Gender

Who Knew Not Giving a Crap Would Feel This Good?

Story time kids! On the last day of the art program called CCY, a small nonbinary person is hot, sweaty, and absolutely done caring about anything. So instead of putting on a shirt while packing, what does this nonbinary person do? They walk around their room and their dorm hall in just a bra and short shorts. This is no strange occurrence on the hall, mind you, as many girls do this, but for this particular person, it is a very big deal. This person is incredibly self conscious of their big belly covered in stretch marks and their breasts that always give them dysphoria. But they simply did not give a crap, and they did not wear shirt.

Can you guess who this particular nonbinary pal is? Surprise! It’s me! And even more surprisingly, is that it felt damn good. I thought I’d feel dysphoric or self conscious wearing only a bra, but instead, I just felt confident. At first, I thought it was just because of my absolute lack of cares to give right then, but it wasn’t. After I felt a little better, I still continued with that confidence. I’d put on a shirt by then, but I was suddenly seriously considering wearing a crop top in public, something I’ve always wanted to do, but never thought I had the “body type” for it.

Because guess what guys? I’m not skinny. I’m not tiny. I am a big person, with the stretch marks and fat to prove it. I don’t mind being this weight, though. I really don’t. The reason I have never worn a crop top before is mainly because of shame programmed in my mind, due to society and my awful sisters always mocking me for showing even just the slight amount of skin that is revealed when my shirt rides up. If I wasn’t so afraid of backlash, I’d be wearing crop tops and booty shorts all the time. I may be big and I may be nonbinary, but that doesn’t mean that I can love my body and want to show it.

This instance and the distance I got from my sisters cruel words for four weeks helped me realize something. My body is something beautiful. Every stretch mark and too dark hair is beautiful. I’ve decided that I liked my not giving a crap attitude, and I liked wearing just a bra. It didn’t make me dysphoric, it made me confident and happy. And whatever you wear, be it a hijab or a bikini top, it should make you confident and happy. As long as it does that, it doesn’t matter what others think.

So I’ve kept that attitude, and I fully intend to wear a crop top in the near future, no matter what my sisters think.

Who knew not giving a crap could feel so good?

Gender

I Look Cute??

My gender exploration  has been a very long, very tiring trip. But If I’ve learned anything in three years, it’s that I like pretty things, and I like feeling pretty. I really like it. Like, a lot. I love the skirts and the dresses and people complimenting me on my appearance. I’m done hiding in oversized, sloppy masculine clothes. I’m comfortable in that stuff, sure, but more like you are comfortable in the holey sweatpants that you wear around the house after a hard day at work. I don’t feel good in them. They were just clothes that reflected my bad mental state.

And once I realized this, I began to work. Not at a job, no, I began to work on accepting this part of me. I had to learn how to accept and embrace what made me confident and happy, and how to balance that with my social dysphoria. And guess what?

I have not succeeded. Not yet. I still feel incredibly uncomfortable when I wear a skirt, or when I try and explain this to someone, because I know it will make people view me as a girl. I know I cannot wear a skirt and have people believe I am genderless like I truly am. I can’t have both. I can’t. Realizing this has been one of the worst things I have ever realized. I’ve cried so much over it that I could fill a lake.

And then… And then today happened. Today, I wore a dress. I wore it over pants and under a tee shirt, so all you could see was the skirt. But I wore it. I wore it to school, where everyone saw me in this slightly strange, certainly different outfit. I was uncomfortable as hell, trying to balance the strangeness and newness and the knowledge I was outright breaking gender norms.

But now? After getting home and reflecting a little?

I feel hella confident. Because I didn’t look feminine. I didn’t look masculine. I looked nonbinary. I may not have passed as a typical androgynous person, but who cares? I may not have had people looking at me trying to figure out if I was a boy or a girl because I look like a boy with a feminine face. I had people looking at me trying to figure out what the hell was going on. I broke gender norms, and in doing so, I broke the machine. They still had no idea what gender I was, even with me wearing a skirt.

I may not be the traditional, prepubescent boy, type of nonbinary. I may be fat and feminine and like to mess with things. But I realized today that there is more than one way to appear nonbinary, and I have just found the way that works for me. I found my own slightly feminine, mostly confusing way to be genderless.

So you know what? Wear what makes you feel confident. It’ll be hard at first. It’ll make you cry as you try to figure out exactly what pretty means to you, and it’ll make you self conscious and uncomfortable at first. But do it. Find the clothes that make you happy. Play with your closet. Mix and match what you have until you find you, buried within the things you no longer love. Move past the uncomfortable, and be you.

You dress for yourself. Remember that.

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Gender · Mental Health

Thank You, Anxiety. For Real This Time.

I have a very hard time talking about my issues, especially when it comes to gender. I have been by people close to me and my own family that I cannot be anything but a girl, that I cannot change my name, that I can’t be nonbinary. Hearing those things, especially when it’s constant and from people who matter to you, is really difficult. And although I have left some of those people, and my parents are accepting of my gender, I still can’t escape it from my some. Most importantly, I can’t escape the horrible thought my mind clings to that my lack of a gender is just a lie I tell to get attention, and the feeling that I am not allowed to talk about it because I have been trained through experience to know that if I do, I will be shamed for it.

But now, I am going to a group designed especially for those who are trans. In less than an hour, I am going to be sitting with other people like me, who want to hear my experiences and want to help me. This should be something to be excited about, right? I should feel excited!

But all I feel is anxiety. Horrible, gut wrenching anxiety. Because I am afraid to talk about this. I’m afraid that they will laugh and say I am not “trans enough” because I am nonbinary, or that they will say agender isn’t real. I’m afraid I will go there and hear the same things I have heard for the past three years since I came out. Because of this fear, I’m hiding in my room, typing this under a pile of weighted blankets. I don’t want to go.

But I am.

Because I know my anxiety is a liar. I know that this group will be full of accepting, caring, loving individuals who will respect my pronouns, love my name, listen to my story, and will help reassure me that I’m valid. I know I will hear their stories, and that I will be able to help them too, by being an accepting, caring, and loving individual for them. I know that they will be able to understand, and they will help me understand myself.

And I’ve realized, huddling beneath approximately 30 pounds of weight, that my anxiety just gives me an advantage. I know that the people in this group have likely heard the same exact things I have heard. I know they may have internalized it to. So knowing my anxiety, knowing what I fear, I can now know what to say and how to respond in the way that will help the other members. Because of my fears, I know what I need, and so I can provide it for them.

So yes, anxiety sucks. Yes, I’m still going to be a wreck of worry walking into that building, and yes, I’m still going to be worried about the same things I’m worried about right now. Yes, that all sucks. I’m not saying it doesn’t.

But I know how to fix it. I know how to fix it for others, and if I do that, then they can do it for me. So thank you anxiety, for giving me the tools to support others. I’ll appreciate it once I get there.

Maybe.

Gender

Being Nonbinary in a Binary World

This world is overwhelmed with the binary. Just look at the cakes that people make to reveal their child’s gender! Guns or glitter, blue or pink, boy or girl. There is no way around it: this world is obsessed with putting people in these neat little gender boxes that are pretty silly to begin with. Not only are the things associated with said gender boxes completely arbitrary, but the actual boxes are never as neat as you think! Here are a few neat little articles that tell all about how biological sex can be way more diverse than male and female.

But I’m not here to preach. I’m simply here to help make some other nonbinary teens feel a little less alone. Because living in such a binary world can make you feel extremely alone. I know, because I’m feeling it right now. When everything, even the LGBT community, focuses solely on the being girl or boy, trans-male, or trans-female, being anything in between can feel like you are… forgotten. Ignored. Rejected. Take you pick, because I bet others feel it too.

Being nonbinary is difficult. It’s difficult to find acceptance for pronouns that aren’t she or he. It’s difficult to explain that you don’t have a gender, or that you have two genders, or that you bounce back and forth. It’s difficult to manage the thought that you might not be able to get the surgery you want because insurance companies don’t think you need them because you aren’t “trans enough.” Parents might not get it. Peers might not get it. Even other LGBT people might not get it.

But that doesn’t make you any less real. Just because the world doesn’t always see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And there are ways to exist in this binary society without having to sacrifice what makes you, you. You can find your perfect balance between feminine and masculine, that special place where you are your most comfortable self. You can plop yourself down and refuse to move because you like that spot. It is your spot.

I don’t have any actual advice for you right now. I just want you to know that you aren’t alone. I feel this way too. I feel like I’m being swallowed by the binary, that I have to pick one or the other or submit to misery. I feel like I’m never going to get acceptance for my they/them pronouns, for being called Elliot, for being my beautiful, agender self. I’m not at the point where I can give you some inspirational message about how I made it through and you can too. I’m not at the point where I can laugh about the times people made me feel inferior for my gender. I can’t be the role model for agender people.

All I can be, is a friend who is going through it, just like you. All I can do is promise that I will continue to blog about the struggles of being nonbinary, so that you never feel alone.

We can get through this. I know it.

I know we can.

Gender

How To Pick a Prom Outfit: Nonbinary Edition

A not-so-secret little fact about me is that I am nonbinary. Agender* to be precise. In other words, every time I get asked my gender, I’m left scrambling as I look at the ground hoping I just dropped my cue cards in a moment of flawless comedy, only to see that no, I really don’t have an answer to that particular question. It’s great. And I mean that! I’m glad to be nonbinary. It’s like getting invited to the table at lunch with all the super sweet people who don’t care about what you look like or what pronouns you use. But sometimes it does suck, like when I have to correct people that it’s Elliot, not my birth name, and that I can wear a dress and still be nonbinary.

But when Junior prom cropped up, I began to absolutely despise my lack of a gender and the fun dysphoria* that comes with it, because although I do like feminine things, finding out what to wear was IMPOSSIBLE!! I am overweight, and with my curves and hips and chest, I can’t wear a men’s suit unless it is incredibly baggy. Which means I was left with very few gender neutral options. (Have you seen prom dresses nowadays? Those things have cutouts and sequins and sparkles and the whole works. Plus, they are major bucks.) But, I found an outfit, and now I’m going to help you find yours.

 

How to Pick a Prom Outfit: Nonbinary Edition

Gender Neutral

The most obvious thing to wear is something gender neutral. But finding formal wear that’s gender neutral can be hard! Clothes fit for a female body are usually tight dresses, and prom outfits for men’s bodies are usually simple black suits. But fear not! There are always options!

  1. Try a floral button down shirt and a simple vest! Or do the reverse and have a floral vest with a plain button up! Good places to search for female cut vests are waiting staff uniforms, such as this site here. Uniform sites usually have lots of different colors and sizes, and they are pretty cheap! You can find button up shirts for a female body by searching button up, dress, or no-iron shirts. If you are looking at men’s body button ups, look on sites like Men’s Warehouse for simple and nice dress shirts.
  2. Or you could go for a pantsuit look! Check out sites like Macy’s or JC Penny for interesting, cute, and cheap jackets, skirts, and pants! Pantsuits are super helpful for slightly more feminine look, but I find they sometimes look a little “old” too me, so make sure you chose something appropriate for a teenager!

Other Options

It may not seem like it, but going gender neutral isn’t the only option for my nonbinary pals. If you lean towards feminine or masculine, you can always go full in that direction, with a crisp suit or a pretty dress. Just because you dress like one gender or another, doesn’t mean you are any less nonbinary. Clothes can be worn by anyone, of any gender, and if you feel pretty and comfortable in it, then you should wear it. That being said, there are some ways to feel comfortable in your skin, without being solely feminine or masculine.

  1. Go for a vintage look! This is what I did, although I did combine with number two as well. For some reason, wearing something that’s from a different time in history makes it feel less gendered. Even if it is a traditionally feminine or masculine outfit, the fact that it’s not so modern and there are less modern expectations and preconceptions about it, makes it easier to wear. Plus, you look unique, and you are stylish! And, there are way more options! Here is the site I used to buy my fifties style prom dress, which looks amazing.
  2. Another fun option: mix feminine and masculine items! Wear a vest and a skirt! A suit jacket over a prom dress! A glittery shawl and a suit! A tunic over dress pants! I added a top hat and gender neutral booties to my fifties dress! Mix it up! Mix up decades or genders or styles or what have you! Pull out a sewing machine and create some fantastic monster hybrid of a dress and a suit! The sky is the limit when you decide to burn the bridges of gender norms, and take advantage of that!

 

Remember, you can wear whatever you want to wear. You can dress however you want to dress, and it does not impact your gender at all. Presentation is not the same as identity, and if you want to present with a twenties flapper dress and a black suit jacket, then by god, go do that. Prom should be fun and you should feel beautiful and comfortable in what you wear. So go knock this prom out of the park and dance the night away in your own nonbinary way.

**For those who don’t know,Agender means I have no gender, and dysphoria is the discomfort and general awfulness that comes with being assigned the wrong gender at birth. For me, it centers around my chest and the social stuff, like people using the wrong pronouns and viewing me as female.