Who Am I? -A Very Personal Post About Gender Identification

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.

Source: PiNe(パイネ)

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.

Source: 水口

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.

Source: 水口

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.

Source feature picture: PiNe(パイネ)

13 thoughts on “Who Am I? -A Very Personal Post About Gender Identification

  1. First off….I am glad you decided to publish this. I am only guessing at this point of course, but when you talked about a post you were hesitant to publish on Twitter, I am assuming this is the one (Yes…sometimes I have amazing psychic powers🐙😂).
    It pains me when you say you are ugly. Why? Because I have thought a lot like this myself for a very long time. I was bullied in my younger years, and my teens because of the way I looked. I know I am not mr Universe and never will be. And you know what? There came a point when I just didn’t care anymore. Looks are superficial. I have met beauty queens that have hearts of ice and are just very unlikable people in the end. Beauty, true beauty, as much as a cliche as this might sound: comes from inside. And that is where you shine. I have known you now for a little over a year. I have seen you grow as a blogger: I remember stumbling across your blog by pure chance, and I haven’t regretted it for a single second. Because in that time you have become a very good friend. We might not always talk, but as I said recently to my best friend: sometimes good friends don’t always need to talk. They will find each other again when they need each other, and are pretty much always there when it counts. So when you say you don’t succeed at things think again: You have a blog that is still growing, with articles that most of the time make people think about stuff. And you are able to make friends….good friends😊 So…those are two powers that in my book are pretty amazing.
    I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to go through something like you are going through in any way. Because I simply don’t. I am a guy, and I definitely am sure I like girls. So, I have never been in doubt in that in any way. Which is why I can’t imagine how difficult this must be. I am grateful you had found someone who you were able to talk to about this, and who is going through the same things you are. It’s a shame you lost contact with her though. But in the end you are so right at what you say: You are you: and that’s the most important thing. And in my book you are: an amazingly wonderful person, who should be proud of herself. I am pretty much convinced there are enough people in this community who are also proud of you. I am one of them.
    This is one hell of a thoughtprovoking post, and it’s been a wonderful read. Hopefully it will act as an inspirition to other people who might have trouble finding out who they really are. I’m pretty much convinced that it will. Well done ms Penquin…well done 😊🐙😊

    Liked by 5 people

    1. ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

      I don’t feel ugly all the time nowadays. I have bad days when I feel like I look like a troll. They are few and far apart now. My mom never told me I was ugly but she wanted to change my looks all the time. She still talks about how I need to loose weight. I do because I anxiety ate my way through my childhood and teens and that is all on her. I’m not sure i have ever felt loved by her either because I was never good enough. She probably meant it in a good way, to help me not stick out in school and get bullied. That was a huge fear for her I think. But dressing me in typical boys clothes, cutting my hair short and buying mens shoes doesn’t make a girl feel pretty. And it’s not about her and how she was in her teens. She was attracting and dressed in modern (for the time) clothes. I mean, my dad fell for her. No one ever fell for me in my teens. I shouldn’t wine though. As soon as she stopped cutting my hair I grew it long and it has never been short even once since that. That was 1997 I think.

      I don’t think you look particularly ugly. At least not on those photos I have seen. And so what if you did, you are an amazing person who I am very fond of. That’s really all that matters. 🐧❤️🦑

      Like

  2. I don’t think it needs repeating, or maybe it does, but it’s ok to be you. I know that when I was depressed, it was incredibly hard to talk about it. Gender identity is even more complicated at times. Just remember that you are you, and no matter who you are you are important.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. It is funny that the very same people who should be open and accepting because of the pain they’ve experienced can be as rectal-cranially inverted as those you’d expect to be that way.

    I’m tired of people throwing my “white straight male privilege” in my face. Of telling me they had the real problems and I was just a whiney guy who had all the advantages and blew it. I spent maybe 20 years in a suicidal funk, loathing myself for being perverse and in fear that someone would find out the “truth” about who I really was. It was decades before the depression went away. In fact, I started weaning myself off Prozac the day I quit my last full-time job. I’m still an “Aspie”, still have a touch of the ADD and still follow the urge to be naked in nature. (Or a good party.) I am a loner who doesn’t want to lead and cannot follow.

    I didn’t have doors opened to me. I had them slammed in my face because of my “Aspie” nature, the ADD, or the crippling depression, or my lack of aggressiveness. I did my best and did better than many but never got a single promotion anywhere I’ve worked, just raises due to longevity. I wasn’t a good enough salesman.

    How is all that pain somehow less valid than anyone else’s?

    Coming to California showed me a whole new world where odd people like me could find niches to fit in. People who shared my eccentricities and didn’t think I was a deviant. A therapist who was trying to “fix” my issues accidentally fixed my outlook on them instead and I discovered self-acceptance.

    I am an old man now. I am fairly happy. When I look back I can speak of my past as a neutral event. It just is. It makes no sense at all to be emotionally tied to the past because it isn’t real anymore. Can’t be changed. And you never get to the future because it is always now. So don’t fret about that which is still unrealized. The world surrounds you with beauty if you only bother to look with clear eyes and stop focusing on the negative. If everywhere you look you can find the beauty, the ugliness loses its power over you.

    If you have body image issues, become a nudist. The whole focus of nudism is to accept your body as you accept everyone else’s. All bodies are good. Gives you a much broader concept of what “normal” is than the bikini fetishes of textiled society.

    You are not a tiny ugly animal. I have read your work and even have a slight glimpse of what you look like from your picture. You are magnificent and beautiful beyond my ability to describe. If we had met when we were both young and unattached I would have loved you for exactly who you are.

    Even though I’m married I can still say I really like you.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you! ❤️ I now know I am not ugly, except for some odd days now and then, and my mom never really told me either. But the feeling was always there because no one really paid attention to me. In school I was trying to fit in but in the end I probably was the strange, weird one. I’ve had friends for shorter (and in one case for a few or so years) but they always end up leaving. I met an old friend at the grocery store a while back. We do that once every two or three years by chance, and I always say that I have changed my phone and lost her phone number. And she always gives me her number, and tells me to call her. I know she has my number but she always lay all the responsibily for take up our relationship where we left off. I sort of like her and one part of me think that maybe I should call. But then I think that why can’t she? Why do I have to be the one always. And no this last time I actually realised that maybe she does it because she knows I won’t call and she doesn’t really want to see me. Because if she did she would call me. Right? Anyway, enough ramble about this.

      If by pervert you mean being a nudist I think you’re wrong. I like the idea and I wish I could do the same but with kids and husband it doesn’t work. Maybe when I get ten years older and the kids have moved.

      Well, it’s that white privilege. I don’t pretend that colored people have it hard but I am fairly certain that I as a female, mentally ill woman in the lower middle class (I once was poor) would be less privileged than many colored persons. Sure, I have a degree in environmental engineering but I have never worked as it because of my illness. I have had very few jobs over all because I never last when I hit a depression. Sometimes I think people forget that there are people like us. That doesn’t mean that I am diminishing colored peoples suffering and struggles, that just means that one persons struggle doesn’t necessarily go away because their skin color is white. Then again, I live in a country where people rarely get discriminated agains because of their skin color. I have no idea what it’s like for people in USA for example but what I have read and seen it is a way worse situation there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What country?

        My immediate family and most not so immediate family knew I was a nudist but I just didn’t let it impact them or my wife.

        Doing things solo never bothered me. My blog is full of what I do.

        Like

  4. I can’t relate to your issues since I never had issues with my body, or sexuality. However, I did date an ex-girlfriend who underwent a sex change operation. You can imagine how jarring it was referring to him instead of her now. Like you, he also had issues talking about it with his significant other, and the relationship didn’t survive the discussions they had on it. We had a nice, long chat after meeting up for the first time in years catching each other up on our lives like everything was normal.

    He did eventually ask me if I could ever find him attractive like I did when we dated, and half jokingly I don’t swing that way. I send emails semi-weekly to check up on him, and seems to be in a slightly better place. It’s difficult for me to fully comprehend, and approach issues like these since I never go through them. Most I could do is accept how the person feel, try to understand them best I can, and treat them like I would any other person. I know they would do the same for me if in a similar position.

    Keep going strong in this struggle of yours!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! Well, I think I have landed in the middle but I am struggling mostly with my body these days. You seem like a very caring and supportive friend. My husbands friend completely withdrew after her change. It’s sad but I can understand it in a way. Maybe you have to leave your life behind in a way. It’s nice that you met up with your ex. I don’t think many relationships can survive a sex change. I have an acquaintance who’s then wife decided to go through with a change. He was completely honest with him [her] that he couldn’t stay with him. They had kids and all. But in the end was he straight. Must be incredibly difficult in that situation, and confusing, when the one you love isn’t who you thought they were. Well, enough with the rambling here. Again, I’m glad you read and commented.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. About 25 years ago a friend did the whole gender change routine. She was still the same person he had been. I cannot imagine why anything would need to change between us.

        Liked by 1 person

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