|Photo Courtesy Becca McHaffie|
During my long path to finally discovering I wasn't a man at all, I realized I made many mistakes along the way when I considered how I treated women. First of all, I was very shy around girls and or women, so I had a tendency to go slow when I actually met one. In fact my shyness held me back from really getting to know the gender I was so attracted to, for all the wrong reasons. By the wrong reasons I mean I didn't really want to date or be with a girlfriend, I wanted to be them. For this reason, I think most women weren't particularly attracted to me. I certainly wasn't one of the so called "bad boys" but came off as being too nice. I had one woman in college tell me something to the effect I was similar to dating a comfortable living room chair. Which was the last time I ever saw her.
I guess I was trying too hard not to be the guy around me who only mentioned a girls' physical attributes. When at the same time, I secretly wanted to be the girl the guys were making all the fuss about. In turn, these girls were the focus of how I wanted to look like in front of the mirror when I had the rare privacy to cross dress. My feelings also carried over into my sports activities when I would watch the cheerleaders instead of concentrate on my position on the football team. I again thought the cheerleaders had such an easier and glamourous life, so I wanted to be them.
About this time, the military draft stepped in to change my life forever. I was forced to go to college earlier than I should have so I could put off the draft as long as possible, The whole experience reinforced my inner opinion women had it better because they didn't have a forced military adventure in their future. For some reason, after my current fiancé and I called it quits, I decided to go it alone during my three years in the Army. Sure it was lonely and often I was envious when my friends received all their letters (remember them?) from home. The only correspondence I ever received was from my Mom. I learned the hard way what didn't kill you made you stronger. The true reason, deep down, I didn't follow up on any possible female attention I could have had was because I wasn't so sure of where my deep seated gender dysphoria would take me.
It turned out to be my own forced loneliness was the smart way to go. The whole process enabled me to see the extent of my gender dysphoria and try to come up with any sort of plan to deal with it. Of course that was easier said than done. When I returned to civilian life, I basically started back in where I had left off. Secretly attempting to sneak in dressing in women's clothes whenever I could find the time and privacy. Plus the birth of my daughter, all of the sudden added another spectrum to my life. Like it or not, she brought stability. Which for me was often hard to accept. Even still, stability did not bring any major changes to my gender issues. During this time I was suffering from undiagnosed Bi-Polar mood swings and gender problems dealing from not being able to get out from behind the mirror and free myself from my gender closet.
With therapy to help my mood swings and gender knowledge from the internet to help me, I slowly began to see the light at the end of the tunnel was not the train. In essence I had to set aside most of my past male self and learn all I could about living a life from a woman's perspective. The entire process was terrifying, exhausting and exciting all at the same time. Before I knew it, I could put a huge portion of my past behind and start building a promising new future. Free from my dark and lonely gender closet.
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