Cassie’s Herstory -- Chapter 2
Click here for
Cassie’s Herstory -- Chapter 1
("Cassie’s First Idea of Her Sexuality")
Note: The narrative below is the result of a suggestion from a good friend. She has
requested that I write a book in which I described how I felt, what I thought, when
things happened, and so forth. She is interested in understanding what my life
experiences were and are.
As a result, I have tried to write the narrative, not as I would recall it from the present, but as I had experienced it in the past.
In September 1966, I started at a new school, Heatherbrae Senior Public School. I entered Grade 7. During the two school years that I would spend at Heatherbrae, I had very few friends. I did not want friends since I would have to pretend to be Boyd, to be a boy, and not to be myself. The fewer friends that I had, the less that I had pretend to be Boyd. The loneliness and solitary lifestyle that had begun in 1961 persisted and deepened.
As puberty set in, I grew to hate everything about myself. I loathed the changes that were occurring. Pubic hair appeared. Penis and testicles started growing larger. Body hair sprouted. "Peach fuzz" coated my face. My voice deepened into a low, very male pitch. An Adam’s apple sprouted on the front of my neck. I was a girl and I wanted my body to change the way other girls’ bodies were changing.
My parents gave me my first electric razor at Christmas. This "gift" hurt deeply. To my parents, it was a time of pride. Their boy was becoming their young man. It was time for him to work towards his position in society as a man. I did not want to become a man; I was a girl! I did not want to live as a man. No, if I could not be the woman that I knew that I was, I did not want to live! Period!
It was around this time that the depressions started. Up to this point, my life in the fantasy world, my life as Cathy, provided relief from the real life that was not mine. The fantasy world made my boy life somewhat liveable, although I was emotionally detached from the real life. However, the physical changes that puberty cruelly inflicted upon me destroyed the relief from my life as Cathy.
I sought out pastimes that took me away from other people. These pastimes included walking along riversides and in forested areas, cycling, disappearing into novels, listening to records using headphones (secluded in a darkened basement), and so forth. The pastimes allowed me to suffer the depressions in secret and sometimes to escape my life into the world of the novels or music.
No one must know of my depression. If they found out, then they would pry. Prying would risk discovery. I could not let them discover the secret. I would be embarrassed severely and ashamed if they found out that I was not Boyd, but was Cathy. They would not understand my condition. They would not accept who I really was. I must hide my real identity from the whole world.
Gradually, the depressions became deeper and more frequent. The periods between the depressions became steadily shorter. Throughout my high-school years, I was a semi-recluse. Few friends. Little time with the friends that I did have. High-school life was another part of a life that should not have been. To everyone, I had to pretend to be Boyd. To everyone, I had to act like a guy. Could I take part in any of the girls’ activities? Why not? "You’re not a girl!" Oh, but I am a girl! They wouldn’t accept my real identity, if I were to tell them. I would be the laughing stock if I tried to assert my true self.
Life threw another curve ball while I was at high school in the early 1970s. Life sure can be cruel. I feel in love. My best friend (actually, one of the very friends that I did have) had caught my heart. I tried to spend as much time with Robert as I could. I wanted to be his girl. How could I? They saw Boyd, not Cathy. They saw a guy, not a girl. I had to be careful not to let anyone know that I loved Robert. The depressions changed. They were less frequent. They were different somehow. Having to live as Boyd was now second, in the hurting, to being unable to tell Robert that I loved him and to not having Robert love me.
How it hurt when Robert asked me to help him to with Debbie’s refusal of his love. Of course I wanted to help Robert. He was the man that I loved and it hurt me to see him hurt. It also afforded me more time with him. Then Robert fell in love with Cathy. No, not me, but another Cathy. Robert was spending time with her. That meant that I had less time with him.
Why could I not tell Robert how much he meant to me? Everyone would have thought that I was gay. But I was not gay. How would I make them understand that I was a heterosexual woman trapped in a male body?
I had been cross-dressing secretly for several years now and had amassed a collection of girl’s clothes. In 1972, Mom discovered a cache of girl’s clothing that I had hidden in my bedroom. Disaster! Or was it? Now, I had no choice. I had to tell my parents why I had girl’s clothing in my bedroom. Was life telling that it was time to get help? Was life going to let me finally be who I was? So, I told my parents that I was a transsexual and that I needed to undergo a sex change. They took me to a psychiatrist. I had one session with him, during which he played the mind games with ambiguous questions. Then my parents and I had a meeting with the psychiatrist. He told my parents that I had an inferiority complex and that the condition would resolve itself. No one would believe me now! Why would they? The "expert" had proclaimed that Boyd had an inferiority complex. Disaster! Hope had died.
In 1973, we students completed Grade 13, made our empty promises to stay in touch, and went out to pursue the next stage of our lives. Robert went off to Queen’s University in Kingston. I went off to start a career in electronics. My plan was to work for two or three years and then head off to university to pursue a career in electrical engineering or astrophysics.
I was still living at my parents’ home. I took a position as an electrical technician in an audio manufacturing plant. I lost contact with the few friends that I had at high school. I had lost my only love, with no prospect of ever seeing him again. The depressions gave way to one all-pervasive, deep depression. My life had reached a critical point.
The clinical depression that had gripped me in mid-1973 would last through to late-1975. Throughout this period, the depression’s intensity fluctuated between "highs" where life was barely tolerable to "lows" where my thoughts were constantly of committing suicide.
As though being a woman trapped in a man’s body was not enough, the
body was failing. Let it fail. Let it end my persistent misery, I pleaded
silently. Several health problems arose, which only added to my thoughts
of ending my life. Classical migraines became the order of each day,
denying me any relief. Hours each day were spent lying on my bed in a
silent, darkened bedroom. Irritable bowel syndrome made it necessary
to spend an hour each morning, sitting on the toilet. All the while,
I was begging that my life would end.
Last Updated: 22 March 2009 (site moved to new server)