Let’s face it, the majority of the words we live by are given to us, with varying degrees of force, by people who want to control us, make us conform to their concepts of how we should live. They are thrown at us all our lives, if we let them.
Childhood, of course, is a time where others first tell us what words to live by. Usually along the lines of “Don’t do that.” We get conditioned by the words to conform to the norms and mores of society. I think that leaves many of us appearing very conventional on the outside and seething on the inside.
It continues as we embark on adult life: “Be responsible”, “Be dutiful”, “Conform to our rules”, “Don’t rock the boat”. These are still words that others want us to live by and are catnip to the old style stiff upper lip British way of viewing life. It’s a world that wants to farm us in various ways, we’re a crop and are expected to be compliant in our conformance and impotent helplessness as pieces of us are stolen and we’re showered in fertiliser in an attempt to raise the crop yield. Don’t conform and be prepared to wither.
And the rage inside continues to grow, our capacity for independent thought and action frustrated by how we’re kept inside our boxes. Made to think we’re alone in that rage and that everybody else is happy and content.
And the bitch of this is that you get mesmerised into believing that this is what you want, this is who you are meant to be. How long can you contain that internal seething ? All your life !! Is the answer for so many people.
I spent so long trying to ignore that inner rage, living by the weasel words because there seemed to be little alternative.
The male mid-life crisis can be an object of humour and gentle ridicule, perhaps not thought to be a real thing. It can be buying a sports car, or running off to create “Family 2.0” as a former boss once described his manic departure to the Philippines that led to the business failing and leaving 30 of us seriously out of pocket and work.
However, I think it is very much a genuine thing. There’s a point where the internal question of “Can I continue with duty and responsibility and ignore what’s inside ?” becomes all too tempting to answer “No !” The rage wants to be let out.
I don’t think it a coincidence that this is a time in life when many transgendered come out. We may have had to clamp down more than most on that inner rage and like a shaken coke bottle it has a tendency to explode when opened.
The last four to five years have caused my outlook on life to change completely and it continues to do so. Who I am and what I want is unrecognisable. To all intents and purposes I am now melody, not the rigid duty bound male that kept her in check all this time. If the rage was specifically of the old male, the words from The Prisoner: “I am not a number. I am a free man” would have applied. When I got seconded to the US HQ of a company that had bought us, I had a dozen t-shirts made up with those words so I could wear and distribute to encourage colleagues to be subversive.
However, as melody made it imperative to be acknowledged there was a useful resonance with the state motto of New Hampshire; “Live free or die” (I remember it well because I used to do my weekly shopping in NH – no sales tax 😊). Those words will always be relevant because to try to contain melody now will be to die, figuratively, if not literally. However, fresh words are needed as a guide now that the rage has been released and can’t be stopped.
The legacy conditioning of conformance doesn’t disappear just because melody has taken over and freed herself, for the time being she has to live in both worlds. It has to be worn away gradually until I can truly live by the words:
“Hello world, this is melody. She’s independent now.
If you don’t like that, screw you.“
The more polite version is this: