A warning… There’s triggers in this.
My given name is Brandy, my middle name Nicole. Lately I’ve been going by Nykki (a shortening of Nikolai that’s more readily accepted by strangers and my workplace). And currently? I’ve been thinking a lot about my life, who I am… Who I want to be. And I think I need some advice from people outside my normal life. But for that, there’s gotta be some back story, I suppose.
I was born to a single mother. From what I’ve been told, my biological father left before I was born and the father of my step brother didn’t want me because I wasn’t his. Eventually, my mother married. At first things were good, I suppose. Happy. But things started to get bad. I was abused, to say the least. For the longest time I didn’t know it wasn’t normal. I thought I was a bad kid. Then, when I was around ten I was a victim of sexual abuse from my step brother. Once it was found out… Well, things didn’t get any better. I never saw him after the court case again. But my now ex-step father just got more violent.
Eventually my mother divorced him. Life was okay for awhile, before she started blaming me for her lot in life. As it stands now I have no true family to speak to. But this isn’t my main point today.
I’m unsure of who I am. Growing up, I always hung out with the boys, most of my friends (what few ones I had) were boys. I never really was able to understand girls, and I still have problems with that. Hell, looking at old pictures of me from when I was a kid I completely looked the part of a boy.
When puberty hit, things pretty much hit rock bottom. I was ashamed of how my body was developing, that I was different than guys. I grew extremely depressed, repeatedly attempted suicide. Yet at the same time, this was also just after I had escaped the torture my ex-step father put me through and I still thought that I deserved to be punished. The line of where the need for punishment ended and the hatred of what I was going through is blurry.
I started wearing clothes way too large for me, to hide what was happening to my body. Withdrew even more. I was often mistaken as a guy, and I actually felt just a little happier when it happened. I barely noticed it after awhile, even. But I definitely noticed when I was used with ‘she’ or ‘her’. And it always made me feel self conscious.
Eventually it got to the point that I couldn’t really feasibly hide the differences between myself and the guys around me so I stopped trying so hard. I still loathed things girly - dresses, the color pink and such forth, but I started wearing clothes that actually fit. Eventually I got comfortable enough in those clothes - though I still preferred a t-shirt and jeans to anything else.
In high school I identified myself as bisexual. That hasn’t exactly changed, though it’s a bit more complicated. I don’t really care about the gender of whomever I like, but with girls it’s only an emotional thing. A guy? It can be both an emotional and a physical attraction.
Over the past year, I’ve reflected a lot on my life. I stopped self-harming in my junior year, reached out for help with my depression, talked to my friends when I was upset. I realized that my relationship with my mother had become toxic, and I moved out last year. I’ve even (on rare occasions) been comfortable enough to wear a dress or a skirt. I turned 21 a few months ago, and I’m applying for college in the spring. I finally feel like I’m able to live my life the way I should be, instead of hiding from the past and in constant fear. One thing I realized during all of this? I still feel more comfortable being perceived as a male. It feels more natural.
Yet, at the same time I know that even if I was born male, I would probably still occasionally wear a skirt or dress. Because even when I’m wearing those things, I feel male. I still wear t-shirts and jeans mainly though, and I’m more comfortable and confident when I’m wearing clothing traditionally meant for men. It’s only extremely rare that I feel at all feminine.
So I’ve been wondering… Am I transgender? Am I gender fluid? Is this confusion some kind of phase? Is it a psychological reaction to constantly being assured as a child by my ex-step father that, were I male the abuse would have been worse?
I keep asking myself what I’m happier with? I’ve asked myself if it’s just the need for change, if it’s just my want to start over new and create a better life for me? Will it really make myself happy? When I go to college, should I be open about how I feel about my gender, or should I hide it?
I’ve told several of my friends my feelings on the matter and all of them, luckily have accepted this fact. The person I’m currently dating even refers to me as his boyfriend to his friends (something that actually makes me extremely happy). I’ve referred to myself as transgendered a few times, as have my friends.
I don’t really have anyone to talk to that knows anything about this, so I wanted to post this here after a friend of mine linked me. I’d really like to have any thoughts or opinions you’d be willing to share, if you have time.
Let me first start out by saying, I hope you do not mind me referring to you as Nikolai rather Nykki because I find the name Nikolai simply beautiful. Reading your story made me tear up a bit, I believe it was due to the fact that it I could relate to it so well. As someone who identifies now as gender fluid (or gender queer, however you may choose to interpret it), I’ve gone through a lot of the same struggles.
One of the hardest things to do in life is to come terms with yourself and even when you do finally believe that you have come to terms with yourself, there are always second guessing or additional details that you may have overlooked previously. Ahh, it’s so mind boggling at times. As I stated previously, I’m gender fluid and although gender queerness/gender fluidity is a ‘category’ or ‘label’ (I use both terms loosely) you could fall under, there are quite a few others that describe you as well.
Rather than being gender gluid or gender queer, you could be a bigender who prefers male pronouns. Bigender refers to someone who has a tendency to move between feminine and masculine gender-typed behaviour depending on situations/context. You could also be a pangender who prefers male pronoun usage. Pangender refers to someone who feels that they cannot be labeled as male or female in gender (this can also be considered “genderqueer”, although I [personally] believe it’s a category of its own).
……but in all honesty….none of these labels are important. Labeling yourself is never important. Even when you feel it is, trust me…it’s not. Rather than worrying and stressing over these bullshittery labels, be happy with yourself. You are probably a beautiful person inside and outside, you need no labels to define who you are. You define who you are. You are you. No labels, no bullshittery, just Nikolai. You needn’t confuse yourself anymore than necessary.
I hope this helped in some way. It probably didn’t and ended up being some mindless drivel…but I do hope you eventually come to terms with yourself. I hope you find the answer you’re looking for and you’re able to overcome this hurdle of confusion. We may not know each other, but I’m always here to listen. And although this is around a month late, please know that you have a friend in me.