This may be a bit redundant over previous blog posts I have written. However, I feel it is important to focus on what was arguably the most important day of my life. It should be stressed that I doubt that there was anything special about that day, about the events leading up to my ‘lightbulb moment’ and the actual moment that the lightbulb turned on.
If things had gone differently it is quite likely that at some point in the future some other incident would have click the switch to on. Would it had been a few weeks later or a few months or even a few years. It is impossible to say. However, the gender identity of an individal is shaped during our earliest childhood and solidifies around the age of six. It is also around this same time that a child comes to understand that sex is permanent and to the mind of a six year old child sex is gender translate as gender is permanent.
My best guess is that I was in the fifth grade when my ‘lightbulb moment’ happened. At that time I had already lived about five years plus with an underlying awareness that something was not quite right with me. I often heard Mom tell the story about how her and Dad had wanted me to be a girl. I had grown to hate that story by the fifth grade. I have no doubt that the source of this hatred was that I knew I was a boy and would always be a boy. Why keep telling that story? It didn’t happen as plan and they were unhappy with me. Why not get over it? I am not saying from the perspective of my age now that I knew the story meant my parents were not happy with me. However as a child of five, of seven, of ten, hearing the story was like it was my fault somehow.
I have spoken of gender constancy elsewhere on this blog and the impact it had on my life. Accepting that I am transgender and knowing that transgender is the expression of one’s gender identity , it is impossible to deny that throughout my early school years I was living a life that did not feel right for me. I will go even one step further and add that during this time I also knew it would always be this way. Sex was permament. It was a life sentence. Mom often spoke of how I would go to my room, lay down and just cry. Crying suggests unhappiness.
And then one day the lightbulb turned on. What turned it on? Let’s move beyond that for now. Once the seed of the idea of dressing up was planted in my mind, I knew with all my heart that I wanted to act on that idea. However at the same time, everything I had been taught since the moment of my birth about being a boy told me that what I wanted to do, what I needed to do, was wrong. Our grandmother was a very religious woman and I knew if she ever found out she would tell me about how it would lead to my eternal damnation. I also knew if my parents ever caught me they would not understand and I would be scolded. I also knew I would face the ostracism of friends and classmates. However, what truly held me in check, the reason I did not act sooner than I did was my own fear and certainty that acting on my idea would be a life-changing moment.
As best as I can recall, several months passed between the day the switch was turned on and my first exploration of the idea. I can not recall if I the idea of talking to Mom and Dad passed through my mind during this tme. That option was one I considered if not then later as a way to deal with my feelings. However, I just knew that whatever solution they might have it would not be one of support and open-mindedness. It was the mid-1960s and I knew as soon as I told them what I wanted to do I would be ending any possiblity that it would ever happen. Once I started crossdressing, I knew any discussion with them would end it. And that was not an option I wanted to consider or risk.
For most of my childhood, for a period of several years, I was certain that I was terribly sick. As I shared elsewere, I had hopes that when I was an adult, when I was married, when I was a father, this curse would be gone. While I came to know in time that I was not alone, portrayals of men who dressed up as women was often for the purpse of humor or for ridicule. At best boys and men like me were seen as perversions. Not only did I have to accept myself as defective and morally sick. I also knew I had to protect my secret so my life became a life of lies, deceptions, schemes and secrets. I was compounding the sin of dressing up as a girl with the sin of lying to family and friends.
Ultimately the point I want to make is that there was nothing easy about my life before or after that pivotal moment. To a significant extent I was unhappy before and I was unhappy afterwards — for different reasons and with in the case of after a greater understanding of the source of my unhappiness.
Which brings me back to my lightbulb moment. As mentioned above, I will not provide details here. However, one thing I will say. It did not spring out of nowhere. I was not simply sitting in my room and suddenly it occurred to me ‘Hey if you cannot be a girl, at least you can wear their clothes.’ There is no reason to doubt that all things aside it could have been years before I came up with the idea on my own. I knew I could not be a girl. That was a given and I had accepted that as my fate. Until the lightbulb came on. Should I share the details of my lightbulb moment or simply that I had a lightbulb moment sans details?
Posssibly I made a mistake by sharing the story of my moment elsewhere on this blog. However it was a crucial moment in my life and it represented a total break from my understanding of my options, and it sent me on a path that has lead me to where I am today. When once considers how accepting I had become of my fate of life as a boy and then a man, there has to be a reason such an enormous transfromation in my thinking occurred. It did not simply happen. It could never have simply happened.