One of my first memories when I was a little girl was the discovery that my two brothers had been furnished with an extra part of their anatomies that I did not have. It puzzled me, and I didn't think it was fair. I felt cheated. I went around to all the little boys in the neighborhood, asking them if they had one, and could I please see it. They all had one, and they were extremely proud of them, and very happy to show them to me. In fact, I remember one instance where several of my little male friends were so excited to show me the wonderful things their appendages could do, they all lined up along a fence and had a (*cough*) contest. I was so angry at not being able to do what they were doing, I went home and told my mother. She made me sit on the chesterfield for the rest of the afternoon with the dreaded words, "Stay there until your father gets home...!" I sat there trembling in fear and anger.
When my father finally got home, he laughed for quite a long time, and then he had a little chat with me. I don't remember exactly what he said, but he quietly explained to me why little boys have that "extra bit", and little girls don't, and whatever he said, I was happy. From that day on I was glad to be a girl, and I felt girls were somehow special and mysterious. Boys really were "snakes and snails and puppy dog's tails" and little girls were "cinnamon and spice and everything nice". I love being a woman.
Last night I was reading about Chaz/Chastity Bono, and how she felt she had been born into the wrong body. All her life, instead of feeling like a female, she has felt that she is really a male. She has recently undergone sex change orientation so her physical body will be in alignment with how she feels inside. I should refer to her as him, because he is now male. It occurred to me how difficult it must be to be born as one gender, but to know in your heart that you are actually the other gender. How on earth does that happen? I think, also, it must be more common than we realize.
I believe most people have identity issues of some sort or another. As the Scottish poet Robbie Burns said, "O wad some Power the giftie gie us. To see oursels as ithers see us!" But more to the point, wouldn't our lives be so much easier if other people could see us the way we see ourselves. It's frustrating and sometimes hurtful when people treat us differently than we are. It's as if they don't see us. They have pre-judgement -- or prejudice -- based on how we look. Occasionally in life we meet someone who sees right into our soul, and they know us, and they connect with the real person. I think that must be what love is.
Chaz Bono has a lot of courage to do what he is doing, and I really applaud him. He doesn't want to live behind a facade any longer. I think he may set an example for other people, who want to throw off the artificial guise they show to the world, and just be themselves. As with Chaz, it takes a lot of courage. Or, to quote another famous poet:
"This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."