Tag Archives: dysphoria

Naked in the Mirror

mirrorI don’t walk around my apartment naked. I wasn’t raised that way. My older brother and I shared a small bedroom in a small apartment. We wore clothes until bath time or bed time, changed into our pajamas in the bathroom, and went to bed.

Once we were old enough to wipe ourselves and dry ourselves we were not naked in front of our parents. Nor were our parents naked in front of us. They were buttoned up. They did not hang around in pajamas, bathrobes, or loungewear. If you were awake you had all your clothes on. Except at the beach or the pool.

The four of us shared one bathroom. There was a mirrored medicine cabinet over the sink; the only full length mirror was on the inside of the door to my parent’s bedroom. To use it you had to close their door. I never looked at myself in it dressed. I never looked at myself in it naked. I did not want to. Continue reading

Catch a Wave: My 2014 Swimsuit Challenge

It is 10° F in New York. I am surfing the internet for swimsuits. Gracie is curled up on the floor in a patch of late afternoon sunlight. I’d like to know what she is dreaming about.

swimwear-butches-likeI have the perfect wardrobe for January; for 12 inches of snow, slush moats, and arctic windchill. I’ve got high-tech long underwear, three different types of fleece jackets, a down sweater and a down jacket, lightweight and heavy weight Gore-Tex shells, boot socks,  windproof gloves and moisture wicking glove liners, neck gaiters, wool beanies, and insulated waterproof work boots. I can mix and match for any  winter weather condition. If you wanted to throw an outdoor party in January I’d have the ideal outfit. I’m an urban slumberjack.

Last year I waited until June to think about swimming. I swore it would be the last season that I’d wear a black racerback Speedo in the water, topped by a pair of quick-dry shorts and a damp T-shirt on the sand. A black racerback is the butch equivalent of a little black dress. It is elegant and understated, but I don’t wear dresses. I promised myself to start looking for genderqueer appropriate beach wear in January. This is my 2014 swimsuit challenge. Continue reading

One Pill Makes You Larger and One Pill Makes You Small

One side of the mushroom will make you larger...but which side?

One side of the mushroom will make you larger…but which side?

It is a parlor game. If you could swallow a pill that would change your body shape into whatever form you wished, what would you wish for and would you swallow the pill?

My first reaction is I’d like to be a few inches taller (5’7 instead of 5’4) and have a masculinized chest (i.e. top surgery). My second reaction is whoa slow down and think this through. I’m good at procrastinating. I can wait until I am clear about what I want to do, or until I have no choice but to take action. I promised Donna that I if I was going to have top surgery, I would wait until she was ready. I am still waiting; neither of us is ready.

When I first started to think about what it meant to be transgender, I was both intrigued by and repelled by top surgery. I am still ambivalent. I’ve tried to write posts before about top surgery, but they have not felt right. This is yet another attempt. If the thought of a butch (or me in particular) considering top surgery creeps you out, stop here and read another post. Otherwise, continue down into the rabbit hole. Continue reading

Plaid Flannel

Butch-FlannelIt finally dropped below freezing in New York. That means layers. And flannel. I love winter. It takes the edge off my dysphoria.

The official start of my flannel season is the weekend after Labor Day. I take stock of my shirts. Which one needs a button, which ones are so scruffy that they should only be worn for chores, and which ones should go into the rag box. One of the sad things about flannel is that it doesn’t last forever. Continue reading

Chest Envy (Freud Was Wrong)

Louise Brooks In Butch Drag

Louise Brooks, flapper icon

My mother took me shopping for my first bra during the first week of 7th grade. I was a chubby prepubescent eleven year old. It wasn’t clear if I had breasts or chest flab. We took a trip to a store with a back room and an old lady wearing a cardigan. She wielded a tape measure. I took off my shirt and my undershirt and she wrapped it around me, proclaiming “38AA.” I didn’t want to wear a training bra. I wanted to wear my undershirt. My mother wanted to make a lady out of me. By any means necessary. Continue reading

Boy, you’re going to carry that weight…

This-butch's-favorite-chocolate-shopI was an overweight child. I was short and didn’t fit in clothes for my height. Everything had to be shortened. I popped buttons, busted seams, and split zippers. I could not be contained by my clothes. My mother took me shopping in the chubby department (now called girls plus). I didn’t mind being a butterball, but I wanted to shop in the boy’s husky section.

I was rough on clothes. Especially girl’s clothes. In first grade I had a dress that was navy blue “dotted swiss” with red smocking across the chest. I detested it. I accidentally dropped hot dogs on it and spilled grape juice on it. I pulled at the smocking to snap it or stretch it out of shape. I told my mother I was clumsy. I could not outgrow that dress fast enough. Continue reading

The Last Time I Wore a Dress

this-butch-only-wore-pantsThe last time I wore a dress, it was for my brother’s college graduation. It was the summer in-between my freshman and sophomore years. I had put on weight and my one pair of dress pants did not fit. I had not worn a dress in five years; not since my father’s funeral.  I borrowed an Indian hand-block wrap skirt from my ex-girlfriend.

I had just come out to my mother. She was upset and angry. I wore the skirt to placate her. I could answer “Why do you have to be a lesbian?” better than “Why do you have to dress like a man?” I did not want to ruin Jon’s graduation. The dysphoria was unbearable. I swore I would never make that mistake again. Continue reading