For the past year now, as I’ve come to terms with being trans, I’ve found myself always negotiating a fine line between being who I want to be and being who I actually am. I’ve wanted my gender expression to line up with my gender identity (so, a feminine expression to correspond with a ‘girl’ identity).
At first it seemed like a difficult balance trying to be authentic without over-compensating and becoming the opposite of authentic. I’ve been afraid of falling into the same trap as when I was trying to be hypermasculine, but this time as hyperfeminine.
I think that fear actually helped me stumble into a healthy way of approaching my gender expression. Because of a combination of scrupulosity about being “fake” and left-over social anxiety about still wanting to hide my feminine side from people, I’ve taken a very slow and passive approach to letting my ‘inner feminine’ come out.
The result of this cautiousness is that I’ve been pleasantly surprised – almost ambushed – by my own personality. As years of internal disintegration start to heal, I find my soul thriving in a whole new way. And as my soul becomes more whole, it naturally expresses itself more and more. And as it expresses itself, I discover the girl beneath the surface in a totally fresh, spontaneous, natural way.
There are so many tiny things that have changed about me without me even trying.The vocal range I speak with, my movements, my mental and social reactions to things, so much that I always assumed was permanently masculinized (and I thought would take worrisome effort to reverse) has very simply and naturally changed – or shown its true colors.
One day I was wearing more masculine clothing (an athletic shirt and straight jeans), and a friend commented that it was really weird to see me dressed like that. I have to agree; it felt weird. It felt like I was in drag. I mean, I guess technically I was. It doesn’t take effort to be me, but it takes very definite effort to try to fit in to a macho persona, even clothing-wise.
I think there is a fine, delicate, beautiful balance that can happen when you experience life passively and live life actively. That’s been my motto for this transition. I neither want to take things lying down like a lump on a log, nor over-exert myself in trying to “become” a particular stereotype. Life needs to be lived (carpe diem!). At the same time, it needs to be experienced. It needs to be given a voice so that it can teach and form you. Doing and being. Both are important.
What I’ve found is that this balancing act is easier than it looks. I don’t know how to be authentic (there’s no eHow directions for it), but I think that simply by living life I’ve grown into a more authentic, integrated person. And being authentic naturally means both seizing life by the horns and letting it run its course.
It’s so wonderfully gratifying to get to see myself grow into me.For the first time that I can remember, I’m not performing an act. I’m not performing as masculine or feminine, I’m just… me. And it’s really cool to see that the emerging me is the person I always deep down knew myself to be: naturally ‘feminine’ (if we have to put a gendered label on it).
In many ways life has gotten so much more complicated since I came out, but it’s nice that on the most important level – what’s going on within me – for once things aren’t quite so complicated.