They say that girls are more sensitive (for that, read emotional). Personally, I don’t think that is strictly true. I think that it is much more person specific. I do buy into the idea that girls are "allowed" to show their emotions more than boys. Boys are encouraged to button up their feelings.
Imagine for a moment that the scale of emotion is 1 to 10:
1 equals unemotional and where emotion is completely inwardly contained
5 equals feeling emotions inside, but not showing them outwardly
10 equals being visibly upset and crying at the drop of a hat
If a someone is at 5 and something upsetting happens that moves them to 10, they cry. If someone is at a 1 and the same thing happens, they could move from 1 to 5. For them, this would be a really emotional response, after all they have reacted similarly, but no-one would spot it because outwardly, it doesn’t show.
What I was wondering was whether men, in general, were conditioned to be 1-5 and women something like 5-10? If that is true, where does a trans person sit on this spectrum -- is it in line with the gender they feel inside or with the way they were brought up? Or neither?
I've had a couple of upsets of late. Silly little things, not meant by the people in the way that I took them, but they still got to me. One of them was a weight related comment. I am fat. In the past I always said that I yoyo'd my weight, but over the last few years it yo'd up and stayed there really. My genetic family are all on the large side and I use food and where possible alcohol to forget how sad I am most of the time. The effect of this means I’m large and that I hate my appearance and by association I hate myself. It is part of the reason why I don’t present as Rhiannon so much. 5’11 and really fat makes me feel like I stand out as a ‘bloke in a dress’. It is a point that has been raised to me in the past by not nice people. And at the end of the day, I am fat, so despite having the wrong motivation to tell me, they are speaking the truth.
What is interesting me is that when I do get these negative comments about my appearance, how do I react? Sometimes, it is like water off a ducks back. I just ignore it and laugh it off. As I said, it is in reality true. Other times, if I get the same comment, it's the end of the world.
So why is it that sometimes I react like that and sometimes I don't? Is it that when I am in (or thinking in) male mode, I have a reaction more aligned with my up-bringing? At those times, I feel like an actor pretending to be something different. When comments are made, they are not really talking about the real me, so I'm not bothered. Its like I’m at a 3 on the sensitivity scale and a comment might push me to a 5. It hurts inside but wouldn’t outwardly register. The training to feel like this was good and despite being a relatively emotional person, I have always been good at controlling my feelings -- it is why I was able to hide Rhiannon for so long.
But increasingly, I am trying to stop it and to respond in accordance with my true feelings. This isn't without its problems. When I expose my true self, I just can't cope with any negative comment. It feels like I can spend days going up and down between 6 and 10. So, for example, when comments are made about fat people, I feel that everyone is looking at me and directing the comment at me because I am like an oversized elephant. 10 is reached with no effort at all. Despite it being horrible to get upset and to feel the pain of it, somehow it makes me feel alive. I need to find ways of not overreacting, but at the same time being ok with letting my emotions run their course.
It strikes me that this is one of the battlegrounds of changing your gender. I am really comforted by my ability to be more emotional. It probably is sexist and for that I apologise, but being sensitive or emotional makes me feel more feminine and in tune with my true gender.