A Flower in His Hair

Oh, and I struggle with my feminine side!

Because guess what, part of this gender fuckery that goes on with me is that there is no term(s) to specify what I want, or clothing styles I can adopt that will say “me” and still not place me firmly in the butchy-girly-what-the-hell-is-it box.

I tried to come out as nonspecific genderqueer to my dad, and his initial response was “well you have to be one or the other” and I just had to blink at him. I’ve always regarded my dad as rather forward thinking, but I had forgotten, while immersing myself in this land of internet community, that forward thinking in day to day life might be accepting gay people/not being a total prick with people who don’t agree with you.

The next time I brought it up, he asked if I wanted him to say “be a girl, dammit,” and I just… no. The whole point of my gender exploration is that I don’t want to be a girl, that I have this deep and intense need to be recognized as me, not the fill-in for the stereotypical girl.

Most recently, I tried to explain why people seeing me as a girl on a regular basis hurt me, hurt my mind and distracted me from things like homework and schoolwork (and a whole course in online Latin, though that was mostly being lazy).

But sometimes, I still want to be seen as beautiful. I want to wear a dress, be proud of my breasts, and apply makeup and wear pretty shoes. But doing so is like giving ground in this fight for my own gender recognition. If I’m intentionally beautiful one day, then the people around me assume that I want to be beautiful every day.

I made the comment on tumblr a few weeks ago that even when I’m presenting as a girl, I’m still trans*. That is a trans*feminine expression for me, because female is not my inherent and internal default. Every time I slide into a gender that our society has a description for, it’s solely by chance. It’s nothing to do with my sex, or my sexuality, or anything like that.

I just don’t know how to do it. Even now, sitting in a Starbucks and wearing a bra instead of my binder, hair still far longer than I’d like it, I feel like I’m doing it wrong. Because the person I am ideally doesn’t look feminine, but can dress like it when they want.

One day I’ll figure this stuff out, be in a place where I can get the clothes that fit my mind, the haircut that makes people question who I am. I just hope that I can make it work, and live my life as wholly me, instead of trapped on the sometimes-wrong side of a stupidly binary spectrum.

~Terra

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Romance in Today’s World

I find myself, often, making comments about how I am “forever alone”. This is strange, because it shouldn’t bother me.

I am asexual, insomuch as I have never looked at another person and felt sexual attraction towards them. This does not mean that I have no sex drive- it just means that it’s directed inwards, instead of at other people. This also does not mean that I have never thought about what having sex with a given person would be like- again, it’s simply never become attraction.

And I am aromantic, in that I’ve never met a person and wanted to date them, or even be romantic with them. I’m not sure if this is because I’ve never met the right person, or I am truly aromantic.

In any case, these factors shouldn’t matter, but they do. Because in the world I live in, the world I was born into, everyone is expected to have a significant other. People wonder if I like a given man or woman, people ask me to have children, or who my crush is. I have been asked if I was gay, “because that’s alright,” when I told people I didn’t have a crush.

In this society, my worth as a person, as a woman or a man, is lessened by being single. Never mind that in my faith (yes, I am a trans* asexual aromantic practicing Roman Catholic), there are three vocations: single, married, and priesthood/religious life (nuns, monks, sisters, etc.) It is crippling for me to always be measured by what I don’t have, rather than what I do.

I have a sense of humor. I can sing rather well, when given the opportunity. I have read a lot, and am at least marginally knowledgeable in a myriad of topics. I’m polite to people (usually), and I’ve been told I make a very good friend. I’m trustworthy, and I’ve been keeping one secret for almost a decade without ever letting on that I know it.

I’m not bragging. I am, instead, emphasizing my good points (some of them) to make a point. I am enough, on my own. I, as a person, am capable of being whole and complete without a significant other. I feel no emptiness in my heart that stems from a lack of a partner.

This is my message. I don’t need a significant other, and I don’t want one. Please, please, please, stop emphasizing the trope that I need a person at my side to be happy, because I don’t. But it hurts me when I feel like I’m missing out on any joy I may experience later in life, because of the opinion others hold that I need another person.

~Terrance

My Dear Frodo…

My dear friends,

Today I came out to you as trans*, and I watched your faces shift. You have been good friends to me, these past few months, but always, you have been friends with a person you thought to be wholly female, and have treated me as such. In efforts that I’m not sure were in any way intentional or planned, you ignored or brushed aside the hints I dropped about my own gender and gender as I see it in general. My words of discontent towards my breasts, my knowledge and unblinking acceptance of the existence of trans* issues on the topic of a trans acquaintance of yours, my hatred of skirts, the short hair, the domineering attitude which flared with my own gender shifts. All of these were puzzle pieces you ignored, or simply refused to see as parts of a puzzle.
And then I saw the doubt cross your eyes, though I gave no sign of it, and knew you meant to conceal it. ~She’s not she? But, she said she’s not completely he! What does that even mean? Does this mean we have to stop talking to her about periods? Is she on hormones? How do we treat her now? Do we call her, him?~
I understand, my friends, that you can’t know my journey, because it’s a journey I’ve had to take alone. And really, how could I expect you to accompany me? You are cisgendered, if not confident in your body, than at least trusting it to tell the truth, to you and others. You accept the periods, the breasts and hips, you shave your legs because it feels nice, I believe, to women, to have clean shaven legs. (I assume, because I am not a woman, and I haven’t shaved in five months, because I threw my razors away on a night when I wanted to cut skin instead of hair.) Still, a companion, or someone to mention the way my binder makes my breasts ache even more than the PMS, would not have gone amiss.
You will treat me differently, after this, even though I have not changed at all. I am the person you met, and believe it or not, I thrilled inside when I heard of your trans acquaintance. Brother, I thought! These people, they will not be surprised that I exist, should I tell them! Nonetheless, you will check your words. You will think you treat me the same, and that your treatment shows how little difference my identity makes in the measure of my personhood. But we will all know.
I will know, when you go to make a comment about what girls do or think, and pause and rephrase it to exclude me out of respect for my gender. I will wave it away, say that it’s fine, it doesn’t matter, everyone calls me a girl. It will still ache that you have to carve a special place for me in your view of society, because there is no pre-prepared place for me to fit.
You will know, when I reach under my shirt at my shoulder, that it’s my binder instead of a bra I’m adjusting, even though you’d not even have noticed the gesture before. You’ll notice me stretching my back and neck to pop them, and know that it’s the strain of elastic and nylon on my bones that causes my discomfort.
I don’t fit in your box-lunch world of straight Catholic girls and boys. I’m rough edges where there should be round ones, curves instead of angles, in all the wrong places in your mind. We will drift apart, because the inherent safety of my girlhood to you will be gone from your mind. If I’m lucky, you will at least see me as a man instead of some freaky, unpredictable creature who may or may not suddenly want to rape you. And because of societal ignorance, at some point, you’ll wonder how I got a penis, or how they’ll attach one when I, you assume, someday undergo the singular sex-change operation.
My friends, I do not blame you. I will not hold this against you. In fact, in all honesty, you will probably never see this. The ache in my chest that has nothing to do with breasts will sharpen and grow claws, and you will never know. I will feel somewhat freer for having told you, and somehow more confined, in my expression of myself and others. I’ll question if I even should have told you at all.
We will lose touch, and I will let it happen, and so will you. You all will tuck my memory in the back of your minds, bury it in the detritus and gummy lining of your minds. You’ll move on to husbands, children, houses, mortgages, and leave behind the person who left you first.
One day, there will be no one left to talk to, and I’ll be alone in a hovel or apartment, staring at a wall, dreams crushed. I won’t have a spouse, and I won’t have children. I will have myself, and that’s it. I pray, I pray to dear God and all the angels, that when I stop running, the person I am is enough.
~Terrance