Who I Am: Walking Between Worlds

September 16, 2010 at 10:03 pm (Walking Between Worlds) (, , )

Of late, I have been processing some of the things I have written about here in the context of some recent experiences. As I grow, some aspects of my personality have become more clear to me, more understandable. Writing helps me come to terms with them. And, as my recognition leads to greater understanding, the language evolves. Sometimes I play with that, push at edges, blur lines, explore my own boundaries of self. For a few weeks now, I have had experiences that have raised some issues related to the main thing I talk about here: being a dyke, being biologically androgynous, and having a strong energy that, in the gender binary, is viewed as male energy. This is who I am. And, it brings with it some issues. Some are troublesome. Some are enjoyable. Some are…well…just interesting to me.

Like the friend of my dear Scin who thought I was in transition. Or the way children see me. That, perhaps, is the most interesting. Children, frequently, see me as I actually am. Example:  A friend of mine, with whom I am close, has a boy and a girl. The girl is now five and the boy is three. I have known them for two years and have spent a lot of time with them. Now and then, the girl will stop whatever we are doing and ask me: “Miss Li Li, are you a girl or a boy?” [They call me “Li Li” because the youngest could not pronounce my full name.] The most recent time, the boy answered his sister before I could: “You know who that is; that’s our Li Li.”

For him, it is simple. I am who I am and that is enough for him. There is no male or female. There is no boy or girl. There is simply Li. Unlike his sister, he is, as yet, untainted by the world view of gender. 

So, with that ideal in mind, this is what I will say about who I am in regard to gender identity and sexuality–at least, in my present state of being and understanding.

I am a lesbian. A dyke. I love women. And I am a Butch. As a gift of my particular gene pool, I am physically androgynous. From the time I was five or six years old, I have been assumed to be male at least as often—usually more—as I was correctly assumed to be female. Often, in fact, I have even been asked if I was a hermaphrodite. [Yes. People have actually been gauche enough to ask that to my face.] I have frequently had gay men try to pick me up which always results in hearty laughter and interesting discussion. 

I like to do things that the inadequate language of the gender binary tells us are male in essence: I like to build things; I love tools; I like to play hard and work hard; I like to box; I like to work out; I like to work on cars and motorcycles; I like to refinish furniture; I like to practice archery…and I like to fuck women. I like to watch them walk. I like the way they laugh. I like the feel of soft, smooth girl skin against my calloused hands. I like to lead when I dance with a woman. I like to romance them. I am, by nature a top—although, with Scin, I seem to be able to switch and to like it. I like to play football in the snow with other guys. I like to wrestle with guys. I love martial arts. I like the camaraderie of men.  I am a butch.

In addition, I still often feel out of place in a female body. It has always felt like…well…not what it was supposed to be. But, it was not grossly dysphoric. More and more, I think that is due to the fact that so much of my sense of self was troublesome and difficult in a global way that there was not a sense of one particular thing being the issue. 

Because of a range of factors from the influences of the women’s movement on my generation, to the negative influences of religion, to the inadequacies of the transgender technology during my formative years, I learned to find a way of being in this body which suited me. A way of being I could live with. And, as I grow, my ability to be at home in this form grows and becomes a much better place to be. The fact of a partner who truly sees, “gets” and accepts me is a large part of this growing comfort. While it would appear that people often wonder if I am in transition—or considering it—I can say that I am not. And I do not intend to do so. That may change, but I do not sense that it will. I do share a lot of experiences, feelings and issues with a lot of FTMs.  And, I do relate very strongly to many of my peers who identify as trans-masculine. I have used statements here such as: I am a non-transitioning trans-gendered male in a lesbian body. Some people have not appreciated the hyperbole. I will, no doubt, find other ways to push the language in efforts to increase the dialogue, my own understanding and sense of self, and to generally fuck with the binary ideology. That, too, is part of who I am. I will fuck with a thing until I break it or rebuild it. Either way, understanding increases.

Having said that, I also like my butch cock. I like that it feels like a part of me. I also, however, really enjoy my biological genitalia. Having a partner who understands my body has made it a much more comfortable and sexually satisfying place to be. I am biologically androgynous; it is not something I have created or cultivated. My clitoris, for example, has never reacted in ways that are typical for most females—my clit functions more like a penis. I am good with that. [So is Scin, by the way.] I also build muscle in more of a male way. And there were issues with the functioning of my internal female organs. Yet, I do not plan to transition. I am happy with my life as it is. I am a butch with things in common with many people—just like any other person.

In my somewhat simple thinking, it seems to me that being butch is like any other aspect of being human. It still involves being an individual. The human condition being what it is—universal—I have much in common with many people. There is also much that sets me apart, individualizes me, makes me who I am versus being someone other than who I am. Most importantly, being butch is only part of who I am. I am, like all of us, much more—many things that work to make a whole. So, I am who I am. Like my friend’s little boy says: “you know who that is; that’s our Li.”

NOTE:  This work is published here as proprietary and may not be reproduced, distributed, sold, or otherwise utilized outside the posting on this site without the express permission of the author; these works are the sole property of the author writing as Androgynonamous or DreadPirateRobert.

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Keeping Up Appearances: Walking Between Worlds

September 9, 2010 at 1:41 pm (Walking Between Worlds) (, , , )

Recently, my partner [Scin] reconnected with an old friend she knew here before we all took off for college. Her friend has become a friend of mine as well and I really connect with and like him. The point of interest here is this: prior to actually meeting me in person, and based solely on photos, he asked Scin if I was in transition. I was not at all offended by this. I was, however, and oddly, surprised. Then, I began to wonder…

I found myself wondering if other people just assume that I am transitioning or that I intend to, or if they wonder why I have not, and simply do not ask. I think it is clear that a primary point of this blog is to have a safe place to discuss my experiences—both positive and not so positive—as a highly androgynous lesbian with a lot of male energy. I talk frequently about how it feels, that it is like walking between worlds, having foot in each realm at times, but never really belonging fully in either. I also talk about this way of being in the world as a large part of my spiritual disposition, that I see it as a kind of gift, the purpose of which I am not always clear about, but which I am willing and happy to explore. It has been my lot in life, since I was very young, to confound the gender binary—often without ever intending to or trying very hard. Pretty much all I have to do is be myself and leave the house. It is a condition which has given me much and which has caused me a fair amount of pain, frustration and discomfort. It has also put me in danger at times.

As a result, I have developed a set of instinctive, self-protective skills and traits to cope with my daily condition. My way of being in the world is such a part of me that I have to push a bit to become conscious of the things I do, how I do them, and what they do for me. This whole thing with the question about transitioning set me to examining, again, my perception of myself as well as the behaviors and traits I have adopted. And, I started trying to look more objectively at photos taken by Scin and others. The past few days have been like peeling a personal onion: I know it is an onion and understand it for what it is, but peeling away layers seems to give way to a renewed understanding of the thing—its characteristics, its form and function, its identity. These are the things I have discovered.

How I see myself the past few days:
One thing that hit me squarely is that I am finally looking more my age. A few more character lines and wrinkles have appeared. So, the boyish look is blurred a bit by the signs of age that suggest I am not an 18 year old boy. Yet, I am not so masculine or haggard by my age that I appear to be a 40-something male. I think this confuses people more now than it did when I was so much more baby-faced. Before, people automatically assigned a male gender to me and assumed I was much younger than I was. I have never been deluded into thinking that I look like the average female. But, for years, I thought of myself simply as really butch but obviously female if a person really looked at me. In recent photos viewed with a little more objectivity, I can see that I do look traditionally male more than anything else. I see, lately, how male I really look through the eyes of those who do not know me, looking through the shades of the gender binary.

You know how it is. You see yourself every day. You live with yourself. You do not see what others see. No one does. At least not without a conscious effort. This personal blind spot is enhanced, I fully realize, by the things I do instinctively and as a matter of course to soften my life and get by with minimal discomfort or violence.

Things I do to get along in the world and compensate:
Over the course of my life, I have become very open and accessible. I speak first in new situations. I engage people and am really quite outgoing. [Still clear about boundaries, but open and friendly.] I have also developed a versatile sense of humor and will often poke fun at myself [in healthy ways, not in mean ways] in order to keep things light. I wear small earrings rather than the larger, thicker manly silver things that I tend to like. I make friends, if only for a moment, everywhere I go—even in the grocery store. The main thing I have learned to do, however, is create safe, familiar, and comfortable environments. I eat at the same restaurants. I get gas at the same places in my town and others. I shop at the same stores for groceries, clothes, and whatnots. In a light-hearted way, I make people familiar with me. And, I come to know people enough to endear them—to ask how the day is going, remember names, ask about the family, joke around and be open. I make myself accessible. I am likeable. This, by the way, takes energy. But, I realize, it has given me much to be this way. I have made lasting friends. I have a sense of home pretty much anywhere. And, I am alive. Had I not developed these traits that are, really, who I am, I would not have faired so well in some situations. And, like all of us who need to, I have a well-developed sense of when to fight or flee. I know how to close off and keep vigilant as well. These traits are not false; it is who I am. But, it did require the removal of some walls, some chips off my shoulders, and a fair amount of trust in the universal flow of things that it is OK to be this way. The result of my way of being is that people are put at ease; once I speak, my gender is clear. No one has to guess. And, I come across as warm and non-threatening. [Even though I can be a huge threat when I have to be.] We all survive in ways that work for us.

So, I have discovered on new levels how insulated I have made myself, if only within the blanket of my own personality and by treading lightly on the earth. The upshot is that I have come to see myself as one tends to see oneself—familiar and focused on other things like being too thin, or wishing I were taller. Aware of my less than feminine appearance, but used to it, accepting, and not focused on it until something happens. More significantly, however, is that this relative sense of home everywhere has dulled my awareness of how I am perceived by others who do not know me. And, possibly, some who do. I really do wonder if people want to ask about transitioning and do not in order to be appropriate and not offend me. I don’t know and likely never will. I do know this: I think I see myself a bit more clearly. And, while I like what I see, I am paying a bit more attention to the reactions of those around me. I am trying to strip away some insulation. As the old saying goes: know thyself. Sometimes, that means being willing to try to see what others see. Sometimes, we learn the most about ourselves through the views and input of others. Of late, what is clear to me is that others see me as I am—a butch woman who appears more masculine than feminine on the binary continuum, and who happens to have a fair dose of masculine energy. I can live with that. And, I am hoping that a greater awareness will help me find a clearer understanding of any greater purpose that might be served by my experiences in the worlds I inhabit.

NOTE: This work is published here as proprietary and may not be reproduced, distributed, sold, or otherwise utilized outside the posting on this site without the express permission of the author; these works are the sole property of the author writing as Androgynonamous or DreadPirateRobert.

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Hey Daddy: Walking Between Worlds

May 25, 2010 at 12:07 am (Walking Between Worlds) (, , , , )

As relationships grow and evolve, it is fairly normal [and often healthy] for there to be moments of discussion about the relationship—the need arises to reflect, to process, to seek greater understanding and closeness. Recently, Scin and I had one such conversation. It is a discussion we have revisited because it is an important one. The topic reflects significant foundational aspects of the connection between us, the love we share, our respect for and understanding of each other, and some fundamental underpinnings in our sexual interactions. There had been an interaction developing in our sex life in small waves and ripples which became one giant wave in one particular evening. What occurred between us was an exchange that many people would refer to as Daddy–Little Girl role playing.

Except, it isn’t really. This, in fact, was the point of the discussion.  We had observed that what was occurring between us was not the classic Little Girl–Daddy exchange we read about all over the blogsphere. We knew what it was not. We needed a better understanding of what it was. Especially since, for both of us, it was—and is—highly erotic and…well…hot.

And, especially, since we had discussed and were clear about my discomfort with many of the exchanges we read about so often. I have always been uncomfortable with anything that smacks of age play or that even comes near a mimicry of pedophilic power-over and sublimation.  Much of my discomfort comes out of my experiences in the fifteen years I spent as a therapist treating the people no one else wanted to treat—the indigent, broken beyond broken, forgotten of our society. Another factor is the nebulous, not fully formed memories from my own childhood. I do not judge others or judge what works for them; but, I respect my own comfort zones as much as I respect the space and predilections of others. So does Scin. Thus, when things like “you are such a good girl” or, “daddy is so pleased with you…” began to fall out of my mouth and produced the responses both of us experienced, it was something we felt we should talk about and explore.  There are a few dynamics we discovered as we talked.

Firstly, it is important to put the exchange in its proper context: that being, there is no context really. What happens in both our verbal exchange and our sexual posturing is not role playing. There is no creation of a scene. There is no adoption of a particular persona for the sake of sex play. It is an organic expression of our personalities and the intimacies of our relationship that seem to simply occur between us—naturally, without any real forethought or confabulation. The sexual dynamic seems also to be a kind of extension of our natural playfulness—as in: to be full of play; pleasantly humorous or jesting. We play. We jest. She calls me “baby boi.”  I call her “baby girl.” These are terms of endearment that fit our personalities and identities. So, that said, there is a particular factor that has significant impact on our sexual expression. 

The primary factor is that I am finally in a place where my two-spiritedness is not only understood but fully accepted. I have never felt quite like a girl. Never. I was never comfortable around other girls. I understood them not at all. They made me nervous and I never felt like one of them. I understood boys. I felt at home with them. And, once out of sight of my mother, I would take off my shirt, hang it out of my back pocket and run around playing with the guys. I preferred them to girls—except I liked to look at girls. A lot. In some strange way, I always felt as if I was a boy, but that I wasn’t grown up yet. I knew there were differences between myself and boys. I knew I had parts like other girls. But in some place in my mind, it felt like I just had not finished growing yet. I was dismayed and nearly destroyed when I started having periods. I felt as if something were dreadfully wrong—and it was my fault somehow; I had in some way failed to make a proper decision to develop as a boy; I had failed to get it right. As if there were a choice. I am, by traditional social standards, a woman with intense male energy. I greet the world and people in it with a sort of masculine spiritual demeanor. People unconsciously respond to me as if I am male. I confuse straight women. They respond to me as they would a male and it throws them off. Men respond to me as one of the guys. And, yet… 

I am also possessive of traits that are seen as traditionally feminine. I am highly nurturing, gentle in general, fairly compassionate—and passionate, about a lot of things—and capable of a great loving kindness. But, I am prone to be aggressively protective. I am also very practical, linear, rational and mechanically inclined. When I was tested, I was almost equilaterally right-to-left brain oriented. So, what do you get when you put all of this into a very androgynous body packed full of male energy? You get a daddy. 

And, Scin is very much a woman who responds to this kind of male presence. She is, in many ways, a daddy’s girl—a fully grown woman who, beneath all her self-assuredness and independence, wants to be cared for, fawned over a little, and wants to please and be accepted. The girl in her loves to laugh, play, engage in silliness, dance and sing. She is also very much a grown woman. She is filled with a sexuality that is confident, powerful, sensual and unselfconscious. She is mature, competent, professional, and a wonderful mother to her son. She has a strong sense of self and is kind and nurturing. She is also strong-minded, willful at times, and is used to taking care of things—used to having to compensate for not getting the kind of caring, nurturing acceptance and support she needed. And, it is not easy for her to be submissive. It never has been. She is a marvelous blending of aspects. These qualities create the main factor that responds so strongly to the daddy traits she sees in me.

In all of this, she and I both are lesbian to highest degree. We express a butch–femme dynamic not because of some philosophy, but because it is simply who we are. It is the blending of energies in me that she has always responded to—that and the fact that I accept them in myself, embrace them, and have learned to live in and enjoy my female body.  For me, the eroticism does not come from a place of desiring a little girl and wanting to sexualize her. Rather, it is something much more powerful and significant. I do not see her as a girl. I see, all at once, all the aspects of her girl-like self manifested in the personhood of this sexually powerful woman. In many women, the little girl is hard to find; she is long gone, murdered by her experiences. Scin wears both her girlhood and her womanhood as she does all things: out loud and proud. It is hot indeed. And, I say to her: show daddy what a big girl you have become.

And she shows me. It is everything good and pure and naughty and nasty. It is edgy and profoundly intimate. And, it is so largely because there is no assumption of false roles. We are simply being who we actually are. Relating to each other as equals who understand and accept each other.  There is something highly erotic about being fully seen and understood. There is something intensely sensual about being loved. That bareness is stimulating indeed. But, there is more.

There is trust. The trust it requires for her to feel a desire to give herself over to me, to release all control and allow me complete access to her, is indeed a powerful force. That she can be so vulnerable—something she does not do easily—and know she is completely safe is highly erotic for her. And, for me. For me, it is the blending of all these attributes that is so sexually charged—the innocence of trust, the child-like openness to be cared for, to be loved, in perfect balance with a mature, confident sexuality. See, this is a big part of it. The safety in the vulnerability. The act of choosing to be fully open and present with your lover, your mate. She knows I will never harm her, that I will nurture her and lift her up even as I penetrate and explore her. Likewise, I know I am fully safe with her. The old no-fly zones are gone. This mutuality of trust and openness is at the core of the submissiveness and dominance that moves within our sexuality. It is not role playing. It is not contrived. It is fluid. 

We move easily and effortlessly between the relinquishing of control and the expression of it. In either case, it is just that—it is an expression of control rather than a use of it. It is both instinctive and conscious. We do this from a place of deep and abiding love for each other. Yet, the energy, the dynamic itself, does not change. Mine is still a highly masculine energy that submits to her when she calls me “boi” and tells me what she wants. She is still the same woman, girlish in all the best ways, who opens her legs and herself to me when I ask her to do so. What occurs between us is not a role playing of any kind. No matter who is doing what to whom, it is an expression of energies, a fluid and organic movement of trust, desire and love, into sexual acts of endearment. When I call her baby girl, she answers because she knows it is one way I express my love and acceptance of her. And, when she says “hey daddy,” I answer not because it is play time, but because it is part of who I am. 

NOTE:  This work is published here as proprietary and may not be reproduced, distributed, sold, or otherwise utilized outside the posting on this site without the express permission of the author; these works are the sole property of the author writing as Androgynonamous or DreadPirateRobert.

 

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