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Sunday, September 10, 2006

My dog is better than yours

I’m not a psychologist. I don’t have formal training; I don’t have the sheepskin claiming my expertise in human understanding. But I have graduated from the school of hard knocks. I’ve met and had more than a casual passing relationship with more transgender people in my life than most professionals will ever see in their careers. So why do I start tonight’s article this way? There’s an aspect to our condition that I’ve never read about, nor heard, but I have experienced.

In my own young life, I had a miserable time connecting with the others in my classes at school. My parent’s attributed this to the fact that I was a year ahead of my classmates as far as age was concerned. But as I look back on my experience, I know that it was something else. And I’ve seen it in others with the dysphoric experience. I was hopelessly immature.

I honestly can not believe, although I did feel, that the other children could see through my outer shell and observe the feelings I had of my physical sex. They could not comprehend my secret thoughts; wishing I were a girl. They could never hope to understand those things not demonstrably displayed in the way I was dressed. Yet, they treated me differently. Their actions were often times cruel and deliberately hurtful.

I was different. My abilities to interact were not developed. And in this respect, I was truly a dweeb. My physical attributes did attract young women. And for my early teen years, I managed to chase away every one of them after a casual introduction. Nothing could explain the burning and hurt I would feel after every episode. My skills in communication, body language, and thought were totally emotional. I could not introduce the thought process, evaluate, and further refine them. They existed in their grade school form for much of my teen years and took several years as an adult to fully develop, much less understand.

In the transsexual world I entered in the mid 1980’s I saw similar traits play out in others I would meet in their gender dysphoric movie. Failed careers, failed relationships, and a complete loss of structure in their lives appeared on the screen. Some had been able to transcend devastation by focusing on their education. Yet the characters were the same. The plot lines were nearly identical. The sadness and desperation were all too common. Trans gendered people all portrayed pictures of undeveloped personalities. We acted in so many ways like a bunch of young teenagers.

So why, did this never come up in a group therapy session, why did I not encounter it in personal therapy sessions? Why was this an unaddressed issue in helping us? I’ve never found out. Is it something that we are able to hide from professional therapists? Is the transgender dysphoria such a powerful problem that they are unable to see it? Are the two things inexplicably intertwined? Why can they not help us with this important problem in our lives?


Copyright 2006 by Cindi Jones RSS and Atom feeds allowed. All other use by permission only.


Anonymous said...

Hi Cindi,

I came to your web site thru your link on Susan's. I think it's wonderful.

I've noticed the same maturity issue in myself that this post brings up. I've been conscious of it for years, but still have no explanation. I thought it was because I had no structure in my life when I was young, but I think your own background shows that the slower maturation may be related to something other than simply a home environment.
Sometimes I think I'm maturing slower than others because I don't have the "natural" line up of body sex and brain sex. I feel like I can't intuitively understand other people most of the time.

Rebecca Fog

Cindianna Jones said...

I believe the issue does include those things you have identified. GID is often accompanied by ADD. Those thoughts which consume us prevent us from socialization. We are often loners. We hide our emotions and feelings. It is a very complex issue.

I hope that you come back and participate in my discussions here.


amadeus said...

Hi Cindi. It has been a pleasure reading about your personal journey. Thank you for your honesty and wit. I have decided to write about my personal journey. The maturity issue is/was big for me, too. The struggle to be grown in an environment bankrupt of maturity is difficult which makes it feel almost impossible to achieve while going through transition. I have never mixed well with others. I have ADD and Bipolar. I also have a family that loves me. They have been sticking by me, no matter what. So, I decided to take the plunge and write about it. I want to be able to write and send a message to those who are in need and/or want of it. I wanted to say thank you for sharing your experience, strength, and hope.

Cindianna Jones said...

Christopher, I appreciate the comment. I'm pleased that you have your family to love you. We are the sum of the love people share with us. Keep them in your heart forever. I've been through a lot, but I've always loved my family. Sure there were times when it would have been easiest to cut them off. But I never did. I'm so happy that I did my utmost to develop and maintain a relationship with them. They have been a wonderful support to me in recent years. Some of them will never accept what I have done with my life, but we have worked around that issue.


Anonymous said...

Hello Cindi,

I have just finished reading your book, and this seems to be the only way I can express my appreciation for it. I am a little older than you, and at the point you were prepared to risk everything I was forced by circumstances to withdraw from my lifelong recognition that I was actually a girl.

Some years before you it was even more difficult for transsexuals than it was in your time. To my contemporaries who knew my dilemma I was a pervert, not someone who was born with the inner yearnings, desires, expectations of a female.

Yet these were my earliest memories and have stayed with me always. Like you I foraged for clothes where I could find them,prayed to wake up as a girl, read girls' books and magazines, and wished between my legs things were very different.

But as it is I have lived my life as if a foreigner, never quite understanding the way men think, act, believe, respond, and so forth. I have never fitted on the male side of the spectrum.

I loved it when I was younger and traveled for my work because I was able to slip into the persona that was really me. Once a trip was unexpectedly extended and I had a whole weekend as Emma which I look back on as one of the most beautiful of my life.

I know that if I were fifty years younger I would have come out at high school and would have hoped to have transitioned before going to college. I would happily give up the ability to parent children to be a woman, and I would hope a man's wife.

This note is just to thank you and to say how pleased I am to read a story about gender that truly does have a happy ending.

Love, Emma