I made a decision recently. I decided to start living OUT as Shawn, as my true self, to not hide who I am by down-playing my male side. I came out to (sort of in a vague way) the rest of my high school and college friends on Facebook as Shawn and explained that it had to do with how I see my gender and who I really am. I think most everyone figured out what I was saying without saying it. It went well and most of those folks have migrated over to my new page without a hitch. Some remain on my old page for whatever reason and soon I’ll be shutting that down for good and say goodbye to my old persona as Dawn. That was step one in living out for me. The second step was to finally tell my brother about why I look so much more like a guy than I used to. He pretty much already knew but we actually had a conversation about it and it went fine. I was nervous and stressed about it but it’s all good. I had planned to do it several times but for a variety of reasons I hadn’t felt like the time was right. On this particular day I had gone to one of his doctor’s appointments to see a doc I’d never met before and the doctor thought I was his brother and neither of us challenged that idea. This has been happening a lot even with doctors that see me regularly. I don’t know if it has anything to do with their heritage as middle eastern men or the low lights in their offices but it happens and, other than feeling uncomfortable for my brother, I don’t mind. So that little experience was a great jumping off point for our conversation. My brother is a really odd guy and sees the world in a very unique way due to his mental disability. We actually joked around a bit about it and I asked him if he could think of me as his weird little half brother, half sister/half brother. He thought that was pretty funny and agreed that I was weird at least. Anyway, I’m out to him now and it’s all cool.
Step 3 was to start binding my chest and using the men’s rooms. This is where things got pretty dicey for me. First, I hate hate hate binding my chest. HATE IT!!! Binding reminds me throughout the day that I have this chest. It is uncomfortable and hot. I hate being hot. I have always hated the feeling of stuff wrapping around my body tightly, like a bra or a binder. Bras were extremely hard for me to get used to wearing way back and I clung to my “training bra” for as long as I could. Binders are a special kind of hell for me. It’s like wearing 50 bras that are too tight. ALL I can think about all day is my chest and wanting to rip the f-ing binder off. I don’t think I can keep doing it. I’d rather go bra-less out in public than wear that thing. I have 3 of them, all different and they fit fine. They are the right size for me, not hard to get on (well a little but that’s the way they are) so it’s not like I need a bigger size. So I wore a binder for 3 days last week all day at work and when I went out at night and I’ve been uncomfortable and cranky because of it. Last night Candace and I needed to do some shopping and decided to get dinner out. I wore my binder with a white t shirt over it under a men’s polo. I was anxious as we went into the restaurant how they would see me. This was the first real test of my living out experiment. It flopped. The waiter called us ladies after giving me a very hard look-see. And then at the grocery store the teller told us ladies to have a good night. Great!
And then the bathroom issue reared it’s head. I had to go. REALLY had to go like it couldn’t wait til I got home. We were in the grocery store. What is it about grocery stores that make you have to go to the potty??? I really had no idea which one to go into. Technically, since I’d been seen as female I should use the women’s. But I was determined I was going to stick with my preferred gender so I went into the men’s. I almost walked back out. There were three urinals and one handicapped stall. And there was pee on the floor by the toilet and poop on the seat. Yuck! So, yes Virginia, men’s rooms are disgusting after all. But I had to go and there wasn’t much time to worry about all of that. I went as quick as I could and got the hell out of there. No one saw me.
Binding, coming out, worrying about which bathroom to use…I’m mentally exhausted. I want to not think about gender or at least MY gender for a while. I need a mental rest from it all. I am feeling like I’m not as ready to charge ahead with all of this as I thought I was. I don’t look male enough to pass in the men’s room or out in public. What do people see? I have no idea. I could ask them but that’s not going to happen. I asked Candace what she thought and she said that I look like a person who has one foot in both worlds. I’m trying to put both feet in the same world but maybe I’m not ready for that. Maybe I’m just trying to force it because I feel so uncomfortable being seen as a masculine woman and not fitting into a gender. I’m not non-binary and I respect those who are but that’s not where I want to end up. I’m extremely uncomfortable in this in-between place and I want it to end. If I could just grow some decent facial hair it might help but even that is no guarantee. So I’m frustrated, tired and grumpy as heck and I’m just going to hibernate at my house this weekend and try to forget about it for a while and give my brain a break.