My Body is a Weapon?

Hello, fine readers!

I love the feeling where I look in the mirror and I look great. It’s such a confidence boost. My favorite times are when I feel at home in my own skin.

It’s taken a very long time to get here. I dressed how I thought suited me best for most of my life. This involved lots of dresses and skirts and makeup. Some women in my life steered me towards makeup and told me that I looked best with it, but it was rarely a consistent thing in my life because it took too much time and I largely saw applying it as a chore rather than an art. I felt confident when I wore it, but it seemed false. I constantly had to check in the mirror to see if something was out of place, and if anything was, my mood was wrecked until I could fix or remove it.

It soon seemed like if I presented myself in this way consistently, I could get what I wanted. People would like me. Boys would like me. This paired with “toning down” my personality won me a bit of attention in high school, but it wasn’t me. I realized that it was false then, and it remains as false as trying to appear more masculine to this day. I’m not quiet, I’m not meek, I’m not normal, and no possibility of embarrassment can change that. To strip me of those is to take away parts of me. So I ditched this plan. As much as the prospect of finding a mate in high school or even college was at least in hindsight appealing, it was never worth cutting out parts of myself.

It took me awhile to learn that, but it really happened in the second semester of my sophomore year of college. I had found friends who accepted me and helped rid me of most of my inhibitions. I thought deeply about who I was and began to question my gender and my body as a result. I came to the possibly skewed conclusion that I hated my body because I could use it as a weapon, and therefore it should be minimized.

By “weapon”, I meant that I could use my body to get what I want. The people who courted me later in the year were quite taken with it, much to my surprise and semi-disgust. I felt that they only liked me for my body at times. I could get what I wanted with them, and that repulsed me. So I joined a Facebook group for people identifying as nonbinary and learned. I started identifying as nonbinary myself. But it still didn’t feel like me. Something crucial was missing, and I didn’t know what it was. I started wearing vests and pants to our Mormon church services, but in hindsight it felt more like rebellion than self-expression. I was lost and depressed.

It wasn’t until I got back on regular meds that I felt okay again. I still felt like a weapon until I was reunited with my husband, who didn’t even mention admiring my physical form except in passing until a few months after we started dating. It was a breath of fresh air, and I loved him for it.He was on a different level. He wasn’t a boy, I had found a man. I felt naturally loved for the first time. By naturally loved, I mean that I didn’t have to force my way into his life, I was myself. He was himself. We fell in love without playing games or holding ourselves back to keep each other around. He encouraged me to be myself. He didn’t like makeup, which was a relief. I didn’t have to put on airs, I was beautiful as I was and he let me know that.

Still I was not comfortable in my own skin. I felt ugly for being fat and hated my large chest. It wasn’t until I dressed in a button down, dress slacks, and boots that I got a glimpse into what it felt to dress like myself. It wasn’t flashy, it was simple. Most importantly, I think, it was neutral while still looking good, and that was what I had been looking for that long while ago. It was on that day that I like to say that my gender identity walked away. I became unattached to being labelled as any gender. I was simultaneously everything and nothing. It was one of the most freeing experiences of my life to date.

I didn’t attempt to dress like myself for another few months and told no one of my epiphany. The free feeling began to grow once I got to Alaska, and I told my best friend first. Then I told others.

One night, my husband and I were talking about what it meant to dress like ourselves and we started tossing around ideas. The conclusion we came to was that I should wear ball gowns. We couldn’t be further from the truth.

Dysphoria struck yet again, and it proved everyone wrong. While trying to assess the situation and do damage control, I put on the same button down and slacks as I had worn so many months ago. I felt like myself again. One thing was missing, however. A bolo tie.

I ordered one and started making others for myself in the meantime. They completed my look. I embraced it, and after a few days I started posting selfies like mad on Facebook. I call it Western business casual.

As for identity, I wrote in my very first post on this blog that I closely identify as agender, and I’m proud of that.

Don’t worry if you aren’t there yet! Keep experimenting and going through life. Let the events of your life shape your style.

Much love,

Meg

Advertisements

Home

Hello, esteem’d readers!

It is colder than cold outside, so my friend and I spent a long time yesterday building bolo ties out of shells and coral.

This was a true adventure – the Gorilla Glue did not want to hold, so we ended up having to hot glue most of them together after about two hours of wrestling with them. It’s odd. Some materials have better luck with Gorilla or Superglue. Others need to be hot glued. It’s a learning process..

But at the same time, my bolo tie hero, the owner of the Etsy shop Sweet Tea Salvage, followed me on Instagram. I am so happy. She is sweet!

About today:

I’ll be honest, it has been hard. I deal with a lot of depression at times, and today it’s been difficult. I feel pressure a lot to spin it into a happy ending or make there be a point or moral to my experience.

Sometimes there isn’t, sometimes there is, and today is just sitting here. My husband and I went out and I got very sad and didn’t want to move once we got into the car.

It sucks. It sucks badly, and I find myself beating myself up over things long after they have resolved. My husband usually gets over things quickly and doesn’t make a fuss after he has, but I lock onto mistakes I have made for a long time until I feel like a total failure. So he made me laugh this morning by making me punch myself (softly, with sound effects) saying that that was a simulation of me beating myself up. He makes me laugh and sometimes frustrates me, and I love him.

Alaska and my husband feel like home, but I feel a profound yearning for another piece of home, for lack of a better word. I am not one to love myself, and I know that if I find comfort and shelter in my own turbulent mind, I can better make it through the hard times. I think the dysphoria set me off, clued me in that something was missing, and gave me marching orders to find it. I still haven’t found it, but I feel closer to it when I feel good about how I look or I help another person or my emotions and identity are validated. I look in the mirror and feel confident about my appearance. That’s something rare. I feel alive and free to grow. I value that.

Two more good things that happened today:

I got my stegosaurus bolo in today!! I didn’t make it myself, but it is handmade by LobeArtMart on Etsy. Here’s a picture, featuring my goofy face:

I spoke to a friend far away who also wants a bolo! I hadn’t heard from them in awhile and had missed them.

I’m building my home, piece by piece. Thank you for spending time with me!

Tiny cacti bolo tie and more!!

Hello, gentle readers!

I got more bolo tie supplies yesterday from Michael’s and got to work gluing together this adorable cactus garden tie. That was my proudest achievement of yesterday. I actually wish I had blogged later so that I could have documented it all.

It is subtle and small, but quite a bit of hunting went into it. Michael’s does not have traditional bolo tie supplies, so I had to improvise. I had seen paracord used in some bolos on Etsy, so I found paracord and paracord buckles and got them along with the tiny cactus figurine.

I went home afterwards and glued the figurine to my buckle slide. Then I looped the paracord around the buckle and pulled it tight around my neck, securing it with a double knot underneath so it wouldn’t slide out of place. There was my bolo for the day.

Making bolos reminds me so much of my dad, who was a genius at improvisation and in general. He was the kind of guy who would solder a dinosaur out of spare screws and parts he had on hand. He died in 2016, and I miss him every day. I hope he would be proud of me.

In other news, I’m starting work soon. I don’t think they will let me wear my ties there, though I would love to make a red and black one to wear with my uniform. That would be great.

Well, friends. I must go. Have a wonderful day!

Rebel, Rebel, you’re worth your Salt!

I’m sitting in a Wendy’s parking lot waiting for the restaurant to open so that I can speak to the manager.

Don’t get the wrong idea, this place is great. I’m not upset with anyone! I’ve come here to work with him on some paperwork so that I can begin working there! I’m really excited.

As I was driving here (Driving?? Me?? In Alaskan weather?? Nooooo), I was listening to David Bowie. One of the songs that came on was “Rebel Rebel”. I found that even though I’ve heard that song a zillion times, I related to it more than usual. The Rebel figure seemed to be doing more than just rebelling – they were being themselves, and Bowie’s character was attracted to them for it. Not everyone understood the Rebel, but what sticks out to me is that those that did loved them for it.

I also listened to it when I was getting ready for this journey, and I envisioned myself as the subject of a movie. “Rebel Rebel” played in the background as I got all my stuff together, and it had an 80s movie text overlay that read “Alaska, 2019”. Call me weird, but stuff like this in my brain makes me happy.

Another song that I relate to is “Salt” by Bad Suns. It speaks to me of confusion with identity and not feeling at home in one’s own skin. I understand that. It doesn’t lend the same movie opening feel or positive feeling/ending, but it’s something I think people can relate to. Empathy is one of the biggest tools to have, in my opinion, and writing songs that connect with people is a powerful thing.

I am grateful for friends who listen, something more powerful than a song. I spoke at length with my friend Wally this morning, and he listened. He didn’t claim to have the answers, he was just there for me. It was affirming and validating and was another reminder that I’m not alone in this.

Well, I just went into a Chevron to pick up cold caffeine while I wait and I saw people staring at my bolo tie. I don’t know if they thought I was strange, but I’m going to keep it on. Those who enjoy it will enjoy it.

Friends, the time is now for us to part. Thank you for reading!

Hello again!

The agender adventures continue. Hopefully I can a.) not wake my sleepy love who is next to me with the phone light and b.) come up with better post titles someday.

Today was pretty rad. I bought a bolo tie:

and made another (pictured up top with me wearing it) out of a disk drive (?) from an old PSP that my roommate said I could use.

I’m pretty proud of myself.

I’m still working on the dysphoria aspect, and I have found that my stomach only drops when I feel like I have to explain what’s going on to someone else.

Because I can’t tell why the dysphoria is happening or what it wants, for lack of a better word, it’s very difficult to explain.

(I know there are some of you fine readers that would say that I don’t owe an explanation to anyone, and I might take you up on that advice soon.)

Nonetheless, I want to be able to put words to what I’m feeling because I’m a writer. Putting language to my emotions and experiences gives me a sense of empowerment. And with this….

Words fail.

I feel increasingly powerless and sick to my stomach the more I try to explain what’s going on in my mind. All I can do is make metaphors, and even those are weak. But as I was laying here trying to sleep, I came to realize that if that’s a trigger, I don’t need to explain every detail. I felt euphoric in my button down and tie. I sent probably too many selfies to my friends. And they loved them. I think I also fear judgment too much. Semi-subconsciously, I don’t want people who are close to me thinking I’m trying to craft a new identity to put up a wall or to establish a defense mechanism. I’ve done that before, and that scares even me. So I’m approaching this with caution.

Most of the times I feel dysphoria, it is tied in with a rough patch in my mental health. Either I’m not taking my meds correctly, I’m not getting enough sleep, something major and negative has just occurred in my life, etc.. The only things I can think of are:

Coming out of a depressive spell and moving to Alaska several months ago. I don’t understand why either would trigger that or what I could be hiding from. I’m making friends. I’m getting a job. I’m getting settled in. I’m feeling better. Things are very positive. Why now? I have no idea.

If there turns out to be nothing that I’m hiding from, that leaves a possibility that it’s pushing me towards growth of some form. I’m not trying to reinvent myself, I feel like I’m molting. Same being, new feathers. Maybe this is what I’m supposed to grow into? Maybe this is the next step? I honestly hope so.

Love, Meg