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What is the Hardest Thing You've Ever Had to Force Yourself to do?


Shay

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For me - it was to finally quit denying my real self and letting her come out of hiding and be free. I still have other obstacles I need to keep forcing myself to do to extend my freedom but they are coming along.

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#1: Admitting to myself that I was trans.  (Took 60+ years.)

#2: Telling my wife that I was trans.  (Took 6 months.)

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Admitting to myself that I had a feminine nature - the heart of a girl.  (I was pretty transphobic)

 

But right up there with it was taking off my wedding ring, and accepting that it was over.  That night I was suicidal.  

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Quitting heroin and all the ensuing years of getting my ish together. Amazingly, part of my strategy was: grow your hair long, quit wearing men's clothes and shoes, act like a lady, figure out what "being yourself" means, and "fit in". As you can see, some of those goals were contradictory, but I didn't know it at the time. Heroin was my self-medication of choice. Somehow I managed to get through a graduate program in mathematics with no drugs despite dealing with ptsd and psychotic depression. I'm doing MUUUUUCH better now. What's interesting about this question is that I realize in retrospect that some of the hardest things I've forced myself to do have been along the lines of giving up self-destructive behavior. Besides dealing with drug addiction and mental illness, this also includes discovering more truth about who I am and consequently shedding habits, behaviors, and sometimes people that/who were holding me back. Thanks for this thought provoking question @Shay

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Attempting play the male "pursuer" role in dating. I am sooo just not wired for that.

 

That, and the time a few years ago when I had to move in with my dad for awhile. Yeech!

 

Coming out to my mom was actually, I won't say easy, but definitely somewhat less difficult by comparison.

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2 hours ago, Heather Nicole said:

Attempting play the male "pursuer" role in dating. I am sooo just not wired for that.

 

That, and the time a few years ago when I had to move in with my dad for awhile. Yeech!

 

Coming out to my mom was actually, I won't say easy, but definitely somewhat less difficult by comparison.

I can totally relate to that! Never managed to get a date in high school despite being named athlete of the year for setting school records in the mile and cross country. 
 

I must have asked a hundred girls out in college and never got a date. I even entered one of those contests where three guys were interviewed by a girl who could ask questions of the candidates but couldn’t see them. I was ecstatic when I won. She was quite pretty. Unfortunately when she saw me she and talked to me face to face she begged off the first date.

 

yeah. I really sucked at the pursuing girls game. I desperately wanted to be “normal”. At the same time I had this deeply guarded secret, a secret identity as a female I could never shake, no matter how long I grew my beard, or how clean shaven and shined my shoes were, or how hard I prayed.

 

the hardest thing I ever did is yet to come. Transitioning to female over the next few years and living life as a woman full time and facing the consequences full on. Right now I look like a guy with long hair. I have a square frame, no hips. I think of myself as an athletic older woman. My short term goals are to keep my mind and spirit calm and allow my mind to transition without worrying about this thing everybody refers to as “normal.“  Then as my body slowly conforms with HRT the two will work in synch and it will be the natural thing to highlight my feminine features rather than try to mask my masculinity. 
 

@Shayyou pose the most interesting questions. Very thought provoking!

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The hardest thing I've had to do. And going through this journey there are a few. But, the most difficult was breaking down all the lies and fabrications that I had told myself, to protect myself. Once the last was gone my self acceptance arrived and I haven't looked back.

😊

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I went through a messy and litigious divorce back in 2001. I spent 18 years fighting off her attempts at full custody, increasing child support, abuse allegations, and countless petty accusations meant to harass me. I finally finished paying my lawyer this past June from this horrendous mess. 
 

Despite all this I managed to keep a roof over my head,  keep food on the table and maintain some stability for my three daughters. I put two of them through college and they are my greatest accomplishment. 
 

Also in 2001; discovering I was trans and, despite an attempt at living authentically, burying myself under a mountain of fear of losing my daughters. 
 

This was the hardest thing I ever forced myself to do.

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3 hours ago, Erica Gabriel said:

Also in 2001; discovering I was trans

i feel like my questions here are probably getting stale for many of you because my life has been so different. and i do try to understand as best i can what you have to face. but i just don't get it.....this discovering thing. when we are born we are what we are. yes i was born a male sexually, but i've been female gender my whole life. i didn't discover it. it was what it was. do any of you ever wish you hadn't had this discovery? has it really been worth all the turmoil it seems to cause? or was the turmoil you had with your discovered identity worth it? thank you. :)  

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@April-Showers consider yourself extremely lucky. That knowledge has saved you a lot of pain and suffering. I think with society finally starting to catch up and especially younger folks given more support it appears easier. Growing up when I did and even until recently it was taboo and what many of us older folks denied was denial because of fear and rejection and not wanting to deal with the wrong nature given us at birth. I am so happy you didn't have to go through that.

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I suspect many people struggle with self-acceptance as our identities are largely built on the influence of those around us. If we grew up with family members that invalidated how we felt and told us not to be or feel “that way,” it’s going to be difficult to know our true nature and we will try to do or be how we need to, to be safe, accepted and even alive. As Heather notes, for many GenX and older trans people, expressing anything other than one’s gender assigned at birth wasn’t safe and wasn’t talked about like it is now. The term bigender didn’t exist when I was growing up, and I likely would’ve ended up on the streets or dead if I had worn women’s clothes even around home or spoken in female voice. The best I could do is “tailor” outgrown boys clothes and wear those only when family wasn’t around. 

 

My identity was absolutely shaped by early-life abusive experiences. Some of those have given me beautiful qualities but I have never been what I feel is “normal” and I am a loner as a result. I am a bitch to live with, and I like my alone time, but i long to share my alone time with others too. 
 

The hardest, longest struggle for me may have been to accept myself as not Ok, and be OK with that. To accept what is and not make excuses and to face each day when I want to hide. To keep going each time I face another battle though I am exhausted. 

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1 hour ago, April-Showers said:

yes i was born a male sexually, but i've been female gender my whole life. i didn't discover it. it was what it was. do any of you ever wish you hadn't had this discovery? has it really been worth all the turmoil it seems to cause? or was the turmoil you had with your discovered identity worth it?

 

It's a very good question!

 

For me I was a little kid during the early/mid 1980's and the only teensy bit of awareness there was of trans was just a few movies that were very much not for kids, and painted trans people in a very negative, and very untrue light. (I highly recommend the netflix documentary Disclosure for more on this.) I had never even heard of trans until around the start of puberty, and even then the little awareness there was, was inaccurate, incomplete and negative.

 

So when I was a kid, I had no idea I could possibly be anything other that what was between my legs. As far as I knew (or anyone else around me), those parts meant "boy" and that meant living within all the restrictions placed on boys. And that's all there was to it. Would never have even thought to imagine otherwise. One thing I do remember (but had forgotten about for a long time): As soon as I was old enough to even know about "boys" and "girls" at all, I immediately stopped playing with necklaces out of fear of the consequences of breaking social norms. (I was always very shy.)

 

So I just grew accustomed to living life as a square peg in a round hole, and to me that was just life, since it's all I'd ever known. Whenever my true nature inside would bubble up and show itself to my concious mind (ie, the "clues" people sometimes talk about), the only ways I ever had of making sense of it was to either blame and hate the world for being overly-restrictive to "guys" like me, or to chalk up my wishes of being a girl as an impossible fantasy, like winning the lottery, or owning a time machine and a private tropical island, or living a real life version one of those cheesy body swap movies like The Hot Chick. Or being the anime character Ranma Saotome.

 

Even once I did learn more about trans, I was like, "Well, too bad that's not me, since I don't hate my genitals, and I don't feel like I'm a girl, I just hate being a guy and wish I could have a girl body." Yea, even then I still had more to learn about trans 😋 Actually, the fact that I didn't always "just know" like you did was another reason I didn't think I could possibly be trans.

 

The turmoil, at least for me personally, wasn't from discovering I was trans. It was from living a life where I, and everyone around me, all thought I was a cishet guy. And I'm sure there will be additional turmoil as I transition from cishet people who don't really understand trans, or are outright transphobic.

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You go through your life thinking something is seriously wrong with you, that you have to hide at all costs. 

1 hour ago, Desert Fox said:

…if I had worn women’s clothes…

This was even illegal most places.  

(Not that I would have dared to do it)

 

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i think the term 'discovered' was what threw me. it seems most of you had feelings or thoughts about yourselves even if it wasn't clear what you were feeling. there was always a sort of feminine feeling lurking inside of you that maybe you had to reject or just were confused with. something that you couldn't deal with at the time but you knew was there. so when you finally came face to face with it, for whatever reason, you then had to figure it out. i think it's more like you 'accepted' it or chose to face it rather than 'discovered' it. it was always there, even if mostly hidden, and it took time to come to grips with it. i do believe with 'gender' we all recognize it in ourselves regardless of how we entered this world. anyhoo....that's my take. thanks to all of you for allowing me to peek inside of your world.  🙂  

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4 hours ago, April-Showers said:

i feel like my questions here are probably getting stale for many of you because my life has been so different. and i do try to understand as best i can what you have to face. but i just don't get it.....this discovering thing. when we are born we are what we are. yes i was born a male sexually, but i've been female gender my whole life. i didn't discover it. it was what it was. do any of you ever wish you hadn't had this discovery? has it really been worth all the turmoil it seems to cause? or was the turmoil you had with your discovered identity worth it? thank you. :)  

I was always different but I had a lot of pressure from my mother and siblings to behave differently (which didn’t work). Couple that with my father passing when I was young and I felt I had to try and win a new father figure which didn’t help at all. It was once I left all that and a toxic marriage behind that I could “discover” why I always felt like a round hole posing as a square peg.

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For me? Losing weight. Having struggled most of my life with my own self image and sense of self worth I am slowly adjusting my own emotional and intellectual understanding of who I am, as terrifying as realising I did not fit in this world because I am transgender and have been living as a man when I should have been living as a woman, I believe I can find peace in being authentic and am steadily making steps towards that happening.

However as a man I did not care about my appearance, I tried to get on track when I had children but was too unhappy to stay fit, my ex gaslighting made anything I did in an attempt to self care worse, and I've become 220 pounds of unhealthy mess.

Over the last couple of years I have attempted to start altering my mental self image, but the woman I want to see is naturally a thinner version of myself that can fit into beautiful dresses and wear wonderfully designed hoodies and geek merch, the pandemic and my own emotional eating habits just totally overwrite the fact that mentally I know what to do but still I keep yoyoing back to my higher weight as my eating and exercise routines struggle to become habits rather than daydreams....

 

Yeah I really struggle to lose weight. 🙄😬

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5 hours ago, April-Showers said:

i think the term 'discovered' was what threw me. it seems most of you had feelings or thoughts about yourselves even if it wasn't clear what you were feeling. there was always a sort of feminine feeling lurking inside of you that maybe you had to reject or just were confused with. something that you couldn't deal with at the time but you knew was there. so when you finally came face to face with it, for whatever reason, you then had to figure it out. i think it's more like you 'accepted' it or chose to face it rather than 'discovered' it. it was always there, even if mostly hidden, and it took time to come to grips with it. i do believe with 'gender' we all recognize it in ourselves regardless of how we entered this world. anyhoo....that's my take. thanks to all of you for allowing me to peek inside of your world.  🙂  

 

A lot of us didn't have the language. Imagine the "AHA!" moment when you realize what exactly the problem is and why you feel the way you do. "Transman" and "Transwoman" weren't really in the lexicon. You were a boy or a girl. Heck, homosexual relationships and trans-people (though we called them a word that the filter would just censor) were taboo and played either for laughs (see Three's Company) or as the boogeyman (see Psycho).

 

It was like discovering that, "OH MY GODDESS! There's a name for what I'm feeling and there's other people who feel the same way I do!"

 

After that? Yeah, acceptance. I knew I was trans for about thirty years before I decided to do anything besides "run out the clock." At that point my secret identity was established enough that I was worried that what little I DID have would evaporate if I came out. The transphobia brainwashing was pretty prevalent when I was growing up. Being one of "those people" only led to being cast out. We got "othered" pretty hard where I grew up. Of course now I realize that most of that is just that one of my parents is super-toxic, but it wouldn't have been EASY growing up, even if I DID have supportive parents.

 

For me, the turning point came when I realized that I didn't have anything else to lose. It was either come out or suicide. I had a plan in place and was one trip to the hardware store and around fifty dollars away from being able to execute.

 

Hugs!

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I had to present a paper I had published at a technical conference in front of 200+ people. This was the first time I ever spoke to audience and I was beyond scared. Something in my introduction triggered a funny thought which I said out loud, thankfully the audience found it as funny as I did. Once they laughed I was comfortable.

 

I tried picturing the audience without clothes, not necessarily the best view at technology conference 😋

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7 hours ago, April-Showers said:

i feel like my questions here are probably getting stale for many of you because my life has been so different. and i do try to understand as best i can what you have to face. but i just don't get it.....this discovering thing. when we are born we are what we are. yes i was born a male sexually, but i've been female gender my whole life. i didn't discover it. it was what it was. do any of you ever wish you hadn't had this discovery? has it really been worth all the turmoil it seems to cause? or was the turmoil you had with your discovered identity worth it? thank you. :)  

 

Yes, for me, the word "discovery" isn't quite accurate.  The realization that I was female (and always had been) gradually grew, over many years.  I always denied it, but it was what it was.  What I "discovered" was that I could no longer deny it.

 

I may use the word "discovery" from time to time as a form of shorthand, but it doesn't quite capture the truth of the mental process.

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I'm very adventurous and the word "discovery" or "discovered" holds a high place in my lexicon. I understand how that can be misleading to some but it is the word I prefer to use and I make no apologies for it. While y metamorphosis was a slow realization triggered by reading a book that my mother gave me, it was still like finding a new continent hidden in the mist. I just received my new Social Security Card with my true name in the mail today. I'm emboldened and ready for some more discovery.

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The word "discover" resonates for me too - the antonym of covering - the ingrained habit of forcibly covering one's true nature (unconsciously or intentionally) with veils and armour to conform to norms and expectations, or to protect oneself. The discovery sets one free to shine forth. 

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17 hours ago, Jackie C. said:

It was either come out or suicide. I had a plan in place and was one trip to the hardware store and around fifty dollars away from being able to execute.

i can't imagine feeling that hopeless. i don't even know how to respond to that. to me life is for living to the fullest. there is so much out there. thank god you didn't have to follow through with your plan. i just can't imagine having to contemplate suicide. i'm so glad you are still here and able to share such a difficult time in your life. thank you. 🙂

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22 hours ago, Heather Nicole said:

So I just grew accustomed to living life as a square peg in a round hole, and to me that was just life, since it's all I'd ever known.

I can relate to that. I had no one to talk to, so I just accepted that I was "different" and let it go at that. I was 11 at the time and felt that I couldn't even tell my parents (I think they had an idea). Consequently they both went to their graves without knowing.

 

18 hours ago, Jackie C. said:

It was like discovering that, "OH MY GODDESS! There's a name for what I'm feeling and there's other people who feel the same way I do!"

Since I thought that I was just a boy that liked to wear dresses, when I read about "transvestites" it was mind blowing. the description was partially correct but not quite. Even then I wanted to be a girl, although I tried to deny it.

 

17 hours ago, KathyLauren said:

Yes, for me, the word "discovery" isn't quite accurate.  The realization that I was female (and always had been) gradually grew, over many years.  I always denied it, but it was what it was.  What I "discovered" was that I could no longer deny it.

That describes my situation exactly. It wasn't until after beginning my transition that pieces of the puzzle came together an I now understand that I was always female.

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