Institutionalization

I am in a nursing home and have been for nearly 3 weeks.

I am in rehab for my ankle and my foot. I had surgery on 12/18/18 to repair my Achilles tendon and to insert a bovine flap over the wound on my heel.

It has been quite a grueling process and there has been so much stuff stirred up relating to identity. I can scarcely write down my thoughts as I feel so scattered. I feel that my gender, height, weight and mental and physical disabilities have never been so front and center. In my normal day to day life, I try to hide or conceal these markers as it is exhausting to have society constantly remark upon them. I know it sounds silly as many of these identities are fully visible but my point is that I rarely reside in the “physical” realm. I do not want to feel hyper-physical. I teach in academia and occupy the intellectual realm and mental realm.

What does it mean to occupy one’s body? What does it mean to consistently reject the physical in favor of the mental, psychological and intellectual? I think my rejection of the physical deals with inhabiting a tall, fat, gender-variant body. From jump, I deal with very strong gender dysphoria. My body inhabits a physical sex that is alien to me. Taking hormones has done little to lessen this feeling of dysphoria. Being fat and extremely tall means inhabiting a body that society scorns. Perhaps there is an ability to be in denial in regular day to day life about the extent to which these identities define me according to hegemonic society and culture. In here I can’t avoid them. They are put right in front of me and my marginalization is made clear to me.

I will elaborate on the ways I have been discriminated against through the whole hospitalization/rehab journey in a different post. Right now I am simply giving voice to the part of me which feels shame, humiliation and frustration.

I am more than this body. I am an emotional being. I am an intellectual being. I am a spiritual being. All that has been treated through hospitalization/rehab has been the physical. This is the way in which the mind, body and spirit are ripped apart and only one part of a person is treated. This splitting is unbelievably unhealthy. Sadly I am not able to sew these different parts back together right now. I hope to do so when I leave this place. In the meantime, I can feel the positive thoughts and healing vibes being sent to me. I realize this is temporary. I realize in the future I will be able to make sense of this experience. My next entry will have the theme of liberation.