Friday was..... It was..... Good evenings start with peaty wine..... Um, yeah, well..... I met this..... Gah.....
I keep starting the first paragraph of this entry. I have said that Friday was fabulous, that it brought out a lot of things, that I met new women friends, that I drank red wine that tasted like delicious peat moss. I keep erasing one first paragraph after another. Obviously, my starting point is the obstacle, so I will start somewhere else in order to find my way from one end of this thing to the other. Back to Thursday.
On Thursday, I ate my lunch with some co-workers. I don't usually do that, but I was feeling fairly good about the state of humanity that afternoon. Mr. D. pulled out the horoscopes section of one of our national newspapers and started reading out horoscopes to those who cared. Mine had a heavier message that said something akin to this: There are issues that you are aware of but routinely push aside and avoid. These issues are coming to a head, and although you want to push them aside again, you will be better off confronting them. Even though it seems like your life could fall apart if you confront them head on, the consequences will be far less severe than you imagine.
I don't pay attention to newspaper or magazine horoscopes, because reading one sign's blurb is as applicable as reading any other sign's blurb, so when I say that this particular one made me sit up and pay attention, I don't mean that I was thinking about planets being in transit or my rising sign or the fullness of the moon in Leo. I have been giving a lot of thought to certain issues in my life recently, and hearing this horoscope was like someone had painted a big sign and held it up in front of my face as some kind of intervention: You ridiculous fool. This is your life, the one and only. Why are you refusing to acknowledge a massive part of it? Is half a life lived defensively and ignorantly better than a whole life lived intentionally and thoughtfully? (My inside voice has an annoying habit of asking strings of rhetorical questions).
The horoscope was not dead on, of course. The issue that it made me think of is not one I completely shove aside. I am my issue every day of my life, so it is not as though I can simply ignore it away. I have avoided it to a certain extent, though, by not talking or writing about it, but after hearing my horoscope, I seriously asked myself why. I am in a position in my life right now that feels like a safe and secure place to explore what it means to me, but still I pretend that it is the non-issue it is not.
(Have I forgotten to mention what the issue is? I have. It's funny how even in this entry I am subconsciously avoiding bringing it up. What is doubly funny is how I am fitting the words in between two sets of brackets as though I am whispering them as an aside from the rest of the entry: (I am not quite one or the other with regard to my gender or sexuality. I'm not quite the female of my biology, but I am not a male either. I am not straight as my heterosexual marriage would lead you to believe, but I am not a lesbian. Bisexual as a label doesn't feel right, because it connotates my liking both of two sexes, but that's bipolar and oversimplified and on a scale that I don't feel includes me. How about gender dysphoric pansexual? Dysphoric kind of sucks the wind out of my sails with its negativity, though.))
And there you have it. It seems so simple now.
Part of the reason that I keep shoving who I am aside is pure habit. I grew up in an intolerant family, went to intolerant schools, and was forcefed what seemed to be an intolerant religion. Along with this triumvirate of prejudice, I also passed well enough as a girl who might grow up to like boys. At times this ability to pass was a relief, and at other times it felt like a savage oppression I could not bear, but acting the 100% straight and female vision that the culture I grew up in demanded was a skin that was accepted everywhere, the Visa of the gender/sexuality world, and I clung to it.
As I have grown into adulthood, I have accepted myself to a certain extent. I say "certain extent", because I still spend so much time obscuring the subject and questioning its practical importance. But I am married to a man who knows, accepts, and supports me! We are forward-thinking and open-minded! I had myself convinced not so long ago that I was moving on from my earlier confusion and aggravation over the subject, that I was in a phase of my life that somehow excluded that aspect of myself. I know that there is no way to leave behind who I am any more than I can leave my body on the porch when it annoys me or put my thoughts in a coffee can and save them for later, but my desire to let the subject rest let me forget for a while.
For just over a month before the reading of the horoscope, I was forcing myself to give my gender/sexuality identity some serious thought and feeling out, because whenever I have squashed it down for too long, I find myself stumbling through a grey, nihilistic depression coupled with a deep self-loathing. I had started writing some of what I have been thinking and feeling down and was pleasantly surprised to find out how much I had to say on the subject and how easily it was flowing from me despite my antipathy to do so.
So, prior to Friday evening, a couple of things had happened to spark a somewhat tepid foot-dipping into a subject I had previously hoped was concluded. During this particular period, I started doing some personal writing to reacquaint me with myself; then, Mr. D. read the horoscope that made me realize that I need to confront this thing in a more real way than just tossing it the occasional thought; and then thirdly, because there are always three things in my compulsive patterning of personal narratives, I made a new friends on Friday, and in particular, I made friends with Nell, which brings me back to the thing I kept trying to start and restart this entry with so unsuccessfully.
I went for drinks with Tahini Monkey and Politiko and a couple of their friends on Friday night, one of whom was Nell. After some time had passed and some wine had been drunk, everyone started to loosen up, and Nell and I kept finding out we had more and more in common, including being women married to men while learning to understand our less conventional sexual identities.
Finding out that I am not alone in this ongoing difficult personal discussion with myself and the world is priceless. Knowing other people going through gender and sexuality issues has helped in the past, but this is the first time I have met someone whose situation is so like my own. She gets it, and hearing another perspective made the whole issue feel far less obscure, nebulous, a grey-wash fog. Do you know what she said? It amazed me, because I have spent so much time looking at this as some kind of recurring scab. She said:
Honour. That word stuck in my brain, repeating itself thoughtfully throughout the rest of the evening. How do I honour myself, my identity? I have never thought of that before. I have been too busy slogging through the middle of things, unable to see what lies on either side, to even think about ideas like respect and love and acknowledgement and enjoyment.
I was too busy hiding to come out and play.
What I am is and always will be a little difficult to explain, because it is very watery, neither here nor there, or rather either here or there (that's a little more positive, don't you think?), and I think this has been a large part of my difficulty in honestly being the person I am for so many years. I am finally horribly tired by my infernal internal whining and really just want to scream FUCK IT, which I guess I kind of have now, especially since I can't remember or be sure who reads this site anymore. Just in case, I would like to thank any family or friends who are reading this for being so kind and understanding when we possibly discuss this in the future. I am hereby giving all of you the opportunity to rawk.
UPDATE: The Fiery One has pointed out that I may have been unclear earlier in this entry about what I am physically. Physically speaking, I am biologically outfitted with all the standard female parts as far anyone knows. For those of you who know me in person, we can now avoid the awkward questions involving the exact structure of my genitalia.
I say that
my ankles are hairy
because I'm too cheap to buy razors
that don't chew through my skin,
but there's more.
I am a drag king in women's clothing,
a secretly moustachioed charlatan,
a smooth-faced plucker of offending facts,
a sporter of the ruse of depilated armpits,
a wearer of sandals, weak understudies
for wingtips with metal-plated heels.
Painted toenails only highlight the transgressions
of the brain of my flesh of this body
The burly man with nectarine nails
is a clown.