Yesterday I had a bad headache/migraine, so, almost last minute, I decided that it would be worth my time and energy to go get a massage. I am so glad that I did. I’m usually a little nervous with masculinely presenting massage therapists, but this guy really had the knack and was super appropriate. We chatted a little bit during the massage – figuring out pressure and good spots and talking about the benefits of massage and relaxation in general. He really met my mood – I had been thinking of massage as part of the very old idea of laying on of hands as a healing technique, and he very much had the healer feel to him. He beat the living crap out of my muscles (just as hard as I like it and as I find effective – I often have a problem with massage therapists who can’t maintain a constant deep pressure) and it felt so good. The greatest part was that he managed to get my neck muscles (trapezius, I think?) to soften up. That is super rare – I think only one other person has managed that before. Andy today, they’re still softer and very relaxed, which is some sort of miracle.
I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts this afternoon as I was driving and they were talking about expanding sexual orientation in relation/response to non-monogamy. The idea came up about not being queer enough to claim queer. My first response is to call bullshit on this, but I know that I have internalized a lot of the “not enough” bullshit.
I do not feel “queer/bi enough” because I am currently a Kinsey 2. I have a female partner who I have sex with, and might be interested in having sex with another female partner, but am otherwise not really interested in pursuing any other women. In the past a great majority of my relationships have been with male or AMAB people. Am I queer enough?
I sometimes do not feel “poly enough” because my saturation point is fairly low and in the past I have chosen to only have one partner when I was not mentally stable. In that particular case I began doubting myself – not my identity, but myself, as being poly is rather central to being me – because I was not sure I would ever fall in love again. Fortunately, that did not end up being the case. But that still remains in the back corner of my head (more quiet than not these days). I am not loud and proud about being poly, but don’t make much effort to keep it any bit of a secret. Am I poly enough?
I sometimes do not feel “genderqueer/genderfluid/non-binary gendered enough” to claim that identity or to claim being transgender. I tend to look lazy femme or just tomboyish in my presentation. My dysphoria only flares up occasionally. I do not have any issues with how my genitals look or work or the fact that I have visible breasts and other curves that may not be easily disguisable. I strongly prefer they/them pronouns, but am willing to accept she/her in some contexts. I am not out about this identity to anyone except friends. Am I trans/NB enough?
I sometimes don’t feel “mentally ill or neurodivergent enough” to claim those. My depression is cyclical and my anxiety is, in at least half of cases, controlled enough not to show. Yes, I have sensory processing issues, but those tend to just come across as being a little weird to most people. My ADHD is moderately well managed and also just tends to come across as a bit odd or flighty when not. Am I mentally ill/neurodivergent enough?
I sometimes don’t feel “physically ill” or in pain enough to claim being a spoonie. But the truth is – I have an autoimmune condition that I will have to take medication for for the rest of my life and does have an effect on my energy levels. However, that’s under control and my migraines have mostly abated. My joint pain is getting worse and I’m starting to think it might be something other than the barometric pressure shifts to that pain (the remaining migraines are definitely just that though). My pain levels do affect my energy levels. Yes, there are many people who have it worse. It is hard to remember that my pain is also valid. Am I physically ill enough to be a spoonie?
Am I enough of a partner for my partners? The idea that I was defective because I was not the only partner a partner has, that they were looking for someone else because I am not enough never was an issue for me. Instead it is a matter of other measures. Am I available enough, physically or mentally? Am I stable enough (physically and mentally) to be in a relationship with them? Am I pretty enough to keep their attention? Am I satisfying enough in bed for them to still want to sleep with me? Can we build enough of a relationship to weather the years (can I contribute enough to the relationship to this building), if that is indeed something we want?
Am I enough? To myself I can be, that I know. And I am very glad that I am at a point in my life where this matters most. It was not easy getting here and sometimes I slip back into old thoughts.
I am behind on these – fortunately, my goal was for the number of posts to line up with the number of days in the month, so I’m only really behind on number of posts rather than days. I chose to do it that way because I knew this would happen – it has the last couple times I’ve attempted to do something similar. So, it is what it is.
CN: self-talk (both positive and negative)
I find it hard to accept feminity in myself.
I had it forced on me as a child: pink frilly dresses, cute hair, adorable little shoes, be ladylike…the works. This made me so uncomfortable that I went the other way when I had a measure of control over my own clothing and style choices: jeans, baggy shirts, short hair, no makeup, and eventually, lots and lots of piercings.
Through exposure to femmes in my adult years I have come to appreciate the wide variety of femme expression and play around with it myself. I still don’t really do makeup (except for the occasional mascara and lipstick). But dresses no longer feel like drag (except when I’m in the middle of a bout of gender dysphoria, where I revert to tomboy all the time and don’t really feel comfortable in any clothing, but baggy stuff is the least offensive). And I usually wear a skirt at least once a week.
But society puts down and degredates the feminine. It reduces femmes to lesser than, to the least optimal expression, to the weaker people. And that can be deeply ingrained. Trying to pick it out and throw it out is quite a challenge. I don’t think I can be ever truly comfortable in any gender expression until I do extricate myself from these trash ideas. I want to be able to claim my gender expression and identity outside the binary, with full knowledge and acceptance of all options for expression available to me.
So, for now, I think I’m going with femme-ish, or leaning slightly femme of center for those days that I am feeling feminine and butch-ish, or leaning slightly masculine of center for the days I’m feeling masculine. In general, I am, as I have often chosen to describe myself – center of center.
NaNoWriMo time again! And, as I often do, I’m going to use this month to encourage myself to write more. My goal is to write every day this month. Wish me luck!
For today’s writing, I think I want to touch on the importance of choosing and following your own path.
On my dad’s side I come from a long line of people who were trained as engineers – both of my grandparents, my aunt, and my father all are/were trained as engineers (my grandmother didn’t get to use it much, due to spending time raising her kids). So, suffice to say, both my sister and I got pressure to go in that direction as well. But, here’s the thing…neither of us did.
And I think we’re both the happier for that. We both chose fields that interested us, that excited us intellectually.
If I had followed my father’s path, at least career wise, I would have been miserable. Mathematics and design never excited me like they did him, his sister, and my grandparents.
I chose and continue to choose based on the idea that I want to maximize my happiness first, generally. I only have a limited time on this planet – why choose something that will make me less than happy? Granted, sometimes depression gets in the way of this, obscures my path and obscures even the meaning of happiness.
I choose relationships with multiple people because, a great majority of the time, it makes me happy. I choose to stay at my job, even though it doesn’t pay super well, because, overall, it makes me happy. I choose to medicate my seasonal depression and ADHD, so I can see through the obscuring veil that depression and distractions can place on happiness. I choose to work on my emotions, to learn how to process how I’m feeling because, I know that it gives me more opportunities for happiness.
If I had gone the path that my parents had, I wouldn’t have had the chance to explore my joy.