Katy explained

    • 43 posts
    November 24, 2017 4:27 PM GMT

    Well, I have been on this site for months and met some wonderful people (some of whom became fantastic friends, you know who you are), but I realize that I never got round to introduce myself, or explain what the hell I am exactly (if only I knew!).

    But no more! I had written down my all life story (gender-wise) for one of my friends, so, you are going to be hit with the whole lot of it. Lucky you!

    On the plus side, I am writer by trade so I tried to make it fun (at least in parts).

    Well, here goes episode 1:

    Katy's story:



    In the summer of 1976 I was conceived, by accident, in a field of wheat. My mom was not quite 18 and was an art student. My dad was 10 years older and so sozzled in drink that he died less than three years later. The deed of squirting little wonderful me into the world was, without a doubt, the greatest achievement in his life. RIP, daddy.

    The wheat had already been cut, and my mom's most vivid memory of the day of my conception is that the wheat stubbles were damn uncorfotable to lie on. I was destined to be prickly and uncomfortable.

    In my part of Italy, the wheat is cut early in June, so, as is but right, I was born in February. It was Valentine Day, no less. I was destined to be hopelessly romantic.

    My parents had married by then, but before I was 2 years old they had already divorced and I had moved into the house of my mother's parents.

    I was born with all the proper girl parts, so I don't know exactly why I came up in this family rather more like a little boy.

    I think my own brand of gender mix-up started almost by chance.

    What can I say about my mother's family? They were poor, utterly uneducated and came from the countryside. The Italian countryside in the 1970s was like the 16th century anywhere else in Western Europe. There was not a mean bone about my grandparents and their family, but let us say, that they lacked "the social graces". It was the kind of family where men work in the fields and building sites, and women stay at home sewing, cooking and rolling pasta dough with long wooden rolling pins (a fearsome weapon, but too seldom used). It is also the sort of family where, for mere sport, men would belch loudly at table, and fart uproariously in the living room.

    Because the money was tight, I was always dressed in my older (male) cousins hand-downs... By the age of 6 I was used to be systematically mistaken for a little boy. Hell, I was used to BE a little boy. My mom was a staunch feminist, and decided I should play with Lego and other types of building blocks, not dolls. Eventually My Little Ponies (my first horsies!!) were smuggled into my life by other relatives. But by then I was already making a point of building their stables myself from scratch.  I built pretty impressive miniature houses from cardboard boxes and even a boat (because My Little Ponies liked to sail, you know).

    Because of my mom's relatively progressive ideas an illustrated book was purchased that explained to children how children are made. I suppose that was my first contact with erotic romance. I didn't have little brothers to do the whole "if you show me yours I will show me mine" thing, but thanks to the book, I was well grounded in the whole subject.

    When I was 7 I shocked my school friend Elisa G. and her conservative, family by stating (at table) that I wanted to be a boy. "Why?!", they asked, all polite bourgeois city-courtesy (my first taste ever of society, just so you know), "Because I want my own willie," I said, as cool as you like. Imagine the pretty tinkling little thuds of 6 silver-plated forks falling on as many fine porcelain dishes. (well, nobody in my clueless family had ever mentioned that saying willie at table is not socially acceptable, so, how was I to know??).

    If truth be told, what I really wanted was to be White Fang, and marry Bagheera. Which goes to prove that a) I was already a good reader, b) I was already at odds with the human species, and c) that my gender mix up had already taken several very colourful turns.

    (Just so you know, a panther, as a noun, is feminine, in Italian, and people names ending in -a are also usually feminine. But, surprisingly, Bagheera was male and spoke in a deep gruff rumble and I thought he was the **sexiest** thing on earth. Retrospectively, that is significant).

    Now and then my granny, who could use a sewing machine, would be arsed to give a damn, and make me a "something girly". If only it had been a cute nice tiny blouse to wear over my cute tiny blue jeans everything might have gone well for me. But no. Granny was always an all-or-nothing kinda girl, so when she made me a something girly, she went aaaaall the way out. I remember the first one. It was a little "sailor" dress. Pure white cotton (so practical to run around with!) with a tight little bodice, a double trim of thin blue ribbon sewn around all the edges, a big square collar (I don't remember if it had stars on it), flared skirts and oversized balloon sleeves. It went with white lacy crocheted socks and varnished black pumps. They put all this on me, they did something unspeakble to my hair (hey, by then the 80s had reached even Italy) and then they carried me to the photographer parlour, where they sat me with a potted palm and a painted background and took a picture.

    That was the first day of my life I went out en femme. It was the most awfully uncomfortable thing that had ever been inflicted on me. I had never felt so utterly stupid in my life. My other granny had this picture printed poster size and had it hanging in her house til the day she died, on the same wall with some musty pope portraits and a shelf full of stuffed pheasants (courtesy of a hunting uncle). The fact that I never set fire to that house is a testament to my heroic restraint and self control.


    (end of part 1 of my story... Part 2 is not so funny)


    • 43 posts
    November 24, 2017 4:40 PM GMT

    PS to part 1:

    There are pictures floating around, not from a photographer parlour, but holiday snapshots and such, where I am flapping about in these mismatched slacks and stuff... It looks like a particularly disreputable clown shagged a scarecrow and I am the runt of the litter of their offspring... But I seem wonderfully content in those pictures.

    • 43 posts
    November 25, 2017 2:48 PM GMT

    Part 2

    The Dark Ages


    Then, when I was 7, my mother remarried with a brute and my ordeal with bullying and psycological (and occasionally physical) abuse began.

    Who would have though. My stepfather was very young, tall, elegant for a labourer, handsome and sort of shy. He was also a totally self-absorbed, mean, petty, infantile asshole, as became obvious  long before they married. But my mom badly needed a good shag I guess, so she married him anyway, after less than six months since meeting him. I do hope the shagging was worth it.

    When we moved to my stepfather house to live with his parents my life changed so drastically that I became sick. At my mother's place I had been used to be somewhat wild but loved and cuddled all round. In this new place absolute formality was the rule, laughing and playing were discouraged, and any outward manifestation of affection was frowned upon. My stepfather's family was also poor, but city-poor. Absolute decor and respectability was to be observed at all times. A good deal of hypocrisy was deployed to "keep up the appearances". The most remarkable person in the family was the mother of my stepfather. A withered old **** no bigger than a moderate dog, with enough vitriol in her to melt down the Titanic. She is to this day one of the few genuinely evil persons I have ever met. She dedicated her life to "caring" for her sick husband, a man who had had some heart trouble and now lived like a prisoner in his wife's care. The day my mother married her precious youngest son, she did not come to the wedding. The official excuse was that she needed to stay home to care for her husband (bollocks... He was a kindly man and wanted nothing better than coming to the wedding, which was perfectly within his physical capabilities). The true reason is that my mother was not a Christian—the wedding was just a civil wedding—and what was worse, she was a "fallen woman". The embarrassing evidence being, well, me.

    The first few months I lived in this new place I had the most horrid belly cramps at night. It became so bad that one night they drove me to the ER. Nothing physically wrong with me was found and the doctor, once told the history, concluded that it must be psychosomatic. I remember that pain like it was yesterday but ever since then my stepfather accused me or "pretending" to be sick to divert my mom's attention from him.

    Towards me the new granny was mock-sweet and stupendously manipulative. She never missed a chance to remark about my wild upbringing ("grown up without setting foot in church once... Like an animal" verbatim). On one hand she niggled at me for not being her son's daughter, on the other she was miffed that I never ever called him daddy.

    Even in the new house nobody ever tried to make me wear anything pretty, so I remained in my strange gender limbo all through my childhood years. Then one day, heaven save me, the sky broke and I started bleeding. With that came all the disasters of puberty. I had been such a cute child, and then practically overnight I turned into the ugliest teenager you can ever imagine. I had enough acne to fill 4 average teen agers (of any sex). I wore braces for my teeth and thick glasses. I was still dressed as a scarecrow because quite simply I never had any other choice.

    Now my step-granny (is that a word?) started obsessing about my bodily functions. I think she was horrified that a biologically adult female who was no blood relative of her and her son was prowling around the house. Since she did the laundry in the house, she confronted me with every pair of used panties she found, commenting on any smear of anything that might have deposited on them and musing if I had some sickness. It came to the point where I washed my panties by hand in secret or threw them away. Once a crumb of bread that must have been hanging about my jumper fell on the edge of the toilette, unnoticed and remained there after I flushed. She came to my room, dragged me to the bathroom and pointed an accusing finger to the offending object, trembling with rage and whispering "The men must NEVER, EVER know!" I was, like, “Er, what? It's a bread crumb." She leaned closer, looked at it, shook herself and said, "Oh, all right, I thought it was a drop a blood. You know. It must remain hidden." She even commented on the sound of trickling in the toilette when I peed. Apparently I had to stuff the toilette bowl with toilette paper first, so no sound could possibly betray the fact that I was doing anything involving my genitalia.

    She commented on my body all the time, pointing things out to her neighbours as I passed. My legs were too thin. My knees stuck out. My butt was too perky and it made her laugh. She spied on me (and my mom) when we took baths. I soon learnt to hang a sock over the bathroom keyhole before undressing.

    When I started having a choice in the clothes I wore, I started choosing things (still boy things, the idea of getting a skirt never entered even the antechamber of my mind) in bigger and bigger sizes, so nothing of me would show. By the time I was 16 I was literally wearing men clothes in XXL size. I was an XS in women clothes!

    In the meantime, my stepfather had made it a hobby to tease me about my acne (he called me, constantly and casually, at table, even with people Brufolo Bill, brufolo being the italian word for pimple), my ears ("They stick out so far that if you turn your head very quick you will slap your own face!"), and pretty much everything else he could think of that seemed to hurt.

    What was my mom doing in the meantime? Well Nothing, really. All this went on under her very nose, and she never raised the slightest objection.

    I had been such an engaging child, but as a teen ager I turned into an incredibly reclusive, embittered, secretive person. I hid into my room and spent my days reading, writing, studying and painting. And, most of all, dreaming imaginary worlds and imaginary people.

    There were quarrels. Sometimes they only brought down weeks of stonewalling from my stepfather. He would go about the house and sit at meals staring pointedly right through me, as if I didn't exist. As a child that was terrible. Sometimes they became violent, very violent. I was beaten badly a few times. The last time, I remember blood sprayed over half of the kitchen walls as far up as the ceiling.

    What was my mother doing? Nothing. Did she call the police? No. In fact, this is the ironic bit. She WAS the police. She had been a police agent since I was 6. But, in the house she never as much as said a word against her husband.

    I was not really a recluse. I was allowed to go to the town center shopping for books and stuff. I was just  discouraged from making any friends or having any human relationships outside the family. I still managed, out of sheer force of will, not to be totally isolated. Despite my weirdness I never was bullied in school. I was an excellent student and I was simply too flamboyantly peculiar for my schoolmates not to respect me. I didn't have close friends, but I didn't have enemies either.

    When I went out on my own it was a 70 to 30 chance that people would take me for a boy. When they did, I happily rolled with it and introduced myself as Marco.

    When I was 18 I marked the occasion of "coming of age", by having a new haircut. A full blown punk crest, shaved smooth on both sides of my head. That caused a 6 weeks silence in the house, but by then I was used to those, and I didn't give a damn. I also started wearing skinny jeans, lots of black and a sort of goth-girl make up. I didn't look like a girl, I think. I looked like a punk boy trying (halfheartedly) to look like a girl. I started having sex with people. Boys, girls. Sometimes I loved them, sometimes I didn't. I was just so astonished that anybody would want to have sex with me. I seriously considered myself the ugliest duckling ever hatched. I could see it in the mirror every day, and it was confirmed daily by my family interactions. Surprisingly, men flirted with me a lot. Men much older than me. I was insecure as far as my appearance went, but fiercely assured in my cultural and artistic knowledge. I could converse brilliantly. Maybe it was that. I don't know. Maybe shagging a punk girl who could recite poetry in three different languages was a new experience (I didn't like punk music, by the way, just the look).

    When I was 20 I could not take it anymore, and I left university and home. I worked a bit, then moved abroad more or less on a whim (well, it's a long story, but not one I feel like telling). The punk days were gone, and I was back in oversized man clothes. I had a relationship with a lesbian woman twenty years older than me who somehow gave me the first faint taste of self-confidence I had ever had in my life. I bought a skirt that I never wore, and a few pretty tops, which I did wear, over jeans and boots. I had some strange one night stands here and there. Then my project of staying abroad on my own tanked due to bureaucratic difficulties and I had to go back to my parents.

    The pretty tops never came out again until I met D.

    D. was a oung man, couple of years older than me, who used to work with my stepfather (they hated each other). He was (still is) the malest male I ever dated. Blong and rugged, with a pale gold pelt on his chest that you could sell as a bear rug, ice blue eyes, and a spectacular copper-red beard. He was fearsomely strong, but had gentle fingers and kissed sweetly. We were never really together. We were fuckbuddies and friends. We went out for movies and an ice-cream, and sex in the back-seat of his car (all very Italian). He never once commented on my choice of clothes, as such. Once he said, after making love, "I didn't think you would be so sweet. I thought you'd be a rough and tough girl." And then one day he let fall "You would look good in heels and a miniskirt." It was so absurd that it made me laugh. But one day on a whim, I bought a mini skirt and sandals with high heels.

    The thought of wearing them in the flat was unthinkable. Can you imagine, 22 years in boy gear, and then popping out of my room in a mini skirt?? There would have been questions, comments, remarks. Sniggers and teasing. And probably more questions. Although I had a job and was free to come and go, more or less, I preferred to keep my parents in the dark regarding my sex life. It's not that I was afraid of them. I simply didn't want them to be in any way part of my intimate existence.

    So started my career of closet reverse crossdresser. I left the house in drab, stopped in the garage, changed into my pretty new skirt, top and heels, and, without ever having walked a yard in heels in my life, I walked the lentgh that whole f*cking street and met Davide at the press shop in the corner. That I didn't break my neck is still an everlasting marvel to me to this day.

    D. didn't say a thing (I might have killed him if he had). He just put a hand on my thigh when I sat in the car, and said "Let's go somewhere nice." And instead of going to the movies he drove 200 effing kilometers and brought me to the seaside. Just like that. It was the most romantic thing anybody had ever done for me, and it changed my life and almost everything about me. It was... Bliss.

    • 43 posts
    November 25, 2017 2:53 PM GMT

    Part 3



    Now. If this was a romance novel, that would have been the END.

    The ugly duckling turns into a beautiful woman and she drives into the sunset with her hero, happy ever after.

    For better or worse, though, reality is a terrible narrator and has a way of screwing up a perfectly good storyline.

    Did I blossom into a beautiful woman? Ah ah. No.

    Well. I did come to accept that I was a woman and I didn’t hate it, which is something.

    But I remained a pretty dudish sort of woman. I never picked a woman’s job, for one (well, except once, oh my! Me, cooped up in an office with a bunch of other women! In a matter of weeks it became clear that a multiple chainsaw massacre was imminent and I quit. lol). No I was much happier in guy jobs. I was a metal worker for years, and loved it.

    I often have extremely vivid dreams of being a man. Very tall, very strong, and… ahem … well equipped.

    From time to time I go into intensely female phases when I get all fussed about shoes and mascara and epilators, but usually after a couple of months I go and buy myself a good crowbar or a new drill, and then I feel better.

    It’s not even that I alternate between male and female, simply.

    It’s more like go through phases when I am intensely gender conscious, and very aware of both my male and female side, and I want to be *both* a good looking woman and a seriously kickass kind of dude, and periods when I can’t be arsed either way , and I feel very much “Male, female, who cares, quit screwing around, and get the job done, Katy.”

    A friend with whom I talked about this a lot probably nailed it when she said that I am a sort a sort of agender-bigender bipolar personality. I don’t know if this is a thing, but it seems tres moi.

    The bigender periods are both exhilarating and devastating. I am more intensely alive, and more easily depressed. I never really got the hang of being a woman, but I am definitely not manly enough to be a bloke, so it tends to be a bit disappointing all round. On the other hand, I can pretty up if really try and don’t expect to look like a film star, and I can do lots of man things better than most men. I can weld and turn, and build a reciprocal roof, and cob buildings and my stone masonry makes professional builders stare in disbelief. So, there. Ah!

    The agender periods, are just, well, I get stuff done, and life goes on, very bland and kinda pointless.

    I haven’t really tried to pass as a guy in almost 20 years (even if it still happens now and then, accidentally, and briefly). I never even considered transitioning. When I was young in Italy it was practically unheard of, and then, well, life didn’t go that way. I am *very* happily married with a VERY heterosexual man, who takes my weirdness onboard with great patience, but would be very hard put what to do with a dude in his bed.

    I am resigned to be what I am. Ultimately I am first and foremost a fearsomely creative person and I define myself by what I do, not by I am (mostly).

    Most of the time, that is enough for happiness.  There are bad day. But, then we all have bad days.


    Wow, if you made it to the end, you deserve a cake.



    • 746 posts
    November 25, 2017 5:58 PM GMT

    I like chocolate cakes or anything with honey and cinnamon! (smile)


    Geez Katy, that you're even close to sane is a remarkable achievement considering the "adult" environment you were subjected to.  I guess dysfunctional families is not just an American thing.  your step grandma is right out of a Dickens novel...what an awful human being!  I cannot imagine how dark that person's soul must be and how in the world one might live like that!!! Whenever I've faced darkness in the form of life, I've always found a way to seek and find "light".  Maybe that's just a survival thing in turning away and probably unrealistic to expect to go thru life without conflict, but like yourself, I had enough going on internally about gender to want to have to carry even more weight on my shouders if it could have been avoided.


    Fortunately, you discovered the essence of you, that remarkably talented, hard working, creative soul that is capable of making good things and those around you happier thru your works!  Sadly, too many people never recognize nor are willing to reach for it and thus much beauty is lost to our future!  If you actually stopped and looked at yourself and how things have worked out, hopefully you will find a moment to pat yourself on the back for all the good you're doing and have done!!!  I think you are a pretty special person!


    Thank you for sharing this about yourself...it must be painful to go back, but then again, you have turned things around and have come out stronger than ever!!!


    So big hugs all around...and please feel free to ask me anything and also just share your feelings and emotions anytime you need an ear or shoulder to lean on!!  I'm glad I'm your friend!!!  Thank you for letting me into your life!!




    Traci xoxo

    • 10 posts
    November 27, 2017 7:55 AM GMT

    Simply incredible life story,  Katy. Reminds me of the Mark Twain quote about truth being stranger than fiction because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibities whereas Truth isn't. Thank you for sharing this with us. It will take me a while to get my head wrapped around such abuse. Love, Kanisha 

    • 43 posts
    November 27, 2017 11:45 AM GMT

    Hey you two both and thanks for the kind words! I am also very happy to have you in my life, and thanks for letting me in... and letting me rant a little from time to time

    I think the reason why I remained relatively sane through all that is that I spent(d) so much time living in different universes that there was just so much damage a single reality could do to me. Of course living 70-80% of time more or less disconnected from reality it a very relative sort of sanity, but oh well. At least I am not very dangerous to other people, lol.

    These days I am really quite happy about 9 days out of 10, so really, nothing to complain about... it was a strange long way to come to this point, and it was not until this year that I came to put all this into words. I wrote this book, fiction, mind, but with lots of real life expreience in it, and somehow it all came loose.

    Which feels good.

    Part of why I wrote it all out is that I think there are so many young (and less young) people locked in terrible dark places... I wanted to share this and say, hey, believe me I've been thre, don't give up, there's goodness out there, and there is also happiness in the in-between bits of rainbow

    Reach for that goodness, and never quit trying.

    Love and hugs all 'round.


    • 746 posts
    November 27, 2017 6:24 PM GMT

    I love that attitude Katy!!!  Yes, like yourself, my purpose of remaining here and contributing when and where I can can be pretty much summed up by saying if I even make just one person's journey or life better thru shared experience, prior life time experiences and the like, then it will be well worth the time and effort.  I think others do the same in here...plenty of good people in here!

    Stay sane...it's a pretty decent "reality"! (smile)


    Traci xoxo

    • 1652 posts
    November 28, 2017 1:46 AM GMT

    Brilliantly written Katia, and very moving. And I'm not even going to ask for cake.

    But if there's any going...


    • 13 posts
    May 22, 2018 5:04 PM BST

    "For better or worse, though, reality is a terrible narrator and has a way of screwing up a perfectly good storyline." Oh, how true!


    I like what you say about being "gender conscious" and agender-bigender. I long ago stopped trying to explain myself, mostly because the labels I think fit best just confuse the hell our of people, but I cling to bigender or genderfluid. I see gender as this great big spectrum, from pink to blue, skirts to shorts, Star Wars action figures to Barbie dolls, and I'm comfortable floating along it, never really touching one extreme or the other.


    My home office (where I spend about 9 hours a day) reflects that. Visitors who pop in look at the walls (baby blue with pink accents) and get confused, then look at my bookshelves (where MLP unicorns and DC Super Hero Girls frolick alongside Indiana Jones figures and Star Wars LEGO) and get even more confused.


    I must admit, though, I am utterly fascinated by your marriage and how the two of you make it work. He must be an amazing soul - so glad you have him!

    This post was edited by Sally Bend at May 22, 2018 6:51 PM BST
    • 43 posts
    May 22, 2018 6:58 PM BST

    Haha, the confusing decor!! A familiar topic. My home is sort of bohemian, but very feminine in a way, with lots of glittery fabrics and painted furniture and hearts hanging at the windows etc (no pink, though, I hate pink, lol). Then there's a bunch of no-nonsense woodworking tools and people go, "Oh, your husband tools all over the place, eh? That's men for you.", and me, "Er... no, those are mine." lol

    I get very tired sometimes that for many people embracing a non-binary view of gender means you have to go all the way to the other pole and stay there. It's not non-binary, it's just another form of black-and white picture... I like being in between and back and forth. I'd prefer to be in-between from the male side of things, but, oh well. Next incarnation, maybe?

    My husband is a keeper. I occasionally want to smack him, but mostly in a good way, lol.

    Be well, always! Hugs!

    • 374 posts
    May 29, 2018 3:03 PM BST

    Wow Katia, an incredible story that really moved me...thank you so much for sharing it with us!!  Glad to hear that things have worked out for you.  Continued happiness for you hon!!

    Hugs, Monika