Update on life and gender

Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s been a month since my last post! I’ve been keeping busy with a number of different things. For one, I’m planning my educational future–I’ll be heading off to Ireland to do a Masters degree in a few months, and there’s a lot of preparation to be done for an international move. I’ve also been reading quite a bit. I’m hoping to have time to post some reviews to some of the better books I’ve read lately, but in the meantime, I highly recommend both Laura Lam’s Shadowplay (sequel to last year’s Pantomime) and Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife.

Trigger warning for gender dysphoria, body negativity, and eating disorder below the cut

In addition to the above, I’ve spent the last month continuing to work through my gender issues. I think I can say with some certainty that I have yet to reach any conclusions. Gender dysphoria’s a bitch, but I haven’t yet figured out what I can do (if anything) to appease it. Part of the problem is the conflict between how I look and how I want people to read me. My body and face are “feminine” enough in appearance that, unless I go for every masculinizing trick in the book, I will pretty much always be read as a woman. And frankly, I don’t want to try that hard, because I’m not that masculine, and I don’t want to be read as a man.

It seems like the only way to be read as neutral is to be very thin. I am not very thin. I don’t want to buy into the ideology of the thin, white, androgynous body as the only valid nonbinary body. Further, I’m terrified of allowing my gender dysphoria to be linked to my weight, even as the two seem to be trying to couple up on their own. I engaged in a lot of unhealthy eating and exercise behaviors in my teen years, and I’m afraid that if I even try to lose weight, I’ll wind up slipping over the line into a restrictive eating disorder this time.

So for now, I’m trying to focus on positive things I can do to make myself feel more comfortable. I’ve started using they/them pronouns on WordPress and Tumblr. I’ve added some exercises to build more upper body muscle to my routine, since I would feel better if I had more developed arm/shoulder/back muscles. I’ve been dressing to reduce my chest-related dysphoria, with sports bras and dark colors and layers. And I’m considering cutting my hair to a more gender-neutral look, although I haven’t yet decided what I want to do about that. It’s not much, but it’s something. And maybe these things are more important than coming up with a label for myself. Words can be helpful, and I’m still exploring them. (I think I may be closer to agender than I initially realized.) But at the moment, figuring out how I want to live is the main priority.

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