The father of the man who killed twenty-six at Sandy Hook elementary school gave an interview to the New Yorker that was published earlier today. I won’t say that the interview surprised me, but the conclusion of the interview reminded me all too well of when my own mother uttered similar feelings when I came out as transgender:
I wondered how Peter would feel if he could see his son again. “Quite honestly, I think that I wouldn’t recognize the person I saw,” he said. “All I could picture is there’d be nothing there, there’d be nothing. Almost, like, ‘Who are you, stranger?’ ” Peter declared that he wished Adam had never been born, that there could be no remembering who he was outside of who he became. “That didn’t come right away. That’s not a natural thing, when you’re thinking about your kid. But, God, there’s no question. There can only be one conclusion, when you finally get there. That’s fairly recent, too, but that’s totally where I am.”
Before I go any further, let me make one thing clear: I am not defending the gunman and his crimes, though – as the reader probably suspects – I do not exactly lose sleep over the crime either.
A friend tearfully called me earlier this evening, hoping that I could come over. A tragedy had befallen him – which I will not go into – and he needed someone to confide his troubles to. This friend does not, at this time, know that I am psychopathic and I spent the drive to his house wondering which mask I would put on and whether I even knew how to behave in such a situation anymore.
I can act the part when there is something in it for me. I can charm to get that which I want and I can feign sadness or concern when I know that I have no other choice. He and I are so close, however, that it was extraordinarily difficult to show the emotions that I am sure he wanted to see. I knew that it was in my best interest to show concern at appropriate moments and to attempt to shed tears at others, but that knowledge did not properly translate. In a sense, I have reverted to my standard bait and switch tactics with him. At one point, when the friendship was in its early stages, I may have worn my mask better. I simply could not give the effort this evening, though.
I detailed the effects on my mood related to transitioning in my previous post. Estrogen brought unwelcome swings to my psyche, but it also brought a valuable, but intangible, benefit as well. Having lived with an outward presentation from either dominant gender, I’ve gained invaluable insight as to what it means to pass as “normal”. This knowledge would be instrumental in determining how to proceed once I received my fateful assessment of psychopathy a few years later.
You see, people are very naive. I learned very quickly – early in transition – that people often see what they want to see unless there is undeniable evidence to the contrary. I may have shoulders broader than that of a typical female and a voice marred by years of smoking, but my outward feminine appearance was more than enough to convince most that I was cisgendered. The ignored all of the signs that could reveal contradiction. I quickly picked up on their ignorance and continue, to this day, to use it to my advantage.
I have been taking estrogen for over six years now. I often wonder if I made the best decision with acting on instinct, but seeing the world from the eyes of both dominant genders has given me insight into the nature of masking that I would have not had without such a journey.
I’ve also had insight from HRT regarding the interaction of biology and personality. Whether I like it or not, sex hormones have affected my thinking at times, be it from the increased aggression that came with testosterone or the illogical mood swings brought on by my first experiences with estrogen. Neither hormone brought empathy or compassion, however.
I should be back to posting new material tomorrow.
In the meantime, I found this quote to be quite interesting:
Some people—and I am one of them—hate happy ends. We feel cheated. Harm is the norm. Doom should not jam. The avalanche stopping in its tracks a few feet above the cowering village behaves not only unnaturally but unethically.
- Vladimir Nabokov
I’ve been quite sick the past few days and, as such, have been left to reading and video games – a rare and guilty treat – to pass the time. Video games, in particular, let me realize aggression in a more “healthy” way than merely going up to someone on the street and suckerpunching them. I can commit all kinds of acts of violence in the game’s digital world and never suffer any consequences.
A game that I’ve been playing as of late follows the traditional trope of saving the world from a great force of evil. You hack and slash your way through hordes of enemies and the blood flows like water. What I’ve noticed – this being the first game I’ve really played for more than thirty minutes in what seems like ages – is that no matter how violent the task, the morality of your actions are on rails: you can only choose that which benefits the greater good.
Given my relative lack of posting in January, I’m combining January and February into one recap. As usual, this is a selection of 5-9 posts from the recap period that either I or my readership found interesting.
Bait and Switch – A post on how many of us drop our masks once the interpersonal relationships we’ve created have solidified.
Shattered – Every time our mask cracks, we must do damage control.
Naive – Neurotypicals will often ignore all evidence to the contrary in order to avoid confronting a perceived demon head on.
D.I.Y. – Only as individuals can we ensure our freedom and our standing in society. Psychopaths do not get a free pass due to their condition.
Wildfire – Ambiguity is to the psychopath’s advantage.
Godlike – We have the power to create and destroy. Sometimes we forget another option: ambivalent restraint.
Worms – What purpose is there for the psychopath?
Antivenom – All interactions take two (or more). The other can leave if the fire of the psychopath burns too hot.
Targeted Indifference – Why waste effort on larger group dynamics and advances if there is no benefit to the individual?
I’ve always found it terribly difficult to appreciate the struggles of others. I know that, in modern theory, this often means that I am taking my privilege for granted, but I suspect that my lack of empathy and extreme self-centeredness make such unavoidable. However, my opportunistic tendencies would suggest that I play on the discourse that benefits me most. I’ll say the words that will align me “correctly” with those groups that seek relief from their strife, but ultimately I do not care about anyone other than myself.
Those ideologies that benefit me are not worthy of my action, however. Possibly on a large scale, such efforts can cause gradual change, but, at the individual level, there is little benefit to be had for the energy required to contribute to that larger scale. I am not one to lend my efforts to a larger mass if my individual effort is not alone to create change. Along these lines, marching in “sex-positive” parades or contributing to the funeral possessions on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, are pointless to a person as self-centered as myself. The reward, even if it did exist, is not shaped by one person. It takes a mass to create change and so long as everyone does not share the mindset that I do, change (or a lack thereof) will reach its inevitable conclusion. I want the benefit without the effort.
It’s really cold outside and there is this stray cat in my neighborhood that I haven’t seen in a few days. I hope someone rescued her because she’s so pretty.
I overheard the above at work this morning. Aside from the absurdity that someone would waste their energy over a stray animal, this highlights the fact that empathy is often conditional. Only if a certain level of “worthiness” is met will a neurotypical project their empathy. And, even then, often they will not do anything with it, choosing to let someone else come through with actions to alleviate the suffering of others. Maybe this is why so few have empathy for those that possess none?