Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Being Authentic

 So, after yesterday's rant we shall resume normal service.

I like Blogs, not just my own but those of my friends as well. Some are real friends, friends I meet up with and share a coffee or a pint with, some I've only met once or twice, and some (like Stana and JJ) friends I've never met, but would like to. One of my friends who falls into the first category has just started a fascinating blog, I strongly recommend a visit to "I am Kim" there is some serious stuff there, well written and poignant.  

Another Blog I follow, Cyrsti's Condo sparked a train of thought this morning, a train of thought that has ended up with this post. Like me Cyrsti is a fan of a rather masculine contact sport, in her case American Football, in my case Rugby Union. I have recently renewed contact with my old club here in Croydon, I am enjoying the rugby I've seen  even though it's very different from my playing days. 

He's still part of me somewhere
I played for my club over about 25 years ~ sure I had a few years out for injury (that's another story) but it's still a long time. I played for every team including the under 16s and the veterans at one time or another and captained all of them except the first team. It is undeniably my club, and rugby is undeniably one of my passions. So why, I ask myself did it take me so long just to go there and watch a game? 

Certainly part of it was fear, not of physical abuse, but of what sort of reaction I might get from my old team mates, or indeed the current active club members. Part of it was also down to being so busy all the time. Rugby tends to be played on Saturdays, so do concerts and since I stopped playing rugby I have been a lot more active in playing music. Some of it may also be competition with higher level matches being shown on TV, as I wrote here the Six Nations in coming up ~ that means a LOT of rugby to watch.

Just as authentic
While all of this is true, I wonder if what I was really frightened of was betraying my hidden masculinity. I spent the first 50 years of my life hiding my femininity, being very "Macho" and positively butch. Playing prop forward was possibly the ultimate expression of my masculinity. To go back and watch the very club I played for must force me to remember, to display my still present masculinity. In trying to blend so much as a woman, was I hiding who I used to be.

As transgender people we talk a lot about being our authentic selves, well, I now have to come to terms with there still being a rugby fan in that authentic self, and that everything I am now, is the sum of all of my experiences. I can't just throw away and deny those first fifty years, they are part of who I am now. So instead I am now choosing to celebrate them, rejoice that I had chances that most women my age never had, and rejoice that some of those chances are now open to young women when they weren't then.

To be my authentic self I have to embrace my old self as well as the new, it's all part of who I am today!

Putting that old photo up (the first time I've shared a photo of him)is part of my rehabilitation process, I no longer choose to hide who I was, just as I had to choose to show who I have become.


Jessica said...

I was very struck by the title of your post. The truth is that I have often wondered if I have been authentic. I always come to the same conclusion: yes I have been. Having had the courage to recognize and accept my feminine side does not make my masculine side disappear. I am the result of mixing both parts so whatever came out of that mix, that is the authentic me.

Cyrsti Hart said...

Wow! That is quite the photo from your past! Are you the one in the middle?

Paula said...

Not the one in the middle, even though later in my rugby career I did end up as a hooker

Emma de said...

I really appreciate your post. Partly from the fact you played in the serious business end of the rugby field, I was in the backs on the wing and full back as I was very fast and slim. I would never have wanted to be in the scrum. As someone who has just opened up to who I am I also appreciate the step in sharing both sides of the coin, if that description fits? It holds for me as I can’t see both sides at the same time and I know which side I prefer. It just feel like luck of the draw from the start placed me on the wrong side of my coin.