A Thank You To Someone I Don’t Say Thank You To Enough

So I wanted to take a moment to thank my husband for being the best person I’ve ever met. I literally hated myself when I met him the summer after my 16 birthday, when I had just started writing about my struggles with mental illness and leaned heavily on my then boyfriend who was emotionally abusing me. I equated my value with what he (the now ex-boyfriend) thought of me. Which wasn’t very highly.

That summer, the two weekends I spent getting to really know Dusty, I realized what I had done. I realized that I was relying on a person who liked to hold me down, to pick me up. I left the guy not long afterward.

Fast forward to 2016. I was in need. I was broken inside and out. And the first person I thought of was you, Dusty. You were the first person I wanted to come and lift me up. And not in the sense that I had needed or wanted to be lifted up in the past. I didn’t want to rely on someone else to like myself. I didn’t want to equate my value with what someone else thought of me the way I always have. I just needed a friend who would listen and try to understand.

At no point did I realize that I would fall in love with you. Though I believe deep down I had always loved you. Everyone else seemed to see it already. But I didn’t. I wanted to believe my infatuation with you was because I wanted to be like you.

I don’t hate myself anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle sometimes. When I’m sick, I wonder why you put up with a chronically ill 20-year-old. The mirror still lies to me sometimes.

But I have the best hype man behind me, always telling me how amazing I look. Even when my hair is a mess and I haven’t showered in days. Even when I feel like my makeup turned out fucked up. When my makeup actually looks good, reminding me I don’t actually need the makeup but that it does look good, and not shaming me for wanting to wear it.

You’re always hyping me up. And you never hold me down. You’ve simply become that voice in the back of my head fighting away all those bad thoughts I have about myself. Even when you aren’t around I have that voice fighting for me.

And on my worst days, I realize that if someone as pure as you can see something in me worth loving in me, I can’t be as bad as the voices try to make me believe.

You’ve given me something I could never thank you enough for; confidence.

For years I tried to get it on my own. And I was making progress, I really was. But as I’ve said a million and one times in a million ways; support can make all the difference.

And more than anything, you let me be who I am, even when I don’t always know who I am. You always seem to know who I am, even when I feel lost and don’t seem to recognize myself.

Thank you, Dusty, for being my hype man. And loving me even when I don’t seem to love myself.

My Reality of Living Queer w/ Mental Illness

Hey y’all, it has been awhile. Honestly I don’t want to babble on with excuses of why I haven’t been writing or why I haven’t been that active on social media. Because you all don’t need excuses. Yet I feel this whole post is going to be a ramble of thoughts and excuses.

This is going to be a throw-back style post that will probably resemble the posts like I used to make on Courtney’s Voice.

There is so much going on in my life, and it feels so weird not to be able to share it with you all. This is my safe haven, but I can’t even talk about it here. I know a lot of people have been asking if I am ok and if my relationship is, and that’s a tough thing to answer. My partner and I are extremely happy together, there’s no like break up or anything. We’ve just been going through a lot of drama.

Which is why it has been so hard to sit down and write. My thoughts are clustered and I have been s

 

truggling so much the past few months to make sense of any of them. Depression has been getting the best of me too. Getting out of bed in the morning seems to take longer and longer each day.

I have so many things I want to do with this site, this community. But it is going to take time.

I will also be launching a beauty blog/youtube soon, which is something I have been wanting to do for years but alwaysconvinced myself that I am not attractive enough to do. The instagram attached to it (where you will be able to see updates) is @musingbeauty and lately it seems like its the only thing I have been able to be constant with.

So lets truly get into my reality of living queer with mental illness. 

Each day the light grows dimmer,
My inner voice grows weaker.
I want so badly to crawl through my own mouth,
to exist outside my own mind.

Thoughts rattle around,
overwhelming the scared person I am inside.
Voices, ones that aren’t my own,
echo the fears I already consumed every night.

My choices aren’t my own anymore,
they belong to the robot who walks around pretending to be me.
The actions of my body,
don’t reflect the feelings I have buried inside of me.

I often wonder what my headstone will read,
“Here lies the queer consumed by their own fears,
And rotted away while walking around pretending to be something,
They simply weren’t;
Fine.”

 

You Deserved It – A Bullying Story

Her eyes stare right into mine, I know she sees the way they plead for her not to, but she just laughs as her words spew out of her mouth like hot lava. Kids around me point and stare. And I can’t say a word. Mortified by the hatred that began to build in me. Hatred of myself.

Everyday brings new pains, as I continue to be the outlet of their childhood troubles. As if I didn’t have my own. And with every passing day, more and more of my self confidence melts away. I begin to believe the words that they always say. Ugly. Nerd. Dork. An outcast. But if only they knew what those words were doing to me inside. They never see the tears I cry as I sit alone on the floor, writing in my journal just how much I wish I could change to fit their needs. How much I hate myself.

Adults around me admire my beauty and all I can think, is how I wish they’d stop lying to me. The girls at school had told me the truth and the lies these adults sling at me only damage me more as I begin to lose touch with them at a time I need them the most. ‘Cause how can I trust someone who would lie to me.

Friends forever? Ha yeah right. I lost all my friends over night. Those who stuck around, didn’t seem to really care. They never said anything when the others tore me down. And I began losing trust in every one I loved.

Sixth grade comes and I start to have hope. New year and a new me.

But, that’s not what they see. They call me a baby, cause I don’t dress like them. How was I supposed to know that Areo was in? I watch back in silence as they judge the innocent. What could I say to possibly make a difference?

When I do stand up for the people like me, I take brutal beatings to the dignity with the words they throw at me.

Seventh grade comes, eighth and ninth.

But nothing changes. And the hatred continues to build. I’d rather kill myself then continuing on living this way. I’m too skinny, nothing but sticks and bones they say. I see them whisper to each other, point and stare, saying “Look it’s a walking skeleton.” But it’s not my fault, I just don’t have an appetite.

Every attempt I make to fit in, only seems to make them hate me more. But I can’t blame them. How could they like me when I don’t even like myself.

I smother myself in makeup, the way I see so many of the “popular” girls do. Yet, they call me fake, just for trying to fit in. I just want to be like them, so maybe they won’t hate me. Maybe, just maybe, I won’t hate myself.

Tenth grade comes. And I think for the last time, maybe it will be different this year.

But, her eyes stare straight into mine, I know she sees how they plead for her to stop, and she laughs as her words spew out like hot lava out of a volcano. Just as she is about to walk away, puts her hand against my face, pushes my head back into the locker door; whatever hope left in me broke that day.

What was left of me, slowly deteriorated. A few abusive relationships and  a guy becoming overly attached to me, but somehow I was still standing. But I completely faded away when she said “Ha you deserved it.”


This story was first shared a year ago today on my blog Courtney’s Voice. I was scrolling through Facebook early this morning and saw the memory for it pop up. And I felt the need to update it a little. Because this story continued in a way I have yet to share.


I stood face to face to with her, years after that moment. Emotions building up inside, but everything screams for me to run and hide.

She looks at me, as if maybe she remembers who I am.

I want to ask if she still thinks I deserved what that boy those years ago did to me, I want to ask if she still thinks of me as a tool to climb the ladder of popularity. Months before happening to run into her, I had gotten up the courage to add her as a friend on Facebook. More than anything, I was curious if she still treated people that way.

Her life looked the same really, and even though only 2 1/2 or 3 years had passed, I had only expected to see some change.

But that day, she looked at me, smirked to a friend, and continued on with her life.

One day I hope to tell her the impact she had on my life. That all that bullying, so much of it still not documented here because I simply can’t put it into words, and all that taunting only made me stronger. She broke me, but only for a few years.

Everything she and her friends did, helped me find my voice.

Now I know how to roar.

Binding 101: Safety Before Having A Binder

Chest binding IS possible without a binder.

Warning: Talk of breasts because god knows its sooo wrong to talk about those. Also, talk of self hate.

This is for all you out there who want to hide your all too obvious breasts. I have been there. Whether you are a trans man, or a gender neutral, or agender person and you just don’t want them to show because it’s too much of a reminder of what others see you as. Or maybe the mirror hates you as much as it hates me. Maybe it’s an inner struggle you just don’t want to battle all day everyday. This is for you.

When I was starting high school, I started developing breasts. I had been confused my whole life about my gender, and I had been dressing more neutral without even knowing. Being nonbinary, I don’t feel like a girl. And I have struggled with hating my breasts since I was a child and learned they were a huge part of the reason people saw others as a girl. The moment they started to truly form, my confusion and my self hatred grew to a point of almost having a breakdown. I looked for any way I could to hide my breasts.

And that’s when I heard of binding.

However, because I hadn’t come out, and I didn’t even know what to come out as, I didn’t know how to ask for a binder.

See, binding is in short, hiding your breasts.

When I learned of binding, a scene from a movie I had seen as a kid kept playing in my head. Now And Then, the movie I had seen, never really made a huge impression on me. Thinking back, the only scene I recall is the scene where a girl with long black hair was wrapping her chest with duct tape. At the time I didn’t know what she was doing. But even when I was younger I longed to do something like that. It just seemed fitting. I remember relating to the character and wanting to be seen as “one of the guys”, yet not wanting to be “one of the guys” at the same time.

So when my breasts started developing and I learned what binding was, this scene reentered my mind, and I was tempted to do the same. Dear god I am happy that I didn’t.

Later in life I learned that duct tape can actually damage your breasts tissue. It doesn’t move with your body the way that a binder should.

But, I know there are a lot of you out there who don’t know how to bind safely without having to buy a binder because I know a lot you haven’t come out yet. So I want to give you some tips on things you can do that may help you hide a little without hurting your body as well as some safety tips. These are all my personal opinions and what I have had some success with. There will be links to more sources that have great info on binding below. It is always better to buy a binder if you have the resources to.

DOS:

  1. Sports Bras. Here’s the thing, sports bras are designed to keep your breasts from bouncing as much when you run. Therefore they keep them more in place rather than normal bras that push them up more. They also move with your body, unlike duct tape.
  2. Camis. I know it seems basic, but get a cami that fits a bit loose. The extra layer of clothes can help your chest blend with your lower stomach.
  3. Loose fitting t-shirts. Basic again I know. Here is the thing, loose fitting t-shirts lay in a way that blends your body together. I usually get shirts that are a size to two sizes bigger, depending on how it fits. I usually go for longer ones because I can bunch them up over your belt and that adds a little fluff to the lower area and that helps camouflage the top.
  4. Jackets. During the fall and winter, try to stick to the looser fitting jackets and hoodies. Form fitting ones will show your breasts more. However, if you get some that are a bit form fitting, don’t zip them, that they they stay open and loose! Being open, they can also help camouflage your breasts.
  5. Drink lots of water. Wearing extra layers can make you over heat easily so be sure to drink plenty. Especially during the spring and summer.
  6. Always be safe.

DON’TS:

  1. Bind for longer than 8-12 hours. Meaning if you go to school, stop binding when you get home. It can put stress on your breasts to bind too long.
  2. Use ace bandages, that’s not what they were made for and don’t move with the body. They can also stick to the body with sweating.
  3. Use duct tape. They pull and stick to your body. It is also very uncomfortable and does damage to your body. A friend of mine used duct tape and pulled a layer of skin off after getting hot and it sticking. So not worth it.
  4. Buy shirts or bras too small. That puts too much pressure on your breasts they are a sensitive area and you don’t want to hurt them. It will also be uncomfortable all day.

Some resources you may find helpful:

TransGuys
Point5cc

If you are interested in buying a binder and you are capable of doing so, I suggest GC2b. The prices are reasonable, they are actually comfortable, and I was super impressed with my results!

A version of this was previously seen on Courtney’s Voice.

Why I Love Social Media As Someone with Social Anxiety

 

 

Truth is, if you ever meet me in person, I am probably not what you expect. People hear social anxiety and they imagine someone who is reserved. But I am actually the opposite. I tend to say the first thing that comes to mind, simply because I am nervous and feel the need to fill any awkward silence so that people don’t start judging every little thing about me. I guess anxiety manifests it self in different ways for everyone.

When I was in middle school there was a new wave of social interactions that had me rather frightened. With new technology and the dawn of the internet, social media became the future. And all the kids at school were constantly talking about the various sites they were on, which mostly consisted of Myspace.

See, I was right after the AIM or AOL trend but right before Facebook took off. My first years of social media were spent on Myspace, where I meticulously picked out who made it to my top friends, followed tons of people (with few following me back), and ranted about my crushes of the time never seeming to notice me. I spent hours trying to make my profile interesting, and trying to make friends. It was exhausting.

These are my first memories of social media. And for a teen who craved being liked by people, because face it we all want to be liked, this was a stressful place where people could treat me the same way they did in school. I was invisible walking the halls, and invisible scrolling through the internet.

In the beginning, I hated social media. It was just another way for kids in school to bully me.

So what has made me have such a dramatic change of heart about this online world?

I guess when I left public high school to start homeschooling, losing touch with the friends I had and the people I cared about became a reality I never expected. We always say we are going to be friends even after school, but after leaving school, I learned it wasn’t as easy as it seemed.

And being someone with social anxiety, it can be hard for me to reach out to people. I have a hard time keeping in  touch with people when my depression gets the best of me. Over time I start losing touch with everyone, but my feelings for the people doesn’t disappear. I still care so much for so many people, but I hardly talk to them. At the same time, I want to know they are ok, and know of their struggles.

So I am going to take a minute to break down each social media site I love, and why as well as what I hate. 

Facebook is a world of it’s own, and it is a dangerous one. People connect, people stalk, and people can be creepy. We all have our feelings about social media, and especially Facebook. There are so many things I hate about Facebook. I hate the ability to a ton of people in posts, I hate that most of my feed is always about companies trying to sell me things, I hate people finding me using my name. I DON’T THINK KIDS SHOULD BE ON FACEBOOK. It can be a weapon, and there are so many ways to hide posts from parents that they don’t even know of.

But I love it. I spend hours a day scrolling and watching. Because suddenly that kid with social anxiety who has a hard time reaching out to their friends, gets to see what their friends are up to.

I am a nostalgic person. And when memories surface of people who have meant so much to me at some point, I start to wonder what they are up to. A lot of times, I take to my phone and I search them. If I am not already friends with them, I add them. And I spend a few minutes seeing where they are at in their life.

It is calming. I don’t have to get anxious about trying to start a conversation, or fill silence. But I get to know that these people are ok, and happy. And when they need small reminders that people care, I can drop a quick comment.

Twitter is my world away from the world.  I get to say things I would never be able to say in real life, out of fear of the people in my real life community, in 140 characters or less.

Instagram, however, is my jam. Call me conceited if you want but I love to take selfies. They are small reminders of how far I have come. As someone who used to struggle to see themselves as being worth anything more than the space they take up, I love being able to share photos and people like them and comment.

My self worth isn’t based on the number of likes I get. But at the same time, it can be a nice pick me up on a rainy day.

The DM feature is scary to me, because it stays filled with pervs and so many young people are on instagram. But at the same time, it’s nice to connect with people of similar interests. I don’t like being able to share location on any social media platform, because that screams “Here I am” to anyone who may want to hurt me. And I don’t recommend it to children.

But it’s nice to be able to control who sees my posts, to some degree, by having a private profile.

I find social media to be a tool for growing and connecting. 

Many of you probably already see it this way. But as someone with social anxiety, I often wonder what my life would be like if I didn’t have a screen as a mediator of sorts.

How lonely would I be if I didn’t have the chat heads to look forward to?

Would I build up the confidence to meet new people without my vices getting in the way?

Or is it the perfect tool to get to know someone, build a relationship, and be able to avoid some of those anxieties that freeze me up?

 

Sexuality Can Be Fluid

Because attraction isn’t something we truly control.

 

We, as in all the out queers in the world, have heard it. “Oh there was this girl in my college dorms that I seriously thought about trying stuff with, but don’t get me wrong I’m not a lesbian or bi,” or “There was one time when I was really drunk that I made out with a dude, but it was just the alcohol, I’m not gay.”

I hear it all the time. So often so that I have a pretty generic response for when they devalue my sexuality and turn it into nothing more than a drunken night of experimenting, or something that girls do in college because why have a boyfriend when you can just have fun with a girlfriend right? That’s what it feels like they are doing when I come out to them and they respond with stories of experimenting when they were also experimenting with drugs, and they make sure to tell me drugs were involved because you obviously need to be hich to have sex with someone of the same sex *eye roll*.

“Considering how fluid sexuality can be, I am not surprised you have found yourself attracted to someone of the same sex at some point in your life. It’s like telling someone to spend their whole life in this house with generic curtains and furniture, and while they may be happy, they will always wonder what the house next door is like when you see them living a less generic life. In short, being curious is really normal and to be expected to some degree. And your night of experimenting somewhat compares to me experimenting with blonde hair. It was fun at first but just wasn’t who I am or really fit me. But, this purple hair, that is much more fitting. I will continue to change my hair color and find the one that fits me. However, at least now I know that blonde isn’t me.” 

If they aren’t speechless, they usually begin saying that their night of experimenting meant more than changing my hair color because they found out for sure they were straight. Or they begin fighting saying that you are born with your sexuality therefore it can’t be fluid.

Here’s the thing, we truly don’t control who we are attracted to. That’s the truth and I agree there.

But, if we don’t control who we are attracted to, therefore we do not control what our sexuality may be, but we find ourselves rarely attracted to people of a gender that we usually don’t, we can say that sexuality is fluid. Because we are attracted to people we usually aren’t, therefore briefly your sexuality has changed.

I know, it can be a hard concept to accept.

Usually, I think of sexual identity as more of a “this is what I am usually attracted to” rather than a “I am never ever attracted to _______.” It’s definition is more of a guidelines than a permanent thing. Someone who is gay may be attracted more to people of the same sex, and may be more attracted to people of the same sex in a romantic way, but every now and then come across someone of the opposite sex they are attracted to.

That’s not anything like noticing someone is aesthetically pleasing. Majorly different. I know that cats are cute, but that doesn’t mean I want to have sex with them. It is common to see people are cute.

But the moment it’s a little more than thinking someone is cute, and you are getting more turned on (shocker I am talking about sexual attraction and use terms like turned on) by the person, it doesn’t necessarily make you gay or bi. Not that you shouldn’t pursue a relationship if you want to.

It’s more about the fact that no one can define your sexuality for you.

Personally, I identify as panromantic because I find myself often attracted to people of multiple genders. But, I have a friend whom is a girl and dated a girl for a year. She identifies as straight because she has never been attracted to any other girls in her life, other than her ex girlfriend.

Do I, as a queer person, try to make her identity as queer because of her past relationship with a girl? No. Because I understand that attraction is simply attraction and the title of how you define who you are attracted to does not actually determine your attraction.

Sexuality is fluid because attraction is.

However, that doesn’t mean that people’s identities are not valid. They are. It is important to that person and how they want to label themselves. It just means that sexuality isn’t a black and white topic, there are a lot of gray areas. And those shades of gray vary.

 

 

Queerly Beloved We Are Gathered Here Today…

A month ago today, May 13, I got married to my best friend, my soul mate. It was an amazing day, full of amazing memories. But I shocked a lot of people, I made a lot of people question if they really knew me. All because of a complicated decision I made that I want to talk to you all about.

But first, let me explain my absence really quick. Preparing for the wedding was taking over my life and I really didn’t have time to write. While I love writing, it is extremely draining. It takes a lot of energy to pour your emotions out into the world knowing that you most likely will be crapped on by half the world. After the wedding, I have simply needed a break from everything.

So back to this decision I made that made a lot of people question if my existence is fake.


Drum roll please!

I wore a dress instead of a tux to my wedding. While I looked and felt fabulous, I knew I would get a lot of questions, and I did. So I want to take some time to address those questions as well as share with you all some of my favorite moments from the wedding, mostly because I share everything with this world I have built on this little blog of mine.

Are you still trans or nonbinary?

The short answer is, yes. Wearing a dress in no way influences my identity. Clothes are an amazing way to express yourself. For years however, I found them oppressing. Dress this way because you are a “girl”, don’t wear that color because you are a “girl”. For the past year, I have been trying to fight that feeling by wearing what ever the fuck I want to wear.

My identity as a transgender person has nothing to do with what I wear. I’m nonbinary, meaning I don’t stick to the binary rules of gender. Which shall be a talk for another day. But that in itself means I also don’t follow the rules of boys. Just because I feel like a guy most of the time, doesn’t mean that I can’t wear pink, dresses, or wear makeup. For the millionth time, WEAR WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU WANT.

But why didn’t you wear a tux?


It’s complicated. I actually wanted to originally wanted to wear a tux. But I ran into a lot of issues with the tux world. For one, I am small and I don’t fit clothes the way I feel like I should a lot of times. Things are odd. When I shop for clothes inthe mens section, they often times fit weird and I have to shop in the little kids section.

On top of that, I wanted a tailored suit that wouldn’t be show casing my breasts. Suits that put emphasizes on my breasts always make me uncomfortable. However, I was having a hard time finding somewhere to get a suit that would look good on my body without emphasizing my breasts. Honestly, I think the only way I would have really felt good in would have been a suit created by a trans person, so that I wouldn’t feel so alone.

At the end of the day, I wanted to feel comfortable and special on my big day. And I didn’t feel like the options I had with tuxes weren’t going to let me feel that way. Instead I was going to feel like a little kid in their father’s clothes.

Are you still bisexual?

I know, this isn’t related to the fact I wore a dress, but apparently people are wondering. Marrying a seemingly male person in no way invalidates my sexuality. It’s that simple. Being attracted to people of different genders doesn’t change because you found someone you love and you want to spend your life with them. It literally needs no more explanation.

What about your breasts?

Yes, my dress made my breasts be noticeable. But honestly, I was ok with it. When I tried on dresses, one issue I continued to have was that my breasts looked big. Ughhhh. But then, I found my dress. The details drew your eyes away from my breasts and suddenly, I felt gorgeous.

I haven’t been able to bind for awhile. My health has been preventing it. And so I have been working on becoming comfortable with my boobs. It’s scary, it’s an adventure, it’s a journey, and it’s not even close to being finished.

 

I’m still queer, and I’m still here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is to happily ever after, and not letting people tell me how I am supposed to express myself because of my queer identity. I love you Dusty. Always and forever.

Breakdowns Happen

“You know that saying, “Shit happens,” well my version is “Breakdowns happen.”‘

The world was fading away around me, and I couldn’t do anything about it. The voices were screaming but I couldn’t make out what they were saying, because they were all talking at once. I was overwhelmed, I was tired, and the only thing my eyes seemed capable of doing was crying.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t shut out the world around me. But at the same time, I really didn’t know what was going on in the world.

One minute, I was in the hall. Sitting there in my oversized coat, staring blankly at who I think was my father fixing dinner. Honestly, I  am not sure who it was, or what they were doing. I was just watching the movement through the small gap that kept my hood from completely covering me. There really weren’t many thoughts going on in my head, which is strange because I am nearly always playing with 5-8 thought trains at once. No, there were only voices. Voices that really didn’t belong to me.

The next thing I know, I am laying on the bed.

Still, no real thoughts. Only overwhelming feelings as I try to slow down the voices. How did I make it to the bed? My fiancé picked me up and carried me to the bed. They removed my coat, and began covering me in blankets.

Why? Because I once wanted a weighted blanket to help with my anxiety. The weight is supposed to help you feel secure. And in a way, it helped. If only though, it could have drowned out the voices.

My eyes continued to do that weird thing where they leaked water for a reason that was completely out of my control, because I didn’t know why they were leaking. The giant teddy bear on my back seemed to be talking to me. And that, while normally would be scary, was rather comforting. Yet my eyes continued to leak.

How did my day come to this? I really don’t know. It was a normal day. Maybe it was where I was so overwhelmed with wedding planning, or feeling so down on myself because my lack of ability to write, or how I was feeling so tired of everything. Or maybe, and the most likely of reasons, it was because of a little bit of everything mixed with the voices, was simply too much for me. I hit a breaking point.

Though I had been hungry an hour ago, I suddenly wasn’t hungry anymore. All I wanted to do was lay there.

You know that saying, “Shit happens,” well my version is “Break downs happen.” Because they do. That night, I was on the verge of requesting my family take me to a hospital. The voices were too loud, I was too broken, and I would have done anything to make them stop.

Lucky for me, I have a great support system. My fiancé, who never left my side that night, and even let my puppy in so I could cuddle her. My dad, who listened to me rant on and on about everything once I was finally able to slightly the drown the voices out enough to be able to think.

I won’t pretend to know what to do on bad days, because honestly, I take it day by day. Some days are worse than others, sometimes I can control the voices, sometimes I can’t. There are times that I am not nearly as paranoid as I am at other times. Days when I feel like a failure because I haven’t wrote something in awhile, and days when my mind is moving so fast that I have to do something creative to occupy my mind and my body.

But, breakdowns happen. And when they do, you get back up, you climb that self care ladder, and you try to be better. Try to be more prepared, try to be understanding of what might have caused it, and realize that you aren’t a failure just because you had a breakdown.

I take life day by day.

And right now, my road to recovery includes finding answers, getting better diagnoses, and getting help. I am not ashamed of that. Or of my breakdowns. I will just keep taking it day by day. And when I need to, hour by hour.

Be patient with me while I crawl back up, while I be patient with myself.

I Am Not A Girl – Oct. 13, 2015

***In October of 2015, I wrote this piece that a friend of mine then shared on Psychology Today. Writing this was a big part of my road to coming out, my self discovery, and figuring out my gender. I wanted to share this again, to bring it home to Living Queer, because it belongs here too with my story. It helps tell my story. And I am so thankful to Sarah Fader for sharing it on Psychology Today and letting my voice be heard, helping me come out when I felt scared of the world around me.***

I Am NOT A Girl

2015

You look at me and see “girl.” Yet, when I look in the mirror, I see no gender. I only see me.

We, as a society, have gotten into this nasty habit of labeling people’s gender and from there, we pre-judge them and hold them to certain standards based on what gender we perceive them to be. In reality, that label might not fit them.

Is it so difficult to look at someone and simply see them as human?

When you look at me, you see a girl. Before ever saying one word to me, before ever getting to know me as a human being, you begin to hold me to artificial societally imposed beauty standards that I could never (and would never want) to reach. In your mind you already have judged the way I should act, how I should talk, and with whom I should talk to. Because I am a female, you have an idea of how I should dress and the way that I should walk down the street. You think you know what books I should read, what my interests should be, and the music I should listen to. You think you know me.

Yet, you don’t know me at all.

Society imposes the same gender restrictions on men. We look at a man and already have a preconceived notion of how he should act; he should be masculine and be able to carry something heavy so he can display his strength outwardly. We too, hold men to these impossible beauty standards; they must have a six pack, their cheek line needs to be to die for. Men’s hair should be clean cut, or perhaps resemble one of those models with a man bun. Unless the aforementioned man is a lumberjack, he should be clean-shaven at all times. A man’s voice should be deep and his interests should be automotive in nature. Men should talk about manly things. Oh it’s cold outside? Well they should give their jacket to a girl, because that’s what society expects men to do.

I am not a man. I am also not a girl.

What happens when you actually speak to me?  When you get to know me, when you see that I do not act, dress, or hold myself to these unattainable beauty standards? What will you say when you realize I am not interested in the things you believe I should be? Or that I have a passion for cars?

Let me answer that for you. You say I am less of a woman or that I need to learn how to act like a woman. This is something I hear almost everyday. I see those looks that you give me and I hear you tell your kids to stay away from me.

The things we say to those boys with a soft touch, the ones who are more in touch with their feminine side, we would be better cutting their balls off completely. What society tells these young men is enough to castrate them. “Learn how to be a man,” and “You’ll never be a man, you are just a boy.” We teach them, drill it into their heads, that they are less of a man because they are in touch with their feminine side. They are inadequate, no good, and will never amount to anything because they aren’t a “real man.”

What kind of world do we live in where we believe it to be ok to say these things to young boys?

2017

Gender is a social construct. “If you are born with these parts you must act this way.” Where is the handbook for being a girl? I think I lost my copy when I was born.

The moment anyone steps outside of what society deems acceptable for men and women, they are thought to be less of a man or women.

God forbid you actually identify as something other than a man or women, as I do, because then you hear things like, “You must not have been able to make it as a woman,” or “Oh honey, you don’t need to make up a gender in order to feel better about yourself. Just lose the men’s clothes and try wearing a little more makeup.” Let’s not forget, “You must have been raised by your father,” and finally “Tomboys are only cute when they are little kids.”

So tell me this, why is it that we constantly pre-judge someone’s gender and hold them to impossible standards? Who decided how men and women should act? Has there ever been someone who met every single one of the standards we hold each other to?

These standards are outrageous and we as a society have grown out of them.  We need to start respecting each other, and our individuality, without holding each other to impossible standards that no human being can meet.

I hope there will be a point in time when we realize that everyone can be masculine and feminine all at once.

I hope one day, I will get to live in a world where I am not told to get out of the bathroom because my hair is short, I’m wearing an oversized flannel shirt, and people think the part between my legs belongs in the men’s’ bathroom.

One day, I hope to live in a world where people are praised for being individuals, and not held to gender standards they can never reach.

You look at me, and you see a girl. But I look in the mirror and see no gender. I see my reflection smiling back at me, because I don’t hold myself to society’s ridiculous standards.

What My Anxiety Looks Like: Poem

CW: A poem about abuse. Tread with caution

You grab my hand, wanting me to trust you, to take this leap with you.
I’m shaking, the voices screaming from every corner of the room, “He’s a guy, he will lay his hands you the way all the others have.”
Tears start to well up in my eyes, I’m doing everything to fight it, everything to fight for you.
Closer now you come, realizing there is more here at play than someone’s busted pride. No this about a once busted lip.
“I’ll be there for you,” whispers of hope and solace I once hoped I could find in you, but the fear is too much for me to take and I’m slipping away.
A cold hand falls upon my shoulder, pulling me away, and baby I am fighting so hard to stay.
“He’s a guy, he will hurt you just the same,” they scream at me.
The gentle stroke of your hand on my cheek makes me want to believe that gentle hand could never come at me when I speak my mind about something.
Everything in me wants to believe,
Everything in me but my anxiety.
I have been down this road too many times and honey every bone in my body wants to go down this road with you, maybe discover a path new to me, and to you.
“But he’s a guy and all they bring is pain.”

… He’s a guy, and all they bring is pain..
… You’ll lay your hands on me the way all the others have…
… You’re a guy.. You’ll hurt me all the same…

… Please hold me and show me it’s not that way…

 

*Originally posted on Courtney’s Voice, my old blog, on 1/26/2016. I missed seeing it online and thought I would share it here as well. I will be sharing poems here more often.*