Wednesday, April 25, 2012

All My life I have never had many friends.


All My life I have never had many friends. I was the one what was always excluded in almost everything, and it seemed to me that no one wanted to have anything to do with me. As a small child in elementary school most of my friends where girls; I associated with them better and had more in common with them. As time passed and things change in children, the girls no longer wanted to play with a boy. I eventually had very few friends. I was different from the other boys, and as such I was picked on. They did not know why I was different, or what made me different, but my being different seemed to make it ok for them to miss treat me.
Growing up as a Transgender, and not knowing what it was and why, made it hard for me to learn proper social skills. I knew that I was a girl on the inside, and out of instinct wanted to act as such, but knew I could not. So I forced myself to act like a boy. I did not do a very good job of it. So I was made fun of for acting more girly. I tried my hardest to fit in but the harder I tried the more I was picked on. I could not figure out what I was doing wrong. So I gave up trying. Instead of trying to make friends I became the quiet loner in the back that none spoke to. When I did say something I got scoffed at. But for the most part the picking slowed down too a light ridicule. Instead I was treated with a mild neglect, like a stray dog no one wanted around. And this is how I went through most of my school years.
When I started going to seminary; once a week we had a devotional that one student had to give. When it came to my turn I came up with what I thought was a good Idea. I took a dart board and fastened two pictured one on top of the other to it. The top one was of a unhappy overweight school boy. Then I took the darts and started labelling them: fatty, nerd, looser, dork, freak, and any other mean name I could think of. When I got to class and set everything up, I gave each student a turn to throw the darts at the picture. They where hooting and hollering; I got him in the nose, I got him in the eye, and so forth. Once every one had a turn I took the picture of the unhappy boy down to reveal the picture of Jesus. There where several loud gasps as the room fell into silence. You could clearly see where the sharp darts pierced the face of our saviour. I then quoted, Matthew 25:40 “…Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” And I sat down. I do not know the impact that had on anyone there, no one said anything to me after, but I felt I had made my point.
As time went on I went to college and noting seemed to change. I was still being treated with the same placid abandon. No one could be bothered with me. I knew I was different, and everyone else could see I was different but did not know why. This was starting to eat me up inside. As I was starting to attend the student ward in my area I came to a conclusion: I simply did not care anymore. I spent so much time worrying about what others thought about me, that I did not think about what I though about me. If I did think about what I thought about myself; it was negative. I could not live up to the expectations I gave myself based on what other thought about me. So I decided to no longer care about what others thought about me. If they did not like me for who I was, that was no sweat off my back. The only person they hurt was themselves. I will continue to go on without them. That is what I kept telling myself.
As time went on, I continued this mind set through out my adult life, and make it a point if someone did not like me, that I do not care. I show them that I am not bothered by their negative attitude, turn my back and continue on. For the most part I have gained the respect of the people I work with and they know what to expect out of me. They know I am a little girly, and may think I am gay, but I can’t be bothered to let that get me down. Do not get me wrong, I do not use this attitude with people who are close to me. Their opinion matters most to me. I am now known as a positive person and can even joke around about my disinterest in what are typically male activities. So my point is: if people see that they can’t affect me, by making fun of me, because I am different. They simply give up; because they are not getting out of me the response they want.

8 comments:

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    1. At the time I was taking a shot back at those who never seamed to care about me. I wanted them to think about how their actions affected people around them. It never changed how they treated me, but I still feel strongly about the point I got across.
      I am a much stronger person now than I was back then.

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  2. I had a similar school experience. My closest friends from mid-elementary and up were all either girls, or guys that eventually came out of the closet as gay. It wasn't until college that I found a group of guys (my roommates) that I could really be myself around (well, mostly anyway). But then I got married and we moved away, and I was right back in that same boat, not being able to really connect with many of the men in our various wards. Every once in a while we'd share a ward with another guy with the same apathy towards "guy stuff," and they've almost always been the ones with whom I actually had friendships. No idea if any of them were trans or if they were just non-stereotypically masculine, but whichever.

    I also developed that same self-defense mechanism of not caring what other people thought of / said about me, but boy it took a lot of heartache to get to that point. I wonder if it's the act of passing through all of that emotional pain that gives you the strength to ignore other people's opintions of you.

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    1. It takes a great deal of strength and courage to stand up to a bully and say; “I don’t care what you think of me. Your opinion means nothing to me and if you can’t respect me, then you are not worth my time.” And walk away, no matter the bully. These bullies come in all shapes and sizes. They are loved ones, colleague at work, peers in school, or even some of the people at church.
      I think you may be on to something when you said; “the act of passing through all of that emotional pain that gives you the strength to ignore other people's opinions of you.” You can take that pain and let it utterly destroy you, or you can learn from it to make you a better stronger person. It is what we take from our life experiences that shape who we are.

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  3. Great and brave post. I can ditto the school days experiences, except none of my peers were LDS and I never had the privilege to attend Church or Seminary as a youth. They could be pretty coarse.
    I look back and marvel at the fact that publicly everyone taunted and ridiculed me, but privately I was such a tender and compassionate listener that they would individually come to me with their deepest problems and I would be the shoulder they could cry on when no one was watching. Ironic that several signed my Yearbook that I was their best friend, gosh it sure didn't feel that way going through it, but I guess my feminine nature in a male package was just what some needed in a time of crisis.
    As an adult I have only maintained male friendships with the Brethren I have been serving with, and then it is all service. Or I knew men who were the husbands of my wife's dear friends. None ever stick. I don't hunt, fish, golf, blow up things, or drive noisey vehicles in the dirt! What am I to do??
    I much more enjoy sitting around the table with the wives and engaging in girl talk. When I pointed this out recently to my wife she acknowledged that she always knew that was the case, but never realized why! Now she gets it.
    I have tried very hard to put the women at ease and fit in. It is working, if you study carefully how to fit into a female conversation without having to know it all or be the one who is always talking or always right. I have recently had several experiences where I was treated just like one of the girls and the topics ranged way into things they would never say with a masculine man around. It was nice to be accepted on this level for a change!

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    1. Thank you.
      It sounds like we could almost be the same person. But I think that could be said of most people who are transgender. Most of my male friends are in the church and yet I do not have much in common. Like you said, “I don't hunt, fish, golf, blow up things, or drive noisey vehicles in the dirt!” I would much rather sit around the table and talk with the girls, but my wife of our late marriage hated it when I tried that. Though she did not, and still does not know I am transgender.

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  4. Thank you for noting that we could almost be the same person. I have been struggling with this so long by myself, and only figured out how to share it with my wife just several months ago, that I have felt so alone. I was even scared to inaction when I found your site, Sweet, Christian and Arcee's just this week that something irrationally terrible was going to happen if I reached out and tried to reply.
    Now to have someone actually reply that we have a common experience is unprecedented. It has been a huge blessing to have my dear wife's support, but she doesn't and can't relate, just offers her kind empathy.
    I thank you so much for your leading the way with this blog with a desire to help others. I will try to add my voice in the coming days. Love, Laurie.

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    1. It took me to 32 years to come out and tell someone. That was just one year ago. Like you I have been petrified to tell anyone for fear that they will not understand. But I have found the more I talk about it with people I can trust the easier this burden is to bear. Another thing I have found, and at first it was shocking, people in general seen to be quite understanding.

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