I tried to go backwards

Lately I’ve been trying to deny what I have come to understand about my gender. Trying to fit myself back into that woman-shaped box, trying to say that is who I am, who I can be but it’s not and I can’t.

I got to the point where I got scared, things started to get really tough. People started seeing me differently. I retreated. I’ve been trying to dress how people want me to dress. I’ve stopped talking to people about my gender confusion. I’ve been calling myself she sometimes, even.

It’s making me miserable. Even more so this week because I’m menstruating. I feel betrayed by my body as always at this time of the month.

I always feel betrayed by my body. For not matching how I feel about my gender inside. For being unable to fight back when I was abused and raped.

I’m sorry if this is awkward reading. I hope it communicates the intense discomfort I feel with myself. I’m trying to get through the days again. I’m trying to steer gently back closer to feeling more comfortable with myself. I don’t know who I am and it’s a constant game of ‘warmer, colder, freezing’.*

*This is a game our parents used to play with my sister and I when we would be searching for something. They’d say warmer or colder depending on if we were closer or further away from finding something, such as an Easter Egg.

Advertisements

Individual MBT Week 13

Today was a big getting things off my chest session. I think I feel somewhat lighter because of it, but also have the jitters about having let this stuff out. I’m feeling nervous because my therapist is now away for three weeks.

I talked about the group and that I managed to state how hard it is for me to speak in the group, and that I think everyone’s working really hard. I didn’t feel like the person took full responsibility for what they said last week, but I want to be able to accept that I have said my piece and move on. Easier said than done, I know.

I told my therapist about my weekend away at a convention, and how I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere. I think a lot of this was due to gender stuff. I was trying out dressing more masculine and using a more gender ambiguous name. This in itself felt good, but at times I felt rejected by groups I have always felt accepted into, and that was devastating.

I know I went along with a real need to feel I belonged somewhere and to get help in knowing who I am. I think if I hadn’t gone along with such a great need I would have found the weekend easier. As it was I ended up escaping to my room in tears too many times.

This has brought up more complicated questions for me about my gender. It is not just about how I feel inside and how I feel about my body, but also for me about politics, my sense of community and where I fit in/how I get acceptance.

I also admitted to her that I like to dress as a little kid and go to events where I act like a little kid. This started as a kink thing with one of my partners but it is non sexual when I go along to these events by myself. It is a way to act little, have fun and let go of responsibility for a day. I’m going along to one such event this Saturday.

I mentioned this to my therapist because last time I went I found that it made me start remembering details of my childhood. Not bad things necessarily, I always remember those, but stuff like foods we ate, TV shows we watched. The memories of how I felt when I was a kid come back when I remember these things, and I’m realising the feelings I had aren’t the ones a kid ought to have. I felt so ashamed and afraid.

Now I am preparing myself for the task of going three weeks without individual therapy. Group is still on for the next two weeks and I think it’ll be tough having things come up and not having anywhere to take them. At the moment my occupational therapist and social worker are away too, although there should be times over the next three weeks when I can get support from them.

MBT Week 6: Individual session

Today I ended up talking with my individual therapist for ages about gender stuff, even though I didn’t really want to. I’ve left feeling a bit fed up about that but maybe I should trust her that she knows what’s important? I mean, it is important, I just didn’t want to talk about it. I don’t know.

One thing she said that was awkward was when I had mentioned that I bind my chest sometimes, and later she brought it up and said that I bind my breasts. Urghh

Then we talked a bit about how I expect my feelings to be dismissed as me ‘making a fuss’, as this has repeatedly been my experience, especially within my family.

I’ve been thinking about that more and I think it goes even further for me. I have been told so many times that I’m making a fuss about nothing when I talk about my feelings that I have started to believe it. I have started seeing myself as attention seeking. I find it hard to trust that my own feelings are genuine (though they sure as hell feel it!). In short, I have believed my own bad press.

This dismissiveness is linked in with guilt. I’ve been made to feel bad for making other people feel bad or uncomfortable due to me showing my thoughts or feelings. This is also especially true of my family relationships, and the guilt is especially true with my mother.

At the end of the session I asked my therapist with whom she’d share the information about my gender confusion, and she said she would tell the group leaders. Aargh! How awkward and embarrassing! I feel bad enough with her knowing. One of the only reasons I told her was because my GP said that I should. Gah.

Thankfully there’s no group session next week, it’s on hiatus between the psychoeducational sessions and the therapy proper. I’ll still be having an individual session next week. But I know I’m going to feel hyper uncomfortable in the group knowing that the group leaders know about it.

Why do I feel so exposed and ashamed about this? I think part of it is because I feel so unsure, it makes me feel particularly vulnerable about it. Also, gender can be such a taboo subject, a lot of people have very rigid and judgemental ideas about it and I’m aware of that.

Gender GP Appointment

Holy crap. My head is a whirlwind right now. I just went to my GP and talked about gender stuff. I have been holding this in forever. I was so nervous before I went in, I thought I was going to die. I was tapping my feet in the waiting room and my hands were shaking, my heart was racing. I told her I was nervous right away (thanks to the advice of Cat). She said take your time – I am so grateful that she was patient like that. It was so hard to get started.

 

“It’s about my gender”, I said…. “I don’t feel like a woman. Basically that’s it. I don’t feel like I’m a woman. I’ve felt like this for as long as I can remember.” She asked me about when I could first remember feeling this way. “As a kid. I never wanted to wear skirts or dresses. I hated school cause we had to wear skirts.” Of course, I know that you can be any gender and wear skirts and dresses, but for me as a kid this was one of the things I noticed that made me different to girls I knew.

Now things are more complicated – I didn’t mention this. I feel like I’m in drag when I dress as a woman. (No, there’s nothing inherently wrong with drag; I just think it’s something different to performing your gender.) Sometimes I enjoy dressing up though. I don’t feel like myself, but sometimes it’s nice to be someone else. Someone socially accepted at face value.

She asked about partners. I said I’d had relationships with women. I said I never felt like they were relationships between two women.

She asked about now. I said that I bind my chest sometimes. I said that I asked my partner to call me a different name but he always calls me honey anyway.

We talked a bit about the help I’m getting from the CMHRS. I told her about my fear that my gender confusion will be passed off as identity disturbance associated with BPD. She said she recognises it is an issue in itself. She said I should try to be honest with my therapist about it. I said I’d try. I said I had tried to talk to my social worker about it but I didn’t explain it very well and she didn’t know much about it.

I┬ásaid I was scared the CMHRS was going to try to ‘fix’ this, to try to make me feel like a woman again and that I’d lose all the progress I’ve managed to make so far, by myself. She said that they shouldn’t do that, that it wouldn’t be right for them to do that, which I found reassuring.

She says she’s going to find out about the nearest specialist services and see if she can refer me. She mentioned counselling to help me figure out where I am and where I want to go with this. She’s going to write to me in the next couple of weeks.

Oh my god, I just feel so excited, relieved, scared, embarrassed, overwhelmed. Now I have to talk to my partners and I’m worried they’re going to be freaked out. I think one will be okay and the other will be freaked. He’s very heterosexual. He likes me as a woman even though he understands I don’t necessarily feel like one.

I said that when I’d talked to my women friends about it they say “oh but there are lots of ways to be a woman”. But I feel like this goes beyond that.

Update:

The partner I thought would be freaked out was indeed a little freaked out. But he didn’t run for the hills or anything, so I suppose it could have been worse. I think it makes it hard that I don’t really have his support, though I can understand him being a bit alarmed about it I suppose.