1. When he thinks, she dreams!
It was natural for him to escape into an imaginary dream land, not unusual for a 5 year old child. He would only need a few moments left to his own devices, in no time he had created a magical land, altered and controlled by his imagination.
He believed it was better! It was indeed a dream! Fortunately, the child hasn’t yet learnt to imagine nightmares!
In this dream, the characters he met were very similar to the reality of his surroundings, except for one individual. The only individual that was significantly different in this parrelel universe, was the main character itself.
From within his mind, he saw herself to be him.
The little boy’s innocence ensured nothing interrupted in this transformation that happened in his dream. In his mind, he was her. There were no two, just her!
Of course, he had to be a kind, admirable, beautiful and sweet, and a popular girl, and he imagined her to be the centre of his universe, where everyone knows her and loves her.
2. She flew past him to capture the crowd!
His behaviour, facial expressions, and often the language and tone used, was unmistakably effiminate.
The character in his mind and dreams had started to make appearances in his real life. He neither had control of the situation, nor saw it as a problem. In his mind, there was nothing wrong with him.
The family would have been the first to notice.
Occasionally, a remark from his eldest maternal uncle about it would catch him off guard. He received these remarks with mixed emotions. Maybe due to the underlying love and respect he had for him, he never saw it as an insult. This uncle of his, in his eyes was an attractive, perfect, and strong male. He admired everything about him.
He had also heard his mother and her family glimpse on the topic of this mistake of nature, and recall them concluding the reason to be his upbringing surrounded by girls, referring to his sister, cousins, mother, and aunts.
His father has been working overseas since he was 3 years old. His grandfather, and uncles also travelled for work.
3. Early years of school, the innocence that embraced her
The kindergarten years didn’t interfere with his dual life, neither did his effiminate nature. He mostly played with girls, but had a few male friends, around him.
Of course, there was always a Hero.
The Hero was always his closest male friend. The one who makes him feel safe and protected. The Hero of course falls in love with the Heroine. Even at 5 years of age, his life was a Bollywood Chick-Flick!!
When primary school started at the age of 6, the story changed quite a bit for him. The all boys school, appeared to have taken away the gentleness, and he badly felt the primary need of his fellow students, to laugh at another, and feel superior!
She was of course the misfit, and was at the receiving end of endless name calling. She felt as if they watched her every move. Her loud and innocent statements that were heard by most of the class, would often trigger a new round of laughter, making her annoyed with herself.
He knew that he had to give up on her. He tried to limit her existence to his dreams, but it wasn’t possible. They were not two, but one.
Gender fluidity, gender diversity, and related topics were unheard of and the only known genders were Male, and Female.
Ironically, what influenced the gender identity given to one by the society, was their behaviour, not their body. So underneath the society’s ignorance and unacceptance, they knew gender had more to do with one’s mind than their body.
The same year, first year of primary school, the teacher announced them to dress up to represent a large family, for Traditional Sinhala and Hindu New Year.
He jumped at the opportunity. Finally he can dress her up in his sister’s clothes. Based on his request, the teacher wrote a little note to his mother asking to dress him in a little girl’s outfit.
His mother, when she saw the note, was annoyed that the teacher had given him a girl’s role. This annoyance, he interpreted as his fault, for choosing a girl’s role, when a free choice was given. So he continued to lay the blame on his teacher, and influenced his mother to lend him his favourite dress owned by his sister.
Early signs of the battle of the sexes had begun. He was only 6. He had started disliking life. Two things kept him alive; the love from his teachers, and the attention and love from his family. Somedays, especially when those relationships encounter temporary hick-ups, he strongly felt that life was not worth living. He felt incomplete, and not enough. He was wishing for a day to be treated normal. A day where he was treated equal. A day where he was enough.
4. Time goes on.. Primary to Secondary..
“Girly-boy”, “My lady”, “My fair lady”, “Marian”, ගෑණි (translation: Woman), and the name list continued to grow. Even the best name was delivered in the usual ugly tone, so it all sounded the same.
Since this became the new normal, he didn’t realise how unhappy he was.
All he can recall was that he felt sick in his stomach every morning. When he gets closer to his school, he can hear songs being played on the loud speakers. Despite the good meanings of these popular Sinhala songs, they spoke to his nerves and made him sick in his stomach. He hoped he was loved and accepted for a full day at school, although he knew that the chances were slim. Later in life, he figured out that his friends didn’t hate him. But, at the time, he felt he was unloved. His friends were merely a product of the society at the time, where a male was considered the superior breed. A female, or physically or emotionally less strong male, were the inferior pebbles on the sidewalks. The other gender variants were openly rejected, insulted, and deemed an abnormality.
Each year, he ended up getting close to one of his friends, who he called his best friend. Usually, he surrounded himself with his best friend and a couple of others. They were his haven. But, he didn’t feel that safe, as most of the time, they had to consider their own survival when the “bully” numbers were high, and switch teams to becoming bullies themselves, or bully cheer leaders. In his early life, the only known experience of a best friend, were hurtful ones. No one cared enough or weren’t strong enough to be there for him. This belief had also started to influence his dreams, where his usual Hero an Heroine’s imaginary romance also often took a abusive turn, and a sad ending. He had started imagining relationships that takes ugly turns. They all leave her in the end, proving that they don’t care about her enough.
5. He killed her, burried her, and destroyed every memory of her
It was getting difficult to have two characters play a single life. To add to the complexity, teenage hormones kicked in, to every other kid, but to him. All the heightened sexual energy, and discussions about girls, and detailed sexual intereststs, appeared like a low budget porn movie, against his Disney Princess movie (which had no such naughty activities, obviously!!). This probably was the most obvious, and loudest, message to his brain that read:
They are very different to you. Maybe you are not normal. Either way, you do not belong. You can’t think of yourself as a girl. Stop your imaginations.
He couldn’t. He felt more close to her, and felt safe and comfortable being her. After close to 10 or so years, he is addicted to his imaginary better life, as her. Named after his sister’s friend that he adored, he felt that he wouldn’t be able to cope life without her.
He was between the ages of 12 to 14. He hadn’t spoken about this with anyone. He decided to stop imagining him to be her. It took him about 3 months or so. At least that is his recollection. His murder technique, what ever it was must have been very successful, as he couldn’t remember how important she was to him, until 31st December 2019, when he decided to reveal a bit of this to his aunt. A simple yet powerful question from her in response:
Did that little girl have a name?
unlocked some of his memory that he had forced shut, and gave keys to the cemetery that he had laid her down.
6. So what happened in the end? Did he become her?
He had brief glimpses of the feminine character, when he was 23-24, but it presented in a different form to the childhood little girl. So he didn’t recognise.
In 2017, a huge burst of female energy overflew him in response to how happy he had become. He went running through the parks and the river banks, wearing a red beanie that he had picked up from the streets, dancing like a girl. It was also the first time in long time he listened to songs sung in his native language. For the first time, he felt so free. He had also started responding to both he/him or she/her.
On 3rd of May 2020, he ended up realising how his beliefs around all forms of relationships stems from his childhood negative experiences, where the people he held high ends up not standing by him. He also remembered a lot of minute details about the little girl, her favourite hair do, how she used to try all the different make up, etc.
He has gotten used to his mind, and his body over the years. Accepting one’s self is only possible when one knows one’s innocent self fully. The innocent self that played by the rules defined by the society, and weaped all alone, until one forgets who they were, and why they were unhappy! Accepting would be easier, had we remembered everything we told ourselves, which were not true, that had taken away the nature’s gift, a unique individual.
He has chosen to embrace both masculine and feminine aspects of him. He doesn’t feel the need to introduce additional labels, as he feels, the internal change and acceptance required, requires a significant amount of focus and energy.
Author’s notes to the society ?
We bury information along with our secrets
Similar to his secret, most of us, irrespective of gender or sexuality identity, have secrets that we have burried deep, to play safe with the society’s definition of “normal”. We hide valuable and vital information that is required for a healthy society, from ourselves and each other. We place a lot more value in appearing good or being accepted by the social norms, than communicating our truth, to see guidence and help, even if the initial reaction is unfavorable.
Just because you are out numbered doesn’t mean majority is right
A larger group of people in agreement or majority doesn’t prove a “truth”. Majority of his friends in school for close to 12 years felt he was not normal, and made him believe he couldn’t be feeling like a girl when his body is a boy. In 2020, in a Western cultured country majority of community openly accepts and acknowledge gender diversity, as a spectrum. Those little girly boys that appeared to be struck with God’s Punishment and ill wishes, were in fact stuck with narrow minded humans, being punished for their mere existence.
Bullying is the most pathetic way to feel superior
Bullying is not cool. There is nothing cool about an entire class room full of kids (~35-40) teasing a single kid. Besides, if you want to feel superior to another, play a game, or compete at a much healthy level. All those silly jokes and insults that you throw someone and didn’t intend to harm them, would potentially alter their entire belief system.
Label is not important, acceptance and love is.
This body is a temporary dwelling for all of us. We as humans put so much value on labelling this body and mind properly, yet struggle to embrace someone who falls short of the existing definitions. Unless one is working tapping into their creativity, everything we know have been seen or said before. So labels, will most definitely limit us to everything that have been seen or said before. Labels have their role to play, but we must remember, there is a lot more to this universe than what we can grasp using the sensory organs gifted to us and information we have established based on data we have gathered using them.
– Nim –
A little bit of boy,
A little bit of girl,
A lot more of human.