On the Inside – My essay to the Psych. My Story.
The following was actually an “assignment” and part of my getting to HRT … interestingly enough… a bit of soul searching does wonders. I thought it might be share worthy… Its a bit lengthy yes… but hey 🙂 Its what got me here 🙂
Peace and love.
On the Inside
How I Became Self Aware of my True Gender Identity
by Tamara Jean Wallace
As far back as I can remember, there has always been something that wasn’t right. A feeling that somehow a piece of the puzzle that is my life just wasn’t fitting into place properly. This is a feeling that I have over the years become accustomed to, and have learned to suppress and hide. Society in general fears what it does not understand, and if I didn’t understand myself, how could I speak up? How could I discuss this feeling with others? The feeling was that something went wrong on April 3, 1970, and I was born into the wrong body. Perhaps saying wrong body is a bit harsh, the part though that matters is that I was born male, when I soon discovered I thought I should have been, and thought I was, a girl. Perhaps it wasn’t so much the wrong body… my body is still my body … the gender of that body was opposite to my thinking.
First Awareness – Approx. 1975, Nova Scotia
5 years. An amazingly short span of time in the grand scheme of the universe. That droplet of time was all it took for me to start knowing there was something different about me, as compared to my friends. I would much rather play with my friend’s sisters and their dolls, than go play baseball and tag. I wanted to be like them. I knew I wasn’t though, and this is where the split in me occurred. Realizing what I wanted to be or even perhaps should have been, but knowing that I was powerless to change it. I was a boy, and that was that. I still had these feelings though, and tried to spend time, as much as I could with my friends sisters … they were way more fun to be with to me. I identified with them. Somehow, even at that very young age, I knew that it wasn’t something to speak up about. Its in our upbringing, or at least it was in the 70’s, that boys are boys, and girls are girls. There was no grey area. There also, was no crossing over from one side to the other.
Childhood Years After Moving – 1975 to mid 1980’s, Alberta
Very shortly after my realizing that I thought I was a girl, the local fishery dried up, and my father looked for work elsewhere. Through an old Navy friend he secured work in Alberta. So we all packed up and flew out West. I never saw my early childhood friends, or their sisters again. I didn’t honestly know at the time why we were moving, just that we were, and that I had to leave my friends behind.
Once in Alberta, the feelings persisted. Nothing had changed. I still preferred trying to be friends with the girls at elementary school. Which, to no surprise, was making me a target by the boys. I was constantly made fun of, picked on, and got into fights over my ‘odd’ behavior. This was the normal scenario for me from grades 1 through 5.
My father, went from job to job, trying to get set up and stable in Alberta, sometime making us have to move again, and again. I don’t fault him, he did what he had to, to provide for us. It was hard though as friendships didn’t last long in my childhood. It actually wasn’t until my father secured a position with the Alberta Wheat Pool that things got stable. We ended up moving to Mannville, Alberta and we finally seemed to have settled into what would be a home. At least somewhere, more permanent than the other places.
Mannville, grade 6, was also the first time I was caught by my parents, my mother specifically, cross-dressing. Now I use that term very loosely at this point, as I have come to understand cross-dressing in a much different light than I did in the mid 80’s. Wrong though to my parents was still wrong. There was no escaping the feeling though that what I wanted to wear was right. Even though my parents were telling me it wasn’t. This was an event that would repeat itself many times over. It taught me how to hide. How to not get caught, how I could still be me, and not face the shame and ridicule. The process continued until finally moving to Edmonton, after having quit school and having gotten into too much trouble.
Edmonton, there isn’t really much to say here of substance regarding my time there. I did meet some VERY good friends, many I am still friends with now. The cross-dressing and hiding continued. None of my friends knew… I was becoming a master at my craft. Playing the “Guy”. An actor, as it were. Inside, I knew it was all quite the opposite. I wasn’t the “Guy”.
Cross-dressing self acceptance and onward – 1990’s – Present, Calgary Alberta
Even at this stage in my life… I was still very much in hiding. I would “dress up” when I could, and maintain my guy persona to all I knew. In Calgary though was where it ALL opened up, and I FINALLY learnt I was not alone. In Calgary, was the first time I got access to real internet services. Google didn’t exist yet at this point, it was Yahoo! and other smaller players. I was able to find out that there were others like me! And in this very city! I was so thrilled! To this point I still wasn’t really 100% sure exactly what was going on with me… BUT there were now others I could speak with, and actually meet. I for this period identified myself as a cross-dresser, as it seemed to make the “Feeling” go away.
I started attending social meetings at a local cross-dressing group called “Illusions Social Club”. It was AMAZING to see all the girls… out… no shame… acceptance. I was literally in heaven! I was welcomed, no questions, they were, after all on the same boat I was on. I started to get some understanding to what was making me tick.
A couple of the club members stood out… and I got to know them.. and got to talking with them, while chatting I noticed her breasts … and they were REAL. It was at this moment, I learnt of ‘Transgender” and that YES, you CAN cross over. I was literally FLOORED by this. I mean I have seen it in movies before.. but to meet someone in real life… the possibility is now there.
It was also through attending the social club meetings at Illusions that I got to understand that cross-dressing wasn’t exactly enough. Also there seemed to be a sub culture attached to it. Drag, as it were was primarily about extremes. Heavy makeup and maximum glamour topped off with a rhinestone tiara. Um. No. I just want to be that girl in jeans and a t-shirt, who occasionally dolls up. I just want to be a normal woman. No woman goes DAY to DAY like this, I thought to myself.
I now had come to terms with what I was going through, and had a name for it as well. At the time, it was being called Gender Identity Disorder. A disorder. At least I had something to go by. Something to research.
Research, Self acceptance and Moving on. ( Summation )
Through many following years of self hate and loathing, mostly at what I am, I continued researching. Thinking there was some sort of “CURE” or some way to FIX what I have. Every single search brought me to the same place. Something called HRT, Hormone Replacement Therapy. HRT I learned is part of Transition, which was something I was also investigating. Life for me was too complicated to make this possible, or it seemed so at the time.
It wasn’t until just recently when I was having a Facebook chat with a friend, one I trust completely, that I decided to open up and spill the proverbial beans. I told her everything. She replied with a video of a US Marine who transitioned, I watched, intently. I was mind-blown by it. This marine accomplished everything I want. But from my discussion with my friend and through some inspiration from that video, I came to final terms with me. I can’t stop fighting this. I had tried purging before… threw out hundred and hundreds of dollars worth of clothing. It ALWAYS came back. I know there is going to be no escaping this. So I have accepted myself for who I am. I am a woman, born to a male body. I am transgender. I wish to transition, and make some right of this. But most important, I now love myself. I am not ashamed of who I am.
I told all of my friends and family, and to my surprise, was greeted with overwhelming love and support.
Now I have to make the best of it. Like all of the rest of us.