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True Stories of Transition:

Confused, Hurt,
and Looking for Answers

From: Tiresias

In the morning I may well regret posting this since it's pretty late at night now. From my experience, late night decisions are not always the most thought out, but often come from the heart.

Anyways, as the subject implies, I'm doing quite a bit of soul searching recently (over the last few years really) due to feelings I've had about myself.

My entire life I've felt like a social outcast. I know that in every social situation I'm in, I usually come across as a tree - very stiff and out-of-the-ordinary, simply because I have no inkling of how to act. Often I just try to adapt how I act to the character of those around me, but that only works for people I know well.

Since I was very young, I never really took and interest in the same things as my peers. I never really cared for sports at all in school, or anything competitive for that matter. I never had many friends, and eventually even became proud of being a 'lone wolf', different from everyone else. Desperately I wanted to belong *somewhere*, though, and have still not found such a home, a place I feel I belong.

Upon reaching adolescence, though I found myself interested in girls, I noticed for the first time I had a strong curiosity over what it would be like to be a girl. The curiosity became insatiable, and I started cross-dressing in private (though at the time, I *never* thought of it as cross-dressing, and only finally realized it a few years ago. Don't ask me why, but I never thought of it that way.

I had always hoped those feelings would go away, but they have only gotten more intense as the years went by. I could resist them for a few weeks sometimes, but they would always come back, and the requirements to feel satisfied with it grew more stringent.

In my earliest 20's, I began to notice that when I looked at women, I did so not just with an attraction, but a sense of envy. I'm still confused to this day as to what I'm actually feeling around women. I've never yet been on a date, and I desperately would love to meet someone and fall in love and spend time with them.

I've noticed in talking to my male college friends/roomate that they tend to be rather brutish and blatantly sexual when they talk about women (seeing them naked in various positions, etc - which all seems very vulgar to me, and I apologize if the visual offends anyone else).

My fantasies have always been more of spending time with someone: romantic dinners, seeing movies, walks in the parks, etc. In the end I guess I'm just extremely lonely. My 'feminine' feelings are a cause of grief for me, since I recognized long ago that if anyone were to discover it, I would severely damage what few friendships and family ties I have.

I feel trapped between the guilt caused by the hurt my feelings could cause others if they knew, and those unstoppable 'feminine' urges which I can only partially satisfy without someone surely discovering it. I already know the attitudes from some of my closest friends from comments they've made as I've delicately 'channel surfed' to a talk show talking about TV's or TG's, and have learned that they're quite uncomfortable with it. Being in college and needing to share housing to afford it makes matters pretty hard (although I do finally have my own bedroom).

So there I am, caught in a dilemma. Writing this publicly has been very hard, but it *had* to be done. So far, only 3 people beyond myself knew of these feelings, all of them people I've emailed over the net, and I since felt that each of those was rather inappropriate. They never asked me to write, and I probably ended up making them feel uncomfortable (my apologies to all of them if I did), or at the very least adding to their already overstressed email boxes (my sincerest apologies to Melanie, I didn't realize her email address was her professional account only).

I've read so many stories, at first from TV's, and most recently from TG's, and saw familiarities instantly, especially with the later. To tell you the truth, that really scares the h*** out of me! It's caused me to ask the questions 'what am I?', 'What am I supposed to be?', and I've felt the severe need to share my story and feelings, but it needs to be someone who understands. I know the true answers can only come from me. I keep telling myself the old Popeye adage every day 'I am what I am', but that's never satisfactory.

If someone is willing to talk with me and help me sort this out, I'd be eternally grateful. Although I prefer public anonymity for now, as even making this fairly anonymous posting has me feeling uncomfortably nervous or fearful, if people are willing to post their email address, I'm comfortable enough with full disclosure on a one-on-one basis right now that I can do that. (baby steps, baby steps).

Oof, that was long, but I'll add one more thing, mainly for trivia ;o). For anyone wondering where I got the name Tiresias in the 'from' field, it is of course not my name because of my current public anonymity wishes. If you don't know where it's from and would like to know, it comes from ancient Greek mythology. Tiresias was a man who was turned into a woman for 9 years, and then turned back into a man and consulted the Greek gods on certain gender issues that only he could answer. He later became a blind prophet, and appears in many works, including the Odyssey. I mainly chose it since it seemed appropriately ambiguous for how I feel right now (especially when I added the question mark ;o).

Thank you *very* much to every who actually read this post, and my eternal thanks goes out ahead of time to all those who feel willing and able to respond.

Follow up - the next morning

From: Tiresias?

Comments Well, it's the next morning and I'm rather surprised I haven't yet regretted last nights posting, and in fact here I am again (as if I haven't written enough already). Perhaps that's because I just woke up a few minutes ago, but my original point stand about nighttime decisions, they're often not the most thoughtful nor complete. As I reread what I wrote, all of it is very true, so aside from the misspellings, grammatical and punctuation errors, and thoughts written that didn't exactly flow into each other perfectly, its a good description, but not a complete one.

As I indicated last night, I 'borrow' a lot of personality from people around me, and if I'm around someone enough, it becomes a part of my persona. For instance, my friends and roomates at college, while not anywhere near the 100% testosterone-powered personalities my post may have made them out to be, but certainly more than I can completely relate to.

While I am disappointed with some of the personality thats rubbed off on me (though some of it is from the inside too), a bit of the stubborn bravado in my personality has helped boost self-confidence levels a little, enough that I know I wouldn't have been able to make either of these posts or discuss this situation at all with anyone 5 years ago.

But some of that bravado is internal too. In geology classes, I admit to a certain sense of power one gets from smashing rocks, for instance ;o), among other things generally associated with the masculine. I guess thats why I feel so wishy-washy.

People are always changing - reinventing themselves each day... each minute, based on their experiences and relationships. I certainly can't really relate to myself the further I look back in the past, recognizing that I would have made different decisions then, but I was not *me* then, the me that's here an now. Sure there's many common thoughts and feelings I had in common with myself then, but that doesn't stop me from recognizing that I would have made different decisions then.

Of course, you can't drive a car by staring in the rear view mirror, though you do need to glance at it occasionally. I'm left with the question of how I can justify any decisions I make now when I know I'll be someone else later on (and no, I'm not talking about TG issues specifically here, just the natural flow of all humans becoming different as life goes on, as I just discussed - personality wise)?

I don't necessarily like who I am now, and in fact I often tell myself I hate what I am every day, but I am very used to it. Familiarity is also a strong winsome aspect for me, and that leads to one other correction I need to make from last nights posting. I mentioned 'feminine' urges, and although I'm sure you all know what I meant by that, in all fairness it's not an appropriate description. Being a male all my life, albeit a thoroughly confused one, I can't really say I know what it is to be feminine or female or anything.

All my cross-dressing exploits have been in the privacy of my own bedroom alone, for short periods of time with makeshift padding and clothing that really doesn't fit. The few times I've looked in the mirror what I did that I was completely disgusted - it looked worse than comical all the way into the pathetic (no time or experience with makeup, wigs, and shaving body hair would raise a few questions I'd be unwilling to answer to my friends). Needless to say, it's pretty damn ugly as you might imagine.

As it is, I avoid all mirrors now, and just try to generate a mental self image that seems soothing, with minor but limited success - it works because it *has* to, no time for anything else. *Any* of you would agree, thats a FAR cry from having any idea what it is to be female or feminine. None the less, I still feel the strong pull towards what I can only imagine it is. I can't describe what the feeling is like as I don't know any words that do it justice. The closest description I can give is insanely insatiable curiosity, but that doesn't really convey it well. It's so frustrating trying to come to terms with it that sometimes I want to scream (though I never yet have).

Re: Confused, hurt, and looking for answers

From: Tiresias?

Comments Ok, I admit the nickname is quite cumbersome, but I never intended it to be permanent, and in fact never originally thought I'd post anything past my first message. Amazing how things change, hmm? ;o) I'd expected a reaction from myself based on past experience, but it never came.

During the past few years when I finally decided to explore these feelings that I ignored so long because of a sense of shame over how it could affect the people dear to me if they knew, I began to search the web to see what I could find. Along the way, armed with the flood of new information and feeling some sort of similarity, I felt the need to tell someone who was comfortable with that situation about me to see if the similarities were two way.

I agonized during each of those times, the first attempt almost exactly 2 years ago to the month if I remember correctly, and the last two within the last few months. Each of the emails were sent late at night, and the next day I felt I had done something terrible. Besides an admission to someone else about these feelings, I also felt that I could have made them severely uncomfortable by talking about my most hidden, personal life when they didn't know me from Adam (or Eve? ;o).

The thought of being the cause of negative feelings in others is one of my worst fears. The only way to subside the panicked frenzy that resulted from these attempts was to finally force myself to sit down and tell myself point blank that the past cannot be changed, it can only be learned from so we can affect the present, and change the future.

Now you can see where my initial reactions came from posting here the first time - expecting a severe case of the morning regrets. Maybe because I learned from my past (finally ;o), or need finally overpowered fear, but the biggest reason is how everyone who has responded to my postings that I'm not sure any words can express how much it means to me and I can only say "Thank you" and wait for my eyes to clear up a bit so I can type more ;o).

Name changes though, hmm. Yes, this name has to go - it's intent is past. Most cultures believe a name is essential to one's self, and is a two way reflection of it - outward and inward. I need to decide if a female name is appropriate right now. I've never presented myself publicly as a female (not in Real Life nor online), and to do so without yet being publicly committed toward that end would make me feel as if I've insulted or betrayed the importance of the decisions you all have made. If I'm going to use it, I better deserve it.

As far as what name I would use, strangely enough that's already picked out. Before I started exploring personal identity issues, in the few computer games that allowed the option of selecting a 'gender' to play as, I often selected female. At the time I did this, I just thought "hey, this is different - lets try it", and only much later did I realize that I was being "different" a lot, nearly all the time the option was available. For the ones that additionally allowed the player to enter a name, a single one always popped into my head immediately, which was strange since I could never recall personally knowing anyone called by that name, yet it's not an uncommon female name.

It's always stuck through several years. However, I truly need to do some deep soul searching and see if it's appropriate. I can tell you though, everything has been happening so quickly since I first posted, perspectives changing so much already I almost feel dizzy, that as soon as I can finish digesting what I have, I'll may come to a decision I'll comfortable with fairly soon.

Happiness and satisfaction are all I look for from life. I haven't had many occurrences of these in the past several years, and none that I can recall since my mother's death. The roots of my depression lead back to Jr High at least, and I don't know really where they came from, but that's where apathy started to set in. That's the earliest time I can recall just lacking energy to do work outside of classes.

It wasn't bad then, but things started getting worse my Jr year in High School, and compounded again in college, then the whole situation plummeted when my mom died. The cause of the whole thing I still don't know, but it's current state is a complex compound of other events since then and of my situation in general. It got to the point where I very seriously debated suicide, I saw no future for myself at all, never being able to achieve my two goals.

I got some counseling at that time, which I still feel didn't help at all. The problems they identified I already knew, and the solutions they offered were not only so simple a child could have figured them out, but I had attempted them all before.

My earliest and clearest dream was that of traveling to space, and my parents could easily have told you that I've been talking about that ever since I could talk coherently ;o). Space is new to humans, and utterly different from here. It offers freedom from confining bounds, and for me personally it offers something that words don't simply exist to describe at all. It was a basic driving need upon which I patterned my whole live at a very young age - as far back as Kindergarten. But to explore space, and doing it for the benefit of humankind (also an important issue for me) is a difficult thing to do. Millions of people have that dream, yet only a handful are qualified to do it.

My dream died because I realized it's an impossible dream for me to achieve. Physically I'm not fit to do it. Nothing thats not correctable (better diet, more exercise) but I've never seemed to be able to stick with it.

Academics were always a strong suit for me. Science has always come pretty easy for me, and I have no problems with the subject material. The problem is getting the out of class work done, something nearly every teacher and professor has told me (my test scores are generally good, and have been primarily what allowed me to pass courses). Science was especially a draw for me as it helped me towards my dream and it came pretty easily.

An interesting side note is that while science demands very logical thought, I discovered when a friend introduced me to chess is that my natural way to solve logical problems intuitively. My first solution to a problem or path to a problem is based on what feels right, and if I have time, I check if the logic confirms it. I had moderate to good success at 'chess by intuition', but playing the game was more of a way to spend time with my friend than enjoying it for its intricacies, but it led me to believe that I must have a fairly logical intuition or something.

Did that get way off topic or what ;o). Anyway, through the slow death of my first true dream my depressive state persists. A major part of who I was died, and now remains just a shadow of its former self. Through it, I've been achieve a little progress towards my two goals of happiness and satisfaction though. Part of happiness for me is the happiness of those around me, and that often comes from me being able to prove them with it.

Satisfaction comes from achievement. One achievement is providing happiness, even for a very short time, to others. I've been able to do this for thousands of people through the planetarium at the University I attend, which is where I work. The pay is terrible, but if I provide just one good experience in the lives of the kids that go there, then I've done my job. I often receive letters from the school classes that attend - thank you notes, kids writing about how much they enjoyed it and they often bring tears to my eyes they're so precious, even just recalling the feeling now has the same effect. Even with that, though, it's not even close to being a substitute for my dream, and nothing else can be.

Seeing a future for myself seems impossible. I don't need someone to club me on the head and say "why don't you look at what you just wrote and become a teacher". I've considered that but recognized long ago that I lack an extremely important thing to do that - patience. It's one thing to offer a the same subject over and over for an hour, but I know my darker sides and I couldn't handle that full time. The best analogy I can give is the reason my mom and dad gave for why grandparents love grandkids so much and seem to handle them well: they give the kids back to the parents later.

Dissatisfaction with myself is a large aspect of my depression, I know (low self confidence/self esteem were two of the problems the counselor suggested, which I could have told him in grade school, being a primary target of teasing then). But now I have a new dynamic to reconsider the issue with - where does that dissatisfaction lie? It is caused by my inability to achieve my dream and/or goals, or does it lie deeper than that, and partially finding an answer to that is also what lead me here. Some might already have their opinions on the matter, but I need to be absolutely sure of what it is.

Well, that covered a lot of subject matter, not all of it necessarily appropriate here. However if you'll allow me to philosophize for a moment (I seem to have taken every other liberty ;o), I'll mention that I tend to have a rather holistic view. Breaking problems apart to me seems mainly semantic. Yes, it helps to identify aspects of something, but unless it's viewed and treated as part of a whole, no problems can solved. People are dynamic beings, not the sum of their parts. Of course, I would hazard a guess that few if anyone here would disagree (please correct me if I'm wrong, however - errors are the best way to learn though always the most difficult path).



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