I remember the 90's
It was easier being me in the 90’s. I was in high school. I listened to Nirvana, wore plaid shirts and Doc Martins. Today, in a business casual workplace, I can’t quite wear the grunge look to work.
It’s not like I want to wear plaid shirts to work every day (although I wear them on the occasional casual Friday). But I have no interest in competing with ultra-feminine women that have beauty rituals that last more than an hour every morning. I don’t have a problem with them wanting to look the way they do. If it brings them pleasure or confidence, then good for them. Though, I’ve never once felt the urge to groom myself to a point where I’m unrecognizable.
Well, that’s not exactly true. Once, for a company holiday party I dressed to the nines for show. But the second I put on the super low cut dress, I felt like a man in drag.
I guess that’s where I am now. Every time I attempt to put on a skirt or dress and wear a little makeup, it feels wrong. But when I wear pants, I want them to be tight and show off my calves, accompanied by a low cut top. I have no interest in wearing a suit. For a long time, I just thought it meant I just wasn’t confident in a dress because I was trying look as good as the Tens that dress well every day.
When I went off to college, I kept up the jeans and t-shirt look even if grunge was falling out of style. Underneath it all, I could feel people staring and wondering if I preferred women. Romantically, I’m attracted to men. So when people assumed I was a lesbian, I overcompensated and married the first man who asked. One should never marry just to prove they’re not gay. My second marriage lasted over a decade and was based on love. But now I’m single again and trying to figure everything out for the first time in my adult life.
A couple of months ago, a coworker confided in me that their teenage child came out to them as transgender. A very strange euphoria came over me and I was so happy for them that they are able to recognize who they truly are. It was the catalyst to me asking the question of who am I really?
I’m not society’s image of a hetero makeup wearing woman. Nor do I have any desire to physically be a man. So I’m not a lesbian. I’m not transgender.
Then I read Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin. I saw the Genderbread 3.0 poster that helps people break down where they are on different parts of the gender spectrum — Identity, Attraction, Expression, and Physical Sex.
Relief. I don’t need a label for what I am, although I feel closest to Non-Binary. I don’t identify fully as a woman, nor a man. I’m attracted to men. I express neutral for the most part. And I was assigned female at birth. Maybe people might understand it better with a little Kurt Cobain in the background when I’m wearing a flannel shirt.