Another Buddy monologue, a bit from the novel-in-progress:

I had become unsure of my place in the world.  Was I a woman who looked like a man and felt like one sometimes?  Was I a man trapped in a woman’s body?  Was I a lesbian if I found myself sometimes lusting after some of the trans men and gay boys I saw at the clubs?  Was I a faggot if I enjoyed pussy?

This was an acute internal turmoil that brushed up against the outside world all too often.  I’d startle when someone called me ‘ma’am’.  I’d see notices about women’s events and feel envy, because it looked like it would be fun, but not feeling like I belonged at those gatherings anymore.  I found myself drawn to gay men even when I was sure they wouldn’t have a clue what to do with me.  I didn’t have a clue what to do with me.

I felt much more aware of my ‘otherness’ then those around me, that was pretty clear.  My friends continued to invite me to women’s events.  When I tried to explain why I was hesitant, they screwed up their eyebrows and shook their heads.  “You’re still female” they’d say but after a while I wondered if they were trying to reassure me, or convince me.

For my part, I wasn’t convinced of anything anymore.  Not my gender, not my sexuality, not my place in the community.  I wasn’t straight, that at least I was pretty sure of, even if my female bits wanted to interface with some bio-boy bits on occasion.  There were times when I felt paralyzed by this confusion, by my inability to choose.  Felt like a damned fool, like I was standing in the middle of the interstate with traffic whooshing by me.  Most folks around me seemed more than happy to let me choose, but when I’d consider having to land squarely on one side or another of these lines everyone was drawing, it got me all mixed up and angry inside.

I remembered, years before, being really put off by people who were androgynous, well put off and turned on, kind of equally.  It felt like they were taking liberties, like their self-appointed freedom to not choose to be one thing or the other was an affront to the rest of us.  Well, to me.  It bothered me that they were so confusing to figure out and that they didn’t seem to care.  Now I found myself in a similar place.  Were people looking at me, wondering what the heck I was, feeling confused and angry because I wouldn’t sort out into one of their neat mental piles?  Maybe the solution to my confusion and frustration over all this was to just not care.  What if I just went into the world and said “This is who I am.  I understand you might not know what I am, but I don’t care, because I do.  I am me.”

This wasn’t the kind of transition I could make overnight, it took a long while to settle into that feeling of empowerment, the idea that I didn’t have to ask permission, that I didn’t need a consensus in order to be myself.  It took some time and I still catch myself doing that math, the math that describes the distance I am from anything the people around me understand.  On my good days, I don’t care.  On my bad days… well, luckily that doesn’t happen all that often anymore.

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