10 August 2012 @ 03:06 am
sitting in front of my computer holding an ice pack to my mouth because i got my wisdom teeth removed yesterday. it's not like EXCRUCIATINGLY PAINFUL or anything, but it's just constantly noticeable and really distracting, kind of like when you need to pee but not all that much but still just enough that you can't stop noticing that you need to pee, except instead of needing to pee it's ACHING PAIN and you CAN'T PEE IT OUT.

anyway, i am back because i dug up my old marble journal a few days ago while trying to inventory my things so that i can figure out how to pack enough stuff for half a year in denmark while still being under the 20 kg luggage limit WHAT THE HELL THAI AIRLINES. and i looked at it and realized i haven't been writing anything here OR there which is really frustrating because i have been having THOUGHTS A LOT???

so i'm currently experimenting with living in taipei for two months as female. (ALSO I HAVE BEEN IN TAIPEI FOR THE PAST MONTH AND A HALF??? i am so terrible at this aaaaaa) this is sort of in response to my two months in japan last summer as male, which MIGHT HAVE MESSED ME UP A BIT (maybe psychologically but also practically as i may or may not explain at some point later or in another post or something) but also helped me see a lot of things more clearly and work out a lot of stuff so i figured it might be worth trying to try living as female again and see how i take it. [*]

[*] by living as male, i mean that i was read as male by my host family and most of my classmates, i used male facilities and pronouns, and in general attempted to present myself as male (binding, speaking in a lower pitch, using masculine forms of speech when speaking in japanese, etc). i did not explicitly call myself male, but all unofficial documents labeled me as such. by living as female, i mean that most people are unaware that i do not identify as female, i use female facilities and pronouns, i go by my relatively feminine chinese name, and while i've still been wearing the same clothes as always i have not been binding. i have not explicitly called myself female, but all official and unofficial documents label me as such.

during the conversation with my parents mentioned in the previous post, my mom expressed concern that i'd been "tricking" those i'd met in japan by allowing myself to be perceived as male. i sort of tried to explain stealth-shaming and how binary-identified trans* people living as their identified gender are not tricking anybody in the same way that cis people living as their identified gender are not tricking anybody. I JUST WANTED THEM TO UNDERSTAND sdkjflhs but while this doesn't quite apply to me, neither can i actually present as my actual gender because most people aren't even aware that it exists. so no matter what i do, i suppose i'm "tricking" people in some way?

and yeah, that DOES make me uncomfortable, actually. but it's not like i can go up to everyone i meet and be like HI I'M JESSIE AND BY THE WAY I'M NOT A BOY OR A GIRL THANKS FOR ASKING NICE TO MEET YOU.

but to her, "pretending" to be female wouldn't be nearly as bad as "pretending" to be male, because y'know, i have a vagina and all that girlstuff. to her, i wouldn't actually be tricking anyone. i mentioned my discomfort with not being completely honest with my host family last summer, and she perceived that as my "understanding" that there is something wrong with "pretending" to be male. but actually, now that i'm "pretending" to be female, i sort of do feel a bit of the same fakeness, but in a less stressful way?? (THERE ARE SO MANY QUOTATION MARKS IN THIS PARAGRAPH.)

a common image of the deceptive transsexual depicts them as taking a perverse pleasure in tricking people. and to be honest, while i wouldn't quite put it in those terms, i'm probably closer to that right now than i would be if i was presenting as male. as male, my reaction to people is more one of nervousness, that they may realize i'm not maab. as female, i can use the women's restroom and do women things and all that and pretty much nobody will ever realize i'm not a woman unless i tell them. so if it IS trickery, it's more successful trickery, i suppose. which allows me to be a bit more relaxed, and possibly even lets me gloat about the fact that i'm "passing" so well. i'm still constantly aware that i'm not female, but i don't actually feel any dysphoria or anything.

so if i'm able to handle living as female so well, why don't i just do that? while i may not be, it's certainly easier on me legally and socially. if i'm able to access cis privilege by pretending to be cis, should i? do i even want to?

in the beginning i think i basically identified as male for quite some time, but now that i've mulled over genderthings for quite a few years now (seriously, i just want to figure this stuff out and be done with it and move on to thinking about more exciting things augh), i think my identity is becoming increasingly fluid and ambiguous and also more politicized. if i wanted to, i could probably get by living as female without significant distress about being perceived as female. i could probably even choose to identify as female. if i wanted to, i could probably start taking testosterone and physically transition and get by living as male without significant distress about being perceived as male. i could probably even choose to identify as male. but i do need this, in some way. i need people to know i exist, the way i am, and that this is a legitimate existence, and so i choose to identify the way i do.

which is WEIRD because i'm not really that into debating gender or explaining gender theory to people and i've always kind of wished i could be androgynous without people noticing or without drawing attention to my androgyny? BASICALLY I JUST WANT TO BE ME WITHOUT HAVING TO POLITICIZE MY IDENTITY, BUT IN ORDER FOR THAT TO HAPPEN I NEED TO POLITICIZE MY IDENTITY.

kjdsghsdg DOES THAT MAKE SENSE i am figuring out most of this as i write and i will probably look back at it later and realize that it was ALL A LIE.
location: Taiwan, Taipei
mood: contemplative
8 | +
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[identity profile] moonloop.livejournal.com on August 10th, 2012 12:03 am (UTC)
I think you should do what really makes you feel like you, whatever gender you may associate yourself with. I think you're really, really brave to do what you have done to try and figure out who you really are and it's a really great journey to discover your true self. Maybe once you find which gender to associate with, or just choose between both whenever you feel like, you can lessen the stress somewhat. :D And I hope your mouth heals well because wisdom teeth surgery really does hurt. I'd rather keep the teeth than go through that kind of pain.
[identity profile] pyrotol.livejournal.com on August 14th, 2012 04:16 pm (UTC)
thanks! :) yeah, i always figured i could just do whatever seems right to me, but sometimes there just aren't enough options... so i guess i'm just exploring what's available and trying to see what works best out of all the choices i have, haha.

and hnnnngh yeah i wish i didn't have to bother, but one of them impacted and it'd been starting to hurt so i had to get it out before it got worse. :(
[identity profile] moonloop.livejournal.com on August 14th, 2012 08:31 pm (UTC)
Well, that's kind of what I did when it came to figuring out my sexuality. I ended up trying out a lot of things because people were always telling me this or that. Some told me I was broken or had to go see a doctor, so I ended up seeing a doctor about my hormones and stuff. That came back as normal, so it wasn't that. I ended up actually having sex (because everyone was like "you don't know until you try" and yadda pressure) before I knew it just wasn't for me. I felt absolutely nothing whilst doing it, even though it was with someone I really loved.

I'm so happy with myself now for figuring out my identity and even though your situation is gender, just the same process of finding out who you are and being happy with it is really rewarding.

There are a lot of options out there and just finding what's right for you is part of the fun I think. :D I couldn't try living as a guy since my breasts are too big even for binding and it's too painful. I had somewhat of a gender crisis at one time but it passed. That was a phase I think (for me). I'll just stick with being female even though I absolutely hate it at times. (periods, baby oven, etc lmao)
[identity profile] pyrotol.livejournal.com on August 21st, 2012 06:26 pm (UTC)
for sure! that's awesome that you took the time to figure that out about yourself. :D it's definitely interesting, and i'm definitely appreciating the journey since it's opened my own mind to other people and their variety of identities. but to be honest, at the same time i really just want to find something that works, more for practical reasons of like... what to circle on forms or what bathroom to use. :|

like i think if i were able to pick one and be confident in it, i wouldn't even feel the need to bind all the time because the point would be that biological attributes typically assigned to one gender actually aren't necessarily tied to gender, so having breasts wouldn't make me any more or less of whatever gender i'd choose to be. though i guess that doesn't work for everyone but that's the way i would prefer to view my gender? if i could just pick one aaaaaaa

but yeah no matter what i end up doing, i do think there is a lot of value in just questioning and examining one's identity, even with all the stress it brings.
[identity profile] inquisitory.livejournal.com on August 11th, 2012 05:51 am (UTC)
JESSIEEE high five on the wisdom teeth! I also had mine taken out last Thursday and I totally get you on the ever-present, distracting-but-not-awful pain. I hope the swelling goes down and we can both enjoy legit food again soon!

Totally agreed with [livejournal.com profile] moonloop on everything, and I think you're handling this really well by exploring your options and thinking it through as thoroughly as you have. As frustrating as it may be, from what I understand, it doesn't seem like there is a shortcut to finding your ideal personal identity aside from continuing to experiment with how you present yourself and finding out what makes you most comfortable. Here's hoping you can find a balance that works for you :)
[identity profile] pyrotol.livejournal.com on August 14th, 2012 04:24 pm (UTC)
WHOOOOO! though actually because of my limited diet i discovered this really really tasty oatmeal drink thing that i can't stop drinking, omg. so that's the good side of it i guess dflkjhgsd

yeah i realized that i'm pretty lucky in that i've been finding all these opportunities to experiment with myself and try living as someone else for a short-but-not-too-short amount of time, which is pretty neat and helpful but also crazy and sort of disorienting... :P sometimes i think it would be kind of fun to just reinvent myself every few months or so and then i wouldn't have to worry about any sort of core identity, haha. but yeah thanks for your support!!! ♥
[identity profile] thrives.livejournal.com on August 12th, 2012 03:51 pm (UTC)
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa that all sounds so stressful. I'm glad that while I've always IDed as somewhere in between, I've never felt pressure to really conform to either side.

anyway I like you and I hope things work out for you and your gender stuff. I still have the picture you drew of me at AB a couple years back sitting out in my living room because I like it so much. <3
[identity profile] pyrotol.livejournal.com on August 14th, 2012 04:34 pm (UTC)
SOB yeah i think my issue is that i identify more strongly as ambiguous/fluid/i-don't-know-exactly-but-something-queerish so unless i decide beforehand "I'M GOING TO BE MALE TODAY" or something, daily things like picking bathrooms or filling out forms cause me a lot of stress because CHOICES. D: judging from the past month or so, i know i have the ability to just PICK ONE and then NO MORE STRESS, but i'm like... AFRAID OF COMMITMENT??? TO MY GENDER hahahaha. i think there's also just the fact that i don't want to need to pick one because fuck the binary wooo, but i sort of need to pick one to do a lot of daily things like i mentioned.

bawwwwww i like you too! ♥♥♥ ahahaha i remember that picture! i'm glad you still like it~