Coming out and owning my intersexuality

 

Intersex is beautiful

Image source: www.pidgeonismy.name

Human nature is really something else. We are such creatures of habit, so much so that we don’t even realize what it is that we’re doing and often  to ourselves. Throughout our lives we subconsciously become our experiences and as a result become who we are. Both individually and collectively as the human race.  We justify our actions according to a normalcy that has been set by I don’t know who, and when we experience “different” we become somewhat unsettled, sometimes to the point of becoming grieved. And if it’s personal, we begin to unravel.

 

So here I go unravelling…

IMG-20151201-WA0012In 2012 I was diagnosed with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS), a genetic condition which resulted in me being physically female, but genetically male. I’ll spare you the long biology and genetics lecture ( I love genetics by the way – so if I start, I won’t stop) but traditionally males have XY sex chromosomes and females have XX sex chromosomes. Except there are people like myself that can’t be classified as such because I am an XY female. Which begs the question, how do we then define gender? I’m even still trying to figure it out, but I’ve made peace that I may not be able to.

There are a various types of AIS but I specifically have Complete AIS (CAIS). On the outside I look the traditional female, but internally I beg to differ. So I was born without ovaries, fallopian tubes, and a uterus. I was instead born with internal gonads that if I were male, were supposed to develop into testes. Which by the way is one of the hardest thing for me to do, actually call the gonads “testes”. To read more on intersex conditions and AIS check out http://www.isna.org

That being said, let’s get personal. Growing up I never thought  I was any different from my girl friends. I didn’t look or feel any different. Even as the years went by and all my girl friends one by one started their menses. I kept on believing I’ll also start soon. I remember how each time I got stomach cramps I would think “This is the day I become a woman…” I would then go to the bathroom and check but…  DOLOLO (For non SA readers, that’s a common social media term for “nothing”). This happened till my late teens. I remember how I also used to carry a sanitary pad with me just in case… Knowing the cause now I laugh thinking about it. On some occasions I even gave it to my friend who got caught off-guard. I eventually got tired of living in anticipation, I even stopped praying that if I were to start that it may please happen when I’m home and not in public.

Conversations with my girl friends about “that time of the month” during my pre-teen and teenage years were simple, and HONEST. I would just say that I haven’t started yet and move on to listening to my friends experiences with amazement and a non-malicious envy. Further down the line I began to wonder if in fact I was different and to avoid the 21 questions on why I was 18 and why I haven’t yet started. I would just say yes I’ve started  but they’re not painful, because I didn’t want to get caught out by describing a wrong kind of pain. Funny how the older we become we learn to put up defenses in fear of someone looking into your “being” by lying or some other mechanism, and we somewhat lose our sense of honesty.

Fast forward to October 2012, I’m 21 and I still I haven’t started menstruating. Now, even I have been questioning what’s up. So I eventually I go to the doctor.  I went in thinking he’ll tell me “Put on some weight, you just need a bit of fat” or “You have an impeforated hymen and this is what I need to do…” No. Not at all. Instead what I got was. “I couldn’t see your ovaries or uterus on the ultrasound.” To say that was one of the biggest shock of my life is an understatement. The future I had hoped for and thought I’d have flashed before me as I sat there so composed as the doctor went on telling me all the possible reasons why he couldn’t find my uterus and ovaries (I say “my” like I even had them in the first place, LOL – I find it so funny), meanwhile a whole storm took place inside.

I went through all the stages of grief (story for another post), not in a phase but a cycle. However slowly the storm settled and still is, even now some Gale force winds and torrential rain make the occasional appearance. But… I’m okay. Some days more than others. But I’m good.

I sometimes battle finding the right words, but then music comes to my rescue. Like in Yuna’s Rescue

“She thinks she’s all alone and all her hopes are gone and so I wrote this song so she can move along.
Things were bad.
She was in despair.
Things were bad and you were never there, but things were bad, she came up for air.
She said a little prayer, she found herself.
Yeah she’s got light in her face, she don’t need no rescuing she’s okay.
Yeah, she’s got life in her veins, she don’t need no rescuing she’s okay
No S.O.S. needed, no rescuing, she’s fine out there.
No S.O.S. needed, no rescuing, she’s fine out there.
Yeah, she’s got life in her veins, she don’t need no rescuing, she’s okay.She looks into the sky and all her tears are dry she kiss her fears goodbye.
She’s gonna be alright.
Things were bad.
It was beyond repair.
She was scared, she couldn’t handle it.
Things were bad, but now she’s glad.

Can’t you tell that she’s walking on air?

Yeah, she’s got light in her face, she don’t need no rescuing, she’s okay.

Yeah, she’s got life in her veins, she don’t need no rescuing, she’s okay.
No S.O.S. needed, no rescuing, she’s fine out there.
No S.O.S. needed, no rescuing, she’s fine out there.
Yeah, she’s got life in her veins, she don’t need no rescuing, she’s okay.That girl is you yeah and that girl is me, that girl is stronger than the raging sea.
That girl is you yeah and that girl is me, that girl is stronger than the raging sea.
IMG_20160603_001057[1].jpg
Yeah, she’s got light in her face, she don’t need no rescuing, she’s okay.
Yeah, she’s got life in her veins, she don’t need no rescuing she’s okay.
No S.O.S. needed, no rescuing, she’s fine out there.
No S.O.S. needed, no rescuing, she’s fine out there.
Yeah, she’s got life in her veins, she don’t need no rescuing, she’s okay.”
So now I’m in the phase of my life where I’m learning to stop trying to make sense of everything and just exist. I just want to be ME, whoever I may be, without having to justify any part of who I am, or what I want to be. I just wanna be me, I just wanna be HAPPY.
So I’m unravelling… And so far it feels DAMN GOOD.
Advertisements

136 thoughts on “Coming out and owning my intersexuality

  1. Sharon you’re such an incredible human being. I’m forever in awe of your beautiful spirit. Things like these also remind us to always be kind to everyone along the way as we are all fighting some sort of battle. You are this kind person through and through, may God continue using you.

    Also, do you know how funny you are?! I found myself LOL-ing as I read this brave story.

    Go forth and be great Shaz!

    Like

  2. You were my favourite Miss SA contestant! I think you are a truly beautiful women. But it is your strength that is phenomenal and I admire you very much. Accepting oneself and loving oneself is the most liberating thing we can do. Your story will help touch many.

    Like

  3. I love that you’re sharing how you’re not so sure as to exactly what it means right now. I think so often as young people we tend to put so much pressure on ourselves to have it all figured out and that leaves us bound and vulnerable to disappointment because we end up not seeing the beauty of our situations. You’re beautiful, your journey is your blessing and thank you for sharing this.

    Like

  4. What an amazing story. This brings into mind a line from the Marianne Williamson poem/ quote: “As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”

    Like

  5. You are AMAZING SHAZ. You are such a blessing to young people. I pray that God shine His face upon you and be gracious to you. Keep on keeping on Babe…Stay blessed!!

    Like

  6. YOU ARE AMAZING SHAZ. Your strength its just amazing. I pray that God shine His face upon you and be gracious to you..Keep on keeping on Babe…. Stay Blessed! 😊😘

    Like

  7. Eish, I find it hard to believe and accept what I’ve just read here. I never thought this type of condition exists until now. I wonder what the future holds for you Sharon. I pray to God to guide you for the rest of your life. Please be strong, we’ll always remember you in our prayers.

    Like

  8. Wow Shaz! This was so capturing, I couldn’t stop reading. I’m just glad you know the Lord and I know He will be a lamp unto your path. I love what you’re doing.

    Like

      1. Hi Shaz
        Despite everything you manage to remain positive, what an amazing story and great sense of humour. You give me hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
        God’s speed and thank you for sharing.

        Mpho C

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow! This is so real,and personal.
    I truly admire your courage,and honesty Sharon.

    May God just continue to show His glory in your life. Xxx

    Like

  10. It’s not everyday that you get someone sharing their hidden reality, but when someone shares like you did you inspire others, you heal them as eventually they see nomatter how complicated their life’s are, there are people with more complicated situations but they embrace life and celebrate their being. Thank you for providing a platform to comfort others. Please keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s not everyday that you get someone sharing their hidden reality, but when someone shares like you did you inspire others, you heal them as eventually they see nomatter how complicated their life’s are, there are people with more complicated situations but they embrace life and celebrate their being. Thank you for providing a platform to comfort others. Please keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow…am so inspired by this article! Standing by one’s truth is always difficult. But for u to come out and share yr story in this way is beyond brave and amazing at the same time.
    God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s