Being all things to all people.
Every time I sit down to write something lately, I can’t get the words out for what I want to say. Or I can but they end up seeming so matter-of-fact. I like writing prose. So pardon this blog entry if it doesn’t come out so beautifully.
I am struggling with my fashion sense. I love dapper blazers, queer haircuts, collared shirts, ties, slim but just slightly baggy pants. I hate clothing that doesn’t feel like it fits my body. I struggle to find clothing that fits into a professional wardrobe. Looking androgynous is trendy right now, so often when I buy the clothes I like, I seem to find something that is placing me into “weekend” clothes, not “work” clothes, even if it is a blazer and a collared shirt. I’m not sure why it is that it doesn’t look right to me, but it doesn’t. I compensate by wearing it anyway, but – I hate not feeling 100% polished at work. I also feel visually inconsistent. In life, I’ve more or less accepted by now that on some days I will wear tight jeans with riding boots and shirts that show cleavage, and on other days I will pull on a binder or a sports bra and well, a shirt that doesn’t show cleavage. I wonder what it’s like for my co-workers to see me come in one day looking feminine and the next looking decidedly not. I wonder if it even registers, or if it creates any kind of cognitive dissonance, or the fact that I occasionally look boyish trumps any days where I look feminine. Through it all, I get concerned about not being perceived as professional enough. It upsets me that my constant experimentation with identity – something that pretty much every 20-something does, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, does – is so visible to my professional life, and might be seen as unimportant or as something that should be hidden.
I’ve struggled with how to wear my hair. After my post “Hair Evolution”, I decided to grow out my hair a bit and return the Justin Bieber cut. It works when I’m femmed up. It works when I’m butched out. (Why do these have different prepositions?) Regardless of how I dress, my hair feels incongruous with the look I am going for. If I’m looking more feminine, I feel guilty for not having it long. If I’m looking more masculine, I wish it were shorter.
I discussed this with my girlfriend, and I got to the first step. If I were to describe the style I want, I would want to say, “classic”. Practical executions of that word in the fashion world are so gendered.
At some points, I feel I need to stop trying to be all things to all people. My parent’s girl, my girlfriend’s strong butch, attractive to women and to men. When I say it that way, it almost seems emotionally unhealthy to keep oscillating between the gender presentations I try on. But I like the way it feels to be each of those things. I think.
When you first begin playing with gender, or if you are now, how do you separate out what comes from within and what comes from others?