Some people have said that they would find it helpful to read my story, so I am publishing it in three parts: Alien, Tranformation, and Growth.
Let’s start at childhood, when I thought I was an alien.
It sounds funny, looking back. Could I have really thought I was an alien? It is the only way I can describe how I felt as a child, though. Don’t get me wrong; when you look at the backdrop and the other characters you can see that I had a great childhood. Both of my parents had good and interesting jobs; I was socialised with a wide range of interesting people; and everything that I needed was provided, along with a healthy dose of what I wanted. I had a priviliged education and a comfortable home. My beautiful sister was, like most siblings, both an amazing best friend and a fun arch-enemy when either of us needed one.
I still felt like an alien, though. The thing is, I just didn’t fit. I attended an all girls’ school, and everyone there was different than me; and seemed to be the same as eachother. Hairdoos, skirts, makeup, boys and pop music were in. Trousers, books, girls and accoustics were not popular topics of conversation. I wonder if single-sex education increases – at least initially – the feeling in young people that they need to conform to gender stereotypes. It was definitely a priority where I spent my primary school years.
The thing about feeling like an alien is that, when you are a child, it isn’t funny. It is no accident that alien is the root of the word alienated. I was completely alienated. I didn’t really have friends and I was useless at conversation. My hobbies seemed wierd and I was always getting in trouble for things that I either didn’t do or couldn’t understand why they were wrong. I often got into fights with my family, and was generally badly behaved, despite my parents and sister being incredibly supportive of me, no matter how wierd I was. I was even alienated from my body; terrified of anyone else seeing it and constantly trying to hide or look ‘different’ than I did. The idea of the changes of puberty terrified me; whilst sex was a fascinating concept, but one that I absolutely couldn’t understand. I thought that one day I would be zapped up and taken back to where I belong. I think that, in my own child-like way, I didn’t really want to live as I was.
The feeling of alienation, along with a talent for music led me, at age 13, to a new school that was much better for me. I had some friends, and started to find myself. You could say that I was beginning to hear God’s call to transition. I knew I couldn’t, though. I might have felt like a boy, but it was the one feeling in the world that I could not articulate. Because surely it meant I was crazy?
This hiddenness made me feel more and more alienated, and I gradually withdrew. I stopped sleeping or eating properly, began to self-harm, and lost contact with good friends, preferring to hang out with people who skived school to drink and smoke away the pain. Eventually, I got myself chucked out of church and developed a severe anxiety disorder. I stopped talking to my parents, and even tried to run away from home.
I wasn’t a child any more. But, though my cool, hard teenage self would have never admitted it, I still felt like an alien…
Read on in Part 2 – Transformation