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Confused as f***

Posted: Mon May 01, 2017 5:20 pm
by Butterfly
So yeah basically, I was born a man, and had always assumed I was one until recently. I’ve cross-dressed secretly since I was about 12 but in honesty I had fantasies about being a woman since before then. And so I started to question my gender in my teenage years but back then (I’m nearly 24 now so I was 14 in 2007) obviously the understanding of transgender people in mainstream society was still awful. The few scant representations in media gave me the impression I was a sex freak, or at the very least gay, and as I had thought long and hard and was sure I wasn’t attracted to guys (not that there is anything wrong whatsoever with that, which was thankfully beginning to be accepted by the majority at that time) I assumed I was probably just a pervert, so I wrote it off as my puberty and my shyness warping my libido and carried on telling no one, barely really processing it myself except for deep in my subconscious. I was still desperately attracted to girls, but never could imagine why they would be interested in me, and also hated the idea they might just think I was interested in them for sex when I valued them as friends, so I kinda turned my libido off and just never got around to ever having any kind of relationship or sexual encounter at all. But when it came to the girls I knew I had always felt left out of all sorts of things. Always felt lost whenever I was reminded of the barrier between us, always resented when people assumed I was putting myself ‘in the friendzone’ when I genuinely valued their companionship, but also still feeling confused because I was definitely still sexually attracted to them, so in my darker moments I’d still feel like a fraud. I loved my guy friends enough and I felt at ease enough with them that I just settled into life as a man and laughed along with the general misogyny even though it went against my sensibilities. I knew that despite all the machismo, there was nothing inherently wrong with being a man and that any of the pressures I felt and anything I disliked about the ‘male experience’ was ultimately a social or personal insecurity that other people felt and I forgave them because they were human underneath it all.

But here’s the thing, I was still a happy person. I had a wonderful group of firm friends as a teenager who I had many a drunken adventure with. And my immediate family are fantastic and supportive and never put too much pressure on me to be anything in particular except happy doing what I needed to. I was encouraged to be myself so I just did that completely devoid of too many of the trappings or worries of gender. I lived in a small town in the countryside between London and Cambridge. So I never had trouble having fun, being myself and chasing my dreams. It was made easier by the fact I had essentially sworn off romantic entanglement. Whether part of it was overcompensating and denial and a need to chase life and spread joy and forge connections to justify a worth I felt was lacking, didn’t really matter at the end of the day because I had a guiding philosophy of optimism and forgiving the world and striving to hope and that is who I really am and I doubt it will ever change. I definitely felt crushing points of sadness when I was growing up, but throughout them I always knew sadness was important to the balance of a well-lived life, and unavoidable and so I never worried about them or let them define me.

I assumed that I would never understand what I really was, and that no one else would. But I didn’t think that mattered that much because everyone struggles with their identity and their place in the universe but its all part of the old eternal journey and everyone is insecure and frightened but also everyone is a pure and beautiful soul and that’s all that matters. Also for a white middle class straight man with a good home and good friends, I didn’t really feel I had anything worthy of complaining about, so I figured the best thing I could do was be as helpful as I could with people my friends and their problems. At points I definitely still fantasized about running away and becoming a woman, but every story I heard of successful transitions always seemed like the person had been sure their whole life they were ‘trapped in the wrong body’ that their depression had been inescapable and transitioning was the last resort and as I never saw myself like that, I figured if I wasn’t that sure, then it wasn’t me.
Years past and I carried on ignoring my feelings but also simultaneously reading every article I came across about transgender people and watching as slowly this recent gradual acceptance and understanding came to be and I started feeling more comfortable in the fact that even if I wasn’t quite sure, that this was normal. Then I heard about being non-binary and I latched onto that idea, content that the reason I had felt conflicted but still not sure was because I was just both, and that gave me a real calm, and eventually I was felt bold enough to tell one of my friends, then a few more of my friends, to telling my immediate family and buying a whole bunch o dresses. I started going to drag nights, I felt more comfortable in myself and more ready to tackle the future than ever before. But this was all predicated on the belief that life wouldn’t really change all that much, I’d just wear dresses from time to time and be able to be more honest with the people close to me, especially the girls I had been friends with.

Unfortunately a month after I came out to my family, my dad got cancer. He had worked away from home so suddenly he had to move back and we all had to rally around him to support and look after him. We’ve got through it ok, but it’s meant all the while I’ve been timidly exploring how I want to progress with this but also not feeling comfortable rocking the boat at home. I know my parents would feel fine with me dressing up, but they are awkward and old fashioned in their sensibilities despite being lovely and supportive and open minded, and I just can’t bring myself to dress up at home just yet. But that means I have only really done it on the drag nights I go to and a couple of evenings with friends and some nights in my room alone. But each time I do I feel alive and free and its wonderful.

But then about a month ago I went and stayed with my friend and dressed up the whole weekend and shaved my legs and face and everything because I wanted to see if I would feel any different in a casual and safe environment. And we had the first good chance to talk about all this. But I had a bit of an emotional splurge and dredged up stuff I hadn’t really come to terms with yet and after I left she messaged me saying that she didn’t feel like I was properly addressing what was going on with me and that ‘just labelling it as a gender issue and carrying on wasn’t constructive’. That she didn’t want to doubt me but that she felt there was more to it and that she couldn’t help me if I couldn’t be honest with myself.

Then after a couple of weeks of feeling rotten and confused as f*ck trying to work out what she had meant, but also trusting that she was probably right, I finally just reached a point where I figured, well may as well at least consider that you might actually want to become a woman and have been in denial about it, so I let myself imagine life as a woman and, I just felt this overwhelming wave of calm. It felt surer than it had ever felt. But then I snapped back and realised holy sh*t if that’s the case then you need to be f*ck suuure. It cant just be decided on a whim, especially as that means maybe everything has been a lie and I’ve been kidding myself all this time that I was fine, and that also been in denial even more recently when I told everyone nothing needed to change and I was comfortable inbetween. So now I’ve spent the past month going over it all and freaking out and I still don’t feel sure but my form is flickering and some moments I feel sure I need to do it, but others I feel its way too much more hassle than is worth it and I don’t know if I’ll even feel any better anyway. Also if this is really the answer then I’m so dumb for taking this long to realise it and just ploughing ahead without it and I just wanna get it over with as quickly as possible but obviously I know it can’t be rushed.

I never really saw myself as hating my body, but then in all honesty I’ve never been much thrilled by it, always felt wholly indifferent to it but also refused to hate anything truly and figured it was what I had so may as well make the most of it, despite being hairy and having a voice lower than I hear it and hair I could never tame because I didn’t know how until I just got dreadlocks so I didn’t have to deal with it and wore the same t-shirt, long sleeved top, jeans, trainers combo every day so I didn’t have to think about it. It seemed like stuff I was doing because I was always proud of being practical and proud of not being insecure and worrying about my appearance because, you gotta love the skin you’re in and it’s what’s on the inside that counts and all that, so it seemed like a sensible way of living. But also now that I’ve opened myself up to the fact that maybe I do care, all of it seems like a wasted opportunity. Now that I’ve seen myself as a woman, I know that I could actually look a way I truly enjoyed, and that may help my confidence in a way that my blind determined confidence never could. And maybe my reluctance to change wasn’t just a sign of my determination to be happy as I was, but more out of an awareness that if I was to change, it wouldn’t be enough. No one has ever really seen me naked so I don’t actually know whether I could handle it. Also a huge part of not addressing all this was down to me being sure I was attracted to girls, and figuring I would never find anyone if I didn’t repress this. And I still very much feel that, but also now realise maybe part of my infatuation was down to jealousy of looking like they did, and also know that once you start the hormones, sometimes your sexuality changes so now I just feel silly for letting that be a deciding factor in me running from all this.

Another aspect it that as much as I enjoy drinking and smoking weed and taking other drugs (nothing too hardcore, just the standard safer uppers, downers, hallucinogens on special occasions) and I’ve always seen them as more a celebration of life than an escape from it, they admittedly made it easier to live around my issues. I’ll never regret doing them, because I have had such wonderful adventures with them, and understand more about the world and myself because of them, and most of the firm friendships that I am blessed with were formed with the help of their connective powers. But even if it took drugs to even actually come to any of the epiphanies and gain any of the confidence that I needed to take any of the steps on this journey, I know that maybe I need to take a break from them before I can come to terms with any of this. But then I worry this fact will confuse the issue because if I take a break, I won’t know if it’s the sobriety or the surety of gender that is making me feel healthier.

I’ve seen my GP and it was terrifying but he was supportive and I’ve got a referral to the mental health services so I can see someone professional to get their opinion. But also I don’t even really know how long it’ll take to get referred, he didn’t really give me a timeframe just said to reach out to others online (hence this post) and if I was still sure I wanted to speak to professionals then I should just leave a message at my doctors for him to do the referral so I did that but now have no idea whether its happening and I looked online and it says the wait time for NHS mental health services is potentially 18 weeks. And I’m going away to Glastonbury Festival to work for 3 weeks in June and have a wonderful time and see lots of old friends and take lots of drugs and see some magic bands and its usually such a joyous place and I know the people there will be wholly supportive of whatever, and in fairness I’ve done it the past 4 years and each time was a perfect time to heal and discover stuff and feel emboldened so it will probably be exactly what I need, but also I’m anxious about going when I’m in this uncertain state. I don’t want to have a breakdown while I’m there. Also it sucks because I was really getting a lot of fufilment from dressing up, like, I went out for new year dressed up and all my friends were so happy for me and I felt powerful, but now that I’m suddenly uncertain why I’m actually doing this, I don’t feel as confident anymore. And after seeing myself without a beard and hair it doesn’t feel as real as I know it can feel. I have a birthday coming up and part of me desperately wants to dress up because I know I could get away with it, but also I worry about falling apart when I’m out.

And I can’t escape who I am either, devoid of gender. I can’t stop myself from being cheerful in general and from being able to see the bright side anyway and carrying on with things that need doing and enjoying myself. And I’m so thankful for that because it will remind me whats important regularly and allows me to still have fun and love life throughout. But now it comes pared with suddenly remembering that I need to address this and it all comes crashing down and makes me feel wrong for being able to be happy despite and that this invalidates either the dysphoria, or the happiness. And my thoughts that I haven’t truly suffered enough to justify such a huge change make me less sure but then also make me feel shitter and its like, do I have to push myself to breaking point before I can surely address this? I’m so used to leaning into life and not worrying too much and trusting life to take me where I need to go and going for it and encouraging others to do the same and I feel so excited whenever I’m at a point where I am like, f*ck I’m gonna do this and it’ll be awesome, but then also whenever I’m not thinking about it for a bit then I catch myself being comfortable as I am and I figure why am I even considering this, it’s unnecessary. But then I can’t tell if me not wanting to do it is just based on laziness and the fear of all the work its going to take to go through with it.

So yeah, sorry for the essay but I gotta talk to someone about this. And as much as the friends I have spoken to have been truly supportive and want to help, we both know they aren’t really qualified and don’t really have enough experience in this to be able to offer anything more. And if I do have to wait so long to see a medical professional, then this is my only real avenue. I’ve read some of the other introductory posts and responses on here, and that have been immensely helpful in reminding me what I’m going through is normal, but also I feel like I’ll still never be truly sure til I’m further down the journey and I hate being so impatient about it.

Thanks for listening.

Re: Confused as f***

Posted: Tue May 02, 2017 12:02 pm
by Ice Maiden
Had to change the title soz G--Rated forum to Confused as f***

This is a bit long and TLDR for most can you express your issues in say one paragraph? It may get more interest etc...

Re: Confused as f***

Posted: Tue May 02, 2017 12:03 pm
by Ice Maiden

Re: Confused as f***

Posted: Tue May 02, 2017 1:59 pm
by Steffi
Hi Butterfly

I HAVE read your whole post.
I closely identify with almost all of what you are feeling and suffering - it sounds exactly like me at 24 (Except I am poorer and was getting laid, but it was the early seventies then. At your age I married and was with her until my transition nearly thirty years later.)
I understand your uncertainty too. I was able to "forget about it" for a while, sometimes months and be content to be pretty much a normal male. But then the thoughts would return, sometimes with a power which was crushing in it's intensity. Like you, from what I read and understood I thought that transsexuals constantly felt "in the wrong body" and knew that this was so from an early age.
That is SO incorrect.
It is true for a percentage of transsexuals, but the majority experience is more like yours and it waxes and wanes. One thing I can assure you of is that it never goes away, so one day you will have to deal with it one way or the other.
- either you arrange your life to enable you to live as a woman part of the time and content yourself with that ...... or else you begin Transition.

For myself, I did not transition until my fifties when I reached a snapping-point and it all welled up in me so strongly that I was finally FORCED to confront it and deal with it. (You mention in your post that you have read of such crises)
From what you have written, it is my own belief that the same crisis is eventually and inevitably coming to you ...... you just have not got there yet and it might be decades before you do.

When I did transition I felt a deep peace in my heart, a deep feeling of comfort and that I was finally able to relax - even though at that time I expected my future life to include a lot of rejection and persecution. I still had some inner doubts that I actually was transsexual even so. It seemed rather incredible to me that I actually was "one of those people" and that I was perhaps deluding myself in some way.

I began living in female role 24/7,saw my GP and got referred to Charing Cross GIC. When I eventually did my first evaluation interview there, I told the psych everything, even things which I thought were negative indicators. At the end of the interview he said that he had no doubts whatsoever that I was acutely gender dysphoric, that I WAS a transsexual and should start in the program immediately.

Your own thoughts, doubts and experience are far more typical than you realise. It is not my place to diagnose you and I have no qualification to do so, but from my personal experience, conversations with the trans-people I have known and the thousands of posts I have read in my years here as Mod, I am 99% sure that you are indeed transsexual.

You should join here as a member so that you have access to the Private Messaging system etc.
If you join, post half a dozen token replies to threads and I will Approve them so that you are a full member and have access to the PM system etc.
- if you like, I would be happy to Skype with you sometime? We would have to arrange that by PM. Speaking is a hundred times faster than typing.

(If you follow my Profile link and from there find my previous posts, somewhere I have talked a lot about my thoughts and feelings as I went along.
You might also click on the Who I Am link in my signature. Somewhere recently, I also posted my picture(s) - follow links from here viewtopic.php?f=45&t=5253&p=44942#p44942)


Re: Confused as f***

Posted: Fri May 12, 2017 9:13 pm
by Butterfly
Thank you so much for your response Steffi. Sorry its taken me a while to reply but it honestly helped so much. I’m still majorly confused but it’s a solid reminder that what I’m feeling is legitimate and that getting help and addressing it is the right thing to do. Also helps me to feel more confident in the hours where I feel sure it’s the eventual end of the path I’m on, and reminds me when I’m feeling like there’s no point doing it that even the journey through exploring it is going to leave me healthier than just pretending I don’t need to.
I got the referral through from the mental health service and I have the first telephone session on the 6th June which is still maddeningly far away for me and also while I’m working at Glastonbury but hopefully that will mean they can put me through to the appropriately trained people and I can get some proper diagnosed clarity on all this.
Also I went back to my GP (a new person this time, who just so happens to have already seen other people along the road which made it way easier to relax) to see if I could just the referral to the charing cross clinic out of the way because I saw how long the wait times are and figured it made sense to get it in early so that whatever the outcome I would already be closer to seeing them. However she was great and explained that the clinic is really the final step and that if I haven’t already seen mental health services and made an effort to socially transition, then they are unlikely to prioritise the referral anyway, which was reassuring because I know I have the ball rolling as far as I can do medically, but also a reminder of how patient I have to be with all this and how much work I have to do before I can begin to even transition, should I need to.
Which means now I’m just waiting to see what the mental health services say, but also aware that I need to still start making steps to cautiously explore where I’m going. I’m gonna go out on my birthday dressed up because I know that my friends will understand and support me and it might be just the support and fun I need to solidify my determination for this, and will also be a good opportunity to just let them know that this is an exploration phase I need to go through. Also I have Glastonbury at least so I plan on dressing up a fair bit there and running wild and free and it will be a safe space where I can hopefully become emboldened. But the other thing really to do would be to tell my family and start dressing up at home because that will be the true test.
So now I’m unsure what to do. I know my parents will be supportive and will just want me to be happy, so even if it is awkward for them and they worry, I know they won’t stop me. Also hopefully they are more prepared given I came out as non-binary to them already. Also I feel like my birthday next week will be a good symbolic time to let them know. But I’m also still just crazy scared. Partly because my dad has his last chemo session the weekend after, which I hadn’t wanted to make any worse with any other worry (although I know he would hate me using that as an excuse to hide this). But also because I will be going away to Glastonbury so will barely see them for a while so it will mean forcing them to delay their reaction a bit I guess. But also I guess mainly just for all the obvious terrifying reasons that anyone else on this site has possibly been through. I don’t want them to think of themselves as bad parents. I don’t want to kill off the son they love. I don’t want to cause them any undue awkwardness with the people they know, with my extended family. I don’t want to have to be a burden on them. I don’t want them to think any of the years I have spent as their son have been disingenuous. I don’t want them to think of me as unhappy. I just, I hate the thought of them having to change for me because I can’t not change. As I read that I know it sounds stupid and is dredging up excuses. I now I am so lucky to have parents who will actually try to understand unlike so many other trans people. But f*** its still terrifying.