Sometimes I get caught up in my own head, and I find that my thoughts are bleeding into what I write here in comments. Recently that's been my personal relationship with gender.
If you read enough of my posts you might be able to come to a rather strange concept of my relationship with gender. I use sometimes mixed pronouns and can seem to oscillate between my mental gender presentation. Hell, even my username here is pretty indicative (for me) of this constant swing/fluidity; Danni is what many people call me, but they think it's with a "y".
Okay, here's a nice kitten break before I get personal.
Yeah we do. *Ahem* Okay, next point of order.
In the name of too candid for your blood I wanted to try to collect some of these thoughts on gender for GT, because you're all a smart, sharp bunch who may provide some nice glittery chunks of wisdom I haven't considered. At the least, I'm hoping I can get some nice support for something that has been a constant struggle for many years.
Here it is: My concept of personal gender is a source of constant anxiety and confusion for me. A good deal of this has to do, I'm sure, with the fact that my struggle with substance abuse doesn't help me (which is a categorization that took over my life and leaves little room for other concerns most of the time); nor does my open-minded "please convince me" approach to most dilemmas.
Ever since I was aware of gender, I've felt a little "off" about it. My earlier childhood isn't filled with dolls or any other surefire signs of a confusion. In fact, my early childhood was all mud and tree climbing and skinned knees. When I hit puberty things started to shift a good bit, and I remember many nights laying in bed and dreaming/fantasizing about being a woman and similar trends.
There are a lot of not-as-embarrassing-as-I-think-they-are stories I could tell now. There are the many times when I was left home alone or when my younger sister was asleep and I was home alone where I recall dressing in my mother's clothing and admiring myself in their mirrors. I recall a perverted moment including my mother finding a tampon wrapper/applicator in her little boy's room, and a good embarrassing talk about the birds and bees. There are more.
I also never had any outward issue. I was pretty "normal" my whole life if you eliminate a few years of youthful rebellion around 13-16ish (I got it out of the way quick and early).
When I hit my stride in my high-school teenage years, I was a fully fledged "adult" past my rebellions. I recall very specifically that 16-year-old me was more comfortable straddling conceptual ideas of gender than I am now. It wasn't a "thing" but I was embracing of a certain femininity within that timeframe. My budding attraction to men (as well as women) began to come to a concrete point (Oh, Evan, the memory of you when you were seventeen is so dreamy) and I was generally pretty open and understandable with the fact that a lot of my habits and mannerisms (especially when it came to dating) were of a more stereotypically "feminine" lean. For record, this was the straddle of late 90's to early millennium. I went, in that time, from an angry rebellious fifteen-year-old to a rather stable and actually popular eighteen-year-old by the time I graduated.
Earlier in high school the skinheads would kick the shit out of me because I was punk and unabashedly radically leftist. By the time I graduated I had "buddies" on the football team which meant that I was even a curiosity for the popular girls (all sports based) who would get me drunk or have me meet them to go shopping. To clarify, I never hing out with the "popular boys" but the "popular girls" went just shy of giving me makeovers my last two years of high school.
My limited, seemingly unlimited stardom from getting the lead roll in our Drama Dept's production of Tommy was also a factor as I achieved a sort-of weird non-mainstream high-school sex-symbol level of local fame.
This "local fame" was adorable and I loved it. One of my best friends and I were just meeting at the time, and I learned via sneaky web 1.0 black hat tricks (couldn't resist!) that some of my "fans" had written a rather long (web)comic about me. It was immensely homo and hetero-erotic, and even included me getting cloned so I could have sex with... ehrm, myself?
But I digress.
My relationship with gender was pretty solid for my teen years (which is not what you usually hear with people for whom it becomes a confusion later), and I felt like I had a good balance between my outward presentation and my inward mix of identities. I was quick, when pressed, to explain my "feminine" approach/mindset about some things and was unabashed, for the most part. Gender-identity wasn't a focus, it was a part of me and it never seemed at too much odds with anything else in my life. I was comfortable a man who copped to not being the "macho" type and who loved theater and dance and poetry.
It wasn't that long ago, but it was a completely different social world.
So fast forward a little to college and you have me riding high on high school and everything positive within. I was devoted and fastidious in my studies and even gave a try toward jumping into an advanced Latin course for a Classics major that eventually didn't pan out.
And I met a girl. I met a girl (her terminology) that, in retrospect, I should have listened when everyone said that she was toxic to me.
Around the time when I was first actually away from home I "discovered" that I was kinky. It was just something personal and private before, but this girl I met was equally so and our budding relationship became a monster. See, she was (is) quite submissive and rather domestically inclined.
To make a long story short, we dated and I ended up as the dominant, masculine partner and everything was great... until it wasn't. My drinking-as-a-fucking-problem really started around then and what she wanted and I was able to give wasn't in line. I tried and tried and got drunker and drunker. I wish I could rewind and just choose a few different choices for that time. In the long run we tried to make it work but it didn't. I wasn't who she wanted and she wasn't who I wanted.
But I was already sucked into the neverending hole of alcohol abuse. As an aside, I'm so jealous of anyone who goes through life without worrying about such.
And, now I'm here:
Because my relationship with gender is more confusing than ever. If there had been actual coverage and attention given to transwomen earlier in my life, it may have opened a few shortcuts. But the whole idea of transition was pretty much non-existent when I was a younger person. Seeing trans individuals is something we take for granted, even at this early stage. Just a decade ago no one would ever actually talk about transitions or gender at all. And if they did you could be sure there was a target painted on your head somewhere.
And I come out the other side at 29 years-old and deeply feeling that I'm a woman but carrying baggage from years and years of... baggage accumulation.
But It's so immensely life-changing that I don't want to hand in my cis-normativity at all. I hope that's understandable. I can be me with my awesome partner with whom I am pretty much femme all the time at home and even at times outside the home. I want her to get that job she's after so I can do things like work part-time and sit on my non-profit boards and not worry about anything other than making her happy.
And I'm also desiring a non-competition job. I just want to care for the kids and cook meals and be sexy. That's a job and a half there that I'm enthusiastic about.
I'm uncertain the point, and I think I got to the place where I should have a point already. I cling to my "man" presentation because it's comfortable and doesn't cause an issue. I desperately want to explore the "woman" side of me, but it's difficult.
I'm going to end this here because I'm not certain what else to say.