At CREDO we did a “lifeline exercise” which was to help us summarize our life story so that we could share it with a few other people. As I reviewed the pivotal events of my life, it struck me that each of them was influenced mightily by my physicality. In other words, if you were to change who I am physically — my gender or my size — each of the pivotal events would shift, and my whole story would change.
The fact that I am a woman has made me vulnerable in ways that a man is not usually vulnerable. While I’ve always known this intuitively (perhaps every woman does), it struck me with new force as an unchanging part of my story.
In the past week I have been having a disagreement with someone at church. This person has a very different physicality from me: he is a man, a big man, a man who physically dominates a room. He has probably never experienced the kind of vulnerability that I have experienced. As interactions between us play out, I can’t help but realize that if you were to change who I am physically — my gender or my size — each of the interactions between us would shift and whole story would change.
In fact, I wonder if he would fight against my “power” in the way that he does if I were male, or larger. Perhaps the conflict between us is heightened because he perceives that I should not be in power over him.
I fear that if I were to try to express these perceptions, I would be labelled overly sensitive, overly emotional, and/or unprofessional.
But really, I just want to live in the skin God gave me and stay conscious.