Is it all in my mind?

Without a doubt dysphoria is a feeling that we carry since we are small kids. We try to manage the best way we can and we try to live our lives as happy as a kid can be. We play “normal” games according to our gender roles so we are not bullied and we struggle in silence for years.

Growing up without internet and the amazing avalanche of information we have nowadays was really hard. How to understand what was wrong in my mind? Some people would say it kept me safe from wrong messages and dangerous treatments young people receive now…hormone blockers, HRT, SRS…

So after years of wondering if I was just having dirty thoughts, if I was gay or even crazy I found out being almost 30yo that I just didn’t feel good with my own body. The one true place where I could feel safe felt alien, developing to a different direction than the one I expected. So for sure I wasn’t born in a wrong body nor I was trapped in a body that didn’t belong to me, but I have no doubt that my feeling were and are still real. I don’t recognize myself in the mirror…my self image is different.

So reading and watching videos on this topic, I have the feeling that the concept of understanding and giving people with dysphoria the chance to make it better is becoming old fashioned. I have the feeling that we are going back in time when this problem was treated like a mental disease. That we should treat our minds and forget about transitioning because we have to accept our bodies the way they are and that’s it. I don’t mean by this that transition is for everyone, and specially for young kids, I mean that the fact that transition didn’t work for some it wouldn’t work for others is not true.

After almost 10 years trying to understand my own reality, I came to believe that we are all different and so is our experience of gender identity. Dysphoria is a hard load to carry and I think is impossible to imagine what it is like if you don’t have it. Transition will not make my dysphoria disappear or will not heel me. But for sure helps me accept myself better and reduce the mismatch between my inner self and my body.

Without a doubt dysphoria is a feeling that we carry since we are small kids. We try to manage the best way we can and we try to live our lives as happy as a kid can be. We play “normal” games according to our gender roles so we are not bullied and we struggle in silence for years.

Growing up without internet and the amazing avalanche of information we have nowadays was really hard. How to understand what was wrong in my mind? Some people would say it kept me safe from wrong messages and dangerous treatments young people receive now…hormone blockers, HRT, SRS…

So after years of wondering if I was just having dirty thoughts, if I was gay or even crazy I found out being almost 30yo that I just didn’t feel good with my own body. The one true place where I could feel safe felt alien, developing to a different direction than the one I expected. So for sure I wasn’t born in a wrong body nor I was trapped in a body that didn’t belong to me, but I have no doubt that my feeling were and are still real. I don’t recognize myself in the mirror…my self image is different.

So reading and watching videos on this topic, I have the feeling that the concept of understanding and giving people with dysphoria the chance to make it better is becoming old fashioned. I have the feeling that we are going back in time when this problem was treated like a mental disease. That we should treat our minds and forget about transitioning because we have to accept our bodies the way they are and that’s it. I don’t mean by this that transition is for everyone, and specially for young kids, I mean that the fact that transition didn’t work for some it wouldn’t work for others is not true.

After almost 10 years trying to understand my own reality, I came to believe that we are all different and so is our experience of gender identity. Dysphoria is a hard load to carry and I think is impossible to imagine what it is like if you don’t have it. Transition will not make my dysphoria disappear or will not heel me. But for sure helps me accept myself better and reduce the mismatch between my inner self and my body.

Guilt and shame

I must have been 9 years old. A normal boy. I liked playing football, I enjoyed playing with small cars and no one could say I was girly in my manners.

Everything was happening just inside of my heart and in my mind. Such an alien feeling and dirty thoughts should have staid buried deep inside.

My sister was for some strange reason I didn’t know, against everything I said and did. Since we have moved to the bigger city and she was starting to date, I became the annoying little brother in the house. No more playing together, no more sharing our experiences and no more connection between us was left.

My dad was in my memories always busy, somewhere I didn’t know, working and coming late home. He was a loving father when he was around, asking for kisses and hugs, but I can’t remember a single day playing with him during the week days. Our relationship was limited to the weekends, where he was usually working in fixing the car and asking me to “help” him by handling some tools and looking how he did his job. After dinner, the moment in which he and my mother usually started a fight, I was sent to sleep and no more talking was left.

My mom was always with me and my sister. It was always the three of us in the house. She was sharing time with us, but also her stories. Her own personal point of view of her relationship with my father and the reason why they where always fighting, her own point of view also in many other aspects of life. I learned from her since I’m able to remember, how disgusting are the gay people and how terrible would be to have a gay son.

So the only person who could know my feelings was me. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me, why I was having this terrible thoughts and desires of dressing as a girl. I just knew that it was real, it was always there and if I tried to put it away it was always coming back.

One day, my dad was somewhere, my sister was with some boyfriend and my mom was gone for the groceries in the supermarket. I was alone in the house and I aloud myself to express what I wanted so much to come out. I took some clothes from my mother’s closet and putted on me in front of the mirror. I looked so nice. I looked like a girl. If only I could have longer hair… I couldn’t take the eyes from the reflection in the mirror, I couldn’t believe what I was doing. I felt such contradictory feelings inside. In one hand, I was expressing finally what I felt for so long time. I was feeling excitement and joy just by the simple fact that I could look as a girl only with some different clothes. On the other hand, a strong feeling of shame and guilt started to grow inside. I was doing exactly what my mother hated more and what my father for sure would reject and find unacceptable coming from his only son, the one who had to follow his example and behave as the man he was supposed to be.

So before anyone could discover my secret, before anyone could come into the house and find me glaring at my own reflection in the mirror in women’s clothes, I went running to take them out. I promised myself never to do it again and to be as normal as I should be. I buried everything deep inside of me and created an amazing and perfect mask. A mask I could wear everyday and that lasted unbreakable for many years, a strong mask built from shame and guilt, such strong feelings that became part of my own personality.

In the start line

“I want to be like you.” Where the words I said when I felt I couldn’t hold anymore. The words that went directly to the heart of V… and made her stop loving me. Words that came out of my mouth but from the bottom of my soul like an SOS.

It’s 9 years since that day, and even though I promised myself so many times to change my life and start living the way I felt inside, I’m still full of doubts and fears. Today I’m not afraid to walk in the street wearing a skirt and heels, I’m not afraid to put makeup and talk to my family and friends, I’m not afraid of telling everyone the way I feel inside. I’m afraid of hurting the love of my life and afraid of not making my little son proud of me.

So I keep searching for answers and I keep walking in this forest, hoping I can find a clear space and T… and my son grab my hand so I don’t walk alone anymore.