Coming Out Of the Non-Binary Closet

I suppose a crisis of identity is a little bit embarrassing at my age. I am meant to be mellowing into a staid, mumsy character whose biggest sins and idiosyncrasies are an extra slice of cake mid-afternoon and a cheeky spoonful of sugar in my tea. Unfortunately, or thankfully, depending on your point of view, there is no sign of that happening with me. I have never felt quite feminine. As much as I tried to write it off as being a bit of a butch dyke, that really was not it at all. I looked at Lou Reed, not in girlish desire, but instead longing to be him, look like him, manage the same insolence devil-may-care not giving a fuck, whilst remaining fragilely empathic and masculinely aggro. I always felt a sneaking suspicion, that I pushed down as hard and far as it could go, that I in fact, felt far more masculine than feminine. All five foot of me, all 115 pounds of me came at life like a prize fighter trying to punch myself in the face, more often than not. I developed a wicked tongue and a caustic exterior. I have nurtured my misanthropy like a rare flower. I protested and fought and struggled against my womanhood, and now, here I sit, wanting, no, NEEDING to be able to wipe the remains of it off like some badly applied make up. It is just not me. I am nonbinary. I am not he or she, but them and they.

As rough and tough as I may play, I am a fragile creature. I long for the acceptance that I rarely get. I want to be liked, and loved, but the most that I usually get is ‘needed’. It was rarely enough for me, and I got hardened and bitter, I admit. I played for cookies from my feminist friends. Put on the lesbian activist dungarees and waved the flag a while, all to detract from the fact I felt more neither male or female, but somewhere in between, that leant towards the masculine, but never quite got there. In short, I felt like a freak.

I sat and dissected my somewhat complicated sexuality – occasionally bisexual, but never really being into dick, mostly attracted to the feminine, but strictly in a protective assertive kinda way. I came to the conclusion many times that I was probably non binary. I fought against it. I struggled. I suffered. The more accurate I got with my self pre-post-mortem, the more I felt as if it was utterly impossible. It was too specific, and besides, the feminists were going to flay me alive for deserting the cause. It was somewhere at the end of the last year, where in a fit of depression I had some pretty dark thoughts and unpleasant conclusions that I decided that I had to dare to take a walk on the wild side, as my friend-that-I-never-met Lou once sang. I had no choice. I was going under, psychically under siege and I had to do something before the self-hatred got me. I decided to start to come out as non binary and burn some metaphorical bridges.

I knew it could lose me people I love. Thankfully the two people in my life that are non-negotiable, my son and my best friend, the most long suffering Ruthie, understood and had my back. As for anyone else, I am waiting for the backlash. There has already been a little of it, and as I venture further out I figure there will be more. I am still the same person, I am merely going to try and live a little more ‘me’ and a little less scared. A lot more authentically myself, and a lot less closeted. Fitting in will never happen for me. That ship was never fit to sail into my life, and never will be. It has taken a long time to embrace that reality. I am always going to be making waves, and some of those waves will envelop both me and those around me, and perhaps even my fragile sobriety. I can only do the best I can, in this body which doesn’t quite fit me, in the clothes that do, and the binders that make my shape more pleasingly smooth. I do not yet know if it means testosterone, or top-surgery, but I am willing to find out.

I look in the mirror and it fails to reflect who I am. I am working on that. I couldn’t even write and feel comfortable for a few months back there. I was trying to be someone I am not. I was not writing for me, and I know it showed. I am back in control of my life, and the reins are in my hand, and if that means that people hate me, mock me, hurt me, call me names, doubt me – so be it! I can almost see the thread I nearly lost back there. My anger at men who in their fragile way hurt me, almost to the point of death, nearly took me over and swallowed me whole, continuing to injure me long after my escape. I am lonely and alone. I crave affection, but could not seek it until I found myself in the mess created around me and by me. It is better, I suppose than drowning myself in a bottle of rum, or running a flame over foil and chasing that dragon, or seeing if I can find my reflection in the cool cold crystal gaze of amphetamines.

I put a lot of pressure on myself. I live in constant fear that I have let those I love down, and make no mistake, I am convinced that I have and that is to my undeniable shame. Unfortunately that pressure has got to me in the most destructive of ways. I have to allow myself to be imperfect, to be a fuck up, to love and say ‘love is not enough’, however much I wish it was. I have to accept what and who I am. There is no choice. I am making myself sick with the attempt at trying to be someone else…’someone good’, to borrow yet another phrase from Lou, who seems to be haunting this week of mine, like an old friend who doesn’t want to see me go under the waves. I know there will be failures, and sadnesses. I know I can’t fix everything. I also know I will keep on fighting and working and trying to make it through those waves, even if I drown.

To that end, I ask for my reader’s forgiveness. Thank you for bearing with me. I also beg a little mercy. Whether you know me from reading my blog, or in real life, or on this scene or that, could you possibly find it to be silent for a little while, if you cannot be kind? If you can’t bear to use ‘they’ or ‘theirs’, perhaps you could find it in your heart to give me some space to settle down into this attempt at survival and authenticity, before the inevitable backlash begins. I am more than a little fragile right now. My health is in the pits, my psyche feels as if it is about the crumble, and I am in constant tears. Once I feel a bit better, then let me have it, both barrels, get me on the ropes and tell me what’s what, and how you disapprove of who and what I am, just for now, have a measure of mercy while I figure all of this out?

January 2023


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