Sunday, April 10, 2022

Gender Sponge

 I am fairly sure many of you, similar to me, have spent days, weeks, months or even years attempting to figure out all the ins and outs (no pun intended)  of being the opposite binary gender. The one we always  desired to become a part of.

How did this all begin? With me it all began with a fascination with my Mom's clothes and makeup. For some reason in a male dominated household, I was able to watch Mom transform herself with makeup. It all translated into trying on her clothes and using her makeup when I was by myself. While other boys my age were out terrorizing each other, or the world, I was at home doing my best to look like a girl.

After a Mary Kay makeover
Jessie Hart Collection

All of this carried over to school. When I couldn't help but focus on the girls in my age group, I had to really focus hard to bring home reasonably good grades. After all I was desperately trying to assume a gender life I increasingly didn't want.  In the meantime I kept the bullies away by focusing on traditional male activities such as sports and cars.

Through it all I put all girls up on a pedestal. I was so envious of their lives. All of it. Their clothes were a start but one which wouldn't last forever. I became a gender sponge, from afar I did my best to immerse myself in everything feminine. Everything from how girls huddled to how they seemed to all talk at once. The frustrating part of it all was the fact I couldn't climb the gender pedestal myself. Little did I know I was just paying my dues. Eventually I would have a chance to live as a transgender woman full time.

Ironically, everytime I thought I had learned enough or paid enough dues to play in the girls sandbox I learned I was only just beginning. I had to be even a better gender sponge. A prime example came about when my wife called me a terrible woman. For the longest time, I didn't know exactly what she meant. What about all those years I invested on observing everything feminine, how girls dressed, how they moved. The truth was, my wife was right, my woman gender training was far from complete.   It turned out her comment about me was concluded with a comment saying she wasn't talking about my appearance. From that point forward I dedicated myself to learning what she meant.

Unfortunately I didn't learn until after she passed away when I was able to attempt to exist fulltime in a feminine world and finally leave my false male self behind. 

The first of many powerful lessons I learned came from when I began to learn to communicate with other women as my new authentic self. It was one of the things I wasn't allowed to be part of when I was attempting to live as both genders. I quickly learned cis women mean what they say. It's also true they say it differently which is lost on most men. One of the most flattering encounters I happened upon was when other cis women would ask me questions about their spouses and/or boyfriends. One of the powerful benefits of being transgender became using the knowledge I learned from being forced to live as a guy to help others. It's a shame more of the public isn't motivated to take advantage of trans women and men instead of fearing us. 

Possibly the second of the major lessons I learned involved the loss of white male privilege I encountered. Quickly I found how difficult it was for women to be recognized in many circles and how all of the sudden I had to be very cognizant of my surroundings. 

Finally, for this post, was the lessons I learned from other women regarding passive versus direct aggression. Many times I felt I was accepted as s transgender woman only to be stabbed in the back by another woman. With a smile on her face.

The more I learned, the more I tried to be a better, more complete gender sponge. It's been a long journey from my days of watching Mom and her makeup. 

 

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