One Queer Journey

Right. So this week I’m house-sitting for my parents, and since the cat hasn’t changed much in the year since I’ve watched her, you won’t be getting more adorable cat pictures.

Instead, I decided to spend my week going through the boxes of my stuff that are still at my parents’ house (two boxes of stuffed animals, one box of books, two boxes of miscellaneous junk). One of those boxes had a shoebox full of photos (organized by film roll/date and sorted accordingly because it’s me). I also found an unused photo album, and since I’m all about downsizing, I decided to junk all the photos that I couldn’t fit in the album. That’s my childhood reduced to 160 pictures (aside from those photo albums I’ve already made).

Which meant I spent a few days going through the photos of my childhood (which involved a lot of me taking weird pictures of birthday presents, because that was a thing I loved to do. As if I was going to forget what I’d gotten). And I thought it’d be fun to share my haircut journey. Some of these I look back on and say, “Really, genderqueer, why was this a surprise?”

Back in the day I had fairly blond hair. And since I had two older brothers, my mother LOVED to put me in dresses. I was not as happy about this.

You can’t see the full extent of frilly dress-itude in this picture, but I think the bow says an awful lot.

But long hair does not a girly-girl make. My mom may have insisted on dresses for holidays, church, and special occasions, but most of the time I ran around in jeans…or cleats.

Because I played soccer! I loved soccer. My dad was a great coach, I was fairly athletic, and I got to be rough and tumble. I wasn’t a good long-distance runner, but I could sprint well and knock people (completely legally) on their butts.

The older I got, the more I resisted the dresses, the more I was a ‘tomboy’, until eventually….

Listen, I’m not saying it was a great haircut on me, but this was probably sometime in the nineties, so we’ll just go with that as the excuse. Also, I’m pretty sure it was the first time my parents (read: my mother) let me pick my own hairstyle. And the hairstylist just sort of went along with me, I think. The details are a little fuzzy.

I don’t necessarily think clothes make the man, but they sure do say something about me 🙂

And yes, in that first picture I was holding Mario Paint. It was the one video game that was MINE and not my brothers’ and I was so proud of it (even though it wasn’t nearly as fun as all the games my brothers had that I played).

In high school I let my hair grow out again, either because I do sometimes like it long (even if all I do is put it in a ponytail or braid) or because peer pressure indicated long hair was a must to attract the attention of guys (which is what all high schoolers want, right?).

So I let it grow out. And out and out and out. The picture shows the absolute length of my hair (it doesn’t grow any longer, because I shed too fast for it go do so. It also shows my hair’s tendency to have a SLIGHT wave.

The reason I took this sort of random shot?

Because it was the summer before my freshman year of college, and I once again cut all my hair off. I didn’t go as drastically short this time, mostly because I was going through enough changes, I didn’t want to look stupid (which I then felt like I looked back with my short hair).

Over the course of college my hair got shorter and shorter and shorter, until a few years after graduation, when I started getting basically the same short hair as I have now (with some variations and different styles over the years).

So here I am. Thanks for joining me on this journey down memory lane!

Coming Out, Part 2

So, at the beginning of this year I was talking to a therapist about coming out to my family as genderqueer, and we discussed how to do it and whatnot, and eventually it got to the point where I needed the topic to just naturally arise with my parents because otherwise anything would feel weird. Like a setup. My mom (and I assume my dad) knew I was on the LGBT spectrum, but none of the details.

And then Thursday happened. It was a terrible day for me emotionally and I couldn’t even tell you why. It just sucked. It got a little better as the day wore on, but I was mostly on edge. Anxious and depressed and just BLAH.
In the evening I was down near home, so I swung by to pick up some zucchini and a cooler, and my mom and I chatted (for like an hour and a half). Then I went to leave and she asked if I was getting excited for me coming vacation and I said I’d be excited for that once I got my hair cut, then I described my haircut.
Her: You want a boys’ haircut?
Me: Well, lots of girls have that haircut, but yes, I do want a boys’ haircut. *pause, thinking: Well, fuck it.* You know, because I’m genderqueer.
I am the picture of grace an eloquence. 
We talked a little about transgender vs genderqueer, which came up again when she called me her “daughter” and I corrected “child” and she looked at me dumbfounded, and I explained I preferred nongendered words, but we could discuss that pronouns at another time. She seemed stunned and I said she probably needed some time to process this, but she said she was fine.
I think she wanted to seem fine and not like she had to readjust things in her head, but I also think needing time to readjust things in your head is OK. Like, hey, I just told you flat-out that you don’t have a daughter anymore. Even if you’re totally cool with it, I imagine it takes some pondering. It sure took me some pondering!
So that was my very low-key coming out as genderqueer. Hopefully this means she’ll never question my clothing choices again (although someone should probably question my clothing styles…).
And if any of my readers have questions, feel free to ask 🙂

It’s a Gender Thing…or not

I had the beginnings of this blog entry all written out–in my head. The problem was that I was driving and it made transcribing very difficult. Actually, kind of impossible. So now I just have to rant and hope it comes out okay.

I was having a discussion with someone (female, woman) and she was, like so many others, complaining about her husband. I didn’t mind that; we all have issues to get off our chests. (Her main issue was she would ask her husband to do something and he’d say he’d get to it and then wouldn’t, or wouldn’t when she wanted it done.) But then she kept saying “men always,” “what is it with men,” “men are so” and so forth. And it bothered me. A lot. Probably more than it should have.

But why do we have to take what one person (in this case, husband) is doing, and blame an entire group on it? Okay, what she was describing is similar to behaviors my father exhibits, but my friend B doesn’t act like that, and while my brother B may, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t do it to the same extent. In fact, I would probably do it more than both B’s, just because I don’t like doing things when people tell me to. I need a broad deadline and I’ll get it done before then, but not NOW. I need to work under my own schedule.

Does that make me more of a man than them? No, of course not. Because being a man isn’t (strictly) a set of behaviors. Behaviors, like so many other things, are individual traits that cross over groups. And I’m sick of people putting all groups together as one, especially with negative traits. If you’re going to do it, use the phrase “why are some men so..” etc.

Women would be pissy if a man said “women are so defenseless and weak,” wouldn’t they? Well, then, women should offer men the same respect. I know there are double standards all over the place; it doesn’t mean I have to put up with it.

People are individuals, let’s treat them that way.

(And in case you were wondering, I told the person I was talking to that no, the behavior she was describing was in fact her husband’s behavior and not that of all men. I think she got the point.)