◊ Please know that this post comes from a place of cisgender privilege as well as living in a very welcoming big city (West Hollywood/Los Angeles) and I’m aware of this.
I have always identified as the gender into which I was assigned at birth. Female ⇒ Girl ⇒ Woman. Easy peasy. Now, as I round out the final year in my 20s, I mostly still fall into that. I identify as a woman regardless of how femme I dress…Mostly?
I think my #ShortHairSaga has really given me space and permission to reflect and be a bit more aware of my gender and how it is or isn’t me. More and more often I notice that I bristle at the casual use of “Ladies” that a server at a restaurant or a barista at Starbucks might say when I’m out and about with my mom. Is that a reaction that has to do with my identity or simply being aware that perceived gender of the person being addressed may not line up with how they identify.
This past weekend I had a moment where I went on a Starbucks run and to do some grocery shopping, and that day, something in me just didn’t feel “woman.” It’s difficult to articulate, but for my own edification at least, it feels important to try to write down. I had a moment, a day where I felt genderqueer or genderfluid.
What does that even mean?
I’m still processing it, to be honest. There were a few things that threw me off and made me notice how ingrained “woman” or “female” is in me. I didn’t know how to stand and what to do with my hands. (Total Ricky Bobby moment.)
Possibly on a deeper level of “being a woman” (that messed me up mentally) is needing to wear a bra. Now, I know that some people will offer up “No one needs to wear a bra.” Okay, I hear you, but as someone who is very buxom, yes I do. I don’t feel comfortable leaving my house without a bra, so you can be all bra burning/fight the patriarchy/society blah as much as you want, but if I don’t feel comfortable out in the world without this clothing item, that’s me and my issue and you don’t get to tell me to get over it.
It was more than just not wanting to put make up – which I didn’t (and I don’t every day). It was more than simply dressing down – which I was; I was very casually dressed in a tank top, leggings, and converse. It’s definitely a feeling. It just was.
Conclusion? I don’t have one, exactly. For myself and my own journey, I like that I am still able to be surprised. I’m excited to see that my identity is ever-evolving, that I’m able to learn new facets about myself.