Connection: Letter to Free, the other side of me
Connection is a very essential element in human life. We all have the need to establish social connection with people; we have the need to be connected with friends, with family, with a partner, and, most importantly, to be connected with ourselves.
Sometimes it isn’t easy at all to find the right way to connect our bodies with our hearts. Sometimes, that connection can be hard to set but easy to lose. It can be hard to find ourselves—it can be hard to know who we are and what we are.
Through the following lines, I want to tell you more about Frida—or Free—a little girl who lived her childhood and adolescence trying to find out who she really was. Frida, yes, the prisoner of puberty and early menopause. This girl has two different faces and lives: on the first side, Frida, a typical person with a typical life (in the eyes of others); on the other side, Free, whom doctors find abnormal, and that she cannot show others.
Even though they’ve always lived in the same body—in the same small body—they didn’t meet each other until adolescence. At the beginning, they didn’t get along well at all, but they got the chance to know each other and build a bridge that let them get connected, setting an unbreakable relationship.
Through the following letter that Frida wrote to Free, I’ll tell you more about them and the silence they had to keep.
It’s Frida! Yes, you know we are the same person, with the same body and the same heart, but different personalities, different strengths, different thoughts. I’ve just remembered all the struggle we’ve gone through to become who we are. We’ve never talked about it before, and I’ve never told you my feelings about it, so please, sit down, because this may last longer than you think. I hope you enjoy reading these words I’m writing to you.
When I was a little girl, I always wondered about who and what I really was. I knew I was different from other children; I knew I looked different, and I was frequently told not to tell anyone about my genitals, my different genitals. All those things made me confused about me. The usual questions I used to ask myself were: “am I a boy or a girl?”, “why do my genitals look different from the other girls’?”, “why am I being raised and treated as a girl if I look so different, if I look more like a boy?”, “why do my parents not want anyone to know about my body?”.
I didn’t understand anything, I was confused. And I got more and more confused as time passed. I wasn’t connected with my body, I wasn’t connected with you. I didn’t know about your existence, but you were there, hiding in the shadows, in the deepest part of myself. While I was thinking that I was a peculiarity, that I was ugly and that maybe I was a mistake of nature, you were trying to get my attention and tell me that you were part of those things I considered ugly. You were trying to tell me that you were there for me, that you are not a mistake, and that we both could make a great team together.
I met you at the hospital when three doctors told me I was abnormal, when those doctors told me I was a hermaphrodite. They said I wasn’t either a boy or a girl but a freak of nature. They made me hate my body, they made me hate you, they made me hate myself.
I was really disappointed in myself. I didn’t understand anything and then I tried to remove you. I wanted to be normal. I wanted to be like the other girls—but you never gave up, you refused to disappear, you were willing to be heard, you were determined to survive. So, little by little, I started to hear your voice. I started to get to know you and I realized that you were not a bad aspect of me. You had suffered so much living in the shadows, keeping your feelings quiet and repressing your voice.
After some months getting to know each other, I realized I didn’t hate you anymore. I realized I like you, I realized I actually love you. I understood that we weren’t abnormal as doctors had said to us but we were completely normal. We are an awesome team—you are the best of me.
I just want to say thank you, Free. Thank you for never giving up. Thank you for all the struggle you’ve undergone, for being there for me when I need it, for your support, for being an important part of me. Thank you for everything. I’m so proud of you!
This piece is a translation of the Spanish text – Conexión: Carta a Free, la otra parte de mí.