Many days I sit and think about some of the interesting questions I have been asked and the statements that have been made not in jest, but in confusion. We live in this society filled with boxes to check and signs to follow. You must be one thing or another for the sake of others. I am none of this. I can not check a box and say this is me thus leading me to other questions. What should I be or not be? If I identify as female should I be forced to give up something I love? Why did I enjoy past experiences like football, yet still feel feminine? What box do I belong in when I’m not even able to define myself?
All of this causes angst in my life. From petty basics like social situations to the idea of bathrooms and where I should be in it all. Sure, I have my taste and style differences with what could be considered common in a female, but what woman doesn’t. I love skirts, dresses, heels, and other feminine things but I despise make up and think the person who created the bra was a sadistic prick. I also love to get dirty. I love working on cars, doing remodeling, and the joys of knowing I can build things with my own hands. Washing my hair afterwards is a pain though. With this balance, where do I belong? Even going out to an event for my kids I even have to question if I look right when I feel wrong. I’ve spent 34 years trying to fit into a box that should not exist.
My hobbies and enjoyment are far different than what most consider common for someone identified as female. I love to restore and drive muscle cars and I have an extensive collection of firearms ranging mostly from the WW2 era and older. I love the thrill of shooting my historic pieces and boy do I love the rumble of a classic V8 engine. I am also a member of a fireworks team. I love the joy that comes with shooting a show for the enjoyment of others. Since I was young this is what I learned and enjoyed. This precursors to one of the questions that I am frequently asked. How can you feel your a female when you love such manly things? As if what I love should define who I am. Sure, if your on the outside looking in I was a stereotypical man but on the inside I was anything but manly. Maybe it was overcompensation or maybe it was my escape.
What exactly is a man or a woman? Does it all boil down to genetics or is it something more? When defining a man or woman, would you see the old outdated stereotypes or fall to a more modern view? Preconceived notions that fall into the abyss. Not all women are weak, not all men are strong. Many men these days can’t even check their own oil but they are still men. Women are no longer soft, gentile, and viewed as inferior. Is it really that odd for a woman to love guns and cars?
The anxiety I live with because of all the questions is hard to describe. It is based off everything I know as myself, yet can’t seem to define. It is also clouded by the stigma attached to what transgender people are. When I feel confident in a small group I can concur the world, but put me in a large group where I can blend and I feel like I am the one they are all looking at. Somedays feeling beautiful and other days feeling like a man in a dress. Heck just to go to one of my kids events I have to sit and calm myself in the car, run in as close to start time as possible, and run out as soon as it is done. This should not be, yet it is all things culminated from a life of feeling awkward and uncomfortable.
So where do I fit in the puzzle? Why should I give up what I love to fit into a box I don’t belong in. I will always love the things I do, from the joy of rebuilding a car from nothing all the way down to looking pretty in a dress, but in the end we are all different and we all have a role to play in this world. I gave up on defining myself and decided to just be genuine and if that doesn’t fit handily into a little check box, I’ll just have to fill In the blank instead.
Image credit to Pinterest, Vanessa Paradis