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About feelings of shame


MiloR

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Hi everyone !

Ok, so... I think I have a question, which might be quite simple, but the anwser to it may not be so.

How to deal with feelings of shame regarding gender ? It's just something that I struggle with a lot, and even if I tell myself that I musn't be ashamed to think I'm probably a guy, knowing it and feeling it really are different stories. And I think my shame is blocking me from acknowledging what I feel most comfortable with in being and in the way I want to present. Because for example I feel sad when I dress as a woman, but so embarrassed when I dress as a man because some part of me tells me it's inappropriate or even dangerous... And so, experimenting and presenting myself as who I want to be gets cloaked by my fears and some kind of stupid conviction that it's somehow "bad" and that I'm not normal... So if you had any advice for me to feel a bit better about myself (also to have a clearer idea of who I am without constantly judging if what I do is good/bad), or tell me how you managed to let go of that specific fear of not being normal or anything, it would be greatly appreciated. I'm aware shame must be a common feeling, but you know, if you had any tricks... I think I could see better who I am rather than who I'm taught to be.

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Jackie C.

Personally, I just gritted my teeth, pulled on my big-girl panties and went for it. The fear of exposure and shame went away after a few public outings where nobody so much as raised an eyebrow in my direction. I was pretty indifferent to my male persona's appearance. I simply did not care. Not so with appearing as a woman. I color-coordinate my gym outfits. Nobody cares about my gym outfits, but I still put together a coordinated look to go sweat in. It's like night and day.

 

The point being that going out as yourself is kind of a rite of passage. There's always some fear in the beginning. I have a friend who likened us to vampires because we only come out at night and shy away from bright lights. With practice though, comes confidence. Take the plunge!

 

Hugs!

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2 hours ago, Jackie C. said:

Personally, I just gritted my teeth, pulled on my big-girl panties and went for it.

Yeah, this is pretty much what I did.  It was scary at first, but I lived through it.  Now it's just routine.

I think the shame aspect was my internalized transphobia - which is a real thing.

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Shame is a tough one to crack since it is actually fear of what others would think or how we may injure them.  Other people will say you hurt them, but then be unable to say how you did it if pressed for an answer.  In reality the "hurt" was more in your imagination of the hurt to them.  Females dressing in more masculine attire really are no big deal except in isolated areas where "propriety" passions run high, and clothing is considered uniforms.  Ease your way into your masculine presentation with a new hair cut (no beards or mustaches yet), and easing in more male mannerisms over time simply make the behaviors YOURS to own in comfort.  Don't do it all at once will help. 

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Hey everyone, thank you for all of your answers, it's greatly appreciated, and it's nice to know fear doesn't last forever...

Thing is, I know that a more masculine haircut would help me pass more, but I'm afraid of what it represents... I'm afraid to lose myself with doing so, it might sound silly... Cause it's just a haircut and I've had short hair before... And I don't know, going to a hairdresser and paying more for my haircut than a man because i'm born a girl makes me sick... And I'm afraid they would cut my hair short but like short in a woman-like shape.

I don't know, maybe I think too much ?

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Jackie C.
1 hour ago, MiloR said:

I don't know, maybe I think too much ?

 

Probably, but I think we all overthink things in the beginning. While I've never lived in Poland, I'd think you'd be able to get a short man's style if you wanted and nobody would think anything of it. The truth is most people are too tied up in their own lives to pay attention to yours.

 

Hugs!

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1 hour ago, Jackie C. said:

 

Probably, but I think we all overthink things in the beginning. While I've never lived in Poland, I'd think you'd be able to get a short man's style if you wanted and nobody would think anything of it. The truth is most people are too tied up in their own lives to pay attention to yours.

 

I live in France, but yes. You're probably right :) I think I'll just try to relax, those questions are driving me nuts these days. If I go cut my hair people won't say anything, that's very likely, you're perfectly right ^^'

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Jackie C.

My fault, I was thinking @Danusia for some reason. Maybe I need a nap. It's been a LONG week. 😜

 

I know it's only Tuesday. Oh my Goddess...

 

Hugs!

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I saw this years ago and had to keep it LOL

DB970538-5D8F-4296-8C00-34DC78C815CA.thumb.jpeg.de6f7ead2eb78c30b839a1537886713a.jpeg

 

For me it was my beard.  I had been hiding behind it most of my life. 

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Don't worry @Jackie C. 😄 But take this nap if you need it though, it's better to be well-rested 😊

Ah, well thanks for sharing @Jandi it made me laugh, it's a good comic 😄 And I get what you say about the beard, I think it was the same with my makeup for a time, I was hiding behind a ton of lipstick to feel safe. Glad it's behind me.

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First of all, I totally agree that fear never goes away until you do it and, until one day you look back and think "what was I so scared about?"

 

I had the same problem of being afraid of losing parts of myself, and needing to taste the waters first. What I did (and still am doing as of today) is to take it in baby steps. I.e. about the hair cut - you go to a hairdresser and get a short cut, even if it still is woman-style. It's a big step but you have not totally crossed the lines. About clothes - you choose a t-shirt and a button down that look masculine, but combine them with feminine pants that hug your hips. You get the idea. And with every thing you try, you pay attention if it feels right or not. 

 

I totally get the feeling of needing to rush into it. But it actually makes it harder. Small steps get you there faster, because you don't have to deal with so much inner resistance. And truth is, no body is gonna blink an eye at a girl with jeans and a shirt in France, the fear is all ours.

 

Ah! By the way, something that really helps me... because I might be going in the male direction but I'm gayer than gay... Pick the right shoes, and it's the deal. I don't know what's your style (sneakers, boots, whatever works for you). I put on my low cowboy boots and I feel the kingy queen (???) ;)

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For years and years I thought my need to experience being a woman was deeply shameful and I feared ever telling anyone about it let alone the possibility of going out in the big bad world as a woman. But once I had made the step of revealing this need to my wife and getting help from a therapist and people like in this forum I began to realise that there IS NO SHAME in being transgender and now I am proud to be who and what I am. 

 

My only shame is in having been so afraid of revealing how I needed to be to my wife in all those years and that I caused so much hurt to my wife as a result of the lies and hiding of the truth. It's getting better now and she accepts how I am, although has difficulty supporting me. 

But when I am Niamh, I feel no shame, and should never do so again. 

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DonkeySocks
4 hours ago, Jandi said:

internalized transphobia - which is a real thing.

@MiloR, track that shame down. Somebody taught you to feel it. Find out where it comes from in your life. It could be longstanding. But admittedly, it can sometimes and in certain cases be dangerous presenting how we want to. So separate out completely false shame from fears that have truth in them. Then you can weigh your options more realistically.

 

@Jandi, re: the internalized transphobia--ugh. It is absolutely a real thing, as you say. I can't believe some of the ugliness that cropped up in me when I first came to this forum. Some of the prejudices and ugly thoughts I had when I read some of the posts. It had to be deeply ingrained and I'm glad to have role models online to show how NOT to go down that road. I had some of it come up when I looked at the reddit transgender positive group. Looking at it enough made me begin to change my thoughts. But I had to become aware of them first. I don't even know where some of this trash came from, but it's probably twisted up with feeling like what I am is wrong or offensive, so I should be offended in turn. Anyway, not to derail Milo's post, just... yeah, internalized transphobia is something I've been forced to look at lately.

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DonkeySocks
2 hours ago, MiloR said:

I'm afraid to lose myself with doing so, it might sound silly... Cause it's just a haircut and I've had short hair before... And I don't know, going to a hairdresser and paying more for my haircut than a man because i'm born a girl makes me sick... And I'm afraid they would cut my hair short but like short in a woman-like shape.

I don't know, maybe I think too much ?

About the haircut... maybe you feel like you'd be losing something because this is the first time you'd have it cut short expressly to reveal your gender identity to yourself and others? It could feel like more a point of no return if you're doing it for reasons like that and not only for fashion.

 

I have long hair again now, but when I went to have my first short haircut with the purpose of masculinizing my image, the hairdresser chickened out and wouldn't cut it as short as I wanted. Definitely show a picture and specify that you want it boyish. If you have nice, long hair some stylists might be disinclined to take it all off. I should have been more insistent. Be specific.

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Hey you all, thank you for sharing your views on this.

 

@Noah A, thank you for what you're saying about fear. I've already tried more masculine clothes and I was so euphoric with them I was dancing in front of the mirror after buying them, you know... So I won't deny I like them, and feel more appropriate in them. But sometimes I feel like I could regret it, being masculine. I don't know. I think it's the fear that makes me think that way. And for shoes, god, I would really really love to have men's shoes and I'm not fond of sneakers, so finding masculine boots at my size feels like a real challenge... And it's getting harder and harder to just go shopping theses days with the covid, so...

 

@Niamh, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I'm aware it's an important matter in relationships and I'm having trouble making even my name accepted by my family, so it's going to be a long journey, I feel. But I really wish to be more "me" and they aren't really helping, at the moment 😕

 

@DonkeySocks Yes I think you're perfectly right about saying someone taught me to feel that way. I was raised with the idea a girl is supposed to be attractive to be liked so being "beautiful" was a way of pleasing my parents and being loved. So... That pattern is hard to let go of. And yes, I think you have a point in saying I must separate real fears from shame. Oh, and I think I might have had internalised transphobia too (because I had internalised homophobia for a time too and it was hard to get rid of it too earlier in my life), so don't worry about talking about it, this is a very interesting matter to me.

And for the haircut, I experienced exatcly what you said when I had it cut short last time. The hairdresser said something like "you don't want it short like a man, do you ?" and I just retracted out of fear of being ugly or inappropriate and ended up having longer hair than I initially wanted so... I was a half-victory there... Next time I'll insist. Thank you for reminding me.

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I don't know if this would help, but when I was first dealing with questioning my gender, I first considered myself as nonbinary.  After awhile I became more confident as openly being MtF.  Perhaps for you that might be a better way to think of yourself?

Just an idea.

 I think a lot of us kinda evolve into knowing ourselves.  I have come to see life as a process these days.

I am satisfied with how I identify now, but I am still evolving in many other ways.  I think when we stop growing, we are dead.

Just some thoughts.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Jandi said:

I don't know if this would help, but when I was first dealing with questioning my gender, I first considered myself as nonbinary.  After awhile I became more confident as openly being MtF.  Perhaps for you that might be a better way to think of yourself?

Just an idea.

 I think a lot of us kinda evolve into knowing ourselves.  I have come to see life as a process these days.

I am satisfied with how I identify now, but I am still evolving in many other ways.  I think when we stop growing, we are dead.

Just some thoughts.

 

 

In fact, I've identified for two years as genderfluid, when I first discovered I suffered dysphoria... And this helped because I wasn't letting go of who I was before and everything right away. But I feel like it ended up being an excuse for being in denial ? The thing is I think being feminine is... Easier. Also because I naturally look feminine, and beautiful when I do so. But I feel like it's me wearing a costume when I dress in women's clothes... I just feel uncomfortable, trapped. That's why I'm beginning to think I might be trans... But... I don't really like the idea of being "in the middle". It doesn't sound like "me". Or maybe it is because the idea makes me uncomfortable (and maybe that's some kind of internalised transphobia talking ? I'm not sure). And the idea of being ftm satisfies me as much as it scares me because I still have doubts about a lot of stuff. Yeah, when I said I'm overthinking stuff... It's a difficult habit to tackle 😅

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1 hour ago, MiloR said:

And the idea of being ftm satisfies me as much as it scares me because I still have doubts about a lot of stuff. Yeah, when I said I'm overthinking stuff... It's a difficult habit to tackle 😅

I know exactly what you mean when you're talking about overthinking stuff. I only came to terms with the fact that my gender might not be what I thought like a week ago. All I've been able to do since then is constantly analyze everything about myself, my life, and my past to try to figure it. It can be very disorienting.

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2 hours ago, sparky said:

I know exactly what you mean when you're talking about overthinking stuff. I only came to terms with the fact that my gender might not be what I thought like a week ago. All I've been able to do since then is constantly analyze everything about myself, my life, and my past to try to figure it. It can be very disorienting.

Yes, I tend to do the exact same thing. It's a bit frustrating to not be able to state exactly what things are, or rather, to just get rid of all the denial and the fear... And just accept what's happening. Sometimes I wish all those questions were just a nightmare and I'd like to wake up tomorrow and think hey what a horrible dream I'm glad I'm cis but... I guess that would not be me in the end... Because when I actually wake I just realise I'm still stuck in the "wrong" body so... Yeah. I'm definitely not cis and will never be, whatever I am

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Jackie C.
1 hour ago, MiloR said:

Yeah. I'm definitely not cis and will never be, whatever I am

 

Oh, if you go for some kind of medical transition at your age I think you'll be really surprised at the kind of results you could achieve if you wanted to go that route. You're already a @MiloR though. Nothing can change that. Whatever you choose to do is just about making yourself comfortable in your own skin. If Milo needs a couple of tweaks, to feel cozy, so be it. If you don't, that's OK too.

My only real caution is to think long and hard before ... I did not think of the way that's going to sound to a FtM, but OK ... CAREFULLY CONSIDER any steps that might be difficult to take back. Otherwise, your comfort with yourself and your own body is the only metric that matters.

 

Hugs!

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1 hour ago, MiloR said:

 Sometimes I wish all those questions were just a nightmare and I'd like to wake up tomorrow and think hey what a horrible dream I'm glad I'm cis but... I guess that would not be me in the end... Because when I actually wake I just realise I'm still stuck in the "wrong" body so... Yeah. I'm definitely not cis and will never be, whatever I am

I've had those thoughts too. I've found myself wishing that I could just flip a switch and be a cis male, or was just afab and be done with it. Like In those moments I feel like I don't even care which one it is, I just don't want to feel like -this-.  I don't know if it's helpful, but you're definitely not alone. I don't know what I am either, but I really want to get past the question and get to the answer.

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1 hour ago, Jackie C. said:

 

Oh, if you go for some kind of medical transition at your age I think you'll be really surprised at the kind of results you could achieve if you wanted to go that route. You're already a @MiloR though. Nothing can change that. Whatever you choose to do is just about making yourself comfortable in your own skin. If Milo needs a couple of tweaks, to feel cozy, so be it. If you don't, that's OK too.

My only real caution is to think long and hard before ... I did not think of the way that's going to sound to a FtM, but OK ... CAREFULLY CONSIDER any steps that might be difficult to take back. Otherwise, your comfort with yourself and your own body is the only metric that matters.

What do you mean by the fact I could be surprised at the results @Jackie C.? I would work better to transition because I am young, or... ? I'm not extensively informed about those things at the moment.

In any way, I'm not planning on starting T tomorrow, don't worry 😊 I'm trying to figure out what I need, and would want to really be sure if I were to do any medical transition. The thought of doing it is both scaring and not scaring, because as you said, I know I'll still be me whatever I do... But I would hate to go through all those changes and still feel uncomfortable, so... I'll be careful. But I would really love to feel whole and powerful, that's for sure.

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Jackie C.

Well, the youngness helps obviously but even older trans-men... basically vanish. It's a little scary how well they pass and how quickly. T is a hell of a drug. I wish it went the other way too but...

 

Yeah, no you're a thinker. I wouldn't expect you to jump in with both feet and that's a good thing. You've got plenty of time to figure it out.

 

Hugs!

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1 hour ago, sparky said:

I've had those thoughts too. I've found myself wishing that I could just flip a switch and be a cis male, or was just afab and be done with it. Like In those moments I feel like I don't even care which one it is, I just don't want to feel like -this-.  I don't know if it's helpful, but you're definitely not alone. I don't know what I am either, but I really want to get past the question and get to the answer.

Yes, it is helpful, you have really no idea how helpful it is to know I'm not alone. It actually makes my day. Sometimes when I think about it too much I just sort of feel like I'm going crazy and it's a relief to know I'm not... I mean at the moment I can't say I know people who really understand what I'm going through, so I'm glad to have your thoughts !

And I get it. I would love to have an answer and be confident about it... But I can't completely deny the way I was educated, so it's hard to see clearly what I want sometimes. It's so uncomfortable to be like "in the middle" and wanting stuff but not being sure if you're prepared to loose what you already have... That's difficult.

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1 hour ago, Jackie C. said:

Well, the youngness helps obviously but even older trans-men... basically vanish. It's a little scary how well they pass and how quickly.

Okay, well, I didn't know youngness helped that much. That's a good thing to know, I guess. And yes, I've heard the results with T are impressive. So I definetly won't do anything that I'm not sure of, and even if I would sometimes like things to go faster, I would hate to make a rash decision on something so important !

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