I’d like to share my experiences growing up. Venting can be therapeutic.
I was a super shy and polite kid. Even now, I refuse to use profanity and always put others’ needs before my own. Maybe that’s my problem. This past year, I’ve been feeling like I’m an imposter. Pretending to be someone I’m not! I wish I could just be me. If I become my true self, will everyone hate and disown me? Sometimes I cry at night thinking about it.
In the early 2000s, I was a cute kid in an extremely strict family. I began having dreams about transforming into a woman. I would wake up feeling both joy and disappointment. My toxic guy friend introduced me to explicit material at a young age, and I became addicted. I believed I was gross, and no one would love an evil person such as me. I would look in the mirror and wish I were a girl. If I could only be the pretty one. It caused me to be withdrawn in school. Secretly, I often watched body-swap movies and loved them, such as Freaky Friday, Disney’s Motocrossed, or Aladdin, because of the wish-granting genie. I only need one wish.
In 2010, in middle school, I wore one of my cousin’s cheerleading outfits playing dress-up. In my excitement to show my parents, they returned my excitement with laughter and gross comments. It broke my heart. I wish I could’ve been who I really was. Then my little sister was born. I was secretly jealous of her for a long time. She could wear whatever she wanted! Today, she is extremely conservative and makes anti-LGBTQ remarks all the time. I know if I say anything, I’ll have some kind of target on my back within my family.
Throughout high school, I would secretly shave my legs and wished desperately to try makeup. It terrified me to think that someone might notice and say something. My aunt gave my mother a large collection of her old clothes, stuffed into 12 garbage bags. She was fairly wealthy and most of the clothes had never been worn. I was so happy. When alone, I would dress a lot. I always put them back properly, so no one would know. My heart stopped one time when a pink top made it into my laundry basket. My mother grabbed it and held it towards me. I’m pretty quick on my feet and said I thought it was my one of my other shirts. They have a similar shade.
They never really knew me in high school. I stayed silent most of the time, the ghost that walked the halls. I joined the drama club. I got to do my own stage makeup. Everyone around me now excepted that I had a valid reason for makeup. I ate salads and oatmeal every day, hoping to lose weight. I wanted to be cute so bad! That year, I lost 20 lbs. My family called me fat, but when I got thin, they called me anorexic while laughing.
People would randomly grab my butt or my chest fat in the hallway as I walked to class. I keep walking, saying nothing, knowing that I couldn’t report it to anyone. I just accepted that it would happen often.
Going to college allowed me to live on my own. I dressed occasionally, tanned once in a while, and tried a little makeup. I still had to be cautious as I lived with other people (a few girls and a cute gay guy.) He was my first. I imagined I was a girl with long blond hair. I often drank every weekend. Only wine. Most everyone thought I was a wine snob; I just enjoyed holding the dainty glass.
In college, I anonymously chatted online, pretending to be a cis female. Not my proudest moment. They made me feel so pretty. I stopped because I felt super bad, even though they were probably all lying, too. I loved using body modification apps to see myself as female, wishing that I looked like that.
During the summer of 2021, while my family was on vacation, I stayed behind for work. I wore a wig and dressed female the whole time. I had so much fun! Afterward, I was afraid someone would find my wig and fem clothes, so I tossed them in a dumpster. Last year, I dated a girl. I decided the dress-up week would be the last time I would truly be a girl. I would be the man that my new girlfriend needed. It worked for a little while, but then I felt as if I were living a lie, pretending to be someone I didn’t want to be. Somehow, I felt lonely even when she was around, and ended our relationship after 7 months.
I’m out of college, working every day, and coming home to do nothing. I have zero friends and my co-workers are all anti-LGBTQ. I’ve heard so many nasty comments. I feel like I can’t report them to HR. It would put a target on my back, and I’m hoping to get a promotion soon. I wish I could just move to another state where no one knows me. Get away from my hateful coworkers and controlling family (who I still live with.) I need to work hard to raise money so I can leave, start HRT, and become who I truly am. My parents control my insurance and finances, even though I’m mid-20s. I wish I had friends going through the same things to help me. Thank you so much for listening to my story!
More Articles by Chelsea Keebler
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- Am I The Real Me? My Life Story - April 19, 2022
Your experiences are very similar to many of us, most of us are hiding. It’s such a huge secret weighing us down, gradually societies are becoming more acceptable , and hopefully you live in a more accepting community. If not, I really believe you should move to somewhere where you can be accepted and live your life as you want. Don’t leave it until you are older and full of regret. If your family can’t accept you yet then that’s their problem, not yours. if they really love you they will accept you. If not then you will find new… Read more »
Thanks for your article. It did remind me a lot of my childhood. My childhood experiances made me feel worthless and i am still struggeling. I am 60 now and do have to adress my struggle properly now
I hope your finance situation gets better and you can save up to move away for good. This is tough time for everyone and I fear it will only get tougher. I think you are a very kind person and it sucks having to go through the bullying and not being appreciated by your family. But also I think you should not let people step on you. I don’t think you should accept taking abuse from your coworkers, can’t tell you what to do but in my situation I whould speak up about it to management. Even with making more… Read more »
I just wanna say I love your outfit. You look very feminine and beautiful! Thank you for being vulnerable enough to share that with us!
I can so relate to this, I too have lived almost a double life: my true female self and the male role I was expected to play. I liken my life to a soap opera (plenty of drama too!), in that I’ve played the unwanted male role for so long that my true self has almost got buried. Lost under a heap of masculinity that I neither wanted nor understood. My parents cracked down hard on any hint of feminine behaviour and I too had to dress in secret, I was way too self conscious to go out and buy… Read more »
Hi Chelsea, so sorry to read your very sad story. It really touched my heart in a big way. Like many others that have replied to you, I too have had similar experiences. I’m much older than you (64) so experienced hatred and ignorance all through the 70s, 80s, 90s etc. My first attempt at transition in my early 20s failed miserably because of, (yes you guessed it!) lack of understanding & support, bigotry and hatred. 10 years ago I decided enough was enough, I was tired of appeasing to people and pretending to others in order to just gain… Read more »
Thank you so much Julie!! I will always remember your kind words. I need to be my most authentic self. Also, Congratulations on your wedding!
It was from the heart. Looking forward to be more active on TGH myself. :))
Chelsea I was born Intersex in 1961 and was forced to be male in a Catholic family, Alter boy and all so I can relate to your story. My grandma too helped me but simply helped me dress up. She even shoved tissue into her shoes so my little foot would stay in them. I now look back at all of the wasted years/decades I allowed my family to dictate who/what I was. It was a waste of time I cannot get back. Do not make the same mistake so many of us do Hun. When do you come out… Read more »
Thank you for taking the time to comment. You’re 100% right. This road is my journey. I can’t wait to finally be me. Also your grandmother sounds like such a sweetheart! ❤️
Wow; sorry to read about your challenges. Looks like the group has already started to help you. Back in my day, that was normal; however, from your age group, it is hard to hear this is still an issue. The more things change, the more they seem to remain the same sometimes.
Thank you for your comment. I feel like I have a rough road ahead. I’m just thankful that I found an amazing group of friends to share my story with.
I am So happy we can be our real selves here. Thank you for posting your story.
Absolutely! Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I’ve enjoyed finally having the opportunity to share my story.
Hi Chelsea I am from South Africa and my story is so similar to yours. The one thing that’s always held me back was fear. Fear of friends and family finding out I was trans, fear of being hurt emotionally or physically. So I built a normal life and ended up being depressed to the point of just wishing I could make it all stop. The funny thing is that my gender dysphoria meant that I have always held back and never reached my full potential in my work or social life. I have to believe that even now it… Read more »
Thank you so much for your kindness Michelle! I absolutely relate with everything. I promise to work on myself and finding the courage I need to become the authentic me. I’m so happy that I finally found a place where I’m understood. Thanks again for your comment!