161: Cacao & Convos with Christie Melhourn: How my trauma made me think I wanted to be a man
I met Christie through the Ace Collective when I featured on their platform speaking about the importance of being in your feminine energy. I asked Christie to come onto the podcast to share her story, her relationship with the feminine and masculine and why she wanted to be a man. Essentially, this was a trauma response to Christie holding shit around the feminine, putting the masculine on a pedestal and wanting to feel safe. In this episode, we go deep. Trigger warning, we touch on suicide.
First, let's get to know Christie.
"I grew up in a very unconventional household. My mum has Pick's disease, which is a form of dementia that effects your memory and emotional control. Whilst my mum was struggling and suffering , I had my dad who was very stereotypical male. He was emotionally unavailable and so I had no idea how to deal with what I was feeling. I internalised femininity as being weak."
Monica - I used to feel this way too. I thought it was stronger, better, easier to be a man. I didn’t want a sex change but I really idolised the idea that men had it easier. The reality is, that's just a perception. What made you have this idea that being a women was weak and led you to idolising being a man?
"Because my mum was so ill growing up, I think I really idolised my dad and I became extremely attached to him. My dad himself has an incredible presence, he is 6ft4, black hair, tan, a huge man that would disappear into the mountains over the weekend. I was absolutely captivated by him as a kid. I spent a lot of time with him, watching him tie fish flies and load bullets. I also grew up with a lot of boys on my block too and was around guys a lot. I just never felt comfortable being in feminine clothes. I felt like it was too girly, I hated it when people called me cute or pretty, it was so patronising. I remember my older sister who was really experimental with her style. I watched her have these fleeting strange relationships with guys often. I remember thinking ‘I don’t want that’. It made me feel weird. I inclined more towards dressing like a guy and I didn’t want people to perceive me as pretty.
How do you feel like your idolisation of men and the masculine effected you in your adolescences?
I had a lot of emotional repression that I just didn’t even know where to begin with it. The amount of anxiety that comes from having all of this trauma stored in your body, it eats you alive. I had a ton of anxiety issues, I was really reluctant and nervous about any type of relationships and my friends started dating way before me. When I did start to date, I was a super avoidant attachment style and nervous about any intimacy. I didn’t want to give anyone access in, felt like I was constantly on the fringe of serious relationships.
When you started to have more serious relationships, how did it affect the dynamic because they wanted to be in the lead, but you had no idea how to be (or want to be) the feminine in your relationship?
With my first boyfriend, I definitely assumed the ‘leadership’ role and he was definitely more feminine. I’ve always been really attracted to a feminine man. I have very evident control issues, there have been times where I can hardly be a passenger in a car. I have such an amazing healthy relationship now and I noticed I’ve chilled out a lot. I think he’s really helped me heal. Having that sense of support, you feel like you’re in a safer space, when for so many years I didn’t feel safe. I assumed a caregiver role from a young age and experienced serious role reversal in my childhood. Later in my 20's I developed a really hard core eating disorder and I used food as a control mechanism.
How do you feel now about being a women, versus being a man?
I definitely feel more attractive. I feel sexier, I feel like I can step into that side of myself in new ways and I have enjoyed feeling more comfortable surrendering into my self. My boyfriend is a provider type and I'm really attracted to that now. I feel like I can breathe a little bit easier.
What would to you say to any women listener who has a similar story, or thinks that men have it easier and idolise a more masculine life?
I would say, first of all, that a lot of these idolisations of hyper masculinity can be really unhealthy. We’re human, we’re not designed to just be completely cut off from our deeper emotional selves. Women are more emotional (I’m always careful about pigeon holing men and women) but we are SO different.
Now, having have discovered yourself, what do you perceive being a woman as, and why do you enjoy being a women?
I think women are deeply intuitivie with incredible levels of compassion and can think in an incredibly holistic way. There’s a special feminine energy that can only be generated within a sisterhood circle that is extremely healing. When it comes from a place that isn’t so colluded by self protection and self preservation, its a magical feeling. I wouldn’t want to deny that from anybody.
Be patient with yourself. Let yourself go through the bumps and ruts of feeling what you need to feel.
Sometimes taking steps forward doesn’t actually feel like you are. Progress can feel like you’re in reversal mode, but just because you’re feeling anxious or depressed about something significant in your life, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re failing. Sometimes progressing means being extremely uncomfortable You need to settle in to this space, and let it runs its course.
Don't let anyone dismiss you - kick the door down! We don't care how big or small trauma is, it's valid.