Thursday, July 12, 2012

baked bean, Tomboy, gay, femme, lesbian, butch, genderqueer, boy?

Alrighty, so there's this post here that I started writing apparently in September 2009, which now from the point of being out and living as male and about to start testosterone I think it might be fun/interesting to actually finally post. All I managed of it at the time is as follows: So I've been sitting around for the last while basically "...getting kinda bored of sitting here refreshing Twitter and Facebook repeatedly," -to quote my recent tweet haha, and you know what the always cure for boredom is, right? Writing, silly :) so, while sitting here bored, I realised that I hadn't yet subscribed to one of my favorite Beaver Bunch host's independent (from the Bunch) channel, and so off I popped to to have a browse, but not before watching Kade's most recent B.B. post, on coming out age etc., which was what ended up inspiring the possibility of a new J.J. topic which, frankly, I can't believe I haven't actually talked about at all yet in any detail, considering it's something I've given more thought to probably than religion, and definitely than Tony Blair haha.

I have this memory that just emerged from the very misty mists of my mostly quiet memory bank a few months or maybe a year or so ago, of hanging around in the backyard at Babington (my paternal Grandparents' place in London) with a few of the usual gang of cousins my sister and I spent most of our childhood wreaking havoc with, and having what now seems to me to have been a very interesting conversation indeed. In this itchy-sweater-fuzzy recollection, my (evidently fairly insightful) older cousin, Christopher, seems to be questioning me on my gender identity, although (of course) in a manner less articulate, due to a lack of vocabulary and knowledge characteristic of our ages and contexts. I'll reiterate that I am not blessed with Augusten Burroughs' exceptional power of memory (just one of many talents I & Mr.Burroughs do not share); the majority of my memories before age six or seven are not available within my present consciousness, and most of those even from then onwards are very scratchy and intangible, this particular recently surfaced clip being no exception. But I pencil-sketch in that he was most likely referencing my dungarees, scruffy t-shirt, short, grubby nails, the worn, boyish boat shoes I refused to part with (no matter how difficult they became to put on or decipher the original color of-a cause of stress which my poor mother is yet to be relieved of, although they're now the original black Converse I bought when I was fourteen and refuse to let her throw out), my extreme distaste for anything pink or flowery or glittery, and my remarkably "unfeminine" ability and will to meet my male peers' tree climbing abilities, and asking... why? Or what, maybe? All I can see is a bunch of us hanging off of trees and precarious fence-edges, talking about why I wasn't a real girl, and him asking if I wanted to be a boy. I can see my scruffy, complex, intense little self giving this a few moments' thought before responding naturally that I would. I clearly then placed the mental footage of this conversation in the same room where I put the plethora of memories and feelings from a similar age which abruptly resurfaced only a few years ago as blindingly clear evidence of my inherent attraction to women; very early crushes, childhood behavior; relationships with other children, etc. which, until my first real love interest turned up, had lay unhelpfully dormant in my puzzlement at my lack of any real physical interest in any of my boyfriends. But here it is again, surfacing as a relevant little episode in my internal (well, now partly external) discussion regarding gender identity.

The story of my questionable gender identity seems to have started before I even got my own nutrients, back when I was still hijacking them from the umbilical chord-I had been under the impression for some time that the doctors actually told my parents at the whatever-week scan that I was a boy because of a strong heartbeat or something, but I just got off the phone with my dear Mother, and it turns out that actually it was just her that thought I was a boy, hence them looking at the name Alexander (which became Alexandra when I was born, and Joanna when Grandma didn't like Alexandra haha). But either way, my parental research concludes that I was just always boyish. I socialized predominantly with boys, only venturing reluctantly over to hang out with the girls, I recall, when I had a fight with my best friend Dom, & finding them painfully uninteresting and dumb. I've been refusing to wear the impractical, nauseatingly frilly "girls'" underpants intended for me since I was probably around six or seven. Although aware that I look my most conventionally attractive when "dolled/femmed up"; in make up, dress, heels, etc., I've never felt at all comfortable or myself in such attire, and when I look at myself in make-up, I genuinely feel more like I'm looking at a man in drag, as I've probably been heard saying on a few occasions in the past.

I'm coming back to this now a good couple of weeks after I first started writing it, and I'm gonna keep on the slightly hard to follow path that it seems to have been taking so far by adding another anecdote from the disorganized banks of my memory. Going back to around maybe age nine or ten, I can remember laying in bed on my back and putting my hands onto my then perfectly flat chest, and thinking of how it wasn't going to stay that way. And I think I was mostly cogitating the practical implications of this imminent change which mattered to me at the time, like how I would no longer be able to beat my chest like Tarzan haha. It was only a couple of minutes of thought, and not something which you would've thought so prominent that it managed above so many others to remain in my consciousness, but maybe this in itself is telling of its importance. Then we cut to maybe seven of eight years later, and I'm entering sixth form (which is the last two years of schooling before college-age, for any unlikely U.S. readers), where the dress code is different from the rest of the school; the sixth form uniform is "black and white smart dress" for girls and "a black suit with white shirt and the sixth form tie" for boys. And while it wouldn't have been particularly difficult for me to have just worn black pants and a white shirt like most of the girls did (it's not like the girls uniform specifically required a skirt), I decided I wanted to wear the suit and tie, and so I did. At the time I remember getting slightly negative or at least hesitant comments from my head of year, and a little from my mom, but they mostly conceded that I would wear what I wanted to anyhow, and eventually I think a couple of other girls followed my lead. Now the next memory that I have that seems pretty relevant is of standing in the kitchen and my mother suddenly and very unexpectedly letting me know that if I wanted to get a sex-change, I could tell her and it would be ok. At the time I appreciated her support and openness (as always) but went on only to reference it as an amusing anecdote.
... And that's all there is in the draft. Here I sit now two and a half years later finally having addressed and accepted my identity a little over six months ago, and I just can't believe it took me so long, despite having had inklings there was something that needed addressing as long ago as when I drafted this post. It had to get to the stage where I was so underweight my wifecicle recoiled from seeing my topless back and ribs, where I was wearing a sports bra three sizes too small for me and slouching and tugging at my shirt constantly, where I was randomly falling to pieces and sobbing hysterically without being able to explain why. But here I am around a year after that point, and my wifecicle is still here, and my chesticles are still here but a little more under control, and I am so much better. So far not much has happened in measurable terms I suppose; I've changed my name, I've come out to family and friends, I've started binding properly and whatnot, I've got a haircut I like better, I've been in general therapy, been assessed by the local psychiatric people, and finally I've been assessed by a gender specialist who subsequently referred me to his consultant endocrinologist for secondary assessment and testosterone prescription. But even though I'm really just getting started, I feel so. much. better. I'm not really sure where this post is going to be honest, I really just wanted to publish this draft from days of yore and comment on how crazy it is that I waited so long, and how much more happy and comfortable I am now that I have finally figured out and come to terms with my male identity. There y'have it. I'm a boy. And my blogging tends to go on over here these days but I'm gonna be leaving this at times very embarrassing time capsule of my (first, I suppose) adolescence here for fun. Bless my silly but so earnest baby self.