"You wear a mask for so long, you forget who you were beneath it." - V for Vendetta
I stumbled across this quote a while ago and suddenly, I understood. It was like a sudden but thorough epiphany: I had taken off my mask and was confused by what I found underneath because I had forgotten all about it.
Most of you won’t know what I am talking about and it will take some time to explain, so I apologize in advance if this gets a little longer.
Ever since I can remember, I struggled with my identity. I looked at all the other girls around me and thought: “I’m not like them.”
I turned to the boys and thought: “I’m not like them either!”
Who has I, then? I didn’t know. I didn’t really find out until very recently. What I knew was that I kind of liked the “boy’s things” better than I liked dolls, horses and pink stuff.
At that point, the natural thing for me to do was to adapt to their behavior. I tend to consist of many extremes which led to me accepting everything “boy-ish” while completely rejecting all things girly. There might have been things I would have enjoyed but I pretended not to care just because they were associated with being girly. Internalized Sexism.
Additionally, I spent a lot of time playing with my brother (3 years older) and his friends, whereas the relationship to my sister (10 years older) only ever developed when we were both grown up, as I was about 10/11 when she moved out.
I admired my brother. I looked up to him and I tried to imitate him. He started with Judo and one year later I stopped doing Ballet (which I had been forced to do because of my damn feet and probably even enjoyed it although I’d have never admitted that to anybody) and started praciticing Judo as well.
At school, I prefered the company of boys over those of girls. I struggled a lot to get accepted by them which only led to me suppressing all “female” character traits that were left. I cut my hair really short (and looked really stupid). I started wearing my brother’s old clothes. If you looked up “tomboyish” in the dictionary, you would find a picture of me.
It worked. Each day, I would perform my role as a boy in disguise. Each day, I put on my mask.
However, I never actually wanted to be a boy. I never wanted to have a male body. I remember one night when I lay in bed, wondering if I were lesbian. I thought of having sex with a woman and thought “hell no!” (this has changed by now. I don’t actively search sexual encounters with women but I don’t mind if they came along).
So I wasn’t lesbian, I hadn’t been born in the wrong body and yet I was no “girl” and that left me confused. Looking back, I think the biggest problem was that I had no role model, nobody I could identify with. I knew either girls or boys, men or women, all of them displaying “typical” characteristics. The only role model I had was Mulan and let’s just say: that didn’t help. At all.
I grew older and became obsessed with the military (I see you, Mulan, I see you). My walls were covered in pictures of men and women in uniform. And ships. A lot of ships.
The prospect of becoming an officer in the German Navy was more than exciting on several levels. First, it was a job for men. Probably the most manly job in the world. At least, that’s what society told me. Second, it required a lot of discipline and physical activities and third, it provided me exactly with the sort of hierarchical structure that the developing kinkster and D/s lover in me needed.
I focused more and more on being “not girly”. There obviously was no place in my life for that kind of hullabaloo.
One of those supposedly “female” tngs I could deal with the least were emotions. My family simply hadn’t taught me how to openly show emotions. Cuddling, body contatct, kissing, holding hands..all these were things that I never witnessed at home so I didn’t know how to cope with them. Instad of facing the problem of finding out whether or not I might like these things, I shoved them away, buried them deep down in me and hid them behind my “manly” cover.
Affenction, pah! I did not need any such thing! I was a strong and independent young girl! I was awesome! Or..was I?
I don’t know when I reached the point where I forgot that I had this little chest inside of me. The chest of my unfulfilled “girly desires”. I guess the problem was that throughout my youth, I was always surrounded by the same group of people. They knew me as the girl who did Judo, hated horses and pink stuff and wanted to join the military. And I can’t say I wasn’t popular. However, whenever I let something unusual slip out, like e.g. “Oh look! What a cute little cat!”, they would look at me with concern and ask me whether I was ill. They were tugging on my mask and I was afraid to let it go because I knew nothing else. Thus, I would quickly mock the next best girly thing and made sure to never say anything similar again.
As time went by, I stopped staking off that mask. The mask and I became one. I let myself be definded by what others saw in me and I did my best to keep it that way, simply because it worked and I had grown used to it.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if I didn’t want to join the military (no, shush, we never talk about how my life was ruined when I was discharged). And I really hated everything pink (I try not to despise it so much these days because I know that my ill feelings towards this innocent color are dictated by society). The only problem was that I neglected everything else, everything inbetween.
Sooner or later happened what was bound to happen: I forgot about the mask and I forgot about the girly chest.
The process of re-discovering these things started with me joining tumblr. Two things happened: I learned about BDSM and being sex positive and I became a feminist, which led to the well known state of “take pride in whoever the fuck you want to be!”
Wow, dude, good advice! And that is done how exactly..?! Well, I can’t say it didn’t help that I always liked myself. A lot. I was used to being successful and being the center of attention. My ego was near to exploding.
I started blogging and thus self-reflecting. I came ouf of my BDSM closet first on the internet and then in real life. I openly discuseed my sexual preferences with anyone who was interested (yeah..and probably with some who weren’t..I like to hear myself talk).
Being completely honest and open about everything became “my thing”.
And then I made that one decision that should change my life: I actively sought contact with local kinksters and they came along with a nice bonus, the importance of which I only now truely understand.
They didn’t know me. None of them! They had never heard of me, they had absolutely no expectation of me whatsoever. This led to a wonderful yet puzzling experience. I wasn’t afraid of anything anymore. I used words like “cute” or “sweet”, hell, I drew little hearts all over the place and no one cared. No comments how this was “not me”. I can’t tell you how good that felt.
Then the next miracle happened: I met my Sir. I started to build up a relationship with him and that’s when things got complicated once again. Falling back into bad habits, I did what I always did: I didn’t deal with my emotions. I neglected having emotions. Abort mission!!
I started getting unsatisfied and I didn’t know why. At some point, I finally gave in. I said to myself: you are allowed to feel the need for affection. You crave cuddling? Good for you! You want to text kissy smileys and hearts and shit? Do it! You fantasize about lying in his arms while he strokes your hair? Enjoy!
And all of a sudden, I was completed. I felt like a big jigsaw puzzle and somebody had finally added the long lost last piece. I felt a happiness I had never known before.
The last step was to openly embrace this “new” me. Now, I simply don’t care anymore if anyone is confused by my behavior. People change. I changed. Like it or not, your choice. What matters most is that I no longer hide who I am.
So here, once and for all, let me introduce myself:
Hi, I’m Laura!
I have short hair because I fucking look good with it.
I love wearing suits and I own several ties.
I absolutely rock wearing skirts and dresses.
I love sports and enjoy a good whiskey and cigars from time to time.
Cocktails are the best. So are cute animals that make me go “awwwe”.
I love playing “killer games”. I regularly buy GQ magazine.
Fashion is cool, too, you know?
Here, have some hearts:
<3 <3 <3 <3
Not enough? Have some more!
<3 <3 <3 <3
My name is Laura and I am awesome.
What’s your excuse?
It happens quite often that I am mistaken for a man. I am rather tall and have short hair, so when I don’t dress myself in a very feminin way I can see why this happens, especially in winter, when I am all wrapped up in all sorts of things.
I have to say: I’m cool with it. I once cosplayed Barney Stinson for a friend’s party and the busride was just hilarious. Everybody could see that I was wearing a suit and people kept looking at my face, confused, trying to figure out what I was.
I’m okay with looking boyish, I feel comfortable wearing men’s/menlike clothes because I know that if I am in the mood I can wear the shit out of every dress and look all curvey and feminine and “normal”. What gets at me is that thus I am often mistaken for a lesbian. Like all women who don’t wear skirts everytime are automatically gay. There is of course nothing wrong with being gay (I’m not quite sure if I might not be bi-sexual anyways but this is another topic) but I am sick of people asking me “why I am looking so nice today” and “if I was going out” because I chose a skirt instead of trousers. I dream of a day where everybody can wear what they likes and behave how they like without being immediately categorized and reduced to outward appearances.
But sadly, this is not how the human brain works.