Find your own place in the rainbow

I'm sure you're desperate to know all about me, so read on!

Once upon a time, in a far off land called the County Palatine, a little boy called Nathaniel was born. He was a very happy little boy, imaginative and sociable. He liked nothing better than reading, playing with his lego or dinky cars or just playing games of pretend. By the time he was 4 years old, he had been joined by a little sister. Nathaniel's daddy was in the army so Nathaniel, his mummy, his daddy and his little sister all had to move to Germany. They spent their summer holidays in England where Nathaniel and his sister played with their two cousins. The four children became very close so that they were more like brothers and sister than cousins. They loved to read adventure books, ride their bikes, play football, climb trees and make forts, as well as playing all sorts of let's-pretend games.

As Nathaniel grew up, he realised that no one else in his family knew that he was a little boy, they all thought he was a little girl! His mummy and daddy had given him a girl's name and everyone insisted on calling him by that name. Nathaniel hated it. He tried to get his family to call him George instead, after a character in one of his favourite books but they didn't understand. Nathaniel tried lots of different boys' names but no one else really used them except for him and somehow none of them quite seemed right.

When Nathaniel got to be about 12 years old, his body started to change. He began to look more and more like a girl and he didn't like it at all. He wore baggy shirts to hide the lumps that were growing on his chest and wished that he could just get rid of them altogether. Luckily, it was fashionable at the time for girls to wear boys' clothes and Nathaniel loved to wear shirts with ties and a suit jacket. His bedroom walls were covered with posters of male celebrities that he desperately wanted to be like.

Nathaniel was a very creative boy so he used his imagination to help him live as the boy he was. If playing games of pretend with his siblings meant that he could be Robin Hood or a pirate or a Roman soldier, then writing stories meant that he could be anyone he wanted at any time he liked! He began to scribble away in any spare time that he had and in most of the stories he wrote, he was the main character and more often than not, he was a boy.

When it was Nathaniel's last year at high school, he had grown concerned about the fact that he was pretending to be a boy when anyone looking at him saw that he was a girl. He was worried that all this living in a fantasy world must mean that there was something wrong with his brain. He was very scared by this and thought that it meant that he wasn't happy being himself so he would have to stop being a boy in his head. It was not very easy for him to stop it though.

Nathaniel went to college and then onto university. He made lots of friends and as it was more relaxed than at high school, he felt more able to be himself. He dressed in the sorts of clothes that he felt comfortable wearing. His self-confidence grew in leaps and bounds, and he became good at pretending to be outgoing despite being naturally introverted. He even became involved in amateur dramatics and joined an acting workshop at a local theatre. This was the sort of thing that he loved: creating a character and pretending to be them was something he had lots of practise in after all.

Nathaniel made lots of new friends and he liked them very much and one day he found out that one of them was a transvestite. Now Nathaniel had always been interested in genderbending in books, films and television programmes. Sometimes he had even bought magazines because they had a headline which said something like "My dad/husband/boyfriend became a woman!" While he had been at university, he had read an article in one of these magazines about a girl who became a boy. This was the first time that Nathaniel had come across girls changing to boys and he was fascinated. He realised that some of the things that the boy said in the article sounded very familiar to him. He wondered if that meant that he had the same problem as the boy and wanted to know more. He started to get as much information as he could on transsexuals, especically female to male ones and even began to write a story where he was the main character who had a sex change to become the boy he had always wished he was. After a while, Nathaniel got scared. He persuaded himself that he didn't really have this problem and got rid of all the information he had collected. He threw away his story and tried to forget the whole thing without realising that he'd tried to do that once before. Even though he now knew about his friend he still denied that he had anything in common with that boy he had read about.

Sometime later, Nathaniel's daddy decided to buy a computer with internet access. Nathaniel was very excited by this because no only would he be able to use it for writing his stories, but he could also try out the internet chatrooms that he had heard so much about. When he was finally online and ready to get chatting, he had to wrack his brain think of a name to use. He finally decided to use the name of his pet bird which was a boy's name. Nathaniel didn't mind that because it meant that people who talked to him thought that he was a boy! Before long, he made up new names but every one of them was a boy's name. He started to wonder why he never used girl's names so he made a girl name but he didn't feel comfortable using it so he got rid of it and carried on using his boy's names instead.

Nathaniel carried on with his acting as well and at one audition, he met a boy who soon became his boyfriend. Nathaniel was very happy; he now had a job he loved and a nice boyfriend as well so he felt that everything was great. When his boyfriend asked him to move in with him, Nathaniel said yes straight away. They didn't have internet access in their house so Nathaniel had to give up chatting to his friends on the internet. He didn't really mind though, because he had started to worry again about pretending to be a boy online and that there really must be something wrong with him for wanting to do that all the time.

Then, all of a sudden, things started to go wrong. The company that Nathaniel worked for went into liquidation and poor Nathaniel lost his job. Not long after this, his boyfriend broke up with him so Nathaniel had to go and live with his mummy and daddy again. Nathaniel was determined not to be too sad about all of this so he joined a temping agency to get some work and got back into writing and acting again to keep himself busy. He got lots of new friends who he went out and had fun with so he became happier and started to get his confidence back.

Nathaniel was finally managing to get back on track when one day he was on the internet and he read something that made him think. A girl had written saying that although she was a girl, she wished she was a boy and she really liked it when people thought that she was a boy. Nathaniel realised that he was like that too. He did a lot of thinking about it. He realised that he had wished to be a boy for many many years and that he refused to admit that he was a girl because he didn't feel like one. He had never been a very girly sort of girl anyway, although he had tried very hard to be one, especially for his boyfriend. He had always been more comfortable wearing jeans and t-shirts but his boyfriend wanted him to wear dresses and makeup. Nathaniel wanted to make his boyfriend happy so he wore dresses and makeup for him sometimes but he always felt very silly in them. He would look at himself in the mirror and just look at his face. That was fine, he liked his face and he was comfortable with it, he could see that it was part of him. Then he would look at his body. It was as though he looked objectively, he could see that it had pretty clothes on and it looked nice. If he tried to look at himself all in one, head and body, it didn't look right. It was as though his head didn't match up with his body and he looked stupid and felt silly. Nathaniel didn't like that feeling and he didn't like looking at himself in the mirror. He remembered how happy he had been when he was younger and people thought that he was a boy. He wished that people would mistake him for a boy now, but he looked too much like a girl.

It took Nathaniel a lot of time and a lot of thinking to sort things out in his head. He read back through all the diaries he had kept since he was 12 and he could see that he had always been a boy but he just happened to have a female body instead. When he was finally able to realise that he was a female to male transsexual, it made him very happy. He tried out some boy's names until he found out that Nathaniel was his name and that made him happier still. Nathaniel decided that he should write down what it is like to be a boy when everyone thinks that you're a girl just because you look like one so he made up a website. He thought that he would record everything that happened to him on his way to becoming the boy he really was just in case there was another boy out there who had the same problem.

Nathaniel continues to do lots of other writing as well as maintaining his website. He still loves amateur dramatics but has had to put in on hold for the moment until his voice has finished breaking. He has lots of friends, a lot of whom are going through the same process as he is and he is grateful that he can talk to them and help them in the same way that they help him. He is currently still temping until he finds a permanent job but at least he can go to work as a boy now. Very recently, he realised that the person he'd been waiting to share his life with had been right with him all along and this makes him feel as though he is the luckiest boy in the whole world. Most importantly, he can finally be himself and that makes him very happy indeed.

For Better Or For Worse