“The silence at 5am is deafening. The world is too quiet for the roar in my ears” -myself
So I’m battling another night of insomnia, which is usually when I write anyway, but since I’m hoping not to sleep my day away yet again I’m going to entertain my restless mind.
I was reading about the fight against homophobia on Facebook, which is a topic close to my heart because I have been a member of the LGBT community for over 14 years, and an out member for 12. So, as I struggled to quiet my ridiculously overactive mind, I started to read all the posts from people all over the world in regards to their fight against homophobia. One would think that the natural progression from this perusal would follow along my own battles with homophobia and bigotry. Instead, I found myself back to a topic that I once thought I had resolved, my own identity.
Maybe it is the shift in clothing, (I’ve started to actually care about my appearance) or just coming to a new-age in my life. I’m 8 months away from 25, and I find myself wandering down familiar highways. Unsure of the future, unsure of my identity as a human, as a daughter and a friend. It is a reoccurring theme in my life, and one I have come to accept will never change. I like it this way actually, the constant changing, the constant questioning. It helps me live; it helps me fight.
But back to what leads me here this morning. Identity.
Identity seems both unnecessary and essential in one’s life. You always get the “I’m just me” statements, ambiguous refusals to be held down by categories and social propriety, and then you get the labels. Gay, straight, lesbian, bi, tri…whatever. Some people understand that identity can be fluid, because who were are now may not be who you are in the future. I am living proof of that. Less than 4 years ago I abused alcohol and pills, was in a destructive relationship; being abused and myself, abusing my lover. Nasty situation best left for another day, but it is a perfect example of change, and the only solid one I have for this conversation. I have changed, and I fight everyday never again to fall back into that destructive cycle. I hated who I was….
But now here I am again, wondering who I currently am. I no longer abuse alcohol, or drugs…I respect who I am, and thus have learned to respect those around me, and dammit if I don’t feel deep, intense love that makes me smile instead of wanting to die. But who am I?
One upside to labels, it makes it easier to describe what is otherwise indescribable.
People know me as an out lesbian. Hell, my friends joke about my “all-encompassing lesbianism.” Even I joke about it, but the rub is, is that although I love woman, I am sexually attracted to men as well (….I should clarify at this point that my attractions have been primarily relegated to black men. I don’t know why, but I just go with it). Does it make me bisexual? It is a possible explanation, and although I’ve never wanted to pursue a relationship with any man, it is not outside the realm of possibility. All of this just tends to leave me surrounded by confused people, or people who nod with a basic understanding. But there are things I never speak about, feelings and thoughts that cause my heart to pound.
Because on top of the sexual nature of my desires, I deal with constant gender identity issues. I love cross-dressing. To those who don’t quite understand what that means, it doesn’t mean I dress in drag everyday and pretend to be a guy. I love men’s clothing, and not in the “it is more comfy” way. I love the power I feel in men’s clothing. Last year for Halloween I dressed up as a mafia hitman, and I couldn’t get over how amazing it felt to simply be in men’s slacks, a black button down, and suspenders. I felt like me, even though it was supposed to be a costume. It wasn’t the first time it happened. I’ve been wearing men’s clothing for years. I wear boxers every single day. It’s just a part of me that I never thought of denying, but not something I outwardly celebrated. People made fun of it. My mom was constantly telling me she wished I dressed more like a girl. It all hurt, but I lived with it. Sometimes I wish I was a guy, as if my life would be simpler if my sex reflected my gender.
But then there are times I feel so completely at ease with being a woman. So at ease being treated like a woman, of wearing softer clothing, and looking beautiful. It’s a back and forth that leaves me feeling torn every single day.
So does that make me transgendered? Queer? Ridiculous?
Sometimes, the bad thing about labels is that they are never broad enough to truly describe anything.
Which leads me here tonight, not only questioning my sexual identity, but my gender identity, and for those that don’t know the difference, this is how I explained it to my students. Sex is between your legs, gender is between your ears. Crude? Yes, but effective. Gender is what you think, while sex is physically what you are. Gender is masculine, feminine. Sex is male, female. Sexual orientation deals with the parts that engage is sexual identity. Gender identification delves into how one presents themselves in society in regards to the presentations of the sexes within our species.
If I wasn’t too lazy I’d probably identify myself as pansexual, someone who has the potential for sexual attraction, sexual desire, romantic love, or emotional attraction towards persons of all gender identities and biological sexes. Which, if one truly thinks about everything I’ve just discussed, does neatly wrap up my sexual preferences in a nice neat bow. Pansexuality allows for the true fluidity of sexuality to exist within a person, and sexuality is fluid. I think that is why I struggle so much, because the fluidity doesn’t always lend itself to stable ground.
It sure doesn’t help my gender issues, but then what is life without a little gender-bending?
I’m not fully a woman, I am not fully a man. I blend the two genders into who I am. I prefer being a guy most of the time, and my actions and attitude reflect that, but as I said earlier I do enjoy my feminine qualities as well…..
alright I’ll admit it I’m a romantic comedy freak. There…I said it……the horror.
I guess what my over-crowded mind is trying to figure out, is something I tried to instill my students almost 5 years ago.
Identity is fluid. Everything changes. Everyone struggled with it. Who you love, how you love, who you become, it will shift with every step. Talk about it, celebrate it. If you don’t like something, change it, work towards being who you truly want to be. It doesn’t matter if you are gay, straight, tall, short, queer, asian, white. It doesn’t matter. You just have to be yourself. Everything else is just relative. I may not know who I am in regards to my gender, all I know is that life is way to short to be caught up denying the chance to love simply because I was told loving someone who’s gender or sexual identity doesn’t reflect a normative which origin is unexplainable, or re-enforceable.
My name is Faith Taryn Davies. My sexual identity doesn’t matter. My gender identity doesn’t matter. I am alive. That identity is all that truly matters.