"Are you ready for love?"
It was one of the questions I got asked during the recent interview for the Chilean documentary. I answered it positively, saying that, yes, I am open to experiencing love, even though I also know very well the hazards of exposing oneself in a relationship.
It's a funny question in many ways, though. First of all because it asks you about something undefinable: 'love'. Sure, you can just say that it's affection for someone, strongly enough that you'd want to spend the rest of your life with that person, but that just as well describes friendship. The difference would have to be the complete and total intertwining of your own life with that of another person, which brings us again back to the undefinable something called 'love'.
If love is supposed to be complete and utter infatuation (or milder variants thereof), then I would have to respond that no, I am most likely not even capable of such a thing. Not easily at least. Against the background of decades of loneliness, being an outcast, struggling for recognition, not to mention the sexual and physical abuse and the general harassment, I know that I have the fundamental issue of being unable to trust people in any way, form or shape. I hope that I can trust people, but I know that the average person will easily stab me in the back and forget about me. Or just forget about me without further ado.
I know that I am capable of caring about and for others, much as I took care of the girl I used to live together with for a number of months. Until it turned out that I had been utterly naive in ignoring my own misgivings and those of my mother. Months of physical and mental abuse culminated in me fleeing for my life and losing almost everything I owned.
How to trust people when so many have betrayed you? How do you know whether you can trust someone?
Then there's the whole dating process, i.e. the process of finding a partner (or mate, depending on your view). Generally people are guided by their genes there, with some involvement from their upbringing, spotting a mate, fussing about it, starting the whole awkward dating process, culminating in success or failure. For someone like me whose intellect tends to trump genetic programming, the only way to go about this is to provide a reasoning for why a particular individual would be a compatible partner. At least at this point.
My intellect has been this fortress against the evils of this world, becoming stronger and ever more effective with every strike against my emotional side. If my experiences with intimacy earlier this year are anything to judge by, then this transformation is almost complete already, as I really don't feel anything any more. I can feel my emotional side craving for love and a caring touch, but the forbidding walls erected by my mind in self-defence do not allow such dangerous excursions any more.
In the end it seems that I am not ready for love, yet also completely ready. It's a complete catch-22 as on one hand I crave nothing more than to spend my life with someone I care about more than anything in this world, while at the same time I know that these dark, forbidding defences after decades of trauma make such a thing a laughably tragic undertaking.
If I got medical help with my intersex condition, if I somehow managed to not feel threatened and panicked all the time, if my PTSD and DID didn't rule my life, then maybe, just maybe it could happen.
Truly a fool's errand, it seems.