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.