Listen now (6 min) | Brief bodies and the genderless afterlife
My cancer, and it does belong to me, my body makes it🤷🏼♀️ released the inner strength that comes with the desolving of the "denial of immortality." Petty resentment and regrets for errors I made as a much younger being are now seen as time wasters. I am searching for the deeper calling of who I am. Gender becomes meaningless as a determinant of potential. As does age. Or melanin or country is origin. Or "what do you do?" as a way to pushpin identity. Begone!!! all the artificial lines and first impressions that distract us from deeper knowing if ourselves and each other. Blessings, Andrea.a. and a cyber hug. Your fellow traveler, Cynthia
Oh my gosh yes!!! All of this!! I just finished my last radiation treatment yesterday after a bilateral mastectomy 8/30. Despite that it was cancer, I’ve never been happier in this body--I too firmly believe and often use a similar quote: “I am not a human being having a spiritual experience, I am eternal spiritual being having a temporary human experience.” While I do not feel enby or trans in this life (tho I got a taste of gender euphoria experienced by trans folx when I went from DD to a B cup and finally feel like THIS is how my body should look! 🙌🏼). I know that I have been all forms of genders across many lifetimes and so I honor that by using she/they as my pronouns. I’m she in this life--they to represent all my other selves past and future. You sharing your cancer journey was so inspiring that I too shared my journey (granted with far less reach than you 😆) but the response to that transparency and sharing of *all* the parts of it (even frankenboobs 😆) has been soooo well received by people appreciative to have it demystified, less scary and more compassionate. It has left me, like you, deeply humbled and grateful beyond words. It’s hard for people to understand that breast cancer has honestly added more positives to my life than negatives, but it’s true! So much gratitude--for this life, these experiences and the honor of sharing this time-space reality with humans like you! Thank you. 🙏🏼❤️💗
I love this article, this newsletter and you! I recently wrote a poem in PTDS that speaks to the pain and grief of having to hide inside my skin almost my whole life. I'm most grateful that I finally have the safety to be my most authentic self which is not wrapped up in a specific gender but in full spectrum humanhood. Sending you the warmest sunbeam hug <3
How strange that I never considered that my eternal me might be without gender -- thank you for opening my eyes to this possibility. ❤️🏳️🌈
Andrea, I enjoy your writing so much. You are the most beautiful sunbeam and I am so happy to have a little of your light shine on my day. In regards to gender, when my first child was born I was surprised at how completely genderless their little soul appeared to me. I hope that "the warm chest of infinity" holds you and my little people always. You are pure magic! ❤️ Jenna
Aw yeah, I love this :) My gender has long been in flux, even before I cracked my egg. I did that 9yrs ago, and coming to the end of this year, where I've had a lot of physical and mental health issues (on top of the ones I already had), some part of my brain has still been ruminating on it.
I know that because, after a little dabbling, I changed my pronouns to it/its. Most of the world will never use them for me, but most of the world also never used they/them, even when we asked.
Last week, I added to that as well, the thing my brain had been ruminating on was ready and I told folk for the first time that:
1) I was agender.
2) My gender is beard (because I have a majestic beard and it's just about the thing I love most from the hormones).
3) I am the dot in the gendery version of Jeremy Bearimy.
All those feel right. Maybe they'll change at some point again, but for now they're feeling really good.
I live on TERF island so being all openly transy is...difficult. But I'm safer than many, so while I suck at being an activist type, I try to be a good person, show all of myself, defend others, and I run an account on twitter that specifically plugs trans creators because the more trans joy we can share to the world, the better. We're more than just the bad stuff.
As to after? I have no idea what's coming when I die, but if there is Something, then I plan to shine. Heckin yeah.
Ok, so I just wrote a lot. Andrea your newsletters often open up my brain like this, and I'm grateful for it XD
I was acutely aware of my mortality at 16, a time most teens thought they were invincible.
I have never felt more "me" than with a shaved head, 8 years after begging for one, the neurosurgeon finally listened to me. "Your hair is so pretty, I couldn't!" well, it's gonna fill with fluid and blood and gunk if you don't, so please just shave it. A male surgeon finally said yes, when a female surgeon had said no before.
I was aware of my gender at around 5. My issue isn't with my OWN genitalia or gender expression, it's with society's expectations of women. I have a twin bro and I too wanted to take off my shirt on a hot day, or pee in the woods, dammit! I loved tutus and so did he (I suspect he loved me more than tutus though) so if we shared everything else why couldn't we both do those things too? I've been tossing around the idea of my gender being "this is me and I don't know or really care what you think about it" after a friend told me they were non-binary. It's admittedly easier to do this as an afab person and wear shorts or a suit than an amab person and wear a skirt or dress. But I don't have any dysphoria or such like it.
I paint my canvas of me ("me-vas"?) with sweatpants most days, dresses with pockets on special occasions (who doesn't love a good twirl?) and currently I'm in cuddle-duds and a long sleeve underneath my robe with unicorn slippers. I would hope my spirit is a light yellow, glowing and inviting; a soft and comforting light blue that wraps you up and says "Hi, I'm here for you. If you want to talk, I'm here. But I'm also still here if you don't want to talk too."; and a lavender that is calm in some places and adventurous in others, gently nudging others to consider things a different way they might not have before, and encouraging them to break down mental barriers they built on themselves.
Happy holidays friends, I hope you have a lovely next few days.
Love this line. "Mortality turns 20/20 vision into infinity/infinity vision." 💜
Obvious to me that our inner truth does not belong to either a gender, a land, a religion or whatever... I know we often feel we need labels to experiment the sense of belonging. But as you clearly wrote, all that matters is love. Loving yourself and so loving others' selves without projecting anything on them nor on you. We think it's a hard way to be free. But it requires to be as naked as a baby, as close to death as to life. Because nothing is separate, only is it on our minds, but not on our hearts. Thanks for you kind words that open for larger views and bigger feelings.
I've been exploring genderless and genderful for a few years. Most days, I don't feel connected to my body...dissociation has become like breathing...I rarely remember organs and limbs are attached to my thoughts unless something breaks on slide down an icy hill. Then, my body shows up yelling for help as I attempt to explain gender questions with a binary choice on medical intake forms.
I listened to Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting and she said something about how you can’t love your children any more than you love yourself. I have always put lots of conditions on myself to be “okay,” but that made me pause and realize I’m gonna have to get squishy and awkward and gushy for myself if I wanna love my kids as unabashedly and completely as I hope to. And my current MO is to fake it til I make it; ie performing self care even if I don’t feel like I “deserve” it, and figuring out what kind of clothes I like vs just seeking approval by meeting gender norms.
These words came at just the right moment to offer balm to my weary heart. This week I have been nursing my dear sweet partner through knee surgery. Although the nurses and doctors treated it as the routine procedure we hoped it would be before he went under we had a deep eyeball lock that spoke the eternal words of I love you, all of you. Gratefully he’s on the other side and I get to bring ice packs, copious liquids and snacks, proper jokes, and occasional side eyes as recovery commences. Not to many years ago I was the recipient of such care. I went into surgery multiple times for what started as kidney stones, then appendix “sludge” (the weirdest medical term I’ve had passed along to me) which ended in cancer. I removed the “sludge” plus my ascending colon. Becoming one of the great many humans who gave a couple organ sacrifices in exchange for more days. For which I have been cancer free for 5 years. I live with chronic pain that makes some aspects of living hard yet so different thank before. Your reflections upon mortality gave me the gift of remembering the days I went under and received the same long eye gaze that said I love you to infinity and beyond (as buzz light year intended his toy story catch phrase to be used for). I’m tired tonight. This genderful view into a genderless becoming landed me back in remembering the view from glimpses of beyond the “chop wood and carry water” aspects of human hood. The places I sat more directly before and after crossing the threshold of looming mortality. I have no control over how I die but so much influence on how I love and live. Andrea I just read/listened to three of your news letters at once and did it backwards as my queer dyslexic brain does most things. What I feel left with is the invitation to remember we are already free. Loved like a child beheld by their grandmother on deaths door.
Thank you, I’m more buoyant in my exhaustion.
Thank you....love this and your insights....
Thanks for sharing this. ❤️
Appreciative of the unique perspective you are offering here.