my own gender trouble

i've been thinking a lot about that one quote by sylvia plath.

"being born a woman is my awful tragedy. from the moment i was conceived i was doomed to sprout breasts and ovaries rather than penis and scrotum; to have my whole circle of action, thought and feeling rigidly circumscribed by my inescapable feminity. yes, my consuming desire to mingle with road crews, sailors and soldiers, bar room regulars--to be a part of a scene, anonymous, listening, recording--all is spoiled by the fact that i am a girl, a female always in danger of assault and battery. my consuming interest in men and their lives is often misconstrued as a desire to seduce them, or as an invitation to intimacy. yet, god, i want to talk to everybody i can as deeply as i can. i want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night..."

i don't think of myself as a woman, but the perception of myself as a woman makes me want to shrivel like old leaves. i'm not nonbinary to avoid the persecution of being a woman, depsite what many transphobic people would say. i simply am. but society in its own right is defined by strict rules of gender, and they will fit me into boxes i am too big for. it's something i can't escape, my worst fear of all. my gender often conflicts with the way people treat me; they'd never treat me like that if they didn't see me as a girl. my dad would never even think of belittling me if i was like my brother - a boy. and i guess i crave this sense of masculinity. i'm masculine, but not in the way you'd see a boy as masculine.

i am masculine in the way i act, but not necessarily in the way i dress. i might wear tucked in high-waisted dress pants and a blazer to masculinize my body - but it's nowhere near masculine. i'm short and have soft facial features. i have "girl" eyes. but i compensate for having a boyish haircut. and putting on a lower voice to conceal the original one. my presentation is somewhere in the middle -- i like to think i'm both masculine and feminine - both in a gender-nonconforming way. i wear lipstick and tease my hair - wear jewelry and the like. but in the eyes of the world i will be seen as traditionally feminine.

i guess that's one of the reasons i dress goth and wear all black. it's to subvert my feminity in a way that seems morbid.

but even if i act like a man, i will never be seen as genderless to straight society. i've been confused for a man before, and while that gave me a sense of happiness, it never lasted. my parents would correct the waiter. i'd have to tell the woman at the airport that i was female, because i was around my own family. and to the meat of this -- i guess this protruding tragedy, as sylvia plath would define it, is why i always wanted to be considered "one of the boys" when i was younger. to play football, but they'd always be condescending to me in the end. to make a mess out of the dirt and of my pants, but it'd be unladylike. the mortifying ideal of being known - no, being percieved with a certain gender in mind holistically, is a curse.

(originally written and posted 12/8/2020.)