When I was a teenager, the discomfort of presenting in a gender that did not match my gender identity was immense. This feeling of uneasiness in my own skin was a very destructive force in my life. As a result, I managed to get into a lot of trouble thanks to it’s singular driving force towards feeling more comfortable with my body, with my reflection. The strength of this compulsion towards the feminine impacted many areas of my life and in particular, my tendency to play hooky.
I will not blame all of my absenteeism on my gender dysphoria, as there have been a few days I played hooky to take a break from the bullying. Sometimes I also used bullying as an excuse to take a ‘me’ day. Nonetheless, a ‘me’ day was a chance for me to give in to the gender dysphoria and reach a state of being more comfortable. I would feel like myself because I could dress as a girl and all the pressure and the power of the gender dysphoria would melt away leaving me at peace. It was such a relief.
It can be really hard for someone who has not experienced gender dysphoria to understand just how powerful and all consuming it really can be. I often compare it to an addict going through withdrawal except it only gets stronger over time and cold turkey tends to work for a very short time but the dysphoria always comes back stronger. It can and often does make you do bad things. There are some transgender people with less dysphoria than what I experienced and I certainly envy them.
When I was in school, there were some things that I could do to make the dysphoria a little easier to deal with. In the winter, I could shave my legs and wear panty hose on days I was particularly brave. I tried not to shave my legs in the warmer months so that shorts could be an option. Wearing girl’s cloths under the boy grunge helped a good amount. However, it worried me at the same time because if the bullies found out, it was going to turn a bad situation much worse, if that was even possible.
Playing Hooky was a good enough solution as it gave me a chance to dress and there were no bullies to contend with. I did get caught a few times as my fake notes where not very imaginative. I think they started out quite good but then getting away with it for so long I got careless. In Junior High, it became a big deal as they figured out I had been doing it for a while and I was asked repeatedly why I was doing it and I would just say that I didn’t know.
My grades were also pretty poor in Junior High as I really wasn’t motivated and found school absolutely boring. When I was there, I was not thinking about my classes. I just wanted to be in the library where I could go read more books in my quest to figure out a solution for being transgender. I think my love of biology and psychology grew out of trying to figure out myself. By the time I entered High School, I had a fairly decent understanding of human physiology and was beginning to understand some of the basics of gender identity and the outdated theories of transsexuality.
The issue with me playing hooky escalated quickly as they began to look at all of my previous sick notes and a pattern emerged. The school, based on my behavior and my poor grades made a hypothesis that I was learning disabled. They were barking up the wrong tree. They decided to bring in a psychologist to help figure out what was going on with me. It was not long after talking to me that the psychologist believed the school to be wrong and decided to test my IQ to verify his thoughts. He did not tell me the number only that it was well above average and apparently this changed everything.
The school wanted to please me and offered to put me on any team I wanted which I thought was a really odd request. I didn’t really want to play any sports as I kind of suck at sports. I did use their offer to get made into a library helper seeing that I loved the library so much. As for my grades, one teacher came up with a motivational incentive to test how well I could do. He basically had my mom ante up some money for an upcoming test whereas if I aced it I would get five dollars. There were lower amounts for a B or C and nothing for a D or a F. I liked money so I concentrated in class for the week and then scored the highest in the class on the test. I did not study. I did though continue to do well in that teacher’s class, as he was after all the librarian.