Author Topic: Unearthing old memories  (Read 489 times)

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Offline AlyssaJ

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Unearthing old memories
« on: April 20, 2017, 07:39:12 pm »
How many of you through the course of discovering your gender identity and going through transition have come to discover old childhood memories of dysphoria that you had completely forgotten or buried in your subconscious? This has been happening to me quite a bit since I started seeing my therapist and we began pulling away layers of denial and examining my life from the outside.  Being in a comfortable space, going through some guided self analysis and being willing to acknowledge my feelings without shame has brought back a lot of memories I seemed to have tucked away.

I don't know that I consider any of the events to be particularly traumatic but rather just moments or common situations that I really forgot about as a result of repressing my feelings for so long.  For instance, early on in my exploration with my therapist, I started to recall how in kindergarten I was really intrigued by and jealous of the uniforms the girls got to wear. It continued for most of my elementary school years but until we really unpacked it I never associated it with any form of dysphoria.  More recently was a thread I read here last night that reminded me of another time in my younger days where I did some fashion show modeling for a local store and experienced a real desire to be on the stage as a pretty girl.

I ask because it's kind of bothersome when these things come crashing back on me. I mean I know many of you knew at those early ages that your gender didn't match your body.  It seems like I should have known but instead shoved it away and apparently did a really good job of it.  It freaks me out because I'm realizing in some cases how unhappy I was in situations that I had some how convinced myself were positive happy times. I know this is weird and contradictory but that's the problem I'm having.

Has anyone else experienced something similar? 
“I want to put myself out there, I want to make connections, I want to learn and if someone can get something out of my experience, I’m OK with that, too.” - Laura Jane Grace

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2017, 08:28:57 pm »
Yes, I have. I have a few memories from around ages 3-8 i totally forgot about until I was about 20/21
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Offline Artesia

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2017, 08:38:55 pm »
Yes.

I remember fragments.  I buried it real good, and still can't dredge up all my old memories.  What I do remember:

Having a group of older kids making fun of the way I walked, by saying I'm gay because I walked like a girl.  My response was to turn and tell them that they must be the ones who are gay cause they are the ones looking at my butt.  No offense intended, as I was maybe 10-12 when this happened, and didn't understand things yet.

I remember getting in trouble for wearing moms wooden painted decorative high heeled shoes, a gift from dad from Japan.

Dreams/fantasies about being put in a machine that would swap my DNA and turn me into a woman.  Brought on by a GI Joe cartoon.

Being made fun of because I carried my books like the girls did in High School, cupped up high instead of down by the side.  Don't really know if that was a thing, or just kids being mean.

Not really being very social, and most of my few friends being female.

Noticing the girls clothes before the girl.

Sometimes, I feel like I am n the edge of remembering something else, but it slips away.  I guess a beaten and abused memory will do that.  ;D

Offline Artesia

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2017, 08:41:43 pm »
ooh, ooh, ooh.  I just had another flashback.  I remembered not dating until junior year of high school, and not becoming sexually active until freshman year of college.  Never really felt the need to do anything, but started dating because my family and friends thought I needed to.

Online Kylo

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2017, 09:14:24 pm »
I don't remember being prompted to think about it much by others, but specifically remember wondering how I might cut certain body parts off at the age of 12 or 13, but realizing it wouldn't be wise to attempt it. Then trying the next best thing, then resolving to purge my own mind of the identity the body seemed to have and starting to consciously and deliberately dissociate from it, from the concept of female, from the expectations of society, family and friends. I remember "declaring war" against that body, and against nature for putting me in that position. It was never a happy childhood, it was the prison I felt I needed to escape from, literally and figuratively.

I figure I compartmentalized it. I must have accepted there was nothing I could do about the body at the time, or the situation, and took whatever logical steps to forget it, because the angst was known to me then and now. What surprises me is just how effectively I did compartmentalize it, and avoided looking into the compartment for so long afterwards.

Offline Gertrude

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2017, 09:51:56 pm »
EMDR helped dig up stuff


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Offline Sarah.VanDistel

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2017, 10:31:33 pm »
Since I came to accept my gender identity and began my transition, that happened quite a few times. For example, I remembered that since very young I listened almost only to female singers and imagined myself as the singer... Even more incredible: I was able to go back a little further in time in my dysphoric memories, to when I was barely 4 years-old: I remembered how I envied my female teacher at the kindergarten, how she fascinated me, how I wanted to be like her... I remembered that one day, at the end of the day, I discretely went to the paper bin and recovered a piece of her chewing gum that she had thrown away a little earlier and I started chewing it, hoping that I would magically turn into her. I never thought I could remember stuff from such an early age. And I'm almost sure that I'm not done with discovering old memories related to my dysphoria, buried under layers of repression. I know that whenever that happens, there's a feeling of relief... Some bizarre moments of my life start to make perfect sense. Sometimes I cry because I feel sad for that little kid, so young but already hiding her real self from the world, just because her family forced her to... But I also feel soothed because it reinforces the now very clear idea that I am transgender, that inside I am a woman.

Thanks, Alyssa, for bringing this up. 😊

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Offline Georgette

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2017, 01:46:26 am »
When I went to see my Psychiatrist for my surgery papers.  He had me do a biography of what I could remember from my youth, went all the way back to age 5.

It was interesting reading his write-ups recently.

I do remember some bits and pieces when I talk with others now.


AMAB - NOV 13 1950
HRT - Start 1975 / End 1985
Moved in with SO ( Also a MtF ) - 1976 / She didn't believe in same sex marriage
Name Change - NOV 11 1976
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SO died - OCT 03 2014  38 years not a bad run


Offline Shy

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2017, 03:39:30 am »
For me it was about connecting the dots way back to my earliest memories. How one action I took to relieve dysphoria triggered another leaving a breadcrumb trail right up to the present day.
Some memories are etched in my psyche, the more traumatic ones, whilst others were more subtle, but still triggered a shift in my behaviour and how I functioned in society.

Peace and love and all that good stuff,

Sadie

Online Alex81

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2017, 05:02:20 am »
Yes, I experience this too. The more I look back at my past, the more obvious some of my thoughts and behaviors were. I'm also not even actively transitioning at this time either.

I usually remember a lot of the old stuff when relaxing and allowing my mind to get lost in music.
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Online Amoré

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2017, 05:10:55 am »
This is happening to me also. I had this memory the other day pop up of me stealing my mom and aunts contraceptive pills hoping it would trigger something and make me a girl at the age of 12. I also remember the jealousy I had at other girls in primary school of how they dress and looked and the feelings it brought up. I wanted to be a pretty girl. I remember being jealous also of my sister when she was in a modeling show as a child. I also remember how I fantasized that I was a girl and how I would look and that I would be best friends with some girls I liked and that my bullies would have crushes on me. :o


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Offline TonyaW

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2017, 07:05:43 am »
 I've had some memories pop up seemingly triggered by posts here, the modeling thread for one and my post there or I remembered the Girl Making Machine of my early daydreams from reading Jennifer Finney Boylan's book.

  A lot of them are of the "oh yeah I used to do something like that".

Mostly have been positive now in reinforcing that yes I am trans and not crazy.  If I let myself go down that road I can get go the "you knew back then why didn't you do something" place but no good comes from that so try not to go there.

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Online KathyLauren

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2017, 07:34:19 am »
Yes, I have recalled quite a few things that just seemed like random events at the time that take on a whole new feel in hindsight.

The farthest back I've been able to go is age 7.  I remember drooling over a particular magazine photo of a girl in a dress.  I was able to remember which issue of which magazine it was, which dates it to early 1962.

Other memories: spending hours with my mother at the sewing machine watching her make clothes for herself; getting her to teach me to bake cookies (age 12-ish); getting her to teach me to knit in my 30s.  These things made me realize that I always wanted to to girly stuff.  None of these were events that I had forgotten or locked away.  But, in hindsight, I realized that they were significant.

Don't feel like you "should have" figured them out at the time.  At the time we were kids, even well-educated adults would have had a hard time understanding the significance of them.  We were just kids, so why would we expect that we would have been more aware than psychologists of the day?  Kids are programmed to accept whatever happens without too much questioning.

That little girl still lives inside of you.  She doesn't need to be "should"-ed.  She needs a hug.
2015-07-04 Awakening; 2015-11-15 Out to self; 2016-06-22 Out to wife; 2016-10-27 First time presenting in public; 2017-01-20 Started HRT!!; 2017-03-09 Boobs growing; 2017-04-20 Out publicly, beginning full-time

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Offline MRV35

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2017, 07:41:32 am »
A few weeks ago I was on vacation with my brother and we were talking about different things and event that happened back then. It was very odd because I told him that I didn't remember many of those things happening. He was perplexed but I told him that I know I blocked lots of things from my youth and I can't remember it nor even recall most things. I know I suffered dysphoria as a child and that because of my father's machismo and the belief that my mother was submissive to him plus a couple of bad experiences, I bottled it all up inside and kept that side to myself. My brother told me that maybe I should find out why I blocked these memories with my therapist. I know the how but it's hard to figure out the gaps or correlate them.


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Online SailorMars1994

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2017, 07:54:39 am »
EMDR helped dig up stuff


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Interesting. More the reason to get going on my own EMDR
AMAB Born: March 1994
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Offline Rambler

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2017, 08:33:31 am »
This definitely happened to me. I suppressed most of my experiences pertaining to my dysphoria from my childhood & teenage years until admitting it to myself. Therapy has helped but we aren't searching out any deeply rooted sources or anything like that. All sorts of things like sneaking around to crossdress while no one else was home after school, wishing on all of the 11:11s, eyelashes, and shooting stars, the confusion and jealousy I somehow felt regarding my early crushes, happily playing along with the neighbor girls & their toys (Polly Pocket sticks out specifically). As time goes on more memories keep popping up and the picture continues to become more clear all the time. Whenever the subject of trans people came up growing up, I always had an extreme curiosity coupled with an incredibly uncomfortable sense of wrongness. I remember seeing a segment on a transwoman who's wife had stayed with her despite having no physical/romantic attraction and all that went through my mind was 'I hope that doesn't happen to me!' I have vague memories of being told that I'm wrong/bad so I'm fairly certain I'm repressing some very early childhood manifestations since my earliest memories on the subject only go back to age 5 or so.

All of those things I bottled up until I could admit being trans to myself and actually started the healing process. I had more memories spilling out in the first weeks after coming out but they still happen. At first, I couldn't believe how obvious it was all these years, but now whenever I remember something my reaction is more like 'oh yeah!'
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Offline AlyssaJ

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2017, 08:44:28 am »
I figure I compartmentalized it. I must have accepted there was nothing I could do about the body at the time, or the situation, and took whatever logical steps to forget it, because the angst was known to me then and now. What surprises me is just how effectively I did compartmentalize it, and avoided looking into the compartment for so long afterwards.

YES!! THIS!!!  That's the exact experience I'm talking about it and thank you for bringing up the clinical term to describe it.  This is exactly what I've been discovering as well. I became highly adept at compartmentalization and it allowed me to largely ignore and forget many events where my dysphoria came to light.  Only now are those memories coming back to me.

For example, I remembered that since very young I listened almost only to female singers and imagined myself as the singer.

OK This totally triggered a slew of new memories for me.  I was, and still am, very much the same. One memory that shot back when you brought this up was when I was in 6th grade.  We were riding to a basketball tournament in our coach's mini-van.  "Bust a Move" came on the radio and we were all singing along.  However, while everyone else was rapping Young MC's part, I was signing the female chorus parts.  When I listen to music, with some rare exceptions, I've always had an easier time identifying with songs by female artists.  Even watching movies, I seemed to much more easily identify with and gravitate toward the female characters.

That little girl still lives inside of you.  She doesn't need to be "should"-ed.  She needs a hug.

Kathy, THANK YOU for this, I apparently really needed to "hear" that because reading this brought tears to my eyes. IDK why, maybe the hormones are partially to blame, but this really struck a chord with me.
“I want to put myself out there, I want to make connections, I want to learn and if someone can get something out of my experience, I’m OK with that, too.” - Laura Jane Grace

Offline VeronicaLynn

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2017, 08:49:37 am »
Yes.

Being made fun of because I carried my books like the girls did in High School, cupped up high instead of down by the side.  Don't really know if that was a thing, or just kids being mean.

Forgot about that one until now, yes that was a thing.

I was jealous of the uniforms too. I so wanted to wear that Catholic school girl uniform with the plaid skirt and be like the girl that sat next to me in first grade and hated that I had to wear a completely different uniform and that they wouldn't let me play with the girls at recess. I switched to public school by the end of the school year and soon after got caught wearing my sister's clothes to school. There was quite a bit of fallout from this, and really it wasn't something I totally lived down at that school. The longest lasting end result though was kids calling me by a feminized version of my birth name and using she/her pronouns. Isn't this what many of us want? They originally perhaps did it to be mean, but by the time I left that school I was friends with them and it was more like my nickname. I wonder more what my life would have been like had I not been forced to move to a small town down south when I was in middle school...I feel like that was what caused me to repress most of this. I could just not be myself at all there, I found it best to even hide that I was from up north.

Had a lot of other memories like this come back when I first came out to myself. I think they've all came out by now, or even if they haven't, they wouldn't be all that disturbing to me now. If anything, they are comforting as they show this isn't just some mid life crisis or something.




Offline Georgette

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2017, 12:44:51 pm »
It's odd about memories, how the future may color the past.

I hear from some how they may have played with dolls and girly things.  Always wishing they were girls from early age.

Most of my memories didn't start that young.  Didn't have a sister until I was ten, had 2 older and one younger brother.  Most all the kids in the neighborhood were boys.  All but one of my cousins (10) were boys.  So mainly played outdoor boy stuff.

My early memories (4-12) involved wanting/being/playing with (other) girls when I could.  I would go with my mother to friends if they had a girl my age.  I may have watched my mother too much.  She hardly ever used much makeup and just wore simple dresses.  I have turned into her too much at times, but she was always very supportive of me till the end in 2013 (92).

After my sister came around, she would want to play and I was convenient.  Playing (House - Tea parties - stuff like that).  I would and still do with any of the girls that came along in the family.  In my 20s (transitioning) as my hair grew, a niece would practice braiding my hair.

Never thought of wanting to dress girly until my teens.  I did that in secret and dreaming of being a girl.

My mother didn't believe in segregation of girl/boy activities.  We ALL would make Holiday cookies and such.  I also learned to do some baking and other kitchen duties.  She would have us ALL do household chores.  Cleaning the house/Washing dishes - and we would do all the outside chores also. 

Looking back I thought I was playing all boy, but there were times when others would tease me on little things, call me sissy or Suzy at times.  Was forced to fight and some one remarked that I fought like a girl.
AMAB - NOV 13 1950
HRT - Start 1975 / End 1985
Moved in with SO ( Also a MtF ) - 1976 / She didn't believe in same sex marriage
Name Change - NOV 11 1976
FT - 1977
SRS - SEP 13 1977
SO died - OCT 03 2014  38 years not a bad run


Online KathyLauren

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Re: Unearthing old memories
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2017, 07:43:47 pm »
Kathy, THANK YOU for this, I apparently really needed to "hear" that because reading this brought tears to my eyes. IDK why, maybe the hormones are partially to blame, but this really struck a chord with me.
You're welcome, Alyssa!  Sometimes we all need a reminder to be kind to ourselves.
2015-07-04 Awakening; 2015-11-15 Out to self; 2016-06-22 Out to wife; 2016-10-27 First time presenting in public; 2017-01-20 Started HRT!!; 2017-03-09 Boobs growing; 2017-04-20 Out publicly, beginning full-time

I'm moving on my way, letting go the rope
Casting off dull certainty and reaching for that brightly shining hope.

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