Well isn’t this a rarity?
Twice in one week.
PS – dirty bird award goes to all those readers out there who bumped my last post to almost 700 just because I said I was in my underwear. Now I know how to get those numbers up there…
Warning: NO UNDERWEAR PICTURES IN THIS POST.
Sorry to disappoint.
And funny story…The thoughts in my head the last 24 hours that are now making it to the tips of my fingers (click click click) and in to this blog post have nothing to do with food, working out, old man chester or anything health related like I said I wanted to focus on. In fact it’s about one of those things I said I didn’t want to focus on: Gender.
“Oh for fuck’s sake T
ara, you say you don’t want to focus on that shit and here you are gabbing about that very thing”.
A funny shift happened yesterday. I’ve been mulling it over. I wanted to share. Actually I just wanted a platform to take thoughts in my mind and bring them to the forefront. I find that when go from thinking words to seeing words (thoughts to sentences) I have a lot of clarity. Maybe not so much understanding but it allows me to acknowledge what feels real in my mind and gives those ‘real’ thoughts a place to grow and be (and change).
A little history.
To know me is to know that with the weight loss I’ve become very vain. I’m not proud of it, but it is what it is. That means I like to look sharp. I feel like I am my own conundrum because while my face (hair and what not) looks sharp, my clothes are usually in disarray (hello Aspergers). Unless I’m working as an interpreter then I look really sharp all the way around. But I do like a good haircut and if you’ve seen any pictures of me you know then I like my hair short:
Part of the reason I had long hair was because I thought it was necessary in order to fit the specific gender role of being a girl (and I really liked to have pigtails). When you’re forcing yourself into a gender that no longer fits, you do whatever is necessary to make it “look right”. So I wore my hair long. I’d wear a skirt, I’d let the person I was sharing my life with at that time open doors, buy me flowers and do all that chivalrous stuff that I wanted to do…I just didn’t know it yet.
So my hair is pretty important because it helps define my gender (even though I’m still figuring this stuff out). I go to a barber. A real life barber. One where men sit around and talk about sports or music. Drink the occasional beer and pretty much just shoot the shit while sitting in the chair.
So let’s get back to yesterday.
Remember when I said my clothes tend to be in disarray? Because I’ve been sick (and sore from my workouts) I’ve been wearing extra comfy clothes. Not because they feel good (which they do) but because it keeps me calm (hello Aspergers). One of those shirts is a hooded yoga-like shirt. Purple. Stripy. Scoopy Necky. Girly. I usually wear it with a t-shirt over (think Sheldon Big Bang Theory) but for some reason yesterday just didn’t feel right. I had another hoodie over it so I called it good. Brown, second hand, corduroy pants on, trucker hat on top of my head and I was looking/and feeling (and passing) pretty boyish (read: comfortable in my own gender). I should have thought it out a little better because as soon as I got to where I was going (the barber) I had to take off the top hoodie in order to get my hair cut. Now I’m sitting in a room full of men waiting to get their hair cut. My hair is way longer than normal. My neck is more exposed and because I’m not wearing a t-shirt over my yoga-like shirt, it’s pretty obvious that I’m a girl. Now I’m uncomfortable. It would have been okay since I don’t know these people except for Rob the barber and I’ve been coming for over a year so whatever. I sat there. Looking in the mirror. Feeling exposed.
Then something happened I wasn’t expecting.
Another Trans person walked in.
I knew he was trans because Rob and the other barber called him by his “Girl” name and he clearly did not look anything like a girl. I thought maybe I heard it wrong. Everything about this person screamed boy. So while I’m trying to figure out if my “transdar” is right (like a gaydar) I’m feeling even more uncomfortable. More female. More like a dyke. I imagine he’s been in a few times and this might have been the first time he’s seen another “girl” in there. But I’m not a girl. I wanted that head nod. That “sup?” acknowledgement. I got nothing. All I kept thinking was “I’m looking at you like you’re a boy and you’re looking at me like I’m a girl”…
We were getting our hair cut at the same time. Overhearing his conversation about changing names and having funeral parties where he’s giving a eulogy to his former self makes me feel even less worthy of this trans identity. Sitting there thinking how stupid it is of me to even think I’m like him. That no matter how hard I try, no matter how short my hair is, no matter what I do or say I’m always going to be a girl.
And what I want is to NOT be a girl.
Not in body.
Not in gender.
As the minutes tick by and my hair is getting sharper and sharper, I start to feel a little less exposed. The “robe” is covering my neck line. I’m shooting the shit as usual with Rob. I can’t wait to put on my trucker hat and have it sit snugly against my scalp. Pulled way down just like a country boy would. I can’t wait to put my hoodie back on that flattens out the shape of my body. I realize the Trans person next to me doesn’t know me from Joe Blow and that the perceived judgement (or lack of acknowledgement) is of my own doing.
I hear him say to the other barber “I have to tell (insert girl’s name that starts with a G but I can’t remember the name)…oh dammit, they liked to be called G. Don’t tell them I used their full name…man that hasn’t happened in a long time“…That’s the tell tale sign someone is transitioning especially in FtM (female to male). The first (and easiest) way to help with transition is to shorten a “girl” name to something more androgynous.
I took the opportunity to do something I’ve yet done in my own transition. Normally when I’m introduced to people, I just let them say “This is Tara”…At some point I might say “most people call me T” but it sounds like I’m making it easier on them (easier to remember an initial rather than a name) when in fact it is a preferred name because Tara is feminine. T is not. It is neither feminine nor masculine. It just is.
I looked at Rob…the barber. The man whose been cutting my hair for over a year. Making me look sharp. Feel sharp. Feel more congruent in my gender than he probably realizes and I said “Ya know Rob, I’m the same way. I actually prefer to be called T not Tara“….
I didn’t say “most people call me T”, I said I prefer.
It’s strange to feel liberated in such a simple act. A sentence that took less than 3 seconds to produce gave me the acknowledgement of my own self worth. The “hey, I get it” nod from the person next to me didn’t seem so important as I checked out my perfectly cut hair in the mirror. It didn’t seem so important as I put on my hoodie and grabbed my trucker hat knowing I don’t need to pull it way down country boy style. I didn’t need to wear it at all. My hair looked sharp. There was nothing girly about me anymore. As I left, I shook hands with Rob. A strong hand shake. A man’s hand shake. I thanked him and said I’d be back in a few weeks….
“Thanks for coming in T”