I am a very visual person. All thoughts play out like a movie in my head. It took me years to understand this language. And I am still learning it.
It was mostly thanks to studying the works of mythologist Joseph Campbell who made me understand my inner language.
He says myths are metaphors, images that stand for something. He said that if you want to understand your inner life you have to learn the language of the mythology you live by. Most people think that Myths are stories “which are not true”. But that is not correct, those are fairy tales. Myths are something different than simply made up stories. A myth may or may not be true, or only partially true. The degree of truth in a mythological story does not matter.
My book with an inscription by Joseph Campbell
What’s important is the “message” behind it. The meaning of it.
When I began to understand my mental images I was slowly able to understand meanings of my dreams and the mental “visions” that popped into my head. I learned dream analysis and meditation. And after years of fooling around with this subject I started to understand another quote by Campbell:
“Dreams are private myths, myths are public dreams.”
I always knew my heart was blocked somehow. I had a very hard time with intimacy. I always felt threatened when people came physically or emotionally too close to me. I was always friendly with people but as soon as they came to close I started rejecting them and I could be rude doing so. I did not understand that I was terrified that anybody would discover my inner femininity.
Mentally I always saw this behavior of mine as a big, fortress like and very old looking brick wall, all around me. I was sitting inside of it.
It was an unbreakable barrier which separated me from the rest of the world. I even felt it physically. It felt like a hard lump in my chest, as if an incredibly hard shell was encasing my heart.
And I could not get rid of. I knew that something was blocking me but I did not understand what it was and no matter what I tried, I could not break down that wall.
Everything became much clearer after I learned to talk about my feelings in my therapy sessions. I understood what the function of that wall was. I learned that not only was I afraid of being “discovered” as transgender, I was in turn protecting the girl which was living inside me.
I started to admit that subconsciously I did not want her to get hurt and I wanted protect her from the world. The wall was a metaphor for my masculine behavior which I used as a “shield” to protect the gentleness of the female part inside me. Secretly, I valued this side of me so high, I could not bear the thought of anyone harming or even destroying it.
And then, one day, this wall crumbled.
It was in therapy. In the beginning when I started to work through my trans issues I always referred to my feminine side as “her”, as if “she” was a separate person from myself. It was the only way I could talk about the subject. To refer to my transgender nature as “I” was too threatening for my little ego.
One day, after I talked about “her” again my therapist asked me: “Can I speak to Kristine directly?”
I was speechless.
What does that mean? How do I do that? Am I supposed to act like I am a girl and make things up?
That can’t be right. Initially I tried but I felt like an idiot. What am I doing here? That’s crazy! Then I thought I could maybe act like a translator.
As if I am not talking about “her” but talking to “her” and I just relate the information to my therapist.
At first it felt silly. It was like I was simply making things up. My therapist would ask me questions and I would answer things like: “I think she says such and such, blabla”. I tried to put the emotions I had from the questions into words. But it felt like I was making the whole thing up. But then, all of sudden, the whole thing took on its own dynamic and I wondered where are all this answers where all of a sudden coming from? I did not have the feeling anymore I was only making it up but I was actually translating something.
The answers seemed to come from somewhere.
And then, out of nowhere, a mental image of a medieval tower popped into my head. Very clear and distinct.
It had the same walls I have seen for so many years, same color, same texture. But I was looking at the tower from the outside. I told my therapist what was happening. She asked if I can examine the tower closer. Mentally I approached it. When I got closer I said:
“I can hear faint screams from somewhere!”
My therapist said I should try and get closer to them. I imagined approaching the tower until I went through the walls and ended up inside. Inside was a spiraling staircase. The screams where louder now and seemed to come from below. I followed the voice down the stairs. I went deeper and deeper, lower than the tower was high, deep underground.
At the end of the staircase I saw a massive wooden door. It looked like medieval prison, a dungeon.
The screams where coming from behind the door. I went through the door and ended up in a tiny, windowless cell.
And there she was. A young girl, maybe 15 years old (the age when I surpressed my transgender nature), hammering her fists against the door, screaming and crying, her makeup running down her face: “Let me out of here! Let me out! You have no right to keep me here! I have a right to live!”
I felt so incredibly sorry for that girl. I felt cruel and heartless that I would lock her into this tiny cell for decades because I thought this would protect her. The lump in my heart felt like it was glowing, red hot metal. Mentally I told the girl how sorry I was for doing this to her and that she will never have to be here ever again. I took her in my arms, made the door rip out of its hinges as if I had superpowers and brought her to the surface into the sunlight.
After I finished to describe what just happened my therapist looked at me and said: “Well, I want to welcome Kristine to this world. It’s so nice to have you with us.” It was the first time somebody addressed me as a female.
I ended up a crying mess.
That was such an incredibly powerful experience, it was too much for me. Never underestimate the power of thought. The wall had finally collapsed, the lump in my chest was gone. I promised to never, ever lock that girl in that prison again. I’d rather die than do that.
Kristine was born.