Shampoo. Rinse. Condition. Rinse.
Blowdry. Curl. Pull it back. Use a headband. Clip bangs to the left. Clip bangs to the right.
Hide behind it.
Flaunt around it.
Chop it, I said.
But, you will look like a boy.
I won’t look like a boy; I will look like me with short hair.
She struggled. I struggled. I paid and then repaid and finally paid again to own my own clippers.
It's almost like they scream at me. Ahhh. Your hair. It's so short. You are so bold. I want to roll my eyes and say why are you ok with accepting the binary, with perpetuating this idea of woman equals long hair, or pretty or feminine or weak.
That comment is not a compliment to me.
Hyper boy to hyper girl to hyper boy-girl. Gender fluidity. Variance. Queerness.
Pulling the dress over my head, and pulling the tights up to my waist no longer felt right. I no longer felt safe. I no longer wanted the attention that I allowed people to give me. It was early, I was waiting, there was a breeze through the vent, down my shirt. Cleavage. I was exposed. I ran. I changed. That was the last time, and I felt empowered. I felt in control of stares and acceptance or not.
The other day I stood baseball hat cocked to the side (hmm interesting word choice), jeans slung low, t-shirt hanging somewhere between clutching and floating; one hand around a cold beer, and the other in my pocket. She grabbed the handkerchief around my neck and said, "it must be hard to get all of this attention by being genderqueer." What was that look in her eye? I avoided. I shifted. I thought it about much later, in the comfort of my own head. I am still getting the attention that I don't know that I want. I am a woman. I am masculine in dress. I am feminine in thought.
And I hate these labels.
The idea of a box makes me gag and reach and scream for air. Yet, I am lucky. I can work this body and spirit in ways that others can not. I am privileged.
He waited in the lobby for me to come and save his day. I said hello and he followed me to the back room where we sat. Daniel. His name is Daniel. Nine years ago he begged and pleaded with his family to understand where he was coming from - the male perspective. They didn’t. He begged and pleaded with the medical world to hear him and transition him. They did. Today he yearns and begs and pleads with the inner psyche to allow Diana to come back. He is a transman who no longer wants the body he thought would make him happy. He passes. To me. To the world. I didn’t know there was a Diana hiding beneath Daniels eyes until it spilled from this person's lips. Daniel's pronoun preference, for the first time in nine years, as this individual sat across from me in the stark white counseling room, was female. She was enlightened and ready to face the world, but testosterone effects are nearly irreversible.
As my body changes I make alterations that feel safe to me - clothing, demeanor, exercise, a slow in my eating so that I can appear more like a young boy, and less like a voluptuous woman.
I am privileged.
I am moving through the world as a passing, dykey lesbian.
I fulfill expectations, and I also break the mold of what people expect of me - I don't bind. I don't take T. Under my clothes I sometimes wear a-line tanks and boxer-briefs. In a few short months I will wear a suit to job interviews. In the summer I will wear a two-piece bathing suit. I will bike. I will cuss. I will tell my partner that I love her. I will still feel vulnerable naked. I will be a vegetarian and choose salad over steak. I will pay for dates and allow the door to be opened for me. I won't grow my hair out again, except under my arms. I will sing and I will laugh, and I will be non-gendered, and all-gendered, and a hater of gender.
I'm proud to be a gender fucker. I am proud to be accepted and loved and questioned. I enjoy the challenge of stopping heterosexist and genderphobic perpetuations, and yet, I also am aware of the ways I facilitate these cycles.
Gender and orientation are so complicated, and so beautiful at the same time. As a social worker I am learning to be respectful of self-determinating individuals, while also moving through my own, ever changing me.