I guess I have to explain what I mean by my title. I will try to explore and discover any clues or hints from my past that might indicate that I had a foggy gender sense earlier in my life; way earlier then when I first identified fully as a woman. Memories are difficult to hang on to and interpret the meaning assigned to them by myself. And, these difficulties is part of my gender fog. Like in a fog you can’t see very well or distinguish things clearly. There are two main factors for most of all this fogginess I had experience. One is the fog of addiction, beginning at 11 years of age until my mid-20s; the other was the fog of depression and anxiety, lasting 30 plus years after beating the addiction to alcohol and drugs until my mid-50s.
I have decided to break this all up into several posts. Part one is exploring my life up to when I graduated high school. Part two will explore the long years between high school until I finally consciously discovered my gender was female. Part three will be an analysis of the past in terms of what I think was going on underneath the gender fog, and see whatever clarity I may find.
Why am I doing it? Is it important? Will it affect how I see myself as a woman or how I actually live my life?
To answer the last question first it doesn’t and it won’t. This is because at the moment it really is having no significant impact on me, and this I am highly confident of the answer; the reason for this is because I can’t imagine anything that could change this believe (it amounts to a firm belief and is radically not open to revision), but in saying this I am not stating this in absolute terms. Who knows? The future is open. It is radically so because I can’t, like I said, imagine any evidence that would change this belief. In a regular belief I recognize that I might not have all the information, and the level of skepticism to further knowledge leaves more room for questioning than firm beliefs; but not a lot, I can still feel confident basing my actions on them for the most part. This is not true with firm beliefs. Along with the belief itself I have the extra belief that I hold all the information necessary and will not have any creditable objections to it in the future.
What about the first question? If it will not change how I live, or at least the likelihood of it doing so is very small, than why go through such a task in the first place? The main drive I believe is my curiosity along with the drive to know myself better. The curiosity I feel originates from the fact that many transgender individuals seem to know from an early age, and most have come to the conclusion that somehow their gender does not match with what they were assigned at birth by their late teens. So, why didn’t I? My sense of being a woman arrived late in life (Stephie Blooms). And, I do believe the more I know about myself the better I am able to direct my life. Is this in conflict by the fact I don’t see any answers as changing the way I live my life? Not directly. Not in a way that would change how I view my gender or express it. Actually, expression could change without any change to my gender sense, or any knowledge I might gain about myself in this investigation.
Well, is it important or important enough that I should go through what could be a grueling process? I believe so. Maybe by connecting with how I saw myself in relation to my gender identity, I can be more helpful to other transfeminine who I might hook up with me in by reading this blog post or as my role as a transgender mentor., But, does it even have to be important to do it at all? Possibly not. I mean I love exploring thoughts, feelings, and ideas, so while there may be some stress involved in doing this exercise, it should be a good experience overall.
Have I not answered why I am doing this? More or less, but let me summarize. Okay, I am curious, and I love self-exploration. By knowing myself better I can hopefully can give my welcomed readers something relatable and be a better mentor for other transgender women. I am not doing it as confirmation for being a woman; I need no confirmation for that. I am 100% woman through and through. “What Stephie? How can that be?” It can be because gender has nothing to do with biological parts (oh yeah you curious people I still got those things, triple yuck!). So, yes I am a woman; it just happens because I was assigned male at birth (mistake) making me a transgender woman. That label only has significance in context.
I suppose that is enough of the preliminaries. Time to be born and be assigned male at birth (AMAB). “Wah . . . . . . Geez that smarts.” Actually, I don’t remember a thing. Most of my early memories do not include anything gender related memories, although I have a sense that being a boy was a role that I could not fully relate to. This will be a pattern through out my life. The first time I was aware of gender was playing with a few girls when I was about 5 to 7 years old. Somehow, this felt better than playing with my male friends. After this the gender fog (term I am using to relate a state of gender unawareness) set in. I wasn’t conscious of gender issues or gender identity.
When I was eleven I took to sneaking booze out of my parent’s liquor cabinet. The first episode occurred when I was left alone after my two older brothers went out when my parents were already out. They were supposed to stay home and watch me. But, they went out anyway. I became fearful, and for some reason my thoughts turned to my parents liquor cabinet (I had only drank alcohol once before on Passover the previous year). I can’t remember what I actually took. It was not enough to get drunk, but it probably amounted to a few drinks. Well, after downing the booze I immediately felt better, and the fear disappear much to my relief.
I actually consider this the start of my alcohol abuse journey, even though I first got drunk at that Passover Seder the year before. This is because it turned my mind toward alcohol, where the Passover incident. Subsequently, I began to visit the liquor cabinet as much as I could.† Still, during these years I had no particular gender feelings, and this did not seem odd at the time.
It was time to enter junior high school (now called middle school). It was at that time that we moved into a new neighborhood (actually the year before). I began to make friends with others that drank and got high, so my frequency of alcohol and drug use increased. The drug use stayed with marijuana for the first year at this new level of schooling. But, sometime during the 8th grade I started to experimenting with pills (barbiturates, tranquilizers, and opiates). Also, I had tried LSD for the first time. By 9th grade I had become a daily user of some kind of drug and/or alcohol.
All through junior high my gender awareness was still not in evidence. I did had several girlfriends. With these girlfriends it was mainly kissing, but there was some fondling and petting (no intercourse). Still, I did not view it as a male role, something males should be doing by society’s likes. My best friend (or one of them at least) was a girl. I believe that I was most comfortable in her company. Part of this could have been that I was already being exposed to locker room talk (albeit of the mild variety) which I was not comfortable with such use of language.‡
Now, welcome to my high school years. We had moved before my entry to this level of schooling. This placed me in an environment with a lot more drug use, and going to a school that would be label progressive. This increased my drug and alcohol use greatly.
In high school I had both male and female friends. There was an increase of locker room talk among my male friends. I believe I probably would cringe a bit upon hearing it. It also led me to feel more comfortable with my female friends. I still hung out with my male friends more when not in mixed company. This social pattern I believe was that drug use was more prevalent among my male friends, or at least the heavier usage. And the non-drug using friends I had were mostly female ones. A few of these were among my closest friends as were some of my drug using female friends. The gist is I never felt free to express myself freely among my male friends, not that that expression include anything feminine at the time.
In my later high school years, which was prolonged due to extra time due to truancy and lack of school work in a school that let me get away with it,° I became sexually active. Up to this time I had only engage in intercourse once. I even had a girlfriend for 11 months. Recently, I have retrieved memories of having the sense of violating anyone I had intercourse with. This appears as a big clue to miss. Why had these thoughts occur? In hindsight it might have been because of my feminist beliefs, which I came to at age 11, and that I was using a sex organ that I could not identify with in a deeply personal way. • So, I unconsciously realized this deep deep deep into my mind at the time only observing something that did not seem right in my consciousness.
The time of high school also brought on my first experience with wearing what is typically considered female attire.^ I put on a pair of my mom’s pantyhose. I did not do this with the consciousness that I was a female girl. My main memory is that it was a very sexual experience (as you shall see later this has been repeated through out my life). I masturbated. I think I did so inside the pantyhose, but I also remember putting it back in the drawer, so doing that doesn’t seem very likely, although there would have been a good chance that pre-semen would have leak out. Was this another clue I put conveniently put out of mind.
Part two of this multiple post topic covers as I said above my experiences after high school up until when Stephie Bloomed—Stephie Blooms.
† I will mention that my brothers a little later on turned me on to marijuana. I think they thought it would be fun to see their little brother (in hindsight their sister) high on marijuana. I don’t consider this gender relative in this period of my life, so that is why it is appearing as a footnote.
‡ This is not to imply that if you are sensitive to locker room talk and you were AMAB that you are a transgender person. After all girls will discuss sexual experiences with other girls (mostly at least), though maybe in a little less crude of manner.
° The school had a different grading system than was normal. All the other schools in the county had the usual grade per class per grading period, which was fixed. The first difference is you were graded on segments, which varied between different classes. It required you to have a least a C in order to complete a segment. You needed to complete all segments for the class to get credit for it. Most classes were self-paced, so if you failed to pass all the segments you would normally pick up the class where you were the next year. Because of my truancy and my intransigency in doing any homework I failed to do a lot of school work; the only school work I did was in class (except a few crucial assignments), where I was not there a lot of the time. Because of this I graduate a year and half late after my parents finally found out from a neighbor because the school failed to notify them of my truancy (I will admit I intercepted one letter, the only one that flagged me for skipping class). It resulted in release time and a renew effort on my part. Even then I had to go back the following year until December to finish up.
• Today, I do not consider my thing down there a sex organ—my prostate is through external and penetrative stimulation. Currently, I am confused about how I want have sexual pleasure, outside of self play. I would not top—period, and bottoming with another is iffy.
^ I do not refer to this as crossdressing. The reasoning is there that there is a good possibility (one of the reasons for writing this post) that I have always been a transgender female and have just not been aware of it until late in life. And females that wear typically female attire are not crossdressing. There is a second reason. It is only because of socially determined clothing assignments that females should wear female clothing, and males should wear male clothing. This has loosen a bit for women in this day and age, but in this view males are unfairly label as crossdressing, which carries a very negative connotation in today’s society still.