I half mentioned my resisting my own femme-ness yesterday and I was thinking about that again this morning on my drive in to work. I was thinking back to when I was a kid. I loved dresses at first, but I also loved getting dirty and climbing trees. I would often help my dad when he worked on his car and that certainly started a lifelong love of car stuffs for me. I played with Barbies and Transformers (and Go Bots!) and had friends of all genders. I never gave it much thought back then of course.
When I got my period at age 9 I thought my world would end. I hated it! It meant that I was actually a girl, dammit! I did not want that. Luckily that stayed under the radar for awhile. But then boobs happened. Stupid boobs! Ha-ha! They wrecked everything for me back then. I had to get a bra and shit and I hated it. At that point I only wanted to wear baggy t-shirts and jeans. It wasn’t until my first mad-crush on a boy that I even wanted to wear a skirt. And what a skirt it was!!! It was tight and black and white vertical stripes! I wore it with a black t-shirt and this weird 80’s brooch/scarf thingy (hard to describe). I wore scrunchy socks and black and white L.A. gear high tops. Ha!
The boy didn’t notice and I didn’t stop trying to make him notice for a few years after that, too. *Sigh* Everyone knew I was obsessed with him. It became an embarrassment. I began to deny it and went back to my more boyish clothes. I toyed with more girly accessories and did my best to fit in with what little money I could earn from babysitting and my paper route. I let my hair grow out of it’s bowl cut (all I had growing up until 7th grade) and started to feather and hairspray my bangs. I never could get the knack of it and always felt inferior to other more femme girls. Then said girls beat me up nearly every day of 7th grade.
In 8th grade I dated the cutest boy in school and felt more inclined to dabble with femme-ness. Though soon the grunge music-fashion thing came into my life and I found my love of mixing feminine and masculine clothing to create what felt best for me. Granny dresses and combat boots! Tie dyed t-shirts and flannels. Black jeans and rock shirts. I’d found my thing and I didn’t let go. As my body grew larger and finding clothes that fit became more difficult, I went back to my baggy t-shirt routine.
Okay, so it didn’t help that I was with my abuser at that time. If I wore anything too femme or “sexy” he would make me change. Make up? Ha-ha! Hardly! No, I was his for the keeping/minding and if I was allowed to leave the house at all it was only with his full inspection-approval. *Sigh* As time went on I sought refuge in my lack of sex appeal. I thought, what’s the point? At least I’m safer, sort of. Ugh! Even after I finally escaped that situation, it took me ages to get back to anything remotely femme.
The first boy I dated after this, okay he was 26 and I was 19, called me his “Ska girl!” and would giggle about that label, which I loathed. I wore primarily corduroys with coordinating plaid flannel shirts and classic black doc martens. Soon I was introduced to a goth club in San Francisco (The So What!) and fell in love instantly! I started to show cleavage and wore satin shirts (often showing just a flirtation of chubby mid-drift). I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing, didn’t know who I was or how I even fit in the world, but I loved to dance!
When said boy ripped my heart out on my 20th b-day (and possibly gave me a horrible case of b-day ptsd, not joking) I didn’t see the point in being a girl at all, let alone living. Yeah, that was the boy I contemplated suicide over. *Sigh* I muddled through and grew ridiculously depressed until, well, even after I met my soon to be ex-husband. In fact, I would say we bonded over our heartbreaks and misery.
Okay…I never felt sexy. I never felt feminine and was never with anyone who made me feel that way or wanted me to. Only now that I am dating, and it feels like for the first time, have I begun to feel more femme. I’ve always admired femme gals, but never considered myself one. Only after being referred to as a “Fierce Fat Femme” by a lovely friend at the NAAFA conference last year did I even think of any self association. And then I was like, “Whoa! Wow! Okay! Yes!”
I’m now going back to pairing dresses and boots! And I fucking love it!!! I feel more me! Perhaps I’ll always be a grunge girl, deep down. But I feel sexy and hot and femme and YAY! I started to wear make up again, though only 2-3 times a week. I feel more connected to myself and my body and have seen how a little self care can go a long way to improving one’s day and outlook.
I’m not yet ready to cover myself in glitter and rhinestones, but I don’t know that I’ll ever need that. I do love my pearls, though. Ha-ha! I would love to have a couple of Annie Hall sort of outfits. I have done drag once, very convincingly and loved it. I was a biker dude for Halloween one year and my best friend didn’t recognize me! Woo! For now, I shall find my footing in my own version of femme-ness and see how that feels for awhile. 😉