One of my earliest memories as a child was one in which I had to wear an eyepatch over my eye because I had gotten an infection from using my mother’s makeup. Alongside that comes my fondest memory of cutting the hair off my sister’s barbie dolls and getting rewarded with a father-son Disney trip to instill some good masculinity in me. Gradually, I began putting pillows in my shirt pretending to be pregnant and would even make believe that my baby was kicking; I was barely six years old at the time. To add more to the mix, my target went from playing with my sister’s barbie dolls to trying on her ballet clothes. All in all, I wanted to be a little girl. Even more so, my daddy’s little princess.
All of this was back in the late 90’s and early 2000s when awareness for LGBT issues was on the rise but not merely as prominent and strong as it is today. As a casualty of an abundance of ignorance, I had to hide what we now know today as gender dysphoria. Whenever I showed an ounce of any feminine quality, I was immediately shut down and degraded and so the feelings were kept under a rug. However, for years I never felt like “one of the boys”, and it wasn’t a result of my sexuality but merely an additional difference added separating me from traditional male America.
Now, I do not blame my family nor the environment I grew up in for shaming my girlish expressions because their ignorance to the issue was not and still is not their fault. To blame anyone for their ignorance would be like blaming a stray dog for lacking social skills because he or she had been living in the streets for so long and absolutely not by choice. However, it was when many men around me kept telling me to “man up” that I began to loathe the word “man” and the concept of gender in society.
During my late teens, I rocked a long red mane and shaved my face to keep off my facial hair because the beard was too masculine for me. I also have a very feminine voice and had been mistaken for a woman multiple times which ironically offended me. There was a lack on my part of definition for what all the confusion I was feeling within myself, and a critical environment constantly picking at my flaws made it ten times worse.
At seventeen, being “one of the men” still tasted bitter, but being called a girl and getting emasculated by people around me also burnt my taste buds. Many people assumed that all my mannerisms and feminine qualities were a result of the fact that I like to sleep with men, but it could not be any further from the truth. And once I realized that what I was feeling had a name and thousands of faces to it, I began analyzing what gender means to me and my identity. Ultimately, analyzing was not enough to cure my ailments nor allow for me to feel understood, but at least there was a reality I began to understand.
Personally, if I ever transitioned into a woman, I would never feel like a real woman with all the experiences I dreamed of having. As a result, questioning my existence is a daily battle. Sometimes, I wonder if I had done something so horrible in my past life for me to be placed on earth as a woman imprisoned by a man’s body. By the same token, I admire everyone and anyone who has ever transitioned to fully live out their truth because that takes a certain kind of bravery that most cis people do not have. And if I can be quite honest, they have more guts than I did coming out at fifteen years old.
At the same time, I do appreciate being a man but coming to terms with the word itself and how society treats it still is a major battle for me. After constantly being told to “man-up” because of my feminine features, I did not even want to entertain the thought of appreciating my body and even more so my penis. The whole concept of being a “man” is a turnoff because of how men have hijacked the word itself to become an overcompensation for major insecurity within themselves. However, I should NEVER have to suffer from confusion and shame just because toxic masculinity still equates to manhood in our society.
All in all, there is no resolution for the present without making peace with the past. For half my life I dreamt of being my daddy’s little princess, his precious little girl, and that is one hundred percent acceptable. Now, I have settled for just being his precious little angel with a good head on my shoulders and a lot of love to give to the world. Gender dysphoria will always be a part of me, but it will never be all of me and who I am. As I’ve stated in most of the articles I’ve written thus far on Medium, my identity is not made up solely of my sexuality nor my sex and gender. I am who I am, you are who you are, and the world will keep spinning around regardless of how we choose to identify. Much love to each and every one of you reading this ❤