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My Whole Mess of a Life Story, For Some Reason

CW/TW: Abuse, bullying, depression, anxiety, dysphoria


So for some reason I felt like writing this all out. Idk why. Maybe to put it all together and process it.

 

Spoiler

It started, I guess, when some doctor looked at my genitals and decided I was male. Ugh. I don’t remember much about my early childhood beyond being repulsed by photos of it. I somehow taught myself to read at 2. Things were ok for a while; I didn’t have nearly enough understanding of myself to realise that something was wrong. But even then, the sight of certain body parts made me feel sick; that’s the earliest dysphoria I can remember, and still the worst now.

Then later, puberty, and being sent to a religious all-boys private school hit me. I remember being told I wasn’t eating enough. I think I did that subconsciously because I didn’t like what was happening to my body. I nearly cracked at 13 by fervently wanting to be a lesbian then dove back into denial. My teenage years were characterised by hating my body without knowing why, fantasising about being a girl and so thinking I had a weird fetish, and never really understanding or truly connecting with my classmates.

Oh. And emotional abuse, let’s not forget that. At some point my parents decided that anything I did on my laptop without telling them was doing something wrong and that I had no right to privacy and threatened me with spyware and often forced me to show them every single window and tab I had open. I still feel uncomfortable sitting with my back to anything but a wall while using a computer to this day.

They also decided I had an anger problem. My dad was very into tone policing and thought anything not said perfectly calmly wasn’t worth listening to. At one point I had to witness him begging my brother to come into work with him while we were on school holidays because “I don’t trust [deadname] around you, ‘he’s’ not safe“. I was 14; being bullied constantly at school by most of my year group, a hormonal mess, going through the wrong puberty, and my brother loved pushing all my buttons, just for fun. I would never have harmed my brother, but my dad decided that because I got visibly angry/upset when he teased me and deliberately pissed me off, I was “unsafe”.

Speaking of that bullying? It was most of my year group, for four years straight, and no one ever did anything about it, least of all my parents. I was just told “suck it up“ and “nicknames don’t hurt you” and “be the bigger person”

And in the midst of all this, I was trying to survive a fancy private school with undiagnosed ADHD on top of everything else.

And the haircuts. I’ve had exactly two haircuts, ever, that I actually consented to. And they were both this year. All the countless haircuts before I was coerced into, either by my parents or my school. Until I was 14 or so it was just short back and sides every couple of months. I managed to convince them to let me keep it a little longer, but it would always be cut back if it started looking “untidy” or “scruffy” or “touching the shirt collar”. And when I was…8? 9? there was lice going around school, and I of course got it. My parents couldn’t be bothered to put in the effort to properly clean it, so a near-buzz cut was promptly forced on me. I felt so violated and dysphoric I hid it under hats and hoods for weeks until it had grown out somewhat. Nonconsensual haircuts or my hair being touched without my explicit consent is now a massive trauma trigger.

Moving on, I graduate from that school, go to university, meet a far more diverse group of people. Partway through that year I find out that asexuality exists and realise I’m ace, and feel just a little more whole. I meet another trans girl at an ace meetup, and finally I start to break through the massive wall of self-denial. A couple weeks after that on a slow afternoon at work, I’m left alone with my thoughts and start questioning. Not long after, I came out, shakily, awkwardly, to a friend, which went very well. I came out to a few more friends and they were also all very supportive. I came out to my parents and brother on Wear it Purple Day, after talking to a friend and arranging to stay with them if things went badly wrong.

Initially, things seemed to go fairly well, but then my brother ignored it, my dad dove deep into gatekeeping and medicalising, and my mum acted like I’d died. For her? It was all about the pain I was putting her through. That semester, I spent more time researching transition stuff, talking on a trans discord server, and reading the odd trans webcomic than doing my coursework. As the end of the semester approached, things did not improve. My mother sneered whenever I wore anything vaguely feminine, and I didn’t feel safe to present how I wanted to around them. They constantly “forgot” my pronouns, and I didn’t even bother to tell them my new name until much later. I got to present as myself, for the first time, at a party run by the university’s queer group, and for a few short hours I felt a brief taste of euphoria and validation. But then of course I had to go back to my personal hell where I was never respected or able to feel safe. I managed to keep from breaking until I crawled into bed wearing my only bra and a too-large pyjama shirt.

After that semester ended, I secretly arranged to stay with some friends, then packed up and left one afternoon when my parents were out of the house. My brother tried to stop me, tried to downplay the way they treated me, but I didn’t let him keep me there. Once I was out of that place, I was able to get on HRT, which probably saved my life. For a few weeks, I felt safe and cared for, but I couldn’t stay there forever. I soon moved into a share house; I’d gotten bad vibes from it, but I was desperate and had nowhere to go. They were far from transphobic, but they were just somewhat toxic overall and every important decision was talked about first without me, then I would be confronted two on one. After a few months, it was just too much and I again felt unsafe. I got out of there just before the covid lockdowns started, and was able to stay with another nonbinary friend who was staying with a family member of theirs. I was ok there for a while, but as soon as the lockdowns began to lift, the family member kicked me out with two weeks’ notice to find somewhere and no real reason why. I frantically tried to find somewhere, but there wasn’t enough time and I ended up couch-surfing for a week or so before, out of nowhere, a rental application I was sure would be rejected was accepted. It was an amazing stroke of luck and one I had never expected; I was sure I’d be homeless for a few more weeks at the very least.

Over this year, I was also able to explore nonbinary identities, and figure out that I’m feminine-aligned nonbinary rather than binary female, but to most of the world I’m only out as a trans girl for (some) safety. This year has also just been a mess of course, it being 2020. Started off with half the country on fire and my dad trying to convince me I’m potentially autistic and therefore not trans. He’s lost my trust forever for that and other incidents. I’ve been back at work recently as things open up again and every day I have a shift I’m just so tired. So fatigued. I’m not sleeping enough most nights and then I just go to work and burn all my energy at once. I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety all year, but that’s partly due to having a far greater emotional range and awareness of my mental health and realising just how awful my life has been until this year. I never had a childhood, not really, I was too busy repressing everything I am. Even on my worst days now I still feel better than I ever did pre-transition, even when the surgery I need feels so far away and inaccessible, even when I’m drowning in depression or hopelessness. Where I’m living now is the first place I’ve felt truly safe and secure in nearly a year. I can be me now. I can live. But after everything that’s happened to me, I feel like I can never fully heal.

 

I don’t know why I wrote this. I don’t know what the point of this was. I don’t know why I shared it here; I’ve never written everything out in full or shared it all with anyone before.

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Re: My Whole Mess of a Life Story, For Some Reason

Hey @Remi, it's amazing you were able to share all of this with us after everything you've been through. I hope it was helpful writing it out to process what happened? I know you say you don't know what the point is, having written it, but I think there will be people who will read this and not feel as alone?

I'm happy you're in a truly safe place where you can be yourself, by the sounds of it, that took a lot of fighting and strength. It's understandable that you feel like you can't heal, it sounds like such a traumatic environment to grow up in Smiley Sad I think you're right in a way, we can't really get rid of the past, but I think we might be able to heal and 'grow'. Sorry that sounded a tad cheesy Smiley Tongue It would be really tough at the moment now that you are no longer repressing what happened and are left to grieve not having a childhood Smiley Sad What happened doesn't define you and from what I read it sounds like you've got so much strength and courage to continue being you and try and heal?

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Re: My Whole Mess of a Life Story, For Some Reason

Hey @Remi,

I really hope that writing down your story has been a cathartic process for you, and I feel incredibly honoured to have been able to read your story <3 it sounds like you have been through an incredible amount of things, and overcome them as strong, resilient, and mature person. I am so so glad that you've finally been able to reach a place where you feel safe and comfortable as a trans person, and that you can live without the trauma of having to repress yourself <3 There are a bunch of users on the forum who have shared similar stories about being trans, and making a place for themselves in the world,and I am sure they will really resonate being able to read yours 


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Re: My Whole Mess of a Life Story, For Some Reason

Hi @Remi 

 

Urgh, people do seem to have a weird obsession with genitals. 

 

I know what you mean about going through the wrong puberty.. 

It must've been even harder in such a male gendered school.

 

Combined with bullying and people not accommodating the ADHD, that sounds like it was awful..

 

Gatekeeping is horrible...

I'm autistic and a lot of people do assume that means I can't be trans, which makes exactly no sense.

It doesn't matter if you're autistic (or if other people think you are). Autistic people have identities as well.

 

I'm so glad you were able to get on HRT. You deserve to be who you are and live in a body that's comfortable for you.

 

Yep, this year's been a bad one..

And definitely not a fun time to be dealing with mental health issues.

 

I hope writing it has helped you. If you need to write any more, we're here.

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Re: My Whole Mess of a Life Story, For Some Reason

Hi @Remi,

 

I'm so glad you've found a space where you feel safe and secure, especially after everything you've had to endure. And I'm so happy you've found a place where you're comfortable expressing yourself authentically, and have found people who support you for being you. Thank you for entrusting us with this story, we're here for you if you need to talk Smiley Happy

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Re: My Whole Mess of a Life Story, For Some Reason

Hi there @Remi, thank you for sharing your story. It is not a mess- it is just your experience. We hope posting it here gives you a sense of relief, and that it may allow you to see you aren't alone, you are valid, and that in fact, your identity is to be celebrated and freely explored.

 

If you'd like help navigating your family or anything else we can direct you towards some great resources for and by queer folk, let us know. Other than that, cheers for being you!