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AMAB and terrified by all things feminine …

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Like many of us, I was AMAB. As a child and teenager, without the foggiest notion of why, I grew up terrified of all-things feminine –– of all-things feminine that, in my ignorance, I figured was the definition of femininity. As a result, I ended up steering clear of the weirdest stuff, like carrying an umbrella on a rainy day (real boys don't carry umbrellas, only girls carry umbrellas), or looking "neat" (real boys don't care about how they dress, only girls care about how they dress) or admiring the neighbor's garden (real boys don't like flowers, only girls like flowers). Today, I laugh about the weird stuff I avoided because, as an AMAB, I thought I had no choice. Today, I understand that all I was actually doing back then was concealing my hidden feminine self. Do any of you have similar childhood memories?



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3 hours ago, Rianon said:

Today, I understand that all I was actually doing back then was concealing my hidden feminine self. Do any of you have similar childhood memories?




Yes, @Rianon, what you said rings a bell for me.  I have a vivid memory of a shirt that went on sale at J.C. Penney, of all places.  It was in the boy's section and it was very feminine-looking, with lace, as I recall.  I wanted desperately to have it, or at least try it on, but I couldn't bring myself to ask my mother for it, out of fear she would figure me out.


On Halloween around the same age, my best friend told me his older sister would supply skirts or dresses for us if I wanted to join him.  We would trick or treat as "girls."  Again, I wanted to join him and live out my dream, but I backed out at the last moment, again out of fear.


Fear was a frequent companion in those days.  I no longer live in such fear.


Carolyn Marie

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59 minutes ago, Carolyn Marie said:

Fear was a frequent companion in those days.

Hello, Carolyn Marie


The more I reflect, the more stories come to mind. Earlier I was reminded of the turnabout dances held at the summer resort my family went to every summer (because the owners were family friends, so we got our lodging at a discount). At those turnabout dances, the men and boys (those gutsy enough to do so) dressed in skits and dresses and the women and girls dressed in male attire. My best friend at the resort, Randall, who was there every summer with his family, told me his mom would be dressing him in his sister's clothes for the upcoming dance, and that she would be happy to dress me, too. I grumbled and groused and said no thank you, but of course the night of the dance I was crying inside, sitting on the resort's front porch and listening to the music and fun coming from the dance pavilion down the lane. Another indelible memory



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6 hours ago, Rianon said:

Today, I understand that all I was actually doing back then was concealing my hidden feminine self.

Well yeah.  And it went on for years and years.  It wasn't that I was afraid of "girl things", it was that I was afraid of me.

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10 hours ago, Rianon said:


Today, I understand that all I was actually doing back then was concealing my hidden feminine self. Do any of you have similar childhood memories?



Oh, so many 🥰! Some of them any them identical to yours: not caring about my appearance (to the point of not even combing my hair, etc). Too many to think of this late at night for my middleaged butt.....big hugs!!

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So many things but being born in a conservative era and religious family - terror invaded me .

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2 hours ago, Heather Shay said:

born in a conservative era and religious family

This.  As a kid the idea of anyone being transgender didn't exist.  I just had to work at not being a sissy.  When puberty hit I really thought something was wrong with me, like I was somehow "part girl" or something.  But I worked to hide that part of me - my "shameful secret."  As an adult I tried to do guy stuff, worked construction jobs, and other hard physical ones to prove something to myself.

But Ivy eventually won out.  It was a radical change.  Surprised a lot of people - including me.

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When i finally went to therapy after a bit of time here i was amazed at the flood of memories when i denied myself or was denied anything that might be construed as feminine.  As Caroline Marie noted shirts were a big thing.  As "hippy fashion" got to the stores "real men" could wear colorful "feminine" fashion.  If they only were brave enough to let go.  I rarely seemed to be brave enough as i had other hopes that others might discover.





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3 hours ago, Charlize said:

When i finally went to therapy after a bit of time here i was amazed at the flood of memories when i denied myself or was denied anything that might be construed as feminine.

I've often thought to write about this: less –– but only a little less –– about the events of the past, more about the enduring effect of those events. An example? I'm 78. Today, if my partner (a cis F) suggests that she and I go shopping, even if it's for items as gender-neutral as groceries, I'll feel a momentary clutch, a grab in my tummy; it will pass quickly, and off my partner and I will go shopping, my partner unaware of the half-second pause I had just felt. If I think about it –– and I do –– it's because I find it so fascinating how specific gender fears from childhood can still whisper to us as adults. My not being 100% eager to go grocery shopping with my partner? I can trace that back to my preteen years when on Saturday mornings my mother would invite me to go food shopping with her. I might go, because secretly –– very secretly! –– I liked shopping with my mother. Then again, I might not go, because the other mothers on our block would have their daughters with them, but never their sons; their sons would be out in the street, shouting, jostling around, choosing up sides for a Saturday morning game of stickball. (Anyone know "stickball"?) Today, at 78, if I were to keep track of them, I'm sure I'd log dozens of such "clutch moments" in the course of my day: sneaky traces of my childhood when the little girl hidden within my boy's polo shirt and jeans refused to keep tapping at my psyche, pleading, "Let me out!"

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  • 1 month later...



I am new to acknowledgment of my true self.  I did all the same this since I was a kid.  Avoided anything that could have made be seen as feminine.  Have had a lot of enlightenment lately about what I actually like.  





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Hi, Tiffany


I laugh now when I think back on all the crazy things I avoided or or simply refused to do for fear of being judged "girly." When I did therapy a number of years ago as part of my coming out – my finally coming out! – it was pointed out to me by my therapist that very likely my earliest experience with negative self-talk had all to do with my being AMAB, yet secretly yearning to be accepted as a girl. One of the manifestations of that negative self-talk was, and, to a certain extent, continues to this day, my never being comfortable with my appearance, neither as a boy or a man when I was still presenting in the male role, nor in the female role, whether in its earliest days when I was experimenting with crossdressing or even today when, I go about town, it seems I present fairly well. My therapist called my child's negative self-talk (boy vs. girl) my Ur negative self-talk, after the ancient Sumerian city, but in this instance meaning "earliest, original, primal."  As I continued with therapy, this understanding proved to be a great help in decoding many of my life's craziest choices, especially those involving gender.



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i am waiting to hear back from a couple of therapists to find one that I can open up and dig a little deeper with.  I really hope and believe one will help with organizing my thoughts

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Finding a good therapist can be a tricky business. I met with two before I found a good one. The first was just too, too supportive; that felt good, but I also felt that I wasn't being led into new and healthier ways of thinking about my situation. The second therapist tried to seem interested in my dilemma, but, after several meetings, I could tell he just wasn't. Good luck in finding that good therapist! If you find one, believe me, it's worth it. ––Rianon

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