Why Beauty is Overrated

I am pre transition, and yes, I think I would someday like to transition, though nothing is certain. But today, my mom and I got into a fight, and she responded by calling me butch up mock me, calling me hulking, saying there was so much testosterone in my system. And. I don’t know how to handle this. Because all my life,it’s been so easy for her to find fault, about my weight, my hair, my grades. Everything. Well, my hair’s gone, my grades are up, I’m more butch than before, but the weight and disapproval are still there. The mockery, the accusations, the non sequiters into accusations and insults, they are all still there, and they still hurt.

I’m learning about myself right now. Imagine having a sunburn so bad it peels. And after it peels there’s all this new, fresh pink skin there, so tender and sensitive. Now imagine someone taking a meat tenderizer (that square-headed metal hammer with spikes on both sides that people have in kitchen drawers) and dragging it over that skin. Several times. And then they stop, and you grouse about it a bit, and move on. And then, just as you think it’s healing up, these tender scrapes that itch like mad- the tenderizer’s back. Now imagine this happening again and again and again, until there are scars all over this fresh pink skin.

My new identity is like that. I’m learning about me, peeling back layers of “facts” about myself I’ve been told my whole life. How to be ladylike, how to be a girl, a woman, a wife and girlfriend. And it hurts. Yes, it hurts, because while I wouldn’t say I’ve been surrounded by lies, or even fed them… it’s information that fails to be useful to me.

I want to have a place in society, among people and as a person who can handle themself. I don’t want to have to explain that yes, I wear pants to mass, that yes I have short hair and (though I doubt this will be asked of me) why my chest is flat if I’m a girl. I don’t want people to assume (as my mother does) that I love purple, that I should walk “ladylike,” close my knees, cover my “blemishes” with makeup.

By now, I’ve settled in a gray-brown space between boy and girl, content to be agender more often then not. And that works for me. I use men’s deodorant (Old Spice because fuck you), men’s bodywash, women’s hair product and lotion. I’ve stopped shaving, but as I’ve never really been one to shave regularly, it’s not that big a deal. I even threw out my razors, because I spent a night considering repurposing them for something far more destructive. Besides, they just sat there, mocking me about the clean-shaven woman I’d never be. Somehow, shaving made me feel worse, made me angry at myself for not being enough to be beautiful.

And then I realized, recently, a few months ago- why would I want to be beautiful? I’d rather be useful, efficient and kind and a person that other people can be honest with. Being beautiful hurt my mind- keeping hair around that frustrated me to no end, trying to keep my thighs together even though my thighs prevented such things for more than a few seconds, trying to play down my body’s size and shape.

Yes, mom. I’m hulking. I’m butch, manly, sometimes angry and occasionally aggressive. I can also sing. I can sing beautifully. I can read a book, and discuss it. I try to be a person other people can come to for help, unobtrusive and occasionally giving advice. I offer information freely, because I feel no need to hide it. I’m secure in myself as a person, and trying to be beautiful, to be a lady and a woman and demure, yet “a leader not a follower,” but also obedient to any and every demand made by my mother, tore that security away. So what if my face is attractive, if my hair is soft and pretty when it’s around my face? Who gives a fuck? I refuse to be one of the women in her eighties, dying her hair and wearing pancake makeup and insisting she’s forty. I won’t set myself on that path.

I am rebuilding. I’m starting again, questioning why I say things, do things, stand that way, get annoyed by this or that. Maybe someday I’ll be far enough along to be able to understand why I vent anonymously on the internet instead of talking to people in real life.

But for now, I remain, as always, faithfully yours,