Self discovery is complicated. There are so many standards set by society that make it hard for us to figure out who we really are. When we do find out what that is and it isn't deemed 'normal' in societal standards, then we try to find ways to hide it. This forces people to fake who they are or even hate who they are. It can drive people towards mental health issues and impact their way of life. It can get so bad that people feel that the only way they can survive is to not survive at all. Sometimes, all we need is to hear that there is someone out there who has gone through it too. When we find out there are others like us it can provide support and ease. This is why Finding Nevo by Nevo Zisin is so powerful.
Here is a story about a person who has gone through life trying to find out who they are. In this journey, they have discovered many aspects of their life that don't fit in to society's standard and they have had to fight to find happiness and acceptance. It is the story of Nevo Zisin. Born female, they lived a life full of gender dysphoria and later transitioned. This story take us on their journey. It provides us an insight into the emotions felt by Nevo and the fight between what society deemed 'normal' and how they identified themselves. It's a powerful piece of literature that gives people going through a similar journey something to connect with, and it is a story that has opened my eyes to just how suffocating society is.
This book is an autobiography that takes us on Nevo's journey. They were born female but always found they identified as a boy through the way they preferred acting, how they dressed and so on. This was the beginning of their gender dysphoria, which only became worse as they got older. It was hard for them to accept this identification of themselves and it was hard for some of the people they loved as well. However, it was the constraints of society that made the situation worse. It was this societal standard of what is 'normal' and what is 'just a phase' that seeped into Nevo's mind and made it hard for them to discover and accept these parts of their life.
There was more though. There was also their sexuality, their point of view, their opinions on themselves and how they saw others. All of it was choked by this global thought of 'well, that isn't normal'. In the book, there are parts where Nevo explains the hate or anger they had towards these aspects of their life, which really hit the reader hard. A feeling grows within, a thought along the lines of 'why are we like this?' or 'why can't we just be happy?'. The more you read, the more you become aware of why we are like this, and that is this global picture we have on what a person can be and what they can't be.
There is a lot of self reflection in this story, which provides us with a deeper insight into how people going through this feel. There are many issues that are reflected on in this story, including sexuality, gender, religion, acceptance, equality, sexual assault, the patriarchy and more. We hear a lot about them from people who have either experienced the oppression regarding these issues or people who have not. However, this story gives us a whole new perspective, which is told through the raw self reflection that we don't necessarily get in the media. It provides us with the thoughts, emotions and mentality that people go through in their journey of self discovery, which more people need to be aware of.
This a book that has the potential to be a guiding light for a lot of people out there. The written word is a powerful one and this story proves it. This tale is a voice for those who are still struggling with their identity and shows them that they are not alone. It provides everyone with the perspective of what it is like to face our society's standard and go against it in a bid to be happy. This is the story of a person, and a very powerful one at that.
What I thought
I think a lot of my opinions of this story fed into the description above. However, I cannot explain just how much this book changed my perspective on life. I've always been a bit tentative about reading autobiographies or biographies but I am so glad I decided to read this one. As a studying journalist and common user of social media, I am aware of the stories out there about people trying to discover who they are. We have only recently become aware of the complexity of life regarding identity, sexuality, gender and more, and this story really blew me away on just how complex it is.
I don't know about the rest of you but I know I had a lot of preconceptions about certain aspects of life. I had always thought of myself as someone accepting, kind and understanding. However, reading this book made me realise how much society has influenced my way of thinking. There are so many subliminal messages out their that seep into our minds and force us to have certain thoughts that make people feel segregated, oppressed, depressed, anxious and more. It was through this book that I realised that these preconceived thoughts built by these subliminal messages really damage and constrict a lot of people from finding happiness.
All I've ever wanted for everyone is happiness, joy and love. It frustrates me that, although we've taken so many huge steps in improving this, we're still in a position that society doesn't allow that for everyone.
Something that really shook me when reading this story was the hatred that Nevo had towards how they identified themselves and how fearful they were when they finally accepted that part of them. It also hit me hard to read that, although they were going through this struggle, they had preconceived ideas shoved into their minds by society that made them think negatively about others, such as the way one of their friends got unwanted attention by men.
I think everyone should read this story. It not only provides a lot of self reflection but gives us another view on the world that can educate us all in how to approach these issues. I think that books like this are so powerful in how they can support others going through similar struggles. So, whether you're someone who is going through a journey of self discovery and is scared of what people will think of them, or if you're someone who wants to get some understanding on the issues surrounding sexuality, gender and so on, read this book.
Have you read this book? Tell me what you think!
Charlotte is a reading and writing lover who has completed a creative writing intensive course at the University of Oxford and is a current university student studying a double degree in journalism and creative writing. If you are curious to learn more, check out the 'About' page.