Dealing with Feelings….

I’m dealing now with issues having to do with both sexual attraction and emotions – those emotions having to do with who I am gender-wise. Biological is easy (I’m male) – the rest is framed in context to society, the role I fill in my marriage, and my feelings. 

This whole last week, I felt very ‘feminine’ – I can’t lay a finger on much, just how I FELT. A lot of things – for me certainly – are stereotypical. I like smelling nice, I like ‘feminine’ clothing (my wife is NOT ready for much of that at all), I like for people to think I look nice. 

I waited all week to post, because I was so emotional I found it hard to sit down in the few free minutes I had to do so….There are commercials on TV that drive me crazy, not because the girls are hot – but because the OUTFITS are to die for….all ‘feelings’. God, I wish I could look like that…. <sigh>

I’m terrible at feelings, though I’m slowly learning – after 4 decades of not allowing myself to feel much at all – how to deal with them, control them, and when to trust them. I’ve always been ‘intuitive’ about things – and I’m only coming to trust it more and more as time passes. 

I must have been taught – at a very early age, in some way not obvious to me even in hindsight – NOT to trust my feelings. I was told not to cry, to fight the bullies, to ‘be a man’. I learned not to trust my judgement by extension, not to trust myself, it seems. It explains the very low self-esteem I’ve had all my life. The only pride I was allowed to have – was in my mental capacity. I didn’t need to know not to trust my body – it told me I was a weaklling. I was never good at sports, and always lost a fist fight. 

Now that I’m having to deal with something that’s almost ENTIRELY emotion-based, I’m having a rough time getting my emotions to align with what my intellect tells me. My intellect tells me I’m either Bigender, or a very femme male, and that if things ‘go further along’ – SRS is a possibility. I certainly know that hormones may help my emotional state. I don’t have to transition – but I accept that as a logical conclusion IF things progress too much further than where they are now. 

I don’t WANT to transition, but it hurts to think about NOT doing about a third of the time. 

Some feelings are so deeply buried, and so BIG an issue, that they must be explored first. Thing is, MANY of the issues, feelings, experiences of so many other Trans* people line up so closely to these feelings, that it’s really scary. Some are almost like sisters to me. 

I’m still ‘feeling out’ what I am – how deep some things go – I have not hit the ‘bottom’ of most things. 

I don’t really feel ‘female’ that often. I almost never feel ‘male’ – I never really have, I can’t really say what ‘being male’ feels like. WOULD I recognize ‘female feelings’ that aren’t sexual in nature? I’ve certainly had THOSE…..

My emotions about being bisexual are pretty clear – I have only to feel the tightening of my crotch to see that at times. Disturbing? a little – but it’s a concrete reality I can literally hang a hat on. Male bodies at times give me sweaty palms, make me breath heavy – I bet my eyes even dilate….

But, when my sexual identity shifts to female, I want things that are physically impossible to do in this body. I’ve had those – not often – but a lot in the last year. I’ve had phantom pains – so bad it brought tears to my eyes. That’s the dilemma I face – AM I a transexual, or a bigender person? 

Transition is permanent, and I’d probably make an ugly woman without a LOT of expensive surgery. One friend whose judgement I trust, told me that transition is only for when the pain is so bad – suicide looks like a good option. Staring this in the face, I tend to accept that at face value. 

I dealt with a LOT of pain, near-suicidal levels of it before. I can deal with this, for as long as it takes to determine exactly WHO I am now. Low-level, non-transistional levels of hormones are a possibility, if they help alleviate this interminable existential angst. 

I’m not ready for boobs YET, but – if it happens, it’s going to be because I’m as certain as I can be that I’m a woman inside – not just the genderqueer guy it seems I certainly am now……

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5 responses to “Dealing with Feelings….

  1. Everyone is different. We must all find our own way. Having said that….

    Transsexuality tends to be progressive. Feelings get stronger over time. There’s plenty of exceptions of course.

    Some phrases that would cause any Gender Specialist to sit up and take notice:

    “I’ve always been ‘intuitive’ about things”
    “I almost never feel ‘male’ – I never really have,.”
    “But, when my sexual identity shifts to female, I want things that are physically impossible to do in this body. I’ve had those – not often – but a lot in the last year. I’ve had phantom pains – so bad it brought tears to my eyes. That’s the dilemma I face – AM I a transexual, or a bigender person? ”

    You’re Transsexual. That’s pretty much confirmed by those words. The question is,to what degree? Many can live with it, without hormones, certainly without surgery or transition. You don’t *have* to do anything. Oh yes – and being Transsexual does not exclude being bigender too. There’s no guarantee that if you made the switch, you wouldn’t feel the same episodic dysphoria, just mirror-reversed.

    If Transition is right for you, you’ll know it. You don’t know it now, so it’s not appropriate now, and may never be.

    A quote from Anne Vitale:
    “Secondly, “Dysphoria,” defined by Marriam-Webster’s Collegiate dictionary as “a state of feeling unwell or unhappy,” or in the American College Dictionary as “a state of dissatisfaction, anxiety, restlessness, or fidgeting” is simply too soft a word to describe the angst most clinicians see on intake with this population. At best it may be an apt descriptor for individuals who, despite strong evidence to the contrary, are making an extraordinary effort to convince themselves that they are sex/gender congruent. These individuals make life decisions such as getting married and having children not only because they may find it appealing to have a spouse and have children but with the added hope that this activity will ease or erase their obsessive cross gender thoughts. Although there may be instances where these special efforts succeed, (i.e. the incongruity is mild) the more likely outcome is a realization they have actually made matters worse. Typically, at time of presentation these individuals report that either their lives are in ruin, or they are very afraid that if their gender variant condition was to become known they would loose all that they cherish and be ostracized from family, friends and the ability to support themselves. High anxiety and deep depression with concurrent suicide ideation is common. One of the most extreme cases I have treated was that of a 50 year old genetic male, married and the father of 3 grown children with an international reputation as a scientist who reported to me that the reason he finally sought out treatment for his gender issues was because the number of times he found himself curled up in the corner of his office in the fetal position muffling his cry was increasing. That is not dysphoria, that is pure misery. ”

    If it gets to that stage – hopefully it doesn’t – time to take the only course open. Transition.

    Note the age. There’s a peak at age 47, though some start having severe dysphoria as late as 55. Yours is light to moderate at the moment. It needs watching by competent specialists. With luck, it won’t intensify.

  2. Slightly different words, in that I think you’re fairly definitely trans, probably transsexual and probably not genderqueer.
    There does seem to be a period lasting from a few months to several years in many transsexual histories, my own included, when it seems that they’re at the fulcrum of the binary see-saw, able to switch from male to female from time to time. Jenny Boylen has a good description of it in her autobiography. Some are indeed bigender and stick around that place forever but the vast majority go one way or the other, hence likely transsexual rather than genderqueer.
    For myself, the male thing became ever more clearly a set of habits and baggage from the past rather than a living identity, perhaps it’ll go that way for you too.
    Transition, though, is very much about circumstances. I didn’t transition because of dysphoria, that came later. For me it was the sheer nonsense of going around seeming male to people, rather than being pushed by that. But my circumstances were relatively ideal for transition,and I was already effectively on hormones, whereas your involvements necessitate a different approach.

  3. Zoe – you know what I was like last March …

    “curled up in the corner of his office in the fetal position muffling his cry was increasing. That is not dysphoria, that is pure misery”

    …Yeah – it is. I never want to be ilke that again. I was in my car, barely able to see for the tears – at times having to pull over. And that was a year and a half before you and I first chatted that weekend…you were the right person in the right place, at the right time. I went to the Doctor, not knowing that I was trans*, and he prescribed a geneic antidepressant – it helped a little – for a time.

    Those episodes propelled me to look into all the ‘mind pictures’ that both disturbed and delighted me – that was when I ran aross the SAGE test (?) and then messaged you.

    Both of you are likely right – having dealt with others like me, and being further down similar roads. Surgery seems – premature, at best. I like some things about being male, I simply don’t have a heart for pursuing ‘male pursuits’ for the most part. Plenty of girls like to tinker with and drive cars….

    I wish I still had the Fiat…

    I wish I had something concrete to pin things on, but there isn’t one – unless I want to pay out of pocket with the likelyhood of STILL not finding the ‘smoking gun’. As I said – I was taught not to trust feelings – rather I was taught to measure things in certifiable ways.

    Oh – unless God was in the picture. I find that ironic. Churchmen always want concrete proof from everyone ELSE….delicious, that is, If anything, my faith is stronger than it was in the past. The intuitive ‘feel’ for what is right and wrong is stronger than it’s ever been.

    I gave up on CHURCH – but not on God.

    If I keep up on the antidepressants, I’m usually fine – the dysphoria still rolls over me from time to time – a few times a day on average – but I can FEEL things ‘healing’. I’m sharper mentally, I remember things easier – but the edges of emotions are SHARPER now than they’ve ever been in recent memory.

    I can’t lay a finger on it, but I had a certainty of things as a child – a confidence about myself. I can feel that coming back as well. That may have been muddied by the onset of puberty – that sounds about the right time. Unfortunately, it also conincides with Mom taking her little adventure too – THAT shattered a lot of mental assumptions.

    ….might of been both.

    Yeah – too early to think about transition. Not out of the realm of possibility though. As”B” said – don’t consider it unless suicide seems like an attractive alternative.

    I am NOT there – and I’d likely miss the ‘male’ parts as much as any female things not present now….

    FWIW – “A” thinks I’m bigender – I’m on the fence with him for NOW at least. The only time I REALLY seen myself as female is after that damned commercial….

  4. Stevie

    As a mtf transgender/intersex I find that many seek some sort of “normal” solely based on societal definition. I am clearly female, always have been and always will albeit with a penis AND vagina. Surveys of trans find the majority either relate to both male and female or neither. Science has discovered 30 of our 46 chromosomes that impact gender and so it is actually as unique to each if us as our fingerprint. Your normal is different than anyone else’s normal… It then becomes unnecessary to fit into any of the existing boxes and just be you, your normal. To be at peace with who YOU are, to express who you are even if that changes. Not exactly easy in practice but the critical thing is for you to accept who you are, whatever that is, before you can expect to move on and find happiness.

  5. Thanks Stevie – MY normal doesn’t seem to set of any alarms at work, SOME with my wife… I think I set off a few “Gay-dars” in High School, as I hadn’t learned yet to ‘play the man part’ too well.

    My wife and I are working on it, communication has always been an issue, as English is not her primary language and I still ‘lock up’ when I get too emotonal. This subject is VERY emotional for me.

    I got beat up in High School once, bad enough to be unconscious and require emergency room care – likely, I still suffer a deviated septum because of that idiot. I go picked on some in one, a LOT in a more rural one.

    I didn’t see myself as anything other than ‘smart’ – I was too young, too ignorant, and too brainwashed to know that ‘bisexual’ was even an option. It was a different world then. In the mid-to-late 70’s “Transgender” was an unknown word, and Transexuals were just perverted queers.

    We – as a group – have a long way to go to overcome that ignorance.

    I was physically atracted to girls then, but can now remember that I was also attracted some to CERTAIN guys – but my upbringing told me I would burn in hell if I acted on those feelings or even ACKNOWLEDGED them. In hindsight – I had LOTS of opportunities in that realm, given who I was hanging out with.

    Seriously, I got a 98% on the ASVAB – but ALL OF US are smart here – this is nothing spectacular in the Trans* world. I consider myself about average in this company. Maybe it’s God’s compensation to us for being the ‘odd ones’ that He gave us the ability to create and think about thinks more conventional minds aren’t able to do.

    Some – if not most – of my issues may be capable of being dealt with simply by time. Getting used to the idea, and rejecting the judgement of society, because I’m pretty certain how God will judge me, and I’ve no fear of that.

    Other issues may only be able to be dealt with hormonally if I’ve actually got a ‘transgendered brain’ – if the ‘wiring’ is that of a typical bigender or transexual person. I am beginning to think there’s no real doubt about that, given the symptoms.

    FWIW – I just got a callback from my Endocrinologist. I don’t have numbers yet, but over the phoone he told me I was “mostly normal”. I’ll post those when I have them.

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