The Subjective Nature of Memory
Memory is subjective, how can it not be? It’s only natural that we look back at moments in our past with the benefit of hindsight, only natural to analyse events from childhood now that we’ve seen a bit more of the world, came to understand the way in which it spins. I do this, I look back trying to find meaning, or signs, or clues as to who I am and why I am the way I am. Hell I probably do it too much and I’m probably not the only one. The problem is I don’t trust myself, am I looking for patterns where none exist? Can I add Apophenia to my list of personality traits? I’ve recently come to accept… no that’s not right. I’m beginning to accept that there is a very real and very big part of me that might want to be a woman. On and off from early childhood I have dabbled in cross-dressing. Something until recently I have felt shame in and something I still continue to keep secrete from my closest friends and family. Over the past few weeks I have been doing what research I can in to transgender people, this has been though blogs, support websites, and information via the NHS. Not all, but many or these website with peoples’ own accounts of their transition share a common theme, that deep down they have always known that their biological gender didn’t match their gender identity. When I search through the annals of my past there are certain signs that seem to suggest I might wish to be a woman. Another common theme that keeps reoccurring is that ‘you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t in someway confused or struggling with your own gender identity.’ That much I agree with, I do have things I need to work out. My fear is that like the hypercondriac who goes online with the common cold only to discover they’ve got the bubonic plague, I’m seeing a transsexual when there’s only a cross dresser. Am I trying to find signs that I want to be a woman, when none are there? Even if there aren’t signs, does the fact that I looking mean I want to be a woman regardless of their existence? In my mind there are signs and maybe that’s all that matters, maybe what these events actually mean is irrelevant, maybe all that matters is my subjective view them? But, if this is true then why do I remain so unsure? I have some theories that I’ll get to in a bit, first the signs.
Sign One: An Ugly Brown Skirt
I still remember the first time I dressed in girls clothing; I was about 5 years old. It was summer, the sun was shining and my mother was in the living room watching television. I was in her bedroom and putting on what I now consider to be a rather ugly skirt (It was chequered with different shades of brown. (I’m sure it was very fashionable at one point…)) From what I remember I didn’t think there was anything wrong with this, it was fun, all little boys like to play dress up right? By the end of the game, I was wearing:
- An ugly brown skirt
- A bra stuffed with socks
- A blouse
- A pair of heels
- Makeup (which if I remember correctly was basically lipstick and my eyes lids coloured in (outside the lines) with eye shadow… maybe some blusher).
I was pleased with the results, (though I imagine if I seen a photo of it now it would have an adorable cringe worthy quality to it) and went down stairs to show my mother. I don’t remember how I expected her to react, but I assume from the fact that I was going to show at all that I thought she’d be happy about it. When she first saw me she laughed, I was devastated and my confidence took a blow (in hindsight I understand that her reaction was natural, at the time I didn’t). Then, once she seen the mess I had made of her bedroom and makeup she was angry (which again in hindsight I understand). All I remember from what happened next are feelings of shame and embarrassment as my mother spanked me and angrily washed my face at the bathroom sink until it was red and raw, telling me that I boys don’t do that. To date she is the only person who has seen me dressed as a girl (well apart from one drunken night in university when I put on a dress to try and cheer up a friend, but I don’t think that’s important) and if I think about it, this is probably where my current insecurities about cross dressing stem.
Sign Two: The Yellow Power Ranger
I frickin’ loved the Power Rangers as a child, and not your Dino-Thunder-Truck or whatever Power Rangers you get today, but the proper old school Might Morphing Power Rangers. Much of my childhood was spent with my friends Paul and Matthew play fighting and jumping off walls shouting ‘go, go Power Ranger kick!’ (It makes it more powerful) During this game we all had our pre-assigned Power Ranger, I was Billy, the blue Power Ranger (because I wear glasses), but I wanted to be Trina the Yellow Power Ranger and I spent weeks agonising over weather or not to admit this to my friends. (It was a massive deal for me at the time, ok.) At that age all I understood was that I enjoyed it better when I pretended to be one of the girl Power Rangers, it somehow felt more natural. Even though being the Yellow Ranger felt right to me and was what I wanted to do, I knew I shouldn’t tell my friends. After much soul searching I felt I had too. So when I final did, during school lunch, their reaction was as you would have expected from young children, they didn’t understand, thought it was stupid and made fun of me. As silly as I think the whole thing is now at the time in was quite the damaging blow to our friendship and has left me with many questions. For instance, are my issues with the Power Rangers some sort of parable with my current situation? Am I living as the Blue Power Ranger when I should be living as the Yellow? What exactly was Zordon?* And is it possible to have a homosexual robot?
Sign Three: Wishing and Praying
For all I know it was nothing that set it off, I honestly can’t remember. What I do remember is lying awake one night in tears wishing and praying to God that when I woke up in the morning, I would be a girl. This is something I remember happening periodically throughout my childhood.
Sign Four: Teenage Dreams
As a teenager I again started wearing tights, high heel and trying on my mothers makeup and nail polish whenever she worked the night shift. What I write next I do so because I want to give an honest account of my experiences and it would be remise of me to omit that from then and to this day there is an element of arousal when I dress as a girl. It is also during this time that I started fantasising about being a girl and getting to go clothes and makeup shopping.
Sign Five: Boobs
Simply put I feel like I should have breasts and at times it kind of feels like I have phantom breasts. I don’t how else to describe it other than I sometimes have the mild sensation that I already have them. I believe that if I were to wake up in the morning with them, it would feel natural.
Sign Six: Sex (Geez, try saying that three times fast)
In the past, because of my cross-dressing I have questioned my sexuality and the truth of it plainly is that I am not attracted to men, I’m attracted to women. Though I have in the past kissed several men, it did nothing for me, negative or positive. What does confuse me is this (and this may be something, like the rest of this post that I’m reading too much in to). I feel uncomfortable having sex with women, don’t get me wrong I attracted to them and get aroused, it just feels a little weird. I’m beginning to wonder if what I thought was sexual attraction is in fact some mix between wanting to be with a girl and wanting to be a girl. I still need to figure this one out. Also when I masturbate, on occasion I fantasise that rather than having my penis pulled, I instead have a vagina and am pleasuring myself. This leads me to wonder that if I had a vagina, would I find sex less weird?
Sign Seven: The Question
If someone was to tell that if I wanted to they could make it so when I wake up in the morning I could be a biological woman. There is not a shadow of a doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t say yes.
Sign Eight: Rereading Signs One Through Seven
This one seems pretty obvious.
I think a lot of the shame and embarrassment I feel when dressing as woman stems from negative childhood experiences and to a certain degree the negative stigma attached to transgendered people by the wider public. Although it is something that if were confronted with by a friend or someone else, I honestly wouldn’t care and would be supportive. A useful way for me to help explaining my feelings on the subject is this. When my flatmate invites me to a party one of his friends is having (who I don’t know) I always feel like it would be weird if I were to go. While at the same time if the situation was reversed and a friend of mine brought a friend to party who I didn’t know, I wouldn’t mind. This is how I assume most people feel and would also be how my flatmates friend would feel. The same is true for me in regards to transsexual people. If other people are transsexual and they’re happy, then I’m happy for them. It’s my own transsexual status I have a problem with.
My other main problem is that I have quite masculine features -I have quite the chiselled jaw- and if that last statement wasn’t vain enough, I only want to be a girl if I can be a pretty one. I’m sure this is a common concert but if I’m going to live as a woman I don’t want people to be able to tell I was born a man. Basically I want to be able to pass and I’m not sure if I can. The fear of people being able to tell and saying something to me is more distressing that I know how to describe. The initial hump of first presenting myself as a women to my friends (assuming I come out) is also quite daunting, I’m scared because I know like my mother they’re going laugh. Realistically I would also need to ask my female friends for help, cause as it stands I’m kinda awful at putting on makeup (though I’m going to keep practicing on my own) and I’m quite a proud person who doesn’t like asking for help.
As much as the signs may seem to suggest that I want to be woman, the truth is I still don’t know deep down if it’s true and maybe I never will. Maybe my insecurities and fear are putting me off. Maybe it is just some weird sexual thing. I don’t know. All I know for sure is that I have a lot of things to work out, and that my next step will be to get a referral to a Gender Identity Clinic. Whatever happens I going to keep on writing this blog and if someone other than me as read this stupidly long post to this point, thank you. The thought offers me comfort. In the meantime my life will go as normal, and for the moment at least I’m happy to be Keira in private. Again, thank you for reading.
NEXT TIME: Shopping with a girl!
*I googled it once I finish writing this post. Turns out he’s Zordon of Eltar, a wise galactic sage who fought for the side of good against the forces of evil.
Still no word on homosexual robots.