It’s me! [gender post]

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It’s been a bit since I wrote about gender.

I have been thinking about this quite a lot, especially since June is Pride Month. I have spoken a bit about it before, but while we are on the subject of gender and the like, I am mentally aligned with no gender that I know of and I am attracted to people based on who they are, not what kind of bodies they have. I am happily married to the love of my life, a man. I would not trade him or our relationship for anything. One more thing:

This is new! I have been calling myself Mago in my head for some time, and it fits. Most people who already know me will continue calling me Meg, and that’s fine with me. But if we’re meeting for the first time online, please call me Mago. It’s taking a lot of courage to go about doing this and there are a lot of inner critics screaming at me right now, but it is my hope that I will inspire someone on this journey.

I was once told that this form of self exploration goes against “who I truly am” and that I am “not being myself” when I come out and say that I am anything but what people expect me to be. I would like to pose a question to the critics, both internal and external:

How can you dictate who I am when first, you are not me, and second, I myself am still figuring that out?

The simple answer is that no, you can’t say a damn thing. You don’t have the right to since you aren’t me. Keep that in mind, friends, as you think about yourselves. Are you letting someone else tell you who you are?

I grew tired of people telling me who to be some time ago and I am just now putting it into words. I went through my teens hearing two things either through word or action: “Your emotions are inconvenient, so therefore you must have bipolar disorder and be crazy because you feel more strongly than I can handle”, and “Being anything but how you’re expected to be is madness and must mean you’re at risk of going crazy. See #1.” These expectations were unrealistic at best, cruel at worst, and they ended up having a deep effect on me. Ask yourself this: if you’re feeling more strongly than someone else can handle and you’re doing your best to live correctly, whose problem is that? I’d say that’s a them problem. Not a problem with you. Those who demand explanations as to why you are being yourself are often those who least deserve them.

Since getting out of where I grew up, I have flourished. I’m not read as a person who is crazy or at risk of it anymore. I am able to think how I want without having my ideas shot down. No longer do I have to weigh whether or not a certain feeling would cause me to be viewed as insane were it to be expressed.

This environment has fostered much thought. Some people may genuinely want to know about what my identity is, but are thrown by more modern terminology. So while it’s important to be proud of who I am, it’s also important to be able to inform people who want to know what’s going on, but may be thrown by labels that are fairly new. Some may say differently, but think about it this way – if you are teaching someone a new language, you don’t expect them to know everything already. You take them from the very beginning to more advanced concepts slowly. I have people like this in my life who are genuinely curious, but they need to hear it in their language, not ours. This doesn’t make us less of who we are, we’re seeing it from another angle. This is important if we want people to learn about us.

This is why I said what I said in the opening paragraphs instead of the newer terms agender and pansexual. If you don’t expect to educate others who want or need to know, don’t expect to be understood. People are more likely to listen if they can what I’m saying!

So what does all of this mean for me? This means that I don’t like to be referred to as “she” or “he”, but rather with the singular they, like this:

“Mago is going to the store, can you ask them if they want anything?”

Essentially, when in doubt, refer to me and people who prefer the singular they as though you don’t know our gender or are trying to keep it a secret.

I also like to wear a lot of button downs, hence the name of this blog! But that’s not horribly important, because even if you wear dresses and makeup all the time, you can still be agender within and that’s what counts.

If you fall somewhere on the glorious LGBTQ dartboard, you DO NOT HAVE TO COME OUT this Pride Month. I see a ton of “I’m [insert identity here]” posts on social media, and I so badly want to come out to the world, but I don’t yet feel safe expressing myself in that forum. I still get people who worry themselves sick on social media anytime I post anything sad! Please use your best judgment and stay safe.

I love all y’all. God and the universe love you, too.

Mago

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To Be Seen

I have a confession to make.

I don’t know how to write for myself. I write to be recognized, to be seen. I don’t know how to put my thoughts together in a way that’s coherent that sounds like me. I’m so used to writing to share. I fear that if I were to write for myself, all that would come out would be a scream. It’s very rare that I can unlock myself in my writing. I feel pressure both internal and external to write something good, to write something poetic, something that will change lives. It’s all gotta be good, meaningful, or it means nothing.

At least that’s how it feels, and feelings aren’t always facts. I do know that every time I write for myself – or try to – it comes out horribly sad and ends up hurting more than helping. Does that mean that something inside needs to be fixed? Does that mean that there’s some fear or sadness not addressed? I look back at my journals and I find that the later ones are full of fear and sadness and anger, and they make a bad situation worse because I’m dwelling on the past and being afraid of the future. It’s just bad. I go months feeling okay and wanting to write about happy things to something erupting inside of me and having to fight off armies of flashbacks and wanting to dive headlong into the dark again.

Last night was one of those nights. I tend to get very sad at around 3 PM every day, and things just built up inside me to the point where I started to shake and cry. Why was I crying? It felt like an aerosol can of sour memories burst inside of me. With that came shame, both for what happened and for not being over it when I should have let it go long ago.

I have heard that people are supposed to write clear and deep about what hurts, so I think I’m going to take that advice.

Something about the scene that popped into my head feels dirty and wrong. It was a memory of my ex and me. He was driven primarily by sex, I’ll be entirely honest, and I was a young, desperate Mormon girl. We had talked about threesomes for some time and I have a memory of when he came to Texas and we hung out by that car I used to drive and I remember there was a red haired girl we both thought was cute and we talked about “sharing” people like that. In the moment, it was okay. But in hindsight, it feels as sick as the sun felt that summer. I have a lot of shame surrounding that memory. This was one of the reasons I started to reconsider Mormonism – I had finally started to come to terms that I could be attracted to all people, not just men like the Mormon church encouraged, and once that mental bomb went off, there was no way to clean up the scattered contents. It was this ex of mine that helped me in a sick way to have this realization. When I tried to go back to church, the shame ate at me and I couldn’t reconcile the beliefs I had once loved and the shame I had with the things I now knew about myself. So I decided to ditch the shame and leave, unrepentant.

I hated myself for the longest time for letting that happen to me. The church had lessons on virtue (read: sexual purity until marriage) and I wanted to dodge every single one of those lessons from even before I officially joined. My mind didn’t fit the mold from the beginning, and there was so much shame I carried. I remember mentally eating myself alive even from the time I was small for being attracted to other genders. I remember mentally eating myself alive for having thoughts of sexual attraction at all. After all, they were wrong, right?

I am now realizing that I have spent a ton of time suppressing parts of who I am. I’m getting better at verbalizing what is going on inside of my brain and what I want and need. I am growing and learning and living and loving.

My gender and appearance falls under this category. I have spent so much time hiding and suppressing it. Last November was a turning point in that I found I could no longer ignore my identity. It was a pull unlike any other. I have pretended to be someone I’m not several times, and none of them ended up well and I always ended up in the same place. I was told over and over again that to identify with anything outside female wasn’t me. To those who said these things, who am I, then? Who am I now that you are not here to tell me who I am? The short answer is that you don’t get to tell me who I am. That’s my job. I am smart. I am kind. I am gifted. I am an empath. I am loved. I am a leader. I am a handsome human. I am a light. I am an example. I am a mentor. I am a student. I am a teacher. I am spiritual. I am imperfect. I fall down sometimes. But I am alive, thank God. I sing praise to life for the first time. It’s scary as hell.

Happiness is on my side. And it’s past 3 PM and I haven’t cried. Nobody gets to define me. I am not a reduction to how people see me.

I am alive, I am alive, I am alive, and I breathe like a newborn, screaming. It hurts to see light, but that is temporary. I no longer believe the lies that sadness told me.

Sadness is the liar, not the constant.

I will continue to speak on these topics until I can speak no more.

I will continue to tell myself that I am okay, and I will mean it. There should be no shame in this. The can may have exploded, but there is no need to clean it up. I may not recognize myself in the mirror yet, but I am here and I am seen. I am heard. So are you.

Love,

Meg

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A sunset

I was listening to this song on repeat last night as I was creating a video for Instagram. Even though it’s in Russian, it had meaning for me. I’ve been feeling off for about the last day and a half, and it was the perfect soundtrack to the gloom.

There are things that stick with me. I don’t know if it’s a mental illness thing or a normal thing. One of the things that keeps coming back to me is the dread that comes on still, humid nights.

Growing up in one of the biggest metropolitan areas in Texas, I saw orange skies at night quite frequently. Light pollution is a problem, and there is only a handful of stars visible. It’s worse on cloudy nights. Add humidity and no wind and you get this persistent feeling of dread, like something horrible is about to happen and you know it will.

I remember Christmas Eve of 2016 was like that. I was hanging out with my aunt’s house. I had written a poem that morning, and I read it to my aunt. I couldn’t shake the feeling of foreboding.

there are no words to find here

in this hollow town of memories

that aren’t mine

except a sunset I’m halfway convinced

I’ve imagined

but the sensation of the world turning

time slipping through my fingers

is all too real.

that’s all I have.

I had a lot to learn here. I was about to head to Idaho for school after attending one of the most liberal colleges in the nation. The school in Idaho was the direct opposite of my school in Maryland – conservative, encouraging of homogeneity, and highly religious. I didn’t know that on Christmas Eve of 2016. I thought I’d fit in there and be fine. I was wrong. I stuck out like a sore thumb. My experiences there called everything into question. I asked these questions and got some answers. Not all of them.

The half-imagined sunset was something I wouldn’t get over for awhile, either. I had a ton of baggage, and the flashbacks that came with it took a long time to even start to get over. The friends I made there got me to start trusting again, and I started to recover. Some things – like my gender – took a longer while to discover. And rediscover.

This discovery/recovery process is something important to me. It takes me from still, humid nights to dawn on the other side of the world. I believe that self discovery is an important part of growth and recovery. I’m continually reinventing myself, trying to find the best version of me. One that feels like home.

So if you are experiencing an ominous calm night, it gets better. Keep reinventing yourself.

Love,

Meg

goldenapple.shoes

A celebration

I have something to say. I’m taking a deep breath.

I am agender. There, I said it outright, and therefore it has more power than if it were silently sitting there on my heart. It’s here, just like it has been for months. This is not a defense of my gender or lack thereof, it’s a celebration.

It took me years to get where I am now. People have thrown lists of reasons why I’m wrong at me, many more lists than why I’m right. But this isn’t going away anytime soon, and I’m proud of it. People address me like a woman, and that is totally fine. Keep doing that, the choice is up to you how you see me. I don’t aim to make people think I’m anything other than who I am normally. Because it is me. For me, my identity is an intensely personal experience that doesn’t have to be acknowledged by the general public, and I don’t plan on changing my appearance much. I’m here to share the fun with you.

How I experience my identity is interesting. It was like one day my perception of my own gender threw up its hands, said “screw all y’all” and walked away. It didn’t feel distressing, though. If anything, I felt peaceful and free. What does this mean for practical application?

Truthfully, it means nothing. I don’t expect a pronoun change or a social transition of any kind. I’m still Meg, I’m still me, but with an added self awareness. It doesn’t often cause me distress, but my sense of gender euphoria changes by the day.

For example, I am wearing lipstick, my favorite button down shirt, and dress pants today, and I’m not quite euphoric. I wore something similar a few days ago and felt completely at rest in my own skin. Don’t get me wrong, I look good, it just doesn’t quite feel like me, and I don’t quite know what I need to do to get that appearance euphoria back. So how does all of this feel, then, you may ask?

It feels like a warm and fuzzy feeling of belonging oftentimes. Distress is rare. When distress does come, I do feel the need to match my feelings inside with the way I look and am perceived outside. I find myself trying to get people to see me differently and to “look the part” by dressing in a manner that I consider to be neutral. This often leads to me becoming strict with myself in a manner that is unnecessary. No matter how I dress or act, that feeling hasn’t gone away. It’s been around since December of last year and is still going strong,

I’m proud of my identity, very proud of it. It’s a living thing, just as I am. And it makes me feel human. What makes you feel human?

Until next post,

Meg

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

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!