Are you tired of playing the limiting role scripted for you by societal expectations, disconnected from your authentic self? This episode of the We Are Already Free podcast dives into the heart of such struggles, featuring the compelling journey of Sarah Vaci, an artist who challenges traditional gender norms and stereotypes.

Our conversation navigates the complex terrain of gender identity, societal roles, and the journey towards self-acceptance. It’s an episode for anyone who has ever questioned their place in a world filled with labels and expectations. We discuss the consequences of not addressing these issues, from the loss of personal identity to the strain on mental health.

This episode offers a fresh perspective, not just highlighting the problems but also providing insights and hope for those seeking to embrace their true selves. It’s about finding freedom in authenticity, not through drastic changes, but through understanding and accepting who we really are.

Things we cover:

  • Curiosity about detransition, expressing individuality, societal taboos.
  • Struggle with gender, art, and personal experiences.
  • Detransitioning struggles not supported by mainstream media.
  • Questioning transgender identity and seeking genuine understanding.
  • Exploring masculinity and femininity
  • Women’s struggle with postpartum expectations and support.
  • Struggling with gender roles, identity, and relationships.
  • Much more…

Links to Sarah Vaci:

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Contact Nathan:

Transcript

[00:00:00] Identity has become so polarizing in today's world. And it makes sense with the breakdown of many familiar structures of family, community health, nature, and meaning people are desperate to find a better way an anchor to make it all make sense again. With terms like toxic masculinity, the patriarchy, anti this, or pro that, and so many more all being weaponized.

[00:00:27] It's harder than ever to answer some of the foundational human questions. Where do I fit in? And am I enough? This disconnection often leads to a life where our actions just don't align with who we radio causing unease and dissatisfaction. We tried different ways to fit in adopting routines or behaviors that are celebrated by some and hated by others, but they often leave us feeling more out of touch with our inner selves than ever. What if there was a way to peel back those layers to uncover the vibrant, authentic [00:01:00] self waiting beneath today's episode will hopefully inspire you to own your beautiful, weird self dear listener.

[00:01:07] I'm Nathan Maingard guiding you through stories of awakening, healing, and authenticity. Each episode, we dive into the challenges and triumphs of living a life, true to ourselves from navigating healing and sexuality, to finding joy and self acceptance beyond societal limitations. Here we explore personal growth down to earth spirituality and the courage to be proudly weird. Join us on a journey [00:02:00] of liberation and authenticity.

[00:02:02] And please remember we are already free. Sarah Vaci. Is a practicing practicing contemporary artist based in Devon and London. Her pieces often stand alone, artworks relating to mental health, gender politics, and power, her most recent exhibition, the power and the glory focused on political power and gender identity and showcased, pest I dynamic triptych of Trump Putin and Kim Jong UN using wool portraiture to subvert iconic masculinity through the soft, feminine, organic nature of fiber inspired by her own journey through gender identity and the current political landscape. In 2022, Sarah began working on an exciting series, metaphors metamorphosis 100, 100 portraits in oil of women who have D transitioned.

[00:02:51] This is how I first discovered her. As we embark on today's journey with Sarah discussing the challenges of aligning with our true selves in a world of [00:03:00] labels and boxes. I want to extend a gentle invitation to you. Dear listener. If you are like many, you start your morning hitting the snooze a few too many times, and then doom scrolling through social media or even worse.

[00:03:12] Your work emails. How can your true self really blossom when you start your day giving all your attention to other people's stories? That's why I've created the free five day morning practice challenge as simple, easy to start process all about taking a beautiful, tiny step on the path of self care of self-awareness. It's not about massive overnight transformations, but really about small, meaningful actions that lead to gradual positive change rediscover the friend you always have with you.

[00:03:43] Yes. That's you to meet yourself again, simply visit already free.me/yes. Or click the link in your show notes. It's a small step, but remember every great journey begins with one. For now, I wish you an inspiring, informative and expansive episode [00:04:00] ahead.

[00:04:01] Nathan Maingard: You know, the way that I found you was through your series of a hundred portraits of detransitioned or detransitioning women.

[00:04:09] And this is a topic that I'm kind of exploring because I think I've always been drawn to the to the taboos in society in some way, or at least specifically the things that people tell me I'm not allowed to question, because it always felt so it happened a lot as a young person was that I had a curiosity about life and at school, I often got in trouble because I wasn't satisfied by just Just because, you know, the teachers say, well, it's just like that.

[00:04:37] I'm like, what? Why? Why? Tell me more. Like I don't. And I got in a lot of trouble. And I had the same feeling when I first started, because I've always been, I've always very much felt everyone should express themselves exactly as they wish. And I, and I think that that's a beautiful, I have friends from all different kinds of walks of life and ways of being, and I think it's beautiful and magnificent.

[00:04:57] There was a crossover point and I don't exactly know [00:05:00] when it happened, but it was probably around the time where I started to see around this idea of forced language. So around like forced pronouns, like if you don't say a thing that I tell you, you must say, then you are bad. And that, that immediately went into, I was like, Oh, I don't feel good about that.

[00:05:15] Something there feels a bit strange. And coming across your detransitioning stories was it's a, quite a harrowing experience. I mean, you've made something beautiful out of something that's incredibly painful and to read these women's stories and, and the, just how vulnerable and how sincere they are.

[00:05:34] And, and I think the thing that almost gets it to hit home in a very deep way is how permanent these decisions are that they made many of them as teenagers, which are. Things they can not undo ever and so I'm just, I guess it's like a big introduction, but I'm curious to hear from your perspective, why has it felt so important to you that you would commit to a hundred portraits of these detransitioning women?

[00:05:59] Sarah Vaci: I don't [00:06:00] know how far back to go, but when I was a teenage girl, I was very uncomfortable with, with being a girl in lots of ways, and felt like, I always say I don't woman correctly, which is my, it's just the phrase, there's so many instances where I didn't girl correctly.

[00:06:22] Like I would be sent back upstairs because I wasn't wearing the right feminine clothes. And then at one point I cut my hair really short. And I don't know if you know, have you heard of the Wonder Years? TV show, I think you're a bit younger than me. So there was this American TV TV show called the wonder years and the main character was called Kevin.

[00:06:42] And when I cut my hair short, someone said, Hey, Sarah, you look like Kevin. And, uh, I was, I was bullied and I thought, well, why can't I have. short hair, like why should that be a big deal? And I went to an all girls school and I really felt like I couldn't, I [00:07:00] couldn't find myself because I wanted to just have short hair and for no one to give a crap about me having a short hair.

[00:07:05] But then the girls who were the popular ones were the busty, Probably quite athletic, tall, um, I was gonna say sexy, I meant attractive, you know, like the sort of 16 year old, not sexy, isn't the right word, but you know, the more attractive feminine girls, and I felt like the really awkward, uh, geeky, definitely geeky.

[00:07:28] I remember when I first started school, I would say thank you to the teachers and everyone was like, What the hell is Sarah doing thanking the teacher? I don't know what I was thinking. Hey, they probably thought I was great or they thought I was weird. I don't know. So when I was a teenager, I had all of this going on and then I've never found my tribe.

[00:07:51] And about when I, uh, three, three or four years ago, I came out as genderqueer and I felt great. [00:08:00] And it's very funny because this is, I, I stand in this middle ground where the feminists are like, how could you be such an idiot? That doesn't mean anything. And then, you know, some trans people would be like.

[00:08:13] Well, why, why are you letting the side down by highlighting g transitioners? So I really exist in this murky middle, middle area. So I was in the shower and I was like, Oh, I understand myself now. I just, I think I'm genderqueer. I fit in with those people. I had just come out of a very long relationship with a man and I was in a trans, non binary dating website and there were lots of people I felt I could relate to.

[00:08:44] There was a mixture of, let's say, more androgynous women and cross dressing men and non binary and just a whole mishmash and I felt like I could connect with some of them and I dated a couple of different people. [00:09:00] And I came out online and I got all the praise. Wow, Sarah, you're so brave. And I thought, Oh, I'm on to something.

[00:09:08] I've, I've, I've worked it out now. And the really annoying thing getting back to the title of your podcast is I felt free. Which. I know, like, I, I've got this little voice that is the sort of radical feminist voice on my shoulder that goes, You thought a label would set you free? Like, the label doesn't mean jack shit.

[00:09:30] It's just a label. It doesn't change the world and how the world sees me. But I felt great because I've had a lifetime of people saying, Oh, but you're so lovely with long hair. And... Why don't you wear a bra more often or, well, this is how a mother, you know, mother should do this and that and just so many rules and I just got totally sick of it.

[00:09:56] I think I went through, I call it like a bit [00:10:00] of an epiphany, but maybe it was a small breakdown. I don't know, some kind of massive change after my long relationship ended. I kind of went on this mass dating a lot and exploring my sexuality and, and all of this. And then for six months, I said I was genderqueer, about six months.

[00:10:18] I didn't try the pronouns cause I thought there's just no point in saying that did feel ridiculous to me. I was like, I'm she like, you can look at me and say she, but I don't feel like other women, which I know some people like, what do you mean? What does it mean to feel like a woman? This is my little monologue for you, Nathan. And yeah, so I. I just felt great, because I, I wanted to shave my head, and I didn't want anyone to say, Ah, but now you don't look so feminine. And I wanted to just stick my fingers up at them and say, But you can't expect me to... Be like a woman because I'm not, [00:11:00] even though I was, so I don't actually remember the moment where I thought this is what, this is kind of nonsense.

[00:11:13] I do remember reading about the detransitioners and I came across Laura Becker's stories and she was. Yeah, so I think one, a couple of detransitioners stories crossed my path. I actually looked into taking testosterone because there was a local, uh, male, I'll just put it this way, so a local male who'd started taking estrogen and this person said to me, Oh, it's the biggest trip.

[00:11:42] Like this is so, it's so cool to take some estrogen. I think every woman should take a bit of testosterone. So then I thought, Oh, okay, for an art experiment. I'll take testosterone and I'll document the changes. That'll be interesting. [00:12:00] Like, I uh, I'm not letting you say a word right now. So, just a little bit of backstory.

[00:12:08] I went to art college and studied video installation art. And we studied things like self like people who would pierce themselves. on stage as an art installation or nowadays you would just go to a fetish night and see that. But at the time it was quite radical to go on stage with a nail and hammer it into your nose and it would be a existential art piece.

[00:12:34] So I'd already seen that done as an art piece, not testosterone, but changing your body in some way. So then I I think that influenced my idea of I'll take testosterone and I'll document it and let's see what it does to my body. It'll be really interesting. And then I went down this whole rabbit hole and I thought, okay, there's some benefits there that I can see a few more energy, muscles. [00:13:00] enlarging down below, that sounds fun, you know, some parts, and then you start reading like, oh, but it might cause this, and how do I feel about having a beard permanently? And then just to finish that section, so I've got an eight year old girl, and I looked at her, and I thought, I want her to feel good about being a woman. Someone upstairs is printing something. Sorry about that. There was a printer going,

[00:13:27] Nathan Maingard: I can't hear it. You're all good.

[00:13:29] Sarah Vaci: what are they thinking?

[00:13:31] Nathan Maingard: Uh,

[00:13:32] Sarah Vaci: Very cheeky of them anyway. But I looked at my daughter one day and I thought I, the problem isn't me. It's not me that has to change. It's all these silly rules about how a woman should or shouldn't be.

[00:13:46] And then that set me on my journey. And the really annoying thing is. I felt more comfortable saying I was genderqueer, because there was a freedom behind the label. So I do understand why [00:14:00] people, some people, want to use a different label. Because just, for example, being called, uh, Alright Love, or Hun. All these like feminine, to me they sound feminine, or, or like, oh, let that lady pass or something.

[00:14:19] I mean, I use that phrase, but there's something that immediately puts a hierarchy and it shouldn't be like that, that if someone just says. These feminine labels, I mean, it's really complicated, but I can see how people are like, they, they, they want to elevate themselves somehow from this, the way that women are seen.

[00:14:42] But the idea is that society needs to see women differently, not us change, like, we need to be like women who put ourselves on pedestals. If that makes sense, not pedestals, but elevate what it means to be a woman.[00:15:00]

[00:15:00] Nathan Maingard: yeah, I guess there's a, there's a sense there of like, I just heard something recently. There's this woman, I think her name might be Erin, but don't quote me on that. But she's a lawyer from the U S uh, in California and her, I think 11 year old daughter was, you know, attended like a sex ed class at their public school at some point. And it was suddenly the class was you can be anything you want to be. You know, some people are born into boys bodies, but they're actually girls. And they use the example they used in that class was there are some people who are GI Joes and some people who are Barbies and everything in between.

[00:15:36] And as soon as I hear that, I'm like, that's not Getting out of the box of the gender, like what it means to be a man or be a woman. That's actually reinforcing the idea. And more and more, what I'm hearing is that what's happening now is that if a young boy or a young, say for example, a young boy is like, he's into pink.

[00:15:54] or something, or he's into wearing dresses, that means he must be born in the wrong body as if a dress [00:16:00] is actually any way associated with being a woman other than the socially constructed way of being a woman, that is women wear dresses. You know, there's this idea that it's like, we want to escape the norms, but we use the norms to dictate whether you are in the wrong body or not, which I just, there's something in there that I've not made sense of at this point.

[00:16:23] Sarah Vaci: Yeah, yeah, I didn't actually, um, no, I, I agree. And the funny thing is that I, I kind of flop between flip flop between being, let's say more feminine. And I actually hate the terms feminine, masculine, because they're so loaded, but feminine. You have an idea in your head immediately and soft, gentle, sweet, all of this, but there's, there's still a hierarchy, but I didn't address your question of what started the art series.

[00:16:55] I just talked about the bit before the art series. So, [00:17:00] I, I wish I could remember and I need to look back because I was journaling at the time, but I think I realized that the de transitioners are the most oppressed by the whole oppressed is that the silenced, you know, their stories are silenced And on some level I do relate to their experiences even though mostly they're much younger than me of this deep discomfort of being a young woman And there are so many things in their stories that I'm like, Oh yeah, I remember that.

[00:17:33] Like one story, she said she always wanted to, uh, swim topless and it's not acceptable. And she said even after her double mastectomy, she still doesn't do that. And... I, I have a complicated relationship with the, I'm, this is going to sound strange and we're getting quite deep, and I don't, I definitely wouldn't have a [00:18:00] double mastectomy, but I understand the joy that some of the trans men who go ahead with it feel, that They can go topless, and it's almost celebrated now, like having the scars and everything.

[00:18:12] How I wish I had that freedom, without obviously having a double mastectomy, to just be topless in the park, without any judgement. Like this is, if I could wave a magic wand, it would be that I... And I have, I had this funny rule in my head and I've never done it, but in my head I have. Every time I see a topless guy, whether he's on the street, in a park, I thought, I'm just going to take my top off as well and stand next to him, just to make a point.

[00:18:42] But obviously, It's tricky because I have kids, sometimes they're with me. Uh, I don't want to, I think if I didn't have my kids, I'd be way more tempted to just protest in that way.

[00:18:54] so I relate to the stories, and I'm very aware of how politicized it [00:19:00] is. And I don't know if you saw recently, but my most recent portrait caused a bit of controversy because the feminists think that...

[00:19:08] My work is highlighting the harm, and it's got a bit more of an agenda. And then the most recent portrait, she has a trans partner. And she, and that was unusual because most of the people I'm drawing, they've left, say, gender ideology behind. Completely. A lot of them have. And I think that all of the stories need to be told.

[00:19:37] And this is where I feel like I'm in a bit of a middle ground. Because I'm not just like, Here's another terrible story. Here's another terrible story. And I definitely don't want to dip into this idea of trauma porn. That some, one person has commented on my art series. I really just think, these are stories we don't hear.

[00:19:58] We don't hear about their experiences. [00:20:00] Let's, let's hear, let's see what we can, you know, we hear their experiences, but it also makes us reflect on our experiences of being women and society. Like, what does it say about society that some people feel like this? All of it raises questions more than anything.

[00:20:18] I want my art series to raise questions rather than just be used in a sort of uh simplistic tacky like Oh my god, check out this terrible story. Like this is not what my I want it. This is not what i'm about

[00:20:35] Nathan Maingard: Yeah, I mean, for me, it comes across as deeply vulnerable and important because I, those stories are not shared anywhere in the, in what we call mainstream media. It's just not acceptable. It's not supported. I think I've even on a sort of practical level, speaking about the sort of, What I call the medical industrial complex is that when people are wanting to transition, and like you [00:21:00] said, you get there's all the support and the cheers and the yeah, let's do it.

[00:21:02] And there's on the psychiatrists and all the people want to help it happen. And the surgeons, etc. And I'm saying this from a place of Quite a lot of ignorance. It's not something I've looked into deeply, but my understanding is that for many of these people, their lived experience was the flow of transitioning of have getting on the drugs and getting the operations was was a lot smoother.

[00:21:24] And the floodgates were a lot more open than when they Uh, afterwards, what I actually, this was terrible. I need help to, how can I undo, not undo, but how can I rectify? How can I heal? How can I, and that actually getting the support for that on a very practical medical level is way harder. Am I right in saying that?

[00:21:44] Sarah Vaci: Oh, absolutely. And quite, so there's several issues that I've come across cause my. People don't, I don't know if people realize, but my art series is not just doing a portrait and it's out there. I'm in touch with quite a few people and messaging them regularly. and talking to them [00:22:00] about different things.

[00:22:01] So quite often they will leave the gender clinic. They won't even tell the gender clinic that originally transitioned them. And then there's no obvious, there's a few organizations now. I've got to give a shout out to beyond trans that is run by gen spec'd. And then Camille is just setting up detrans help.

[00:22:19] So, but there's not a lot of resources for people once they've decided to detransition. Especially not medical support. They don't know where to turn, because they don't go back to the gender clinic. And quite often they don't trust the medical establishment to help them the right way anyway. And the other thing I've heard is that in America, I don't quite know the system, but there is no medical code for detransitioners.

[00:22:42] So I don't know if that affects insurance or what but they officially don't Not don't exist, but I don't know what that means. But this is what i've heard And i've been talking to Various people about what sort of support would be needed. I can't necessarily help with the medical [00:23:00] side but I i'm very interested in what Research has to happen.

[00:23:07] I'm perimenopausal and this is something that I think blows my mind every time. So if I go to the doctor now and I say, Oh, I've read that testosterone can help. You know, I'm feeling a bit tired and everything. They won't give it to me. They won't give me any testosterone unless I'm fully into menopause because of the side effects.

[00:23:28] Nathan Maingard: Whoa.

[00:23:30] Sarah Vaci: But, if you're 18 and you have, you know, you're autistic and you say you're a boy, they'll give an 18 year old, I don't even know how many times the amount they would give a menopausal woman. They will give her, I don't know, I don't know what that figure is, but a ridiculous amount of testosterone, from what I've, from what I gather.

[00:23:54] So, I have, as a joke, I wouldn't do it, but I have thought, oh, okay. Let's see what [00:24:00] happens. I don't want it on my record, but I could go to the doctor and suddenly say well I want testosterone because I want to transition. This was just a thought experiment. It's not something I'm gonna do But isn't that funny?

[00:24:15] I mean funny funny crazy not funny. Haha that they wouldn't give it to me But they would give it to a physically healthy 18 year old. Whereas a menopausal woman or someone like me would actually benefit from a little bit of testosterone.

[00:24:29] Nathan Maingard: Sure. Yeah, there's a, there's a misalignment of intention there where, where the story is, the intention is we just want to help people. But then there's this condition makes it a bit suspicious. It's like, well, what about this healthy woman who is entering menopause and actually really could benefit from this?

[00:24:49] What's the difference? Why, why won't you help that person? But you would then, and in terms of side effects, I mean, what are we, what are we talking about? Like, and, and how common are side effects with these, [00:25:00] I guess, both testosterone and, uh, The other way around, my brain just went blank.

[00:25:05] Sarah Vaci: Well, I am definitely not an expert. So I, I, from what I gather, some of the side effects are obviously you have body hair growing everywhere that is really difficult to get rid of. And vaginal atrophy. I'm really open. This is one interesting thing. Vaginal atrophy. occurs with menopausal women and women with other conditions.

[00:25:31] And it can be caused by test by this large amount of testosterone in a 20 year old or 22 year old young woman who's decides to transition. And, uh, there's an overlap there in the. conditions, but I don't feel like those two groups talk to each other, obviously. So that's another issue. And because I think as far as I'm aware, the testosterone can make the clitoris grow quite a lot and it can make sex very [00:26:00] painful.

[00:26:00] I think even impossible for some people. So do you know what vaginal atrophy is?

[00:26:06] Nathan Maingard: I don't.

[00:26:07] Sarah Vaci: No, so it's when as far as I'm aware, it's when the vagina becomes very dry and the skin, the the walls get very thin, so then you could get pain or bleeding or less yeah, it just makes sex very uncomfortable, sometimes impossible, and it's much harder, you know, if you've had a healthy vagina, And then you've, you've done something to make it very unhealthy.

[00:26:32] It's much harder to get back to that. I don't, I'm not even sure how easy it would be and how many years of testosterone. This is the sort of research we need. Is, you know, finding out, like, if you've taken three years of testosterone, can you get back? To having healthy parts, or is three years the cutoff?

[00:26:52] Is it two years? Is it five? I don't know. And then what are some of the other ones? I know that you can get osteoporosis, and I'm not sure if that's from [00:27:00] the testosterone or puberty blockers or both. And there are, so I've read so much about puberty blockers and testosterone, so I'm not, I don't really want to be the authority on other side effects.

[00:27:15] And of course their voice changes. And interestingly, I'm having singing lessons, and so I'm learning a lot about the vocal cords. And I asked my teacher, can anything be done to reverse those changes? And because the testosterone makes your vocal folds thicken, you can't thin them out again. So, so they they will always have those deep voices. Uh, or they can learn to try and, you know, a bit like a, a Do you say trans woman, trans man, or do you say trans identifying male, Nathan?

[00:27:52] Nathan Maingard: I honestly don't have the, I, I, I, it's not something I, I have the capacity to know what the best [00:28:00] way is at this point. It's something I think about, but I, one of the things I would like to see is I would like a different, like, yeah, like trans women or trans men makes sense to me. The whole, the part where I stumble or where that doesn't, where I feel the resistance in myself is when someone says trans women are women or trans men are men.

[00:28:19] And then want to use the word, I'm like the word woman already has something it's describing that is real. It has, it has a real thing and same with men. So anything beyond that, I'm like, I don't exactly know what. What would be appropriate to say or not to say, but so, so what did you say? Trans identifying men and women or trans men and women?

[00:28:38] Is that

[00:28:39] Sarah Vaci: Oh, so, this is where I'm like in this weird middle, where some people would say, Why are you saying it that way? Why are you saying it this way? And, for me, sometimes it's contextual, it just clarifies. Some people don't even know if you say trans identifying male. They still wouldn't quite get [00:29:00] what you mean. And so I find when I talk to the person on the street or on the train, cause I do talk a lot about my, my work and my interests. I always have to be really specific. Like this is a male who wanted, wants to live as a woman, but I do as a woman because. What does that really mean that it's just ticking, ticking the stereotypes wants to be seen as a woman But they can't really become a woman so they're living in this way It's very it gets very sticky

[00:29:37] Nathan Maingard: yeah, very quickly, very sticky.

[00:29:39] Sarah Vaci: Yeah, and the other thing I wanted to say that's quite important to highlight is The, the word detransition is actually a, I don't know if the term is like a misnomer because you can't detransition, most of these young women, they can't undo, so they can't undo their transitioning, [00:30:00] there are lasting effects, so there's been discussions within various groups of what would be a better term.

[00:30:06] But there isn't a better term at the moment and it's, it, people know what you mean when you say that, but it's really important to, like you said, they're lasting effects and they can't, a lot of them can't be, can't be undone.

[00:30:24] Nathan Maingard: And so I really am glad that that to be hearing the way you speak about this in terms of being in the middle. And, uh, I, I have a tendency to. To poke things like I dunno, it's not a, it's not necessarily a good thing, but it gets me in trouble sometimes. And so, so there's two parts. One is like the authenticity where I shared a poem called your body is not a mistake, which you heard and you shared.

[00:30:49] And that, that was very sincere and from a very serious, deep, vulnerable place in myself of witnessing. I don't know what it would have been like for me as a young person if this had all been going on if this was the [00:31:00] story that was like very popular at the time, because I felt so uncomfortable in my body a lot of the time I felt uncomfortable as a man because I associated a lot of negativity with manhood or the patriarchy all these big labels and stories around what it meant to be a man. And so That poem, but then I also have the jester in me and I recently shared a meme that I created on Instagram and it was basically, it was the, the secretary of health, secretary general of health or something like that in America, where this is a, I guess we'd say a trans identifying male, a man who wants to be called a woman and, and, and, and socially accepted as a woman.

[00:31:41] Was given an award like, uh, one of the six women or 10 women given an award for women of the year for like service to humanity and good things that they've done. And this is when I, when I looked at this person, I was like, that looks like an unhealthy person to me and they're, they're being given an award for health.

[00:31:59] And they [00:32:00] are on a, from a medical standpoint, they are, they have gender dysphoria. They have a condition where they believe they're in the wrong body. Now. And so the meme was basically that confused lady with all the math symbols around her, being like me trying to work out how this person got the award.

[00:32:17] And I thought it was very funny. I really thought it was super funny because it was so obviously weird. And a lot of people, it really polarized a lot of people. A lot of people were very much in support and like, thank you for speaking up. A lot of women wrote to me. Actually, the most of the people who wrote to me were women saying.

[00:32:35] Thank you. Thank you for standing up for us. Thank you for like honoring that we exist. And then on the other side, it was people saying, wow, you're such a transphobe, but I thought better of you. I thought you cared about people. I can't believe you would share something like this. This is horrific. Uh, I can't follow you anymore, et cetera, et cetera.

[00:32:51] And what I've noticed, interestingly, is that, because I've said to the people who were, who disagreed with me and were quite upset, I'm available to speak about it. [00:33:00] So I've tried to arrange a few calls, and so far none of them have come through. And I noticed that it seems to be a bit of a pattern, and I'd be curious to hear your reflections on anything that I'm just sharing right now, but it's like, Is there a fragility inherent in the idea of identity as something everyone else has to acknowledge to be, for it to be true?

[00:33:21] There's something about like the, if the world doesn't say that I am what I say I am, then, then it's, then violence has been done upon me and I'm a victim. Which seems to be a lot of the story around the identification thing, identifying with different genders, et cetera. And then, yeah, because usually what I find, if I disagree with someone, it's okay.

[00:33:41] I don't mind, like, them disagreeing with me or saying that what I believe is not true. It's just an opportunity to have an interesting conversation and go somewhere with that. But the idea that, a big part of the thing is, oh, you are, your post is resulting in violence against trans people. Like, that's the end result.

[00:33:57] And I was just like, wow, [00:34:00] that's intense. Anyway, I'm just, I don't want to ramble anymore, but like based on that whole thing, how does that all land for you?

[00:34:08] Sarah Vaci: Yeah, I, my mind went a bit black, but no, you're right. It does feel like if we all don't pretend. And I don't even know, you see, saying the word pretend or play along and then, I, so, this is quite a funny story that is related, I think, that I tried very hard because I dated some, I went through about a year of dating A trans man, so a female, and then a non binary male who now identifies as a mother and a woman.

[00:34:45] And I also fell in love with a cross dressing man. So, I went through quite a crazy year. And, in my head, I tried very hard to tell myself, [00:35:00] This is a woman, this is a woman, like when I was with the, uh, one of the males, I was like, this is a woman, they think they're a woman, I'm just gonna go along with it, trick myself, trick myself, convince myself, and and then one day I saw one of the males naked, and I was like, No, the illusion, the illusion is shattered.

[00:35:21] And it's not, I'm not like genital obsessed. Like some people think that it's all about the genitals. I was like, so now when this person was before me naked, like which part is now a woman, like, where is that part? And obviously it wasn't makeup hair dress, but they were quite convincing as a woman when they had all this. And then when it came off, it, I was like, where's, where's the woman now? And yeah, so it is, it does feel like it's kind of a fragile identity that you have to play along, [00:36:00] play along. with, and one question I always ask the detransitioners, I've asked, I don't know, three or four of them, and I said, at any point, did you really think you're a man? Because I'm curious if any of them genuinely, does any trans, I'm really curious, does any trans person, and this could be a tricky thing to ask, do they genuinely think they are, they have become the opposite sex? Genuinely or do they do they seem do they put you know that phrase thou dost protest us too much It's some phrase like that Is it that they secretly?

[00:36:45] No, they're not really and the more you put like you said poke the bear the more they have to come back with but I am But I am. Who are they really trying to convince? Are they not trying to, maybe, slightly convince themselves? Like, do they secretly, [00:37:00] all secretly know that they haven't really become the opposite sex?

[00:37:05] Or are some of them convinced they have? And then it becomes that whole, like, well, if they've changed all their secondary sex characteristics, and... All of this. So I actually, I'm friends with some transsexuals, which I know some people say is like an outdated term, but they are the people there's tend to be older men and they say, you know what?

[00:37:28] I know I'm a man. I just. Want to present like a stereotypical woman and call myself Brenda or whatever it might be, because I have dysphoria, but I accept that I'm a man, I just want to live like this. And that to me seems quite healthy, not okay, healthy, not quite the right word, but at least they're being real about this, the whole situation.

[00:37:52] So I appreciate it when people say that, but then you get into that sticky territory of like, which spaces should they be using? [00:38:00] Oh, that's the whole minefield.

[00:38:02] Nathan Maingard: Well, yeah, I mean, so this is such a great conversation to be having, and I certainly would like to get a trans person, a trans identified person or more than one on to really who's available because so far my experience has been when I try to have these conversations online. It just, it immediately descends into Nathan's a transphobe and he doesn't get it.

[00:38:21] He's all these like cis white man, et cetera. He can't possibly understand. And so, which I think is such a sad thing to. to put each other onto, you used the term earlier, pedestals, but to pedestalize or the opposite, like to either put ourselves on a pedestal or others on a pedestal as having more or less of a right to be a victim or be someone who's having a tough time, et cetera, et cetera.

[00:38:45] My brother recently said something beautiful, which is that we are all impacted by our life. Everyone is impacted by their life. So if we can meet each other, acknowledging that I can't possibly know what your experience is, but let's, let's have a conversation about it.[00:39:00]

[00:39:00] Why am I saying all of this? I'm just very, I want more of these conversations basically, because I love in a way you and I are just like, you know, you, you have more life experience about this, so I'm meeting you.

[00:39:10] I'm not trying to like structure this, like some big, we're going to solve all these problems, but it's just two curious people having a conversation about something that is very interesting and that seems to almost deny curiosity. Like we're not, I feel like I'm not allowed to be curious and questioning about it because that, yeah, I even saw an Instagram page recently and I was thinking about following this, this person.

[00:39:34] I still might actually, but this is a woman who has gone all the way in. So now has a beard and, and he's actually like almost not a bodybuilder, but, but a fitness expert. And helps other people to get very muscular and everything. And I was reading a few of this person's posts and videos and just being like, wow, they really, like, I would not have known if I'd seen this person, I'd be like, that was, I would have thought as a man.

[00:39:58] I mean, it's kind of like mind [00:40:00] boggling that the extent to which it can go, but there was something that they said at one point was, basically, something about when, when trans people, uh, when women who have, are now identified as men, put on a bit of weight, or it was something to do with strength, it's like suddenly that can trigger the dysphoria again.

[00:40:17] And so I was seeing, I was like, this person, I can see how hard they are trying and how hard they have to try every day to prove to themself and to everyone, I am a man. Like and there's such an effort involved in that and it's to what you were saying a moment ago it seems that there's some part that That doesn't actually believe it and that there's this constant chase to to be convincing and be convinced

[00:40:42] Sarah Vaci: Oh yeah, definitely. And I, yeah, I, I think so. And that's why, like I said, they push back sometimes even more. And I mean, we obviously, we only see the people online and there's people who are quietly just living their lives and maybe not pushing back. But, [00:41:00] uh, the detransitioners, once again, I've asked them, you know, or I've watched so many videos and quite often they said they, they just got exhausted with trying with consciously existing.

[00:41:14] Obviously we consciously exist, but quite often I'll just walk down the street and I'm not thinking, am I, am I walking the right way? Am I, am I walking as is expected of me? And some of the detransitioners have said, I had to think constantly how I move my body, how I speak to be effectively like a man, which is once again, playing into the stereotypes and the, the male.

[00:41:40] The non binary male who I briefly dated was quite a softly spoken, sweet, gentle character, and I can, I totally understand why they felt uncomfortable with the label man, [00:42:00] even though Within, within the label man, there should be this huge variety of softly spoken, sweet, gentle men who wear dresses and have long hair.

[00:42:13] I don't mind, you know, what, what I really want to emphasize is. I think we should do away with this idea of a masculine trait and a feminine trait. And really, this is what I hear from the feminists as well, is it's all about personality. And if we can just say, you know, everybody's personality is a mix of masculine and feminine.

[00:42:33] And neither, none of them are, you know, it's not like the masculine traits are the good ones and the feminine ones are the weak ones, which unfortunately was a bit of my upbringing. You know, the feminine, Oh, if you're really good with children and you're so good at caring. I always make this joke that I would be a rubbish nurse.

[00:42:52] Like I can care for people, but I am not going to spend three hours making a chicken soup. Uh, it's just, and you [00:43:00] know, I'll clean up sick if I really have to, but. Uh, my kid's dad is so sweet and lovely and he'll just be. He's got that sort of patience that a nurse needs. And whenever I've had a boyfriend with a headache, I'm like, Oh, just take some medicine already and get over it.

[00:43:18] Which you could say is, could be seen as a bit more masculine and oh, where's this lovely sweet tenderness that women are meant to have? But it's just my way, I'm a bit more like, get up and go and let's just get on with the day. Does that make sense that we're all a mixture and everyone, I watched a very interesting neuroscience talk that was about the mosaic brain.

[00:43:42] And it was about how everyone's brain has masculine and feminine elements. And I, I never, I missed the bit where they said, how did they work out what was a masculine element? But they showed the brain and it was just a mixture. And I think that's healthy to say, you know, everyone's got not feminine and [00:44:00] masculine, but assertive and gentle parts and loving parts and, and loud parts and quiet parts.

[00:44:08] And, and that's, that's what we need to be okay with.

[00:44:14] Nathan Maingard: Yeah, I mean, you've, you, you, you raise an interesting point and I wanted to speak with you about this and, uh, we may have slightly different perspectives on this one and I'm very curious to hear because my understanding is, and so I'll, I'll treat it from the hormonal level, like, and I'm not a scientist, I'm not researched deeply in any of this, but, but I recently saw a chart that really affected me was basically a woman's monthly hormonal level.

[00:44:40] Movement, right? And like, and the waves and the troughs and how it like, really, there's big, big shifts that are happening to, I guess, pre menopausal adult women. And I would imagine even post menopausal, I don't know any, anything about that actually, but the point is that this chart was like, clear that women are [00:45:00] navigating massive internal transformations.

[00:45:02] On a monthly basis in a real big way. And then above it was the kind of men's chart of our testosterone and our kind of daily hormonal. And it's like sunrise and sunset. It's just this little up and down every day. Just like cruises along at this very quite a consistent, whereas the woman obviously, you know, through as we're coming up towards the menses, and then we dropping down.

[00:45:23] And then it's now it's ovulation. It's just like this huge. And I get the image in my mind of the ocean floor and the ocean. How the ocean floor is so stable and it gives a structure and it holds the the ocean and in the same way that the sun and you probably are hating all of this, but I'll finish and then you can you can say I'm interested to hear everything, but

[00:45:45] Sarah Vaci: We're the ocean, aren't we?

[00:45:47] Nathan Maingard: absolutely 100%.

[00:45:49] And. And then as well, the sky and the sun, like as, so for example, I, I pray just because I enjoy it and it's [00:46:00] something that I've developed for myself that has been very meaningful for me and the prayer that naturally unfolded because I was watching the sunrise a lot when I was kind of. Speaking it when it came into being part of it was giving thanks to father sun, and in my mind, father sun is the idea of the seed bearer and the one who plants the seed of life into the mother and the mother is the earth and the father contains the mother through the sky and the sun are like these containers that hold the creative energy.

[00:46:28] So the, the, there's the mass, the, the pure masculine energy being the containment and the pure feminine energy being creation.

[00:46:37] And that when the two come together, there is a stability, there is a some kind of a stability in terms of creation and life unfolding and birth and death and all happening within the containment.

[00:46:48] Now, I agree a hundred percent that all of us have masculine and feminine tendencies within us. And I also know that only men are the seed bearers and only women are the birthers and the... Bringers of new [00:47:00] life through themselves. And so there is a difference. It doesn't make one at all better or worse, but there is a clear difference.

[00:47:06] So I'm curious to hear what is, how does this all land for you?

[00:47:11] Sarah Vaci: I've heard this so many times and it's, it's not my cup of tea, but the way I see it, I think in my experience, at least, um, on some level. I, I do agree, like I definitely have this change in the month and then the older I get, the more I'm aware like, Oh, I, this is my, my, my one week where I have really good energy or two weeks if I'm lucky.

[00:47:42] And then, Oh no, the house is falling apart because my period is coming. But with men, they're, they're up, they're up and down in a very unpredictable. Uh, more, at least we can plot it on a chart for the month. Okay, everyone has [00:48:00] ups and downs, but I, I hate to say it, but I've been around at least three men who were so up and down within the hour. So they were not like the seabed at all. They were so, they were like random storms when you're in a tiny little rowing boat.

[00:48:21] Nathan Maingard: Gotcha. Hmm.

[00:48:23] Sarah Vaci: went from really sweet and loving to very aggressive. So that's been my experience of some significant men in my life. So I don't feel like, Oh, women are the ones who are a bit up and down and the men provide this gentle stability at all.

[00:48:43] I've met women who are really on a level all the time, very calm. In fact, most of the mom friends in my group seem to be the very steady ones. And I'm the one who's a bit up and down. And then I've met men. So I, in my own [00:49:00] experience. There are men who are very steady and stable and calm, um, and then there are men who are extremely turbulent and I don't, it would be interesting to find out what the testosterone levels might be of those men who are very aggressive and if it's, if it's genuinely higher in those men.

[00:49:22] I have heard from the detransitioned women that for some of them it's made them more, the testosterone made them more anxious and aggressive. So yeah, that's why I, I, I've heard all of these, uh, you know, I don't go to these sort of women's circles and I, it's just not, I, I get it. But then saying it's only a few steps along to say, well, women are the sort of nurturing, caring, motherly, like the, the bosom for everyone.

[00:49:54] I don't know that I just made up, you know, but then. I, I, I said [00:50:00] before, I'm, I'm caring but I'm really like a bit matter of fact and then there are men I know who are so like oozing with caring and nurturing and love and patience when I'm not. So then if I feel like there's, I think you're talking about archetypes kind of.

[00:50:16] Nathan Maingard: Yeah, absolutely. Archetypes, which none of us completely conform to. But yeah, it's just an interesting question or consideration.

[00:50:26] Sarah Vaci: Yeah, just as a sideline. So I've had this idea like there are lots of women's circles and I used to live somewhere That's very very Hippie, I'm just gonna say hippie. So there's women's circles there. They they have a bonfire and there's incense and crystals and singing and drinking herbal tea. And I, I would go there and feel really uncomfortable.

[00:50:48] It's not my thing. And then there's like a father and son activities, like a men's activity thing where they're doing archery and learning how to light a [00:51:00] fire with some flint and building a shelter with their bare, you know, that appeals to me so much. So I think maybe I, this is why I've not connected with groups of

[00:51:13] women. But I wonder whether I always wonder, are women really like in, on Jen in general, are they like, which came first, like, are they Jen generally like that? And why is it that I don't enjoy those like gentle, sweet herbal tea women's groups? Is it, do they really, I don't, does it make sense what I'm trying to say?

[00:51:40] Like there must be women out there who just don't click with that. Where is their place? And I haven't found it. I want to set up this like women's group where we're not singing gently in the woods, but we're, we're rock climbing and, and then building our own raft or something, but I don't see that.[00:52:00]

[00:52:00] Nathan Maingard: Yeah, no, I love what you're saying. I mean, I totally I think the day that the world enables people to express and be, you know, like, if you want to climb rocks, be you man or woman, go for it. Like 100 percent support. It's amazing. And I guess what I'm speaking to is there's an intrinsic And I know that our society we've shifted away from like we've moved into a different kind of way of showing up in the world, but intrinsically, if a woman is going to be a child bearer, there are going to be points where she really needs some solid people who can hold the space around her to keep her safe and the child safe.

[00:52:35] And that historically would be men. And so, right. I think from a evolutionary standpoint, and I, again, we're moving away from that, but there is still like millions of years of evolution behind us that we are now shifting away from. And I, I'm, I wonder if there is some value in acknowledging that foundational reality of women as child bearers, which is by definition a nurturer, [00:53:00] like I can't ever feed a baby with my body.

[00:53:03] You know, that's a, that's nurturing. There's no way that, you're like, ah.

[00:53:07] Sarah Vaci: These days, Nathan, these days, it's amazing what, uh...

[00:53:11] Nathan Maingard: You can be whatever you want to be, man. Like, don't hold yourself back. But there's so there's that intrinsic foundational reality, which. Which I think is if to start from there and then build from there and build into all different beautiful directions. I think my experience, I've also spoken with so many women who are so independent and so powerful and literally rock climber.

[00:53:33] I have a dear friend is a, is a great rock climber and in many of our conversations I've also witnessed her, this deep desire to be able to soften a bit more, to let go a bit more. Because she's being held by masculine energy and whether that would be other women or whether it would be men who are embodied in their primary masculinity as men, also still containing their feminine elements, but that that would enable her.

[00:53:59] And I've heard it from [00:54:00] so many women who have showed up in our society because they've been conditioned to be. Women are, so independent and can do anything men can do. And then they reach a point where they're like, I actually don't want to do everything. Like, I wish there was a man to like chop wood and carry heavy things and be physically just like they're taking care of that, like cleaning out the toilet when it gets blocked and just doing like strong manly things.

[00:54:20] And I'm saying this as a man, who has relatively recently stepped more into those kind of roles and I see like I get excited if it's raining and the firewoods run out and my lady snuggled in bed like I'm not, it's not fun but I'm excited that I get to serve her in this way with this body that that will never create new life but can be strong and can protect life.

[00:54:45] I don't know. And I know this is just my perspective. Of course, I'm not saying everyone has to feel this. And I also know that intrinsically, there's this foundational difference men as seed bearers and holders of containers of life and women as creators of life. And this, for [00:55:00] me, it's just so beautiful to consider that without limiting anyone in how they want to express those aspects of themselves.

[00:55:06] Sarah Vaci: I hear you, I get, I get what you mean and that's great that you It sounds like you're appreciating your capabilities in a way that I think like you said when you were younger, you didn't appreciate being a man and now you're like, Oh, but I have this strength. I mean, to be honest, I've been doing weightlifting because I want to see like, Oh, can I appreciate my strength?

[00:55:31] But very interestingly, I was researching for a book about postnatal depression and I held quite a few very, very, very long, heavy interviews with women. And what, so this is kind of linked to what you were saying in a way that the men didn't know how to, in some of the cases, there was a sort of theme through the interviews, they didn't know how to hold the, woman, how [00:56:00] to support her, quite often they would be like, Oh, do you want a cup of tea?

[00:56:04] And they would be a bit clueless to, to hold the space or to how to care properly. And that's also, I said, I think there's something missing in how men. I, I saw this female empowerment coach for a while and she said, men don't know how to, not be men, but they've lost their way a bit because before in like the 50s and 60s, they were like, Oh, this is the role I'm playing.

[00:56:31] I'm I'm what I go to work. I support my family. I chopped trees or whatever. And then, and then the women got independent and men are like, well, okay, I have to readjust how I fit in with this scenario. And, and then in the, you know, if the, the woman's expected to do almost too much once she's had the baby and just get on with it. And so there's a bit of like maybe, I've said to the women in the interviews, I said, did you [00:57:00] ask for help? Did you say you need time to yourself? And sometimes they didn't. They felt like I've got to prove something and I've got to do it. And even then, you know, there's the kind of apologetic, like, do you mind watching the baby so I can just have a half an hour walk?

[00:57:17] When the man is going off to watch the football at the weekend, and then he's going to the pub after work on a Friday, and the mum has been with the baby all week. And to me it was... I'm not saying that would have been the answer to the postnatal depression because it's quite complicated, but there's, there was not enough of a balance and they didn't know the right, there was something very broken in that, it felt like the communication, and the fact that the woman felt she had to do it all and she couldn't ask for more help. But the man also didn't want to overstep and say, like, maybe it sounds like you have a very healthy relationship, but there might be some men who would. Certainly if someone [00:58:00] dated me, they might be like, what's Sarah gonna say if I chop the wood?

[00:58:03] Maybe she wants to chop the wood. Is she gonna feel patronized if I, if he chops the wood, am I gonna feel like he's making a point about me being weak? Like, I, I do, you're making me think a little bit about how the different, the way that I approach this side of wanting to feel strong, but also wishing that there was, Do I wish there was a man about the house?

[00:58:30] Sometimes, but what for? I'm trying to think. Just as an interesting other point, I do, there seems to be in the dating world, there are women who have it all or seem to have it all the great career, really strong, go to the gym, very fit. And sometimes it's quite hard for them to meet their match because, because the, they, they don't need anything. Because they're so independent, and I'm not saying [00:59:00] that that's not a good thing, but it's something I've been mulling over, like, if you have a great job, a great house, you love going out, and apart from, like, the sexy stuff is more fun with somebody else, usually. But you could, can you be too independent, do you think?

[00:59:21] Nathan Maingard: That's a great question. I mean, I love, I'm just enjoying this conversation so much and I can't believe how much time we've already spent. Cause I feel like there's so many things I still want to chat about. But

[00:59:32] Sarah Vaci: We can do a part two, we can

[00:59:33] Nathan Maingard: yeah, yeah. Part two exactly. Like anyone listening, send in your questions and we'll, we'll tap into a part two.

[00:59:40] Yeah, I think so. So for my personal journey, it's been. So I know you don't like words masculine and feminine, but I do. I love them. So I'll throw them out and it's, and we can, we can discuss whether they, they make sense or not. But if we go based on my, like my sort of theology of, of reality, of this idea of prime, [01:00:00] archetypal, masculine, feminine, as I've described them already yin and yang.

[01:00:04] Then in my life, I really leaned away and I expressed, I didn't feel good about being a man because of all the ideas I had of what it meant to be a man. And so most of my friends were women. I felt much safer with women. I, I hung, I really like softened. And leaned into what I consider the feminine and actually in many ways became quite needy, uh, because I, because I was not owning the part of myself that is a man, like owning that I am a man in this life and that there's a responsibility that comes with that, that I was kind of tapping out of.

[01:00:38] And this experience of being with my partner, we've been together now seven years and witnessing both of us coming at it from opposite perspectives of, you know, her being, I think just before we met, she went off, well, a few months before we met, she went off the pill, which she'd been on for quite a long time.

[01:00:54] And that alone is such a big hormonal destabilizer that I don't, I think most women aren't [01:01:00] actually warned about. She certainly wasn't. And so we've both been navigating this relationship of. What is our role, the role of each of us within the dynamic, and how does it, how is it different but equal?

[01:01:14] Because I think you've spoken to something very important a number of times, is that the fact that, for example, that me, I, on average, I'm stronger than the average woman. Because I'm a man and I physically have that power that is intrinsic to being a man, that is a part of being a man, that I find it easier to be strong physically than the average woman, um, that that doesn't make me better.

[01:01:35] And, and by the same token, the fact that a woman can give birth and only a woman can bring life into the world or only a woman can,

[01:01:43] I don't know, have these cycles that like seem so mysterious to me in many ways where I'm like, I can't imagine what that would be like. There's all these different things that I think.

[01:01:51] again, I'll speak for my relationship with my woman. I witness her. She contains so many things intrinsically that are completely mysterious and beautiful [01:02:00] to me that I don't get to, I don't know what it's like to be those things. But it doesn't make her less than. It makes me, it gives me an invitation to step into my manhood,

[01:02:11] in a way that enables her to step into her womanhood. And we are, we are working out the dynamic between us of how that looks. And over these years, she has, I will say the word softened as a, as a beautiful thing, she's softened into let asking me to do more of the physical hard shit. Where, where it's just like for her, she's like, why would I this, there's this strong strapping man beside me.

[01:02:34] He should do all of that stuff. And it's, and then she'll focus more on the nurturing. And it is more in terms of making food or those kinds of things. And we've both found that to be quite a relief, um, of just accepting that I'm physically stronger and accepting that she has a softness and a way about her,

[01:02:54] that is very nurturing. And again, these are the, the, the attributes that [01:03:00] we are choosing to express, but choosing to express them has felt a lot easier to both of us or not easier, but more energizing to both of us than previously, where she was trying to be more independent on every level and where I was less wanting to step into my power physically and just be more like, I don't know, I'll just let it all kind of unfold and happen and just like not really.

[01:03:22] Take responsibility for stuff. And again, I know that I'm associating certain characteristics, but this is what we found and we found it to be really like fulfilling in a way that I'd never experienced in my life before.

[01:03:38] Sarah Vaci: Okay, apart from physical strength, what are some of the other, uh, when you say step into your manhood, what else would you, because we're talking quite a lot about, well, I don't know about the nurturing. I just, I. I just find it so interesting. Obviously, when you have the, when you have a baby, normally [01:04:00] this nurturing instinct.

[01:04:01] When I had postnatal depression, it wasn't really there. It didn't kick in the way that I expected it to, which actually was part of what led to the postnatal depression that I felt like, There was something missing in me and I was like, failed woman. I've written the whole thing about feeling like I failed at motherhood in that instance anyway.

[01:04:28] And yeah, I just, what I'm curious about is let's say this sort of the masculine energy and feminine energy beyond the, the physical attributes. And that's where I think the whole gender thing becomes a bit confusing and. Murky and not murky is the right word, but you know, you know, the whole argument is like, oh, you're so focused on the biology.

[01:04:56] Like, I'm curious beyond my [01:05:00] capacity to give birth and have us have boobs and, uh. Soft skin, or whatever it is that makes me female, like, personality wise, I wonder. I just feel like having the expectation that women in general will be very sweet and nurturing is where I, I understand that that might be a thing, but having that put on people is what is messing some people up, and that's probably not a PC way of putting it, but if a, if someone, if someone doesn't have the soft, tender side, if there's a woman who doesn't naturally feel that soft, tender side, and who wants to chop logs or something, they shouldn't feel like that.

[01:05:50] Oh, but they, they should learn to woman. step into their womanhood. Like that, I think you should speak to some there's [01:06:00] a, there's a, the, the weightlifting that I've been doing, I've been following this, that the woman who teaches it, she has won something like strongest woman in America, six times. I think you should have her on the podcast

[01:06:12] Nathan Maingard: a great

[01:06:13] Sarah Vaci: her about. Or this trans person you mentioned I can send you some names of, of weightlifters who are just super impressive, strong women. Because when, especially when they're in a relationship, how do they, does that change things? I wonder if they are an extremely strong, you should interview Sarah Robles. Do you remember?

[01:06:41] Do you remember her? She, she was the one in the Olympics who said no comment. Uh, I'll send you, you'll, you'll know, you'll know the clip I think

[01:06:51] Nathan Maingard: Okay, cool.

[01:06:53] Sarah Vaci: because that was the year that a trans, Identified male took part and someone asked [01:07:00] her a question about it, and I think she was the one who said, no comment.

[01:07:04] They didn't, she didn't wanna comment on that. And she is one strong, fantastic lady.

[01:07:11] Nathan Maingard: for sure. No, beautiful. And so this is the thing, strength, strength is not necessarily, and I think this is part of the thing, strength being, physical strength being associated with positivity. Like, as in, it's good to be physically strong. It doesn't necessarily have a value associated with it. I'm more talking about on the, like, if we can start at a foundational level and then build up from there in terms of where we want it to go.

[01:07:32] Because I think, If a woman wants to take part in focusing her time and her energy on being very physically strong and that's a priority for her, go for it. I agree. I think that's one of the great limitations of our society is this idea of I don't even like, I'm, I'm moving more and more away from wanting to use the word gender because it's become, I almost like don't even believe in gender.

[01:07:51] It's like there are men and there are women and we should have the option to express that in whatever way feels good for us as a man or as a woman, I [01:08:00] should be able to do the things that I want to do because I want to do them. Like that in a free society. I dunno. What do you think about that?

[01:08:06] Sarah Vaci: Well, you don't think that the term archetype is, is gender? When you talk about the, the solid. the sand, the seabed and the wavy ocean. To me, that feels more like gender than, I suppose it's about what, what is true. And that's what is true about men in general. And what is true about women in general? And can we even talk like that?

[01:08:40] Because the idea that women are nurturing is that I don't feel like I know quite enough about all this, but the concept of women as a gender is that they are nurturing,

[01:08:55] Nathan Maingard: Hmm.

[01:08:56] Sarah Vaci: you know, that's the idea of that's why, you know, you get [01:09:00] the, uh, the, the, the males who identify as women and suddenly they're all being all soft and sweet like this.

[01:09:08] And, and you rarely would you get a. A male who identifies as a woman, who still is like, um, who's not trying to be all dainty and sweet, you

[01:09:21] Nathan Maingard: Well, also, so how's this for for an idea then, imagine a woman who's a mother and and there's a bear that's about to cause some problems for her and her child. I imagine she would be very powerful in the way she responds to that and that that would be nurturing. So I guess what I'm again talking about, we can we can choose to show up however we want in our society, especially today, we've separated ourselves from them.

[01:09:45] But there's, there's a foundational truth that a man is the bearer of seed and a woman is the bearer of child, that a woman create, brings, can. And so at that level, a woman intrinsically has, you know, you have nurtured life in a way [01:10:00] that no man ever can. And so that nurturing is intrinsic, and I know not all women can have children, not all women want to, and that's fine, but at some deep level, one of the deepest levels that defines what the difference between men and women, there is this, that men can plant the seed, but they can't give birth to the life, women can give birth to the life, but they can't plant the seed, and like that is, So there is an intrinsic nurturing.

[01:10:26] And so there, we can either choose to align with that in whatever ways feel good for us in, in this life or not. And I, and I don't think it's right or wrong either way. I'm just curious to know if there is some cost or reward based on aligning in various ways. And I really don't have the answers here, but I'm.

[01:10:44] Yeah, I really am enjoying the conversation.

[01:10:48] Sarah Vaci: Yeah, it's, it's, it's definitely making me, making me think, I think one of, one of the things that is so interesting with these conversations is we can never be [01:11:00] completely objective

[01:11:01] Nathan Maingard: of course.

[01:11:02] Sarah Vaci: the way, the way, My whole life has been grappling with, uh, this sort of internalized misogyny that anything feminine is, is a weakness.

[01:11:16] So, I have, I don't think that I have stepped into my feminine power, or whatever that might look like. And I also, I don't know what that would, so, when I, when I said I was genderqueer, I felt more comfortable than I do now, because suddenly I'm like, Well, what does that really, what does that look like for me to live as a whole woman and all of this kind of thing?

[01:11:43] And no, I totally, I, I get that about the nurturing, but I just, yeah, I, I, I get what you're saying, but I don't, but I think beyond the woman has a baby and therefore women are [01:12:00] naturally. naturally tend to be more nurturing. I, I need to read a bit more about that. If that's really, you know, if you had a woman in isolation in a cave or in a, in a forest and a man in isolation in a forest, would the woman naturally care about, like be interested in an injured animal and a man would be less, would the man look at the injured animal and think I'm going to beat it over the head and eat it?

[01:12:29] Is the man more likely to do that? Let thought experiment, you know, archetype man, or would they, but yeah, go on.

[01:12:37] Nathan Maingard: no, just cause I,

[01:12:38] Sarah Vaci: experiment.

[01:12:39] Nathan Maingard: so I just had the, it's crazy that you would use that example because I just watched, and again, this is TV, but it looked very legitimate. It was one of Bear Grylls old. Programs. It's called the Island, and he did this. He called it an experiment where they did a group of 14 normal British women on an island by themselves for six [01:13:00] weeks, and that four of the women were We're trained camera people, camera, camera, women, camera, men, camera, women.

[01:13:07] But they were all just there alone on the island for the whole time, unless they called for help on the radio. And they did the same with a group of 14 men, different Island, completely not at all connected to each other. And they left them for six weeks to survive. And I don't know how much, and this would be the interesting thing to explore is how much of the result was.

[01:13:27] Uh, from societal conditioning of what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a man and how much is a result of what it, the intrinsic men and women, et cetera. But what happened was that the women were very caring and very, very focused on, on everyone being heard and everyone having their feelings expressed and really like watching it was, was amazing to see how they prioritized feeling and how they felt over the practicality of actual, like really.[01:14:00]

[01:14:00] Getting shit done and the men and they both struggled. I mean, both groups lost huge amounts of weight over the process. Were really slowly starving. I mean, it's a survival situation and they gave it that.

[01:14:12] Women needed, I mean, the women were helped clearly by the production team a few times where, you know, like some suddenly little pigs roamed into the campsite that were clearly tame.

[01:14:20] They were not wild pigs and these women made pets of them and they hadn't eaten in at that point, I don't know, a week or something. And they, they couldn't kill them. They snuggled them and they made them friends and they named them and they did eventually slaughter them. But after a really long time, whereas the men, as soon as there was food. They were like on it. They were slaughtering it. They were showing up and, and the men within a few days had a very practical rota where every morning everyone gathered together and decided on the most important tasks of the day, gathering water, gathering wood, doing this, like very practical.

[01:14:51] Let's get shit done. Let's make sure everyone's cared for. The women were much more like they never got a leader. They were very egalitarian. They were very like, everyone gets to [01:15:00] decide. It caused them so much chaos over the process of the six weeks that it was just, it was, but, and so when I watched it, I was like, I want to know how much of this is societally indoctrinated and how much of it is intrinsic because the difference is so massive, so massive in, in, in this example.

[01:15:20] Sarah Vaci: Yeah, that sounds like, I really, that sounds fascinating because my experience has been that those groups where the women are like, it's all got to be really, really fair. And everyone's going to have to say, I'm the, I'm the loud mouth who wants to be assertive and get shit done.

[01:15:37] Nathan Maingard: Right.

[01:15:38] Sarah Vaci: And then so, so this is where I think it's social because I have always found it really stressful when I want to take control and then I'm like, Oh no, but people are going to think I'm being a bit bossy and a bit loud. And I'm constantly told, not constantly. Throughout my life, I've had moments where [01:16:00] people are like, we really need to hear from everyone, Sarah.

[01:16:03] And I'm like, let's just. This idea that I've suggested, everyone thinks it's a good one. Let's talk, but I really think, you know, and, and, the, the, the, here's a good example. So I joined the Green Party recently, not recently, a few years ago. And I went to one of their meetings, and in those meetings, everyone gets a vote on everything.

[01:16:23] And we sat around talking about, how much time have we got, by the way?

[01:16:27] Nathan Maingard: Uh, we are like, Oh, we, yeah, let's, I've got it. Let's do one more, one more foray, but then we need to part ways.

[01:16:34] Sarah Vaci: Okay, okay. No, but I just mean that that's a very interesting example and I'm the one who's the outlier because I'm the more proactive, dynamic, outlier, like assertive one who wants to get stuff done. I'm not saying I'd find it easy to kill a pig. That's where I feel a bit stressed when I'm in a Like I don't know if it's social [01:17:00] or what why I'm like that But i've always tried to speak up ever since I was a teenager I was like, but but why do I have to wait for the boy to phone me first?

[01:17:10] Okay, that was one of my first examples, first memories was you're meant to wait three days I'm like, but I like him. Why can't I just tell him I like him? and I've been told to be quiet my whole life and so, you know, for me it's been learned behavior like, shush Sarah, you gotta let everyone else have a go.

[01:17:28] But then if it's a man, it's expected that he'll take over the group because he's a man. But then if I try and do it, it's like, oh, she's too big for her boots. That kind of thing. So I, I don't know, but I definitely think we should do another episode.

[01:17:45] Nathan Maingard: Yeah, I agree. I mean, I, I so appreciate hearing from you and also feeling, hearing the outlier aspect of like, this is, and I wonder, I mean, there's so, oh God, I want to go deeper into this, but in a way it's like, both energies always have to be present. They [01:18:00] always wanting, we could call it, I don't know what to like the pure creative force and the pure practical, you Like those two, the, the, like the logical brain and the creative brain, as they call it, you know, whatever, whether you can give them labels, masculine, feminine, or you could just say logical, creative, or structured and free flowing.

[01:18:19] And they both have to be present and they are present in all of us. So I think that being able to express whichever those feel aligned for us. Like, I think those women probably would have done very well with having you on that island. Like that, that would have having a bit more structure and a bit more like someone willing to take the lead and be like.

[01:18:35] Like this is really important. Let's get this done would have been

[01:18:38] Sarah Vaci: They wouldn't have liked me.

[01:18:40] Nathan Maingard: No, they wouldn't have like, no, no, no, they

[01:18:42] Sarah Vaci: wouldn't have made friends. I wouldn't have made friends. I've spent my whole life feeling a bit lone, lonely sometimes because people don't know quite where to place me. So, yeah, things might've got done, but I really want to go and find that show now.

[01:18:59] Nathan Maingard: oh my gosh, I [01:19:00] I couldn't believe how addicted like I don't really watch reality stuff I don't it's not something I've ever but once I started the the incredible Engagements between the people, the social dynamics, the, the relational practice, like I just could not stop watching it completely engaged me on every level of like, wow, look at people in a very critical situation.

[01:19:21] What happens between people? Anyway, I, I so appreciate you, Sarah. I. Thank you. You're a very wonderful human. And I'm super, super happy we've had this opportunity. So before we part ways, as always, the question I ask at the end is when you hear the words we are already free, what comes up for you?

[01:19:40] Sarah Vaci: I don't know, the bit already is the tricky one, isn't it? I, I, I feel like we're becoming less free, but I think we are already free. I think everyone has the capacity within themselves to I think that [01:20:00] we, we have the capacity to be free within ourselves and it's fucking society that, Ugh, all the expectations and the people you associate with and all your upbringing that just messes everything up.

[01:20:13] And... I, I mean, I'm not like, I think the chaotic world that I wish, like, I can imagine chaos, because I'm the one who's like, why do we follow these rules? Just like you said, I questioned so many different rules. Like, you know, why don't we have sausage and potatoes for breakfast and cereal for supper? I question all of those things. So I, I feel, I wish people just felt like they could be more. More, more free and just live without judgment, but then we've got all those social rules. So I am Yeah, so that's I think that already bit is the sticking point for me Like we have the capacity to be more free than we realize. That's what I would say

[01:20:59] Nathan Maingard: Beautiful. [01:21:00] Well, again, I really appreciate, I feel like, what have I so just appreciated being able to have a conversation where I can so hear and feel that you've lived experience that is kind of beyond what I've known in many ways. And you've given me many insights into you. Thank you. And I just really have enjoyed and do enjoy your presence.

[01:21:23] And it's amazing because we've never spoken before, but I've known you through your art, which I find so moving. And so like the fact that you would choose to do something like that, which will clearly put you in front of a lot of people who will be very angry with you. And yet you still do it. And you do it in a way that to me is very kind and

[01:21:41] Sarah Vaci: get I don't get much hate. I don't get death threats and I it's not an invitation to anyone watching

[01:21:48] Nathan Maingard: Yeah. Yeah.

[01:21:48] Sarah Vaci: but that But there's something about my art series that is very different to the other, uh, some of the other formats that exist out there that I [01:22:00] very rarely get any pushback. So that's made me think a lot about what is different about it.

[01:22:06] That I don't get people saying, Oh, you're effing portrait, eff off with your art. I don't get anything like that.

[01:22:13] Nathan Maingard: Amazing. Yeah. There's something there. No, there's something there about the way that you've brought across a very, very tender, very vulnerable, very confronting topic. And so where would people find you if they're wanting to get, get ahold of your art or, or get ahold of you and just kind of learn more about you?

[01:22:29] Sarah Vaci: Well, I have the main website, which is metamorphosis100. com and then, uh, generally if people just Google my name, then you'll find all my social media links will appear. My surname is V A C I, which I'm sure will be written somewhere. So it's pronounced Vaci, just because nobody can ever pronounce that. And, uh, yeah, the best place is metamorphosis100. com. And then I think on Twitter, I'm, uh. Just sarahvaci, [01:23:00] and my artist name is Lordy because I became a lord, so I thought I'll call myself Lordy, like officially a lord.

[01:23:07] Nathan Maingard: Thank you again. I appreciate you and thank you for coming on. We are already free. It's been an absolute pleasure.

[01:23:13] Thank you again to Sarah for your lovely presence on the podcast.

[01:23:17] I feel like we barely scratched the surface of so many epic topics and I couldn't believe how quickly the time went. Let me know if you want me to get her back on dear listener and what we should chat about and be curious, because there were so many ways we could have taken it. And I'd love to know what you'd like to hear more of. As we reached the end of our time together today. After exploring these intricate layers of identity and self-expression with Sarah. Let's ponder a question. Where in your life are you letting the expectations of others dictate how you show up? And this is especially important when you wake up first thing in the morning. It's the most powerful moment

[01:23:54] you have to drastically improve the quality of your day and therefore your life, because what is your life made up [01:24:00] of? It's made up of days and of moments. And the morning is really that PowerPoint of like open my eyes. What am I giving energy to? This episode was so rich with discussions about embracing our true selves and reminds us of the importance of starting each day in a way that's in harmony with our authentic identity, or gives us an opportunity to start connecting with that. That's the essence of my free five day morning practice challenge.

[01:24:24] It's not about adopting a one size fits all routine, but discovering a morning, ritual that really speaks to you, that ignites your individuality and sets the tone for a day lived authentically. I invite you to join this journey towards a morning practice that echoes your unique rhythm and spirit. Dive into this exploration of self and start each day feeling connected, aligned, and genuinely you. To begin your transformation visit already free.me/yes.

[01:24:52] Or check the show notes in your podcast app right now. Embrace this opportunity to align your mornings with the real you. Let's start this [01:25:00] beautiful journey together. Thank you again for your presence. It's such a gift and an honor to be on this journey with you. This is almost our last episode for this season.

[01:25:08] And for this year, we'll be taking a bit of a break and yeah, just honoring you, honoring all of us on this path. It is such a great mystery and no matter what any of us thinks or knows or believes. At the source is all love. If you listened to my podcast episode a while, back with Helena wild, we really, I loved how she said it was like at the sources love.

[01:25:27] And then we split love into truth and lies and black and white and light and dark. But, and it's all good. Like that's the level we're at. So I believe in some things and I disagree with a lot of things that other people believe. But really, is there a way to just come back to love to the foundation of I disagree and I love you. I think that is something I definitely want more of in my life. So I have, this has been an enjoyable episode. And I wish you well with the rest of your week. And thanks again to, to you for being here. What a blessing.

[01:25:56] And please remember as always. We are [01:26:00] already free.

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