On Internalized Transphobia and Self Love

While I was on Tumblr the other day, I came across this quote from a femme who had just gotten married:

“I was going to say I didn’t know what I did to deserve this love but really, I do know. I honored myself and I made a conscious decision to stop settling for less than I desired and deserved and loved myself in a way that commanded that kind of love back.

Emphasis is mine.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about self-love.

Specifically, I’ve been thinking about how I still have a lot of work left to do in that department.

I had something of a revelation over breakfast the other morning: When I come across someone, whether platonically or romantically, who understands, accepts, and supports my identity and my physical expression thereof (i.e., my choice to have had top surgery, etc), I tend to automatically think that that person is a great, wonderful person.  I tend to automatically feel lucky and relieved that they are able to “get” me.  Granted, these people often are wonderful people whose company I thoroughly enjoy, but it is very telling that I feel that these people are automatically worthy of some kind of praise and gratitude on my part just for liking me the way I am.

When I ask myself why this is the case, I don’t like my answer.  I like it even less because I know it is true and I don’t want it to be.

…It’s because some part of me, deep down, still feels fundamentally unworthy of love.  Some part of me still feels like I’m weird and broken and wrong.  Some part of me still feels like it takes some kind of act of god for someone to really love me just the way I am. Some kind of act of god for someone to truly love my gay-boi, butch self. Some kind of act of god for a lover to find my chest not just acceptable but great and sexy.

When I find people who do seem to be able to appreciate me in some or all of those ways, I almost instantaneously feel quite attached to them.  I put them on something of a pedestal.  I let them get away with things that I wouldn’t let others get away with.  When we have conflicts, I am always looking for what I did “wrong” and being quick to apologize for those “transgressions”.

I look at the person like a rare, precious gem that I am oh-so-lucky to have in my life.

In other words, I take a person’s ability to love and appreciate me as I am as some kind of exceptional quality of that person, rather than seeing it as the bare minimum of what I should expect from everyone.

I don’t know yet what to do with this revelation.  I don’t know yet how to love myself truly and completely.  I don’t know yet how to work through all of this internalized transphobia that makes me feel like I am unworthy of such basic respect and care.

I do know, though, that I am going to commit the next year of my life to figuring this out.  I’ve decided that 2012 is going to be my year of being committed to myself, my year of being committed to learning how to love myself in the way I deserve to be loved.

I don’t know where this journey will take me, but I do know that, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m on exactly the right path.

Seeking Balance and Inner Peace

As I mentioned in my last post, things have been quite chaotic for me lately.  I found myself feeling quite off-kilter and uncentered since the year (and especially the academic semester) started.  So off-kilter, in fact, that I had to force myself to take a moment to step back and assess what was going on and how I had gotten to a place where I was feeling so overwhelmed all the time.  And, even more importantly, how I could get myself to a place where I was feeling centered again.  Where was the balance in my life?

So, being the analytical, science-type that I am, I created a list of guidelines, for lack of a better word, to help me get back on track.  Things have still be stressful since I’ve been trying to live by these guidelines, but not nearly as much as they were.  I’m feeling more peaceful in general.

So, to keep myself accountable, I thought I’d share my list with you all:

I. Keep up with my academic responsibilities.

  • Get organized.
  • Go to all classes. Period.
  • At least attempt all homework, period, even when it seems so difficult that I feel discouraged after trying to work through the first problem.
  • Go “super scheduled”–this means planning out my days down to each hour.

II. Build and maintain local friendships

  • When I was trying to figure out where in my life my needs weren’t getting met, I realized this was a huge issue for me.  In 2010 my best, best, best friend and I had a falling out.  Later that year I started dating C, my most recent ex, and transferred to a school an hour and a half away.  Because C still lived in the city I’d just left, I found myself spending all my weekends there.  Accordingly, I never really had any time or opportunities to build friendships here.  I found the same issue springing up with dating OB, as she also lives an hour and a half away.  I miss having close, local friendships.  I need close friendships.  Committing myself to maintaining friendships also forces me not to isolate myself, which is something I’m prone to as a rather shy butch who also happens to live alone.
  • This also means getting involved in various on-campus organizations, which is a good way for me to connect with people.  So far I’m working on getting more involved in the GLBT group and the Women’s Issues group.

III.  Maintain Mental Health

  • There are a lot of aspects to this for me.  The main one is making sure I have enough other things to do to balance out my school stress. Obviously this ties back into the whole building-friendships objective.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Eat well.
  • Exercise (I’m on week 2 of the hundred pushups program right now, and hopefully I’ll be adding some cardio soon!  Ugh, I don’t know why I am so ridiculously averse to cardio.)
  • Work on healing old wounds.  This subject deserves a whole post in itself, so I’ll elaborate on it later.

IV.  Keep Blogging

  • That’s right, dear readers. This is definitely a priority for me!  This blog, my tumblr, and my youtube are all really important to me.  They help me connect with the queer community that I’ve never really had locally.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a sizeable queer community here, but I want to connect with butches and femmes and all sorts of other queers who want to talk about gender identity, feminism, trans issues, and the whole myriad of issues I hold near and dear to my heart.  I also want to do what I can to be available to other FAAB (female-assigned-at-birth) folks who are not male-identified but struggle with gender dysphoria.  Being able to connect with them has been a really wonderful experience so far.

Alright, I suppose that’s it for now.  What about you, readers?  Are there any particular guidelines you’re trying to live by right now?

General Blog Update II

First off, I’d like to thank Butch Wonders and Bookish Butch for mentioning my blog on their blogs!  I really appreciate it!  I’m sure that everyone who has seen my blog is familiar with Butch Wonders already, but if not go check her out!  She even has a series on butch-butch dating! 🙂

And thanks so much to everyone who has taken an interest in this blog so far!  I know I’m behind on replying to comments–hopefully that will be fixed by the end of this week.

I apologize for dropping off the face of the, uh, blog for a while.  This has turned out to be an extremely demanding semester for me, academically.  Not that I didn’t expect it to be difficult, mind you–I’m an engineering major, my semesters are always difficult.  I wasn’t expecting to start feeling like I was already falling behind in the second week of school, though.
I’m finally getting into a place where I’m adjusting to the pace, but my life has been pretty chaotic for the last month and a half.

So, as far as major blog updates go:  OB and I are no longer seeing each other.  I realize this seems quite abrupt to many of my readers, given the nature of my last post about OB.  We hit quite a bit of turbulence in January, and just as we were getting that resolved, my intense school schedule forced me to take a step back and give myself a reality check in terms of my ability to juggle a romance and/or FWB situation and school and all the other things in my life I need to attend to right now (I’ll post more about the latter later).

I know that’s all a bit vague, but that’s all I’ll be publicly sharing on that matter, out of respect for my privacy and hers.

 

As I’m sure you can infer, this also means that I’m currently not interested in the dating scene, and I expect that to be the case for at least the next several months.  So, I apologize to my readers who are looking forward to more stories of my experiences in the butch-butch dating world–those are going to have to wait for just a bit.

I’ve had all sorts of blog ideas rolling around in my head for months now, and I’m hoping I can get to at least a few of them over the next month or two. Given my academic commitments, I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to post, but I’m hoping to post at least once a month from here on out.

Alright, folks, that’s all for now!

Resources for FAAB, Non-Male Identified People Who Want Top Surgery

This is a compilation of resources for female-assigned-at-birth (FAAB), non-male identified people who want top surgery.  This document will include a list of surgeons who are willing to perform top surgery on genderqueer/non-male-identified people, as well as a list of blogs of people who want top surgery or have had top surgery but are not male-identified.

This information has been collected from a variety of sources.  If there is something you see that needs to be added or corrected, please let me know.  I want to make this list as comprehensive as possible!

The re-bloggable, Tumblr version can be found here.  Please reblog it if you have a Tumblr – – I want this information to reach as many people as possible.

 

SURGEONS (Those who are italicized do NOT require a therapist’s letter)

 

THERAPISTS

  • Katy Koonce – Katy is willing to do phone sessions with and write letters for people all over the US.  Her contact information can be found here: http://katykoonce.com/contact.htm

 

YOUTUBES

TUMBLRS

 

OTHER

General Blog Update

Hey all,

My apologies for the extended absence.  I’ve been wicked busy with school for the last several weeks.  Thankfully, finals are now over and I can get back to writing (and, you know, sleeping).

So, I’m hoping to make a number of new posts over the next couple of weeks.  There are a lot of different topics I’ve been wanting to write about, so hopefully I can touch on at least a few before the next semester starts up.

Oh, and this blog has a very special new reader– OB!! 🙂

Alright, I’m afraid that’s it for now.   Hopefully I’ll have some new, substantial entries to post in the next couple of days!

Developments with OB: Installment 2

Well, here’s the part where I get to put my foot in my mouth.

About not being romantically compatible with someone significantly older than me, that is.

Last Friday, I went out to OB’s place, with the intention of staying there until roughly noon on Saturday. We wound up having such a great time together that I stayed until Sunday evening.

Can I take just a moment to praise amazing butches, y’all? Yes? Good.

I’ve never met anyone quite like OB. She’s just… incredibly down-to-earth, kind, and genuine. And on top of that, she’s amazing about things like consent, boundaries, and listening – – better than anyone I’ve ever been with, in any context. I won’t go into detail, because I could easily devote a blog entry to my feelings about the subject, but I will just say that this is a major change of pace from my last relationship.

A change of pace that I desperately needed.

Only time will tell where this thing is headed.  At this point, we’re just dating and taking it a day at a time.

All I know is that I sincerely hope that OB will be in my life for a long time to come, whether as a friend, a lover, or anything else.

Developments with OB: Installment 1

Alright, you guys.

Full disclosure: this is not going to be a particularly well-written or coherent entry.  Not because I’m under the influence of anything, but because I can’t help but be ridiculously preoccupied with a new development in my life: the prospect of a friends with benefits arrangement with OB.

OB and I have been talking via facebook messages for the last couple of weeks, and agreed that there’s definitely an attraction there.  The age difference is too much for me in terms of pursuing something romantic, and I’ve been upfront with her about that, and she’s totally cool with that.  It’s been a huge relief to me to talk to someone who’s just so remarkably straightforward and honest about things.  As a result, we’ve been able to talk really openly about our boundaries, comfort levels, and thoughts about where all of this is going.  It turns out that neither of us is looking for anything serious, and we’re both comfortable with the idea of having a FWB arrangement, as long as we can both agree to continue to communicate often and honestly about what we’re feeling as we go along.

Okay.  I’ve been decently coherent up to this point, but that’s gonna end riiiight arooound…. here.





OH MY GOD, YOU GUYS.  The only thing I have been thinking about since this was established is OB pushing me up against a wall and kissing me.

Like… seriously, I feel like I am 15, trying to deal with my first crush.  I can’t. stop. thinking. about. it.



This is just getting ridiculous.

I was sitting in a coffee shop tonight, working on some physiology homework.  I was scanning over paragraphs in the book, trying to find something in particular, when I realized I was smirking and biting my lip… and not taking in a single word I was reading.  WOOPS, NOT THINKING ABOUT KIDNEYS. STILL THINKING ABOUT MAKING OUT WITH OB.





Shit.

I have been like this all week.  What happened to my calm and reserved nature?!

Anyways…we’re going to get together this weekend.  I’m really hoping that something happens.



Because seriously, guys, if it doesn’t… I don’t know how I’m ever going to get anything done again.

First Foray Into Dating Butches

So, I wound up going on my first date with a butch a couple of weeks ago.

Backstory:  I met an older butch (who will henceforth be referred to as OB) at a club a few weeks ago.  We both seemed to notice each other, and, long story short, she gave me her number before leaving with a friend.  I was both very caught off guard and flattered; I’ve always been under the impression that there’s a lot more butch-on-butch homophobia within the older lesbian community.  Anyways, we wound up texting back and forth, and I was upfront with her about my recent breakup and consequential lack of readiness for anything serious.

So, she wound up asking me to dinner, and I said yes.  I’m so glad I did, because I had a really great time with her.  I did realize that I didn’t feel romantically compatible with someone that much older than me, but we still had a really nice dinner. She’s hilarious and down to earth and just very, very fun to be around.  I really enjoy her company, and I think we’re going to be good friends for some time to come.

I must say, that date was remarkably validating in terms of solidifying my attraction to butches.  Sometimes I forget how much little gender play or power play things can affect me.  I found it really hot that she was taking me out– paying for dinner and all that.  As someone who has really only dated femmes before, this was a new experience for me.  And even though the romantic compatibility factor wasn’t there, the dynamics of that date were hot.  Like, I-couldn’t-stop-thinking-about-it-for-days hot.

All I could think of afterwards is “Shit, how could it have possibly taken me this long to figure out that this is what I’m into?”

Coming Out to Myself as a Butch Fag

(Full disclosure: I’m borrowing a fair amount of this entry from a similar one I posted on my Tumblr.)

For the sake of brevity, I’m going to use “butch*” to mean butches, bois, studs, dykes, genderqueers, genderfucks,  etc.  I do not, by any means, think these identities are the same (though of course they can overlap!), I am just attracted to the masculinity in all of them.

Note: This entry contains talk of porn, top/bottom dynamics, stone butch identity, and penetration.  If you’re down with that, then read on, my friend. Read on.

Read the rest of this entry

Top Surgery, Disclosure, Dating

I had top surgery in May.  I’m not male identified, I’m just a butch who struggled with gender dysphoria.  If you want more discussion of my experience with top surgery, you’re welcome to check out my Tumblr.

Due to a recent breakup, I’m not ready to get back into the dating scene yet.  When I do, however, I’m not entirely sure how to handle the issue of disclosure.  I’m not really sure when I should disclose, or how.  Do I say outright “Oh, and by the way, I’ve had top surgery” or something simpler like “Just fyi, I’m pretty flat-chested. Hope that’s not a problem!”?  I just don’t know.

One of the biggest insecurities I’ve had to battle over the years is the fear that I will just be too complicated for anyone, that I’m just always going to be too butch, too genderqueer, too feminist, too involved in social justice issues, etc.  It’s a fear that no one will ever really appreciate qualities that I hold near and dear to my heart– a fear that, at best, they will just tolerate them.

And you know what?  I don’t fucking want tolerance.  I can accept tolerance from my parents, who I know may just never evolve past that point.  But not in a partner.  Not in someone who’s supposed to love me for who I am, not in spite of it.

So, here’s my public proclamation to accept nothing short of the appreciation I deserve from this point forward.