A couple of weeks ago, I took four days off from work and headed into London for some exploratory adventures. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Of course, this was all presenting as Tanya. From leaving home to arriving in the hotel to coming home again a few days later.
I had a great time. It was not as relaxing as I hoped it would be; as me being me, I don't do relaxing very well. For example, one day I walked 12 miles according to my phone stats. I caught up with a couple of friends, explored a few places I hadn't visited for some time. Just felt free, safe and that I belonged. Totally the opposite from my first visit to the USA back in July. Where, although I was presenting as male the whole time, I felt very out of place, limited in my movements and very vulnerable. Maybe that could be something I should note and come back to in a future article.
For those few days, I was Tanya. I did not take any male clothes and did not feel out of place or male. I was a woman in London enjoying all the city could offer.
I had to return to work on the Friday. Obviously in male mode. It felt very, very weird to be there presenting as him and not her. Which is very unusual for me as, firstly, I usually get fed up of the effort of presenting as female after a few days; and secondly, once back in male mode after a girl time, it just feels right knowing that I've switched boxes again. That Friday, I really missed wearing my boobs; kept touching my chest during the day because I felt that they should *be* there. Also the feel of the clothes and shoes felt wrong. Misplaced. It was very bizarre and, I think, was the first time I had ever felt that way at work.
Getting onto the fluctuations. I know I am not alone in feeling out of place when presenting as an element of gender. Sometimes I don't feel right when presenting as male. Sometimes I don't feel right when presenting as female. Sometimes I don't feel right when presenting as non-binary/gender fluid/agendered.
It is this that niggles me at this moment. Frustrates me that I don't have the drive or the natural sense to be happy as a single entity. I understand it is a very, very difficult situation for those who feel they are 'in the wrong gender' but having to constantly chase your gender fluidity around and find the details to make one feel comfortable with the internal movement, emotion and the external presentation I believe is just as difficult, frustrating and, in a sense, dangerous. Today's society will generally accept men, women, trans or not. However, presenting in regular opposing genders or non-binary can be confusing for most people. Generally people like stability and not constant change. They like that knowledge there's a stake in the ground they can rely on and reference. For some of us, that doesn't work. We have our own stakes in the ground, but they may not relate to the gender we present or are expected to present.
Being winter as I write this, women can dress in a warm jacket, jeans and trainers and still look like women. Yet, when I dressed similarly the other day, I just did not feel feminine. I felt lost and vulnerable. And yet there are a few occasions when I am presenting as male and get taken as female. Happened in a local convenience store the other night. Twice. By two different people.
I regularly cycle with a ladies cycling group when I work from home on Wednesadays. Usually, I present as Tanya. But even if I present as my male self in the group, I can get treated as female by others outside of the group; cafe, shop staff, etc.
My usual male image (usually at work) now is hair blow dried straightened, stud earrings, nail varnish (quite often bright). Otherwise, dressed in shirt and trousers. I am now pushing this work presentation envelope a little by wearing women's trousers and shoes (although looking like normal brogues). I need to get new shirts and a couple more pairs of trousers. These will again come from women's clothing ranges.
I feel that I'm plugged into a number of aliases that are all still me from my perspective. The aliases change with the environment, with the people I engage with, with my outward presentation. I'm generally comfortable with this, but often the more comfortable I am, the more confused I can feel.
The questions. Not wanting to apply labels to myself or restrict myself to other peoples conformities, where does this leave me or even where does it place me now. Can I be brave enough to keep testing my feelings? Will my close society, my work environment, the outside world accept my need to experiment a little more? Will the manifestations merge to a much more manageable entity? As with much of this, it is not so much how we perceive ourselves but how others perceive us and our reaction to those perceptions.
I am feeling that this may be an opportunity to use that ubiquitous communication tool, Facebook, to tell others who may not be aware. I understand that that is a door that may never be closed again. But it could also be the door that may open many others.