vaulting too far over the line

Someone wrote…

i’m thinking about gender all the time. and almost all the time it hurts in a funny, slow-building ache kind of way–except for when the ache turns into a peak and i’m in a panic and i can’t talk myself out (no one can talk me out). and then sometimes things like this happen.

i recently tried to explain to someone why i hated high school. sure it was catty, sure there were the stupid stereotypes that always rubbed me the wrong way, and sure i was certain i was above all the things the other kids pretended to be. but those things didn’t come out in my explanation.

“i was lonely,” i said. i was lonely because i went to an all-girls high school, and even though there was a niche, even though there was a place for the outcast girls, there was no place for the not-girl. i had no words then to explain why i always felt so ugly, why i was so obsessed with losing weight. to anyone else, it probably looked like the typical focus of a teenage girl. how was i supposed to tell them that i always felt out of place, that my tits felt (and feel) too big and i wanted (and want) them gone? i didn’t want to be skinny to be “hot”. i wanted to be skinny to be a boy. i wanted my curves to melt off because curves were sexy in the way girls were sexy and i didn’t want to have anything to do with being a girl.

i have a better vocabulary, now, to express my frustration. but my frustration is still there. my language let me work through the “being a boy” phase; now i just want to be nothing. i want to be the shapeless, sexless things that are not like people at all, not mired in some man-and-woman binary where i have to choose things i don’t want (things i never asked for in the first place). i don’t know what came first: my body-image issues or my gender issues. but don’t you think you’d be lonely, upset, self-destructive, and fucking full of issues if there were no way to fix them?

i want masculinity without manhood. i want to retain some femininity without being forced into the mold of a woman. but it doesn’t work that way. no matter how much weight i lose, i’ll still have breasts and hips and i’ll still feel wrong. no matter what hormone therapy i go through, i’ll still get turned into something that’s not quite me.

“i don’t want to be a girl” i used to say.

and my dad would ask dismissively “so you want to be a boy?”

i’d say “no” and he’d just shake his head because maybe in his eyes i was being petulant and difficult — like 16-year-old daughters are.

“well, you don’t have any other choices,” he’d say.

and the conversation would end there. and even though i know better now, i still live in a world that doesn’t think so. i still have to lie a little to try and feel more normal; i still have to vault too far over the line to try and find some degree of ‘rightness’ in my life. and while uniqueness is all well and good in its own right, i’m still lonely and i still feel ugly and i feel mostly crazy almost all the time.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on December 2nd, 2008 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 3 comments »

3 Responses to “vaulting too far over the line”

  1. aeronavigatrix

    It’s not often I feel that someone has put into words _exactly_ how I’ve felt (and still feel) about my gender during my whole life… But this someone has succeeded in doing so. Exactly.


  2. sarah

    wow. this is the highest form of praise you could possibly give this writer. thank you for leaving this comment.


  3. the someone that wrote this

    sarah’s right. I didn’t notice I had this comment until just now, but thanks so much. and thanks, even more, for acknowledging that you feel the same way–it means a lot to know I’m not the only person who thinks or feels the way that I do.


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