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My new and improved re-introduction!


Heather Nicole

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Heather Nicole

I think I might be on the threshold of an early trans milestone, and simultaneously, I'm also feeling a deep need to bear my soul to other accepting souls in a more open, honest way that I ever have to anyone before. I've always been ultra-shy and ultra-inhibited (major social anxiety), but I've come to trust this community and feel safe to say what's on my mind here. I have so much to say, so much swirling around in my head, so I don't know how coherent, organized, or even accurate I can be, but I want to take everything I've learned since I first joined here and attempt a brand-new fresh introduction:

 

Hi, everyone! I've chosen the screenname "Heathick" because I'm not especially great at coming up with handles. I often feel embarrassed at what I feel to be a confusing, weird and not great username, but I just came up with it by combining a top candidate female name for myself ("Heather") with my given name (which I do cherish). I also like "Amy". And the female versions of my given name. So many great names to choose from!!! How many names can I have? ;)

 

I've lived my 38 years so far, mostly content to be the straight cis male I always assumed myself to be. The "feel like a girl in a guy's body" narrative has never fit me, which is a big part of why it's taken me so long to realize "Maybe I'm trans?". But I've always has occasional desires and wishes to get to be female (can't for the life of me remember whether they started before or after puberty began), and over the last few years the feelings seem to have suddenly accelerated (especially in the summer when I really envy women's light, and cute, hot-weather-appropriate clothing options).

 

Someone recently posted about an academic, clinical psychology book called "Men Trapped In Men's Bodies" by Anne Lawrence about autogynephilia. I got hold of it (love it, by the way), and I'm absolutely confident that certain types of autogynephilia are definitely part of my story. It felt amazing to read about things deeply secretive about me that I so closely identified with. But I also feel fairly strongly that autogynephilia doesn't cover everything about my gender identity. I feel like another big part of the puzzle for me, is just plain old personal preferences. For example, wearing women's clothing has never "excited" me in the slightest, but I just like them much more than I ever did men's clothes. And I just like long hair, minimal body hair and feminine mannerisms (as examples) much more than I do short hair, thick/dark body hair or masculine mannerisms. Etc. Preferences. Just like some people like gals, some people like guys, or both or neither, some people like sports, others don't, some people like pepperoni on their pizza, others like plain cheese or veggies only...Same deal. Personal preferences.

 

I've fairly recently survived, and successfully emerged from, a two-phase period of being borderline-suicidal with a definite death wish. Although, none of this was directly related to gender identity (but I do think it was indirectly related).

 

For the first phase of this period, the problem was extreme despair (for lack of a far stronger word) over being mid-30's without ever having gotten to experience the one thing I've always wished for by far above all else: a girlfriend. (I'm convinced that pages 123-124 in Anne Lawrence's book are directly related to this.) After over a year with a constant revolving door of endless, all useless, counselors, I was able to heal this wound and genuinely overcome my suicidal thoughts in a mere half hour (albeit an extremely, super awkward, but deeply, deeply appreciated half-hour) by questionably hiring a...well, nevermind, this is a family-friendly forum ;)

 

Unfortunately, only a few months after that, some unrelated things "hit the fan" so to speak, mainly related to family, a living situation and a career path I always "knew" in my heart was my path that...never really panned out, and culminated in burnout and still-ongoing soul-searching.

 

I've been very tempted in the last few years to visit some local LGBT+ gatherings, but social anxiety and self-doubt always stopped me. And now that COVID's around, I have all the more reason I need to avoid such social gatherings: I've been helping out my mom (who I'm beyond humiliated to still be financially dependent on) as she's three kinds of at-risk: Age, diabetes, and...battling cancer...

 

Ugh...when it rains, it pours...am I right?

 

But on the upside, one of my "gifts to myself" indulgences when I can afford it (I do have a very good job, it just isn't nearly enough to make a living) is the panties from LeoLines. And my pink-trimmed trans-flag pair just arrived yesterday! (Along with a super-cute trans-flag hair scrunchie to match! My first scrunchie ever!) OMG, this pair is my favorite underwear EVER!!!! Never want to take them off, never, ever ever. I'll just have to hop into the washing machine with them :)

 

I know up above I teased a possible "threshold of an early trans milestone". Tomorrow, I have my next regular appointment with my psychiatrist. I might ask about gender counseling resources. I don't know, I may chicken out, and knowing me, I probably will. But if I do ask, that'll make her the first person I know "in real life" that I come out to...

 

I'm absolutely terrified to (like I mentioned, I've always had major social anxiety and ultra-major inhibitions), but also partly aching for one of the bandages to finally be ripped off...(And I feel like my time is just tick...tick...ticking away anyway now since my hair loss seems to have suddenly kicked into high gear just this past year or so. Ugh.)

 

I swear, the older I get, the more Bon Jovi's "It's My Life" becomes my personal anthem ;)

 

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ElizabethStar
5 hours ago, Heathick said:

I swear, the older I get, the more Bon Jovi's "It's My Life" becomes my personal anthem

Love this song. I just want to live while I'm alive....

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@Heathick glad to see you expressing yourself. That is very important and healthy. Be strong with you psych because you are important and need to be able to overcome the anxiety to ask about gender help. If you can't at least hopefully you've talked about your social anxiety and perhaps meds to help with that. You can identify the issue now disarm it. If you can identify it that is over half the battle.

Good luck and be strong

Shay

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KathyLauren

Hi, Heather.

 

Congratulations on the self-analysis you have done so far.  It takes a bit of digging to sort this all out, and you are well on your way.  I wish for you the strength you need to come out to your psychiatrist.  It's a big step, bit a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.

 

Autogynephilia is a controversial subject.  The clinical descriptions fit quite well, but the conclusion of those promoting the idea is, "... and therefore you are just crazy, not trans," which is insulting and untrue. 

 

Your awareness that dressing in feminine clothing is not erotic for you is important.  When I had that awareness, it was my first clue that there was something else going on.

 

Good luck on your continuing journey!

 

Regards,

Kathy

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Hi @Heathick,

    While I can't exactly relate to everything you are going through, I did with one thing you said. I was terrified to admit to myself or anyone else that I was trans. The first person I told intentionally was my therapist. I was not there for gender issues. Sadly my reasons were abuse related. On a lighter side of this, I am much happier and more confident in who I am and how I want to be treated by others. As I was working through some really bad stuff, I also became very comfortable with them. Enter one nasty pandemic and the beginning of telephone therapy. I wasn't sure about that process but extremely grateful that my therapy would continue. First five minutes on the phone and I just let it all out. They were quiet for a moment. I was worried about what they would say. This person just stopped the session plan for the day and we talked about this at length. They were so kind and supportive. I still have to find an actual gender therapist but, this experience showed me that I really should try to embrace who I am and stop denying myself this happiness. I felt like a major weight was of my shoulders after so many years. They were thanking me for being so open and trusting. With them and some of the really supportive friends I have found here, this has helped me find good ways to tell some of my friends and family too. I would have never done that if not for taking that moment to open up in a very safe place.

    I would strongly encourage that you consider talking to your therapist. I can't give any other clue as to how your experience will go. Only do this when you feel it's a good moment but, hopefully just knowing you are not alone helps immensely. Of course you have all of us but, it truly is not the same as speaking with someone that you have met directly. 

 

Best of luck,

Abi

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Heather Nicole

Thanks, girls!!!

(Hee hee, I kind of really love saying that :))

 

And guess what? I did it! :)

 

I think it helped that it was a telephone meeting instead of face-to-face (Silver linings of virus fear. Gotta love silver linings.) And we already have very good rapport, so I knew I didn't have anything to fear from telling her, just normal nerves. At the right point in the conversation, I just felt a big urge to go through, so after a bit of mincing words, I told my psychiatrist that I was interested in finding someone good for gender counseling. She gave some thought to who she might know, but wasn't really sure so she said she's look into it for me, and see what she could find out.

 

All in all, it didn't even feel like ripping a bandaid off, it felt more like tossing off a couple heavy chains, breathing a sigh of relief, and starting an exciting journey. There's still a lot of what may be impostor syndrome, but I'm also feeling something I didn't expect: a very slight euphoria because something I'd always fantasized about, and always rejected as an impossible fantasy, all of a sudden feels like it has a little glimmer of actual reality. Eeeeee!!!!! :)

 

And there's no doubt in my mind I wouldn't have done this today if it weren't for all your kind words of support and encouragement, so thank you all again, to the whole forum!

 

Oh, PS: When I walked into work this morning, the people-counter at the door just happened to tick its last three digits over to "777". This must have been my lucky day!

 

17 hours ago, ElizabethStar said:

Love this song. I just want to live while I'm alive....

 

It's one of my favorite songs to sing in Rock Band. :) In fact, I may go back to it tonight...Maybe I'll even grab the foux guitar :)

 

16 hours ago, Shay said:

If you can't at least hopefully you've talked about your social anxiety and perhaps meds to help with that.

 

Yes, she actually already got me on an anti-anxiety about a couple years back or so, and I think that's been helping. That, along with some other non-pharmaceutical efforts I've been making.

 

16 hours ago, KathyLauren said:

Autogynephilia is a controversial subject.  The clinical descriptions fit quite well, but the conclusion of those promoting the idea is, "... and therefore you are just crazy, not trans," which is insulting and untrue. 

 

Thanks very much for the heads-up. I feel I'm still a complete novice on all the psychological theory and responses regarding transgenderness. Although I can certainly see how that idea would be controversial...

 

16 hours ago, KathyLauren said:

Your awareness that dressing in feminine clothing is not erotic for you is important.  When I had that awareness, it was my first clue that there was something else going on.

 

Thanks, I'll be sure to keep that in mind!

 

15 hours ago, Abi said:

First five minutes on the phone and I just let it all out. They were quiet for a moment. I was worried about what they would say. This person just stopped the session plan for the day and we talked about this at length. They were so kind and supportive.

 

That's so wonderful of them! You must have felt very comforted. And thanks for the advice, and for sharing!

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KathyLauren
9 hours ago, Heathick said:

All in all, it didn't even feel like ripping a bandaid off, it felt more like tossing off a couple heavy chains, breathing a sigh of relief, and starting an exciting journey. There's still a lot of what may be impostor syndrome, but I'm also feeling something I didn't expect: a very slight euphoria because something I'd always fantasized about, and always rejected as an impossible fantasy, all of a sudden feels like it has a little glimmer of actual reality. Eeeeee!!!!! :)

 

I love it!  Well done, Heather! 

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@Heathick I am so happy you were able to tell your psych. That is a tremendous and exceedingly hard thing to do. It should get easier for you to talk about things and as time goes by it will get easier. 

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14 hours ago, Heathick said:

That's so wonderful of them! You must have felt very comforted. And thanks for the advice, and for sharing!

You are so welcome. We all need to support each other. It is great news to know that you have taken this step forward. Don't rush yourself to be anything other than comfortable. Everything will become clear when the time is right. You can count on strong support here. I did feel better for sharing, once I finally did. No one can tell you what is best for you but asking for advice is a great way to see many views. Then you can choose your path with a bit more confidence. That is how we get through times of uncertainty. 

 

Best of Luck,

Abi

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On 9/23/2020 at 6:29 AM, KathyLauren said:

Your awareness that dressing in feminine clothing is not erotic for you is important.  When I had that awareness, it was my first clue that there was something else going on.

Me too.   When I first got up the nerve to dress, it just felt so right to me - it was like "FINALLY"!

And it was not erotic, just a relief.  I think that says something. 

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Heather Nicole
On 9/23/2020 at 12:56 AM, Heathick said:

(I'm convinced that pages 123-124 in Anne Lawrence's book are directly related to this.)

 

In cases anyone's counting, I mean the "reverence" stuff and "attraction to women was not expressed with typical male confidence", not the "other-directed interests" parts.

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Heather Nicole

BTW, Jandi, I love your signature quote.

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Kestrel McLoughlin

Right?? I've given tiny little TEDTalks my whole adult life about how I envy women's clothing for its versatility during summer, for the ability to look elegant at any time (there's a formal way to wear a blanket for crying out loud!!! In winter over your shoulders and in summer around your waist!!) It took me quite a while to contextualize that I didn't just want to peacock, I was very, very, very much a woman. Then the maybes came, but that's another story.

 

Welcome! (again?)

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Heather Nicole
15 hours ago, Kestrel McLoughlin said:

Right?? I've given tiny little TEDTalks my whole adult life about how I envy women's clothing for its versatility during summer, for the ability to look elegant at any time (there's a formal way to wear a blanket for crying out loud!!! In winter over your shoulders and in summer around your waist!!)

 

Wow, yeah, I definitely still have a lot to learn about women's fashion. One thing I can say though: One of my biggest summertime pet peeves is that even though women still get to wear real, actual shorts, it hasn't been kosher for me since the early 90's. (And don't even get me started on cargo shorts!)...Buuut, that might actually be more the 80's child in me than anything else ;). Heck, I still think Magnum P.I. shorts look better on guys than the parachutes down to the knees that have been such a big thing for the last 25 years.

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Kestrel McLoughlin

Yeah even beyond the usual gender policing people get a bit emotional about shorts any shorter than the knees. 
 

You think you’re uncomfortable with my thighs being visible, Mom? You have no idea what it brings up for me. 

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