One of the things I’ve had to come to terms with is that I never had a girlhood.
I haven’t had–and in many cases, will never have–life experiences that are associated with growing up as a girl, or being a cisgender woman.
I never got to do all of those stereotypical things girls usually do.
I never got to go to an all-girls slumber party. I never got to have a high school romance. My trans feelings made me way too socially awkward to date anybody, even if being known as gay (because I always knew I wasn’t attracted to women) would’ve been acceptable in my school at the time. I know it’s foolish, but I’ve always wanted to have someone sweep me off my feet, even if it ended in heartbreak. At least then, I could say I’d loved.
Heck, I was too socially awkward to even have a lot of friends. Most of my friends were girls, but we never really had that close “girlfriend” kind of relationship that you see in teen dramas on TV (are those even anywhere near accurate depictions, anyway?).
When I was a kid, and even through my teen years, when I was struggling with feelings of “wanting to be a girl,” I believed what society and my birth certificate told me–that I was a boy. Even if I’d been able to articulate to myself that I actually was a girl, other people would’ve still seen me as male.
I’ve always longed to have friendships with other girls/women that I saw them having with each other. But more often than not, I would just come off as weird, even creepy.
I wanted to tell them, “I’m one of you! Please, be my friend!”
But those words never came, and they probably wouldn’t have helped anyway.
I’ve never had (and most likely never will have) a period (though, at least that means I was spared having that talk with my mom)–nor will I be able to get pregnant. I don’t even necessarily want to have kids–my favorite part of having two young nieces is handing them back to their parents when they get cranky. 😛 But knowing that I’ll never have the option–at least the usual way–can be hard.
Even now, it’s hard to talk about this stuff. When I do, I’m often reminded that not all cisgender woman have all of these experiences either:
“I never had sleepovers as a kid.”
“Not all women have periods.”
“Oh, and you should be glad you don’t. They suck!”
“There are lots of women who can’t get pregnant.”
“You can always adopt.”
That doesn’t really help, though. Most women do have the experiences I mourn never getting to have.
Even though I know it doesn’t make me any less of a woman, for better or worse, I have to deal with the fact that, for most of my life, I was seen and treated as male, which colored my experiences. No matter what I do, how I dress, or even whatever surgeries I have (or don’t), I will always be different from most other women, because I had those experiences.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I’ve missed out on a lot of bad experiences, too. I didn’t have to deal with misogyny being directed at me. I didn’t get left out simply because of my perceived gender. I didn’t have to worry about walking home from work late at night, because I might get raped.
But even with the prospect of having to deal with all of that, if I could go back in time, and change all of my Y chromosomes to X chromosomes, so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the uncertainty of who I was. I’d put up will all of the bad things that girls/women normally have to put up with, if I could go back and prevent the bad things I had to deal with. I’m proud of who I am, but some days, being transgender just sucks, and all of the weight of who you’ll never be presses down on your shoulders.
Yeah, in a lot of ways, I’ve missed out. In other ways, I’m still missing out–whether it’s because my life experiences have caused me to be an introvert, thus making it harder to form close friendships (and don’t even talk about dating), or because my genetics mean I just can’t have certain experiences.
It’s just something I’ll have to deal with. Everyone is different. Everyone, even other transgender people, have had life experiences that differ from mine. Everyone has things they missed out on. Everyone has to deal with it in some way or another.
I’m privileged in a lot of ways, too. I’m white. I have a good job. I have family that loves me unconditionally. I live in a city where being transgender is nowhere near the death sentence that it is in a lot of places. Everyone in my life that is important to me accepts me as who I am, no questions asked. I lead a pretty good life.
Even though I will always be “different,” there will come a time in my life (hopefully, anyway) where society has seen me as who I really am for more of my life than it hasn’t. In the meantime, all I can really do is try to make the most of my own experience, and maybe use it to do some good.