Therapy session numero très: What’s the difference between questioning gender expression and identity?

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.

Advertisements

2 Replies to “Therapy session numero très: What’s the difference between questioning gender expression and identity?”

  1. Reading as much as possible about genderfluid posts. I have also had a recent similar discovery and realised how gender is so confusing! The best is to listen to your inner voice – once I started to listen to it, I have automatically become a much more happy person 🙂

    Like

    1. Good to to hear I am not alone! It is crazy how utterly confusing and frustrating something so “simple” can be. And it’s kinda nuts that we are conditioned to not even question our gender in the first and when we begin to it can require so much effort and discovery! Best of luck!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s