We often think of dysphoria as hating our male bodies because we want to be women. I took my dog for a long walk this morning and did some deep self-reflection. The subject of dysphoria popped in my mind followed by a long chain of memories going very far back. I had secret desires to be female when I was young. After puberty I had dreams at night that I was a teenage girl having sex with guys. The dreams may have been part of dysphoria that I didn’t realize at the time. Then there was another part that I have come to realize now was total dysphoric thinking.
I have always felt that I never had the approval of my father or my older brothers. I never could have told them that I was having those dreams about being a girl or that I was having sex with guys in those dreams. My oldest brother was very smart in school. He excelled and was able to skip a grade, while I was struggling to learn how to read. My other brother excelled in sports and weight lifting. Compared to the rest of the family, I wasn’t smart enough and I wasn’t tough enough. My father had many issues, and was a very shaming person. I often heard “shame on you” for things that I was not successful at. I now realize that he was projecting his own insecurities on me. Although for a long time, the shame affected my self-esteem.
So in my dysphoric quest to gain some love and approval in my family, I began to train as a bodybuilder. I started reading Muscle & Fitness magazines every month. I would ride my bicycle over an hour to the health food store and buy cans of protein powder. I was lifting weights in my basement and at our high school when it was open in the evenings. I used to go to the park and run sprints and run up hills. I knew in my heart that if only I could be huge like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Lou Ferrigno that I could gain the respect, love and approval that I so craved. Every night when I was brushing my teeth, I would flex my bicep in the mirror, but I would end up disappointed. My arms were not huge enough to tear my t-shirt sleeves and no rippling veins were popping out. That was my dysphoria speaking to me. I would go to bed and think, maybe next week my biceps will grow and I can feel that love and approval, but for tonight, I hate my body.
Looking back, I have the realization that bodybuilding was positive for me. I could have engaged in drugs and alcohol like many other teenagers who felt the pain of disapproval. Lifting weights was a positive outlet for me as I struggled with my teenage emotions. Visiting the health food store taught me to eat healthy and started my lifelong interest in nutrition. It is just decades later that I have come to know why I was pumping iron. To try and gain the love and approval that I would never get from my family. And on top of that, it was taking me farther away from my true desire to be feminine.
I have come a long way since then. I have gained self-acceptance of what my dreams were trying to tell me when I was a teen. I was meant to be a woman. Somehow, I ended up with a Y chromosome where there was supposed to be an X. I may never know the reason for this. I was reading an article by a famous self-help author. He was telling how he has interviewed many people who were amputees, physically paralyzed or somehow handicapped but were highly successful in life. He said that the common thread for all them was, they played the cards they were dealt. I have come to accept this philosophy for myself.
As part of my daily meditation practice, I use visualization of what I want my future to look like. Years back, I worked at a large corporation that I felt comfortable at and thought I would retire from. Then the layoffs started. I hopped around to different departments to avoid the axe falling on me. After years of this game, I found myself in a department working for a tyrant of a manager. Every time he opened his mouth, criticism came out. He was not well liked by his employees and we went over his head to complain about him. Nothing changed. The constant criticism started to affect my sleep, my health and my emotions. So I started to visualize a new place to work. I pictured the building, my co-workers and my daily tasks. I did this for several months. I sometimes wondered if I was wasting my time, but I would return to a feeling of knowing it will happen. Then I received an email from an old coworker that I haven’t heard from in years. A door opened for me, he told me to email my resume right away to them. I arrived at the interview. The building looked oddly familiar and so did the people who interviewed me although I never met them before. My visualizations worked! The interview went well and after I left and went home, my phone rang an hour later with a job offer.
Today I deal with my dysphoria the same way that I approached the visualizations for finding my new job. My meditation practice starts with a guided self-hypnosis session, usually the self-love or gratitude recording. Then I switch to pure music for meditation and start my visualization. I see myself with a pretty feminized face, light makeup, shoulder length hair bobby pinned back, pierced ears with earrings, my nails are done, I am wearing women’s jeans with a pink t-shirt, my voice is a little higher in frequency and I have a hint of a woman’s figure.
Someday the door will open for me, I just need to walk through it. I know it will happen.
- Have you ever used visualization to feminize yourself?
- How do you deal with dysphoria in a positive way?
- Have you ever been shamed or verbally abused in the past by a parent at home or an abusive boss at work?
Thank you girls for taking the time to read my article! Please feel free to send in a response to my writings in my articles or a reply to one or more of the questions I’ve posed to you above.
This picture is for Scarlett, to go with my recent article.