Taking (Another) Break.

I’ve been on the same dating website on and off for about six years now. I’ve been on my fair share of dates, but nothing’s ever amounted from them. I got pressured into giving a guy a handjob when I was 18, and that’s really the highlight.

Which is pretty sad.

Then came tinder. I’m pretty sure, if my memory is correct (which, to be fair, it is often not), I’ve only met two people from tinder–that guy I met who drove me to the res (which I wrote a blog post about last year), and a person who I fell for but ended up just wanting to be friends with me (and that’s where we are today).

I was talking with this friend recently about the frustrations I’ve been having, and she’s been having many similar ones. She has come to the conclusion that she is unlovable—while I tried to argue with her on this, I see where she’s coming from. If it hasn’t happened already, it probably never will happen, and probability and simple logic lead her to believe that she is the common factor, so it must be her.

I’m paraphrasing here, but you get the idea.

I’ve spent years trying not to believe those exact thoughts. I’ve spent my entire young adult life holding onto this hope that someday I will find someone. And I’m not even asking for a long-term partner or a soulmate–I’m merely asking for someone to show me a little bit what it’s like to be romanced, to be loved, to have a good time, to have something special with someone, even if for a while.

But, it seems highly unlikely.

Last night I checked Tinder and, lo and behold, the guy who I had talked with at the bar for a little while who I also matched with on the app, unmatched with me.

Now, this really isn’t a big deal. But I was still befuddled. Any number of reasons could have caused this unmatching, but damn, you’d think, Hey, we’ve already talked, sliding into this online conversation will be a lot easier.

But I don’t think people on tinder are that serious. Tinder is game. It’s an ego-boosting app, and that’s usually the end of it.

So I deleted all my “dating apps.” Because my friend may be right–it may be time to give up the ghost. It may be time to just try and accept being alone. Sure, I’ve tried before, but I was younger then, and now that I’m 23 with a pretty solid understanding of myself, maybe it’s time.

The reality is, not everyone meets somebody else. And it seems like that’s probably my reality.

Withdrawing.

Another night of feeling invalidated, feeling alone. Sure, have another one of my cigarettes. Tell me all about your plans for the future. A friend of a friend comes to the table, reluctant to sit down (later I learn about his transphobic and homophobic nature, it’s no wonder he didn’t want to sit with us, we probably reek of queerness). My friend starts to introduce us to him and I interrupt by blurting, half-drunk, “He doesn’t care” and am I wrong?

My mood fluctuated from cackling in the passenger seat of my best friend’s car about how we didn’t even want to go to this stupid thing to sulking, slumped, drinking a two-dollar Shock Top and smoking a Seneca, texting my best friend, “Sorry, I’m depressed.”

And then the sex talk begins and I just want to smash that beer glass into my face.

I’m mad at everyone and I have no right to be. I’m just crashing back and forth and the rage from my disorder is erupting within me at random points. Something as small as a facial expression or the positioning of a limb or how this new guy sounds like every other boring fucking white kid on the planet is enough to trigger me.

Two beers down and I’m drunk, in part due to exhaustion, in part due to an empty stomach. We get up to leave. My friend (who we came to see at this shitty sports bar) asks, pleadingly, pathetically, “You can’t stay for five more minutes?” and I growl back, “No.”

Let’s fast forward to the next night. Riled up yet devoid of all energy–how it’s possible, I’m not sure. I binge eat and go from dancing on my patio to The Weeknd to sitting on my bed (with this terrible pain in my neck), totally exhausted but resisting sleep, listening to Radiohead. What a turn of events.

I have plans for tomorrow morning but I’m honestly not sure if I’ll be able to wake up in time. Waking up has been a struggle.

Also, those deep feelings of sexual repulsion have still been happening to me. I thought they would subside, but I guess not. But that’s just another thing for the people around me to not take seriously.

Should I stay for five more minutes?

I’m Not Rejecting My Femininity, I’m Embracing My Masculinity.

I think the first time I encountered the word “genderfluid” was on tumblr sometime in early 2015, probably around the same time, give or take, as many other queer people encountered it, as well as terms like “non-binary,” “genderqueer,” etc.

I remember thinking, Huh. That sounds a lot like me.

My story isn’t one of those stories you often hear–where someone feels “different” their whole life, gravitates to things outside of the norm, feels alienated because of their struggle with their gender identity and can’t form it into words because they don’t possess the proper terms.

That’s the beauty of the internet. There are thousands of resources for queer people, young and old alike, to bring us some solace. When I first saw the word “genderfluid,” something in me clicked, and I accepted myself as a non-binary person for the first time.

Like I said, my story isn’t that typical. I liked Barbie as a kid. Well, I actually loved Barbie as a kid. I loved dressing up in heels and makeup and tutus. I was a pretty typical girl (god, that word rubs me the wrong way, but I’ll use it in this context). As I got older I definitely gravitated away from the typically feminine, but still remained in the realm of femininity. By high school, though, I had inadvertently achieved a level of androgyny. This androgyny waned and waxed through the years. When I first started college in 2012 I felt more feminine and presented fairly feminine, although I still had a preference for men’s t-shirts (something that I’ll never get tired of).

Still, wearing skirts and dresses, something I did fairly often for my various jobs, felt…foreign. Sometimes I felt good about it, don’t get me wrong. But there was still an insecurity, and it was an insecurity that was more than just, I don’t like my body. It was an insecurity I wasn’t even aware was possible, because, like most people, I learned about gender only in binaries (however, I have to give some credit to my parents, since they let me play with dinosaurs and guns and swords and that is, sadly, not something a lot of parents would let their female-born children do, even now).

So this takes us to some time in 2015. Suddenly I was immersed in a colorful world of queerness. These gender identities and constructs that were being broken down were new to me, and I was excited about it. I met my first non-binary person, other than myself, in the summer of 2015, and although we didn’t talk much about it, it was validating to know that there was someone in my vicinity who felt similar.

Perhaps I should mention my friends. How did they handle this? Well, they didn’t really have to. I had always referred to myself in masculine ways (as well as feminine ways), and me being off the binary wasn’t an issue for them. I think, in its own superficial way, my aesthetic of androgyny helped them to understand it too. But please, let me make note and say that not all non-binary people are the same, and not all of them have to be androgynous.

I’ve gone through a bit of an evolution over the past year, in particular, with my gender. I increasingly moved away from┬ástereotypically “feminine” clothing, pronouns, roles, and personality traits. Especially in the past year, every time I tried to wear a skirt or dress, I just felt off. I love the look of dresses but actually wearing one? I’ve learned that it’s not my thing. I even started wearing men’s underwear, and to be honest, when I first put on a pair of boxer briefs, I felt sexy for the first time in…maybe ever? Makeup is one “feminine” thing I still partake in and still enjoy, so I have this juxtaposition of a feminine face with a more masculine appearance from the neck down.

Which brings me to the struggle of trying to find people to date. It’s certainly been a struggle for me–straight men aren’t attracted to me (and honestly, I could go the rest of my life without encountering a straight cis man and be fine, but they still make up 99 percent of the population on Tinder), since I’m always seen as “one of the guys.” Which, don’t get me wrong, is super fun, and I have some privilege in that I don’t have to deal with sexual harassment, my male friends making passes at me, or having to wonder if they’re only using me for sex. But still, when you’re interested in one of your male friends and you know they only view you as one of the bros to get down with, you have less opportunity.

So, straight men aren’t attracted to me. That’s about half the population already. As for women, I’m honestly not sure what they think of me other than perhaps I can be a fun thing to play around with. But that’s only for women I personally know. The other women, on tinder and Ok Cupid, seem to already be in relationships, or looking for only cis lesbians, not, well, queer people. I have noticed that the women I do attract tend to be the princess types, which makes sense since I’m a dominant, independent, and masculine person, but they’re just not my type.

I’ve had this internal battle for a long time with comparing myself to other people. I take pride in the fact that I’m non-binary (and actually lean closer to the male side than female), but I know that I stick out in a negative way sometimes because while I look “female,” I don’t present as feminine–and society does not like that. But I digress.

Recently I’ve even struggled with dysphoria, and that’s something I didn’t realize non-binary people could experience until I scoured the internet. It’s especially bad with my chest–my breasts (hate that word in reference to myself, too) feel foreign to me. But there’s also not a clear solution. I don’t necessarily want top surgery, but I don’t like having them around either, so I wear sports bras to minimize them.

These terms and gender identities are not new. For example, for a very long time, many Native American tribes have acknowledged more than one gender, and they view these “Two Spirit” people as gifted, not flawed. So before someone says that this is just a trend of the Millennials–I can assure you that it is not. It’s just that more and more people are having experiences and talking about them so that more resources are available.

It’s hard to explain being non-binary to a cis person. It’s just a feeling. It’s a gut feeling. It’s something you feel in the core of your being. It’s frustrating because I want people to understand, but I also need to accept that most of them will not.

Because I like men’s clothing doesn’t mean I’m necessarily non-binary, but for my own personal identity, it allows me to express my gender in the way that I want. Gender is a performance, and gender is a feeling. To think that there are only two things you can be in this world is thinking way too small and way too limited.

So, yes, I’m non-binary. And it took me some time to get here. And my gender identity always has the potential to change, as does everyone else’s–no one experiences gender in the exact same way. We’re all on the spectrum–it’s just that maybe you haven’t seen it that way