Change Your World-NOT your Body

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Why I HAVEN'T Transitioned-My Story by Dirt

I started out in this world feeling somewhere between uncomfortable to alien within my body. Some of my earliest memories have to do with the horror of clothes. Not girls clothes or boys clothes, but the material of clothing. That isnt to say that somewhere between age two and two and a half, or so I'm told, I refused to go on wearing dresses and any other graphically girl clothing. But the primary uncomfortableness was specifically more material, as in clothing hurt. Meaning, it felt painful to my skin and often made me itch terribly. At home I was often found in nothing more than a white cotton T shirt and white cotton undies to match. I suspect the writer/genius Janet Frame had similar issues when she wrote that she believed she was born missing several layers of skin due to her skin pain/sensitivity. So skin sensitivity was my first body issue huddle I had to get over. And like a good Olympian hurdler it took many years of practice before I was able to comfortably make that hurdle. Today I am still clothes sensitive, only I do not fret about it, merely try something else on that is skin compatible.

Besides the skin issues, I didnt feel confused about my female body, nor did I feel it limited how I dressed, what toys I wanted or played with, nor my behaviour in general. What was confusing was how my behaviour confused others into assuming I was a boy, despite my long hair which to me indicated otherwise. So while this caused me confusion and sometimes embarrassment and shame, it didnt alienate me from my body, only other people. Yet despite knowing I was a girl, I didnt at all feel like a girl in the way girl was portrayed in my eyes. That isnt to say I felt like a boy either. I did however feel at home with boys and at home doing things associated with boys.

Enter puberty, problems and dysphoria. Puberty held two phases for me, a bad phase and a nightmare I cannot wake from phase. The bad phase started around age twelve when I first began to develop breast. I'm not sure what was worse, no longer being able to go shirtless or having to wear a bra. I think the bra did make me feel more alienated from my body, more so than growing breast. Bras were something girls wore and while I was a girl, I didnt feel like one, nor did I want to.

A year later my bra/breast trauma would traumatically pale to the horror of beginning menstruation. Periods sealed me into a sense of femaleness that had until then completely eluded me. Where before I had never felt female, periods MADE me feel female! And with these feelings came the deepest sense of shame and humiliation. So painful, shameful and unnatural (or so it seemed) that with each period an acute suicidal depression came over me and didnt lift until the period was gone. I couldnt understand how my body could betray me like that. And betrayal is exactly how it felt. I never had to think about my body, because I didnt feel it. It just simply did (beautifully I might add) what I wanted it to do. It climbed the highest trees, leapt the biggest mud puddles, jumped the steepest ramps, all of which gave me a great sense of physical pride.

A pride I never thought could be taken from me, let alone viscerally ripped from me by the very body that handed it to me in the first place! I no longer felt like my body was me, it felt as alien to me as a different time must feel to a time traveler. Transition was largely unheard of at this time, but there is no doubt in my mind that had someone came to me and said this drug will stop your periods, but later cause heart attacks or cancer, my thirteen year old self would have jumped at the offer! Even if nothing else changed but the periods, no matter what potential future dangers, I wouldnt have cared.

Fortunately for me the above scenario wasnt an option. Unfortunately for me I would remain very alone in my dysphoria for many years to come. But with each year, I grew a little less dysphoric, partly from a growing maturity and partly because I wanted to reclaim the body I once loved. I have always been physically active, but had never officially gymed till about age twenty. Lifting weights helped to put me back in touch with my body. I felt muscles grow sore and grow larger with weight lifting. Somewhere between the added muscle and the increased strength I regained my lost body pride. That pride would also over the years be bolstered by lesbian relationships with lesbians who made it quite clear, that they wanted to be with me because I was a woman, NOT with me because I wasnt a man.

dirt

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6 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I was touched by it.

    It brought back my own memories. Mainly that breasts/menstruation clearly put me in mortal danger. There were those who tried to help me stay safe by warning and controlling (like parents) and those who acted in dangerous ways (men on the sidewalk making threatening comments to a 12-year old girl). The message was the same in both cases. These things conveyed how dangerous it was to be a woman. More than the curtailments of my childhood.

    There was no "treatment" for this dangerous condition when I was a girl. No advertising on youtube that it could all be made better with some hormones and surgery.

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  2. Thank you Dirt. I can relate to the dysphoria, and it took me years to overcome it.

    You are a brave woman, and thanks for your personal story.

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  3. I wonder if the bigger the breasts, the greater the dysphoria for women in general. Possibly also, the more difficult the menses.

    It would also be interesting if we had some research about the role of athletics in dysphoria for women.

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  4. Very brave to tell your personal story, Dirt. It makes sence.
    Our stories about our youth are not different then the stories of young FTM's today, the diffence is the path we took. I wish they had the guts to take our path and stay healthy and whole.
    I really hope that our stories gives them something to think about and maybe someone will not transtition.


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  5. Hi,

    I am also struggling with sensory sensitivities. I don't know if it'll help, but you might look at "Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight" by Sharon Heller, especially if you're dealing with more than the skin sensitivity.

    Mary.

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