“I am not my appearance”

Project Description:

It’s funny how I could think of several insecurities like me being trans* and not passing, or maybe even my weight. Yet when asked the unconscious part of me finally replied “I look like my father.” Growing up in a poor working class Hispanic community I saw all shapes and forms of domestic violence and child abuse. I was no exception and while it never got physical in my case it did leave me traumatized. I have PSTD because of those experiences sometimes I can still hear the arguments in my head, screaming and I have to tire myself maybe even still 3 am just to be able to sleep without nightmare even then it’s not guaranteed.

My mother was powerless and to survive she took on the role of victim completely. It was always about her never me. So whenever I felt anger or displayed any form of masculinity she would say, “You’re just like your father.” It was the ultimate form of control and way to keep me being obedient. It also kept me my accepting the masculine part of me from admitting that I wasn’t a girl that I had to be one. I realize now how deep in denial I was about being trans* for this reason. I hate how anyone who knows him because know that I exist but when they realized I’m his kid they say such wonderful things about him. It hurts to acknowledge the people you’re suppose to love, who were meant to protect you didn’t yet people don’t believe you when you find the courage to admit it. Then they tell you that you like him. That meant I was masculine which equaled that I had to be a man and therefore I was going to be abusive and superior to women. It was just an accept norm and I didn’t have any example outside of it.

I still struggle with interacting with other men or masculine individuals. It’s hard knowing that while my relationship with my mother is strained it still hurts to know she fears me. I still struggle with looking and the mirror and seeing him wondering if I ever find love will I abuse my partner or if I have children will I be a horrible father.
I am not him and I refuse to go along with the “macho man” norm within my culture. I am sweet, kind, naïve and most importantly I value women/femininity. They are my equals not my inferiors. I am a feminist, student, activist, sociology major, trans* and animal lover. I will never be like my father or what my culture dictates masculinity should be.