Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Girl Inside

I'm a girl. I realize I don't look like one physically right now but inside, I am a girl. For a long time I asked myself "why?". Why do I think I'm a girl? Is it the clothes? The accessories? The feminine shape? The different kind of relationships held between girls? Was it that I didn't feel man enough?

All of these questions and so many more went through my head, trying to figure out why I felt this way. The fact of the matter is....all of the answers to these questions did not even come close to adding up to the feeling I have inside me. The feeling that something was not right with my life...with my own body.

I agreed to marry Jessica almost 5 years ago, before God. The pastors words still ring in my head "Marriage is not something to be taken lightly....but it is something to be taken soberly." Was I really sober in that moment? Was I really ever myself? In that moment and every moment before and after?

Growing up, I was a pretty normal boy. I had a lot of ambition and I was very independent. My mother had a very controlling spirit and I complied unquestioningly most of my life because I loved her dearly and the thought of her being hurt in any way was too unbearable. It's because of this that I believe I hid these inner feelings of "something not right"...even from myself. Many people I have told about what's going on in my life have been very confused. They say "But you are the rock! You are the strong one!" Well I believe I was so much the rock, the strong one...that I buried these feelings deep inside myself so I could live as the man everyone around me needed me to be.

I reached out to girls constantly. I can name every girl I've ever longed for companionship with since kindergarten. You think I'm kidding: Lagine, Sarah, Tiffany, Sheila, Amy, Nicole, Michelle, Anne, Rachel, Marisa, Leigh, Jasmine, Schuyler, Su, Kaylin, Sarah, Cathy, Jessica. Ok I might've missed a couple. The point is there was something missing in my life and somehow I realized this and reached out to other girls.

In 4th grade, I remember telling the girl I had a crush on that I "wanted to be a girl". That seems to be the first peek I have of my true feelings from my past. The girl was kind of tomboyish and didn't really think much of it, I guess. I do remember her asking me to the valentine's dance the next year....it's interesting to think of the role reversal there.

In high school, I allowed another friend of mine to paint my nails. This brought on mixed emotions.....a moment of giddiness trapped inside a hurricane of doubt and despair. I kept them painted all the next day at school and enjoyed it. If anyone asked about them, I blamed it on my friend, claiming she "made me do it". That night, I made her take the polish off....my life would not allow me to be what I wanted to be.

I clung to the fact that my body was male so that's how I should live my life. That's what made everyone else happy, that's what made my mom happy.

Another time in high school, the same friend that painted my nails.....dressed up a good friend of mine in a dress and did his makeup and took his picture. I remember hearing about it and seeing the pictures and once again being caught up in a hurricane of emotions....jealousy surrounded and covered by laughter. I laughed at how ridiculous my friend looked in the pictures and yet inside I was dying, completely dying to have been in his place.

Everything I did growing up seemed to be overcompensating for these feelings inside. I sang bass in choir....refused to sing in the upper registers because that wasn't "manly". I often had people mistake me for a girl for some reason and I was deeply offended by it. I cut my hair short often because of it. I was deathly afraid of accidentally buying articles of clothing or things like sunglasses that were women's. If something looked unisex, I steered clear as well. I even started drinking beer because too many of my friends would talk about other drinks like they were "for girls". My point here is NOT that these things are all girly or all manly. My point is that I did everything in my power to steer clear from these feelings I had inside.

I continued to do all the "right" things a boy growing into a man should do. I graduated from High school, was successful in the workplace very early on, I spent a lot of my free time constructively teaching myself how to write software and fix computers, I went to college, I got married, made successful job moves that resulted in higher salary, bought a house, began working on "having kids". Mind you, this whole time I was walking with the Lord as well. I was involved in different outreach ministries and playing the bass guitar on the worship team. I continually tried to be the man of God that everyone needed me to be. But I didn't realize that the pot of discord in my soul was still being stirred.

During our marriage there were a couple times that I found myself dressing up in Jessica's lingerie in the bedroom. I tried to make it seem like it was her idea , that she was "making me" do it. Much like the way my friend in high school dressed up my other friend. There was a mixture of that same feeling.....something from inside coming out.....only to be pressed back down again. Each time this happened, it was just a quick encounter that ended by taking the clothes off and going back to my life as a man. One or two of the times I had been drinking too much and Jessica would come home to find me dressed up in such a way and I'd be making the lame excuse that she "made me do it telepathically". At the time, I didn't know what all this meant, I just buried it all again as soon as I could.

Fast forward to Year 2009. March. I started reading an online webcomic in which part of the plot line involved a guy being accidentally transformed into a girl. I know it sounds stupid....lots of people have read this comic and never had anything happen to them. But when I read it, something inside me, among all the discord I'd been hiding my whole life, completely snapped. It was like that pot of discord being stirred in my soul suddenly had an avenue to come out!

Soon after this, I found myself at a church men's retreat. As with many other times, I felt so out of place surrounded by all of these men. Even more than usual, something just wasn't right. I came home that weekend and suggested to Jessica that we dress me up in a dress and makeup and hang around the house together as 2 girls. Jessica went along with it mostly because every other time this had happened, it was short-lived. She didn't understand it any more than i did. What she didn't realize was this time, it was totally different. It was no longer something for the bedroom....it was exploring a side of me I had buried for so long.

She showed me how to do some basic makeup and dressed me up in a full dress. She also curled my hair a little to make it look a little more feminine. I still remember looking into the mirror that day and seeing a glimpse of the girl inside. The feeling inside was indescribable. It was like the hurricane of chaos inside my heart became immediately completely still. The sense of completeness and peace in my heart and soul was so serene. My heart started beating furiously and a million butterflies fluttered in my stomach. It was like all of those feelings I had buried for so long came rushing back out of me in a torrent of howling rain in all directions.

The next few months resulted in me dressing as a woman around the house sometimes when I was at home. It had a deep impact on our marriage and Jessica tried to compromise to minimize how often it happened. That seemed to work for a while but I knew that she hated it.

One day I decided I was going to go outside dressed as a woman. It was something very simple: getting the mail. The experience was exhilarating and yet because of it, Jessica suggested I start seeing a counselor.

So I did just that. I began seeing a psychologist who was also an elder at my church. He helped me explore my past and realize that I had kept many feelings hidden from even myself. He did not however think it had anything to do with gender despite where I felt the facts lay. He even admitted to not having experience in the 'gender' areas of the psychology world. Because of this, I decide to seek out a counselor who did have such experience.

But before that happened, I stopped dressing up. It came to me the day after I had a wonderful dress up day. I felt like a beautiful girl and the mirror seemed to show that, even though the camera would not. That day I realized that somehow, someway I needed to do more than just dress up at home. Something else needed to be done. I was talking with some other people online when somebody made the joking suggestion that my crossdressing was just a clear path to transitioning to an actual woman, physically. Note: many crossdressers are satisfied with just dressing as a woman once in a while so this is not true for everyone but for me, the realization of it hit me like a truck. If I continued on this path of crossdressing, I would not...I could not....stop until I was a woman in physical form. The thought of this scared me. My 27 years of suppressing these feelings were instantly upon me once again telling me why I should not be doing this....I was born a boy...I should be a man. So I did what I had done all my life. I got rid of all of those feelings, all of those clothes, those high-heeled shoes, the makeup, all of it. Sold it on ebay, gave it away.

Everyone that knew about what was going on supported me in my decision. It felt like the right thing to do and yet I descended into great depression. Everyday was dreary. I went to work, I came home, I slept. That was it. I was going through the motions. I could no longer live my life now knowing that I was not living it as myself. Jessica hated seeing me so depressed and yet she knew she couldn't handle me becoming a woman. The more time went on, the more I knew I couldn't survive like this. I started to realize that no matter what reasons I could come up with how I felt like I felt...there was always something deeper. This led me to believe the only explanation was that there was something inside me that knew something was different.....it must be biological, chemical.

The theory is that the human fetus is inherently female in the womb. The chromosomes XX and XY determine the sex of the baby but they are for most of the pregnancy just the instructions that tell the body when to send waves of hormones (testosterone for boys, estrogen for girls) into the fetus to shape the organs for the correct sex. What happens in some cases is that the gonads are correctly formed but something goes wrong in the process and the brain is left in the wrong state to match the sexual organs. The child is then left with a female brain inside a male body.

So what about God? God doesn't make mistakes, does he? Well I don't believe He does. But he did give us free will. The choice to do good or do evil. Doing evil is equal to sin and sin has consequences and those consequences involve many different things , not just in the lives of those who make them but also in their children. I'll use the example of Jessica's infertility problems as an analogy. Did God mean for her to have trouble conceiving a child? I don't believe so in the least! If we didn't have free will and we always made good choices and so did our parents and our parents' parents....then the world would not be the broken place it is. Great grandma Joline might not've been smoking when she had her daughter Kristy who then passed down a defective gene to her daughter and to her daughter and to hers, all the way down to Jessica who now has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and therefore trouble conceiving children.

Now that Jessica has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, should she just trust God and keep trying to conceive hoping for a miracle alone? Or should she seek out the help of the doctors of our world and the technology that God has allowed for her to still conceive children? I believe God gave us a brain, we should therefore use it.

In the same way if your child gets deathly sick, do you wait on God for a miracle? Or do you take them to the doctor? I think the answer is quite rhetorical.

So back to me. I really and truly believe I should have been born a girl. God meant for me to be born a girl. Something happened, be it free will, sin, whatever it was...something chemical, biological happened in the process of my birth that caused me to be born in a male body. All my life I denied it and once I realized the truth, I could no longer live in that ignorance.
Should I then deny it? Should I wait for God to do a miracle? Or should I look to medical means to fix my condition....similar to Jessica's plight for having kids? Again, the answer is quite rhetorical.

Once I had realized all of these things and started to believe them, the guys at my bible study group, after being notified by my wife about my change of heart, had to tell me how wrong I was based on their knowledge of scripture and what they thought they understood about me and what I should or shouldn't do. I went willingly to these sessions, there were 2 of them in total. They both ended up with me crying my eyes out because I knew what they were saying but I also knew what was going on inside me. The second time this happened, I decided that the only way to solve the problem was to end it all.

I drove home that night with full intent of killing myself. I would go home, shut the garage, and leave the truck running until I passed out from carbon monoxide poisoning. Well I got home and my wife was getting out of her car so I didn't have the chance. But the next morning, I woke up at 5am and did just that. I texted a message to a choice few that knew what was going on with a short note telling them that I was sorry for being selfish but I couldn't take it anymore and I felt like maybe God would rather have me dead than be a woman. One friend of mine called me back immediately and tried to talk me out of it but I told him I was going thru with it. My wife woke up suddenly and put a stop to it though. What resulted was a hospital visit and then a few days in the psych ward at the hospital because I couldn't honestly say I wouldn't try it again.

Shortly after coming out of the psych ward, I decided to see another counselor....one with Gender Identity experience. Once I started seeing her, I was amazed. She told me from the very start that she would support me in whatever my decision was as far as transitioning or not. I knew that my other counselor would not show the same support. He would always choose to direct me away from any possibilities of this being something I was born with and try to explain it in any other possible means necessary. So after only a couple sessions with my new counselor, I stopped seeing the old one.

Well a month or two has gone by and I am now in the midst of self acceptance. I'm no longer thinking "I want to be a girl". I really and truly believe I AM a girl inside. And that's ok. I realize this complicates things with my marriage and at this point in my life I don't blame Jessica if she wants out. I know I need to do this. I need to be myself and not be who everyone else around me wants or needs me to be. My family of course has taken it pretty hard as well....they like many others do not understand at all. I can only hope that in time they can come to love and accept me as the daughter and sister I was supposed to be.

So some of you might ask what to call me now, do I have a name in mind? Yes, I do. Debra. You might also be asking if I like men now. Well I don't. There's nothing about a man's body that's attractive to me. I have heard that some people's perspectives can change regarding this after being on hormones for a time and I'm open to that possibility. For now, I'm still committed to Jessica but I do believe at this point in our lives that she would be better off without me. The man she needs is no longer here and she does not want to raise kids with another woman.

We are trying to sell our house in the midst of a foreclosure. Jessica's bouts of unemployment being one cause but also the cost of transition and the state of our marriage hanging in the balance.

This week, I'm starting laser hair removal on my face to get rid of my beard. Over a week ago I began living life as Debra almost everyday but still outside of work. Next month, I will store some sperm for preservation in case I still want kids in the future and shortly after I will hopefully begin Hormone Replacement Therapy which will start the process of my biological transition to womanhood. I envision 6 months after that , living "full time" as Debra including at work when hopefully my hair will have grown out as well as some other milestones that will make me and my coworkers more comfortable. At that point, I'll also legally change my name and my gender marker on my driver's license. I envision scheduling the final surgery, Gender Reassignment Surgery, for sometime 1+ years or more after such a time as I go full time at work.

I've been asked not to take communion at my church because the elders believe what I'm doing is wrong in the eyes of God. I , however, believe that God still loves me and understands what I'm going through and therefore feel like taking communion is really between me and God. But out of respect for the elders, I've committed to stop going to that church which also frees me up to visit other churches as myself, Debra.

So that's where I'm at as of October 13, 2009. Things could change but I can see a clear path ahead of me. Thank you to those of you who openly accept and support me for who I am but also to those of you who still love me even if you can't accept or support who I am and what I feel I need to do.


Lori D said...

You're on a path that you may be unable to slow down on. It appears to me that you've resigned to the idea of staying in the marriage and that transition is the only viable alternative. The only thing I feel compelled to share is to not set in stone every part of the process. Let it come in it's time, and continue to search your own heart while asking God to "search me and know my heart, test me and know of my anxious thoughts; see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

Jessica De Leon said...


Your posts are always so heartfelt. I never quite know how to respond because your journey is so complex and life-altering. Just remember that you always have a friend here in Florida and I support you. Keep writing, I hope that it is helping you progress. As usual, all my best :)


Leslie Ann said...

Wow, Debra, what a beautifully written and wrenching account. I know well some of the feelings you describe here. I'm not nearly as sure of my path as you are, but I know that I feel much more self-confident and assured when I present as a woman.

It's great that you have a plan, just keep the timeline flexible. All the best, sister!

Petra Bellejambes said...

Debra - I am only newly introduced to your blog. Most of my insights into your life and experience come from this incredible post. To describe a life in 3500 is an impossibility, but you have done precisely that, and so well. I feel aquainted with you, and happier than I can express that you are here to be, think, and live a rich life.

So glad to see you emerge from the dark place you must have been in.

Respectfully and hopefully yours ...

Post a Comment

Total Pageviews