January 18, 2017

Yes, I'm Barbara

I asked Barbara over at Crossdream Life for permission to republish a version of a blog post she wrote for her own Crossdream Life blog (which is restricted to CDL members). It is a poetic presentation of a psychological breakthrough as regards gender and gender identity. This is not uncommon among transgender people, although the way this takes place may vary a lot. Barbara is a male to female crossdreamer.
Sometimes transgender doubts may be resolved by
a psychological breakthrough. (Illustration: sezer66)

Guest post by Barbara

It started with innocent restless obsession with all the things gender :) Old beliefs about two-spirited people were shaken, new ideas were written on the water, I was consuming page after page of  information in the vain hope of reaching the unreachable.

All this was be accompanied by one single black metal band: Mgła. Their great albums were the only music that I could stand. Excellent melodies, dark atmosphere and nihilistic lyrics; this combination was exactly right. A good dose of nihilism was a good thing; 

If I were to come to some conclusion, it had better not be an artificial construct, not a made-up position. So aggressively questioning everything except feelings was a right thing to do. Day after day tension built, thoughts buzzed in my head like a swarm of locusts.

The main question was: Who am I? Am I two-spirited? Am I female? Or is it all is made up and I just have a fetish (I’m a fetish, how funny)?

Is that true, that female part of me, or is it a defensive construct? What if the male part of me is an artificial construct? (Giggles) It feels like a right thought. What am I wearing? Male clothes? But why? Am I a female to male crossdresser? (more giggles) Ok, I’m not bad at passing as male (Did I say that aloud?) 

Honey, how are you sitting? It is not very feminine! (another giggle) Locusts in my head began to shadow the sun, they were everywhere; their buzzing was always with me.

At the same time I had a strong sense that nothing can go wrong, that there can’t be a negative outcome. No matter what conclusion would be made, it would be the right conclusion. 

I have told some of my thoughts to friends in the Crossdream Life chat room. They have encouraged me to write about this in the forum, and the chat logs served me as a draft to post about my feelings. I can’t thank them enough; in some sense they are my godmothers.
Black Metal band Mgła. Photo:Joanna Osoba 

Shortly after hitting “Post” button all doubts returned for a few seconds, but there was one single thought, that stopped them: it is too late to doubt.

And then IT hit me.

All thoughts stopped, locusts vanished, tension gone. It was like a lightning without a sound or a flash, just a sudden release of all tension from the atmosphere. There was a rain, pure feminine feelings dropping onto me, washing away remnants of old shell.

There was a sunshine after rain, drying a single tear of joy, shining through me, radiant and splendid, so warm, caressing me from the inside.

This lightning have divided my memories in two different parts, before | after. What was before, has become more distant, under a gray veil, except for some high crossdreamig moments. They are still brightly colored.

Thinking of myself as a “male”, “guy”, “masculine” hurts almost physically. I become hardwired into myself :) Every thought about trueself fills me with joyful sunshine of femmeness.

Something else, something wonderful happened. Feeling the phantom body is wonderful. This is a miracle, this is not supposed to happen. It comes and goes without pattern, but I can always bring the right body back. Even if it’s only an illusion, just a feeling.

I still wish to have the right physical body -- that call is there -- but there is no sadness. Not  any longer. There are the precious sensations of the phantom body and a light smile.

Here I am, united with my trueself, showering in lovely feminine feelings. This is enough and not enough for me at the same time, and both sides of that dilemma is good. Smile and sunshine is the most important part.


  1. The phantom body is real. Actually, in my case it was the experience of the phantom body that got me started as a crossdreamer activist, establishing this blog. I guess my experience wasn't as positive as Barbara's, but then again, this was nearly ten years ago, and there was no crossdreamer community to relate to.

    I must admit the whole experience scared me, but I knew enough about psychology that this experience was born out of my subconscious. It was telling me: This is real, whatever it is that causes it, and you'd better do something about it!

    In my case: I started writing. Others may do something completely different, but the point is -- I think -- to find some ways of integrating this into your consciousness, make "her" a part of you, whether you ultimately decide to transition or not.

  2. Felix here...

    A great description of what I would see as a transgender awakening. Despite the amount of essays I've written about gender I still haven't shared the details and circumstances of my own awakening...I still have a few stories to tell.

    As I have mentioned on many occasions, such beautiful experiences for me are bittersweet: you arrive at an essential truth about yourself but soon arrive at a truth of biology: that nature has stacked the odds against you realizing that true self. Hopefully the author was able to find her own path.

    Personally, though, despite the bittersweet nature of transgender awakening for non-transitioners, I would never change it or want to go back. There seems to be much greater solace and beauty in knowing what I am, rather than the state of ignorance I grew up with.

  3. There is an interesting article over at The Daily Beast that touches upon the phantom body phenomenon and being transgender.

    The article refers to Dr. Vilayanur Ramachandran (who I have covered before in this blog).

    //In the late 2000s, he and UCSD colleague Dr. Paul McGeoch published two fairly speculative papers examining the parallels between transgender people’s bodily experiences and another one of Ramachandran’s favorite areas: “phantom limb,” the fairly common sensation that a body part is still there after it has been amputated.

    Interestingly, some transgender people say they experience “phantom limb” sensations about body parts they do not yet possess. On transgender web forums, for example, it’s easy to find transgender men who describe experiencing “phantom penis” sensations. Some transgender women report similar feelings about other body parts...

    The underlying logic was almost seductively parsimonious: Because there is often a mismatch between transgender people’s internal body images and their own anatomy, the brain wouldn’t exactly miss certain parts if they were to disappear."

    Ramachandran's theory has not been proven, but these observations tells me that Barbara's experiences are far from unique. The transgender brain will actually produce such "phantom" body parts or bodies under certain circumstances.


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