Time Gap Dysphoria
I kinda fell apart this morning, and I can only attribute it to dysphoria. I have recovered nicely but it's been on my mind ever since as my mind has imaginary conversations to try to explain my behavior. It doesn't feel exactly like regular gender dysphoria, in which a lot is related to appearance. Although appearance greatly impacted my little meltdown this morning.
What I noticed as I tried to process, and form explanations for what happened during the time my emotions took total control and freaked me out, was maybe another way to describe the dysphoria. Basically, it's this:
My emotions and life experience feels very stuck in an earlier phase of life. Whereas my body, and the lives of everyone around me, are in the present. There is an unavoidable, very real, and very large, gap.
Like, I am 46 years old, but there are times a 15-year-old version of me just takes over. Or an even younger version of me. And this version of me is female. It's female and desperately trying to catch up with the present.
I have made it to Thanksgiving, and am very greatly glad I did. This is very good for me, and present-age me knows this. Present-age me writes these blogs. However, younger me also has access to the internet, and she often says stuff only someone much younger might say. At least in my opinion.
I have written before about how make-up intimidates me. I don't take time to practise and my home life is not conducive to it anyway. This is where the age gap comes in. Younger me NEEDS outings to dress up and add makeup to feel nice about myself.
I targeted Thanksgiving as a day I could do myself up, within reason, and fully experience myself as I wish to be seen. That meant some cute (I think so anyway), age-appropriate clothes, makeup and all that goes with it. Even though I knew I was going to spend the day with family that was spending the day in a very casual manner.
The outfit wasn't anything crazy dressy, not at all. The day, for late November, turned out to be way too warm for the sweater dress I had bought a couple months ago. I was going with skinny jeans, a nice feminine black top I just bought, and some black boots I have yet to wear anywhere. And the makeup.
My family at home does not want to see me dressed this way. So I already had apprehension over my hands after painting my nails after I thought they'd all gone to bed last night. They all buzzed around, and I hid my hands. I sleep alone, so once I went to bed, no big deal.
Today's plan was to get up early and do everything else to present myself, and get out of there early. I hadn't been given a specific time to arrive for dinner, so I targeted late morning. I was leaving lots of time for makeup. And talking to myself that it would be ok.
Working backward from my determined departure time, I had done the mundane, eating breakfast, shaving real close, and showering. And talking to myself about the makeup. It will be ok.
I got dressed and was about to start makeup. It will be ok. And then, suddenly dinner got moved way back, and then younger me took over. I knew I didn't want to hang around the house fully dressed femme, it had been enough with my hands last night.
I determined to go back to crappy dude clothes, part of the disguise I still need at home. What else could I do? Present-day me usually stops me from danger, luckily, and so that was the one thing that version decided. Teenage me was then fully in control.
Teenage me had been psyched for months at the idea of not being alone on Thanksgiving, and also getting to look nice, and not, well, male. This is the age gap thing. Younger me has never gotten to do all these things that cis people don't even register. So, despite the fact my hosts could not possibly have known I get triggered by a change in plans, unfortunately I did. How could they know I would if I didn't even know I would?
You might think, why didn't you just chill and wait? Delays happen all the time. People in their 40's certainly know this. But I was not 46 in that moment. I was 15 (or so) and I was trying to bridge of 30 years not lived.
There's no way to bridge that gap. You just can't, because time keeps moving. Somehow I have to be present-day me and compensate for the years not lived. And that's the really hard part. There are ways to compensate, in terms of environment and the people I am around. It just takes....time.
I eventually straightened up enough to go, but I had to remove the self imposed need to present fully feminine, with makeup. I am wearing all femme things, but no makeup, no boots. A nice tshirt and jeans, some small hoop earrings and a fun bracelet. It had to do; I was spent otherwise, and as much as I tried to push people away and be alone, I didn't REALLY want to be alone, so that's the compromise I made with myself.
I am at present having a nice relaxing time. I'm fully Shannyn here and am glad to be here with people who love me. That means more than any clothing I would wear, and luckily present-day me convinced younger me of that, so I could get on my way.
So what to title this post? Best I can come up with is "Time Gap Dysphoria". Not very scientific, but it will have to do.
To all the readers in the USA, Happy Thanksgiving. To everyone else, I hope the days are treating you well. I'm thankful for all of you.