When I was 10 years old I went through a very long phase fascinated with “Planet of the Apes.” I loved the movies, the (short-lived) TV show, the animated version. I bought toys and trading cards, and even spent a fair amount of time writing what would now be called “fan fiction” in the form of movie and TV scripts.
This was a somewhat irrational passion, and I bring it up because I’ve noticed similar irrational passions in my kids. These are not things that I want them to stop, but they are things which I don’t share and don’t really understand (also, ironically, involving toys, trading cards, TV shows, and even the writing of fan fiction).
This brings two things to mind. First, we are who we are, and pretty much right from conception. Whatever it is inside us that gets tweaked by these interests (irrational or otherwise) was there from the beginning just waiting to be tweaked. The specific passion matters less than the fact that we discover and become ourselves by understanding what tweaks us and going with it (or not). This is nothing less than the process of probing our own genetic predispositions and understanding them by what sticks.
Secondly, I can no more change my own interests and passions (irrational or otherwise) than I can those of my children. Their whole personhoods are brought to the things which engage them, and there’s no way — short of something abusive — that I could ever do to change that. And, annoying as they can sometimes be, I would never want to take away their passions. Likewise, my whole personhood is brought to the things which engage me, and it’s not right to try and suppress that.
So what do these little realizations let me do? They let me forgive myself for being born transgendered. Even if something in my environment caused the spark, the fuel for that particular fire was within me when I was born. I discovered it through the probing of my own genetics — which was just the living of my life! Even if I tried to disavow myself of these notions, nothing — short of self-abuse — can change this (or any other) passion.
My passion for “Planet of the Apes” passed after a few years (though I still pull the movies out from time to time for a trip down memory lane — and I still love them every time), but my passion for my own femininity has not passed. It has grown stronger and more integral to who I am as I have matured. Keeping it in a cage has short-circuited my ability to reach my own personal wholeness, bordering on self-abuse — albeit mild and comprehensible.