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Mental Health

The Disassociation of My Body from My Mind

I feel comfortable talking about my body because it is valid, simply because it is my experience in my own life. I have felt a drastic distance from my body and its relevance in many ways since I can remember. To put it plainly, I don’t associate myself with my body. I am a cisgender heterosexual female, meaning that I identify as the same gender as my sex and am attracted to males. However, I haven’t really felt woman in many ways most women seem to, and hold many traits that are traditionally masculine(which you can read about in my other article “Man’s Head, Woman’s Body”).

When I see myself in the mirror, it feels like a reminder of my body and gender and I think, “oh yeah that’s what I look like”, “ooh yeah, I’m a girl”. I forget the thing I walk around in is judged a certain way, and there are ways this vessel is expected to appear in, as and around. When I see my body, I also forget I think its good looking, something I won’t remember or care to think until I am reminded to by society or whomever. It’s odd to see myself in pictures and have to pin these emotions, thoughts, opinions and memories to that face and body. My physical person is associated with its thoughts, by everyone but seemingly me. It’s an odd idea really, to look around you and associate a person by the body you see, but you are associated with something you seldom see because you are not looking at your physical person the way everyone else is. You look out through your eyes and know who you are, without knowing your body, but others see you and associate you, long before they know you.

I know this is a dissociation with my body because society has provided what association with my body is. Since childhood, I have felt alienated by other girls. I didn’t fit in with them, we didn’t do the same things, care about the same things, and I just never felt like they were my kind. I very often though, did and still do feel very connected to men and masculine traits. My masculine father is my best friend. He raised me in balance with my classy and feminine mother who I love very much. But in the end I have found my own way of being feminine.

What is this disassociation I feel? It is as if my brain, my mind, my consciousness, my soul, whatever you’d like to call it; my me, is without gender. Rather, my me has been influenced by what this vessel has experienced. Is it possible this is with every mind? Nobody is chemically 100% male or female. Our personalities are developed off of our life and experiences, which is in almost every way dependent on if we check the box of F or M. I am not transgender, have gender dysphoria, nor do not call myself woman. I simply feel that women’s traits and men’s traits within the mind are almost foolish considering their development is so dependent on the experiences of the body. When the same traits manifest through women versus men they are judged very differently. Men are confident, women are bossy. Men are strong willed, women are stubborn or stuck up. Women are compassionate, men are weak. Women are thoughtful, men are shy. Living with my traits versus how they are treated in society has lead to my disassociation with my body.

When I walk around in my own brain, with little to no association in my body, I am genderless in my mind,although I still, of course, have been greatly influenced by my body’s treatment. When a situation occurs, I am suddenly met with the fact I am a girl. It is brought to my attention by an outside source. Someone opens the door for me, men check me out or cat call me(probably the most common reminder of my gender and appearance), someone calls me “miss” or my response to a situation is confrontal or assertive and someone has to tell me, “Becca, you’re not big enough or strong enough to kick that person’s ass”. Oh yeah, I forgot.

Nothing I write has gender, no idea or opinion or emotion. I do not believe it has gender inherently, at least. You may ask, what about emotions thought to be totally maternal or motherly instincts? Certain concerns or love for children are thought only to be able to be experienced by that mother. Again though, I am going to tie such trait to my female body although experienced by my mind. That emotion is due to my vessel’s biology. It is true by definition that “maternal love/instincts/care” is so because it is woman, or the female body being the only of the two that can produce offspring. My brain, my me, is greatly influenced by my body’s experiences, and every thought produced is a product of my body’s upbringing, who’s path diverged at the sex. I believe all minds are without gender. If humans had no body to determine such a drastic difference in experience, I believe there would be no male or female, only the you. The ideas of masculine and feminine traits, mental capabilities and emotions, belonging to males or females are solely a product of our environments and how society treats men vs women. Just as I compared above. Here arises the controversy and identity crises that so many of us seem to experience arises. When we attempt to be our true naked selves, and allow that being to be active in the world, it is made difficult by the challenges society poses by attempting to designating our traits.

In the recent few months I have been associating my body with my me, my soul. A wonderful conversation with a friend helped me to realize that a soul is constantly desiring to be real, and alive, in the physical world. Our soul(or true consciousnesses depending on what you believe) is constantly trying to manifest itself and the only way it can is through our bodies. I have never felt more whole in my life since beginning to let my soul show fully through my body and its actions as one, and not as a puppet. Before it would be me and my body both with different roles, a toy for my me to control out in the world where it didn’t matter so much. But having them be together and having my soul run through my veins has made me present in every moment I am in and fully experiencing life around me with more authenticity. Be yourself, despite having been told this all our our lives, really is the key. Your body is the only bridge between the world around you and the other souls in it. The soul must experience both through the body. Why should your body, your only pond on the board here on the physical earth, reflect anything but the soul that drives it?

I’m not too hard on myself. My disassociation was due to society and my environment. Simply put, I was very tough and hard on myself as child, therefore I had to be tough; a traditionally masculine trait in a female body. Thus sprouting this contrast of traits and vessel at a very young age. That difference in mentality versus how society viewed me just divided me more until I alienated myself. I could not recognize myself, but was simply aware of this tool I could use in the world. Only now am I brave enough to let my soul bleed into my blood, look out my eyes and speak through my mouth. It is scary, and not always easy, but this suppression of the soul left my body empty when it is the only thing that can experience life. Letting it be all of me has allowed me to live more authentically and fulfilled than ever before.

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I'm Rebecca DeMent(she/her/they/them), a Buddhist Catholic vegan ecofeminst, and I am a junior at Sonoma State University studying Philosophy in the Pre-Law concentration with a minor in Business. 
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