Age 30 - Becoming a Man and Losing my Femininity
Any of you who are serious fapstronauts starting to discover that weird trends are happening inside you? That you're starting to act more like a man than a female? You're becoming less listening and Stewart Smalley and more Aragorn?
Here's where my weird stuff comes in. All my life I've felt like a woman inside. This feeling runs concurrent with a life-long PMO addiction (I'm 29 and have been addicted for probably 20 years). A lot of my problems also derive from chronic, sustained, and intense childhood abuse I talk about later. Anyway, in the beginning of this year's three streaks, I so wanted to wear colorful clothes. I bought a couple of hoodies that fit tight, one purple and teal, and the other black. They were feminine looking in the way they fell over my body contours. I wore them at meetings and outdoors, and felt very scared but also happy that no one shouted down at me the way my mom did when I was little for ever wanting anything nice for myself. I wore them out for a long time. But I steadily got more creeped out by the attention I started getting from men. I am not gay. I like the pussy haha. Anyway, as my streaks grew, I noticed some strange things happening:
- Well, a couple days ago, I ditched those hoodies. I was going to a party wearing my black girly hoodie, and as I was getting out of the car, I had a moment of revelation like, "Hey, you know what, I look like a fucking girl wearing this." I tore the hoodie off and it's going to Goodwill. I also am ditching the other one.
- I've also been a very listening kind of codependent guy. I always let the woman take charge, date women who have serious baggage that I always end up fixing, and then get blamed the whole time for either not being perfect or not being perfect enough. Now, I'm starting to put up boundaries with women. Bosses, colleagues, and women I know. Starting to let them deal with their own feelings and to pursue what I want (with respect for myself and for all people instead of just women). I'm a huge rookie at this, but it's got me feeling a lot better. "No More Mr. Nice Guy" is helping me work through this, and I'm still working the book's exercises.
- Tomorrow, I'm cutting my hair that I wanted to grow out, because I feel like a woman wearing it. I was going to do it today, but exercising and a change in work schedule threw a wrench into that one. I'm getting a shorter, manlier style ... and the best part is I'm doing it not to look like a guy to others, but because I am and feel like a guy at last! I'm even starting to grow hair in my balding places as my barber told me last time I was there! Can you believe it?
- I also tend to spend a lot more time with women talking things over than with guys and just doing shit. I want to spend less time hanging out with gender identity crisis people, women, and talky situations and to get out and do more things, to hang out with manly guys (who have always intimidated me), etc. I plan on buying a handgun and going target shooting with a few of the guys I work with more on a regular basis. One of them is an ex war vet who has offered to train me on combat techniques. Very cool.
- I'm learning to let other men be manly, too. Manlier than I am. Admitting that I'm a boy and not a girl. A lot of times I find myself rushing to condemn a man's initiative, his happy attitude, etc. and to defend a woman's snarkiness or self-entitlement to narcissism. I'm stopping this and starting to at last identify with men instead of women.
A little background for those who care: So, this is where I come from. All my life I've felt inside more like a woman than a man. And to compensate for that I've pretended to the outside world a very macho exterior. I wear paramilitary clothes, I scowl a lot, and I just try to look tough so people don't mess with me. I come from a childhood where my mother dominated me emotionally, physically, sexually, and psychologically. I had no boundaries when I left except a meaningless facade that if someone pushed would crumble like a potemkin village.
In 2011 things changed. I made the first steps to NOFAP. This year I've been pretty dedicated. Since the beginning of this year I had a 150-day streak then a relapse of two days, a 93 day streak with a relapse of fucking a tree (dont' ask), and now I'm at 22 days.
Anyway, I'm very happy with the changes that are coming over me, and none of this would be happening without NOFAP.
[Earlier post] TL;DR - 90 days means very little. For me, it's been a grim 3 months. Some of you have great progress, but I'm one of the few it seems for whom it hasn't clicked yet. Yet. Below are a few of the techniques that helped me recover, and afterward a short about why 90 days as a beacon of hope really doesn't work anymore.
Being here now at 90 days, I'd be inclined to breathe a sigh of relief. However, over the past three months having read enough testaments of fellow fapstronauts relapsing long after their 90-days, I know that this milestone is simply a measurement of something that's deeper than 90 days.
But 90 days makes me pause and reflect why I even came here. I've been on streaks before. Four 60-days, one 150-day, and now my second 90. Streaks never helped me. If anything, they got me feeling more anxious and unstable. I mean, the closer I got to it, I kept thinking to myself, "I hope I don't fuck it up; I hope I don't fuck it up ..." Focusing on the streak distracted me from focusing on what really mattered, and what really helped:
- I promised not to touch myself ever again.
- Since I wasn't ever touching myself again, what was the point of looking at porn?
- Since I wasn't looking at porn anymore or touching myself, I had to find other shit to do not just to fill in a time vacuum, but to learn how to manage anger, shame, sorrow, stress, loneliness, helplessness, etc.
- Figure out why I was doing each of those three steps before. I had to dig deep, find personal and meaningful answers, and cling to them when all light seemingly went out. For instance, "why should I not touch myself?" forced me to go both examine why I PMO'd and whether I was worth stopping. This prompted pretty much a new philosophy in me, with me putting principles into practice instead of trusting what some of the closest figures in my life told me about myself for 30 years (abusive parents and a fiancee).
Some major discoveries are:
- I realized that my major trigger was 'unwanted emotions' (even though no emotions are unwanted in reality). I realized I was using PMO as a drug to escape situations and be a victim. As a child, I was a victim. It was terrible. I went through some really tough shit. In the next 30 years, only a few people have ever had the compassion and empathy to reach out and trust me on this, and one of them has since betrayed my trust.
- That said, I turned to PMO because it was the only thing that felt good in my life, and no one ever taught me to care for my feelings, that my experience mattered, that I should care for myself or to do good things for me, and especially how I can manage my feelings and life when unexpected changes surprise me.
- I realized I have a huge problem with wanting to be wanted and wanting to fix broken people, instead of simply finding things to want and like about myself and for myself, and this has put me at the mercy of some very toxic individuals.
- I realized after reading Oliver James's "They Fuck You Up" that pretty much all of the things I've done that seem pathetic really are taught behaviors. Learning that it's not my fault I feel bad when my parents trash me, that it's not my fault that I complain about being bulldozed on decisions i have a voice in, that it's not my fault my parents shame me for having needed things from them since childhood ... has helped me reduce the shame aspect of things. My parents made me feel bad growing up by abusing me and not providing things I needed, and when I raised my voice in defiance or pity, they told me I was either rebellious and of the devil, or that I was a grovelling pathetic worm. Making a child feel bad for having made him feel bad caused me to start attacking myself. That's what PMO is. It attacks myself. It neutralizes my feelings instead of courageously airing them despite abuse and in the face of terror. I had to change the way I saw my feelings and my life mission - to get them back and be whole again.
I post a lot on here, so I don't have to say much more on this, except:
Remember that 90 days is simply a marker. That's it. It doesn't mean I won't relapse tomorrow or today, and it sure as shit doesn't mean you're clean once you get here. I may be wrong, but I think all this 90-day voodoo conjecture comes from a 2005 article in Time Magazine by JHU and the DHHS in which a researcher who MRI'd recovering addicts hypothesized that after 90 days, those who were in rehab for addiction to hardcore drugs like mescaline, cocaine, heroine, etc. were more likely than not to stay clean on their own. That 90 days was a sort of time threshold at which point statistically a rehab clinic could release clients with hope instead of despair. What the researcher grounded his claim in was the fact that brain changes in test subjects indicated that after three months, functionality in the prefrontal cortex and other regions associated with impulse-management (notice I didn't say "impulse control" which has a suppressive feel to it) had risen to self-sustainable levels of health. The addict had to keep going with a program, but at that point the addict was considered recovered (notice the past tense) from the addiction, and now onto recovering from the trauma or ignorance that put him into such circumstances.
This doesn't mean that at 90 days every addict would stay clean. I think his numbers were something like 60-70 percent would stay clean, but that's it. And there were some important things that went along with this study, too. For one, the researchers didn't tell their patients about this magical 90-day marker. The recoverers simply did their best for 90 days without awareness of this huge bar they had to vault over. This helped recoverers focus not on a number or a badge, but rather on how to regulate impulses, how to channel desires in healthy ways, how to deal with past trauma without using drugs, and how to start seeing themselves as worthwhile human beings again inter alia.
One of the major lies I've believed is that 90 days means I'm PMO-free. No. I had to be PMO-free for 90 days. It's the other way around. Abstinence doesn't help alone. I have to combine it with figuring out my life, too. The fact that I hit 90 days means nothing, because I'm aware of the threshold and it's no longer a real threshold anymore. My brain is still recovering, but I do not know when I will have it all back again. And even when I do, I have some serious shit to work through yet ... albeit for good.
So, if there's one thing I can leave you with, don't count on 90 days as a panacea. I sure as shit ain't. I'd like to. Yesterday I went out celebrating with a friend and his brother. But the truth is I'm rather celebrating learning new ways to get through life in a living way, instead of junking out on a high all the time.
Good luck. NOFAP for life.
LINK - 90 Days Post
So, I woke up at 5 am, worked a ten hour shift at a restaurant as a manager (which is a lot of work, as any of you know who work in the restaurant biz) that was a little slow but still there was stuff to do, then I got out of work, took care of my landlady's dog, and then ran three miles at a good 7 miles/hr estimated, then practiced karate for an hour. at the end of the karate session, i was really thinking about going home, but I'd told my brother that I was going to learn a new kata. So guess what I did?
I did it. I went through the kata twice. I didn't learn it, but I walked through it with my book in the park. I thought to myself, "Well, I'm tired. But I can just walk through this kata, and I'll be okay afterward and during it, too. It won't kill me, and I'lll like it at the end." Incredible. I never used to think like this. Just doing stuff, even if I were tired, and enjoying it by decision rather than just hoping my feelings got lucky.
It was amazing. I mean, to have this much energy. ANd I'm still going. I am cooking an INdian dinner now. I have so much energy without fapping. I don't know about you, but I'd call this a superpower. Compared to who I was ... a kid who couldn't get out of bed to save his life, who was tired and lethargic, who'd go entire days without going outside or doing anything and just sit at his computer, who would get sick all the time, etc.
I have a good diet. I am disciplined about what I eat most of the time. I exercise (obv), I am learning to live again, thanks to Jesus.
And thanks to NOFAP and all of you. Rock on guys. It's a better life. Yes, there's pain. Yes, there's fear. Yes, I get afraid of random stuff a lot and I cry more often than ever. But I am learning to feel it. To feel anger, to feel sadness, to feel joy and inspiration, to choose good things for myself instead of bad ones. It's beautiful.