“Are you a boy or a girl?” “um, well…” “Don’t you know? How can you not know?! You’re either one or the other. So which one is it?!”
Apparently simple to this 94 year old. Not so simple to me. I am either, neither, both. None of the above? All of the above? I don’t know. I am hopeful, sensitive, hard, soft, rigid, flexible, nurturing, caring, kind (at least I hope I am) and curious. I see myself in my mind’s eye as male in body, in affect, mannerisms…. adjectivally? But not the kind of man who takes up space, is entitled, unaware, macho, paternalistic. But yes strong, determined, courageous, bold. Why are those things not womanly or feminine? Can they be? Look them up. The adjectives I give, the ones I feel and or strive for, are not associated with womanly or female. At least not the definitions given in our society, the ones we’re taught both explicitly and implicitly. And if we’re going with the standard (the only ones we have at the moment) definitions, I am female in my capacity for compassion, consideration, equanimity. Sometimes it feels like changing societal specifications is like trying to unlearn our childhood images of God. No matter how we change and grow and learn, there always seems to be that corner of the mind that is occupied by the old man with the long white beard, so familiar, even if unacceptable, that it’s hard to evict him, hard to imagine that chair empty or filled by someone or something else. And so it is with gender, the binding, binary system. I don’t want to try and be anything I’m not. Nor do I want to be defined by someone else. I’m simply trying to be, who and what I am, living fully in the space in between. Is that too much to ask?