Fiction by Cathy
© 2012 All rights reserved
Doctor Samuelson, as it turned out, was a psychiatrist. I didn’t really know exactly what that meant, but from the extensive knowledge a nine year old has…I guessed they thought I was crazy and She would cure me. I hoped someone would cure me!
At my first meeting with Doctor Samuelson, She started asking questions, of course. There were all sorts of questions, many of which they were the same ones Mom had asked me. Did I just like wearing girls' clothes; how did I feel while dressed; did I know why I liked it…What was it I did like? But several seemed unrelated: Would I rather mow the yard, or plant a rose bush? If I had to clean a bedroom from top to bottom, or clean out the garage, which would I do? If I could choose between talking with a group of friends or going shopping for a bike, which would I do? Did I prefer talking to girls, or boys? I mean, some of them I sort of figured out why She asked…but mow the yard or plant a rose bush?
She did ask one question that was right to the point: Did I think I would rather be a girl instead of a boy? Now of course I had thought about that very thing for…most of my life! Well, at least as long as I knew there really was a difference…other than clothes. I remember telling her I didn’t know. I only knew what it was like being a boy. I couldn’t tell if I would like being a girl. I imagined it would be nice?
She jotted something down, stared out the window for a time and was silent. At last, She smiled and slowly asked me what if somehow I became a girl and found it wasn‘t at all what I imagined? She told me I might be disappointed that everything I had imagined wasn’t really so wonderful after all. I told her I hadn’t thought about that. After a brief moment I looked back at her and asked ... “What if I found it really was wonderful?“ She stood up, patted me on my shoulder and asked me to wait outside while She had a quick chat with Mother. That quick chat wound up being nearly an hour, I think, and I was getting more than a little nervous!
I met with her for three more sessions during that same traumatic week, on one day I met with her twice! I did start to feel a little more comfortable talking as She delved into my secret world, but I remained cautious and embarrassed by the whole notion. I mean, on the one hand I was telling her my deepest secret thoughts thinking somehow She could help me become… Normal! But at the same time I was afraid once I told her, the whole world would suddenly know and I would have nowhere to hide!
In one of the last sessions during that period, Mom was asked to join us. The Doctor didn’t ask a lot of questions. Instead, She talked about what might be troubling me. “It seems to me David, you have a simple psychological gender disorder.” So did that mean I was crazy? She just laughed and sat back in her chair. “Oh goodness no!” She said. “It just means your brain isn’t sure you like being a boy and maybe you would be better off being a girl.”
A lot of the discussion after that seemed more directed to Mom. She seemed to be using more complex terms She assumed I wouldn’t grasp and She was looking at Mom during the conversation. I remember the Doctor saying the whole field of study was quite new and there wasn’t a lot of case history on which to base treatments. She used terms like ‘gender disphoria’, ‘transvestism’ and ‘trans-sexual behaviors.' “These are all pretty new terms, by the way. Psychology is only just beginning to take an active role in studying such patients.”
When she described each, I just knew it applied to me! I suddenly became frightened a little that indeed there was something very wrong with me with all those things being described and I suddenly burst out; “Isn’t there something you can do to cure me of all those!?”
She stopped and looked me straight in the eye. “Oh David… You don’t have some disease! You have nothing to be cured! I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood. As psychologists, we are only beginning to understand…there’s nothing to cure here! It’s simply the way your brain is…well, wired up.” A lot of people believe otherwise, of course. They think if we keep shocking you or giving you lots of analysis and such…you would suddenly become what they believe you should be!
She resumed focusing her discussion toward my mother. “This is a new field of study and most people don‘t always agree how best to find solutions for something of this nature. We don‘t have a lot of experience, to tell the truth, and what I‘m going to suggest we do next is aimed at figuring out exactly who David should be. He might just be overly curious about things, or perhaps it’s much more important than that.”
She then sat back in the chair, looked briefly at her watch, and suggested we would finish up the next day. She asked me to wait outside for a few minutes while She talked over one last thing with my mom. “And David…I promise this time, it will be just a few minutes, OK? Not like the last time,” and She laughed.
Sure enough, a few minutes later I heard the door start to open and Mom giggling lightly as I heard her telling the doctor she was going to be happy to help in the process and would have a lot fun. “And his father‘s idea couldn’t have worked out at a better time if it comes to that! Thank you so much. We’ll see you tomorrow morning then!”
That evening, she and Dad went for a walk, something they didn’t often do unless they had some serious discussions to have and didn’t want me to hear. Call me silly, but I was once again starting to get concerned! When they got back, they were smiling and laughing so I guessed everything was OK. Dad just looked at me for a second and smiled. “Davey, you know we love you, always remember that. You might think we’re…well, punishing you for what you like to do. There will be some big changes ahead for you…and for your mom and me too! Please understand we’re all just trying to see where this goes, OK? You…well, WE…are going to have a great deal of adjustment in our lives. I know you‘ll do your best and…well, don’t worry, we’ll get this all sorted out.”
Oh man…I knew the bomb would finally drop! He just told me I was ‘not’ being punished! SURE!
The next morning Mom and I went once again to Dr. Samuelson’s office. Inside, She walked to her chair, gently patting my head on the way, and began.
“Your parents and I have talked about putting you into a ‘test period’ and they have agreed with me that it may be the best way to find out where we go from here. David, we’ve moved very, very fast here. Normally I would be talking all this over with someone for months before doing this test, but your father has indicated we don’t have a long time frame to work with. This certainly isn’t without some risk, but…from what you’ve told in all these talks you and I have had, I think your youth helps move more quickly than for an adult…”
I just looked at her for a few moments, not understanding. She laughed lightly, and went on to explain.
“You’re probably wondering what I’m talking about! Well…you remember I said before that maybe your brain is simply more like that of a young girl than a young boy. But maybe you’re just overly fascinated about girls, their clothes, and all sorts of feminine things….more like a real curiosity than something you really want? It’s like…you saw some special toy…or a book for example! You can’t think of anything else maybe. Then…you get that thing and….after a few days you play with it or read it, and usually get bored with it pretty quickly. So…you go back to your other toys, or books, or whatever you want to imagine comparing it to. It could wind up being the perfect all around toy, or book, or whatever, and it‘s with you forever.. That may be your desire to look and even be like girls. Maybe it’s just a curiosity that you would get bored with! Maybe it’s the perfect fit for what you need. Does that make sense?”
I nodded my head, I think I understood what she was getting at…
“Ok then. The next task for us all is how to find out if being a girl is that special toy or book that lasts, or if it’s just an immense curiosity for you. A psychology professor in Canada described, in some of his lectures, the idea of a test to figure out a very similar question about some people’s desire to become someone different. For example, someone who always thought they wanted to be a dancer would be given the chance to actually study dance and try performing. They might discover it wasn’t what they thought it would be. It wasn’t just glamorous and exciting…It was hard work even if they were good at it! If they found it wasn’t what they really thought it would be like…they could move on with their other plans and dreams and no harm was done. In a way, that’s exactly what we want to do with you. Find out if your desire is more than just…well, curiosity!
To do that, you are going to have to be a girl for a while…a ‘test period!’ Your parents will treat you like a girl - you will have to dress like a girl, act like a girl, and face obstacles a girl your age would face. If this is simply an overwhelming curiosity about what it would be like to be a girl, and nothing more, you’ll get tired of it very quickly I’m sure. In his lectures, he has suggested such a test period should last long enough to give the person a chance to really understand what they might have to do if they pursued their…well, their dream! Since you’re so very young, I think we’ll all know very soon. Of course, if you find it’s exactly what you dreamed it would be…then we’ll all have to try and accommodate that result, maybe with a much longer test period…or…a more permanent change.
afternoon on, whenever you are not in school, you are no longer
going to be allowed to be a boy. It won’t be easy! But you have to
promise me…and your parents….you will try your best. For your part,
it’s going to be hard to ’BE’ a girl. As you told me early on, you
don’t know what that’s really like. Your mother assured me she’ll
push you, and she’ll be hard on you! So will your father, I’m
sure. They are both taking this very seriously, and I want you to as
well. At first, I imagine it will seem fun to you, but the ’novelty’
will soon wear off and you will begin to understand how different
things would be if you were a girl. Now…I want to see you in a
few weeks, but I’ll drop by your home and we’ll see how you’re doing
there instead of my office,
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