hmm... maybe a sandwich? Do I want a sandwich? What kind of sandwich? The place that makes that kind of sandwich is further away, but you can get this other, less appealing sandwich closer - and cheaper! Is that compelling enough? Or should I take the hit and get the first kind? Maybe I don't even want a sandwich at all. Do I even want lunch?


Give me a decision to make, and I'll find a thousand questions that are somehow all super important for making the actual choice. If I don't know much about the decision, or the implications of various choices, it gets even worse... first I need to understand all the ramifications of all possible outcomes, and then I will ask a thousand annoying questions about all of that.


I over-analyze the ever-living shit out of literally everything.


In general, I have a lot of trouble just wanting things. And then there's gender expression matters. Everything just feels like the polar opposite of my usual process. Would I like to have long hair? Yes. Am I content with the color of my hair? No. Jet black or bright blue with purple highlights. I have never had appreciably long hair or any kind of coloration. I have no point of reference here, no anchor from which to understand the impact of these desires.


And I don't fucking care. I feel no need to ask questions, to weigh options, to consider consequences. When I am suddenly insistent on not analyzing things at all, I think that's a pretty good sign that the feelings are real.


What actually prompted me to remember all of this was, in fact, a moment of completely empty-headed absent-mindedness.

I realized, earlier this evening, that lately I have been making an astounding number of decisions almost entirely on what I've been referring to as "instinct." It's a sort of highly abstract, incredibly information-dense thought process, with impeccable logic forged through an incredibly deep supply of life experience, and yet I've just been doing things without "thinking" in the classically word-centric way that I used to feel trapped in all the time.

I've been on hormone replacement therapy for almost exactly five months. I'd heard that it does miraculous things for the mind, to finally have the neurochemical mix that actually works properly for the brain itself.

As much as I desperately wanted to know how that could work, I couldn't have possibly imagined how well it works.

I used to know a lot of things with just my brain. I hope that doesn't sound arrogant or self-obsessed. I've always loved learning things - I own hundreds of books, almost entirely non-fiction, many of which I've read multiple times. At one time in my life I literally had to impose "no Wikipedia hours" so that I could tear myself away from the endless fascination of "well, maybe I'll just click one more interesting link. I'll go to bed before 4AM this time, I swear."

I've never been able to resist just accumulating bits of knowledge, of wisdom, of insight and stories from other people. Occasionally I find some small thing of my own to contribute back, but only in the interests of finding another thing to learn next.

I still "know" all the same things. If anything, my memory is actually functional for the first time in my life. A year ago, nobody who'd ever been around me for more than a few hours would have questioned my ADHD diagnosis. Today, I constantly remember things with ridiculous clarity and accuracy that some of my closest friends and family can scarcely recall - until I start prompting them.

In a way, I know these things better than I ever could have with my brain.

There's a kind of ownership of truth that goes beyond knowledge; the sort of thing that comes from living, from having a personal and visceral experience. It stops being conscious awareness and simply bakes its way deeper into the mind.

And, now, I finally am beginning to feel the infinitely broader, richer, and more powerful kind of truth - the kind that comes from not simply experiencing and understanding, but from actually wielding properly functional emotions at the same time.

It goes beyond data, beyond awareness and analysis and thought itself, beyond the reaches of logic and language and even the kind of communication that can be accomplished with images and movement.

I know I'm a woman. I have come to own this truth - not merely by thinking about it, or contemplating it; to be sure, I've done plenty of that. But this is no longer a mere fact. I couldn't possibly "know it" to this extent with my brain.

I know it in my heart.