This is my story. My feelings and my thoughts. I have talked a lot about my mental illness and touched the subject of being non-binary here and here. I have struggled a lot to figure out who I really am. This is just a flash of my life but it is one of the most vital parts of it. My story to find out who I am and how I ended up here.
I grew up in a middle class family; my mother was a teacher and headmaster, and my father a detective who worked as a CSI his last 15 or so years in the force (before that he did other stuff but to be honest, I have no idea what it was and it doesn’t really matter for this story anyway). I have a brother who finished high school with the highest grades of everyone that year. He’s smart. He now has a law degree and works as a detective in some high position (no idea what because it’s too complicated to explain). He has succeeded in his career. Me? I have failed at more or less everything. No, that is a lie, I graduated school like a mediocre cucumber. It’s not that I couldn’t learn but that it didn’t really matter, I would always stay in the shadow anyway. Growing up in a family with three extremely successful people doesn’t encourage you. At least not me. Besides, more or less everyone get into the university here, no matter if your grades are mediocre or you graduate as number one.
I did study; I have started to study to become a teacher (but dropped out after a year and a half). Not really my thing but my parents thought it would be a solid and good job for me. I did work with kids for a few years during summer. I also studied to become an environmental engineer. That was my own choice, that my parents actually approved of. I listened a lot to my parents when I was a kid. So much so that I didn’t really have my own will. I didn’t think for myself. I didn’t even decide what clothes to wear. I did have a tiny say in it but if my mother didn’t like it, she said no and I had nothing to say because she paid for them. My opinion didn’t matter in the end. When I finally paid for my own clothes I was so used to ugly, baggy shirts and jeans I just kept buying them. She destroyed my ability to look at myself and see me in a mirror. I still can’t say how I really look. I often ask my husband when we are out and see a big woman “Do I look like her?” I always fail to compare right, she is always a lot bigger. But I keep asking him from time to time. I just don’t know how I look. How big I am. How ugly I am. Because I am ugly. I must be, my mother has always wanted to change me. Since I was eleven she has forced me to loose weight in different ways. I’m not gonna mention them all here but one school break we (because she always had to loose weight too, even if she already had a normal weight) lived on a soup made of cabbage. Breakfast, lunch, dinner we had cabbage for a whole week. I didn’t lose even one kilo and that one was back after two days again.
My mother is the root of many of my issues but I am certain she did her best. In a middle class family like ours you don’t want to be the odd family. She is scared to death what others might think of her and her way of raising me and my successful brother. Imagine the day she found out I was bipolar. She blamed herself, and thought it was her fault I got ill.
Yeah, her white privileged daughter is bipolar. Her failed bipolar daughter who has two failed university degrees behind her. I still haven’t disputed my last essay. If I had done it when I finished my last year at the university for engineering I would have my bachelor degree. It’s too late now. Ah well, I am kind of a mediocre cucumber after all. And mentally ill. Bipolar with a bit of anxiety tucked into the mix of emotions. It’s hard for her to handle. Imagine if I started to talk about my gender and sexual preferences. That will never happen, it would only break her heart.
I’ve been confused most of my life. I didn’t know who I was when I was little. I have written about it before and you know where I finally landed in my thoughts; I am non-binary. I am not a boy and not a girl. I’m not gonna say that I am in between because that’s not true. I am not drifting between either, like many non-binary say they do. I just am. I don’t identify towards any gender. But, before I did I was extremely confused. I was confused to the point where I would lay awake at night and cry for hours. When I was little I didn’t think too much about it. I thought all people felt like I did. And I behaved like everyone else, I fell in love with the cute boys. In hind sight I probably forced myself once or twice, or five times to fall in love to fit in with the crowd but still, I behaved like the girls in my class. It’s actually not until a few years, say ten or perhaps a little longer, that I seriously started to think about my life. Well, I can pinpoint it actually because it was when I started to go to therapy and started to deal with my very destructive relationship with my ex boyfriend, and dig around in my childhood and teen.
Ten years, that’s how long I went to therapy. I met a lot of different therapists and psychologists who worked in different ways. They taught me different coping techniques and gave me different ways to look at situations I have gone through. I have been in a lot of strange and complicated situations because of my bipolar. Situations my life would have been better off if I hadn’t ended up in. One day I might tell you about those but not today. Well, I learned a lot about myself during all those hours with educated strangers with different views on the human psyche. Fascinating really. What really got me thinking though was my husbands friend. Her name was still John the first time I met her. She was incredibly pretty in a short pen skirt, black stockings and a tight shirt. She was, or probably still is, it’s a very long time since we last met, a very timid and quiet girl.
I remember when my husband came home, laughing, and threw himself in the sofa. “Do you know who’s gonna go through with a sex change operation?” I don’t think that was the exact words but something like that. “John” I answered. It was as obvious to me as it was to anyone else. “Yeah”, he replied. Well, after we met her that first time she changed her name legally to Elli. There was psychologist visits and hormone treatment, and then I think she got her operation. I don’t know because I haven’t seen her since. All I know is that she was happy when John became Elli.
What if I am not supposed to be a girl? My thoughts were in a turmoil. I might be a gay man in a straight woman’s body. I hated my body. I had always hated my body. Most people think that women’s bodies are beautiful and men’s are ugly or at least not to compare with women but I disagree. I don’t find women’s bodies very attractive. I prefer men and I am not talking in a sexual way but in a purely aesthetically way. So, my mind started to wander, thinking about how I really felt inside, in my mind, in my body, even in my soul. I turned myself inside out. I know what it is to be like me but what is it like to be a woman? A man? I needed to find out so I googled. You don’t get wiser when you google, you only find things you wish you hadn’t read. Hate and harsh words. So, I gave up after a while. Told myself that I was just imagining things. I was married to a man who adored (and adore) me and my ugly body. The body I don’t love myself.
Time passed, I was and am loved, I had kids but the thought was still nagging, what if? How do I know? I need to get this off my chest. So, on a whim I wrote a post on a forum. I never thought anyone would pm me but she did. A woman who was my opposite. A male who was in the process of becoming a female. She had a very gay male partner. I have a very straight male partner. We talked. A lot for a few months. We shared all the problems and she gave me advices. She was a savior those months when I was trying my most to figure out who I really was. My husband was no help at all. I love him but he didn’t understand at all. We have talked a lot later on and he has changed a lot but I think that when it is so close it’s hard. It’s easier when it’s about someone else. Like his friend. He completely embraced her and her change. Well, we talked a lot, my transexual friend and I.
I made a mistake. I turned to a group on Facebook. “Your opinion isn’t valid.” This might not have happened to everyone who is a female to male transexual but that was what I saw in that and other groups. My opinion wasn’t valid because I wanted to become a man. How could I even consider becoming a man. I should be grateful I was born a woman. And a white woman to boot. “You are so privileged.” I don’t care if I am privileged or not, I am confused and I need help. There were other transsexual men too but they disappeared faster than they could say their name. But, I was disqualified the second I told them my female gender. It was even worse when someone came in and said that they wasn’t sure. But that is yet another discussion.
I talked more with my friend on the forum. I had an episode where I got really bad and disappeared from there and then she was gone. In the end we lost contact after I wrote a last message and explained why I abandoned that place. She understood. I hope she has solved her troubles with her man. Well, I was pretty sure after our long conversations that no, I am neither gender. I am nothing. Well, I am me and that is good enough.
I know not all people have gone through what I did (and still do at times). Everybody has their story, this is only one of many. I am still not sure about a lot of things and thoughts still come over me “What if?” But I rest in the fact that I know who I am. My feelings and thoughts are valid; I am me.