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I Will Never Know; I May Never Know

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(@charlenev)
Estimable Member     United States of America, Illinois, near Chicago
Joined: 3 years ago
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I have declared and written previously that despite outward evidence to the contrary, being AMAB, I am and have embraced my reality as a woman at my core. Therefore, I AM a woman, correct? That being understood and settled, I should transition to living my womanhood full-time or at least transition to living en femme as part of my normal life. Correct?

Yes. Well . . . yes, but maybe. Add on the conflict simmers, sometimes boils, but always steeps. In a large part, my conflict grows out of my deep unwillingness to jump on the current modern-day transgender bandwagon lock, stock, and barrel. My perceived gender does not match my biological gender. However, does that mean unequivocally I am the gender of my desires? I am gender-broken to be sure, but does that brokenness mean I am automatically the gender opposite of my biological gender? I think not. I deeply desire to be wealthier than I am, but that doesn't mean I am and therefore am able to spend as a rich man. Certainly not.

I have made many important decisions in my life by what I "knew" in my heart. I am sure if there were any other issues about which I felt this strongly, I would have acted, carrying out my heart's leading if such action didn't violate my faith. Yet, recently, I sat in a waiting room with other ladies and some men. By all appearance I sat there as a male and as such forbidden to enter into the quiet conversations of the women around me with whom my heart longed to relate as just another woman in the sisterhood of everyday women. Ah yes, the silent pain of gender brokenness.

In my quietness and isolation, self-imposed because I really have no interest in engaging the other men around me in conversation, I realized that because I have lived with my gender conflict all of my life, I will never know what it is like to be a normal heterosexual male.

Being around what I assume are normal males of my age demographic (late 60s) I would think most of them are genuinely interested and passionate about the interests in which they engage in conversation. Myself, I was interested enough only for the sake of fitting into those conversations rather than face being an outcast amongst the "men."

Girls/ women. I loathed the way men thought and talked about women. I am not sure I ever saw a woman as a "normal male." I noticed fashion, shoes, jewelry, hair, perfume, deportment, pregnancy (with pain and envy) and knew as such my style and deportment if I could but be a female. Without a doubt, I will never know what it is to think or feel like a normal defined male, because for my life I have never been that person. I am trans, facing a competing identity that despite all the biological trappings is who I would rather be because it is who I am.

The other end of that pendulum is that I may never know womanhood as I long to know it. Without question, I can and do acknowledge that I am, as per the current label of the day, transgender. Not a female to be sure, and though trans not even automatically thereby a woman, but after years of "soul searching" my deep sense of self is that I AM A WOMAN. And I want to be related to as such.

However, without a life-changing decision to alter the way I present my outward self, I will never know if living as a woman is as good as I incessantly imagine it to be. And if it turns out to be less than I imagined, well that's OK, too because at least at that point I would be experiencing the disappointment as my authentic self, free from the sense that I am living life at "second best" level.

Although I may want to be pretty, I may never know that joy. I may want to be the lady next door, but I may never know that accomplishment. I may want to participate in a lady's tea or brunch or retreat as simply another lady in that social circle, but I may never have that opportunity. I may want to be an attractive enough woman to be desired and pursued by a man, but I may never experience that privilege.

Notice that I have listed the "good things" that we non-transitioned trans women imagine about womanhood. Would I be so yearning for womanhood if I truly understood and felt the discomfort of my monthly cycle, the vulnerability of having a weaker physical presence, or of being minimized in a business meeting simply because I am a woman?

I have had a trans woman friend who had bottom surgery tell me once that her first vaginal yeast infection was bearable because she saw it as an "ironic affirmation of her womanhood; a "rite of passage,"' if you will." Though it was a terribly annoying and painful experience it gave her a certain contentment that she experienced her womanhood at this level. However, her second yeast infection was simply painful and annoying, certainly not part of her pre-transition dreams.

Do I ever fantasize about these very real negatives? No, not to the degree that I do about the "positives." But I have considered them honestly as best I can with my trans mind and have concluded that because such comes with womanhood then yes, I will accept them, hopefully gratefully, because I understand they are part of the experience of womanhood that I chose to explore and be part of when I decide to transition. (I can't say considered with my male mind because it is not exclusively male as I already addressed)

However, without a committed decision to transition, all will continue to be dreams and fantasies. At this point, as a non-transitioning trans woman, I understand that I will never know what it is to think purely as a male and I may never know what it is like being a woman, except if I decide to stop settling for "I may never know" and instead decide "I am going to know."

Ah, such conflict of heart and mind. Yet, I am contented to be trans though it is such a conundrum. I cannot perceive the male I would be if I wasn't trans. I honestly don't know who I would be. But ironically, I have a clear vision of who I am as Charlene and who I could and would be upon transitioning. And it is that vision of me that offers hope and excitement about my future.

Kindly,

Charlene Victoria

 

 

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Member
(@jillleanne)
Joined: 1 year ago

Estimable Member     Canada, Ontario, Renfrew
Posts: 190

@charlenev well said Charlene. My thinkings are on the same wavelength really. Many times I have wondered what it would have been like to be just a male in a male world, or female in a female world. What would I have attempted to accomplish? No way of knowing. I was a top athelete in the male world growing up but no matter what I excelled at, never took the leap to further myself in that direction. Something always held me back. Something from another gender. Still to this day, I wonder,  no yearn,   to know, feel, what it’s like to be one gender only for a day if nothing else. Sadly it will never happen. Years ago after coming out I accepted who I am so in all fairness, I look at being dual gender as a gift that few will get to experience. It’s not the way I would have chosen if given a choice, but it’s the way it is and I’ve come to love me completely

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Ambassador
(@flatlander48)
Noble Member     United States of America, California, Cathedral City
Joined: 4 years ago

Charlene:

You touched on many facets regarding being transgender, but I will focus on the transition part.

As we well know, transition isn’t just one thing. There are a number of bits and pieces and it requires a fair amount of conscious thought. In many cases, people find working with a therapist to be very helpful.

If there are thoughts about possibly transitioning, how will it impact your personal life, your family life and your work life? Given ones circumstances, some things may not be part of the question. For example, if you are retired, obviously there are no work life consequences. Further, while various aspects of ones life may impact the decision to transition, they may be prioritized differently, one person to the next. The main point here is that there is no cookbook formula for deciding if one should transition of not. It is a very personal thing.

Transitioning is mainly thought of as a way to help combat the mismatch between ones physical and psychological selves. You may also hear the term not being congruent. However, “being born in the wrong body” is not the only way being transgender comes to us. What I came to realize is that I am an amalgam of male and female genders regarding thoughts, perspectives, likes/dislikes, etc. Living specifically as one gender would require me to sacrifice the things that I do that are associated with the other gender. I do not want to sacrifice those parts of me.

Anyway, there are more than one road to town and each of us has to figure out which one is appropriate.

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Member
(@charlenev)
Joined: 3 years ago

Estimable Member     United States of America, Illinois, near Chicago
Posts: 106

Hi DeeAnn. I like that, " there is more than one road to town and each of us has to figure out which one is appropriate." Well stated.
And now that I understand that "Womanhood" is the place I would love to call home; well can I really afford to move there?
The jury is still out.
Kindly,
Charlene

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Member
(@margprodue)
Joined: 2 years ago

Estimable Member     United States of America, Wisconsin, Madison
Posts: 101

@flatlander48  Very well put DeeAnn.   Marg

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Posts: 1761
Ambassador
(@flatlander48)
Noble Member     United States of America, California, Cathedral City
Joined: 4 years ago

All actions have consequences. It is the nature of the beast.

There is a Push and a Pull. A Push is what drives us to leave where we are because it no longer suits us. A Pull is something that attracts us and is a place where we want to be. As transgender people, I think we experience both. We reach a point where things can no longer be as they were. We see an image of a place where we want to be and begin that journey to that place. At any moment in time, all we can do is the best that we can.

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(@kimberlymichals)
Eminent Member     United States of America, California, Oceanside
Joined: 3 years ago

I just read your latest article. Very good, very thought provoking. Gender is a colorful spectrum, whose colors diverge when seen through various lenses. You have your way of looking at it, I have mine and everyone else has theirs. Life, the world, the universe is not black and white. I'm glad to know you haven't locked into the old fashioned binary vision of what gender is...because it's not that...not even in the animal kingdom. Great job, keep these thoughts flowing

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Member
(@charlenev)
Joined: 3 years ago

Estimable Member     United States of America, Illinois, near Chicago
Posts: 106

Greeting Morgana. Thank you for your reply. Truly I do appreciate your taking the time to do so.
While I have wrestled with my personal gender incongruity and desires for my entire life, I don't wrestle with the binary view of gender. In my mind this is settled, not by my feelings, desires, my personal awareness of a definite incongruity, or the current view of our culture, but by the Biblical account of man's beginning.
For me life would be so much easier and less chaotic if I could let go of my deep commitment to the Scriptures, but alas that soul depth faith makes me as much who I am as does my trans nature. The same chaos could be a non-issue if somehow I could let go of being trans. Yet as we are keenly aware "letting go of being trans" is not possible. Ironically I don't want to not be trans. I honestly want to be a woman. Ah, the continual conflict.
Can one be both a committed Christian, I mean committed to the infallibility of the Scriptures, as well as trans? Without doubt, yes. I am thus.
My challenge is not discerning whether or not gender is binary (for me this is settled). My challenge is how to manage my trans identity including expressing my feminine self, while being true to my faith and understanding and loving of others that don't share or understand my views or unique struggle.
It is a large order that I have yet to figure out to my complete satisfaction.

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Posts: 34
Member
(@amylove2dress)
Trusted Member     Canada, Ontario, Brantford
Joined: 9 months ago

This I can relate to to some extent, as right now I feel I'm sliding every so surely to being trans. Though becoming female full time is will cost me in many ways, and I'm not ready to pay that price!
I'm retired so work isn't an issue, not it's more like one of family and social. Certainly areas and individuals I feel will not be too accepting based on comments they have made.

So your solution is a valid one, as much as any other one is. At one I feel I would cast off my male clothes then dress and become Amy, but I came to the realization that Amy is always with me, and always has been. However there is nothing better than dressing up and doing my best to be that beautiful butterfly Amy.

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Member
(@charlenev)
Joined: 3 years ago

Estimable Member     United States of America, Illinois, near Chicago
Posts: 106

Hi Amy, thank you for your thoughts. Someone said, "we are free to choose; we are not free of the consequences of those choices however.
Transition will cost, but unlike a sleek sports car or fancy home of which we know the price before we decide to buy, all we know about transition is there is a price. Whatever it is, we don't know before hand, so there is no way of knowing if there is true value for the price we will be required to pay.
choose wisely, choose carefully, choose thoughtfully.

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Member
(@jillleanne)
Joined: 1 year ago

Estimable Member     Canada, Ontario, Renfrew
Posts: 190

. The cost of transition is personal. When I came out as trans, the cost was irrelevant. It was never a question of cost. What would be the cost to me mentally had I not came out? I no longer had the ability or desire to stay hidden. Transition is no different. If one is trying to measure the cost of transition from a moral and social standpoint, one is not ready to transition. There needs to be a true understanding internally that says, I can no longer go on through life pretending to be someone else. Call it whatever you like, but only you know what’s going on inside and only you have the right to change things so you can keep your sanity. If you ever reach the point to transition, whether it be ffs, srs, breast augmentation, etc., you will only be focused on you, not society, family, friends, opinions, acceptance, work, etc. It will be all about your mental and physical health. And so it should be.

  I often get asked if I would transition given the opportunity. I reply by saying, sweetheart, I am 69. I have had the means and opportunity to transition fully whenever I choose long ago. As of today, I choose to remain who I am. I love and accept me the way I am. Yes I have bad days like everyone else but overall, I believe transitioning will not make me happier inside. I came out long ago because I had to, not because I wanted to. If I were to transition fully, it would be because I had to, not because I wanted to. Everyone has their story. This is mine.

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Member
(@charlenev)
Joined: 3 years ago

Estimable Member     United States of America, Illinois, near Chicago
Posts: 106

@jillleanne Thank you Jill. Those are some excellent thoughts.  Years ago I read that one is ready to transition when you finally get to the place in life where it is, "transition or die." 

I have never been there. I am not there now. 

Kindly,

Charlene

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Posts: 69
(@kdahlenbergen)
Trusted Member     United States of America, Minnesota, Park Rapids
Joined: 4 years ago

I have the same sense of being unsure. I only have life experience as myself and don’t know how that compares with the life of a woman or a man. I suspect how I experience life is a bit of both. I give out word expression to the feminine aspects of my self through clothing, and I suppose through some of the activities of day to day life. Perhaps even through how I view and respond to aspects of life.

At the same time I sometimes am obliged to emphasize what might be maleness in dress, activities and to a lesser extent, how I view and respond to circumstances.

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Member
(@charlenev)
Joined: 3 years ago

Estimable Member     United States of America, Illinois, near Chicago
Posts: 106

Hi Kim, thank you for your reply. I sooo understand. We have a heart for the feminine as we understand that we are women; yet reside in a body that establishes tthe fact that, "he's a man."
Unlike the gender congruent person both are our realities.
For we who have chosen (at least at this time NOT to transition) womanhood is a dream not a goal. But unlike so many who have dreams and seek to pursue them, ours is not simply a dream born out of an idea, ours is a dream grounded in a deep sense of identity. As life goes on and we choose to hide our femme identity we become entangled in a male web very difficult; yea sometimes seemingly impossible, to untangle.
So you and I and I expect countless others manage. Our management is a choice, but that choice seems to be always flavored by the fact that we are trans.
Many blessings as you do your best in making the choices we all must make in light of our feminine essence.
Kindly,
Charlene

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(@kdahlenbergen)
Joined: 4 years ago

Trusted Member     United States of America, Minnesota, Park Rapids
Posts: 69

Thanks, Charlene! Its funny. I just read an article about free will - or the possibility that free will is an illusion. I know I didn’t choose to be trans…it was seemingly preordained. However, I do tend to agree with David Hume’s definition of freedom as being able to choose, no matter how limited the options may be. I the greater cosmic sense, who I am and the choices I make are of little or no consequence, but nonetheless, I can choose to hide, disguise or fully embrace myself as a woman, regardless of how others may see me.

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Posts: 97
(@middleground)
Estimable Member     United States of America, Ohio, Ashland
Joined: 3 years ago

Charlene Victoria,
I read your piece with interest, and I have a couple of comments.
I see you sort of think you know what you are not as a man, but do you truly know what "a man" really feels? We are all different and we have all, being trans, know there is probably no one who is a true stereotypical male, just as no woman truly fits the mold of the stereotypical woman. From what you said about your age, I suspect we are of similar age. Despite my knowing I will never get to experience everything a typical cis woman has and does experience, I decided I will experience as much as I am capable of with the years I have left in my life. I decided not to shy away from attempting to comport the rest of my life as a female. You will never know unless you try. Will I experience disappointment? Probably, but I can also relish the joy of the wonderful experiences I will have and have been having as a woman.

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Member
(@charlenev)
Joined: 3 years ago

Estimable Member     United States of America, Illinois, near Chicago
Posts: 106

Hi JAKe, thank you for taking time to read and reply. I will answer your question, "do I truly know what a man feels," with, I doubt it. I suspect very few men long deeply to be female nor consider, "Oh my, I love that outfit!"
I envy your ability to decide not to shy away from living your remaining life as a female. I would like to get to that point.
I joined TGH at its inception. Purged, deleting my membership for a time. Could not stay away. Came back. Lurked or was luke warm.
Suddenly I am much more active. I am not sure but I suspect that I too have decided (at least subconsciously) that now is the time to start living en femme much more openly and frequently. I sense that my frequenting here is wearing down the barriers that hold back a fuller expression of the authentic woman I am.
Every interaction here seems to be working toward that end. Thank you for yours. There is yet much to work out, but I believe that is the set of my sails.
Kindly,
Charlene.

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Member
(@middleground)
Joined: 3 years ago

Estimable Member     United States of America, Ohio, Ashland
Posts: 97

Charlene,
I hope you understand that in no way am I urging you forward. I simply wished to comment on what you wrote and give some insight as to my actions and progression. Please do not venture hastily, but give thought to all you do. I've tried to do that for myself. You need to be able to accept each step you take. If you can't, then please pause, ponder more, and don't step forward until you know you can accept the consequences.
I say this with love and concern.

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Member
(@charlenev)
Joined: 3 years ago

Estimable Member     United States of America, Illinois, near Chicago
Posts: 106

JAKe, please know that your counsel is very much appreciated. This is one of the reason I am here on TGH; to learn from the hearts and experience of others.
Please know that I didn't sende you were pressuring or urging me in any direction. I truly am heartened by our exchanges.
Thank you for caring enough to do so.
Hugs,
Charlene

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Member
(@middleground)
Joined: 3 years ago

Estimable Member     United States of America, Ohio, Ashland
Posts: 97

🙂

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Member
(@aprilveshowers)
Active Member     Canada, Alberta, Edmonton
Joined: 8 months ago

Hello Charlene!

The title of your article grabbed my attention and I read through it without losing focus. Your journey informs me about mine.

I am AMAB and I truly define myself as a transgender person.

A long time ago, I was a "closet cross-dresser" denying my femme side, and filled with guilt and shame whenever I expressed that true part of me. I realised that my denial and self-imposed guilt and shame were not mentally healthy for me, so it was a revelation when I realised that I had the freedom to ask myself the question, "Do I accept myself and love myself - both my masculine side and my feminine side?" I answered "Yes! ", and almost immediately the guilt and shame had away, and never to return.

I have lived my life most times as outwardly masculine, and the balance as a woman, but almost always as a woman inwardly - what I think about, how I think, how I react. My mind is almost always thinking about being a woman and what it would be like to live full time as a woman. Despite how "life and living can get in the way", I strive to be and become a woman whenever I can.

So now, I come to a point on my journey that you have expressed so well. I see another decision point in my life that will determine whether “I may never know” or “I am going to know.”

Sincerely,
April!

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Member
(@charlenev)
Joined: 3 years ago

Estimable Member     United States of America, Illinois, near Chicago
Posts: 106

Hi April, thank you for your reply. You too have made a number of poignant points that resonate with me.
1) “Do I accept myself and love myself – both my masculine side and my feminine side?” I answered “Yes! “, and almost immediately the guilt and shame had away, and never to return.
2) I have . . . masculine . . . but almost always as a woman inwardly – what I think about, how I think, how I react. My mind is almost always thinking about being a woman and what it would be like to live full time as a woman. (my life long experience also)
3) your next decision, do you live never knowing or is it time to decide to know.
Stay in touch dear sister. I al interested in what you decide.
Kindly,
Charlene

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Member
(@aprilveshowers)
Joined: 8 months ago

Active Member     Canada, Alberta, Edmonton
Posts: 3

Hi Charlene! The part two months have been busy with life, but I am taking some more steps. I am scheduled for rhinoplasty - make my nose more femme. I am taking with a counsellor with the aim to decide if I ask my wife if she is OK with me staying in FHT. And this week we are on vacation and I am dressing full time en femme!

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