Sorry for my absence. The soft winds and warm sun have pushed the dark clouds away.
The last few weeks have been full of highs and lows for me being Jenny. After writing my last entry in this blog, I started thinking about my next one. I had it all mapped out in my mind as I wanted to look at mirrors, reflection and the role of the digital camera. As I started writing my mental attitude changed, suddenly, as if a light switch had been flicked. One minute I was in a safe, good place and within an hour my whole outlook had changed.
I was at my desk and had typed a few paragraphs. I was remembering those early childhood days of going into my mother’s room and putting on her oversized dresses, then longing for the change to happen to my body. Whirling in front of the full length mirror, I could only see the real me, a little girl who was trying to look pretty. As I reflected, I felt that frustrated regret at things that did not happen, reminded me how my body had failed my mind. I became sad. A melancholic cloud, like invading sea mist, completely fogged my mind. I could feel the change from being mentally and physically active to a person being lost and caught up in those regrets, that self-loathing and a sickening despair. This is my dysphoria, letting me know that I was losing my battle to be Jenny.
My legs came up onto the oversized office chair as I curled my body into an uncomfortable ball. I was in male mode and starting to feel a mixture of anger and frustration at my body. My hand went up under my shirt against my chest and ignoring the soft stubble I cupped my small breast looking for any form of solace. My hand then moved and found my freshly shaved armpit, desperately looking for a physical sign that Jenny was real and I was her. I know, it seems a weird way to remind myself, but this unfortunately, did nothing to shift my mindset. So like a heavy winter snow storm, this darkness set moved in and was going to be here for a few days.
Those thoughts of self-loathing and wanting change were foremost on my mind. A good friend recently had a radical inguinal orchiectomy, due to a tumour, and now was recovering really well. Stupid thoughts, of what if this could happen to me have been plaguing my mind ever since, except of course I would get both removed. This wish became intensified as I sat there feeding fuel into this developing black void. Other thoughts about removing offending organs became intense and were counter balanced by vivid images of being Jenny. Memories of silly things I had done, like getting caught or telling lies and hiding truths came to mind, along with all the injustices I had been subjected to. The various humiliations that as kid I endured, because I wanted to be different flooded back as my security wall was breached and then, before I knew it, I was quietly crying. I was mourning my wasted dreams and a lost life.
WHOA….hold on there, you must be thinking. How can this be as bad as you are making it out to be? You seem ok, you seem coherent. You have been able to come back and write about it, so why carry on about it? I suppose you are right and maybe I am being a bit self-indulgent, but honestly that is not my intention. This sort of thing is real and I am sure I am not the only one who is effected this way. I am writing this down as a way to explore what happens and maybe help anyone, including myself, who suffers from the effects of Dysphoria.
This bout of self-paralysation lasted about an hour and I was brought back to the present by wife knocking at the study door asking if I wanted a snack. I had closed the door as the television in the next room was a bit loud and I was finding it hard to concentrate. She knocked a few times and eventually I realized, I was being asked a question. I sat up and wiped my eyes as she came in. She knew something was up and asked me straight if I was OK and did I want to talk. Of course It was way too early for me to open up and I think she sensed that.
“It’s eating at you again” A statement rather than a question. “Go have a shower and have a project night. I’ve got things to do.” A “project” night is our code for allowing Jenny out. It was one of the boundaries we set, after I told my wife, so it gave her the opportunity to have a say if she wanted to be around or if not. Usually a project night indicates that my wife, would rather not be around with Jenny. I fully understand and accept this, as my dressing was something I burdened her with late in our marriage. “I got things I want to do in my art room” she said and walked in that direction.
All I could do is nod, I don’t think I answered verbally. When I get like this I don’t know what the best is for me. Honestly I quite often just want to retreat and hide. Then, standing at the door to her studio, my wife turned and said, “I am happy to talk this through with you, but not as Her.” “I know,” I mumbled back. “But, the way I feel, I think I will shower and go to bed.”
The shower turned out to be counter constructive. I brought into the cubicle with me a couple of new razors and some shaving cream, thinking that maybe a cleansing shave of my chest would make me feel better. I did not even open the shaving cream, but just stood under the hot water for a good half hour, with my man parts tucked away from sight. This deep feeling of sadness was there to stay and it was proving to be difficult to shake off. My mind’s eye, my inner perception of what I wanted to look like, needed to see the shower water running over my slightly saggy 38C cup breasts. I needed to watch the rivulets of water course along the contours of my abdomen, smooth and soft with Rubenesque features from a painting of old. Then flowing onto soft thighs that were starting to get cellulitic and rounded. As I washed my hair, I wanted my fingers to feel my bobbed hair, clinging against my ears, while flicking my heavy fringe away from my eyes. Alas, reality is so, so different.
Out of the shower, and it was now a process of quickly rubbing the water off my body, while avoiding the mirror at all costs. I turned the light off, and in the darkness dried myself. It was easier this way, easier than seeing the reflection of the lie looking back at me. Once I had dried off and with the towel wrapped around my chest and another coiled around my head to dry my imaginary hair, I went to Jenny’s side of the wardrobe. Those 2 new dresses called out to me. They had not been worn yet, but putting one on seemed too much mental or physical effort. I buried my face in my row of dresses, breathing in Jenny, begging her to take over and put me out of my misery. Obviously she did not want to part of my glum mind. After all, why would a fun, joyful lady, inter act with an aging, confused and depressingly melancholic male.
I opened the top draw and pulled out an old soft bra, matching panties and a silky short nightie. They felt wonderful to slip into, but the feeling was fleeting. I got into bed and pulled the doona over me. By 8.30 I was asleep. I remembered before my mind closed down how wonderful those feminine garments felt, the bra snugly constricting, and the nightie liquid silk. Then my mind numbed, I registered no dreams and experienced just a complete shutdown.
Mind fog, for a better word, had arrived and I found myself sleeping in and awaking about 10am the next morning, which luckily was Saturday. My wife’s side of the bed had been slept in but she was long gone. After focusing and trying to orientating my thoughts, I realised I was alone in the house, as she wanted to be at my daughter place at 9. I cursed, but was glad I had been left to sleep. Getting out of bed and realizing I was in my nightie, I grabbed the matching dressing gown from the wardrobe and made my way into the kitchen.
I caught myself in the hall mirror, and just turned around, going back into the bedroom. Five minutes later I re-emerged, in male mode, wearing jeans and a T-shirt. I just found it too hard to be genuine, and it was easier for my mind to hide behind the wall I had built up over the years.
So that was about 2 weeks ago. I feel good now. Jenny is waiting to come out, but has shown remarkable patience as I have struggled with this dysphoric bout. The path out took time, during which I was running on 3 out a possible 6 cylinders. I was lethargic, and lacklustre. I slept a lot, failing asleep on the couch as soon as I sat down after work. Little things irritated me, so I withdrew. The usual symptoms and actions were showing and the first step to take is to recognize what this was happening. Finally, after all these years, I think I can realize when I am having a problem. This makes starting those first steps easier to undo any self-destruction. And by self-destruction, I include those negative feeling and self-loathing that occurs.
I talked to a couple of close friends, on line and on the phone, who only know me as Jenny not as the male alter ego. Chatting with people who understand is so important. I know enough of myself that I could possible work out this attack by myself, but having others in your corner helps so much. The message that comes though is one of understanding, more of a non-judgemental echo that tells you are OK and you have to now move forward. When I feel down, I withdraw to my own space, as I do not want to burden my wife. So for the first few days, it’s all about clearing away the negativity and the internet is wonderful for that. I will visit many of the positive role models on the net, ladies who exude positivity especially Stana at Femulate, and Kandi’s Land, to single out a few. In fact most that I follow make me feel good.
Then, going through pictures of Jenny, just reinforces the positive and happy experiences, I feel when I am my true self. That’s why I take pictures, they are reminders of who I am. Being among my clothes, in my wardrobe lightens the load, although I feel way too ugly to try anything on. So slowly over time, I was able to pick myself up. A couple of long walks, listening to Sarah Brightman, let me face my reality and made me wonder what all the fuss was about.
By the following Sunday, my wife sat down after breakfast and we sort of talked. I find it hard as the years go by to talk about Jenny with her, especially what my path should be. I have put my wife through a lot and I am so aware that when we got married she did not sign up to be with the changeling within me. She fully accepts that deep down I am Jenny, but we both know there is a heavy price that will be needed to be paid in full if that path is ever fully realised. The conversation was good, buoyant and positive, stirring the realm of reality that needed to be brought into play. Being ever practical, my wife knows I have to defeat the negativity by my will power, so she talked about what was I going to do. She feels that I should see a professional again, something I have been putting off for so long. I know she is right.
Easter came and with the family all getting together, it felt good. Jenny watched from the sideline and so I played my usual head of the family role. That’s what is expected and it’s a responsibility that give stability to the family.
I feel back on track. I feel I can engage the world. Jenny has won another battle.
Sorry for my absence.