Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Stuck in the Middle

I'm scared to be feminine and I'm scared to be masculine. I read so many things that ring true. This first is from a comment on a post I liked that MAY have been on Sublimefemme? Maybe on Genderfork. It was talking about being more comfortable wearing feminine clothes once she knew that it wasn't just for men's pleasure. Every time I "dress up" I feel like I'm putting on a show for someone and I'm uncomfortable with it. It's so ingrained in me that I don't know that I can ever put that aside. I wore a dress to Valentine's Day. I was going to wear something more like a suit but in my mind still, for a girl, that means I'm dressing down. And THAT I know is a childhood thing. So many thoughts are clouding my head.

And Leo wrote an entry that can be summed up in this line from it: "I felt a familiar back and forth tug in my gut reading it, a private longing mixed with an even more private warning: you want that too much. Don't get it, because once you have it, you won't be able to let it go. And that will make you vulnerable."

I feel that way about a lot of things. Take for example, my underwear. I began looking into sports bras when I wanted to look flatted under my mens shirts. And now I wear nothing else. I feel weird wearing my old bras. Although when I wanted to impress someone, I wore something lacy. I'm not sure if that means that that's not really " me" and it's just a show, or if that's really the true me. Not sure. But on a day to day basis...it's been several months since I've worn a traditional bra. The same goes for undershirts/wifebeaters. They're a staple now. I feel so badass in them. So now I know I can't let those go. I'm afraid to look at more serious things, more men's things, because then I might wear them a lot and I might like it.

Or I might like wearing girly things again and I'm terrified that I will lose the sense of power over myself I have now. Maybe tht's not the right word. Self-confidence. And I know there are TONS of confident femmes. I'm just saying this is what my brain is going to automatically. If I look like a girl, I lose my newfound pride in my identity. I look more straight and I lose my uniqueness. Part of why I like derssing the way I do is because I wear my identity on my sleeve quite literally.

Here's what's complicating the whole thing. I have a whole host of sensory issues when it comes to the tactile. I'm rather tactile-defensive for a non-autistic person. So a lot of these issues may have something to do with this. I'm so picky with my clothes. I only like soft cottony fabrics. I don't wear blouses or men's shirt equivalents without something underneath, only a few kinds of dress pants (no stretch, can't be too tight, cottony rather than silky), lots of things like that. So sometimes I can't decide what's what. I wish I could get rid of these sensory issues so I could see what I really felt comfortable wearing.

And I was reading in Genderfork someone who says that every day is dressup for her. Here's the quote. "It’s only been recently that I’ve realized my androgyny and decided to act upon on. But it’s so hard to figure out how to act. I’m not a girl who wants to look like a man. I’m someone who wants to wear collared shirts and loose pants and boxers and earrings and makeup and dresses and skirts with cute flowery prints. I want the streamlined male body one day and love my curves the next. How do you explain what you are to someone when every day you wake up something different, when you cannot explain who you are to yourself?"

It's not exactly me, but somewhat. I DO want to look male sometimes. But it feels like drag if I go all out, and it feels just as much drag to wear very feminine clothing. So that begs the question, who am I normally? Who am I day to day?

But none of that changes how I feel on the inside as far as my personality goes. I carry myself in a feminine way. Well, I'm not super domestic or graceful, but I want a strong butch to carry me away. I want the strong dominant partner to my strong but more submissive nature (and I use submissive not in a BSDM way, and I wish i had a different term). I'm not saying femmes are not strong. They are. I am. But that butch/femme dynamic REALLY appeals to me, and I feel so uncomfortable in the role of butch, as much as I may look the part. I don't feel the part. It's not me. I may wear what I wear, and even pack, though that falls under my "drag" category, but I am the femme to someone's butch. Or someone in between.

I can't sort anything out right now. Too many conflicting thoughts.


Leo MacCool said...

thanks for your comment over on my post. the best advice i ever got was simple but i find i repeat it to myself often. it was from jess of 'jess i am': "just do you, buddy." whatever that means on any given day.

you are not alone on your journey. keep on trucking, you will get there. you're doing fine and i'm glad you're writing about this stuff here.

Anonymous said...

the parts about feeling uncomfortable going "all out" and drag and such remind me of something i read on ariel?ariel! that was a total flash-of-brilliance to me.

she said something like, gender has both a direction and a quantity. the direction is the masculine/feminine part, and it's what people talk about all the time. some people have a very strong direction (butch/femme, etc.) and some don't. but the quantity part was what was so brilliant. she described herself as being very gendered, but without direction - equally comfortable very feminine or very masculine.

regarding your last paragraph, (not to argue with your identity!!! but just as a more generic thought) - there's nothing wrong with a butch wanting a butch to carry her away! (i know a lot of the gay community thinks otherwise, but - in my humble opinion - they can fuck off =)

i am, if anything, even more submissive as a boy (drag) than a girl.

Anonymous said...

We attended a baby shower for a good friend of mine on Saturday and my girlfriend wore a skirt and open-toe sandals. The number of people who commented on her outfit was ridiculous - they had never seen her wear anything but pants/jeans and collared shirts.

My gf thought absolutely nothing of it, just that she felt like wearing a skirt that day. That's it.

I guess it's just as Leo (and Jess!) said, "Just do you".

Miss Emily said...

My newest entry addresses some of these concerns. I've done a lot of thinking since then, especially in the past week. Thank you for the thoughtful comments.