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,



2 thoughts on “Why Beauty is Overrated

  1. You know, this can be kind of dangerous, because you can wind up feeling like if you’re not beautiful, then maybe you’re a failure at being physically attractive overall or whatever, which is a really rough spot to be in. I mean, sure, it’s great that you can sing and discuss literature, and sure, nobody wants to think that the way they look really matters (like caring about that at all is super shallow) – but sometimes, we need affirmation that we’re not completely hideous or whatever. I think most of us do, at least from time to time. But there are other words besides “beautiful.” Like, for me, the word wasn’t “beautiful” – it was “pretty.” I was not a pretty girl. Even when I tried, I wasn’t. But then, once I came out as genderqueer (before I decided to transition to male) and started wearing men’s clothes, a couple of people said that I looked “dapper”, and suddenly, it was like, okay. I guess I just mean, beautiful and pretty are only two words, but you don’t have to be either of those to be attractive. You could also be handsome, or strong, or boyishly cute, or dashing, or whatever. It can sometimes make these situations hurt less, because instead of feeling like a failure, you can just laugh at the person and say, “of course I’m not femininely beautiful! It’s impossible to be that AND devilishly handsome at the same time!” 🙂

    • While I do understand what you’re saying- and I thank you for making sure I know I’m not a failure- most of the reason I wrote this was because it’s so very very easy for me to judge myself by comparing myself to other people. I’ve never really been one to try hard to be attractive- just because that meant makeup and hair everywhere- but lately, because I go to a school with a uniform and I’ve cut my hair and am slowly mentally transitioning in how I think aobut myself in relation to gender, I’m trying to learn to love myself in spite of what people in general think of my face and body. Because I’ll admit it, my body isn’t attractive to anyone that I know of, including myself- but my face is rather nice, I think, and my hair makes me really happy. Maybe I’m trying to remake my understanding of attractive, so that lacking attractiveness doesn’t scare me the way other people seem to think it should.
      I do think, though, that being called dapper or cute or whatever when I’m more in touch with my identity would be better than pretty or beautiful.

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