Listening To Your Inner Voice
Goddard College Community
BY MAGAZINE CONTRIBUTOR ERIC DALKE
Conversation: Ruth Farmer
Practices: Josh Pollock, Goddard College IMA scholar
Practices: Tiffany Beard, Goddard College IMA scholar
Practices: Joanna Tebbs Young, Goddard College IMA scholar
Practices: Eric Dalke, Goddard College IMA scholar
Practices: Sed Dickerson, Goddard College IMA scholar
Website: Goddard’s IMA Worlds of Change Blog
Bridgette P. LaVictoire My name is Bridgette P. LaVictoire. It was not the name that I was born with, however. I chose the name Bridgette after Brigid, the Celtic Goddess of Inspiration, Fire and Smithing. I was born in Rutland, Vermont where I live currently. I have lived in Florida and Georgia in between then and now. Currently I work for a Progressive/LGBT Rights blog called LezGetReal (lezgetreal.com).
Eric Dalke So many adults these days seem to be disconnected, desperately trying to figure out what their “purpose” or “element” is, as though they are a stranger to themselves.
Could you tell me about listening to your inner-voice? Stories of hearing it as a child, and how it’s helped you as you came to accept yourself for who you feel you truly are and not just how you are outwardly perceived?
Fighting to hold my own
Bridgette I am in a uniquely difficult situation when it comes to this question. Unlike so many people my age- I am 36, I did not begin to solidify my identity until I was 24, and even then, it was not until I was almost thirty that I even began to work on who ‘I’ am.
Unlike most people, I was born female with a male body. I could not cope with that, so ‘I’ went underground. At home, I was treated as a girl without anyone really understanding that’s what was going on. But in the outside world, I hid myself. This means that I sheltered myself from the activities that often lead people to understand who they are, including socialization.
Growing up, I knew I was female, so it was never an issue with me to know that this is who I am. The splitting of my Self into two pieces meant that I was not exactly listening to my inner voice, but rather fighting it off. To a certain extent, I grew up with a lack of understanding with regards to our male-centered society (I’m female-centered), and with a view that sex between men and women was wrong.
I’m not sure if that answered the question. To a certain degree, I’ve always known who I was, but I had to fight off the influences of the society around me.
Eric Yes, you did, thanks. Well said! My life has been one giant struggle between holding onto my true self and trying not to feel ashamed as the culture chastises me for doing so. It’s not an easy thing to do alone. Which brings me to my next question.
You are currently in graduate school at Goddard College. Could you talk about the differences you’ve experienced between your previous experiences in more “traditional” educational paradigms and Goddard’s progressive approach?
Bridgette This is my second attempt at a Master’s degree. My first was at a traditional school, and I found the format stifling. I could not work on the materials that I wanted. Indeed, I was limited with regards to what I could and could not do as a writer. My interest in women’s studies was looked down upon, and my studies were chaotic. I had little help with regards to what I was going to be doing for my thesis, and I had no real understanding of what the procedures were. This created major problems for me.
My use of transdisciplinary information was also looked down upon. Information gathered from Political Scientists was seen as being less informative than that gathered from Historians. My use of external Literary sources was also seen as being, somehow, less useful than the information presented by historians.
At Goddard, I’ve been allowed to explore what I enjoy and love doing. I have ended up going into mythopoetics, which is the study of myths and their recreation and reinterpretation. That is kind of a rough explanation of what it is. Where my old university was far more rigid and less understanding, Goddard has been supportive and understanding on the whole.
Eric Acceptance and unconditional love. It’s a shame that these things are so rare to find in the world. Luckily, you’ve also created a community of your own to address these kinds of issues. Could you talk a bit about your website?
Bridgette As I said, I currently work for a Progressive/LGBT Rights blog called lezgetreal.com, which aims to give voice to those who lack a voice. We cover everything from labor unrest in Wisconsin, the protests in Egypt, the push for marriage rights in the United States, and the end to child marriages in various parts of the world. I came out in 1999 both as a lesbian and a transsexual (the two are not mutually exclusive). My family has been supportive of me both in terms of my life, but also in terms of my blogging. Currently, the site has six regular writers.
Eric Awesome. Thank you.
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.