Happy Pride month, to all my beautiful humans!
GENDER IS A CONSTRUCT
I’ve been ashamed of discussing my fears of expression, mostly because I don’t fully understand them myself. But it’s Pride, so screw the fear! I want to live up to my core value of authenticity. It’s difficult to share my insecurities, and I know that when I do it, I always feel better. And I hope it’s helpful to others, too.
I have never felt fully aligned as feminine; I prefer pants and shorts to dresses and skirts. If I can wear Keds instead of heels, I will. I hate carrying a purse, and wished women’s pants had larger pockets. When I can afford it, I will get breast reduction surgery, but in the meantime I bind my breasts. This is how I feel the most comfortable.
While I’ve felt this way for a long time, I’ve recently been able to label those feelings. I feel extensively uncomfortable in my own skin and I don’t feel like I have any sense of personal style. I have been discussing gender fluidity and gender as a spectrum with my therapists and friends lately, which I am finally starting to understand on a level I hadn’t before.
This weekend is LA Pride (so of course I’m sitting in an LA coffee shop in tie dye as I write this) and it will be my first time binding in public. Actually, it will be my first time presenting masculine in public. I’m still very nervous, but I think it’s fitting that my first time presenting this way is during an event that was created to be a safe place to do this exact thing. Yes, it’s scary as shit to suddenly change my look in front of everyone, especially when I worry about folks thinking I’m a “poser” or something like that. And I am so excited to feel comfortable in my own skin and feel like I’m wearing clothes that make me feel like me.
I recently overheard a guy in a coffee shop yelling at his girlfriend who told him she’s cutting her hair. He kept yelling “No! Why?!” Really? Will she be so repulsive with short hair that you won’t want to be with her anymore? Will she not be feminine enough for you? These are the reasons I am afraid of expressing myself in other ways.
Earlier this year I cut my hair pretty short to defy female beauty standards; I was tired of feeling like I would only be attractive if I had long hair. I once wrote a post about my experience working at a pretty high quality restaurant in Beverly Hills when I first moved here (read it here). I hadn’t figured it out yet, but when I would cry on my way to and from work because of the way I had to present myself, I was experiencing this same conflict that I plan on defying tomorrow. This is the beginning of me exploring my own gender presentation. And it doesn’t mean I don’t identify as a woman, because I do, I’m simply wearing the clothes that make me feel like me. This is the start of my journey to figure out what my style is; what helps me feel a bit more comfortable in my own skin.
It’s ok if some days I wear a binder and other days I don’t. I can paint my nails one day, remove it the next. There is no right or wrong in the way I choose to express myself. The bonus: I’m now feeling freedom to discover these things as I am not as focused on eating disorder behaviors.
Love is love is love is love, and my friends will love me no matter what clothes I wear.
Happy Pride, everyone.