I know that I normally write poetry with the occasional smattering of short stories, letters and social commentary, but I have something I want to talk about.
I want to talk about me. Shocking I know, for a blogger to speak of him or herself, but here we are, and with the title being what it is, I am hoping you are aware of what you are getting into.
I have never been one for labels. I’ve used them for their many purposes, but I’ve always struggled with them on the personal level. Growing up, the biggest and most controversial labels I’ve dealt with fell within the LGBT spectrum.
Straight? Gay? Lesbian? Bisexual? Pansexual?
I wrote a post about being Pansexual a while back. One that I had to go back and re-read because time has gone on, and my distaste for other’s need for categorization to understand me has grown. In that post I spoke about what I am now going to touch upon again, but hopefully I won’t be as defensive or naive in my regards. Here is the link to the post: 5am noise
I do not think what I said should be disregarded in any manner. However, my voice has changed, and so has my understanding of my self-identity and my relationship with others.
For those who read this and need a label, it is simply this. I am an Androgynous Pansexual Human.
I do not identify as male or female. My body is that of a female, but my relationship with my body is a bit disconnected at this time. Something I’m exploring while exploring who I am as a whole. But in regards to gender identity, I don’t consider myself a woman or a man. Instead, I embrace what we, for now, call moods. Some days I am more masculine than feminine, others the opposite. Sometimes I strike hard and in tune with femininity, and what it means to be a woman, and embrace the power that being female brings up within me. And other days I feel in tune with being male, in tune with masculinity. And for the days in between, I slide back and forth between the two so quickly that others don’t really know where I am at on the spectrum.
As I am writing this, however, I find myself tired of labels. Male, Female, LGBT-XYZ…It may sound harsh, but I do find it daunting. So many facets to one side of a person. The list is endless sometimes: writer, sister, daughter, brother, best friend, acquaintance, cousin, athlete, traveler, hero, villain, good, bad, smart, stupid, lost, gay, bisexual, pansexual, granddaughter, niece, patient, provider, paramedic, student, teacher………
No wonder I have neck problems with all the hats I have.
My gender and sexuality are important to me, not because those labels give purpose to my existence, but because I know that those labels are truly unimportant.
I’m Schrödinger’s cat; although in this relative discussion it isn’t whether I’m alive or dead, but superimposed onto the discussion of whether I am male, or a female. In a box, can I exist as both? Because in today’s society, it is unacceptable to imagine someone as both when clearly you can only be one or the other. Neither alive or dead, neither male or female, is an unfathomable and almost comical situation that is violently dealt with in today’s world.
Yet, here I am. Slipping between both and not being either all at the same time. Notice, earlier, how I stated I was Androgynous Pansexual Human.
But human, and that is where I get the jokes. I get the slurs, and the arguments back, because for some reason, human is not an acceptable label. It is not enough.
I have noticeable breasts, until I dress in a way that makes them unnoticeable and that arises anger because I am not a sir, I am a girl. (Conversations with my mother.)
But I am not a she, although I accept and embrace what it means to be female. But I am not a he, yet I wholly embrace what it means to be male.
My physical body is that of a woman, much to my chagrin. Not because I want my body to be male, but because my body means I have to fight twice as hard in every field you can imagine. For my health, for my political and social voice, for standing within my own family. (Also, menstruation and reproductive health for women is just tedious to me, and expensive). And as open as some people hope and pray they are, they really aren’t. I find that a lot when I present myself to others. Labels close more doors than open them.
And I know it is fear, and conditioning. We have to know what we are dealing with, but at the end of the day, do we really?
Does it matter if you know in the first hours of meeting me if I have a penis or a vagina sitting between my legs? Does it really? For sexual interactions that may come into play, but I am not really one for one night stands or “hooking up,” so my sexual partners know a thing or two about me before we hop into bed. So is it really that important to you, when we are having a beer and talking about books, or sports, or movies, that you know for certainty, whether I am a boy or a girl?
Does it matter that I go back and forth between cologne and perfume? I have bras and boxers? That it takes me twice as long to go clothes shopping because I go back and forth between the men’s and women’s departments, because there is no “Clothing Are Not Sentient Beings Therefore Are Gender-less Department.” (Little bitterness there sorry, it does take me forever to shop).
I have a short hair-cut, not because it’s a big thing in the LGBT world, and my short-hair makes it easier to come out. My hair is short because my longer hair made doing CPR difficult. I have thick, wavy hair and my hair tie broke in the middle of an emergency and my hair fell into my face, making it difficulty to breathe. I shouldn’t have to worry about that sort of thing in the middle of a cardiac arrest, so the next day my hair was cut. I’m practical in that manner. Short hair means my hair isn’t in my face and I can breathe.
It wasn’t until a while later that I looked myself in the mirror and found myself, for the first time in such a long time, feeling handsome. Feeling sharp, and good-looking, and beautiful. To see both staring back at me, that is what it means to exist without the label.To feel like a human being, who is of worth and gives back and feels good and strong. It is sad society seems to have an issue with that. It’s sad that this battle will still be going on for a long time. But that is another discussion, for another day.
Back to the topic at hand.
Yes, I respond to both pronouns. I may take a little more joy in being called sir, but that was a lot more in proving a point and to get out of wearing a corset, which I do look quite fetching in if I may say so myself. There are days where I am positively the most girl, feminine thing you’ve ever laid eyes on. When I am picked up my voice goes higher than others thought possible. And there are days, when my voice is deep, and scratchy, and some people swear there is a prominent apple in my throat. Those are the days I feel the most at ease with myself. When people go back and forth with pronouns, but don’t look twice at me when they pick one. It is sad when someone says sir, and then quickly stumble with a ma’am and an apology because I didn’t offer any reaction before their reaction to themselves. They were the ones that panicked, and they shouldn’t have to panic.
And while I know that they don’t know that it doesn’t bother me, it bothers me that they are bothered enough to feel embarrassment. That they feel like they have to apologize before I can respond. Because if they gave me a moment, all they would have gotten was a smile back. No anger or retribution. Just another human being. While, again, I know some people would take offense, the fact that it’s a label some are offended by boggles my mind. But that is because I am aware that I don’t carry one, and while I don’t think myself beyond the society which I live within, it makes me sad it’s an issue.
Because it’s not, and it never should have been.
Nevertheless, I understand that my existence can cause discomfort. I understand my biology, and it’s label, and what it means in the current lexicon. But I want to show the world that biology is just one more label, one more facet. I exist within the spectrum, and that is where I am meant to exist and I embrace it because it is unknown. It is terrifying, and sometimes lonely and confusing, but we exist there because the world is more than the end points of the line. That muddled, gray area, that is where you’ll find color and beauty, and it is absolutely terrifying and that is okay. It is okay to exist there and not be like anyone else. It is okay to be individual and it is okay to be the same. It is okay.
Sometimes, I feel like I am water.
Only water doesn’t bruise. Water doesn’t get beaten for existing. Doesn’t feel the hurt of betrayal and distrust. Doesn’t feel like they live on the fringe, waiting for the world to wake up and see the greater potential is has; the potential I see in it everyday.
Yet, that is what makes being me so much easier…knowing there is something worth fighting for. Something worth not being in the shadows for. That telling the stranger who trips over pronouns that it his/her original statement was not offensive, but welcomed and accepted. Because it doesn’t matter. It’s worthwhile, seeing the smile on that stranger’s face directed at you, even for a moment.
So I get cut and bruised. I try not to cry when my cousins, or other family members make cruel jokes about my labeled sexuality. I prepare myself for their anger because I didn’t laugh, because I’m too sensitive, because they obviously love me and if I loved them I would accept they were only joking. I get a thicker skin, and some days I tell myself I don’t owe anyone an explanation. Sometimes, I let the tears fall.
I know I am not the only one out there dealing with issues, whether it is family or friends. Whether the hatred is within oneself, towards what they feel and the thought that they shouldn’t feel that way.
I know the journey. I am still on it. I smile fondly at the 12-year-old me first peeking out onto this darkened road, unsure if it would be worth the travel. And it is hard…most of the time. Hard to talk about what I feel and talk about what I experience. There is a lot of hatred, and confusion thrown my way, and I do spend a lot of time fighting to just not conform. And while conformity is not bad (it is not a bad word, or a bad life, or a bad thing to do), it is not who I am. Not what I am. As a human being, I shift and twist, and bend, and mold, and change, and grow…and I am not the same as I was a second ago.
You, me, we, are human. And we love, and exist and that is the only label that matters.
P.S. Interestingly, the human body is roughly 60-70% water