I’ve tried to ignore this for a long time. I wrote it off as some sort of shallow insecurity or maybe just something that’s a phase, like when you were 15 years old and you go through that brief ‘suicidal phase’ or something ridiculous like that. But now I’m twenty-years old, and this isn’t going away. It’s getting worse and its starting to hurt other people because of my confusion.
I’m naturally a very logical person, so when these emotions come up, I don’t know how to deal with them. I’m not sure how to talk to someone about this. It’s very personal, but I’m not sure what to do anymore.
I have a lot to tell, honestly. I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 15, and the battle lasted until I was 17, so I missed some crucial social milestones. I moved away from my sisters during that time and didn’t attend school. I suppose my only form of social interaction with a massive multiplayer online game. I can literally say that that game saved my life. It kept me active, and it allowed me to access a social world where I wouldn’t be judged or treated differently because no one knew I was sick.
I’m an artist and a writer, and I am heavy into escaping and role-playing in games and my writing. It’s been extremely beneficial to me and my life to improve on my creativity. As a result I can say that I enjoy fantasizing and creating worlds in my writing. I’ve been doing so ever since I was young.
I suppose that’s where I can get into the heart of my confusion.
All my writing and escaping characters are males. I feel the most comfortable when writing or playing male characters, and oddly enough I’ve always as a kid pretending to be a man too. I’ve always been a tomboy, but now it’s just more comfortable when I can escape to it fully. In reality, I’m only ‘attracted’ to males that aren’t real, like a video game character. But if I’m fantasizing or writing, I never imagine myself with the character, I’m always the character himself. I don’t even dream ‘myself’—I’m always a male then too. And in real life I don’t have any attraction to the male sex at all. I don’t want them to touch me; I can’t even imagine being with someone male, and yet when it comes to the female sex I can imagine being with them as myself. But I’d just rather be a man and be with a woman then be a woman with a woman. But imaginings aside, I have no desire to engage in sexual interactions. There have been times when I’ve been given the opportunity to ‘fool around’ but I don’t personally feel anything if I do. It’s just a stupid action to me.
I don’t have problems connecting to people. It’s not like I want to be alone. I can fall in love with anyone, man or woman, and have before. But sexually nothing feels right because I don’t feel right with whom I am. I’m think I am attracted to men, but then I realize I just want to BE him. I’m not even sure if I am interested sexually in anyone. My only outlet to expressing what I feel, who I am, and who want to be and should be is through my writing, and out here, it just feels so wrong.
I’m starting to hurt men in relationships, because I’m expected to be with men. I’ve never dated a woman or anything, or even experimented, but I just can’t connect with any of the guys I’ve dated, even though I really like them as a person, and we go great together. I have to call it off because I can’t be with them, and I know it’s frustrating for them. I have to call it off because they want and expect more than I can give them, and that’s a horrible feeling. I don’t feel comfortable with my own body to give it to someone, I guess.
I don’t know whom I should talk to, but I’m not sure who would understand. It’s VERY confusing, even to me, and I wrote this the best I could. I’m not sure what I’m looking for in an answer. I’m not sure if I’m just over-thinking or if this is a real issue.
This is a real issue because it has been given much thought, and there is still an unsettled sense about it.
There are many factors that you have mentioned that may have contributed to this confusion, but between the cancer treatment, your creativity, and the limited social experiences it makes sense that there would be a gap, or lag in your identity development.
I would begin with an individual therapist on a regular basis to start sorting through what underlying issues are, that I suspect have not been explored. The find help tab at the top of the page will give you the names of some people in your area.
I would also begin to expand my social world by attending (actual not virtual) groups where like-minded folks gather. At 20 I would encourage you to start honing your writing craft. Begin taking classes with other students looking to write in your genre. This will give you a chance to make connections with others socially and intellectually, and let the sexuality and gender identity concern get sorted out over time.
Wishing you patience and peace,