I felt kind of option-less in my last post. But after posting it, I thought of some things that I can do to help my dysphoria.
- Lift. Don’t care about whether other people think it’s odd. Wear non-flattering clothes to the gym. No one is going to talk to you there anyway. Feeling strong, being strong, will help.
- Draw and write. I can express my desire to live, be a male through fiction. It helps, believe it or not. I already live in my own head as a male character in the story I have been developing for more than a decade.
- Wear pants. Wear pants as much as I want. The next major family event? Wear pants, even if the other women are wearing dresses. Their disapproval doesn’t matter. Be yourself.
- Buy khakis and dress pants. Stop thinking about how with your short hair and masculine build you need to offset it with feminine clothes. Just wear what you want to work. They already know something is weird about you.
- Stop caring too much about the words that come out of your mouth. Stop agonizing over whether something is what a woman would say.
- Continue the minimum grooming you are doing. Shower and clean yourself every day but don’t agonize over hair or makeup.
- Speak in your natural speaking voice. Stop trying to sound like you have a higher voice when your voice is naturally lower.
- FIND OTHERS. You’ve made some exploratory searches on meetups and communities. Follow through.
- The most painful item at all: Discuss with husband that you are having gender dysphoria. Make pains to explain it doesn’t mean I am leaving him, or that my sexuality has changed. Emphasize that a happier, healthier me means more time spent in the bedroom, instead of a dead bedroom. If I stop feeling panicked about whether I am acting feminine enough, I will be able to express myself sexually.
First and foremost, remember this, me: Living as who you are will isolate you. People seem drawn to those who are the epitome of gender stereotypes. Butch women are nearly invisible in media and society. Use that to your advantage in life.
I think I’m dealing with some pretty severe gender dysphoria.
I don’t know what to do. When I think about living as a man, my anxiety and discomfort go away. I’m 32 and married to a man. We live as husband and wife. He is annoyed, exasperated by my constant depression and anxiety, and I don’t blame him. He doesn’t know what the real cause is. He thinks it’s my childhood- and indeed my issues are largely due to that. But what he doesn’t know, and I fear won’t understand, is how it played into my understanding of what it is to be a woman.
I feel overwhelming pressure every day to play “woman.” Constant alertness of my appearance. Grating frustration at times when I have to wear makeup and pretend- weddings, family holidays, parties with feminine friends. Feigned submissive deference. Feeling coerced into patterns of behavior and speech that don’t feel natural. Being a woman feels like a cult to me- a cult I can’t leave.
Cutting my hair short helped. But I feel pressure to style it. I can’t just have clean, combed hair. I can’t just wear jeans, khakis, and polo shirts. I can’t wear boots. I have to think about these things. I am forced to bear a attractiveness mental load I don’t want. Have never wanted.
I just.. I just know if I said these things to someone else, they’d trot out the same old tired line-“You don’t have to wear makeup. You don’t have to style your hair.” Well, sure, if I wanted to guarantee social isolation. I barely play girl as it is and it isolates me. I also actively isolate myself because I know I can’t play girl well, and it shows. Someone would figure it out, I’m pretty certain friends of mine think I’m secretly gay. Which would be fine, if I was. I am attracted to men- so attracted I want their life. I know being a man has its own problems.
I don’t see a way out. My therapist is hilariously young- younger than me and fresh out of grad school. He’s not the one to talk to about this.
What’s weird is some days I do want to wear jewelry. I guess that’s okay. I don’t know. Going from one inflexible gender norm to another may not solve my issues. I just wonder what it would be like to have someone actually listen to me for once and not be intimidated and made uncomfortable by my thoughts and feelings.
I don’t feel much like a woman. Never have. Being a woman always seemed like some sort of production. Like playing a role in a play. Striving to match in every possible way this all-consuming ideal of the modern, attractive woman. No time to think. No time to enjoy anything else. Just focus on your appearance and social roles.
Ye olde Stepmother thought I was a lesbian because I didn’t seem drawn to makeup, dresses, styling my hair. Given the fact I had no attraction to women, I think she is simply so ignorant that any woman that deviates from her norm is automatically homosexual. A product of her times. And an absolute c*nt.
For a while I thought I might be trans. I remember feeling thrilled looking at before-T and after-T photos, about how amazing these gents looked. T is truly astonishing at masculinizing faces and bodies. I thought to myself: I’m already so beefy and butchy looking, transitioning would be natural. I don’t have any comfort with female social roles. But men’s? Hell yes.
Then I encountered gender critical feminism. I’m not a TERF. But I am a fan of the notion that you can be a masculine woman or a feminine man and not need to change your body. Some need to change their bodies to live, and I understand that. But for me, now I think of gender not as some oppressive cage, but as a toy in my hands.
I now know I’m non-binary. An enby. Someone who lives in between, who can be one or the other or both at any given moment. I don’t have to pretend to be excited at a dress. I can wear tunics with leggings (as close to dresses as I’m comfortable) or a flowy Indian skirt occasionally, when I feel like it, for no reason other than I want to. Or I can wear jeans and a t-shirt. And a flannel shirt. I flipping love flannel shirts.
But it’ll take time to work that confidence. Even now, I hide my lack of interest in feminine things. I wear a wig to work to hide my short pixie cut. I appear to have shoulder length nicely styled hair from 9-5 every work day. Now that I’ve hit my five year work anniversary, maybe I’ll consider going without it.
The world feels like it’s opened up again. I have a label that finally fits.
But am I still a legbeard? Ohhh yeah.