my beautiful daughter and i love all things ‘nature’ and natural. she insists i don’t mow the back lawn too often, (and since it is privacy fenced in the neighbors don’t mind.) she goes out in the backyard, building lizard habitats of the branches i hew from the constantly expanding southern oak. she finds new wildflowers, (most folk call them weeds,) and gifts me with them. she calls for me to identify a new bug she’s found. we study it, note its color, size etc. then get out our insect manual to find out its name.
two days ago, while clearing out some debris to truck off to the dump, i found a praying mantis. when i brought it in to show ziona, the creature leapt onto a ruellia plant that graces our screened-in porch, and despite attempts to re-capture it in order to release it into the yard, it evaded our well-intentioned fingers.
since it has taken up residence we have had to capture bugs for its dinners, and it has already shed a skin, leaving the empty and brittle shell of its former self clinging to the screen, while looking fresh and bright green in its new skin, grooming itself about a foot away.
of course, my poet’s mind couldn’t resist pondering the obvious metaphor presented by the scene. the nonchallant manner of ‘moving on’, leaving the past in the past, abandoning the confining shell of a former self to become new.
i thought of ziona. how she longs to leave the ‘male-ness’ of her body behind. in some ways she will undergo much more of a metamorphosis someday, akin to that of the moth and butterfly. still the metaphor fits, precisely because she is rapidly outgrowing the ‘indeterminate’ gender neutral phase of childhood and entering into the time where the body begins to ‘declare’ itself.
how frustrating, how tortuous this shell must seem to her, the one that constrains her blossoming into the girl she is. how anxious she must be to struggle free of that and leave it behind, and move on.
tomorrow ziona has an appointment with a pediatric urologist to determine what must be done about her undescended testes (i maintain that they were trying to migrate up and become ovaries)surgery of some kind will be necessary. the usual thing is do surgical procedure to remove them from the canals then insert them into the scrotal sac. that is not something i will allow! already have support in place from a wpath boardmember psychotherapist, and a legal rights organisation just in case things go bad.
my mind goes back to the praying mantis…imagine trying to keep it from leaving behind it’s out-dated exo-skeleton. surgery to descend testicles in an affirmed female transgender child would be a bit like brushing shellac on the outside of the mantis. it would be absolutely unnatural!
for ziona, there is only one way to address the issue of the undescended testes. remove them! it’s only natural after all. and in her mind, girls don’t have them.