Who is Angélique? And what does she have to do with my gender identity?

Angélique comes to my mind again, and this time in the context of my gender identity since childhood, which is the issue that has been agitating me all week. But, in reality I have almost no memories of Angélique. On 23 December last year I wrote about Angélique:

I have almost no memories of Angélique. I know she left me a gift on the day of my confirmation (Lutheran confirmation is at the age of 14), I know we were friends, and I know she disappeared. I don't remember if we met again after my confirmation. I don't remember how we met, how we connected, what we did or how long we were friends. I don't think our friendship had a sexual component. I don't know if it was a love, but if it was, it was an asexual love.

A few days ago, in my "half hour of shit" (i.e. my half hour dedicated to dealing with my emotions) I cried a lot for not having lived my gender identity in my childhood, or not until quite recently. And I started to think about Angélique, and I felt a very strong loss, and this made me cry even harder. I felt a lot of sadness, a lot of pain.

The next day, attending to my emotions in this half hour, I again thought of Angélique, but I also imagined myself trying on a dress and painting my nails (at the age of thirteen), possibly in Angélique's presence or house (although in reality I don't know if I have ever been to her house). I don't know if these imaginings have a real basis, if I really did wear a dress and paint my nails once when I was thirteen, and if this - if it has a real basis - has any relation to Angélique. I wonder: with her I could allow myself to experiment with my gender expression and identity, and with her I didn't have to be a boy?

Is there a connection between the end of the friendship with Angélique and my father, as I asked myself already in December?

I still have many questions: did I really try at least once to express myself with another gender identity at the beginning of my adolescence, at the age of thirteen? If so, did my parents find out and how did they react?

I am left with a lot of pain and sadness. I am mourning this loss, which I was only able to mourn the first time in November, when another loss opened the access to the backlog of never digested sadness, as a friend of mine called it then. And at that moment I also thought of Angélique. The second time I thought of Angélique was back in December, and now, during this week, in relation to my gender identity, or, rather, thinking about whether I once allowed myself to experiment with my gender identity.

At the same time, my encounters with my inner child also focus a lot on their gender identity, as I wrote four days ago. I am trying to make them see that they are now safe and can live and express themselves as they want, and yesterday morning we also painted their nails and lips, and this made them smile. Little by little they cry less and less, little by little they are less afraid. Little by little they trust me that now they are safe, that now they can express themselves and dress as they want, without having to be afraid of rejection or possibly violent punishment.

My inner child knows nothing about Angélique. My inner child is perhaps nine years old, perhaps ten. In their life Angélique didn't exist yet. Maybe I have to try to connect with my inner teenager so that maybe they can tell me something. For now, all this is just another memory gap, another emptiness, another nothingness. But there is pain, there is sadness. I don't know fear. Was I afraid when I was thirteen, if I was really experimenting with expressing my gender in a different way? Almost certainly yes. Although, rather, when I imagine myself as a thirteen year old in a dress and with my nails painted, I feel more a sense of liberation. The same liberation I felt when I started to openly define myself as genderqueer eight years ago. Maybe the pain and sadness has more to do with this loss (of Angélique), but also with the lost opportunities to live my life outside the corset of masculinity from much earlier on...