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.