They're silly things to be so happy about, but...after doing pole fitness for a few months, I've only just noticed that it's made me physically stronger. And I finally, after months of trying different labels and such, figured out which one truly fits me.
I noticed my strength when I went shopping and I noticed that the bags I was carrying (which were fairly heavy - I had enough food to last me a week in there) didn't feel nearly as heavy as they would have felt before. And running to catch the bus to get to the shops in the first place, I got out of breath, but it wasn't nearly as uncomfortable as getting out of breath used to be for me (before, it felt suspiciously similar to what I'd imagine an asthma attack to feel like, and the fact that I'd be able to taste metal didn't do much to make me feel better), and I was able to get it back in a quicker amount of time than before. It's not much...but considering that I'm nearly out of the beginners classes (I just need to gain more strength and learn how to climb properly), it's still a sign that I've improved and that soon I'll be able to move up and get even stronger. One of my major complaints about my body is how physically weak and unfit it is/was (not to do with my weight - while I'm still a little self-conscious about them, I've generally come to accept my "huge ***" and "thunder thighs"), so to know that I'm getting better...it's a bit esteem boost. It helps that I love pole, I love that I'm improving at it, and I've never felt more androgynous than when I'm on a pole. Speaking of which...
As for my gender, I'd already figured that it was some form of non-binary ID, and was calling myself Androgynous, but then I decided to sit down and ask myself an important question that I'd puzzled over on a philosophical level, and yet hadn't applied to myself yet: What is a woman? What makes a person a man or a woman? How does it feel to be a man or a woman? And I realised I knew none of the answers - wearing female clothes doesn't make a person a woman, being comfortable in a female body doesn't make a person a woman, going along with different female stereotypes doesn't make a person a woman...so am I really a woman? And I figured no, not unless someone helps me figure out what a woman even is. Since I don't know what makes a woman, and since I have no internal sense that I am one, I think it's safe to say that I'm not one...but the same applies to men, too. As much fun I'd have presenting as a man, I don't think I am one. So that makes me...nothing. Agendered, which still counts as an Androgynous identity. And I think this is the one that's going to stick, you know? After so long questioning, after so much self-doubt ("what if I'm wrong? what if I'm cis and just making a big deal out of nothing? etc"), after finding labels that I thought fit and bluffing through explanations as to why they might fit me...I think this is the one. It's the one where I actually have no doubts about, because I think it's always been true - I've always just been ME. Awesome, fabulous me. No "man" or "woman" about it, and clearing up the misconceptions I had about agendered people (the idea that you have to have an androgynous presentation/be as gender-neutral as possible to be agendered, mainly) made me realise that.
One thing that's been really helpful to me in sorting out my gender identity (and various facets of my own identity, honestly) is realizing that it's completely ok for things to be a little nebulous or uncertain. There's a lot of comfort that can come from finding a word for an identity that fits with your personal identity and experience, but if you go down a huge list of identities and say "ok, this doesn't quite fit, this is close but not exactly me..." it can feel pretty alienating.
I do think identifying as "JUST ME!" can be a great way around that, because ultimately that's the most important thing, I think, is to have a strong sense of yourself no matter what label that falls under. I do think it can be super-helpful to claim a label that works for you too; I certainly don't want to discount that.
Also, in my quest to find a good gender identity word (now I usually just say I have a "gender paragraph") I used to say "amoeba" or "jellyfish" when I was at a trans support group and they had us talk about our gender identities during check-in. It was kind of flippant but also in a way a lot more authentic-feeling for me.
Posts: 1352 | From: San Francisco | Registered: Jan 2013
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