You have been witness to a multitude of my thoughts for the past few years. You’ve witnessed doubts, fears, triumphs, a mental breakdown, the quest for love, the all things considered, crazy fast finding of said love, not to mention my preparation for and travel to North Korea. As I look back on some of the things I’ve written, I see that I’ve drawn poor conclusions. The facts remain, but my conclusions, my inferences were weak so the argument became un-cogent. It comes down to bad logic (this Philosophy major thing is coming in handy).
So, not only am I re-evaluating my past arguments, I’m re-evaluating so much more and for once, I’m actually examining my identity. I have been assigned a project in my social justice class to do a paper and presentation on one of the seven core identities – in my life. I assumed this would be easy. I have a wealth of blogs to grab thoughts from regarding my sexual identity and how religion plays into it. Yet, as I started going through it all, I realized that it wasn’t real. It just didn’t fit. It wasn’t logical.
I scrapped what I was going to do and instead just wrote down all of the real, raw, moments that impacted my life and figured that would lead me in the direction to begin this project. The more I wrote the deeper it became and the more questions arose.
For the first time in a few years I began to question who I am. No, that’s not quite accurate, I am for the first time questioning what I am. What is my identity? I see the events that have led up to who I am. I’m comfortable with that. But what am I?
I hate labels. I’ve said it before in previous posts, yet still, I keep putting them on myself – even when they didn’t quite fit. Even Christian the easiest label for me doesn’t feel right. Yes, my plan is seminary and possibly becoming a pastor or a professor of theology, and definitely a theological author. Yet, Christian sound confining and has baggage and weird connotations. I call myself a chick. It’s not because I’m trying to be cool. It’s the least weird term. Even as a young kid, I didn’t like girl. It felt weak and foreign. As I grew up the terms lady and woman frightened me. I’m certainly neither of those things. I shunned women only Bible studies because I felt such a disconnect from them. Maybe I was born to simply reject traditional gender roles, but maybe it’s more than that.
Remember how upset I was over wearing a scarf at a job? It wasn’t because of politics, it’s because it was not congruent with who I am. That much I knew, but I was afraid to look inward to find out how and why… and what that means.
I remember wanting to do all the things that boys were allowed to do. I remember wanting a career – pastor, mechanic… I remember really wanting to wear jeans and a blazer. I remember teaching myself to pee standing up. I remember getting into trouble for it and writing out Bible verses and wearing dresses. I remember being told that a “sex change operation” was real but I’d go to hell if I had one. I remember praying that I wouldn’t grow breasts or get my period. I was afraid that I’d be stuck living trapped as a housewife (as I saw my mother) in suburbia and it was utterly terrifying.
I don’t want a penis. I don’t want facial hair (trust me on that). I shave my legs meticulously so I can wear shorts year round. I try to smell delicious with bath splashes or Gap’s Dream perfume. I surely do not want to give birth. I only wear guy clothing with the one exception of bras. Yes, I wear boxer briefs. I have a short haircut that I’m sort of trying to grow out… I was the one that proposed to Kelly. I get upset when I’m mistaken for a man, but feel equally strange when called ma’am or miss, or some other gender specific term. I hate using the term lesbian (and very rarely have I ever used it). I don’t like the term butch, because though I can dress “that way”, I don’t feel that. Maybe I’m not a lesbian, because maybe I’m not actually a “woman”.
So what am I? To be clear, I am not debating my biological sex. As far as I can determine, I have no interest in changing that, though I would love to not have to deal with certain umm… aspects. Does gender matter? I argue that it does, that it is one of the seven major ways that one interacts with the world. It impacts scholarships, relationships, restrooms, employment, finances, power, and authority to name a few. So again, what am I?
Last night we (the wife and I) had a serious discussion about androgyny and what that could mean, if anything other than a label. Why am I so focused on labels? I think it’s because there’s that moment of freedom to see something that finally makes sense, that everything lines up, even if only for a moment. It’s true, I want everything to line up and come to that “Aha” moment. Is there an aha for me though? Is androgyny the answer? Gender queer? Gender fluid? Is there a third gender? Am I on a trans spectrum? Seriously, what am I?
How do we find out who and what we are? Is that information from parents and society or does it come from within us – that we just know? If it’s the former, then is it even real? If it’s the latter, how can we know that we’re right? Can it change or is it just the depth of our understanding that changes if anything? I wish I knew those answers.