Category Archives: Truth

Identity & Comfort Zones

My lesson for today:

It’s ok to be a woman who wants to look/act like a man.

Not that I didn’t already know that, but it must have been important enough that someone would point it out to me. For anyone who has been following my blog for a while, or for those who know me on a more personal level, you know that I have been struggling for some time with identity. It’s far more than the questions of who am I? or where do I belong?, but also, am I in the right body? 

Ever since I was a tiny child, I remember imagining myself to be a boy. I liked girls, therefore logically, I’m a boy. That seemed to suffice for a young me. Now, as I get older, I’ve begun dissecting myself and my life in order to find that place where I can feel a sense of peace within.

One thing is certain and has never changed: I am attracted to women! I love women! Women do it for  me! The only attractions I’ve ever had to men were more of wow, I wish I looked like him.

Another certainty, I love masculinity. I love dressing in men’s clothing and looking like a man. I am most comfortable in my own skin when I look and feel masculine. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have feminine qualities. Sometimes I feel as if I am more comfortable with my own femininity the more masculine I look. When I look in the mirror, I am much happier with the masculine me.

I’ve always rebelled against labels, but at the same time, I’ve always wanted to “fit” somewhere and realize that in most cases, labels are important in finding others of like mind. For a long time I referred to myself as a lesbian. Other terms were harder for me to swallow. After I’d just come out, words like “dyke” or “butch” seemed offensive to me. Now, I find them to be power words.  It is the same with “FTM” or “Transman”. I turned away from expressing myself using these words because of my own fears about myself. Now I embrace them.

Yes, it is ok to be a woman who wants to look/act like a man. And yes (!), it’s alright for a transman to decide he doesn’t want to take hormones or have chest reconstruction surgery. Just the fact that I have come to terms with who I am, I am now slowly realizing that I don’t have to be anybody other than who I am. I don’t have to be like everyone else — I can be me!


Oh What Tangled Webs

This is a continuation of my post, Scene of the Crime.

So…I made my journey “home”. The place itself was as beautiful as I remember. The mountains were colored deep, dark shades of green and the air was so refreshing. It was dreary and had been raining when I arrived. So many things had changed along the way. I had wondered before I left if I would remember my way. I had no problems. It’s as if the map is imprinted permanently on my brain.

I have so many dreams about this place. They are snippets of memories from my childhood that must have some meaning in my dreams, although I have no idea what those meanings are.  They’re like ghosts, always there to haunt me. Ironically, most of those memories can no longer be connected to the physical as all of these places has changed so much. I wonder how my brain will handle the new stimuli.

My first stop was at the cemetery. There, tucked safely beneath a pretty shade tree, were my parents. I knew before I even got out of my car that it was going to be an emotional reunion. I have visited their grave sites so many times in the past and I cannot recall one time when I broke down. Yesterday I did. I didn’t try to hold back. I allowed the tears to flow and the emotion to spill. I talked to them as I let out  the hurt of their loss. I told them I loved and missed them, took a few photos and then left.

Next I made my way to the house I grew up in. I lived in this house until I was 14 years old when mama died. As a child, I remember the road and all the houses being so large, but as I traveled it again, everything seemed so small. Most prevalent in my dreams is this house. The only place I have ever truly considered to be my home. This was the last place I ever really felt safe. It doesn’t look anything like it had. It’s been remodeled so dramatically that the house, nor the property hold any resemblance of their prior incarnation. I snapped a photo as I drove by and made a mental note of where my first poodle, Kiss You, was buried in that yard and then drove away.

Often times, the house is haunted with the spirits of one or both my parents in my dreams. Being in the house, or around the house can bring forth such intense emotion in my dreams. Some times I dream that I go back to visit the house and it is so different — much like what just happened. In the dream however, I am overly emotional, irate and find myself engaging with the current owner and giving him a piece of my mind about how all the changes are totally unacceptable. Then I find myself crying deeply, yearning for that house and missing the life I had there with my parents. I wonder what Freud would say about that?!

As I mentioned in the previous post, my aunt had set this visit up, or at least she told me she had. This is my biological mother’s sister and I have the hardest time relating to her family. I called my half-sister and left her several messages to the effect that I had arrived and I was staying at a hotel nearby. I waited…and waited. Finally, I went out to find dinner and made my way to a local market where I purchased alcohol and munchies. I had a feeling the night would be long and emotionally difficult. I knew then that my sister was not going to return my call, but I couldn’t find it in myself to just be hurt and angry over it. I decided instead to drink away my misfortune alone in the hotel with the television.

I have taught myself not to express hurt or disappointment in some situations. This woman, my half-sister, doesn’t owe me anything. We share a mother and that is it. We don’t really know anything about each other. In reality, we’re strangers who are both trying to get past the pain of the past and find answers to questions we may never get. I can understand that seeing me may be painful for her, but that doesn’t make it less hurtful for me.

I didn’t sleep well partially due to being drunk and then also due to being in an unfamiliar place alone. I made it through the night in one piece and was awoken early by my half-sister and nephew (on my biological father’s side). They were excited to get to see me. It felt good to be wanted in some way. It is amazing how one side is so loving and the other is so closed. I guess that is a reflection of how they were raised, or perhaps the personalities of my parents themselves. Either way, I’ve always felt more comfortable with my biological father’s side.

My half-sister contracted HIV from a man she was engaged to marry. He had a dark secret that he didn’t tell her about and now, he is long gone with her heart and her life. I hurt for her. Since I met her, she’s been so loving and caring. This is not what’s supposed to happen to good people. She looks 30 years older than she really is. She’s frail and damaged, but, she loves me and it shows!

We sat at the little table in her cluttered dining room looking at old photographs and talking about who my father was, and even some about who my mother was. One thing is certain, my father was a whore. There are more twists and turns in the story of his life than I can keep up with. He has at least 3 children from a first marriage (a marriage he never legally ended before marrying his second wife), 5 children with his second wife, and at least 5 illegitimate children (including myself) stretching from Germany to the United States. He probably has children we will never know about. And he probably slept with more women than any of us care to know. So the one truth I walked away with was that my father was indeed a whore!

Any pieces of my puzzle are taken with a grain of salt. Nobody knows the truth but my parents, but everybody seems to have an opinion or some information they want to add. Funny that after 43 years, I am still a subject of debate amongst people I have never met!

What did I find out? Hmm, a lot of nothing or a little something. I can’t decide, but here’s the gist of it all:

My father and mother were having an affair.  I have no idea whether my mother and father had one encounter or several. Either way, I am the result of their cheating, lies and manipulations. Apparently, there were some “love” letters written between my parents to the effect that they “loved” each other and wanted to be together, etc., blah. From what I know now of my father’s lust for women, I doubt very seriously that he wanted to be with my mother other than for sex. I could be wrong, but it doesn’t fit his personality type, nor does it match with his behaviors. He was having sex with other women aside from my mother and his wife at the time (whore!).

So, these letters and all their mush, were at some point intercepted (or stolen) by my aunt — the very same aunt who set up the visit. My mother wrote to my father about being pregnant with me, and when I was born, she included one of my first baby pictures in her letter. There was no way he could deny he fathered me, I look just like him!

Ok, back to those letters. My aunt (yes, the one who set up the visit!) took those letters, for whatever reason, and gave them to my father’s wife. Imagine her shock reading through love letters her husband had been writing to my mother, AND, a baby. I cannot imagine the depth of her heartbreak, and I hurt for the pain that was caused to her. She didn’t deserve to be treated that way! If my aunt had been present, I would have surely asked her why she gave those personal letters to his wife. Was she trying to cause harm? Was she trying to do some good? What did she hope to accomplish? Either way, it makes me angry with my aunt. It comes across as so sneaky and underhanded.

My father’s wife confronted him and he had no choice but to confess. I can imagine him dancing around in his head trying to find a way to lie his way out of it, but he couldn’t, she had the letters and the photo of me. Whatever discussions they had after that are between them and I will never know, but his wife went to my mother and told her that she knew of the affair and that they would like to take me. Although my father was a whore, he is also said to have loved his children and wanted them all under the same roof. What a horribly crowded house that would have been!

I never met my mother. I never wanted to, but I can imagine her response to his wife being somewhere along the lines of “fuck you” or “go to hell”. This made my mother a woman scorned. She must have been irate. Before I was 2 months old, an opportunity presented itself, and my mother had given me away — yes, given me away!

My adopted mother babysat my sister, cousin and me.  I will probably never know the details of how I was adopted, but the papers were drawn up and an agreement was made between my biological mother and my new family that they would never have contact with me. The deal was done, and I had a new family. What hits me the hardest in all of this is that the woman who carried me for 9 months, the woman who gave birth to me, the woman who was supposed to love me unconditionally used me as a way to punish my father for not leaving his wife. I was a pawn in her revenge. I was no longer her child. I was a burden she had relieved herself of. I can never forgive her for that.

So there you have it, what I gained on my trip. Nothing more than I didn’t already know or speculate. I did find out that my mother died as a result of colon cancer, so that was a very important piece of information. I am going to make plans next week to have a colonoscopy — you can never be too careful!

I came home feeling more fucked up than when I left. The more connected I become to my biological families, the more horrified I am by what I find. It’s not all bad, but it’s not good either. It’s another piece of the puzzle that is me.

“Man Core”

During my life, I’ve met all sorts of people. When I identified as a woman, and as a lesbian, I met women who were hardcore man haters. There were always reasons why they hated men, such as male privilege, gender discrimination in the workplace, and the list goes on. Even while I identified as a woman, I was not one of those women who hated men. I had an ex-girlfriend who used to torment me about being bisexual as opposed to lesbian because of my defense of men. Little did she know that it was because I AM a man. Even I didn’t realize that at the time, but looking back, it makes more sense why I was so highly offended.

Recently, I went to the park with an ex-girlfriend to walk dogs. I asked her to take a picture of me with my dog, Kali Ma, so that I could add something new to my Twitter/Facebook accounts. She took several pictures and stopped for a moment and stared at me. I asked her what was wrong and she said, ‘you look just like a dude’.

Mind you, I wasn’t dressed any differently than I normally am. There wasn’t anything about my physical appearance that was different. I brought this up to her and she mentioned that it wasn’t so much my physical appearance but the energy I projected. She referred to me having a “man core”.

At first, I was exhilarated by the fact that she noticed this “man core”. I’d certainly never considered it as I spend more time obsessing over the reasons that keep me from passing successfully as a man. It was a short-lived moment of progress, but then I realized that she was utterly disgusted by me. That hurt. This woman who had once loved me was now plainly disturbed by the energy I projected, although I took that to also include my physical appearance. I was heartbroken in an instant — not because I felt guilty or that something was somehow “wrong” with me, but because of her instant rejection and blatant hatred of my “man core”.

My “man core”, as she referred to it, is my essence. It’s my true self. It’s the part of me I had repressed all of my life. The part of me that I have now come to accept and love. The part of me that is now shining through me. ME.

Ever since this encounter, I’ve played the scenario over and over in my head and even with my therapist. I am still the same person I’ve always been, minus pretending to be female and lesbian, which, in my defense, was a process I had to go through to get to where I am now.

I played the “straight” game for years. It’s what was expected of me. I was supposed to meet a nice man, settle down and make babies. I did meet a nice man. I married him too, but then I realized quickly what a huge mistake I’d made. It wasn’t his fault, and honestly, I don’t blame myself either because I had to go through that to make it to the next “level”, so to speak.

That next level was my imagining that since I was attracted to women and wanted to be with women that I must be a lesbian. I was so relieved in the beginning. I could be with women, which made me very happy, although my family and some friends were obviously appalled. I felt free for a bit, but then, I began to take note of my discomfort in the bedroom. Mind you, I had absolutely no problem pleasing women, but when I realized they wanted to please me sexually too, this became a bit of a struggle. I had such body hangups that I’d never realized before. I couldn’t relax and at times I preferred not to even be touched. Something about it just wasn’t what it was supposed to be, and I was naive enough to believe that it would be ok, that there would be no questions and that women, like men, would be overjoyed at being ravaged without having to return the favors. I was so wrong!

Looking back now, it’s crazy to think that it took me so long to put all the pieces together and realize that my discomfort with my body is because I am in the wrong body! It isn’t because I have a mental disorder or am a control freak in the bedroom, it just simply comes down to body dysmorphia. It amazes me how repressed, subconscious thoughts/memories can affect your life. Now that I have embraced myself as who I am, a man, I am learning new ways to work past body and self-esteem issues.

All of this brings me to thoughts on physical transition. In my continued research of the FTM community, I find what sometimes seems an unspoken “rule” that if you are a transman that you will take hormones and have your breasts removed. Although I’m not happy with my body and I will probably be working on body image issues for the rest of my life, that does not mean that I am ready to go under the knife. If I’ve learned anything in my search, it’s that I don’t have to transition physically at all. In my mind, I’m male. It’s my “man core” that is the primary source of my being, and with or without hormone therapy and/or surgery, I always have been, and always will be male.