Sunday, 15 February 2015

My current identity - who I am at the moment

So, it may have become clear that over time I have suffered from gender identity disorder. But now that I am correcting my gender, what is my current identity? i.e. how do I see myself right here and right now.

So I really am transgender. That may seem obvious but for me it was not until very recently. Sure, I knew I want to be a girl but what did that actually mean to me? One translation from Latin, for trans, is 'across'. So when I used to say transgender, personally it meant across the genders - crossing both genders: neither male nor female, but a bit of both. This is how I have seen myself for many years, a bit of both. And when it is used for transgender people, those not actually transitioning physically, it makes a lot of sense to me. But it also means 'the other side' or 'fully changing'- so transgender means becoming the other gender. And I guess that once you start to transition, usually you are known as transsexual and this meaning is most applicable. And now, this is the meaning that I relate to. This is a generalisation, but I think it makes sense - and it does not mean that if you are transgender you will not become transexual. These are just labels. But I think it important to have these terms defined if we are to have a more wide spread understanding of all trans folk.

The details of the discussion are not important.  The thing is: I now define myself in a different way. I do not have the same sense of identity I had.

In the past I always thought that I wanted to be a boy and be a girl / do 'girl' stuff sometimes. I do not want to anger feminists here or make generalisations, but you know what I mean. I thought I saw myself as male with female characteristics. But to this end, I shut down a lot of things I wanted to do. Cut off parts of myself (not literally!!!) from the outside world. I managed these things - kept them bottled up and as long as they had some pressure release it was ok. Ish. However, as my body gets older and any androgyny of youth disappears, I realised that I hate the way I look and the things I do not allow myself to do. But somehow I still felt, overall, male. But, here is the thing, I had a sense of maleness but it did not feel right. It felts wrong and like I am not how I should be. Weird, huh?

So where am I now?

I fluctuate at the moment. I am not quite full time. But then, I have not worn many male clothes this year, rather opting for androgynous female clothes. Female but not in an 'in your face' way. The truth is, I know they are female and this makes me feel comfortable, at ease. Like I can do what I want. Live how I want to leave. Be who I want to be. And somehow the clothes put my mind at ease, resulting in me acting differently. I can feel the change in the way I walk and my mannerisms. Not 100 % feminine but way more than they were. I probably act somewhere in the camp range, to be honest. But it feels authentic.

And when I look and act somewhat feminine, I feel feminine. I just feel more female. And I feel right, let's not forget right! 

It is lovely. I have my moments where I feel feminine. Sometimes I will move a certain way, and it really feels feminine. And when it is a natural movement, the feeling is amazing. I will sometimes catch myself in the mirror and, in the right light at the right angle, there is a girl looking at me. Not even with makeup on - my features are changing. When I look at myself in a cute outfit. It all just feels like it should always have been.

On the flip side, when I throw on an old band tee, sweat pants and a hoodie I have that feel of maleness. It is not gone, it is still there. But now it feels alien and I do not like it. But those times are reducing, both in frequency and duration. (Damn - I said I would never stop wearing band tees - but now they feel odd and I wear, at most, one a week. Not every day. Who I am and what have I done with myself?!?)

My feeling of self perception is changing.

I climbed yesterday, and figured it was easier to go in more boy-ish clothes. One the bus I realised I had pink converse and nail varnish on. Apparently I subconsciously could not leave the house looking too much like a boy! And when I was there, yep, my mannerisms - now standard to my life - were coming through. I got a lot of weird looks. I know folk there thought I was camp as high heck. But I did not care one bit. I realised that I was just being myself. And I felt happy to be myself - sod everyone else.

So, basically I now see myself as a girl with some boy traits, not the other way around. (And no - I am not saying girls cannot climb. Do not be silly. Again, you know what I mean.)

I am changing. My mind is changing and I feel different. And I clearly see myself differently on a sub-conscious wavelength as well. How do I know this? Well, ages ago I watched a video by a trans-girl talking about self image in dreams. As in, when you dream how do you 'present'. Up until recently I have, in the dreams I remember, been a boy. Doing whatever it is I do in dreams, it was old me doing it. But lately, as I catch myself feeling more female, I also find that my 'self' in dreams is changing. It is not quite a girl I see myself as, but as a self-aware trans-female. I see myself as I am in real life, albeit it doing weird dream things. (Totally had some weird 'Attack on Titan' stuff getting in there last night.)

So yes, as well as my sense of self perception changing so too is my subconscious self perception. Clearly I am changing.

And I think that comes across to other folks too. The way I look is changing at the moment, I know that. It is weird looking in the mirror, but in a good way. My features are just a little different. It is hard to put a finger on what, but it is there. Of course, I want to see the differences. But this week alone I had three people that I know pretty well look at me confused when I said hi. The look of 'I recognise you but I cannot place you'. And these folks should recognise me easily. Once I talked to them the recognition was clear but I guess my features have shifted enough to throw people off. Now - I do not want to become an unknown, but it is a lovely thing.

And, even better, I got called 'madam' in my fav coffee chain this week as well. Course, as soon as I opened my mouth the illusion was broken and she got real embarrassed saying sorry over and over. I just laughed. I loved it. Next time, I should not open my mouth! (Grab me a straw will ya?)

But what it is that made her think I was female. Could be that I just look female, but I am not convinced that is true just yet. I put it down to the allusion. I wear androgynous clothes, cover up the beard stubble with a scarf and am gaining fairly androgynous features. i.e. it could go either way. But then I wear something pink and that just tips the person into assuming female. Awesome! This probably explains why folks have had trouble recognising me. A slightly different look and my outfit tricking their mind into assuming I am a female. Voila. I dunno. I could be wrong, but it makes sense.

This is a great boost for my confidence. However, I still have further to go. Two things bother me at present - my beard and my voice. I need to sort these out asap. I do practice speaking slightly less masculine but find it hard to do in real life, especially when surprised. I know I need to do this - the lady in the coffee shop clearly clocked me from my voice. It is ok now when I am in my transition period but once I cross the line, go full time, that would be horrid! Gotta stop being lazy and practice!

And my beard - ughh. I hate it so much. I am trying to sort it but swiss insurance is a mare. I have been trying to sort a session for 6 months now and I have not yet had one. In less than two months I will be in the UK and I will be straight into a private place getting that sorted out right away. I knocks me hugely. It is fine when I can hide it under a scarf but it is getting warmer! Then there is the male ritual I have to go through every morning. The irritation that means I cannot shave everyday due to insane rashing. The blue glow even when I have shaved. And hiding it with makeup is possible, but man you have to cake it on and that is damn sweaty and not such a casual look for out and about. Yep. I need to get rid of it asap.

I guess that there are also 'other' things I want to get rid of too. Sorry, but this is a bit icky - to me at least. Still, it is also a major trans issue and it should be discussed. In the past I always said it would be nice to get rid of my junk but I am so scared of the surgery that there is no rush. Somehow, these days, my view has changed. I just find it really rather annoying. It just gets in the way, is ugly and stuff like that. You often hear of trans-folk having major issues with their born genitals. I didn't but as I go on, and my sense of self changes, so does my view of the subject. Like I say, I do not hate them but I just find them annoying and would happily get rid of it all tomorrow. Never thought that would happen but there you go.

Coming back to how I have changed mentally - there is also another big change. I never felt like I belonged to the gay scene, or lesbian scene I guess, what with not being gay and hating the music and clubs. Even the trans scene is not really my cup of tea. Again, the clubs are just not my kinda clubs (with the odd exception). I have my friends around me, and gigs and bars I I like to go to. Places that are not part of the LGBT scene, but the 'indie' scene (I guess for lack of a better description). And I want to continue to be a part of that scene when I transition. It would be easy to take the safe route, and stick to drinks in the village. But why should I sacrifice my old life. The places and folk I love? I have a new sense of identity, but I am the same person. I get folks living in stealth - I totally understand wanting to just fit in and not be noticed. I hope I manage that, but I do not want to hide who I am. I will not keep it quiet. I have had enough of that down the years so no more lies.

So no, I want to be free to be myself. And when I get back to the UK I really want to get involved in the trans scene. Not the club scene - as I say that is not for me (though, some nights will be enjoyed I am sure). But helping out, volunteering. Helping to spread awareness and understanding. Even fighting for equal rights (not actual fighting you understand - I do not want to risk breaking a nail).

And most important: helping younger folks 'find' themselves - much quicker than I did. I said I knew I was 'different' from a very young age, and this story is often repeated in trans blogs. New reports show that children of five have a total understanding of their sense of self - who they are. As in, trans-kids know they are trans-kids. Even if they do not know the word trans, they know they are born into the wrong gendered body. They are not confused and their sense of identity is exactly the same as cis-gendered kids. So l wanna help these kids and prevent them loosing as many years as I did. This is so important to me now, and as such I plan to re-train in psychology in order to better achieve that. I have a sense of purpose I have not had before, and it feels great.

Ok, so that is who I am right now. I know my identity is female and I want to do all I can to make my body match. I understand myself and feel like I am really getting my identity sorted.

My mind is already on the case, amazing thing it is.

And I really am interested to see what happens as time flies by.