Adventures in binding

For a long time, binding was something that didn’t overly interest me. I’d tried it a few times, once borrowing someone else’s just to try one. It resulted in a flat chest – and a lot of pain! To me, the payoff just wasn’t enough to tolerate that at all and I’m still in awe of all the people who have to bind that tightly to be read the way they need to be.

Lately though, I’ve been experimenting with slightly looser binding than that. Again, it’s something I’d tried before, but didn’t dare go ahead with at the time.

Now though, I feel a little more comfortable with doing so. Before anyone gets worried, I have a proper binder, I’m not doing anything stupid like using ACE bandages*. I’ve discovered that a top with inbuilt support underneath it gives good results without being quite so unbearable, which is nice.

So far, I’ve played around a little with different looks, such as boots, binder and a dress. That was a fun look, though at my height there’s a slight aspect of ‘boy in a dress’. Not quite what I was aiming for.

The best though was chino’s and a women’s top. All I need for that now is a good pair of shoes, something that might not be all too easy with how narrow my feet are. The mix of femme and masculinity was just very awesome and felt very right. I’ve always sort of struggled with looking good in a female way, it just never really suited me at all.

Unfortunately, now I have realised this, I will probably have a lot more desire to spend money on clothing, without having the money to do so. Such is the woes of being partly femme I suppose, one just can not resist wanting to look ones best.

Future ideas:

-boots, men’s shirt, tights, shorts.

– heels, chinos, dressy top/men’s shirt, blazer (more tailored with a men’s shirt)

– possibly boots, men’s shirt, and skirt at times.

 

 

* Please don’t bind with bandages, they will constrict as you wear them. This can lead to serious injuries.

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A few thoughts

This diagram basically sums up studying for me, especially over the last term. It’s never good when trying to finish some coursework just feeds into an already dangerously low mood. If you stop, there’s all the guilt of giving up, but the more you try to work, the worse you feel for not being able to write anything of any worth.

My course has the handy situation of requesting a piece of coursework practically every single week- and this is only first year! Next year that’s only going to get a lot worse. It’s hard not to burn up with jealousy at the philosophy student with an essay every so often sometimes.

The only stage I can see the break the cycle, personally, is between missing work and stressing out. No one ever likes that I do this, but after a certain point, I just prioritise my health, and I refuse to feel guilty for making this decision.

Thankfully, after doing that last term, things have been arranged that my exams are in August. This means I have a lot of self teaching to do, but I’m finding actually I hugely prefer being able to work on what I want, when I want, just me, some paper, a textbook, a laptop for journal articles and some music.

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I told a couple more people about identifying outside of the gender binary recently. Both conversations were pretty awesome.

The first was with a guy whose attitude is if that’s how you identify, that’s cool. If you prefer a gender neutral name, then that’s what I’ll do. So much love ❤

The second was with a person who identifies basically the same way I do: a mix of both. That was pretty unexpected, but it was damn good to talk to someone who totally gets it. That there’s such a difference between ‘butch female’ or ‘femme-y trans-guy’ or ‘effeminate male’ or whatever and feeling androgynous, even if you can’t explain why that is.

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I am really not sure how I am meant to fix my own sleeping pattern. It’d be very much appreciated if any doctor had any idea what the hell to do, or allow me to see a specialist in sleep so we can work out why I wake up the later it gets and feel tired in the morning.

All I know is that going to bed earlier does not mean sleeping earlier and staying up all night  and day results in 40 hours awake and a massive sleep where I wake up late afternoon/early evening.

Language and gender

I’ve been thinking more about this (thinking is just about all I ever do, it seems sometimes).

The thing that really bothers me about all this, far more than any body part, is the complete absence of language to communicate the experience of being non-binary gendered. Every time I’m called ‘girl’, ‘woman’  etc there’s a twinge of ‘oh, my boobs define my entire being to you too?’. Especially when those words come from people I know are trans-friendly, and  I’ve explained the situation to them.

What words could replace them though? The male equivalents only work in the sense of ‘huh, you didn’t just associate my identity with my body parts, nice’. It’s a shame it’s still a binary term that feels incredibly restrictive to me. I don’t think ‘not associated with years of mis-gendering’ is quite the same as actually feeling right.

Obviously, my birthname is another factor that really doesn’t help. Nor do I think it’s any coincidence that the gender neutral nickname that forms part of the title of this blog is the name I like people using best. It’s so non-standard though, I’m not sure if I’ll ever go through the hassle of changing it in all areas of my life, especially not with family.

There is but one thing I can and will do though. Fuck defining bodies by their parts. If you’re female, your body is too. In other words, the very last thing I have is a female body. I don’t care how it looks to you, it’s not. That’s true whether you’re a layman, or a doctor, or my mum.

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In other news, this has been the most productive night for nearly two months now. Only about 200 words and some references  to go, and this is practical report no. 1 out of the way!

 

 

A ramble.

Last time I posted, I spoke about how gender’s been on my mind. I also said I’d try to get that into something approaching a coherent piece of writing. I rather feel I should make good on my word and do so, but it’s not easy.

There’s the worry about who might read this and how they might respond. Or even just what they might think, the judgements they might make, regardless of whether or not they make an overt response. I know that part of this is me worrying more than I need to, but I don’t think it’s entirely irrational, unfortunately.

I think partly it’s inherently ridiculous. I mean, I both thoroughly do not believe in any form of sex, gender or sexuality binary – and yet, when it comes to gender especially, I’d very much like to feel like I fit inside of that supposedly not so existent binary. I don’t think that’s any more possible than the world suddenly realising maybe it’s not worth having a floor for men’s clothing and a floor for women’s because what about the way that the women’s floor needs so much variation that sometimes the measurements are not that different from the men’s and the need for the floor for people who don’t feel like either floor is quite right except sometimes they like to feel kinda femme-y, but not as often as they like to feel masculine and all the other variations you would begin to require. (A department store that worked on the basis of simply selling clothing, without gendering any of it would be amazing). It’s possibly even less possible than that.

The pressure to be cis feels immense. I don’t think my parents would even begin to understand, and quite honestly, what with being queer and having bipolar and scoliosis I’ve been enough of the ‘odd child’ as it is.

There’s also the way I quite like being seen as an adult. Except, let’s be honest at 4″11, if I don’t get a chance to enter into proper conversation with you, that’s because of my boobs. Which means you’re not seeing me as an ‘adult’, you’re seeing me as a ‘woman’. Which isn’t great.

Ok, so yeah, T would probably serve as a workaround for that one. Facial hair, deeper voice, eventually that might swing it. But.. maybe that’d just be the same problem in a different guise? Alright, there’s less sexism involved in being seen as an adult man, which’d be nice and there’s no denying that, but uh no, that’s not the right reason to do that (or the right way to achieve not experiencing sexism).

So, it’s all too easy to feel like I should just stop being stupid and think ‘look, boobs, vagina = woman, duh’. I can’t think that though. It’s wrong, and not only is it wrong, it’s an extremely hurtful viewpoint to all the binary women out there who don’t have those body parts. And if transmen don’t have to see themselves that way even if they do have them, why should I?

In some ways, it’d also be a lot simpler if I could align myself with that identity. Note: I am not using simpler to mean in any way easier. That would be bullshit. Just simpler in that the identity of ‘man’ is at least recognised. That there’s surgery and hormones available to make your body more inhabitable, if that’s what you need or want. That you’ve at least grown up knowing the word for you, even if it took you years to realise you could claim it.

All I know is that when a group is split down the lines of ‘the boys’ and the ‘the girls’, it doesn’t feel ok. That I’d much prefer to be seen as a person than a girl, or woman. I’ve been known to say a fair few times that my body is much more of a woman than I am, and that that is incredibly frustrating and feels incredibly limiting.

I suppose ideally I’d love to have a tall, lithe body that’s pliable in terms of the ways it can be presented to the world. There just isn’t a way to achieve that if you’re not lucky enough to be born like it, even if you’re willing to have your legs broken repeatedly and stretched. I’m not, just to make that clear. I’d also be much, much happier knowing there’s no way I could ever get pregnant. I could possibly be a parent, but there’s no way I ever want to be ‘mum’.

The thing is, right now I have no idea of what the right word for feeling like this is. I don’t think it’s agender, that doesn’t ‘click’ or ‘feel right’. There are words like genderqueer, which sort of works. I’ve known others though who feel similarly who can’t stand that word, and I can definitely see their reasoning. There’s also the fact that it’s more equivalent to stating that you’re binary. For example, you’d say, my gender is binary, I am a man/woman, not I am binary. In comparison, it would be: it’s my gender is queer and then.. I am a.. um. yeah. um. actually I don’t know.

So, I’m left trying to convey to a binary world that I am something that I don’t even know what it’s called I just know what it sure as hell isn’t. With a body that has two options, woman or child. With clothing choices that have two options, woman or boy.

All of this leaves me feeling that in many ways, gender for me is something that is forcibly private and personal. Something that only those that are a) very close and b) have half a chance of understanding can know about. It’s like when straight people say they’re fine with homosexuality, so long as it isn’t in their faces all the time – because that’s only ok for normal love, obviously. Most binary people’s gender, especially those who are cis, is constantly on display, with everything they wear, do, say. In every time they kiss their partner and the way that’s seen, both by their partner and the world at large. It just comes naturally, and so it should.

For me, it’s the complete opposite. My gender is erased even in the smallest moments. That’s right down to nearly every time I have to participate in a study to gain credits for my course. Every single one asks for gender, 99% only offer male or female. It’s a moment where I am being asked to literally define myself, and then denied the space in which to do so.

It’s why I love the term ‘trans*’. The asterisk works as a wildcard, signifying all the non-binary ways to be non-cis. It’s still not quite perfect, but it’s existence means a lot.