in my intro post that i made around a week ago, i wrote a sentence that i was, first, afraid to write, and, then, afraid to publish. the sentence is at then end of the second paragraph of the post and reads, “i use they/them pronouns and (after struggling with my identity for over a year) identify as non-binary.” i kind of antagonized on whether or not i should write those words. yes, i’ve been contemplating this for a year, and yes i do tend to silently consider myself nb, and yes i do modify my appearance in certain ways in order to look androgynous or (more accurately) transmasc (binding, short hair, no shaving, etc). but even though i do all these things and present this way, the actual decision to say that out loud was and is still terrifying to me.
change is always scary for me. i do not look forward to it and when i am force into it i am dragged kicking and screaming. there are many ways that i wish my life was different, but i’ve come to learn that i am very prone to slipping into and remaining in the comfortable and the known. i think most of us are like this. i often find myself thinking well, my life isn’t great, but it could be worse. the fear of the unknown consequences of change scares me more than the changes themselves. what if i make the wrong decision and get stuck somewhere i don’t want to be? somewhere worse than this?
this is the dilemma i face when thinking about my gender identity. i don’t want to say something now and then take it back a year later. my answer to this recently has been what i stated above: present the way i want and don’t talk about it to anyone. i think a lot of us do this. i don’t think there’s anyone who has the “a-ha, i’m trans (or any other identity other than the assumed)” moment and then immediately is able to talk about it (maybe there is, and if you did…respect). i don’t think it’s a long term solution at all, but it’s how i’m treating it, and i don’t know when i’ll be able to tell my family or my childhood best friends that i’m non-binary. i have this vision of myself getting top surgery in five years and just being like “oh idk…just like the way it looks!” when i’m asked about it (this is not a good thing but i am writing about myself and i am not always good).
i read a new yorker article by joshua rothman recently, and in it, he wrote, “it might be easier if our biggest transformations were instantaneous because then we wouldn’t need to live in states of aspiration. certain of who we were, we’d never get stuck between selves.” the article examines decision-making processes and applies them to something i don’t particularly care about (deciding to have children/become a parent), but in it, rothman brings up quite a few good points about how much autonomy we really have over decisions we make, which is exemplified through that quote. to me, right now, as a non-confidant non-binary person, i feel as though i am in a state of aspiration (part of why i was afraid to write that sentence is i thought maybe i am not nb enough (another thing that i think a lot of people feel)). i feel like when i say that, i’m saying, “look! this is who i want to be!” instead of, “look! this is who i am!”
in real life, instant transformations are, of course, impossible. as much as we’d like to believe that we have the agency to be who we want to be, there are always circumstances that make this unreasonable and honestly, it can be dangerous. however, the only way we can know if a decision is the right one is to make it and live the consequences. these possible consequences can become daunting and ultimately scare us off from our goal and from what we had originally been so sure about. now, i’d like you to imagine we don’t live in the real world. the idea of instantaneous changes are so appealing because they get rid of the possibility of being scared off from who you think you are supposed to be. i constantly feel like i am stuck between selves and never quite feel like i’ve become anyone who i thought i’d be. it’s hard to feel like a real person when you’re never quite sure of anything.
maybe, to feel more human, i need to learn to become more comfortable with being uncomfortable and understand (not just know) that life really can’t be lived fully if it’s lived in fear. in paragraph three, i mentioned that i “don’t want to say something now and then take it back a year later.” i don’t think this is the right way to think about these kinds of things, because there’s no way to know if it’s right unless you do it. and if i do change my mind, then whatever. then it gets changed. i don’t claim to speak for anyone other than myself, and my mind changing about this shouldn’t negate the experiences of any other non binary person. all of this is so much easier written then felt, though.
i wish i had a definitive conclusion, but i rarely do. it’s so hard to know what is right, to know what is good for you, and to know what is good for everyone else. and once you know, it’s even harder to act on it sometimes. and unfortunately, the only way to move forward in life is to make hard decisions, and live your life the way you think is right for you now, and hopefully will be right for you in the future.