[CN: CSA, r*pe, abuse, genital discussion, torture, sui*, self-harm]
Oh my goodness, my lovelies. Life has been a rollercoaster of emotions over the last several months, and even moreso recently. It’s drained me of penning anything longer than a status here or there. However, since there’s been so much discussion about the ‘girlhood’ or ‘womanness’ of trans women lately. Since I’ve been digging through memories from my childhood – the images, divorce papers, tapes, and more – for a mémoire and teachable moment using my journey away from white supremacist beliefs, perhaps it’s also best I vent my thoughts on the discovery of self-love in a condensed form.
From the very beginning, my existence was wracked by trauma. While I was still a fetus, my father decided it’d be best to bend my mother’s finger backwards until it snapped during a fight. He had always been an unstable man, and he never really desired a child, and my mother angered him by having the audacity to conceive. He began to warm up to the idea when he thought there could be potential that he’d get a little “girl,” but despite confusing and erroneous sonograms, he did not get his disgusting wish. His little girl was born sealed.
He was the type of man that believed the world was in The End of Days, but he wasn’t a church-goer. He and my mom looked like the typical normal white Christian family on the outside. After all, they allowed a family to live with us when they were down on their luck, and they even gave out sack “lunches” to the homeless out of the back of our van. Surely the environment was as picturesque as the rows of houses with neatly manicured lawns?
That illusion was shattered beyond our walls after I was born. One of my earliest memories was from my “first” Easter at three years old. A family in the neighborhood wanted to host an egg hunt event for all the kids in the neighborhood, and we went over to their house where everything was set up. As soon as it began, it was obvious that the family’s children were overly familiar with the placement of the eggs, and it was all over in a flash. Most of the kids had 0-2 eggs, and the neighbor’s children had a kaleidoscope of color overflowing their baskets. I realized all too soon what had happened after I was searching for an egg, and one of the kids shooed me out of the way to get it himself. I broke down crying, because what else was I going to do? My father became enraged – shook me until I told him what had happened, and then started in on the father of the children. Despite the peacocking and extreme levels of toxic masculinity, my father backed down and we went home. Interactions like that put me and my mother in danger, because the aggression would then be taken out on us instead. He didn’t know how to calm down, and thus we were both sentenced to solitary confinement with Mr. Hyde and his indoctrination.
As I said, my family didn’t go to church. My father was suspicious of pastors and “Christians,” as he believed them to mostly be wolves in sheeps clothing. Christians in Name Only. Instead, he was the preacher. He was the prophet of the house. He was the All Knowing, and we had to ensure that we could keep up with him or be punished. If my mother didn’t seem to be performing her “wifely duties” as “commanded in the Bible,” then he would call her a lesbian, spit on her, and more. It was a war zone from the earliest of days, and the rounds were live. I scarcely recall how many times he read the Good Book to me, both with and without the use of external sources on symbology and historical context (globalist conspiracy books, mostly). Yet, I do remember much of it. I remember laying beside him as he discussed ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’ and the ‘holy union’ between these two. He used the Bible to explain gender roles and the proper “place” of “men” and “women.” He elaborated with disgust on how “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination unto the Lord our God.” It was a lot to mull over. I know I vaguely understood it, and I still had questions, but even at that age I had long since learned that questions were not exactly what my father wished for. He desired unquestioning obedience. At the time, I didn’t understand why, but colored by the context of knowing he only wanted a girl if any child at all, I now take this to have been his way of grooming me.
I was put into a Christian daycare at about that time, and I had such trouble acclimating to the new environment given the unstable background I came from. I did make friends, but I mostly preferred to play alone with my Hot Wheels cars licked with my mother’s red nail polish for identification. However, the staff had a problem with it – I refused to play in the area for “boys.” I don’t know why I did it, exactly. I just knew that I preferred the company of girls to boys, mainly because of the personality and interest differences. The bullying I experienced from other people gendered & forced to present as “male” only intensified. I didn’t really understand it. That was until one of my friends, another girl in my class, told me that I didn’t act like a boy. I laughed about it and said that I preferred it that way, and she told me that I wasn’t allowed to do that unless I wore dresses and had what she had. That was the first time I became aware that there were actually differences beyond what people labelled one another as and dressed as. I was distraught, and when I would draw myself when asked at school I would draw clothes far too big for a body that was androgynous and uncomfortable.
I was completely unwilling to draw myself naturally as I would at home when I was without supervision, and not long after I made a weak protest to my parents during uniform shopping – “I want to wear what the girls wear.” Only my father heard it, I think, and as his gaze fell upon me I felt my heart freeze. I knew I’d be in trouble that night, and I likely was – but I can’t remember it anymore. When I knew that I couldn’t wear such clothing in public, because I was to be obedient to the All Knowing One (little did I know society at large was no different), I took to dressing in my mother’s things. Literally. In. The. Closet. I felt like I was doing something wrong, because I had been taught all my life not to express myself that way. I’d pretend to put on makeup beside my mother, and despite her cooing about how handsome I was, I felt empty and hurt. Betrayed. Just as I dressed in her clothes at the age of five, I felt hollow. No one was going to tell me that I was both brilliant and pretty like the other girls I spent time around. Only bright and handsome. I learned quickly that even the closet wasn’t safe, probably when my mom was out of the house and I was alone with my dad. He caught me in some of my mom’s boots and a dress, and it threw him into another rage.
I recall his yelling, and I recall him telling me that if I ever wore anything in this closet ever again it better be his stuff, or he’d call down the wrath of God upon me. He screamed at the top of his lungs as he drug me out of the closet by my arm and stripped me down to my underwear that he better never catch me in the closet again, and that’s when the beating started and I dissociated. They’ve been red-shifted beyond the opaqueness of my memories’ boundaries, but the psychological damage from such moments remains. I cried. I prayed every night that God would either take my life or ensure that at puberty I would become a woman and escape the nightmare of my flesh and physical prison. I thought about death a lot at that age – what life would be like in the great Beyond. I wondered if the Bible were true, and if it were all the different ways it could be so. I wondered about the physical realities of the Bible and everything I knew, and I dreamed of ways they could be changed and modified.
Those questions were encouraged by my mother. I was still afraid and distrustful of her due to my father’s unpredictable behavior, but she was showing me all the love she could. When I expressed interest in dinosaurs, she began buying me books on them. When I learned about fossils, I went outside and began digging to look for them. I’d pretend I ran a construction crew of paleontologists and that I was on the hunt for rare finds. I loved to play in the mud and feel it squish between my toes anyway, so having a reason behind it made it feel all the more grand. When the Superconducting Supercollider took my grandparent’s land, she let me read over the discussion of high energy physics experiments that could take place, and she signed me up for magazines, fact cards, and more about all different kinds of scientific topics. We had a computer given to us by my grandparents at about that same age, and I played all kinds of educational games with my mother’s help. Her dream had always been to be a computer programmer, and she had tried her best to get there. She saw me for who I was, a reflection of her, and encouraged my growth even when I was feeling like there was no one listening. For her, I held on.
The stress at that age was as enormous as the amount of data I was trying to consume and process to keep myself from harm. I eventually got into my mother’s books on human anatomy and physiology – that solidified my fear of being “different.” I could see what a person with my genital structure was supposed to turn into, and I couldn’t handle it. I began self-harming, to a certain extent, the object of my disgust. I loved myself and my body, and figured that if I could figure out how to get rid of what I had then things would be okay. I figured there must be some plant or chemical that could change what I had, and I began performing my own experiments. When I found no solace in any of that, I figured the extreme of using scissors would be the best option. I still recall standing on the toilet, my back against my mother’s purple makeup case – the scissors taken directly from there – and just crying as I looked down. I wanted it off and gone. Yet, even then, I knew I couldn’t go through with it – I knew I’d die, and then all hope really would be lost. So, I kept up the faith that God would eventually deliver me from the Valley of Death.
As I approached my sixth year, I began having night terrors. I’d be subjected to hallucinations, unable to move but still able to scream through the fogginess of the paralysis. Sometimes I don’t know if I really was screaming, but most of the time my mother would rush in to check on me as I cried out for her. There was more than a few times that I was too afraid to sleep in my room alone, and so either my mom would either stay and comfort me or take me to their bed. Unfortunately, the nightmare never ends. I would have been safer in my own bed with the “monsters” I could see than with the monster living with us. My mother hand long since stopped giving him everything he wanted after he cheated on her with a woman that wound up dead two weeks after warning my mom to tell my father to stop contacting her. Five years worth of “sexual frustration” was taken out on me, after he thought I was asleep. I remember far too many times that I wish to mention, and more times more vividly than I should have to, but nevertheless I was forced to endure.
I asked him what the difference was between a “man” and a “woman” was, not long after that. He just hollered back to me, “A man does all the work while a woman just lays there.” I was so confused as to what I was. There were too many mixed signals and too much information I did not understand. On my sixth birthday, a boy I was friends with stayed the night, and the topic of discussion was girls. I confessed that I was confused and that I had a crush on him. We gave each other comfort, or what we thought was comfort after being survivors of CSA. That was when I realized I had some feelings for guys. That only made my personal Hell even worse. I thought that, not only did I not act or feel like a “boy,” but I was also a “fag,” as the majority of boys from the neighborhood called me, and a “filthy homo” from some of the kids in school. The tears at night never stopped. I wished that I had never been born every single night after that. I would pray to God to stop every impure feeling within me, to cleanse me and forgive me, and I would ask Him to unperson me night after night. I wanted to either change or die – just as society wanted with their cries of “conform or die.” “Listen to our hatred and our lies or die.” “Fuck you, you’re what I say, or DIE.”
Shortly after that, I met a girl in the neighborhood that was my age and a similar situation arose between us as with my previous friend, and I knew I liked girls, too. In fact, I realized I enjoyed other women’s company and brilliance far more than anything else. It didn’t help that when I thought of my wedding I thought of myself as a beautiful bride like my mother, but marrying another woman – which I was taught was a sin. Queue tears, remorse, and guilt.
I struggled. I cried. I prayed. Nothing changed. My mother had to fly away to a funeral – I was taken advantage of by an older babysitter as my dad retreated to his room to either smoke crack or pot. Despite how in the wrong she was, it showed me a different side to what a woman could be than how I felt, how my mom was, and all the other girls or women I ever knew. Not long after that, I was finally removed from that environment through the divorce of my parents at seven.
I was constantly sexualized from the earliest of ages, despite my anatomy, mainly because of how my personality was perceived by those interacting with me and because I was a “pretty boy.” I was viewed as something sexually attractive and easy to take advantage of, which is what our current society reduces femininity down to. This forces girls to have a traumatic girlhood, and women to be fearful of anyone and everyone. This is how society polices us and forces us to obey. The domination of the feminine is done through rape, insinuations of rape, and the perpetuation of a culture within which rape can thrive unabated as no repercussions exist. Few people even believe stories like mine, even fewer are able to get someone with power to believe them, and fewer still are able to get any justice done, but I digress.
I wish that the divorce made everything better, but I think that’s only the case when both parties are rational and reasonable. My father would oscillate between stalking behavior and “I love you and still want you.” I had to watch what I said to him and around him, because he was looking for anything to use against us. He wanted to keep me permanently, and he wanted my “heathen” of a mother to no longer exist – a reason he carried an unregistered firearm with him when he’d visit us at my mom’s work. That terrorizing of the only person in my family that ever showed me real love and nurtured me only exacerbated my own dysphoria, because it always felt like an attack on all women including myself. Just like my mother, I didn’t let that shit go past me, either. As best I could, I waged verbal and psychological warfare against my dad every day, and this helped me sharpen my ways of reasoning. I made a few friends at the new place we were staying, all boys much to my vexation, but one of them was unique. I could tell by his manner and way of talking that he was different, and I latched onto him almost immediately. I considered him my “best friend,” and thought he was pretty great. He was really into the Spice Girls, Britney Spears, and other groups like that and he’d sing them for me and get me to sing along. Yet, he also wasn’t afraid to accompany me down to the drainage ditch to go looking for crawdads that lived underneath the moss. So, I was understandably heartbroken when we ceased speaking to each other. He spent the night one night, and he felt comfortable enough to confess to me that he was attracted to other boys, and so I figured that it would be okay to tell him about my secret. I told him I didn’t really know what I was, and that I didn’t feel like a boy and that I felt like a girl, and that I liked girls. He told me I couldn’t ever be a girl, and that it was silly to think that, and that I was just like him. Despite my protests, he continued to argue that I was wrong, and that my feelings were invalid, and that there was no way that could be true. We never spoke again.
School wasn’t any better, either. I was labelled a “discipline problem” as soon as I got into school, because I wouldn’t take the homophobic bullying I experienced. If someone called me a name and made fun of my breasts, for example, I’d talk back. I was in and out of the principal’s office several times from second grade through high school from fighting back against the ridicule that the school administrators and teachers were aware of but made no effort to stop. I learned to defend myself against attacks from know-nothings that wished to do harm. I learned to not take any shit, but to do the least amount of harm, from my own mother that did her best to show she was not going to be pushed around. I watched her build a house into a home, fight back against people taking advantage of her, and fight for me every step of the way when I was subjected to enormous amounts of bullshit being flung by those that belittle “difference” and do not wish to understand it.
It was by age 12 that my breast soreness had resulted in breasts around an A cup. I was teased that I should wear a bra, and often boys would grope or try to pinch. As the boys turned to men, all I got was hair in places I didn’t desire. It was sparse on my face and chest, but I felt like I had been consumed whole. I itched my knees until the skin came off and they began to bleed as I tried in vain to prevent the black snakes from poking up from my garden. I cried. I slammed doors. I asked my mother why she ever had me. I told her I wished I had never been born. I asked God to smite me, fix me, or save me in some way. He did not. My mother held my hand as tears streamed down my face, unable to put into words what I was going through and afraid she wouldn’t understand. I held a knife to my veins. I couldn’t bring myself to slash the porcelain skin I loved – instead I’d press it down deeply until the pain became unbearable and a deep purple mark would stay. I wanted to die, but something in me told me to fight.
Then the transformation ceased. I never had a wet dream, nor did my voice ever change beyond what can be attributed to my normal resonance. I had to deal with people telling me I sounded “too nasally” and “whiny,” all because I didn’t fit as a “man.” The structure of my larynx never changed. It never thickened or became prominent; it stayed stereotypically “feminine,” as did the rest of my body. Despite my libido skyrocketing, I didn’t feel the desire to “mount” only “present.” Sure some outward features and what I was forced to conform to got read as “male,” but it was not an overall effect. I was always an ambiguous “it” to everyone – an oddity for ridicule and the lightning rod of hate to anyone that hated what could be beyond their black and white version of reality. If any “male privilege” existed, I would have a hard time teasing it out from between the layers of being humiliated, verbally assaulted, physically accosted, molested, and more.
I was 17 before I finally found someone that understood my feelings and made me feel like I wasn’t a freak for my body, mannerisms, personality, and everything that made me ME rather than simply a puppet in a mask. I had already found other people like me through online message boards, but this was someone that accepted me and wished to love me romantically. Despite having several relationships that lasted an average of a year or thereabout, it was the first healthy relationship founded upon honesty that I had ever had. By finally finding someone understanding and willing to “get” the reality of it all and treat me the way I wished to be treated rather than some erroneous concept of “how I should be treated,” it was like being born again.
I stopped attending church services. I quit viewing God as out to destroy me, and I began living. No amount of therapy helped me get to that point – only being told that it was okay to accept and love who I was underneath every label other people had put upon me.
I was still somewhat afraid of the potential ramifications of coming out as myself, and it wasn’t until I was 23 that I was able to move beyond the indoctrination the Church And State heaped upon me. It was only then that I was finally step into the world as myself.
The abolition of gender itself would not have saved me, for it was not gender alone that shaped my circumstances. The abolition of both gender and a society that puts the cis male on a pedestal would still not have saved me from the atrocities in my life. This was a byproduct of religious indoctrination that allows people to believe that the lives of other people are their own to judge and control. It’s the result of living in a society that has, for centuries, ensured that women are viewed as nothing more than breeding chattel with the use of the Bible to show how “wicked” women are and how close to “God” males are. It’s the forceful adherence to the Christian doctrine of ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’ that distress intersex people like myself. It is these things that oppress women, femininity, and those beyond the binary, not the language (pronouns) we use to respect one another.
I can only speculate on the conditions of a utopia in which I could have been born into free of the shackles of these destructive and unwanted memories. Had men not made God, perhaps I’d still have a father. Perhaps not. Had it not been necessary to concern oneself with genital-themed pink and blue parties, perhaps I could have been more free to explore what I desired rather than what I was forcefully conformed to. Perhaps in that same world, I would have been able to explore Legos, and dig holes, and catch bugs, and dress up in a Pink Power Ranger outfit, and become a dragon-slaying princess. Perhaps in that same world what shape my genitals take wouldn’t matter, and in that same world little intersex babies still being born would be able to decide what gender they preferred in the future, what medical actions (if any) should be taken to make their body feel like theirs, and we’d no longer have unnecessary cosmetic procedures for “purity” like female and male circumcision. Perhaps in that society we would see people as they are rather than what we think they should be due to surface-level evaluations.
Perhaps, someday, we’ll understand love.