Them Is Me

I don’t really do group identity.

I have never really been “one of the” anythings.

No sports teams, no clubs, not even any nasty cults.

I may have been trained for man duty, but it was never simple for me.  I wasn’t ever one of the guys, not ever.

Recently, I have been reading the blog a newly transitioning transsexual who is sure that she is a woman.  She likes trannys and all that, but she is a woman, even if she only has been making woman choices for a few months now.

I have confidence that people see me as a man, so I can act from that assumption.

Now, I am also convinced that I can’t really pass as a man under any scrutiny.  For example, women looking for a man to partner with will quickly find that I don’t meet their expectations.  Hell, I haven’t been able to pass as a straight man for at least fifteen years.   And when people assume that means I must be a gay man, well, they quickly find out I am even less a gay man than a straight man.

I have spent my life ducking out of manhood.  It became clear to me in sixth grade when I avoided bullies in a way that baffled them.   It was very clear when I started being interested in women; behaviors that baffled me then made perfect sense when comparing adolescence stories with other lesbians; I was having lesbian sex.  Heck. even my first sex partner (at around age 20)  I now understand as a soft butch, though I wish I had understood it then.

I knew I looked like a man and people saw me that way, but that I couldn’t really pass as a man with any close examination.  The history of the last 35 years bears that out in very clear ways.   I don’t have an ex-wife and kids, don’t have that history of even trying to fit in and be ballsy.  Sure, some of that is my father — not a man’s man, he, being defeated by his nine year old son — but most of it is me.  If I really had it in me, well, I sure could have followed up by now.

One effect of this never being a man is that I never learned the expectations of the binary.  Conceptually I understand that men are baffled by women and women baffled by men, but for me, that wall of distinction was never there.

(As I am writing this, someone just looked at this post; right on point.  Serendipity.)

To walk in the world as a woman, though, to make the choices of a woman, I must be comfortable with that binary.  I need to be confident that when I claim choices, those choices will make sense to others who understand and live within the binary.

That concept is just weird to me, even if I understand it on a conceptual level.  I know that women make the choices of women and people accept that; no, they even embrace those choices.

Maybe one reason that running from one gender box to another — “I was a man and am now a woman’ — is comfortable is because gender actually makes more sense if you actually were living as a man rather than living as “not man,” as I have.

When I came out as trans, 25 years ago now, my goal was to become more androgynous, to stay in my assigned role with extensions.  I felt that would keep me stable in the context of desire, in  social status.

What I learned is that I wasn’t really that good at being a man, even then — just not cocky enough — and that moving roles would probably have been the best choice.   But letting go seemed impossible with my solid male body and challenged family, so I avoided it.   Truth be told, I also never really saw myself as a young woman, but as a middle aged woman entering her “Goddess Period.”

My choices make much more sense as the choices of a woman.  “Everything I do in this house, I do as a woman,” I told TBB.  “I cook as a woman, clean as a woman, track medical issues as a woman, take my mother shopping as a woman, everything.”

“I believe that,” said TBB.  “Why isn’t that enough?”

“Because I can’t do anything else as a woman.  I can’t go and take a bubble bath as a woman, change my clothes as a woman, cry as a woman, take care of myself as a woman.”

TBB laughed.  “You always hit the nail on the head, even when you are hurting.”

Yeah.  Like a woman.

I don’t understand fixed gender divisions.

But I do understand myself as a woman.

And if I want the power of making my choices in this world, if I want people to understand those choices in context, those choick choices, then I have to walk in the world as a woman.

In other words, I have to know that them is me.

And people who do think in that gendered context will get that and understand it,  even if the context baffles me some.

One thought on “Them Is Me”

  1. I’ve been picturing myself ideally as a seemingly-younger-than-30 woman who seems like she’s making up for a repressed youth…because, well, she is. :)

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