Author Topic: Who am I anyway?  (Read 350 times)

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Offline Sam1066

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Who am I anyway?
« on: August 17, 2018, 10:25:29 pm »
Hi! I'm trying to figure myself out, I don't know if this is the right way to do it. My gut tells me that getting feedback from queer/trans folk is good step so here goes.

I've been out as non-binary for a few months now (use they/them), I'm male bodied and present male (but as feminine as I feel like I can get away with which isn't much), I don't "feel" male, never got it, I understand it intellectually, but have no desire to associate with or interact with it. I am still full of self doubt, questions, and the eternal cycle of introspection and self-analysis.

So here's my story, I guess I'm looking for thoughts, reactions, critical responses (and maybe selfish validation).

When I was very young, before elementary school, I always played with the girls, no interest in boys. I was forced to be around boys because my teachers thought I was weird for only choosing to be with the girls. I was at the same time scared of being perceived as a girl, but not for the usual reasons. I was born with disabilities which are very obvious and visible, they impact my life to this day. As a result when I was a kid I got the message that being seen as different brings about pain and suffering, and being seen as a girl, or as gay, would get the same treatment that I was already very aware of. Now I'm seeing this from the lens of today, maybe I'm connecting dots that don't really mean anything?

In elementary school I was anti-social (disability stuff, bullied constantly for it), and there was a period, maybe a year or more it's hard to remember that far back now, where I really wished I was born a girl, I can remember thinking "this would be so much easier if I was born a girl". I know kids sometimes have phases like this, and it cuold have been an escapist thing rather than a gender identity thing. I was also very not into sports, competition, I was the one trying to get my (male) friends to play co-op games, and among my family I only associated with my female cousins, they seemed easier to relate to.

As I got older and sexuality became a concept I was aware of I also learned that "gay" was a slur and was to be avoided at all cost. The resulting homophobia was a hard thing to shake and lasted into my early 20s when I realized that I am in fact bisexual, and that's totally ok.

In highschool I gravitated again to female friends, my parents told me they were worried I would  become a girl if I didn't start having more male friends. By this point I knew I felt awkward with "the guys", I could pretend the bit, say the expected guy lines, make the requisite grunts to blend in (it really isn't hard to blend into the guy world, you don't really need to understand it). By this point I was also aware of what body I have, and how I'm previewed, so I figured being "one of" the girls was not an option either, so I better chin-up and do this guy thing, all of my attempts at this have been very halfhearted and lackluster.

In college I discovered that I'm bi, cool. I ended up married to a cis-woman (amazing human being who despite our divorce continues to be a shining light in my life). I didn't think about gender, instead I thought about work, career, the white-picket-fence stuff. I was content. If this is what it's really all about, is that so bad (ugh, back of my head is screaming yes it is so bad)?

Then I got involved with a new friend group with a lot of queer people of all colors, and I saw what some of the other options were and started to wonder what a feminine experience would be like. It started as a deeply concealed curiosity that over a period of a year or so morphed into a burning curiosity. I hadn't known any trans people in my life until this time, and now I was having mixed feelings. I didn't want to be a "poser", I felt like if I tried to explore any of those things it would belittle the experiences of real trans people with my presence. I still feel this way any time I tell people I prefer they/them pronouns, even though most of my friends are queer and completely accepting.

Undeterred I decided to put the weird vague feelings to a test, when no one else was home I locked every door and window in the house, made sure no one could see, and took some of my (female) roommates clothes and tried them on. I didn't know what to expect, and I certainly didn't expect the deeply profound sense of correctness that I felt seeing myself in loose black slacks and a tight fitting top with a bra on underneath. I think for the first time in my life I *liked* the clothes I was wearing. I did this a second time to confirm, and felt the same reaction.

Since then I've done little things, grew out my hair, recently started doing my eyebrows, shaved all my body hair below my neck, and all of if felt strange and awkward at first, kindof alien, but then over time it all grew on me and felt much more correct than before. I've been looking at buying some actual girls clothes for the first time, I have so much fear and shame wrapped up around it that I can't quite bring myself to do it, even though I know my bra size and picked one out online.

I don't think I want to wear dresses, of be a housewife, or any of those stereotypical woman things, but I do want to be cute, I want to be feminine. I don't want SRS, though something to put a bra around would be really great. I have a love hate relationship with facial hair, it softens my jaw line and makes me look less intense, but it's so manly and I don't like that about it. When I feel calm and relaxed my self image is a woman, when I'm at the gym in my own zone, that's what I see in my minds eye on the treadmill. Once I had a dream I casually just was a woman like no big deal, that was nice.

Flip side, I've always thought "there's no way I'd transition to anything", I've thought that because I don't have crippling depression from gender dysphoria that I must not be trans, that I'm a cis-male with some weird fantasy encroaching on someplace I don't belong. Yet other times when I think about it in isolation from outside forces, it might be nice.

So I don't know who I am, where I fit. I'm looking for perspective here. Who do I sound like I am?

If you read that whole thing, props, I ramble; and thanks, it means a lot to me.
Sam?

Online Dena

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Re: Who am I anyway?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2018, 11:08:15 pm »
The smart alec and truthful response would be who do you want to be? It sounds like you could be non binary but often when people start making changes they find it's not enough and they go farther than they ever thought they would. Attempting some changes in your life combined with seeing a gender therapist would be a good place to start.

For now I can give you some things to think about. Gender identity is only how you see yourself. There are women who never wear a dress and prefer business to raising a family.

Transitioning doesn't always mean passing. There are some of us who may never pass but have found ways to present in a way that helps us become comfortable with ourself. Society is far more accepting than you might think and once people understand, life may return to routine without passing.

Last but not least, I have two links you might want to look at. The first is our WIKI where you will learn more about being transgender. The second  is “the transition channel” that will explore transsexualism in more detail.

Let us know if you have more questions.
Rebirth Date 1982 - PMs are welcome - Use dena@susans.org if your unable to PM - Skype and FaceTime available - My Transition
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Offline Zoe_Kay

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Re: Who am I anyway?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2018, 03:59:01 am »
Hi! I'm trying to figure myself out, I don't know if this is the right way to do it. My gut tells me that getting feedback from queer/trans folk is good step so here goes.

I've been out as non-binary for a few months now (use they/them), I'm male bodied and present male (but as feminine as I feel like I can get away with which isn't much), I don't "feel" male, never got it, I understand it intellectually, but have no desire to associate with or interact with it. I am still full of self doubt, questions, and the eternal cycle of introspection and self-analysis.

So here's my story, I guess I'm looking for thoughts, reactions, critical responses (and maybe selfish validation).

When I was very young, before elementary school, I always played with the girls, no interest in boys. I was forced to be around boys because my teachers thought I was weird for only choosing to be with the girls. I was at the same time scared of being perceived as a girl, but not for the usual reasons. I was born with disabilities which are very obvious and visible, they impact my life to this day. As a result when I was a kid I got the message that being seen as different brings about pain and suffering, and being seen as a girl, or as gay, would get the same treatment that I was already very aware of. Now I'm seeing this from the lens of today, maybe I'm connecting dots that don't really mean anything?

In elementary school I was anti-social (disability stuff, bullied constantly for it), and there was a period, maybe a year or more it's hard to remember that far back now, where I really wished I was born a girl, I can remember thinking "this would be so much easier if I was born a girl". I know kids sometimes have phases like this, and it cuold have been an escapist thing rather than a gender identity thing. I was also very not into sports, competition, I was the one trying to get my (male) friends to play co-op games, and among my family I only associated with my female cousins, they seemed easier to relate to.

As I got older and sexuality became a concept I was aware of I also learned that "gay" was a slur and was to be avoided at all cost. The resulting homophobia was a hard thing to shake and lasted into my early 20s when I realized that I am in fact bisexual, and that's totally ok.

In highschool I gravitated again to female friends, my parents told me they were worried I would  become a girl if I didn't start having more male friends. By this point I knew I felt awkward with "the guys", I could pretend the bit, say the expected guy lines, make the requisite grunts to blend in (it really isn't hard to blend into the guy world, you don't really need to understand it). By this point I was also aware of what body I have, and how I'm previewed, so I figured being "one of" the girls was not an option either, so I better chin-up and do this guy thing, all of my attempts at this have been very halfhearted and lackluster.

In college I discovered that I'm bi, cool. I ended up married to a cis-woman (amazing human being who despite our divorce continues to be a shining light in my life). I didn't think about gender, instead I thought about work, career, the white-picket-fence stuff. I was content. If this is what it's really all about, is that so bad (ugh, back of my head is screaming yes it is so bad)?

Then I got involved with a new friend group with a lot of queer people of all colors, and I saw what some of the other options were and started to wonder what a feminine experience would be like. It started as a deeply concealed curiosity that over a period of a year or so morphed into a burning curiosity. I hadn't known any trans people in my life until this time, and now I was having mixed feelings. I didn't want to be a "poser", I felt like if I tried to explore any of those things it would belittle the experiences of real trans people with my presence. I still feel this way any time I tell people I prefer they/them pronouns, even though most of my friends are queer and completely accepting.

Undeterred I decided to put the weird vague feelings to a test, when no one else was home I locked every door and window in the house, made sure no one could see, and took some of my (female) roommates clothes and tried them on. I didn't know what to expect, and I certainly didn't expect the deeply profound sense of correctness that I felt seeing myself in loose black slacks and a tight fitting top with a bra on underneath. I think for the first time in my life I *liked* the clothes I was wearing. I did this a second time to confirm, and felt the same reaction.

Since then I've done little things, grew out my hair, recently started doing my eyebrows, shaved all my body hair below my neck, and all of if felt strange and awkward at first, kindof alien, but then over time it all grew on me and felt much more correct than before. I've been looking at buying some actual girls clothes for the first time, I have so much fear and shame wrapped up around it that I can't quite bring myself to do it, even though I know my bra size and picked one out online.

I don't think I want to wear dresses, of be a housewife, or any of those stereotypical woman things, but I do want to be cute, I want to be feminine. I don't want SRS, though something to put a bra around would be really great. I have a love hate relationship with facial hair, it softens my jaw line and makes me look less intense, but it's so manly and I don't like that about it. When I feel calm and relaxed my self image is a woman, when I'm at the gym in my own zone, that's what I see in my minds eye on the treadmill. Once I had a dream I casually just was a woman like no big deal, that was nice.

Flip side, I've always thought "there's no way I'd transition to anything", I've thought that because I don't have crippling depression from gender dysphoria that I must not be trans, that I'm a cis-male with some weird fantasy encroaching on someplace I don't belong. Yet other times when I think about it in isolation from outside forces, it might be nice.

So I don't know who I am, where I fit. I'm looking for perspective here. Who do I sound like I am?

If you read that whole thing, props, I ramble; and thanks, it means a lot to me.

Thanks so much for sharing your story! 

Your journey sounds a lot like most non-binary humans and it never follows a straight line. 

Do you ever wish you could magically switch back and forth between male and female bodies?   I feel like that a lot which is why any kind of full transition is probably not in the cards for me. 

More importantly, how long have you had these realizations?  Have you journaled any of them?  I think if you keep a journal of how you feel about these things it can be helpful because it pulls your feelings and thoughts out of you and onto the paper.  And doing that helps you navigate this great unfolding that is happening in your life.

Many hugs and please DM me anytime!
"To grow, you must be willing to let your present and future be totally unlike your past. Your history is not your destiny." ~ Alan Cohen

Offline Sno

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Re: Who am I anyway?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2018, 06:09:51 am »
Firstly, welcome to Susan’s- if you read around a bit, you’ll find that your story is actually a fairly normal regular kind of post from the first inklings of when something about our gender feels ‘off’ or wrong, or simply disjointed.
Should you be here - yes, you’ve started the questioning. That’s something that we do, that the general cis population don’t. You’ve found some comfort in They/Them pronouns, and are looking at expressing in a more feminine way - all normal activities so far.

So now, it’s time to explore some - find a good gender therapist, they’ll help you unravel this tangled ball of wool in a way that gives it order for you.do expect changes of identity as you learn and grow, that’s all perfectly normal, and don’t be bound that a given identity is certain, absolute and final - gender is a fickle game, that likes to throw in twists along the way.

So, you are, you have claimed a starting point for your identity. That in itself is sufficient - you don’t have to prove anything to anyone else, except yourself.

We are here as best we can be to answer questions along the way. As to your “final” identity - only you can answer that in the fullness of time.

Welcome to the forest.


Rowan

Offline Maid Marion

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Re: Who am I anyway?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2018, 08:05:37 am »
A complicated puzzle, like most of us!

Who you really are can be buried beneath the need for acceptance by those around you. 

A therapist can help you unwrap those layers hiding the real you.

Offline Sam1066

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Re: Who am I anyway?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2018, 11:22:46 pm »
@Dena, I think I figured that "you are who you think you are" would be something I'd hear, there is a lot of truth to that. The links you sent were very helpful, and only reinforce the "this isn't fake" thing.

Here are my reactions, I guess I'll share.

2 signs you might be trans, dysphoria (I do kinda hate the body hair, facial hair, deep voice) and not feeling male (I don't think I ever really "felt male")... well s***...

"If you're thinking about this all the time, you're probably trans, cis people don't think about this stuff all the time", well s***...

@Zoe_Kay, I started feeling this stuff when I was very young but didn't have any conceptual framework for it, then suppressed it for 20 years and started feeling it again about 4 years ago, and ever since it's been a growing presence that has only been alleviated by suppressing it (which resulted in my first experience of a paranoid panic attack) or by taking action on it (going by they/them). I have journaled my feelings and findings in a word document. My "journal" is written as a chronology of my experiences, because so much is in the past, and every time I add to my timeline (because I remember details over time) I use a different color. These days more and more it's just adding new and current experiences though. Part of me wants to share it publicly but that would be very personally identifying.

@Sno, you're right, a lot of the stories here are a lot like mine, which is heartening. My therapist, who is amazing, is familiar with trans issues and has trans clients, but isn't a gender therapist. That kinda sucks because while they can help somewhat it's not quite what I need in this particular area.

Maybe after I go through and re-read all of the stories of other people going through this same cycle of denial and self doubt I'll be able to convince myself that I am worthy of being who I feel like I am when I'm alone on the treadmill. I'm exceedingly grateful that this place exists.
Sam?

Offline Satinjoy

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Re: Who am I anyway?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2018, 09:31:27 pm »


Maybe after I go through and re-read all of the stories of other people going through this same cycle of denial and self doubt I'll be able to convince myself that I am worthy of being who I feel like I am when I'm alone on the treadmill.


That is the core of it dear one.  You are worthy, for you are human, your are deserving of love as who you are in the core of your soul, and there is a process we go through, as the denial breaks, and we face our fear of ourselves, turn, and embrace the truth and are set free.

Embrace your truth, you know it deep inside, let go and be.
Morpheus: This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the red pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the little blue pills - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes

Sh'e took the little blue ones.

Offline DawnOday

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Re: Who am I anyway?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2018, 09:46:50 pm »
In my 2 1/2 years on Susans I have seen the same story over and over almost word for word. It amazes me how many others stories are my stories. You would think we were all taking crib notes from one another. Aside from a visible disability we basically have the same story. I would suggest going to a gender therapist and talk it out with a professional. I know it helped me immensely. I now see another therapist  because well I want to be full time and my wife won't go for it. I get to do my thing whenever I go to a support group but I can't give up a thirty five year relationship with my best friend and mother of my kids.
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First indication I was different- 1956 kindergarten
First crossdress - Asked mother to dress me in sisters costumes  Age 7
First revelation - 1982 to my present wife
First time telling the truth in therapy June 15, 2016
Start HRT Aug 2016
First public appearance 5/15/17




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