I found your blog and it really spoke to me, and made a lot of sense – someone else felt the way I did! I wasn’t alone! I took the plunge and cut my hair very, very short, bought myself a binder and a men’s wardrobe. I came out as non-binary and just asked people to accept it. All my friends didn’t bat an eye, and I felt like the sense of wrongness had rightened itself.
But I still feel a nagging sense that I’m missing something – something simple. If all the sense of wrongness had been rightened, then I wouldn’t have a feeling like that. I feel like if I can just live as me, then I shouldn’t keep returning to this issue of my gender, like a dog going back to gnaw at a bone that has no nourishment left.
It’s eluding me. I’m not a boy inside, I don’t want to live as a man, but I constantly struggle with my self-identity in relation to being female.
Mostly – I was just wondering how some people can feel so certain about this sort of stuff. I feel strange, because I’m not (binary gendered), but I still don’t feel like I fit anywhere.
Identity is not Static
I’ll start with quoting myself:
People are in constant flux. We age, we grow, we buy clothes, we change jobs, we move houses, we make families – you never really know what lies ahead.
We all have many identities – gender being just one of them – which are forever evolving.
Not everyone is sure of their gender identity, now or ever – even those with binary-gendered identities. Often it’s more of a matter of unlearning all the stuff you grew up believing in your entire life, and building something new, and scary, and unknown.
My gender has been changing in a way – at least in the way I express it in the world. At times I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere; the “what the hell am I doing?” train still tramples over me. None of my decisions happened overnight, or just because. It took a lot of introspection and analysing pro’s and con’s and mentally going through each situation and what-if until my options were completely exhausted. Even then, I wasn’t always sure, but I just kept going because of some vague notion that it felt worse not to. Eventually, it feels better that I did.
Finding the Right Fit, Finding Yourself
“Boy” is murky because it doesn’t bother me except in particular ways, “man” makes me squirm, “girl” makes my heart explode with anger and my insides scream, and “woman” is something I simply could not live with.
The clearest thing for me – my beacon, my guiding light – has always been my discomfort. I am and always very clearly felt not female.
I am likely not male either, even though I would consider myself trans-masculine. Perhaps I used to be a boy but lost my way. Perhaps I grew out of it. Or perhaps I’ll grow into one later. But that is all secondary.
So I’ve followed what I know to be true, and let the rest sort itself out. My one and only goal starting out was top surgery. After that, gender kept coming back to gnaw at me. I’ve slowly unpacked everything, figuring out what makes me more comfortable. I stick one toe in the water until I’m satisfied with the temperature before moving on. So far this has resulted in a successful strategy.
I still struggle to define what the next right step is. It’s been over 3 years, and I know now I’ll never be done. Yet I’ve gradually shed the discomfort and have come to know comfort in my own skin.
It’s a slow process, but you’ll look back in a few months or years and realize how far you’ve come. Just keep pushing yourself and eventually you’ll see the answer, along with many more questions.
7 thoughts on “Reader Ramblings: Finding Yourself”
The thing that’s still wrong could be on the outside, too. I’m satisfied these days with how I describe my identity and the range of ways I express it (especially once I noticed that the comfortable thing IS a pretty wide range). But it still gives me grief because I have so much conflict with the outside world about it–from passive things like gendered facilities to people actively refusing to use my pronouns. There isn’t much of a place in the world for nonbinary folks yet, so it seems sad but not strange to feel like we still don’t fit in.
Yep, that feeling of wrongness sometimes never goes away because of things outside of our control.
I’m constantly amazed by the fact that people expect others to be these static individuals. Everyone grows, learns, changes, and evolves. And yet when you tell someone you’re questioning and exploring part of your identity (be it gender, orientation, profession, religion, or any number of things that make you YOU) so often they react with shock. As always, thanks for the insightful post 🙂
Thank you for this! I knew there were others like me but never one that came so close to the way I feel. I think “man” would still feel very weird to me, though a thousand times better than “girl/woman”. But it’s good to know that there doesn’t have to be a fixed term – I’d describe myself as “genderless with male tendencies”. I guess the quest for finding youself never stops.
Well, at least it feels good to be understood 🙂
Hi! I really like your article. I’m also trying to figure out what I am. You mentioned in this article that your guide light is your discomfort. I’ve used it to figure out my sexuality, but it didn’t really work with gender. Right now, I identify myself as a girl. But several days ago I have this nagging feeling that I want to be a man. I’m really confused. (and I hope you still active cause I just now noticed that this is an article from 2013)