The revelation I had in the car had been bouncing around in my head for a long time before I said it out loud. The anxiety it caused came and went many times a day. It scared me. The implications of being so incomplete wracked my brain. It was agonizing. Before just accepting it, which was the solution that left me less upset over the whole thing, I went uber feminine.
In an event in my life I call “The Femme Crash” I spent hundreds of dollars I really didn’t have on make-up and dresses. I thought if I could look more feminine it’d defeat the rising anxiety. You know… If I was prettier it wouldn’t be a problem? My parents may have said it, but I would be lying if I said it hadn’t been something that had crossed my mind.
I bought everything. Skirts, dresses, tights, frilly shirts, flowy shirts, heels, cute socks, various cute hair clips. Foundation, highlighter, eyeliner, eye shadow, lipstick…
I spent far more than I really had, but I was desperate to prove myself wrong.
I went to my friend’s house and begged her and her sister to teach me how to do my make-up. I’d never done it before. I consulted them on brands, brush types, and application methods. I worked my ass off trying to learn to apply it nicely.
Every time it wasn’t right, I would get more and more upset over everything. I’d keep trying to make it work. I practiced a lot. It was becoming obsessive.
One day I finally asked my friend to just do it for me so I could see it. I asked to keep it pretty natural since there was no way I was ever going to master something incredibly glam. I looked okay. If it wasn’t me, I might have even looked great… but it was me. And it was all wrong.
I cried that night. The fear and anxiety of my denial burning to the surface. I couldn’t really deny it now.
People had said I looked nice in the dresses. That they were flattering. I was pretty, at least that’s what a lot of people said. But every time I looked in the mirror… I felt so detached. So apart from myself. The dresses, the make-up… None of it worked. I kept telling myself, “Just pretend it isn’t you and everything will be okay.” And become even MORE detached from myself? That wasn’t going to work…
It wasn’t too long after that I sucked it up and bought my first binder.
Putting it on was incredibly difficult for the first time. I was nervous it’d get stuck. I had no one to cut me out if it did. It was hot and the material was, of course, very tight. I struggled a lot and almost gave up… But I didn’t. I got it on. The result?
I put on a t-shirt and a nice button-up.
For the first time in my life, I looked at myself in the mirror… and smiled. No it wasn’t perfect. You could still kinda tell something was up there, but the difference… It was the happiest I’d felt about myself in years.
That was it. In that moment, much of the panicked anxiety was gone. There has always lingered a deeper desire to do more, but I know some of that just isn’t possible right now. This… weight that I just need to take a few more steps before everything will truly be okay. I’ll take those steps someday, but not now.
I suppose the moral of this story is: “Don’t second guess yourself” and more importantly “Don’t try to force yourself to be something you aren’t.” I keep saying it time and time again, but being true to who you are is the most important thing someone can do for themselves. The first step is defining yourself followed by a life of evolving that definition and bettering who you are. Don’t be afraid of facing yourself even in the darkest of hours. It’s in those times that you are the only one with the answers. Listen to yourself.
You’ll be happier for it.
Until next time \o
Originally written on March 30, 2018.