Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fantasies, Dreams and Dandelion Wishes

Do you remember, in summer,  picking dandelion seed heads and blowing at them whilst making fantasy wishes?  One day they would come true if only you wished hard and often enough.  As a Kindergarten teacher I never got tired of listening to the fantastic dreams and wishes of many of the young children in my care.  It was so refreshing to hear the amazing aspirations and fantasies of kids who had not yet realized that maybe they would not all be football players, dancers, singers or ballerinas.  It was nice to work amongst those who believed in magic, fairies and unicorns and ... dandelion wishes.

In elementary school I was always being scolded for gazing out the window and not paying attention in class.  My school reports all told the same story that maybe I might do better at my studies if I were not to have my head in the clouds all day long.  The truth was that I was indeed somewhere else, usually miles away from the classroom, at least in my head.  If you hated the social aspects of school like I did, this might all sound familiar.  Being inside my head meant that I could escape a reality which I found very difficult to cope with.  My pre-school friend (a girl from across the way) no longer wanted to play with me.  She preferred playing double dutch with her new girl friends and I was excluded.  I was too 'sissy' to be allowed to join in some of the boy's games and had to tag along on the edges, being only partly accepted. I became pretty much a loner on the school yard, play times could be pretty miserable and I was one of those unfortunate kids who wound up most days holding hands with the teacher on duty along with a few other waifs and strays.  The highlight of my day was being allowed to carry my teacher's empty mug back to the classroom after she had drunk her tea.

Living inside my head allowed me to be someone else entirely, generally a girl called 'Janet' or 'Alison' and who was best friends with someone very similar to the friend I had lost.  Through long days dreaming I ended up constructing a whole new life, one in which I was clever and popular, had lots of friends, could do perfect handstands and cartwheels and more important than anything, was female.  Increasingly more elaborate as I graduated to Middle School, my fantasies widened to include new parents, new town, new house, new bedroom, new toys (including the doll I wanted but never got), everything that I thought would make me happier. It was also a dandelion wish.  By then I new perfectly well that none of this could ever come true, boys do not suddenly become girls, that was absurd.

By the time I was eleven I had learned enough to enable me to try and fit in on the fringes with other boys and at least pretend to like the same things that they did.  On way walk home from school down the back way there were dandelions in the hedgerows but I no longer had the heart to pick them and make a wish, that sort of stuff was for babies.

Struggling through my teens, my fantasies were all over the place.  Trying to imagine romantic kissing with boys, being folded in his arms and falling in love whilst having a body that was rapidly taking me into manhood was confusing and upsetting.  I was being dragged kicking and screaming down a route I didn't want to take When I  took refuge in my fantasies of staring into the eyes of some dreamy eyed boy who bore more than a passing resemblance to David Cassidy, it could end up in yucky experiences for me as the sexual feelings in my body took over.

I was confused, was I the sort of 'homo' that boys talked about?  But did 'homos' want to be girls?  My parents had 3 gay men in their circle of acquaintance and at times I tried desperately in my fantasies to identify with them.  My Mom even had the intuition to ask me age 15 if I thought that I was homosexual.  I didn't want to talk about it, it was too difficult.  From age nine I had been 'borrowing' Mom's things and secretly wearing them, how could I  discuss that?  By age 16 I had therefore rapidly acquired a girlfriend and no more questions were asked.

Having a girlfriend lead to a whole host of other weird displaced fantasies including continuing my girl fantasies but imagining a girl-girl relationship with my new girlfriend.  Adding a lesbian fantasy life inside my existing fantasies however left me feeling more confused than ever and totally disorientated. In addition, having a girlfriend was no way the same as I had imagined it would be.  I couldn't discuss crushes, shopping, gossip or talk about fashion, I had to BE the boy, more confusion.

It took me many years to sort all this out.  Should I have had the courage to talk to someone?  By the time I knew that I needed to I was already in a marriage and had a family to care for.  I often wonder whether my fantasies shaped and directed my sexual feelings or whether they would simply have been there anyway.  It was a great relief to finally start to talk about it seven years ago and receive a diagnosis of GID.  It felt so liberating to finally start living 24/7 as a woman and not have to do it all in my head.

Nowadays, thank goodness, I don't have to imagine I'm a woman any more so there's room for other dreams and wishes.  My fantasies are all about cute older guys and these days they feel way more close and real than ever before because they're possible.  Flirting is fine but some time soon I want to start dating again.  I know that he's out there somewhere and I'm wishing all over again.

Maybe I should look around for a dandelion...

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