Today was a stressful and overwhelming day. Therapy was pretty brutal. This is the first time that we have really dived into my gender identity. To say the least, I am confused as ever! She asked me a couple of times “what does you inner voice say?” And half of the time I didn’t have a response besides saying ” something just does not feel right” “I never fully felt like a woman.” She made an astute observation and suggested that I listen to myself more. She said I have probably been ignoring that voice for years ( and yeah, hello! I have tried to silence that voice that has been whispering maybe you aren’t a girl and you are a boy) and it is now time to really dive deep and begin to question what exactly doesn’t feel right.
My main confusion that I discovered today (and felt ike a bomb going off!) lies in the question of: am I confused about my gender expression– aka, is it enough for me to dress like a man (in whatever way “men” dress) OR is the question more based around my gender identity and fact that I may have been “born in the wrong body.” When I realized that this is where the confusion really lies, it was an astonishing moment. I feel like I had made some progress despite the grueling and difficult session.
The most difficult thing about this is stripping away what society says makes a man or a woman.The challenge is, how can I begin to throw away and disregard what society says. Like the fact that “society” says it isn’t “normal” for a girl to wear boxers instead of underwear for example. Or to shop in the mens section for clothes- let alone wear a binder to flatten out a womans chest to give the appearance of a flat “male” chest.
I was very frustrated and visibly overwhelmed throughout most of the hour long session. I never realized how fucking COMPLICATED this shit is. I realized that I know myself in other areas of my life. I know who I am when it comes to how my bipolar disorder affects me. I know who I am when it comes to my eating disorder and how my ADHD have affected my life. I know that I am complicated, creative, moody and smart. But what I don’t know, but what I will continue to discover and uncover is who am I? Who is Allie? And that my dear friends- is the million dollar question that we all search for.
I find it facastign and frustrating that this is so new and almost… dare I say, uncomfortable to deal with. It’s like, I have pushed this shit away for years. I have lied to myself and confined myself that how I felt wasn’t normal or maybe even a part of me knew this was an issue but tired to play it off like it was a “phase” even though I know now, and I think I knew then- that it was not.
I was looking at pictures the other day while packing up the old house. For over an hour I sifted through picture after picture from different stages in my life- junior prom, my family trips to Mexico and Ireland, field trips for 6 flags great america and family chirtsmases. A few pictures really hit me and took me off guard. I found a picture of me when I was probably a freshman or sophomore in high school. I remember that I was a cater winter for some school function at my high school. We were required to wear black and white. In the picture I am with two other girls who were in dresses, and I- little ol Allie was clad in a white button down shirt and a black tie. When I looked at the picture- as minisucle as it may seem to others and even me a little bit- that is just one tiny example, ( that I had forgotten) about where I tried a different gender expression other than female.
Another thing that I remembered was back in 2012 ( I was 22) when I was in a production of Rent, somehow I must have been blabbing about gender and alluded to that fact that I do not fully identify as a woman. I don’t remember what I said- how much or how little I expressed my discomfort in my own skin but the next day at practice someone said they talked to the director and he agreed or supported (?) that I should play a transgender character! I remember feeling horribly exposed and vulnerable! How could he have repeated that? Why the hell did say anything? This is too close to home- what do I do? But the, the other half of me was like Fuck yeah, man! I get to test this out! I get to have a “reason” to chop off my hair and shit! woo-hoo! I chopped off my hair by next rehearsal and when we started wearing costumes for rehearsal I cam to practice with an ace bandage wrapped around my chest. I looked flat as a board and I fucking LOVED IT! I was very very self conscious and almost.. embarrassed. Why? I’m not too sure. Maybe because I felt so at home and comfortable looking like that- with my boobs taped down, hair cut short and covered by a hat that it was scary because it didn’t feel like a character- it felt like me. it felt like my true self.
Which is where like I said- SHIT GETS CONFUSING! My gender expression may be male- I like to wear boxers and looser pants that I can shove my wallet into instead of carrying a purse, I like that my hair is short and I can throw on a beanie, I like that I have a semi athletic style of clothes and I love that I don’t feel the need or desire to wear makeup…And all of these attributes begs the question–Just because I don’t like those things does NOT mean I am a boy. If I wear a hat, that doesn’t make me a boy. if I wear mens shoes that doesn’t make me a boy. So it raises ANOTHER important question- well, if my gender expression is that of a man, does that automatically exclude the fact that I might be transgender based on the fact that sometimes I do feel betrayed by my body and I feel like I am a man deep down,
I find myself wondering- what are the “right” answers? And by “right answers” I mean, what do “actual” transgender people say about themselves? What do they seem to inherently know about themselves that I don’t? Am I not transgender because I am confused and I don’t feel this immense sense and feeling that I am “born in the wrong body?” Or, perhaps, do I fit on the wider scale of fluidity? Gender isn’t a dichotomy, it is fluid and changes all the time. So maybe, on the scale of things I am more fluid. I don’t feel 100% without-a-doubt-God-made-a-fucking-mistake-get-me-out-of-here urgency to be a man. I am not asking anyone to call me Charles or Randolph tomorrow and strictly call me by male pronouns- NO! Right now I am floating around, going with the tides as they seem to change frequently.