Labels

So, sometimes I think maybe it doesn’t matter what I call myself. What if I declare that my gender is just me?

But then I see statements like this:

I also see underthings.

I can’t help it. I’m a woman in her late 30s, all I think about is lingerie.

And I want that.

I want that belonging, that being the same as other people. Somehow the other labels I can put on myself don’t quite cut it in the way that a gender label would. Sure, I’m androphilic, but nobody uses that term but me as far as I can tell. I’m a [dayjob job title], but I’m more than my dayjob. I’m a cat person who also likes dogs, but that’s not the same. There’s [my true calling], but I’m more than that too, and anyway, gender is somehow different from all of those things.

Tonight, at least, it feels like the reason it bothers me so much that I don’t have a gender box to fit in comfortably yet is that I feel excluded. I feel like everybody but me knows where they fit in – but that thought comes from media, from society, from the overculture.

I know I’m not the only one who has problems with this. With as many billions of people on the planet as there are, I can’t be the only one.

So, maybe I’m the only goth in a school full of jocks and cheerleaders, but there are goths at other schools too, there must be.

But how do I find them when our thing in common is the lack of a label? Goth is just a metaphor here, I don’t have a word for what I am.

It’s hard to keep this up. Part of me wants to give in, to just pick woman as a label. If nothing else, it would make things simpler with my partner, who is a straight cis man. He’s open minded and awesome and doesn’t give me shit about my gender crap, even when it interferes with our sex life (which it does, boy howdy, does it ever; that’s a whole ‘nother post I’m not really up to writing yet), but I know things would just be simpler if I were a woman, or a butch straight woman, or something other than I hate gender it’s stupid societal bullshit and I’m sick of thinking about it.

I wish I could just let this whole issue go, but I can’t. It’s like a slightly loose tooth or a piece of gristle stuck between my molars, I can’t stop poking at it.

Interestingly, I can think of at least one other major issue in my life that has the same deal going on. I wish I could just drop it and stop reaching for a simple answer, but somehow I can’t.

…and suddenly I am reminded of what T. Thorn Coyle says about holding the yes and the no at once, and looking for a third path.

This is Another Fucking Learning Opportunity, isn’t it.

Goddammit.

“Girl” has never been my calling

 I don’t want to be a boy but girl has never really been my calling either.
Ashley Wylde

How do you tell someone you don’t feel like you fit in the “woman” box without them assuming you don’t like women?

This is a serious question. It happened yesterday, and it’s happened before: I try to express a bit of how I see my gender, and I get shut down, warned about “denigrating” women.

It’s incredibly frustrating. I have no beef with woman as a gender, or with the women in my life. I have a lot of beef with the way our society treats women, yes, and the way “woman” has been coded to mean a lot of shitty shit, but I know a lot of people who wear the word “woman” proudly and are awesome. I don’t see them as “awesome in spite of being a woman” or “awesome as part of being a woman,” they’re just women who are awesome.

Every group of people has its douchebags, and usually its awesome folks too.

Why is it that “I am not x” seems to so many people to be a way of saying “x is undesirable as a state of existence”?

What I mean when I say I’m not a woman, that “woman” doesn’t apply to me, I mean that I know a lot of women, and there’s a certain something they seem to have that I don’t. Men are the same way — there’s a something that makes them men, and I don’t have that, either.

When I say I’m not a woman, I’m not saying that proudly. I’m saying it the way a high schooler might say, “I’m not one of the popular kids” or even “I’m not one of the regular kids.” I’m saying it the way a high schooler might say “I feel like I don’t fit in at all.”

Why is the implicit assumption that I mean to add “…and I don’t want to be!” to “I am not a woman / I am not like the women I know”?

Why can’t people mentally add “…and I wish I were, because holy shit not fitting in one of the regular gender boxes sucks.”

Hell, I wish I fit into either the “man” or the “woman” box. I’d be fine with being trans – it would suck and it would be hard, and I would lose things I care about, but at least I would know.

Hello, World!

So.

In the last few weeks, four separate individuals have told me I need to be blogging about the tangled mess that is my gender-body-acceptance-confusion-stuff. Some have said that I have the potential to really help others out there who are like me, others think that writing about it will help me suss things out a bit better (which makes sense, I often process things through writing).

I set up this blog under a pseudonym because I want a safe space to talk about this stuff. This is hard, scary, vulnerable stuff. Plus, it’s nothing like the things I blog about elsewhere on the interwebs.

Here I can have a little corner to sort of talk to myself and let other folks listen in if they want to, and not worry about people confronting me in my daily life wanting to talk about this stuff. I can engage when I feel up to it, and drop it when I don’t.

Plus here I’m a blank slate. Nobody is going to make assumptions based on what they already know about me. So there’s that, too.

Yay.

Let’s give this a shot.