How Do I Define Mys...
 
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How Do I Define Myself?

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(@april-king)
Trusted Member     United States of America, Washington, Camano Island
Joined: 6 years ago
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Trans·gen·der

/transˈjendər,tranzˈjendər/

denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.

Seems like that definition encompasses a whole lot of real estate, yet is somehow still lacking. Does my personal identity and gender not correspond with my birth sex? Well........sometimes. But sometimes it does. So am I transgender? I have asked myself this question numerous times over the past few years. The truth is I still don't really know the answer. But I have come to realize that “transgender” is just a label. The real truth is that my gender expression shifts as my internal identity shifts. When I see myself as more “April” then that is my truth; when I see myself as more “Bill” then that is who I am.

I realize that this duality can be difficult for friends and family to accept, but after decades of trying to be what others wanted me to be, I have found that the path to happiness and acceptance for me is to allow myself the freedom to be myself, and to express my identity as it feels right for me. At times I find the term “transgender” to be limiting, as I see the gender spectrum as a fluid thing. For many of us we cannot say unequivocally that we are male or female, because our concept of ourselves, our identity is constantly changing. Many of us occupy various points on the spectrum at various times in our lives. I find that I go back and forth between my male self and April. My identity fluctuates. Lately I feel more April than my male self, but I know that can and probably will change. My hope is that one day society can accept the fluid nature of our being and find it OK to let us be who we are at the moment.

No judgement, just acceptance.

I know we aren't there yet, not even in the Seattle area where I live, which in many ways is a wonderfully accepting and supporting place to be. Yet, there are times when I would have loved to have gone to work as April because it was how I felt inside, but except for a single day (Halloween), that just hasn't been possible. At least for now. Maybe one day I will be able to be “myself” at work at those times I identify as April, but we're not there yet.

I suppose for those who feel more confident in their identity as their “birth” gender, my shifting sense of self is very hard to comprehend, possibly even more so than understanding those who are 100% certain their physical birth gender is totally wrong. At least they are certain of who they are at all times. I have noticed that the people that seem to be most fearful of the “other” tend to have the hardest time with this duality. I think uncertainty and fluidity is very tough for a large number of people to deal with, so they shut off the thinking parts of their brains, and fear kicks in. And it's hard to be accepting of differences when you are fearful. And when the fear has no rational basis it is hard to counteract.

I know it will be a long road to acceptance, but I have learned to accept myself and that is the most important first step. It has been liberating to finally accept that I am not one or the other – but both. That my life is complex, but that is OK. I am happy with who I am – all of me.

I hope you are happy with who you are too.

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(@samantha2015)
Active Member     United States of America, Florida
Joined: 6 years ago

Thank you for posting April. I have many of the same feelings.
Love my girl time but also like dude mode for the ease of
getting dressed.

Hugs,
Samantha

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(@paixetzen)
Active Member     United States of America, Washington
Joined: 6 years ago

Thank you, April. I respect and absolutely agree that society needs to accept our fluid nature. I think that most everyone is fluid in some ways and many are just solid not allowing themselves to flow freely. Personally, I'm overdue to be free. I am dealing with that one day at a time. I can relate to the need to go back and forth though. I don't know if people who are transgender FTM or those who crossdress as men feel the same feeling to be fluid in their life. Still so many questions. Thanks so much for sharing this. Take care.. XXOO, Rue @)------

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(@trishakobichenko)
New Member     United States of America, Washington, Monroe
Joined: 6 years ago

Thank you for your post. I have felt the same way for so long, sometimes very happy to feel male, and other times happier to feel female. Lately I notice that where I find myself and my activity determines my feeling. At home I dress female almost all the time, and it feels normal. When I teach my karate class, I feel totally male. And I too are happy in both places.
trish

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(@cloe-anne-webb)
Honorable Member     United States of America, Virginia, Fairfax
Joined: 6 years ago

April, I greatly admire those who identify as fluid. The drive to identify under some label can be immense and there are cases of girls who transitioned only to figure out that was not their right answer. Unfortunately we are such a small community that it is hard not to see others and wonder if something you see going on is for you. Add to that people who are so hung up on binaries that they think everything and everyone has some static point.

I think it's jus about finding your balance. Like anything, that is subject to change too.

Cloe

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Ambassador - Editor
(@april-king)
Joined: 6 years ago

Trusted Member     United States of America, Washington, Camano Island
Posts: 46

Finding a balance has been difficult and is an ongoing process. But with a great family and good friends the journey is immeasurably easier.

🙂

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(@stevieshay)
New Member     United States of America, Tennessee, Heiskell
Joined: 5 years ago

Well put.i my self feel the same at times it's so hard when you are caught up in between two ways thinking and feeling and which way do you turn

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(@iserveu65)
Estimable Member     Canada, Ontario, Norwood
Joined: 5 years ago

Excellent

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Posts: 17
(@patriciamarie)
Active Member     United States of America, Oregon, Hillsboro
Joined: 6 years ago

You wrote: “When I see myself as more “April” then that is my truth; when I see myself as more “Bill” then that is who I am.”

Been there, done that, got the cami. After it became apparent that I couldn’t shut off my Patricia side when I got married, as I had always thought, and I knew I was going to have to deal with it, I lived with that duality for about three decades. It can be confusing. Trying to explain it to someone is very difficult because you don’t understand it yourself.

You referred to gender as a “spectrum” and you are entirely correct. Carl Jung postulated that there was something masculine about every woman and something feminine about every man. I take that to heart. I first heard about that idea when I was just discovering my gender variance. (circa 1954) Observing the Cis world, I have to agree. No one is at either extreme end, neither 100% masculine, nor 100% feminine. I suspect that many a cisgender person would disagree, especially men. It is those individuals who see feminine as a weakness and work hard to suppress any sign of it in themselves. They put on a real macho front, as much for themselves as for others.

Those who can accept that they reside, at least some small amount, from the end, find it easier to accept those of us that are far enough from the end that we can’t deny it and need to express it. I maintain that getting older is mandatory, while growing up is optional. Most of us as we get older, do grow up, that is we become more rational in our thinking and less ridged in our insistence that what’s right for us is how it should be for everyone else.

Now back to that gender fluid state that held me captive for all those years. When I worked hard to maintain the division in that duality, I can remember some really strange thoughts. I was in the shower soaping up my hair with a bar of Ivory soap in preparation to wash it and thought about a couple of guys I knew, who had discussed what kind of shampoo was best for their hair. I then thought, “At least I’m not those frou-frou types who use shampoo.” What a cis/macho thought. Just the day before, I’d spent a couple of hours in a dress, underpinned with nylon lingerie, pantyhose and walking around in heels, yet, “I wasn’t like those frou-frou guys who use shampoo.”

As time when on, found a pre-internet version of these kind of forums. It was in the form a re-mail service offered by Tri-Ess. The first real outlet where I could voice my oddities in gender expression without fear of rejection. We were hampered in those days by lack of vocabulary to adequately describe what was going on in our heads. But it served the same purpose as the internet does today.

In those discussions, I found many people just like me. Struggling to make sense of this duality you speak of and trying to maintain a relationship with a cisgender woman, to be a husband, a father and be true to ourselves. Then along came the internet. More instantaneous feedback and even freer discussions.

First there was the push to find balance in our lives. To balance the masculine and feminine aspects so that one didn’t crowd out the other… to be true to ourselves while still being the person our families needed us to be. It seems that those I found making sense of this were, more or less, in agreement about one point. That being, it wasn’t necessary to maintain the division. That is, a person didn’t have to be either or. In fact some even thought it not particularly psychologically healthy to try to maintain it. Maintaining that division bordered on MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder) and we all agreed that we weren’t crazy. So I, along with many of those I was in touch with, began to blend the two sides of our personality, the masculine with the feminine. To allow some feminine traits to show up in our masculine presentation and to not suppress all the masculine traits in our feminine presentation. Simply to be one person with masculine and feminine traits. I finally gave myself permission to not conform to what the rest of the world would expect of me and to simply be me.

As a result, I began wearing only one kind of underwear, women’s. I let my hair grow out so I could ditch my wig. All the while, I worked to be the husband my wife needed and the father my two girls needed. In a slow progression, over about twenty years, I became who I am today. Confident in myself and able to happily exist in society without caring if others see me as odd or peculiar.

Yes, there are times when it seems imperative that the world perceive me as predominantly masculine and so I butch up my manor of dress. That is, I pull out the slacks (still woman’s) and the Oxford shirt (still woman’s) and pull my hair back. But I still wear my perfume (Toujours Moi, the name means, “always me.”) and a shade of lipstick that closely matches my natural lip color as well as a true brown mascara, only a couple of shades darker than my eyelashes. Oh, and I wear a bra, with C cup inserts daily regardless of who will see me. Given that I have confidence in who I am, I’m universally accepted everywhere I go, even at church and work. (Part time school bus driver, I’m semi-retired.)

Now to the point of this whole exercise. While for years, even decades, I maintained I was “just a cross-dresser” a little over two years ago, I started on HRT. I’m not a different person. I’m still the person I always was. I’m just being honest with myself and fully embracing the inner me. I will never fully transition for a variety of reasons; the big one is family obligations, with a close second being financial. But in reality, it’s because that wouldn’t be true to me. It would be going full bore to try to fit into a mold society expects in the opposite direction that I started in.

Also, with my age, I’ll not be able to fully develop the secondary physical characteristics to pull it off anyway. OK, so over the years, I moved along that spectrum and slid more to toward the feminine. But not really, what’s really happened it I let myself be me, gradually moving the presentation so that I and my wife could accept it incrementally rather than make a sudden, life changing jump. I maintained balance.

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Ambassador - Editor
(@april-king)
Joined: 6 years ago

Trusted Member     United States of America, Washington, Camano Island
Posts: 46

Hi Patricia - I'm glad you found yourself. My journey has been different, but enlightening nonetheless. What I have found is that the freer I became to express April the more I have found that I am very comfortable with the duality. I actually prefer to be my male self most of the time, but there are times when I really need to express April. And I am so glad that I am now able to do that without fear, and with joy.

Hugs,
April

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