Thursday, July 26, 2007

TMI: Self Discovery through Pop Culture

This is probably going to be a little lean because this post, by its nature of me trying to remember things that happened over a decade ago and also the fact that I'm not drinking right now but I'll try cuz, I've done this once so its tradition.
Anyway as I watch Ugly Betty explain the difference between transvestitism and transsexuality, and Alexis Meade describing various feminizing surgeries, it seems an appropriate time as any, and I did say on Tuesday that this would be my topic if not earth shattering happened in my life so... andiamo. Oh wait I didn't really tell the topic umm...early signs I was different? Does that work? Whatevs; I still don't believe anyone actually reads this, so its just me and my therapist.
(I'm going to use the power of the internet to research a few dates so I know how old I was for certain things, though I prefer to do this in a rambling stream of consciousness style.)
I have a memory of being in some toy store and really wanting, I think it was, a female He-Man action figure that I really wanted to be and dreamed about being, which according to wikipedia was called She-Ra. The site claims that they discontinued the line in the middle of 1987 so I guess this had to be when I was no older than 4, which is wow! I had no idea I had any memories of anything that early. But I know I got that doll, I mean action figure and I remember playing a lot with her tiara.
The next relevant memory I have is when I was shopping with my grandma in some mall thats no longer there. I was still really young at this point I think, and my grandma and I were in some beauty store maybe, with like hair accesories and the like I guess. But I remember trying on a plastic headband (an "Alice Band": I like that) and wearing it around the store. I remember walking out of the store still wearing it and one of the workers rushing out to get me. I must have been young because I think it must have been written off as a cute innocent thing. I remember up until 2nd grade I would only play with girls; I remember jumping a lot of rope and then when one of my friends got hurt by a speed walker I remember crying over it. Like a lot. Like enough where the teacher had to console me, and I may have gotten to go home early. I think it was the middle of 3rd grade, maybe during a semester break (did we have those in elementary school?) I went to a church camp up in the mountains (the first time I saw snow!) and at a cafeteria lunch I remember the girls raving over my eyelashes and how cute I looked; I reveled in that. (God I was such a queen; its a tad embarrassing)
But I think it must have been sometime before this when, getting back to the pop culture point of this post, where I guess my mom and I were watching the Sally Jessy Raphael Show ( I am so dating myself with that.) The topic was something like parents who raise their children as the opposite gender. I was incredibly drawn to the show and I remember one of the guests; she was I'm pretty sure a Hispanic kid wearing a bright red dress with a really festive and ornamental head wear (in my mind I have a mental image but I think the exact memory has probably been corrupted by Ma Vie En Rose) and her mother was so accepting and I remember wishing that that would be me and that I could do that. But some socialization and knowledge of gender norms had sunk in because I knew that I shouldn't be too excited to watch it, or betray too much enthusaism because I didn't know what my mom would think. But I think I used it as a segue to ask her if there was anyone in our family who had had a sex change and apparently there is (some second or third cousin in Louisiana.) I'm trying not to cloud this to much with me analysis and implanting thoughts for 8 year old me. But maybe that gave me some type of hope and a realization that changing yourself wasn't something that only happened in the movies. I guess I was entering some sort of latency period (Freud is still b.s.), or probably just an acknowledgment that I wasn't the way "I was supposed to be" but of course I never stopped thinking about it. There was some case in the news about a girl suing to become a boy scout and as I was walking home from school I angrily wondered why a boy couldn't be a girl scout and then imagining my life as a brownie (wow these memories are actually really embarrassing) And according to this I was 8 at the time, wow, wow. On the first episode of X-Men the animated series on the first episode Morph died and I know he was my favorite X-Men because I wanted his power to change into whoever I wanted. According to this the show premiered in 92. And whenever anyone asked me what superpower I wanted if I could have any I would always say the ability to morph, though I never admitted it was to change into a girl. Actually I still want that power. But around this time I guess The Crying Game came out and though I didn't see it for years after I found out the secret and was so so so jealous of Jaye Davidson, hell I still am (such a gorgeous boy) plus the theme song was sung by Boy George who had always been one of my heroes just how he was so feminine and pretty, and I was definitely looking for signs of my "normality" and role models at this time.
As any good tranny worth her salt I remember dressing up in my mom's clothes whenever I was left home alone, and I missed a good number of days just because I was bored and I'd like to believe to smart for school, and every time I would get dressed I would try to keep the clothes on for as long as I could to just imagine that I could always be that way. I'm sure my mom had to have noticed the remnants of make up on my face and maybe some clothing slightly misplaced, but she said she didn't know.
When puberty hit, I don't know exactly when it started, I was incredibly confused by it all and since my brother and I never talked I had no idea what was happening so my mom got me one of those "What's happening to my body" book for boys, and I guess it came in a pack because there was also the girl version, which of course I would always secretly sneak away to read then hide it under my bed. Around the time my grandma died, when I was close to 13 I remember everynight praying to be turned into, just for a day, a girl, and because God could do anything I kept praying. But nothing ever happened of course, and my grandma died, so my faith in God hasn't really recovered yet. In the early 90's talk shows were everywhere and a common guests were the transsexuals and I probably watched too many of them but every time one would come on I would marvel about how pretty some were and wanted to be some of them, though I just wanted to be a normal girl and not necessarily have to go on television because of it.
A few more anecdotes; the first orgasm I ever had was reading a transsexual erotica story about a boy dressing as his sister for her wedding and of course I had no idea what happened when It happened, but yeah I had the internet and I would constantly be on transgendered related sites and looking for information, since I was about 12. Michelle's Midday Break was my favorite. Then when I was 14 my mom and I went to Chicago for her sorority convention and I remember going to the Victoria's Secret on Michigan Avenue and buying a bra, panty and garter set and felt incredible awkward as the attendant tried and failed to hide her giggling but a more matronly saleswomen was talking to me about control tops. My mom found these clothes; she had begun a habit of snooping around, and told my pediatrician, who was a pretty close family friend, who upon seeing me for an appointment asked me if I was having sex and when I replied no, asked me when I did in the future would it be with boys or girls I replied sheepishly girls; I knew the consequences of saying boys, but after my mom being so open when I came out I sort of really wished I had the courage to tell her the truth back then. I could say I missed ten years of my life but I wasn't ready and had no idea how to handle it. And plus, I still have plenty of time and things worked out for the best.

(yeah I know that was long and at certain times had no narrative form, but I think I did it more for me and once I started writing more and more memories came back and some even shocked me.There was definitely TMI. Okay this has been really long; I'll do my teenage years later, or maybe my theories on "causes" who knows- I'll probably forget.)

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