I was being… just me

ImagePre-5 years old, there is no awareness of “gender”.  There probably is no conscious wish to be a little girl either.  Up until Mum spoke those words, “You are not a little girl” there were no questions or reservations.  I was being… just me.

As far back as I remember – 3-4 years old – I would clip clop around the family home in Mum’s high heels.  When my sister was in school, I dress up in some of her clothes, including a Brownie uniform!  Her dollies were my babies, as I played all the girls/mummy games.  Especially “Susan” she was my favourite.  Unfortunately, after an incident involving Susan’s face and ink, I had threats of life and limb if I ever touched the dollies again.  I would secretly brush her hair and rub the long eyelashes against my cheek.Image

I remember visiting our Aunt and Uncle just after Christmas, 1967.  I am 5 years old.  One of our cousins has the best present ever – a pair of bright red Cinderella high-heels!  The silver glitter sparkling in the light with the transparent long pointed heels.   I was in awe.  How could a little girl not love them?Image

We go out to play, the Cinderella shoes are firmly on my feet.  They attract considerable attention from adults and other kids on the street.  Undoubtedly, it is not a “normal” sight and perhaps there is ridicule on their lips, but I have absolutely no awareness.  I was being… just me.

Studies suggest that gender identity issues originate from complex – often hidden – problems within the family unit.  Unhealthy relationships between mother and father, parents and child, can all contribute.

There is definitely parallel with these theories and my own family dysfunctions, but it does not really explain the full extent of how I was feeling.  It was more than behavioural, much deeper than psychological.  It was in my veins, my heart and my soul.  It was… just me.

I hated the company of boy’s.  I tried to befriend classmates, but there was always awkwardness and a general feeling of being out of my depth.  It invariably led to spending large amounts of time alone, playing in the adjoining fields and feeling somewhat dissociated from my sense of self.

I was coping with a mentally unstable Mother, who was very difficult to please and regularly swore, “I wish I never had you”. 

At a crucial time when I should be developing and identifying as a boy, I am completely lost – the canvas is blank.  My sister and I were subject to violence and intimidation from both parents from within “a loving home”, and mixed with the growing stereotyped attitudes; it was all a recipe for disaster.

My secretive existence and a desperate need to stay clear of the family unit, all took me away from any chance of a safe and loving environment. Image

It sets me apart from everyone and everything.  There should be little surprise; it left me vulnerable to years of sexual abuse…

I was being.just me.

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23 thoughts on “I was being… just me

  1. Cate Reddell

    “I was being… just me” I am thinking what a difference it would make if we were enabled to just keep being me. To be our true selves, whatever that might entail.

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    1. Cat Post author

      What strikes me about that beautiful state of ‘being… just me, is the innocence lost to social conditioning. How wonderful it would be if we could be like that for life….

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  2. Aife

    Your post has me asking myself what “being, just me” might be. I don’t know at present as I have always tried to fit someone else’s idea of me. I agree with Cate’s comment.

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  3. brokenbutbeingrepaired

    One day Cat, will be secure in being” Just Cat” ;also, you will be and feel safe and secure, at last.

    At least, that’s what we think.

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  4. Diversity is Art

    I have to say that while I recognize that for some that is true I never trust any study that says that gender or sexuality differences are caused by dysfunctional families, I hate it, it’s based on so much bias that I don’t trust it.

    I think children who can’t comform to ideals of gender or sexuality are more vulnerable targets, it’s not that one thing causes the other, same thing with disabled people who have an extremely high rate of being victims of abuse, people who are different in some way are more vulnerable, I think abusers love to take advantage of that and many times it’s not just abuse at home but bullying or loneliness at school too.

    I hope we can all learn that is safe to be ourselves, it’s a slow proccess of discovery, confidence and acceptance.
    It’s okay to try to be aware about what fits in our personality and what doesn’t, it’s also okay to try something and see if it feels right or wrong and also try to build the parts of us that the abuse didn’t allow to develop when we were younger.
    Slowly we can learn how to be comfortable being ourselves.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I don’t trust studies either, they’re largely dependent on people’s honesty!

      I completely agree with the vulnerability and abuse point. A recent study of UK serial killers highlights something very similar.

      Being comfortable with ourselves takes courage and resilience. I’ve did a lot of work on my gender and have come a long way since back then.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment

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  5. meyeen

    gender and gender identity are topics that interests me a lot. I was born woman, and I guess I am quite “girly” in many things. Not in all though. And I get really frustrated, when I can’t be both at the same time. Or, rather, I would be neither. Just me. Dress in pink, swear as a sailor and be as romantic as a stone wall while I’m knitting on my latest project.

    So… My point being, it is not easy to stop thinking about what is “girl” and what is “boy” and so on, but I think that if we ever want equality among the genders, we have to forget about genders and just be humans.

    So you go on and be yourself, and be proud.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I completely agree that approach of being just being human is what helped me come to terms with my own gender issues.

      Thank you for sharing, I appreciate it more than I can say

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  6. survivor55

    I haven’t been able to be just me for the past 9 years due to neighbor problems. I keep trying and keep getting attacked. I’m imprisoned by their hate, by their lies, by their bitterness, by their spitefulness, by their need for I don’t know what. I’ve done all I can. It’s difficult when I go into severe depression b/c it’s just one more reason to not be here at all. Yet I continue to be here, probably to their great consternation. I had a week of freedom when one was gone for a week. I keep telling God, “See!! See how I can be free w/o them?” I know He knows and I am trying patiently to learn what I need to from these horrible people. There have been many times, however, when I ask God what the hell left is there to learn from these awful people. Others, trying to be kind but totally clueless, have suggested various things I could do and I just want to scream and pull my hair out saying, “DON’T YOU THINK I’VE TRIED THAT?!?”

    Sometimes there are no answers — or at least no clear answers — as to why people do and say the things they do. It doesn’t stop their actions and/or words from having harmful consequences upon others. I saw one of those cards that are everywhere on the net called something like “ecards” — there are many versions of that name — and it said, “I used to be a people-person . . . until people ruined that for me.” I couldn’t help but smile inside. I’ve been forced to be around others my whole life, though my natural tendency is to avoid them. I was painfully shy as a child, then was “weird” when I didn’t know I had a mental/emotional illness, then was forced to interact w/others in the school, in church and in the workplace. During mania, when I didn’t know that’s what I had, I was always extremely outgoing and loved everyone. Now that the mania is med-controlled and I’ve lived so long around horrible people in the workplace, in various churches, next door to me, not to mention in my own family, I find I really don’t like people. I’d much rather avoid them for the rest of my life. Ah . . . if only that were possible!! (Heavy Sigh)

    I’m sorry you had to go through what you did as a child. I pray you are now free to be who you are. If you are not yet there, I pray God will help you be you as soon as possible and for the rest of your life!!
    — Kathy

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    1. Cat Post author

      I remember you mentioning issues with neighbours on your blog. That sounds a truly awful situation. We need our homes to be places of safe refuge. To have that ruined by a bunch of narrow-minded, ignorant and pitiful people, must be very distressing. Is there anyone to help you resolve it or move?

      I am free today and at peace with both my sexuality and my gender.

      Thank you for commenting. It makes writing my experiences all the more satisfying.

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      1. survivor55

        I’m so happy you’re at peace, Cat!! That means everything!! Moving doesn’t seem to be an option — I promise I’ve tried. There seems no options at all but to stay for now. Believe me when I tell you I’ve tried everything I can possibly do as a human being.

        Yes, I love comments because I sincerely desire and need feedback — even if it’s just a “like.” It means a lot to know others are reading and that I’m being heard, but it means even more if I’m able to help!! 🙂

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  7. ThroughTheLookingGlass

    You sound like a ‘best friend’ I had when I was a child… He was a year older than me exactly (we loved sharing the same birthday!) and he lived across the road. Me, him and his sister would always play out together and I remember him always loving to play ‘our girlies games’ I think our fave was ‘doctors and nurses!’ I remember my 12th birthday, he was 13 and I persuaded my mum to let me go shopping with him in town, the first time I had been to town on my own but my friend promised he would take care of me. We spent hours looking around the shops, with him more interested in girls clothes than men’s – I still loved him all the same.

    I always knew he would be Gay the older he got, his dad absolutely hated the fact his son was more into girlie things, eventually he came out as Gay when he was about 23… much to the annoyance of his dad!

    I don’t see him these days, but I always treasure the good times we had as kids!

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