Obedience or Freedom

I’ve been musing on what I want in life lately. What I guess I truly want, is freedom.

I suppose I should define what I mean by freedom. I guess I simply don’t want to be confined by what a woman is limited to.

But Queen Legbeard, you say, this is the modern world. Women can be whatever they want! Sure, as long as you’re feminine enough first.

Women like me are invisible in this world. In media, in the minds of others. When most people think “women” they think of someone with nice, styled hair, plenty of makeup, and body-fitting clothes. Appropriately sized and slender in build. So in broad terms, people think of “women” as the women they are attracted to. The rest of us? The older woman, the large built, the obese, the plain women, we simply don’t exist.

I’m aware I’m railing at a wall. I am coming to terms with the fact, slowly, that if I live a life free to look and do as I please, I’ll always be an outsider. Women who don’t wear makeup and who have clean hair without product are inherently untrustworthy. How does someone know a woman is obedient if they don’t bow to beauty culture, if they don’t know that their purpose is to please the eye?

I feel like I’ll always be somewhere, in my head, between a man and a woman. I’ve never felt drawn to the pageantry of womanhood. It all seems like a play I was recruited to without my knowledge.

I don’t fit in the role I’ve been cast into. I never have. And every day I feel the pressure to just.. not be me. To invest in and play the role anyway. Maybe I should just give in? It would make others happy if I did. If I woke every day early, before my husband, just to put on my costume others would see it as me “caring” about myself and being “hygenic.” I know enough to know wearing makeup and styling hair doesn’t mean either of those things. I’ve seen plenty of women who make terrible decisions in their lives while beautified to the max. Hair product and makeup are not hygiene. Cleaning your body, hair, and teeth is hygiene.

To show how toxic femininity is in my life, I’ve managed to convince myself that the things that bring me joy are off limits to me, simply because of biology. The stories I build may never reach screen or paper, because graphic novels are for men, not women. Certainly not high-action sci-fi with worldbuilding and character development. Not allowed. Not for me. And yet, the stories are what keep me going. I always have that world to dip into, an escape no one can take away. Same as when I was a burdensome weirdo in my childhood home.

No. My place is to be pleasantly feminine, full time worker and keeper of the home, always made up with a smile on my face. I’m not allowed negative emotions, only positive ones. Then I’ll be loved and wanted by others.

No. I won’t be obedient. I won’t take the well-worn path before me. It doesn’t matter that I won’t ever be accepted or cherished.

That’s the schism inside me. Obedience vs. freedom. Each with their own perks. Each with their own magnetic pull. Each with its own pain.

 

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L’Enfer, C’est Les Autres

When most people reach out and touch a red hot pan, they burn themselves. They learn not to touch the red hot pan. Me, I’ve lived my life hearing people tell me to keep touching that pan. Maybe it won’t burn you this time, they say. But it’s always red hot. And it always burns me.

I rarely go out. I’m much happier coming straight home from work every day. If I must leave the house, it’s because I’m out of some essential addictive foodstuffs. I venture out late, late at night. Mainly since it takes time to work up the nerve to go out. And because the later it is, the fewer people there are.

I don’t go out because I don’t want to be around people. I don’t want to be the target of their derision. I don’t want to feel the weight of expectations on how to talk and how to look. I don’t want to speak. I don’t want to be looked at. If I could have a super power, invisibility would be the one I choose in a heartbeat. Though.. Flying is pretty cool.

The number of people I spend time around is very, very limited nowadays. I don’t spend time at all anymore with my husband’s friends. The only one I spend time with is my husband’s friend A that I watch anime with on Saturday nights. A has his own set of problems, but tolerable enough. Because people must sexualize any relationship between a male and female, I must emphasize that it’d be a cold day in hell before I’d ever think of him that way.

A is pretty much it. My husband spends a lot of time with another friend F, who.. I can borderline stand. He’s one of those guys who effortlessly talks over you and who speaks in a way that suggests you don’t know anything at all. Whenever we play the simplest games he has to explain everything to me. Even when we play games I’ve played a dozen times before. And then I’m the asshole for pointing out that I’ve played this game before.

Housemate K? I’ve given up the delusion that we could be friends, much as I have with the Couple. Now I do the minimum related to him. We live together so I can’t exactly stop talking to him. I’ve stopped hoping he’ll help out with the house. I’ve stopped hoping he’ll empathize at all. Everything is about him. He’s sad, he’s anxious, he has a bad self image, and boy howdy he’ll let you know about it. There’s no room for others to show any hurt or pain because *K* is the Sad One who everyone must feel bad for. It must be nice for him, to feel so free to air every unhappiness in his mind. I have this blog, and that’s it for me. No other outlet.

Just the other day he made some mopey comment about how he can’t make friends. It took everything in me to resist either grabbing him by the shirt and shaking him, or making a snide comment. The Couple loves K. The only times they come over now is to spend time with K. Or to borrow stuff from us. Everyone likes K, and in fact he’s made a new friend group because he’s dating a girl several years his junior. He lives with his best friend and his wife (me) who’ve let him live there rent-free for years, but cleaning his pubes off the toilet rim is toooo hard. WOE IS K. His liff sooo harrrdddd.

Maybe once or twice a year I spend time with my high school friends. About 2-3 months ago I went over to Q’s house for a game night. She was the first friend I outed my short hair to. Because of all of them, she’s the one I feel closest to, she’s the one I met first of all my high school friends. But as I have learned the hard way, feeling close to someone doesn’t mean they feel close to you, or even that they have your back. There’s been several instances with Q that on reflection, indicate she’s not a very good friend sometimes. At the game night, in front of two new people and one friend I hadn’t seen in 15 years, she made the comment “Queen Legbeard cries before having sex.” Like she thought it was the funniest thing ever. She has no clue about my sex life. Unlike her, I don’t talk about mine. It was just a mean, spur of the moment comment.

I laughed it off. But it hurt that she could make a comment like that. Especially when she knows I’m struggling emotionally. She’s done it before. And she can’t keep secrets, it’s just too satisfying for her to blab everything I tell her.

I guess the only person I can really stand is Husband. And.. for his flaws, he does love me. Though he cannot comfort me, though he is a sponge for comfort himself, he keeps coming to me. He doesn’t stay away, even when I push him away.

One person. One person is enough.

Self-Indulgent Prattling

Tomorrow is my first shrink appointment. Well, with a nurse practitioner. I don’t think I’ll bring up the gender stuff, just bring up the symptoms of the depression and anxiety I suffer and how they’re affecting my ability to function.

I think a course of meds may help me. I’ll request wellbutrin to start. No good taking something that’s just going to help me put more weight on. I tend to do very well on stimulants, nearly approaching normal in terms of ability to do things. I was diagnosed with ADD as a child, taking ritalin for a while until they thought I was “better.” I certainly still have executive functioning problems as an adult.

God, I hope they care. I really hope they do. I’m paying them, you know? I’d hope they care. I don’t know if I could take yet another doctor just kind of.. waiting for the appointment to be done.

I feel a discontent when I think about how according to society’s measuring stick, I’ll never measure up. I understand why masculine-leaning females transition to male. The gender binary, so entrenched. You’re a man or a woman, nothing in between. People think they need to be able to visually classify you at a single glance, and god help you if you’re not easy on the eyes. That brief and minor delay of “what are they” is too inconvenient for most.”How do I treat them,” because all interactions must be gendered and appropriate, just treating people neutrally until you know doesn’t seem to cross most people’s minds.

This may sound.. self-congratulatory or dumb, but I am proud of how I treated Noah back in the day. This was a good 8-10 years ago, before I even knew trans was a thing; I grew up in a conservative Midwestern town. I had no idea he was a transman, just that he was ambiguous in his appearance. I never forced the issue. I waited for him to bring it up, and treated him neutrally (non-gendered) until he did. If only I hadn’t had an anxiety attack while hanging out with him once; after that, we weren’t as close, until the temp job ended and I never saw him again.

I need to find like-minded friends. Some form of connection. If I rely on cis people, they may always be baffled by me. The mismatch between their gendered expectations and my NB/masculine-leaning personality leads to discomfort and eventually alienation. “Why is she so weird? Why doesn’t she pretty herself up?” These thoughts (probably) cross their minds. I’m so glad I’ve finally identified the disconnect between my efforts and other people. The revelations of the last few months have helped, considerably. I’ve noticed I have had fewer mentally ill vent posts. The hole is not as deep, and when I fall into it, I climb back out more quickly.

Perhaps I will post somewhere looking for a trans/NB-leaning-masculine penpal. Penpals still are a thing, there’s a subreddit for it I’ve been perusing. If anything else, sign up for a forum somewhere. Though, I’m not about to write letters on *paper*, how droll. Emailpal is better. There’s other options as well. Though I may be too old (31) maybe I could go to my local university’s LGBTQ events. I am an alumnus, so maybe that’s an in. Meetup might have some things too, as well as Craigslist. Craiglist could be.. dodgy though. Even creepers respond to platonic friend postings. They don’t read your posts.