Haircut

I’ve started cutting my own hair since its so short, and it means I don’t have to go to the hairdresser which stresses me out. I cut my hair yesterday, using my dad’s beard trimmer (not ideal) to do the back and sides and scissors to take an inch or two off the top.

I hadn’t cut my hair in probably about two months so there was a fair amount to take off. It had been starting to bug me in the way that it was getting harder to keep in place, and strange partings were starting to form under hats.

So yesterday I stood in my boxers in my bathroom, ready to attack the mop. I started with scissors to make it easier on the beard trimmer, which although is wide really struggled (sorry dad, but you agreed!). Then the shorter hairs started to rain down on my shoulders.I ended up with it landing so it was sticking to my shoulders and chest with an almost happy trail forming as some managed to reach my stomach. Leaning my head forward to do the back made some of the chest hairs stick to my chin.

It was strange, looking at my reflection. Seeing my body with hair on it made peace with something that I didn’t realise was at war within me- it felt natural and it made sense, instead of feeling like something was off like when I normally see myself.

I finished cutting my hair, pleased with the end result until I remembered that the people at work are going to see it. I feel like it makes me look more masculine now my curls aren’t gently framing my face and are instead shorter and resting on my forehead. I think a lot of my anxiety comes from my previous job where after I cut my hair my boss commented on how it was a ‘boys haircut’ and made me feel bad about it.

Other than that my main issue is how young it makes me look. I look like a prepubescent boy (curse this baby face!) unless I put on a beanie, in which case I look slightly older. I didn’t get ID’d for the first time last night when I was wearing my beanie which I’m glad about- I only wore it to hide the severeness of my haircut as that makes it easier to look like a girl and I wanted to avoid the conversation of ‘that doesn’t look like you’ but as my cousin and sister pointed out later it does well to make me look more my age too.

Its amazing how much your hair can affect your perception of yourself. I love these moments of gender euphoria that I get when I do little things like cut my hair. It makes me more certain that I’m not just faking, which is something I worry about a lot. Yesterday I cut my hair. Today I woke up and I feel real.

Dear Ignorant Member Of My Family

Dear family member,

Last Christmas when you were all talking about how you dress to make your boobs look bigger and I said that I didn’t understand that, that I dress to make them look smaller

Remember how you looked me in the eye and joked about me wrapping bandages around my chest? Remember how we both laughed?

You probably don’t. To you it was just a joke.

I wonder what you’d say if you knew that three months after you made that joke I bought a binder

That I love how comfortable it makes me feel in my own skin.

 

When I told you recently that since I’ve had my hair cut short I feel like myself, that I never liked my long hair anyway

That I now see my face on the screen or in the mirror instead of looking at a stranger

That I no longer cringe at photos of me even if they’re awful

You’re allowed to look surprised or confused, you don’t have to understand

But don’t look at me in disgust

And don’t tell me that not seeing myself in the mirror for the first 20 years of my life is something that I’m making up because “everyone gets that”

Or refuse to listen when I try to explain how this is different, how sometimes I still don’t recognise my reflection but it feels so much more right than it did before.

 

You watched me change from a little girl to a young woman

Will you watch me change into a boy?

Or will you tell me I’m doing it for attention, when you know that I hate having all eyes on me?

I’m not a boy, by the way

Just something similar

My gender is so much more than just pink or blue

So much more than boy or girl

My gender is turquoise and purple, lime green and obsidian

Is made of colours and concepts you wouldn’t even try to understand no matter how hard I tried to explain them to you.

 

Your mind is closed, and with it your heart

And that’s why I’m scared to show you mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acceptance vs Authenticity

 

 

This video appeared in my YouTube subscriptions a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been thinking about it a lot, wanting to write about it but not knowing what to say.

In this video Ashley Wylde makes the distinction between Social and Personal ease- with social ease defined as acceptance and personal ease as authenticity. This difference is something I’d never considered before when thinking about my identity so I thought it was pretty interesting.

For me, social acceptance right now is being seen as female by the people that I know because I am really not ready to come out to anybody yet. But around strangers, I feel more comfortable when I’m seen as male as opposed to a masculine woman. People (moreso strangers than my family) react in really mixed ways if there’s any combination of masculinity and femininity in my presentation, so in order to be accepted I feel like I have to tone down parts of myself and present as one or the other.

Authenticity, for me, is wanting to present myself as masculine. I want to have a flat chest, to have a more square jawline and a deeper voice, to maybe have a bit of facial hair- but I don’t want to give up the ‘feminine’ parts of me. Living authentically would be tweaking my body slightly whilst allowing myself to still enjoy these things.

The balance that Ashley talks about makes sense to me: I sometimes feel like in order to be taken seriously I’m going to have to lose (or at least hide) the parts of me that don’t match up with society’s idea of masculine- my hobbies and even some parts of my personality- which may make my life easier socially but not personally.

This video made some of what I’ve been feeling make more sense to me, so even if this post doesn’t mean anything to anybody else it’s given me a deeper understanding of myself.

 

Working in an All-Male Environment

I have a temporary job at a factory near my house that lets parents order their child’s christmas card design as actual cards. It’s a really neat idea. I work at the end of the production line checking that the packaged orders are complete before sending it on to be sealed and shipped. There are so many temporary staff there right now, probably 30 of us working in different sections of the business, and there’s a really interesting divide. Upstairs is where the scanning of artwork happens, and touching up/editing of the pictures. Downstairs is where the cards get printed, packaged and shipped. Upstairs has more girls than guys based on who I see in the staff room in breaks (maybe like a 60:40 ratio), downstairs there are 7 guys and me.

I didn’t notice this at all for the first few days that I was working there, I felt comfortable where I was- granted they’re not Manly Men, being a mixture of gap year students and middle aged dad types- but when I noticed the people coming downstairs at break times it was weird. I get uncomfortable around feminine girls, and the majority of those upstairs are just that. I wonder what they think, if they pity me for being the only one working with a bunch of guys, or for being stuck on a production line while they work in an office but then I’m like…that really doesn’t matter. I like it. I feel more comfortable than I would surrounded by them.

I do feel kind of excluded though. Not in a nobody-talks-to-me kind of way, because they do and they’re very nice, but more of a they-treat-me-like-i’m-delicate type way. Its little things, I’ll get a smile and a thumbs up as my boss walks past or the people I work with will look concerned when I go towards them to ask them a question- which they don’t do for anyone else. I wonder if they feel weird with me being there.

Some people have a job that needs them to move around the room carrying or preparing boxes, so its easy to have conversations in passing. If our machine jams (which it does a lot), while its being fixed we have nothing to do, so the guy working next to me tends to wander about and chat to other people as they work. He went home early today and the machine jammed for an unusually long amount of time so we were told to take 5. I wandered over to other people, exchanged a few words. The general feeling I got was friendliness from the ‘dads’ and wariness from the students, like I had an ulterior motive and didn’t just want a chat.

Its nice now I’ve been there for over a week that they’re starting to include me in their banter. I think the combination of me being shy and knowing (or at least thinking) that they see me as the odd one out has made this harder than it needed to be in terms of holding a conversation. Also I haven’t been talking much because of my voice. Being surrounded by voices of a lower pitch than my own has made me far more conscious of how it sounds, which in turn makes me nervous and causes it to go higher (which is so counterproductive, thanks self).

Overall I’m pretty happy, the people are nice but I think I might be making myself the outsider by thinking that they think of me as one. A couple of people are leaving this week and I’m sort of hoping that they aren’t replaced by girls because they make me uncomfortable in a whole different way.

 

That Moment When Your Gender Finally Hits You

I’ve been identifying as not-cis for a while now, unsure of where exactly to place myself but knowing that it isn’t at Girl. There’s been this weird kind of disconnect though, where I’ve known it but not known it- if that makes sense. Like I’ve been seeing pictures of more androgynous/masculine people and thinking ‘hey I wanna look like that’ but not really taking myself seriously I guess? I don’t know, I don’t even understand it so its hard to explain but I’ve got to write this out because I have so many feelings right now.

I think the main distinction is that I forget that other people don’t see me as I see myself, and when I realise that difference its always a weird feeling. I just feel like a person. Not a girl, not a boy. A person. Who wants to look like a boy. I think.

This morning seeing my dad only wearing boxers was a kind of zap- like hey I want to look like that. He’s not got a perfect body, and so much body hair (which I don’t really like the idea of but at the same time I do?). Then I had to get dressed and nothing seemed to look right on me, not how I wanted it to.

But the real moment, the real tipping point was when I went on Facebook this evening to send a link to a friend and seeing as I haven’t logged on in a while decided to scroll down and see what my friends had been up to. What I was confronted by was pictures of them and their friends (unsurprisingly) and when I reached a certain one of a guy I knew at school something just clicked. I want that. I feel no connection to the girl pictures at all, even the ones that aren’t dressed up with makeup and such, in fact I feel uncomfortable imagining myself in the same room as them.

And when that something in my brain clicked I just stopped. My heart was racing. My palms were sweating. How should I react? Will this change how I feel about myself?

It feels like I’ve been drawing something through foggy glasses these past few months and now they’ve been wiped clean. Everything fits together. It makes sense. And it’s terrifying.

I Don’t Know Which Bathroom To Use

Last weekend I went with my mum to visit my sister at uni. On the way we stopped at a supermarket to pick up some shopping for her because she’s ill and hadn’t been out to get food in a while.  As a general rule I try to avoid public bathrooms because it gives me so much anxiety but there was no way I was going to make it to my sister’s so I didn’t have much of a choice in the situation.

Heading towards the toilets, the disabled cubicle was on my right, female toilets in front of me and male to the left. I almost went into the disabled one, but I have only done that once and felt so guilty because there may have been someone who actually needed it waiting so I hovered between the male and female for a couple of seconds, trying to decide which was less intimidating.

I darted into the women’s bathroom in the end, grateful that there was nobody in there. While I was in the cubicle though a lady and her young daughter came in. I waited until what I thought were two doors shutting so there’d be nobody to see me as I left, but when I emerged the daughter was standing against the sinks instead of in a cubicle. She stopped talking to her mum when she saw me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw her look at me for a couple of seconds before sliding away from me to stand at the other end of the bathroom.

I decided not to dry my hands, that I just wanted to get out of there, but as I went to leave the door opened in front of me and the lady coming in just froze in the doorway looking at me. I hate that look. The expression that’s a mixture of shock and disgust. The almost glare as they try to figure out why I’m in their space. The confusion as they wonder if maybe they’ve made a mistake.

My main problem is that I encounter this kind of situation almost every time I use the women’s, but women (on the whole) tend to read me as male more often than guys do. Also, I’ve never used the men’s room so the idea is terrifying because I don’t know what to expect, and I don’t feel fully like a guy so I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of going in there. I feel like it might be the better option though. That or using the disabled loo, but that feels wrong.

I hate gendered bathrooms.