Happy St. Patrick’s Day, blog. I have thoughts about Nationalism and what it means to feel Irish and how un-Irish I feel and all of that good stuff, but I actually came on to write here today with some other stuff in my brain – mainly about gender and feeling Other in the binary gender world-space, but now that I’m typing here I find myself wondering if it’s all connected; my constant feeling of being alien, of being Other and maybe it doesn’t need a label or a public statement or anything more than an internal self-acknowledgement.
I am a robot.
There, I’ve finally said it. And no one anywhere was surprised.
I joke. I joke because this stuff feels complicated to put into words that are true and exact words. The feelings inside me aren’t complicated or inexact, but all I know for sure about them is when I use the wrong words to describe them, and I don’t necessarily know in advance. It’s like I have shapes inside of me and the world has provided me with a bunch of jigsaw pieces – lots of them look like they might fit, or they even nearly fit, but something is off and a little uncomfortable. So I’m going around the place with an ill-fitting piece inside of me; slightly squeezed in, slightly sticking out. When I get home to my family in the evenings I just take it out and breathe a sigh of relief.
But then the hole is still there. I’m still missing a piece.
Conforming in society feels like this with a thousand different shapes, almost all of them a little wrong, some of them so completely inappropriate for me that I feel like I have permanent gaps, or parts of me have been irrevocably worn away.
And I don’t even know what those parts should have been. I don’t even always know what things are causing all the discomfort because there are so many tiny little jabs and cuts and pinches, absences and referred pain, so that it’s become a wall of “wrong feeling”, within which it’s impossible to identify any one specific piece.
Recently I’ve been following conversations on some gender-neutral and non-binary groups and I’ve started to have moments where some parts of my discomfort is not only removed, but I’ve gotten to experience the blessed resonance of some small pieces fitting the internal shape of me.
It’s not everything. It’s not the biggest deal in the world. It doesn’t fix all of me, but I know now that one of the things that wrongs me up inside is the label of “female” or “woman”. Yeah, and I know I talk about feminism and present as female and have a uterus and children and talk about “men’s spaces” and the difficulties facing society’s expectations for women – because all those things are still things that I experience! And that’s not likely to change.
You see, I don’t want the label of man or male either. The binary is a problem for me. Just because the “woman” jigsaw piece doesn’t fit me doesn’t mean the “man” one automatically does. I know that is true for some people out there in the world and maybe that’s an easier place for people to go because we’re so inclined towards one-or-the-other, black-and-white, yin-yang, male-female thinking.
I’m neither. I’ve elements of both. Maybe one more than the other. Maybe different on different days. And society is fucked up in terms of how it thinks either should present in any case.
And maybe that’s the problem anyway. Maybe it’s just that I reject the societal definition woman and female.
But no, it’s more than that.
I feel like I have to apologise about it. I feel like I have to be ashamed of even claiming this difference – like maybe I’ve been lying to people in the past, or else I’m lying a bit now, and anyway can’t I just not talk about it, and what about my poor husband – am I going to turn him gay by making him suddenly not married to a woman?
For me, I think “no”, but I don’t get to decide how he feels about stuff.
To be honest, I feel like it doesn’t and “shouldn’t” (such a dangerous set of words, should and shouldn’t) make any difference because it’s not like I’m any different, nor do I have any intention to be in any way different. I’m just looking for better descriptors for myself.
I just want to feel more comfortable in the world and take off these goddamned cutting heels.