A life journey!
Where did it all start for me?
July 1st, 1960 in an ambulance on a rail crossing in Port Elizabeth South Africa. In a very tumultuous SA during uprises etc, but this is not about politics or South Africa. It’s about a little girl who was part of twins and sis did not make it. I was born in a family of 11 children and second last. Growing up in a very poor household with dad working for the SA Railways as a labourer. We lived in a war-type bungalow house block with a copper kettle geaser warming up our water with coal from the railways. One day this thing started dancing while waiting for my bath water to fill and only 5 years old. The shaking threw me backwards from the fright and I landed in the bath with boiling hot water, burning my backside with near skin off. Mom treated me the best she could, being poor. Why was this important to me? That day I had my first experience with girl panties because of the pain. Burned into my little brains forever, a silky yellow girly panty with frills around the edges.
Never forgotten at around seven years old, I remembered that experience and was yearning for those yellow silky panties, so when all was asleep I snuck into the washing and grab the nearest I could find and wearing it on until I had to get back to bed. Then, my nightmares started and while having two stepbrothers in our family. I was in and out of school due to ear discharge problems and failed my third grade miserably. Dad got a new free-standing house from the railways and we moved. We had to start sharing baths to save electricity. This is where my nightmares unfolded. With me in boy mode full time, I had to take a bath (no showers that time) sharing with the younger stepbrother. For a period of three years, it happened to me while taking a bath and I thought it was okay, how would I know? A small naive boy with little education going on. I phase where began bedwetting and became the norm, waking up in the middle of the night, dragging the sheets to the laundry to try and hide it, going back to sleep under a blanket on a bare mattress, and ducking from the wet spots on the mattress.
Three and a half years of too many frightful days and nights, he caused problems and was sent away to a school by the government. Me and four sisters were taken away and put in a children’s home, later to be released back to my parents under welfare supervision. Going to primary school, after seven ear operations to repair the discharge, I started to have a somewhat normal life again, but then my sisters started dating and my nightmare started over again. The boyfriends all thought it was fun to yank my little short pants down in front of everyone.
The humiliation developed into a severe fear of boys and I found solace in the company of girls, where I felt safe and protected. I started getting more opportunities to wear girly undies of all sorts. Remember one day, I got one of mom’s and it felt great, but with my short legs I pulled them up and over my shoulders, but I was in heaven lying on the rug in the bathroom with the door locked, doing what little boys do. Feeling disgusted about that part every time, I would dump the undies, clean up, and return to bed. Going to high school wasn’t any easier.
The opportunities for wearing the panties etc. multiplied by the day. I always wanted to go to the toilets, mostly hitting a jackpot while there. I took part in all long-distance running sports after school, one day on my way home was picked up by a nice gentleman who gave me a lift home, or so I thought. I was sick with flu at the time and all he could do was fondle me, when the car was moving slowly enough I jumped out and he drove away. My humiliation was severe. Again, I saw the bathroom episodes and withdrew from everything and everybody. A sense of fear was taking over my life, I left high school at the end of 1979, but my problems worsened. I could not hold onto a job, and as soon as someone with authority came too close, I ran away and left many jobs without being paid.
In my first marriage, my wife and I had three girls and a boy. I started my military training on my 21st birthday, I even stuffed up that opportunity too. Confronted by higher ranks, shouting and swearing sent me running! At last, after just over five years, I started working in the welfare office in the base camp where I began my road to rehab, or so I thought!
I managed to finish my compulsory military time after the second attempt. I took my family and moved away to another town where no one knew us. After the fourth child, my wife was sterilised and I went for a vasectomy. And then it began, I started wearing my wife’s panties with her knowing. Used the excuse of support after the vasectomy It became a regular exercise, with me wearing her undies to bed and having sexual encounters. Our lives were very screwed up at the time, perhaps just being young and stupid maybe. In 2000 I left my wife and kids because I felt threatened by her two brothers and family’s interference in our marriage.
Before long I had met up again with my first school girlfriend, who I married in 2004. My life started getting more settled and I felt that I had reached a comfort zone, being happy at last. Oh boy, was I so wrong, once again! The problems grew with arguments, court cases about my children and nearly being jailed for accusations of the rape of my daughter, later withdrawn due to lack of evidence. My name was damaged and the humiliation was extreme, so I began to look to greener fields, immigrating to New Zealand.
Arriving in New Zealand on June 3rd, 2008, I started to build a new life for my wife, her daughter, and myself. Regardless of this new life and still, at every opportunity I had, I was into the undies no matter where I got it from. I started to think, hey this is normal; I love this and this is what I want – but what is wrong with this picture? We had a strenuous marriage as things went along, finally separating in 2016. I ended up having a total collapse with depression and stress from the marriage, work, and what I thought was wrong with me. So many questions but no answers.
I decided to call it a day and end everything, the pains were just too much for me to go on. To cut a long story short, I came seconds away from ending it all, when through divine intervention, someone came to my rescue! I was in a mental clinic for a week and a half, where I heard the words gender dysphoria for the first time and was told that ‘I was transgender’. After 56 years I had a name for my “sickness”, I bought my engagement ring as I accepted my new status and my gender started changing. Saw my GP, then counselor, and then endocrinologist who embarked on my journey with me.
I thought I was keeping it behind closed curtains, but oh boy, was I wrong again! I had bought a lovely dress for the day and I’m walking out to face the world. A week before Christmas of 2019, my neighbours asked me to join them for a Christmas lunch BBQ and said to come as who I really am. Yes, they had noticed my changes without me knowing it. December 2019, and I was as nervous as hell, my new dress and undies, shoes and makeup were the best I could do. On arrival, I was comforted and found the support so overwhelming that I cried all night once back home. On Jan 7th, 2020 when we all returned to work after the holiday, I went to my employer and told him everything. I had his support, but the attitudes of fellow workers made me doubt myself and made my life miserable.
However, from that same day, I became my authentic self and couldn’t care who said or thought what, I just wanted to be happy. I came out at church, was accepted and welcomed, and eventually got baptised with my new names too. Later that year, I joined a suicide prevention support group in my community, changed my names and gender legally, and got a new passport, documents, and everything.
I now live alone with Rosie my lifesaver, and we are just happy to be ourselves. I have since started my own transgender support group in my community with the knowledge I gained from being a member of TGH and CDH. My first operation was on March 3rd for a Bilateral Orchydectomy, and now recovering from it. I have a new endocrinologist that I will meet with on April 9th and have been referred for my zero-depth Vaginoplasty operation. This in a nutshell is the True Reflections of Catherine Anne Vos.
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What an amazing story Catherine. So happy you are in a good space in your life.
Oh, Ms. Cat. What a heart-wrenching story. So glad it has a happy ending. Love you, girl!
Hi my kiwi friend,loved reading your story,there is a lot of emotion tied into it. I hope that I can have the strength to tell my story one day, I know I would get at least 1 viewer! Luv and light Maxine
Thank you for this beautiful story. As a late 50s transgender woman about to embark on this life changing affirmation of self, I find your story all the more personal and telling. Thank you.
Thank you Catherine for writing this. You are stronger than you give yourself Credit for. Good for you! Much love and pink hugs hun ❤
Oh Catherine, thank you so much for sharing! Wishing you nothing but happiness for you ahead! You’ve been through so much, but you are a very strong woman because of it. A testimony of a beautiful, persevering spirit! ❤️ Brittany
Thank you for writing this dear Catherine.
This have been difficuld times in your life and i so hope your jurnay will go well in the future. 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏