Sex - being (born) male or female Gender - being masculine or feminine
I was in the middle of writing a different blog article, when I hopped on Facebook to comment a random thought. I found my friend’s blog article about disconnect between appearance and identity when challenged by environment and social expectations and it brought a slew of emotions to the forefront.
I wanted to SCREAM!!
And do all sorts of unmanly things.
Because the emotions and words and experiences resonated with me.
Because no matter what I look like on the outside, I’m a man on the inside. Always have been, always will be.
I have always been not-a-girl inside. I look like it on the outside, but it’s not me.
It’s not me.
Do you know how awful that is? Looking so girly that striving for unisex and androgyny is a delusion because genetics dictated the sex and form?
My Dad once wanted to get me a graduation gift -a sweet gesture. He bought me a bike, and it made me both happy and sad. I didn’t want a girls bike, I wanted a boy bike. I’ve always ridden boy bikes. When I tried to explain that I actually preferred boy bikes, he looked at me in confusion. “But you’re a girl,” he said, eyebrows furrowed in puzzlement.
And I realized that after all this time, he didn’t really know me. All the years of adolescence when I’d help with car repair, peering into engines with Dad rather than cooking with Mom. Following him around everywhere, trips to Home Depot and Lowes, doing everything he did, mimicking him. Sitting like a boy. Wearing boy clothes growing up. After all that, nobody could get past the fact that I was born a girl.
Clothes…. I want to light my closet on fire.
Mom and the religious backing that dictated “women should wear women clothes, not men clothes”. Forbidding pants, shorts, anything not a dress or skirt.
The time they repainted my room pink when I wanted it painted black. Or blue. Even purple would have been less painful than 7 years of pink.
The freedom of adulthood became an illusion. Deprogramming of ingrained thoughts and concepts. Giving oneself permission, and being angry that the need for permission is still so deeply ingrained.
Hating the mirror. Hating puberty. Hating that boys would rather hit on me than play football with me. Why couldn’t I have the stick figure, nearly invisible bustline, and less feminine face that other girls are blessed with?
Recently, my mother harped on me for liking Builder Protein Bars. Among the slew of illogical reasons why I should refrain from eating them, she said, “Why do you need to eat that? You’re not building muscle or anything. That’s why your shoulders are so big and ugly, like a man!”
I wanted to laugh and cry. Laugh, because yeah, I’ve got broad shoulders like a guy and arms with more muscle than flab, even though I don’t work out that intensely. And cry, because she picked on the one part of me that was truest to me.
She disliked the one part of me I liked the most.
Aside from all that, the parents, the disconnect, the puberty hate thing, I still feel disconnected. Adrift. Bereft.
I feel like there’s a zipper somewhere, and that when I find the tab, I’ll unzip this body and step out as my true self.
But, like Neo and the spoons, there’s that voice to scream “there IS no ZIPPER!”.
When I think about it too much, I feel like I’m in crisis. So I don’t think about it very much, until something triggers me and sets me off.
Being young and innocent is such a gift. The tomboy of adolescence is not expected to reach adulthood. They expect the Tomboy to become Cinder Ella, not Cinder Elliot.
I want to clean out my closet and start afresh. I want to be myself. I want to see myself for who I am, really, beyond the flowered print, dresses, skirts and female blouses I’ve habitually worn.
I want to match my inside with my outside.
There are so many labels, and honestly, I can’t sort through them all and say “That’s me”. I just know what my gut and soul tell me. I don’t have words, or terms or labels to define it.
I am who I am.
My gender is male.