Back when I was still living as a guy, I would often pick up my girlfriend Amy at her front door for weekend dance nights, and she would come out the door looking exceptionally beautiful and sexy. Her fashion sense was impeccable, highlighting her artistic expression, coupled with her happy personality and desires to please me visually.
She would even smell like a million dollars, exciting me the moment she entered my car. We would kiss and embrace, and look forward to an evening of dancing. She was so gorgeous, so free flowing and comfortable in her own skin, that she left me feeling incredibly bitter and jealous.
She wasn’t who I wanted to date. She was who I wanted to be, though I couldn’t yet acknowledge that, even to myself.
Needless to say, that jealousy often showed in my behaviors. The women closest to me, especially my mom and my girlfriends, got the most wrath from the ocean of internalized anger that surrounded my suppressed feminine heart.
Although I apologized and made the amends I could after I transitioned my gender, the memories still bring back painful times from my past: a past filled with fear, wounds from being raised as a boy with hetero-normative expectations placed on me, resulting in digestion of the environmental stigma that fueled the clenched stomach pains caused by internalized transphobia.
The first few months of our relationship were used, unbeknownst to her, to fuel and stroke my ego. I was running out of fingers as the Dutch Boy trying to hold the dam to hide my feminine heart, but I nevertheless tried relentlessly to quiet the gender chatter going on inside my head and use the glances she got all night from horny men to vicariously satisfy my suppressed heart.
The fact that people were staring at her meant I had good taste in women. It meant my inner, authentic, feminine self, was relating somehow to the external women I was chasing and dating. Often times, I was very aware of the fact that the physical nuances I found attractive in my girlfriends were the very same traits I wished I myself had the courage to express to the outer world. Hence, I treated the actions of other men and women being attracted to and complimenting my girlfriend as some sort of indirect and secret validation for me.
When the excitement of puppy love ended after a few months of being together, I began to treat Amy with manipulative insults and guilt trips. I would send her a smokescreen of mixed messages, always keeping her emotionally off balance, trying to let her guess my mood and what I was upset about. I started “dyke” drama with her constantly, and she even told me on a few occasions that our arguments felt like the same ones she had with her best friends when they were upset with each other. On one particular evening, after she had had enough of my mysterious behavior, she finally stopped me in the car and demanded we talk.
I pulled over, shut off the engine, and looked at her coldly, with no expression.
Then, she blurted: “I don’t get you anymore! It’s like there is a huge gap developing between us these past few weeks,” she said with a hurtful tone.
“What do you mean?” I said, trying to play it cool and act nonchalant. I was deathly afraid that showing any truth of myself, my heart, would cause the whole dam to crumble, shattering the façade I held so delicately and reveal my true feminine heart to her, resulting in a shaming experience I thought I could never recover from during my lifetime.
“You tell me how much you love it when I dress up, but then lecture me and tell me how slutty and classless I am, and how I probably just want attention, like something is wrong with me!” she said, quite observant.
“I just think you should tone it down when we aren’t going out dancing, you are showing a bit too much,” I said, quickly defending myself while hoping the argument wouldn’t affect if I got laid that night.
The real issue was, though, that I was incredibly jealous she got to wear everything she did, and be who she was on a daily basis, while I chose to suppress my real self and live vicariously through observing her. I was also seething at myself, knowing that I could be just as powerful as her if I just allowed myself a chance to be me.
I had finally reached my limit, my soul depleted. Merely looking at endless amounts of food was never going to serve as an adequate substitute for actually eating — and my soul was absolutely starving. I had no internal nutrients to sustain myself anymore. I had to be me.
No sooner had we broken up for good, I started seeing a gender therapist and transitioned my gender presentation, living as my authentic womanly self since 2011.
After living authentically for three years, traveling to Shanghai to conduct a business meeting with clients on behalf of my job, and being accepted and seen regularly as one of the gals, I now viewed women from a totally different perspective than when I was chasing them.
I really appreciate the connections, the receptivity, the way women look after one another, and share their emotions on a deeper level. There is a playfulness and participatory factor that is unlike that for men, where threads of life are so elegantly shared and interwoven with other women.
The real treat has been to be around women when they weren’t defended and guarded like they were in the past when they saw me as a man who perhaps wanted to sleep with them. Instead, I am now seen as one of them, my feminine heart being witnessed and validated instead of my biology, distinctly clarifying that I am one of them, and that I am safe to share and open up to, participating with mutual reciprocation in socializing and sharing our emotions.
What a treat, to have chased after the women who wore high heels to now being the one standing in the same pair of shoes, experiencing the world from a completely different perspective, receiving gifts of incredible insight and wisdom.
These fresh experiences contain interactions that I’ve always had with women, but now in a completely new dynamic, resulting in me feeling reborn, as these new social perspectives color my life with newness.
I now see so much more to what women offer to the world. To be blessed with having my heart broken open through the gifts of death of my former self, by experiencing loss on such a profound level that I could be reborn with new vision and perspective so that I could be receptive to the gifts of the feminine world, which now allows me to see a side of women that most men never truly understand or get to see at all.