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Author Topic: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?  (Read 765 times)

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Online Sephirah

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To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« on: October 18, 2013, 04:33:13 pm »
Hi, folks. Me again.

After reading some of the threads here recently, regarding indicators in people's pasts which led to a sort of epiphany... a question has been gnawing at me to which I would appreciate some insight, and people's views.

I don't know how easy this will be to answer, though, since it's largely hypothetical. Nevertheless:

Suppose on the day you found yourself, you woke up with amnesia. Your life up to that point was a total blank. You had no memory of your childhood, adolescence... you knew absolutely nothing of who you were while growing up. No memory of what you did or didn't do up to that point... do you think you would you still feel the same way you did when you decided that you are the way you perceive yourself to be?

If so, what is it about you from that point onwards which makes you feel that way?

If not, why not?

Past aside, what is it now which drives you, which affirms you are who you are?
"I mean, do you ever really know you're friends with someone if you haven't survived an argument? Friendship is so much more. Like family. Family argues from time to time." ~ Nero.

Offline EmmaS

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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2013, 04:46:00 pm »
This took me a little while to ponder before answering, thank you for asking it first off because I think it allows us all to reflect on ourselves in a slightly different way.

For me it wasn't an epiphany so much as a slow acceptance of myself over a period of time. I think if I were to wake up with amnesia and without any recollection of my past or who I am exactly, then I think I would look to those around me for guidance about "who" I am exactly and why. I think it would take some time as well for me to fully grasp the concept of who I am individually as well, but I think it would take less time this time around to accept it because somewhere in my subconscious it would still be there(I assume).

I look at this question as one I would have to answer at three different times to get the full answer though; at pre-transition, during transition, and far past the transition stage because I think the effect of amnesia would cause a different insight for each of these times. For example, as living as a male full time and if no one knew I was planning on transitioning, then having amnesia would be a major setback in my opinion for transition because there wouldn't be that super obvious indicator of transition. Eventually those feelings would still redevelop and it would cause turmoil and depression, but I believe it would take some time, sort of like growing up did initially. Versus post transition, you would wake up as your ideal gender and although you may not remember your childhood or your initial sex it wouldn't matter because you would be happy.

So I'm not sure if this reflection is what you were looking for at all, but that was my take on the question at least. I would love to read others thoughts on it too.

Emma

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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2013, 05:02:43 pm »
I wasn't really looking for anything specifically, hon. Just interested to see what people think.

Thank you very much for such a complete answer. I was curious because often times I read about how several incidents in a person's past lead them to the realisation of who they are. And were those incidents unable to be drawn on, how, if at all, would that change the feelings someone has about themselves. I guess really what I'm asking is how much of how we feel is anchored in the past, and how much on how we feel in the present?
"I mean, do you ever really know you're friends with someone if you haven't survived an argument? Friendship is so much more. Like family. Family argues from time to time." ~ Nero.

Offline EmmaS

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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2013, 05:11:50 pm »
Okay, I understand what you are asking, by using the amnesia scenario we can compare losing the past information we have about ourselves and remaining onto the present information about ourselves and using only to determine how we would view ourselves. I find that really hard to reflect about because I've used past information about myself to help motivate my transition; like praying to God when I was very little to wake up a girl on several occasions. Then again, if I didn't have my past, I wouldn't have the memories of all those years as a male and therefore it wouldn't be so hard to believe that I am truly a female. I wouldn't have all those failed romantic relationships as a male to look on and ultimately I'm not sure if not having that information would push me faster to transition or deter it all together. I have several key people in my life that encouraged me to transition and helped me ultimately get to where I am now, and what if that past was taken away as well? It's really fascinating to think how different we could be if we didn't have our past at all. I know this isn't really an answer, but there are some of questions that came to mind concerning how I would start answering that hypothetical situation at least.

Offline Robin Mack

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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2013, 05:56:57 pm »
Hrm... I am going to use my imagination here to get to the core of me and what I feel about myself.  I hope you don't mind if I make some assumptions about the situation in order to reveal the heart of me.  :)

I imagine, in this scenario, that I am alone with my feelings and my thoughts, without social pressures.  I would awaken largely hairless (I shave pretty much everywhere, meticulously) and that might puzzle me for a bit, but I think I would determine, based on physical evidence, that I was in a male body.  The reason I say it that way is because I've always felt that what makes me "me" is very separate from the body that contains me.  I think this would be disappointing to me, but that absent my life's experience with doubt and confusion and socially imposed gender restrictions that I would be happier about this than I am now.

I would be confused, and would likely start to search for clues about who or what I was before suddenly appearing, knowing that I couldn't have just sprung into life as a grown adult.

I hope that I would laugh more and appreciate the beauty of life around me without the filters that jade my grownup vision.  I believe I would dance and sing, celebrating life and everything around me.  I might yearn to have different parts, but I believe I would be a lot happier than I am now, since I would have no memory of the painful exclusion and hiding that marks the vast majority of my life to date.

I imagine that, on being discovered, it would appear to my discoverers that I was a joyful, loving, enthusiastic person displaying the unfettered freedom of emotional expression of a woman in a rather lanky male body.

Offline Cindy

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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2013, 06:45:35 pm »
Interesting timing Sephirah!

I was asked yesterday to present at a retirement symposium for my long term mentor and a Scientist of great note in Australia. We have known each other for >30 years, and in doing this I realise that I will have to revisit a past that I have extinguished, and face people I never expected to face again. Including fellow students etc from the past.

So how does that fit into your reflection? In thinking of what I shall talk about, I became very aware that my life started a few years ago when Cindy faced her life and went public. With each passing month I struggle to recall who and what Peter was and how he fitted into life and society. Yes I have the documented proof that he lived, worked, published etc. But my grasp of his reality and his Id are increasingly poor.

I find my life in anchored in my every day reality, my nature has changed from his and my work interest and intensity -and passion, have changed.

I feel very little link to him, and I have noticed that I am increasingly unable to draw on his life to live mine. I was asked by a colleague if I was still doing a few (specific) interests that my previous self enjoyed, and I realised that I did not. Even my taste in literature, Art and food has changed.

Do I draw on his experience? I was suddenly going to say yes; but I hesitate. I was going to say that I still draw upon his ability to talk in public, to address conferences and lecture to large numbers of students; an experience and 'skill' that many people find daunting.

But I realised that even those techniques have changed. I'm far more assertive, confident and motivated in public speaking and activity than he ever was.

So if I understand your epiphany; no I am not the same and no I do not draw upon his past and his life. However, I'm increasingly puzzled by questions that are now arising in where my life has been drawn from.

It is almost a case of when you are asleep are your dreams the real you, if so who are you when you awake?

Thank you for giving me something to ponder for the weekend!!!

Hugs
Cindy
What can I say, let your spirit fly. Love you Hon. (Nero 1979-2014)

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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2013, 12:23:03 am »
Thank you all for your replies. You have given me a lot to think about, too.

I wasn't sure where I was going with this, but I think I have a somewhat clearer idea now. Emma, you pretty much summed up a lot that was running through my mind, about how people use events of the past as an indicator of what the future needs to be.

Robin, thank you for your thoughtful insight. You touched upon what I think the core of this thread was about. Namely how one would feel about themselves now, and if that would be any different to how one feels about themselves with all the past experiences in tow.

Cindy... somehow you always manage to sum everything up beautifully in a single sentence.

It is almost a case of when you are asleep are your dreams the real you, if so who are you when you awake?

This is the crux of it. It's really very interesting, and beautiful to see how you're blossoming now, and feel distanced from the life you had. The person who you feel more and more distanced from. I wonder if that's because you allowed yourself to live unconstrained from the past, and sought new experiences by which to define yourself, and your life.

This is really what I wonder, perhaps more than anything. Often times I read of people who say "I am who I am because I knew that this, and that, and the other about my former life was wrong. Because I couldn't deal with having to live as something I'm not." I wonder if those past experiences have shaped or defined the individual, and to what degree.

And by the same token, I wonder how much of one's life is reactive - a response to things that happen to us. And how much of it is proactive - a desire to make things happen to us.

If the ability to search the past to work out what wasn't right... if that were unavailable... what would people see in their own lives as they are now, and in the future, which would make them say "I am who I am because I know that this, that and the other in my life now is right."?
"I mean, do you ever really know you're friends with someone if you haven't survived an argument? Friendship is so much more. Like family. Family argues from time to time." ~ Nero.

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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2013, 04:05:26 am »
Are we, today, just the sum total of our experiences?
Products of our environment?
Or perhaps shaped by our genetic legacy?

I'd like to think that I am more than the effect caused by continued, various stimuli.  I'd like to think I have some control of events and that I can make the changes I seek.  That suggests free will and the ability alter what must otherwise be fate.

The past does not matter.  The slate gets wiped clean every day and I am reborn.

Offline Ms Grace

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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2013, 04:17:17 am »
I was wondering a similar thing today except in regards to Alzheimer's - as it gets worse the memory crumbles away to early childhood. I had been wondering if there were any trans people who had gone through transition and SRS and then some years later fallen prey to this horrible condition. Would it conflict with their memory of their youthful physical body or would it give them some degree of relief? (Yes, I think too much!)
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Offline Cindy

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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2013, 04:18:36 am »
Sephirah,
As I hope you know, I love you deeply for many reasons, but one is the ability you have to make people (me) think. You are truly a mirror to the soul. It comes out in your posts.

What are we?

Are we the sum of our experiences, or do our experiences create us without the sum of the past?

For me Peter was my shield, he protected me and looked after me in so many ways. Is he .. was he me and did I grow from him, or was I the creation that used a figment to protect me from the world?

Recently I read the Book of Enoch a religious text that describes the fall of the Angels. It is ancient and not included in the Bible, it is referenced in the Torah. But I think too 'close to the bone' for modern religious teaching.

In synopsis, the Angels who were cast out from Heaven took up Human form, and enjoyed Human experience - sex with woman seemed to be rather dominant for some reason :o ::). But they then walk the Earth, hiding their identity behind that of Human form, with the terrible misfortune to be immortal and to have known God.

But they kept their identity and their understanding of that identity.

This suggest that the Ancients also understood the concept that people have always had an understanding that presentation and reality in (of?) presentation are fundamentally different.

Are we then so different? Or are we just humans who have to face our reality? Of course most people do not need to face those thoughts, it is only those who face the dichotomy of a previous life that need to examine the reasons why.

Yes I am proactive in living my life, but why do I do so?

Yes Cindy's life is of overwhelming importance to me, Peter's life means nothing. Is this survival or growth?

I don't know, and thank you for making me think of it.

Cindy


What can I say, let your spirit fly. Love you Hon. (Nero 1979-2014)

Offline Northern Jane

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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2013, 05:09:19 am »
Suppose on the day you found yourself, you woke up with amnesia. Your life up to that point was a total blank. You had no memory of your childhood, adolescence... you knew absolutely nothing of who you were while growing up. No memory of what you did or didn't do up to that point... do you think you would you still feel the same way you did when you decided that you are the way you perceive yourself to be?

That scenario isn't far off of what actually happened!

I had identified as a girl from 'the beginning' and it took reality 8 years to put any serious cracks in that identity. Even then it wasn't broken but it was severely shaken through my teens as I struggled to find (medical) help to be fully ME. In 1974, at the age of 24, SRS suddenly became available and it was a mad rush to get my ducks in a row. I got thrown out of my parents house and banished from my home town, moved to a new city, and went off for SRS. In a matter of a few weeks everything past was left behind and I was standing at the threshold of an entirely new life, a blank slate.

I was 24 and knew that I knew NOTHING about life as a woman and didn't even know who I was. Even my time en femme in my teens didn't prepare me for that moment. All I knew was that the battle was over, the crap I had lived with my whole life was gone, and I was free to  discover the world and myself in the process - I had been liberated from Auschwitz! I had always felt I was a girl and now I WAS ONE.

It felt strange to have no past and a future as yet unwritten but it was the first time in my memory that I felt peace and that I felt complete.

[It didn't take long before I began discovering who I was and I was continually amazed at how different I was that I used to think I was. I was pretty much polar opposite to who I had been before and took to my new life like a duck to water. I was more than I ever thought I could be! Even now, almost 40 years later I simply can't imagine how I ever had any doubt.  ;D When I look back on my childhood and my teens from this place in my life I can clearly see that I dealt with that  life (pre-SRS) very much as a young girl in a very tough and confusing situation. It was always there, just very much "bent, folded, spindled, and mutilated"! LOL!! ]

Offline learningtolive

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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2013, 08:39:47 am »
Hi, folks. Me again.

After reading some of the threads here recently, regarding indicators in people's pasts which led to a sort of epiphany... a question has been gnawing at me to which I would appreciate some insight, and people's views.

I don't know how easy this will be to answer, though, since it's largely hypothetical. Nevertheless:

Suppose on the day you found yourself, you woke up with amnesia. Your life up to that point was a total blank. You had no memory of your childhood, adolescence... you knew absolutely nothing of who you were while growing up. No memory of what you did or didn't do up to that point... do you think you would you still feel the same way you did when you decided that you are the way you perceive yourself to be?

If so, what is it about you from that point onwards which makes you feel that way?

If not, why not?

Past aside, what is it now which drives you, which affirms you are who you are?
 

I can't answer this.  My past experiences define who I am, yet I also have always have had an internal sense of self that was independent of external forces.  How I would develop without my past is impossible for me to know.  Did my jealousy of other girls stem from being raised and socialized by two sisters? Did my playing dress up and wearing make up early in life with my sister cause me to desire something else than other "little boys"?  Did having exclusively female friends in kindergarten create a secret gender association in my head? Did my genital defect cause me to further separate from a male identity?  All these things are possible and may have contributed.  I can't erase the past nor can I discount the important role it played in my life.  But, there was always an innate feeling that I can't describe which made me feel this way.  I've always knew what I wanted, but didn't know it was possible to get there.  How much of that was internal or biological is impossible to guess.  I suppose the is probably both a nature and nurture aspect to my overall identity.  At the end of the day, I am who I am.  There is no way to undue me or the past and the only way to proceed is moving forward.

I'm curious Seph, what about you?  I want to learn about the elusive inspiring mod. :)

Offline suzifrommd

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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2013, 08:46:35 am »
I can't imagine who I would be without my experiences. When I think of little decisions I made that changed the course of my life in huge ways, I know I would have turned out to be a vastly different person had any one of a million things have swayed in a different direction.

And if I  had been born into a non-accepting household and taught that certain thoughts were sinful, would I have rejected my own transgender and ended killing myself? Entirely possible.

Three weeks ago I was at a dinner party. The host put mild banana peppers on the salad. They were so delicious that I've been putting mild banana peppers on just about everything since then. My daily sandwiches are now far more enjoyable. I almost didn't go to that party.

Just one minor example.

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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2013, 01:06:28 pm »
Interesting question, and indeed answers.

If I may interlope and digress for a moment, in one way of course I can’t answer this, because I’m so far down the track that if I woke up with amnesia all I’d see was a mature woman who has been unambiguously a woman for almost all of her adult life and thus there is no conflict.

However – going back to early life when my genitalia were different, it was simply the fact that my genitalia never felt physically “right” to me. I can’t exactly describe it, because it wasn’t pain, and indeed though there was some very minor malformation, it wasn’t really that extensive or significant. I was only partially androgen insensitive, so it wasn’t gross deformation either.

I’m not that bothered about all the gender stuff, I don’t do makeup or all the girly frippery. However I’m actually quite feminine in my habits and personality. I’ve been a mother, and as my fellow students would tell you, I’m often the sympathetic ear, with the hot mug of homemade soup to comfort the weary. I’m also happy with a lot of the masculine attributes that I have, like slightly larger frame size, and more powerful voice, and I have always used them to good advantage. I admit that it may have helped a little that none of my attributes was ever really outside of the potential female range so I never had issues with being misgendered, but in the end it still boils down to the simple fact that I just didn’t feel right having a penis. There was nothing else wrong.

Bloody good job I was never subjected to your fabled standards of care tests because how could I have meaningfully “transitioned” or done an RLE, when I was already the person I am, in pretty much all but my genitals?

Point is, from the age of five I was allowed to I grow up as me – and so there wasn’t any real dissonance, beyond the genital one, and that was the only thing I have sought to correct. Yes I take HRT, and yes I had genital surgery around 30 years ago. The rest of me was, and remains, very much business as usual.

Now I have to say that I am fascinated by Trans people because I kind of feel that I came so close to being one, but somehow dodged the bullet, so that I can’t ever fully comprehend what it feels like.

When I qualify as a doctor I wont be treating gender patients because I don’t trust myself to be sufficiently objective, but I am fascinated by the more general idea that in some way important aspects of our identity may be hardwired into our brains, before anything happens to us, as indeed mine seemed to be.

... and now I must return to my study of Anatomy and enervation - which penning this reply has proved an enjoyable diversion from.

I shall read your further answers, from my seat in at the edge of the field, with fascination, and thank you for sharing.

Offline Nero

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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2013, 01:09:58 pm »
do you think you would you still feel the same way you did when you decided that you are the way you perceive yourself to be?

Do you mean gender-wise? If I woke up now with no memory, I would probably why the hell I was a guy with a <certain genital arrangement>. But I would probably wonder if was born that way and had some kind of intersexed condition or if I heard about ftm transsexuals, I may wonder if I was one of them.
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Offline Shantel

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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2013, 01:38:00 pm »
That's a tough one for me to answer, because it was a series of former events and experiences that brought me to the place I am at now. So more then likely if I awoke from a coma with no memory I would take stock of myself and then be compelled to continue on in the direction that I have been headed as there is no possibility of returning to whatever my former self was just based on physiology alone. I'd probably continue to be the same two people that I currently am with the femme side taking precedence, probably more so than before.

Offline Amelia

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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2013, 06:57:32 pm »
Suppose on the day you found yourself, you woke up with amnesia. Your life up to that point was a total blank. [...] do you think you would you still feel the same way you did when you decided that you are the way you perceive yourself to be?

I wouldn't say I had an "epiphany", per se. It was more long and drawn out process. A bit hard to explain.
As long as I've been alive, I've felt as I do now. The collections of memories and the constant feeling of dysphoria throughout my life eventually brought me to the realization

If I lost my memory when I was finally sure of who I was, it would be a setback. That doesn't mean I won't come to the realization again, but I would have to go through that long process of finding myself all over again. And I probably would, because it's kind of a hard thing to ignore, at least for me it is.

It's kind of like, if we destroyed all scientific knowledge regarding the atom. Even though all memory of it now is lost, we're bound to discover it again in the future. It would just be a setback and would take time to recover from.

If you're asking me if I would still know for sure after my amnesia, then the answer is no. Like I said, it would be a setback. But I would probably come to the realization much quicker, after checking my search history and my diary...
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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2013, 09:25:43 pm »
If I had no memories of anything... about myself OR the world I live in, then it would probably take me a long time to come to realization that I was TG again. Probably not 25 years, but more than a few years I'm sure.

If I just had to memories of me, but wake up with my current understanding of how the world works, how gender and bodies are conceived by society, then it might not take me so long. Maybe a few months to remember how my body feels. That's assuming that I continued my medication regimen upon waking-- having periods would remind me even faster. Knowing what sex is and partaking in it would remind me faster too.

I would essentially have to re-absorb all of the images, feelings, and themes that have built up what I've constructed as my gender, and what that means in terms of my body. I might have a very diffuse, inexplicable feeling of something being off, but I wouldn't know what it was until I had a sufficient library of external symbols and representations to form a point of reference. Without that, my discontent is pretty formless. It would be like asking a FtM the question of whether they would want a penis if they'd never seen or heard of one in their life before, let alone never seen or heard of a "man" before. I'm sure the dysphoria would still be there, but it would be a lot harder, if not impossible, to completely pin down.

Offline LordKAT

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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2013, 09:26:34 pm »
I thin it would end up the same, knowing who I am but then getting confused as to why other people didn't know me.






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Re: To wipe the slate clean - what do you see?
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2013, 10:05:31 pm »
Hi, folks. Me again.

After reading some of the threads here recently, regarding indicators in people's pasts which led to a sort of epiphany... a question has been gnawing at me to which I would appreciate some insight, and people's views.

I don't know how easy this will be to answer, though, since it's largely hypothetical. Nevertheless:

Suppose on the day you found yourself, you woke up with amnesia. Your life up to that point was a total blank. You had no memory of your childhood, adolescence... you knew absolutely nothing of who you were while growing up. No memory of what you did or didn't do up to that point... do you think you would you still feel the same way you did when you decided that you are the way you perceive yourself to be?

If so, what is it about you from that point onwards which makes you feel that way?

If not, why not?

Past aside, what is it now which drives you, which affirms you are who you are?


Speaking from my point of view.I wont suggest that who i am can be changed by the mere fact that my memories were erased.Because of what i know about myself,who i am and also knowing that i simply grew up in the pits of hell *so to speak*,I would say that my past and memories do not drive me or have any effect on that drive (aka drive to continue/proceed/make it to the end of the road).If past aside,what drives me is a feeling of wholeness and existence.A better way to put it is like giving birth and during,you suffer alot of pain,losing most of your strength-just to see a human being coming to existence.I can either stop pushing,and allow the pain to grow more and more,constantly drained to near collapse or,i can see it through.And i have every intention of seeing it through and i know that once i do,the old will pass away with peace and strength and the new,will stand tall and complete.I honestly do not believe that my existence is based on the way i *see myself* but the way *i am* myself.As if one knows they are human,i also know who i am and it just took me 30 years to be so.So i know that the outcome would be the same.I guess what i mean is,is that-if we could all rewind time and go back to our birth,we may be born with a different skin tone *depending on our bloodlines.aka giving dna a rejiggle* but who we are will not change,no matter how many times we rewind.And with that,i dont believe anything would turn out differently (speaking of myself of course) I take the things i have went through in my life as learning and (as a fave saying of mine) part of the *refining process* like hot metal being melted down,hammered and shaped.But in the end,coming out sharp,beautiful and deadly.And even if i could change all the things i know now,the things i have went through and all the pain i have dealt with.I would NEVER do it.Thats why i believe things would turn out the same.
All Thing's Come With A Price...

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