For those of you that follow my antics on Twitter, you may be very well aware that I recently came out as androgynous. And honestly, it’s been a long time coming.
I’ve always known that this was a critical part of myself since I was roughly five years old; I recognized parts of myself that were equally masculine and feminine. I questioned why boys and girls weren’t allowed to dress or act in certain ways and didn’t buy into the excuses they gave. I envied androgynous celebrities like David Bowie, Prince, and Joan Jett for allowing themselves the freedom to be whatever they wanted. In fiction, I naturally gravitated to characters that danced between or outright rejected the gender binary.
Part of me is still fluid in terms of gender identity; I just feel more girly or more macho on some days than I do others. But the case remains that whether I look like a host(ess) at a swanky club, …
… your oddly hip-and-with-it aunt, …
… or like someone spliced the genetic material of Daria Morgandorfer and Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler, …
I feel the most ‘in-my-element’ when I can play and toy with gender roles.
And, like any person exploring their identity freely for the first time, I’ve been quick to take notes on what things feel like and how to get the most enjoyment out of myself as I come into my own. So today, I’ll be sharing my experiences and what I’ve learned about myself over the last few weeks as I continue to explore myself.
But, before I start, I realize that my experience may not match your own. You could do all of the things I do and get a completely different result. But that’s what identity exploration is all about. It’s about finding out where the best you lies and expressing it. So, I hope that sharing my personal reflections will encourage others to begin exploring and find their ideal self.
So, let’s start with the most obvious realization I’ve had since coming out…
I feel WAY more confident in social settings
Makes sense, doesn’t it? Of course you’d feel better and act more confidently when you like who you are. But what took me off guard was just how much of a confidence boost I got from being open.
I’ve been smiling a lot more often, my stride is taller and more powerful, and I have almost no problems confronting people with problems. It’s as if those few brushes of eyeshadow and lipstick are the much-needed war paint to give me the physical presence I need to march on to the social battlefield with pride.
Of course, confidence CAN be a double-edged sword, because…
I’m more tempted to tell people what I ACTUALLY think of them
With an untempered boost in confidence comes a feeling of indestructibility. And with my new found confidence, I’ve had to work much harder to keep my attitude in check.
This isn’t a wholly bad thing; my freshly unchained savage self has done a good job of removing many of the more toxic elements of my social life that have been plaguing me for years. However, I realize that there are still some bridges that need to go unburnt (at least for now) and I find myself straining at my self-imposed leash wanting nothing more than to verbally destroy the poor unfortunate soul by telling them all the ways they’ve been screwing the pooch for as long as I’ve known them.
It’s almost as if my ego was a puppy whose owners – negative influences in my life if we’re continuing this metaphor – beat and abused me trying to make me act like the dog THEY wanted. Now, I’ve come out as a 120-pound Rottweiler that just wants to stop the abuse. Of course I bit you as soon as my kennel was opened; YOU WOULDN’T STOP HITTING ME WITH THE GODDAMN NEWSPAPER.
But let’s be real, those people are thankfully few and far between. Because much to my surprise…
People actually ADORE the “new” me
I’m thankful to live in a time where androgynes and androgynous people – androgynous women, in particular – are seeing a level of acceptance in media not seen since the 80’s (seriously, have you noticed how many women in film and television are rocking shaved/buzzed heads, minimal makeup, and plain clothes in the last decade or so?). As a result, not only have most people accepted me for what I am, they’ve ENCOURAGED me to keep exploring myself.
They love seeing me in full makeup, they tell me that they appreciate how tastefully I dress and carry myself, and they even share styling tips – offering to give me makeovers.
Even the people that weren’t accepting at first often come around when I confront them and force them to ask me questions rather than make assumptions and/or gossip with others behind my back (I’m actually quite open as long as you’re respectful; ask me anything).
Of course, one of the biggest questions I’ve been getting is the old stand-by, “are you a boy or a girl?” And in reflecting on that question, I’ve discovered that…
I really don’t put much stock in gender pronouns
I’ve never really seen myself in terms of gender. I’m far more likely to label myself as ‘human’ before I do the same with ‘man’ or ‘woman.’
Plus, there’s the aforementioned fluidity issue. There are some days where my masculinity takes dominance and others where it steps aside to let my feminitiy shine. So settling on a black-and-white man or woman label just feels disingenuous.
So, while I do respect that some non-binary people have preferred pronouns and I try to avoid misgendering wherever and whenever possible, I personally don’t get hung up on them. If you see me as a dude who just happens to be good with makeup, you’re correct. If you see me as a six-foot-four, 250-pound amazon of a woman, you’re correct. If you see me as a very pretty Lego brick, YOU. ARE. CORRECT.
Basically, I’m the closest you’ll likely ever get to seeing NiGHTS in real life (Yes, NiGHTS was meant to be gender fluid).
And seeing as how I’ve been rambling for longer than I think I ever have here on The Archive, I now turn the floor over to you. Share your coming out stories and the realizations you made as you explored your own identity so we can encourage and inspire more in the future.