,
Essays
Gender-ization
Honestly, I dont understand how you, white people, can use the idea of making love to insult other people. You dont really know love, and you are afraid of it.
(some Indian chief the name of I dont remember)

There are two stages of the life of Homo sapiens, the difference between these a great one, so that representatives of each tend to think of the other as a separate race/species. Childhood and Adulthood appear to be so diverse that adults seem to have totally forgotten about what it felt like being a child, and children, well, they dont really care about what adults are and think about. The transition between the two, yet another stage, and a remarkable one, adults usually refer to as a difficult or a troubled one. Adolescents usually hate elders and despise kids; both are either too stupid or too removed to understand them; communication here feels like attempting to decode signals from a distant star, for both sides.

The process interweaving, and interwoven in/throughout these stages is that of learning. They say we learn all life long; they also say life is a lesson; you learn it when youre through.

Two distinctly different ways there are of learning that are common with each of the above mentioned species. One, learning from experience, i.e. you touch a hot iron, you get burned, and then you know: (hot) iron is dangerous and should be treated with care; and two, instruction. There are special institutions (schools) where knowledge (bits of information considered socially important) is being IMPORTED into the open minds of children and adolescents. Tuition is a continuous, time-requiring, tiresome and a very specific process. Special patterns and models of information structures are presented to the learners prior to their being taught. Owing to a secret yet unveiled in the DNA pattern of Homo sapiens, a child quickly accumulates massive amounts of knowledge. Remembering is the key to the acquisition of knowledge (which is supposed to be vitally important for ones survival in the world of humans, society). This ability is also being employed by tutors to render information about the world that exists outside the margins of human social structures and experience, however diminishing the realms of it.

Thus we have personal experience and translated experience; I shall, for the time being, abstain from using the same term (knowledge) for the two, and prefer to term knowledge the first, and information the second.

Let us dwell on knowledge now: the child grows up, and learns. It learns that there are many people around, some of them big, some of them little. The moment the child is able to move on its own, exploration takes place on an ever widening scale. The moment communication patterns and means are discovered, the explorer challenges the world (with his/her presence).

One feature of reason, a very useful one, generalization, helps the mind produce patterns of the world; another one, constituent of the binary opposition, is detailization: it helps the mind deconstruct the patterns already built, in this way supplying examples for these.

Generalization says (to the young explorer) there are two types of people which people themselves refer to as boys and girls (male/female, man/woman). Some of the traits proper to each are obvious, some are not; their meaning, however, is to be further explored and apprehended, and various deductions are to be made, some valid, some not. Interest appears to be a mighty engine that works in a variety of ways while exploration is taking place (and exploration is life). Interest makes boys herd together; and so it does with girls. Interest makes boys curious about girls, and vice versa. Interest summons friends, or makes foes. Interest leads, gathers, challenges and sustains; it makes and unmakes, it gives and it takes. Interest also provokes. Interest seeks interesting things (seeks itself?).

What is attainable, comprehensible, controllable, soon loses attractive powers; what is not, calls. One thing there is, for sure, that seems to never lose attractive power: the opposite sex. You try to se it, grasp it, learn it, and possess it, only to fail. You use the means you have, or try and gain, acquire still more means, so you can achieve the goal desired. You try to understand why youve failed or how exactly youve succeeded in winning that small bit. LEARNING. Utilizing ones store of knowledge, one gains more knowledge. Learning is a build-up process: unless you have found your own personal way to apply what you know, unless you use it, you will not be able to accumulate more.

This major field of interest-provoking character, the other (sex), and comprehending it, consumes a great part of the period (stage) of transition between childhood and adulthood: adolescence. Consume it does, because it is an increasing fire that burns inside of the young person. Rivers of hormones flood the body and the mind: they seethe and gurgle; they are the fuel that keeps the fire burning; the fire that consumes.

Meanwhile, a strange and tiresome process is taking place: those, in whom it seethes less or no more, the soothed ones, call it education. A teenager often questions the importance/use of it; rarely is the answer a favourable one (this turns the process of instruction, tuition, teaching into a war).

So great a part of a teenagers time is occupied by this process, that s/he slowly but steadily forgets about the other way of acquiring knowledge. The amount of information presented, gathered, acquired and stored reaches levels so high that it soon, usually by the age of 30-35, outranks, outnumbers, ousts the knowledge previously acquired (or the meaning of it at least). Thus the transition from childhood to adulthood is completed, places are (ex)changed, race/species membership also.

Sex membership, however, remains unchangeable. What changes is the idea, the perception of it, the way it is being comprehended, realized, unveiled

Sex in being, and in being experienced, in belonging to it, in obliging or indulging into it, is GENDER.

I am now wondering if I can clearly recall the process of experiencing, discovering, comprehending (my) sex, which I shall call GENDER-IZATION. It seems to me a strange one the idea that one should be capable of analytically reminiscent flashbacks into ones own life experience(s). Why should the pathway be remembered when one has walked the path?

However, I shall now relate some points/events and their development, as I recall them (analytically), that seem to me to mark the path.

It all started just as any fairy-tale does: with a circumstance the change of/in the conditions of which produces some illuminating of ones own way of comprehending ones own self and ones world. I was 9 when I had to enter hospital for a month-long stay. I used to wet myself at night in bed for a period of 5 or 6 years. As far as I can remember Id started having this since the time I started having migraine: at the age of six. Quite a number of ways of treatment I underwent during those years I took pills, was given injections, and studied with a variety of medical equipment. In vain all these. Headaches persisted; and so did a strange dream, as vivid as a vivid dream can ever be, in which I knew I wanted to go to the toilet, I held myself for some time, and then, eventually, headed for the bathroom; then (in full detail I remember seeing myself) I started peeing: the moment I had let go, I, still within the dream, realized I was not in the toilet, but in bed, but it was all too late. This happened once or twice or 3 or 4 or 5 times a week. I was embarrassed; and worried; and so was my mother. The doctors, pretending and knowingly (knowingly pretending?) prescribed this or that. While in hospital, the stay mentioned above, many things happened: I met my grandfather and knew I had a father different from the one I thought my father was; I found out that this same person, who during my stay visited me every day, was my grandparent, and not a kidnapper or anything (as I then remembered him to have been described to me by my mother, because he used to come in a car to the place where we lived and wanted to see me). That I told him then; and he explained to me, and I understood him. I learned the story of a divorce and of a different family (I did not remember anything because it had happened before I was 2). The thing I do remember from that stay (that I think is connected with my realizing {the starter of} sex and gender, of sex and of the sexual organs) is one of the medical procedures doctors performed on me.

A strange and a painful experiment it was which involved reversion of the urine secretion process (I have no idea how to call it), i.e. they inserted a small rubber pipe into my urethra and let water (or some liquid) flow into my bladder. I had to stay in a dark room with a pipe stuck into my penis, waiting for some machine to start working and for some effect of the procedure to take place. Several minutes felt like hell, but a very cold one, cold on the inside of me. To make it even worse, I had to not let go the urine until some photographs (x-ray I suppose) had been taken, some reactions measured and written down. (Unfortunately I could not always hold it and several times the procedure had to be repeated.) Then I seemed to be getting used to this: the procedure they performed at least once a day for more than two weeks. A memorable thing is also the pain, and the swelling of my penis (I even asked the nurse if something was wrong with it because it hurt like hell): it had never been given such a treatment; hormones had not yet been produced by my glands to make this swelling a natural process. It was later, a year and a half perhaps, before my body had grown up enough as to reach such an experience, and for me to understand that this erection was an artificially produced one.

Thus the sexual drive in me was given a kick-start, for then the swelling persisted time and again: quire rare, though often enough for me to think some damage had been done to me by the doctors. It was about two years later that the sexual drive in me woke up (one does know when something happens by itself, because it has to happen). I had already had the experience, but then I learned it was a natural one, and that it had a name. I knew I could make myself have it (the nurses had shown me while performing the procedure), and it happened and it brought pleasure along. Sexual excitement is when one feels greatly attracted to a person of the other sex (well, not necessarily) and one desires to have sex with that person. I knew nothing of that. Although I had got to know perfectly the male part of the sensation, I did not know what sex was. I had no idea that the man and woman did something together, that there was an intercourse of the sexual organs. Later on, of course, bit by bit, information gathered and combined to make the puzzle of this activity fit together.

Among my friends there were some girls, of course. We were all about 10 of us and we did different things together. Sometimes we, boys, spoke about our organs (not in the presence of girls), or about sex. We used strange, vague words, the meaning of which we did not wholly comprehend, words that felt warm, and hot, embarrassing and awkward, to tangle and utter. We also masturbated; it was weirdly exciting; I knew it was something grown-ups didnt do or discuss. No one seemed to know anything about sex. Such were the late 1980s in Bulgaria: there was no erotica or anything that reminded of it on TV; no books, no magazines. I remember once, I was maybe 12 then, my granny covered the TV screen with her broom because a man was holding a woman and was kissing her. Granny appeared shocked. Of course she had no idea that I had already seen (a couple of times) naked women in films (naked not as in modern naked). I had even seen one of the fellow girls showing to several of us boys, in a hiding place wed built, her pussy. I remember I did not pay much attention to it/her then. Curiosity came afterwards, and I recalled this many times. No eroticism was there in this remembrance, however. It didnt bring any excitement to me. I used to get excited at the thought of getting excited, not at the seeing (or remembering the seeing, or dreaming of seeing a {particular} naked girl). I didnt know about sex; but I knew about agitation. It feels now strange to think of this that way, but so it was.

I had felt aroused, though through a strange manipulation, not normal hormonal attack; and then I learned what this sensation was; and then it started frequenting on me, caused by nature. And still, even after having seen that girl, I didnt think of man and woman as the performers of sex. I simply did not go beyond thinking about this excitement and of what it caused men and women (boys and girls) to do. (The reason here simply that I was obsessed by reading: I devoured books and traveled many places, and was many heroes; sex wasnt part of that: those books didnt have much to do with sex).

I was about that same age when another remarkable event that I consider a part of GENDER-IZATION took place. On a summer night, in the hours shortly after midnight, I was awake in bed because I hadnt been able to fall asleep. I heard my parents talking, and their voices rose, and then lowered and then rose again; an argument of some strange sort was going on. I recall now that it was my mother, who spoke, and she said, in a louder voice every time, and in different words, she did not want to have sex with my father. I dont want to fuck! said she eventually and went out of the room. I started thinking. Hearing this last sentence had shocked me, my mother using this word, my parents talking about such a thing; it struck me, it echoed in my head, and stayed there for a long time. I grew embarrassed, I felt insulted (not knowing why exactly). It was like a sin had been committed, and I was disgusted by the mere thought of it. It all made me angry.

For me this had no connection with sex. I didnt even imagine that people fucked because they were excited. The two were different things for me; and I was mad at both my parents for this accident. Though it may sound absurd now (to me too), at times when I got angry with them for any reason, I thought of telling this story to my primary school teacher, as if this/she would punish them for this. I felt strongly connected with my teacher. I talked to her, we communicated. It was real conversation, piercing and amazing, thorough and illuminating and absorbing. I knew I could talk to her about many things, almost any thing. While thinking about this punishment, I realized I couldnt share this, I realized that people couldnt/were not allowed rather/ to share their thoughts with each other, not those that mattered at least, the ones that troubled them, that stirred and shattered their consciousness.

It was indeed shocking to me that people ought not to talk about the things that concerned them the deepest. It was then that I learned that people of different sorts/status/ had each their own forbidden things to talk about: and it was rather that people made/kept themselves different from each other through the things they didnt talk about together; there were limited areas of discussion topics.I also knew that people were afraid to talk about many things, and that their fears made them as they were.

It was later, I must have been fourteen, when love adventures drew my interest and I adopted a positive view on sexual relations, having, of course, gained some more know-how. It was books of pirates, two novels especially by E. Salghari, and his famous Sandocan character, that started me thinking about women(girls). By that time I did not seem to appreciate my classmates interest in touching girls, or slapping their behinds in the breaks. I remember a class-trip for a week where dates and dances and mid-night rendezvous were a popular occupation and my friends surprise at my lack of interest for their interests. Id rather read my novels and dream of being a cowboy or a noble pirate than chasing girls behinds, which seemed to them the wrong thing to do.

And so I went on doing my wrong things. Moving to a new school, to the English preparatory class of the foreign languages school, I kind of had a crush on a girl from my class since the first day I saw her. It was the first time I actually started wishing for a girls attention. And there we were, three dozens of us, boys and girls together, some already having dated, some having their first dates now, some kissing, some talking knowingly about sex. I, and my wrong things, seemed to stand aside. Music and books and fantasies. The early 1990s were a time when no one, especially in Bulgaria, knew anything (or cared to know) about electronic music which had just started making its appearance throughout Europe and the US. My love for that music was yet another thing that made me different from the rest (of our class), and a mocked at person. The denial of the unknown, unpopular, incomprehensible, turned into an intolerable, insultingly rejected form of existence that I lead: I had nothing in common with my classmates. Thus most of the boys from my class, and many from the other four classes, turned against me, simply for the sake of having an opposition on the background of which to preach their own ideas and, having preached them, to flourish upon their superiority (I had not the physical strength to oppose them, neither the desire to do so, knowing I would be downgrading myself in this way). Girls, accordingly, paid me no attention; our class was the A class in the A school in town, everyone the daughter or son of a director, businessman, lawyer or politician (my father worked in a stone quarry, my mother was a janitor at the time). I didnt really care about them either; I had my music, my books, my dream-worlds, my friends to build rockets or explore mysteries with. I did, however, dream of that girl every now and then; steadily I had even become obsessed with the idea of her, with the idea of love, being loved, and sex: I imagined myself a victorious noble pirate, renounced and insulted by society who gained some super powers from a mighty and omniscient benevolent force and thus won over every enemy, and eventually had the girl, whose name, ironically, was Victoria.

I was in love with her for 3 years, and the only times I dared let her know of this, were at St. Valentines day when I sent her anonymous romantic messages with words Id uttered and pictures Id drawn especially for her. In the meanwhile everyone seemed to be taking advantage of everything: they had girlfriends, dates, dances, attention. I only dared dream, and wish, removed from their world that some day the tables would turn. They rejected me, despised me, mocked at me; perhaps this influenced me in renouncing everything they did or had, or perhaps it was the other way round. I knew the way they behaved wasnt nice, not because I received the effect of it, but because I saw nothing romantic and wonderful, just or glorious in the way they lived. I saw no love, no passion, but simply the desire of an instinct to be given an outlet.

I also dreamt about making love to my beloved one (though having little idea what the process really involved): I went to bed and read books; while reading, or after having finished reading, while falling asleep, I imagined myself going through a variety of adventures, perilous passages, battles and eventual triumphs; and then I had her, and she wanted to be with me too. Sometimes it was more realistic stories that I invented, but the plot underlying them was ever the same: I imagined myself succeeding in what Id failed to do in real life. But which of the two was reality?

In the summer before I was in the 10th grade, things started changing. I finally gave up on the obsessive thought of being with Victoria, and asked another girl out. Then came the first kiss, and the dating. I built up confidence: Id stopped thinking of myself as someone totally unattractive, physically weak (though acute in mind), lacking confidence. Self-pitying imagination gave way to performance: I cut my hair, changed my glasses with a pair of new ones that both fitted my face well and looked fashionable. By that time electronic music had started making an appearance throughout the elite of teenagers, i.e. in my school, the dictator of fashion in town. My classmates no longer ridiculed me because of my music: everyone seemed to be growing up. I started having contacts with girls, that means I was no longer nervous and embarrassed at the thought of (having to) talk with them. Once I even asked Victoria to dance with me, later that same year, in a disco, just to prove to myself that I could do it: that was my first dance (it actually came half a year after my first kiss).

My last year in secondary school was a tremendous success in my popularity (not only with girls). I started wearing contact lenses; I also brought in the new fashion of wearing tight t-shirts and colourful jeans (these all came from the electronic music fashion, it (the music) having set foot on the scene, growing popular with everyone and everywhere), ravers glasses and outfit, dance styles: if you didnt know how, you just had to see/ask Steve! My enemies, the heavy-metal fans and rappers wanted me to give them albums to listen to, especially those by The Prodigy, a group Id been a huge fan of since the 8th grade. Our prom was where I became famous even with those who still didnt know me: I showed up with bleached hair and crazy suit and tie; I quickly became the object of desire for quite a lot of girls, and those who knew me, now started respecting me (even more) because I had dared do something theyd seen in videos up to now. Well, this, some months later, together with the natural envy and evil-tongue-talk, pronounced me a gay, and thus presented before me another aspect of sex manifestation: it started me thinking about why would people almost immediately try and claim someone like me to have the wrong sexual orientation, being strange and dressing in a way they could not quickly adopt. Why would anyone think, and try to make others think, that a boy (man) who wears tight clothes and bleaches his hair should necessarily be gay?

Then I went to the university. It was then, a couple of months after I became a student that I slept with a girl for the first time. I had had a lot of vivid fantasies and some second-hand experience from books or porn films which made the girl doubt that it was my first time, especially after the nights to follow the first one. The reason for this, I believe, is that I really cared about her, and that I had for quite some time been aware of that over-popular and widely-discussed no satisfaction problem common with girls and women. Did size matter, or the pose, or . I knew it was passion that mattered, and passion I had: I had waited for the right time to come, and it did come.

When she left me, I, broken-hearted and despaired, started writing poems and narratives; I also read a book shed recommended to me a couple of months before, a book that illuminated me on many of my unanswered question concerning love, the end of it, sex, the importance of, etc. I found in the face of the writer someone who shared my views, someone who had had the same insights, someone so painfully sensitive that he perceived the world differently, not mass-like, vividly; someone who questioned everything and most of all himself, someone who spoke of the journey inwards and of peace: Henry Miller, and The Rosy Crucifixion, pt. one: SEXUS.

And again writing and reading proved to be my way of knowing and of being. In the meanwhile, tortured by unrequited love, I started questioning the idea of sex with women. I had some gay friends, and I frequently visited a famous gay-club in Varna, the town where I studied then. I was granted access easily simply because of my looks and manner(s) of dancing (it was a private club where rich or famous gay/lesbian audience gathered). I did have a few propositions which I declined, but greatly enjoyed.

I, however, enjoyed wearing what people would sometimes consider strange clothes. I often went to a club wearing make up; I enjoyed this and peoples reaction too. I used to polish my nails in black, put mascara and shades on, lipstick and powder; I also dyed my hair so it is not much of a surprise that people mistook my sexuality. That also used to keep most girls away from me - because now it was the other way round: loads of girls liked me, liked the way I dance, liked to have me around for a chat and so on; I soon grew tired of this. The other sex has never been any more interesting than, lets say, a fine book to read. It bored me how predictable women were and their unpredictability too about what way were they going to react in situations one expected them to react properly. I have never cared about more than one girl at a time; the quantity here seemed to lower the quality (of experience).

And then I met Her the woman who stirs mans whole being. And abyss of eternal questioning and doubt and insatiable desire to (be)hold her, each and every single moment, with each breath I took. The centre of me was shifted. It was as if I had seen a vitally important piece of me somewhere away from me, stealing away from me, slipping away, unavoidably. I became subjected to my own wish to have and possess myself (reflected) in full being; the absence of me was killing me; I went to sleep with the thought of her, and this same though was what woke me up each morning. For three years my world revolved around her: the star I had been in the recent couple of years turned into a miserable planet, or at least such was the way I felt about myself, not the others; they didnt really see anything much different in me unless I started talking. All I said related to her in one way or another; then many among my audience grew concerned about me and my mental health. Depressive moods came one after the other; each lapse was the promise of a mightier wave; each time I burst, like a balloon filled with stardust, producing pages of writing: hundreds of poems and thousands of sheets.

I analyzed my being and knowing and attempting and failure and comprehension and meaning: long minutes, hours, days and weeks I spent exploring and searching, in the Quest for Her. To have and to hold; I knew she was me, an inseparable part of myself. And why did I need her so badly? Why was she the censor of all Id do? What was the meaning of such terrible need? Was there an answer? Why did sex and the sexual drive exist, and the inability of consciousness to withstand the urge of the innate? Why oppose anyway? Sure there was more to it than simply the continuation of the species, thus allowing evolution to maintain its pace. Questions had become grander but ever more vague and incomprehensible/unanswerable/. Why would there be the necessity to control such a drive unless failing to do it meant something, was a lesson one should learn?

The idea of her (I hardly recalled her image while thinking about her) was omnipresent. She was the moment of repose that never came; she was the urge that could never be stifled, the thirst that could never be quenched. Her name, ironically, was Hope (Nadejda).

She seemed to be the completion of a stage the stage of sexual maturity.

I knew about excitement and it ways.

I knew about mental desire (the result of the physical) and the way it changed ones life.

I knew experience and I experienced.

I knew what it really felt to have and not to have.

I questioned reason and sanity and how theyd failed to justify their own existence) as means of control.

I attempted to explore sex and the realm(s) of it: I indulged in sex, I made sex, I wrote about sex; I satisfied completely or completely failed to satisfy; I used and abused.

I knew sleepless nights haunted by the idea of her.

Then she was gone; forever.

All my fools hopes, that Id eventually, in a hundred years if so be it, have her beside me, crumpled. A couple of months later I had a strange accident in which Id lost my conscious perception of the world around me; and went home safely on autopilot with bruised face and blood-smeared t-shirt to the surprise of my brother and friends who had by the time started looking for me. In the morning I woke up clear-minded. As if an imperceptible veil had been removed from my eyes and I could see and judge my being and knowing clearly and consciously.

The months that followed were a golden age of literary creation, enlightened literary creation. (Most poems I wrote are in Bulgarian, and many (readers) have since commented they are excellent, some famous Bulgarian poets including.)

A pleasant sensation that comprehending brings along is that of knowing more and more, until you eventually stop remembering: it is like the story of Einstein not knowing most of the formulae important for his research and studies; to the question why? he answered: and why would I need to know them by heart, I can sure make a reference every time I need to. Whenever I start discussing (with myself especially) a subject of any kind that interests me, I am able to know it; it feels as if I am recalling things Ive never known but theyve, notwithstanding, always been there, within reach. Such is the process occurring anytime I sit down to write about anything, even now. Remember, and a nice word that is too, restore the membership of a detail, fact, etc.

It feels strange, though, being gender-ized. I dont know what word(s) to use to tell the way I feel. Ive had other girlfriends after She was gone; being with them had not been interrupted by the thought of Her. She is no longer the centre of the universe: I am. I used to be, before I got obsessed with the idea of a woman (that many, wrongly, refer to as love); I learned what I am, and why, through letting myself be whatever I felt like being. I simply let go, and letting go is the most difficult thing in the universe, but then it feels so weirdly, mockingly easy, that you let go even more.

I knew there was much more than sexual maturity to be achieved in ones lifetime. With delight it was that I read books (mostly ancient (Indian) ones that tell of ones pathway of enlightenment. Of these I shall but mention the four initial stages only: ones perception and realization of ones own sex (supposed to be accomplished by the age of 7-9), the contrast of sexes (perceived through ones impossibility to withstand the sexual drive and urge); the latter is referred to as finding the woman within (for a man) and vice versa. Many go no further than this, alas, such is the major principle that governs universal matters (one in a million succeeds). Being yourself, man within the woman, woman within the man, a whole being attempting even further wholeness. Then is the rediscovery of the opposite (sex), so the four sides of the binary may fit together to produce the enlightened being that is not ruled by sexual urges, and is thus capable of love

Sure I am having trouble now ending this essay; should it be enough to say that my girlfriend now feels oftentimes awkwardly lacking words to answer my answers. Or perhaps to say that I think of sex only when I am with her, as a need that she has (to be satisfied). I sometimes feel like a sultan with an enormous harem: I can have many (and probably most), but the idea, the need of having is absent; I do, however enjoy and admire the sight of a beautiful woman. Many a time my friend A. and I, we have greatly delighted in having pretty young women around while talking; and when we talk, we talk everything at once, inter-related, common and inter-dependent. I remember the final scene of a French film about Didro (the philosopher): he was discussing matters with a younger disciple of his, the camera slowly moving backwards, showing them on the side of a hot bath, naked; the conversation lasting for 2 or 3 minutes, the camera still retreating, until two young French girls were seen I the water, engaged in an oral business.

Thought is scattered; if ordered, it looses its natural beauty and vividness; thought is capable or reaching thought, knowledge is capable of gaining knowledge, at any time, in any way. Order imposed on thought shall only mutilate it, scatter its limbs and shatter its body, introducing principles. The process of learning leads to knowledge, and knowledge is forgetfulness.