I didn't want to be the only straight person on the team
April 26, 2019 8:46 AM   Subscribe

Metafilter's Own Alison Wilgus on coming out late
posted by PhoBWanKenobi (48 comments total) 86 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thanks for sharing this link and comic. Congrats to Narrative Priorities!

Not the same thing obviously, but I go through that sort of "what if" stuff all the time as well. "Why did I waste so much time on that relationship that I knew wasn't going anywhere" and mourn the loss of time. But, I like to think that each one of those other (not bad) decisions made me the person I am now. Previous versions of me would not be ready for the relationship that eventually found me that I treasure so.
posted by terrapin at 8:56 AM on April 26 [8 favorites]


“I can’t get those years back. All I can do is forgive myself for needing time.”


Amen to that.
posted by darkstar at 8:59 AM on April 26 [28 favorites]


Not the same thing obviously, but I go through that sort of "what if" stuff all the time as well. "Why did I waste so much time on that relationship that I knew wasn't going anywhere" and mourn the loss of time. But, I like to think that each one of those other (not bad) decisions made me the person I am now. Previous versions of me would not be ready for the relationship that eventually found me that I treasure so.

Yeah, I think this is definitely true. This really spoke to me as someone who fully came out as bi/pan in their late 20s and then genderqueer at 34. Especially as a person mostly attracted to masculine people, I had internalized a lot of stuff about gender and sexuality that wasn't true, I had not overcome a bunch of trauma around these things--I wasn't there yet. And wouldn't be there yet until it became absolutely undeniable. It's been strange, seeing and feeling how things that once felt fine no longer did--I, too, have packed up most of my femme clothes, something I thought I'd never do (gender is a social construction! They're just clothes! But now they are the Wrong Clothes). Still, life is so, so much better now and there is a bittersweetness to the fact that I could have felt that decades ago, but didn't. It feels especially sharp when I see genderqueer teens and the community they sometimes seem to have with one another.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:02 AM on April 26 [20 favorites]


Brilliant and cathartic comic. Even for someone who has been out for more than 1/2 my life. We are all always evolving, learning ourselves, forgiving ourselves for the speed at which we uncover who we are and what we need. The art is gorgeous, too. Thanks for sharing.
posted by anya32 at 9:03 AM on April 26 [4 favorites]


I should not have looked at this at work. I am crying as quietly as I can at my desk. Good thing it's lunchtime so I can openly sob in my car. All I can say now is that this resonates so hard and is beautifully made.
posted by missmary6 at 9:05 AM on April 26 [15 favorites]


PhoBWanKenobi: Are you me? Well, no, because you came out as genderqueer at 34, and I'm coming out (or at least figuring it out) at 35.

I know for me, what helped me figure it and myself out was actually being around out queer people, and realizing that these things and feelings were not abstract concepts. It's having a social mirror where you can go "holy shit, I've thought that might be a part of me, and if they can do it, why not me?"
posted by SansPoint at 9:10 AM on April 26


Beautiful.

I've been feeling the regret/anger thing because I went back into the family/professional closet and did a bunch of gender-related denial because I needed a job, and I needed to not piss off various members of my extended family, and thought the only way I could deal with the mountain of educational debt was to become my grandfather (who had the advantages of the original G.I. Bill, being straight, and more compartmentalized.)
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 9:12 AM on April 26 [8 favorites]


WOOF. I've been having a lot of complicated feelings about my queerness lately - even told a friend recently that it felt like doors were shutting for me, and I felt really sad about it but couldn't articulate exactly why. I don't think anything could have summed up those feelings better than reading this.
posted by westface at 9:13 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


I've got a lot of feelings on this too - especially about visible queerness and what might have been, but first I'm going to take a moment to recommend O Human Star to everyone in this thread.

That feeling that you need to forgive yourself for the time - that's rough.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:26 AM on April 26 [9 favorites]


47 and in a similar place
posted by kokaku at 9:28 AM on April 26 [8 favorites]


What a lovely comic. I've said this before on MeFi; my one regret about gay/lesbian acceptance in the US is it's sort of forced people into pigeonholes. Everyone understands if you are "lesbian" or "gay", and decent people accept it. But if you're genderqueer or your story changes over your life or really even simply bisexual, straight people don't quite know what to do with that. It's like we went from having one box to two, when the reality is human sexuality is a continuum. And one that changes.

Fortunately this seems to be getting better, particularly with the Young People. I'm frankly a little baffled by the genderfluid pansexual youth culture but I also think it's a terrific thing.

Also it's a different-but-related story, but I've known a bunch of men who only came out late in life, in their 50s. Often they knew they had homosexual desires as a younger man but either ignored or suppressed it to marry, have children. And be real husbands and fathers! And then at some point something changes, maybe a mid life crisis, and he comes out and divorces and dives enthusiastically into the gay life. I admire the men who can do this and I feel very bad for their ex-wives. But mostly struck how it's a relatively common experience and yet one our society doesn't really know how to handle. Often the narrative is somehow it was a sham marriage but that's very much not the experience of the men I know.
posted by Nelson at 9:34 AM on April 26 [20 favorites]


Yay Alison!
posted by Artw at 9:36 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


I love that last panel! :,)
posted by ITheCosmos at 9:42 AM on April 26 [3 favorites]


I had, and to some extent still have, unwarranted bitterness towards young people and their fluidity around gender. I've had to understand that it's not really about them, it's about my own journey -- my grief about not being able to understand and embrace my identity sooner. Trans people were not really on the map where I grew up. I'm making up for lost time.
posted by coffeeand at 9:48 AM on April 26 [10 favorites]


I relate so hard to the "Too bad I'm definitely absolutely 100% straight" part. I know toyed with calling myself bisexual earlier in my life but I didn't really know what that meant (even to me) and I was never really comfortable with it until recently. I had a lot of gay and lesbian friends in high school and college but I knew I wasn't that. I didn't know there were other options, or that even the options could be on a sliding scale.

It's sort of felt like a bit of a cop-out for me, but being in my current relationship with a man has made me more comfortable with my sexuality overall and had made me understand it more and where and what my attractions (sexual and romantic, as well as a combo of the two) actually are. I know what being bisexual means to me, finally.

I am really happy for the kids today who have more examples (among their peers, in the media*) of what the range can look like. I'm also happy to have them!

*I don't particularly think it's a great show, but I do love how casual Abby's was about Abby's bisexuality. There's a bisexual woman of color as the lead character on a basic sitcom on a major network! That's just pretty awesome.
posted by darksong at 9:52 AM on April 26 [5 favorites]


Is there a group of people that's like, doesn't like men at all except perhaps a couple specific men, doesn't identify as a man despite looking like one and being raised like one, hence doesn't much like one's self, but likes people with woman-form bodies who are otherwise androgynous -to- butch and are a little assertive but also know actually how to be decent, kind, compassionate people, which on the skin-surface of it seems like it might be straight-with-a-type except that's not it at all and someone yelled at me when I posited that I was a lesbian in a man's body because male privilege and I don't hate the sex but pretty much everything else about this physical form is at a base level just kind of repulsive but I've learned to put up with it? Is there a name for that? Do we have a flag? Because speaking only for me as me there's literally nothing I can say "that's me" with any high degree of certainty. Probably an egg that doesn't want to bother to hatch or something. Well, I wear the rainbow everywhere and if anyone asks I just say I'm queer and leave it there. It's so confusing and I'm 52 and doubt I'll ever get a resolution. At least I have friends.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:01 AM on April 26 [40 favorites]


Probably an egg

If you're in deep enough that you know what an egg is and you know you probably are one then.... ? (Diagnosis egg.) Sorry someone yelled at you. That maybe wasn't the best phrasing on your part but you're 100% allowed to explore your gender even if you don't have the right words for it yet.
posted by coffeeand at 10:10 AM on April 26 [7 favorites]


My experience was pretty different on the surface, but I still relate to so much of this. I came out a lot younger than this - I knew when I was in high school, dated women in college. But I still spent a lot of time thinking it'd be just okay if I never had to come out to anyone. I can point to pretty specific things that kept me in the closet longer - that best frenemy that told me that I should just admit that I was bisexual because I need to cast as wide a net as possible. That feeling that it wasn't fair to date anyone until my hormones settled down and chose a side. But I've also always resented having to announce myself to anyone and have avoided doing so whenever possible - just striding past it by talking about ex girlfriends and experiences and treating it as if it's something that everyone already knew. Social pressure tends to keep people's mouth shut and accept with minimal bullshit.

But it also means that I forced myself to skip the first few steps - I never allowed myself to be the baby queer. I still don't feel comfortable with too many visible signifiers. I sometimes think I'm picking invisibility when I would rather be picking non-issue, but don't know how to make that happen.

When I told my mother I had a girlfriend for the first time she nearly crashed the car. I tend to advise people when they come out to not come out while they or the person that they're coming out to was operating a motor vehicle. It's kind of a joke, but also that moment of terror, of realizing that oh no, this conversation could actually kill me never really left. Our relationship never recovered. And that was thirteen years ago, and we haven't really talked about it since. I don't know if she ever accepted that, and I don't know if she just thought it was a phase. My mother's not the type for heart to hearts and shuts down emotional conversations, so I'll probably never know.

And over a decade into a relationship with a man, I'm still torn with wanting to be acknowledged as queer - or at least not having to feel guilty about somehow hiding the fact by not shouting it at everyone I meet - and being afraid about people taking it as a referendum on my husband's masculinity on the other (it's happened, before). Sometimes I feel like I've managed to put myself back in the closet, and I'm stealing some privilege as comfort.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:17 AM on April 26 [12 favorites]


Is there a name for that?

Hugs. Trans women can be masculine. They can be butch lesbians. Trans people can have all sort of gender performance. You can stand under my trans umbrella.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:20 AM on April 26 [28 favorites]


This hit home. Someone very close to me came out recently and while I have a lot of very complex feelings about it, mostly I was glad that, despite all of *gestures wildly with hands* this, they exist in a world where they can come out.

One of my all time great honors was having Narrative Priorities as my Secret Quonsar one year and receiving a few of their comic books.
posted by bondcliff at 10:27 AM on April 26 [6 favorites]


I related to a lot of the emotions in this comic, too. I feel like I've spent half my life coming out in different ways and each one is a completely different closet. Coming out as bi to my friends in high school, my parents in college. Restating that bi identity each time I was assumed to be a lesbian or straight. Trans many years after that--first to myself, then to my partner, friends. Some years later, to my family. And now as gender queer/nonbinary/gender nonconforming (I prefer the first term but feel like I fit into the other two, too)--out to my spouse, my friends, my current job. Not so much my family. There's still another door there.

I never simply knew I was bi or queer or trans. I feel like I stumbled into it each time, and really wrestled with my trans and genderqueer identities. And while I've embraced my genderqueer identity and have an amazing group of people in my immediate life, I have yet to face that conversation with my family. My sister knows--she actually asked me what pronouns I was using when I saw her in the fall, which was really affirming. But having the 'oh, I'm trans' conversation and getting my family to embrace my new name and masculine pronouns was hard enough the first time around. I just don't feel ready for that struggle asking for something outside the binary, trying to educate them or get them to educate themselves, having another horrible conversation with my mother about how/why/is it your spouse pressuring you?
posted by carrioncomfort at 10:28 AM on April 26 [6 favorites]


I didn't get misty till that last panel. This is a wonderful story, of course, but it's also pretty much a perfect short-form comic essay. The text and the pictures are minimalist, but they take on so much life playing call and response. Can't wait to check out more of her comics.
posted by es_de_bah at 10:30 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


Is there a name for that? Do we have a flag?

Behold the Gender Questioning Flag. You don't need absolute answers to be part of the queer community.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:18 AM on April 26 [5 favorites]


I'm frankly a little baffled by the genderfluid pansexual youth culture but I also think it's a terrific thing.

I think this is an essential mark of progress. If the young aren't better, often incomprehensibly so to earlier generations, then those parents and aunts and uncles, and teachers and friends and neighbors haven't done their jobs.
posted by bonehead at 11:18 AM on April 26 [11 favorites]


It's remarkable how she manages to fit my therapy sessions into 20+ panels.

Is there a name for that?

Yeah, I think the key thing here is that you're pretty much allowed to be whoever you want (tho "lesbian in a man's body" is going to come with some eyerolls due to the history of the use of the phrase). Strictly from your description, maybe you're trans? Maybe you're non-binary? Maybe you're a gender-expansive queer cis person? (Maybe you're a gender-expansive straight cis person?) I don't know! But I know how troubling late-in-life realizations that "maybe I'm not who I thought I was" can be. And I know how those late night ruminations like —"But I didn't do/feel X when I was younger?" "How can I be X if I don't want to do/be Y?" "Am I really X or just telling myself that?"—can be even scarier. Here's the thing tho—you don't need permission to be trans or non-binary or queer, you don't need permission to explore whatever that means to you, and you don't need permission to decide that you aren't, after all. :-)
posted by octobersurprise at 11:43 AM on April 26 [9 favorites]


I get frustrated with the youth culture framing. The last two decades of mainstream LGBT activism has done a lot to challenge inversion theory, at the cost of marginalizing the rich tradition of gender liberation and experimentation. I use the word "genderqueer" to represent those connections to and influences from glam, Bornstein, Feinberg, Radical Faerie, Ballrooms, and the crossdressing communities of the 50s, the 20s, and back further.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 11:54 AM on April 26 [9 favorites]


If you're in deep enough that you know what an egg is and you know you probably are one then.... ?

On the one hand, this was true for me and many others. On the other hand, I spent the last few months before coming out telling people, “I appreciate that you’ve welcomed me into your spaces, and I think you’re probably right about me, but I need time to show my work — could you hold off on the gender-reveal party for a while?”

</derail>

I saw this comic this morning, and it speaks to the grief I feel. I was already dating Dr. problemsolved by the time I accepted my bisexuality, and I didn’t even start having gender problems until after we were married. And I’ve basically given up on explaining being nonbinary to cis people, so I’ve just been letting them file me under “trans woman” because it’s less wrong than “cis man.”

So there are these huge swaths of my identity that feel like they’ll always just be kind of … entirely theoretical. And I know that doesn’t make them any less valid, but what do you do with the knowledge that you’ll (probably) never get to validate them for yourself?
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 12:05 PM on April 26 [9 favorites]


> but what do you do with the knowledge that you’ll (probably) never get to validate them for yourself?

Thanks for the gut punch. (Seriously, I don't do sarcasm. This is the most succinct description of the bizarro kind of angst I've been wrestling with.)
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:08 PM on April 26 [6 favorites]


I thought I was a pretty solidly -- at least mostly -- gay guy until my mid 40's. Then I realized (through some wonderful falling love) that oh, no, wait, I've been bi all this time... ? What? How could I not have known such a fundamental thing about myself? Or did I just change? Am I just an idiot? What don't I know about myself now that I'll know 10 years from now? Was I suppressing my bi-ness without realizing it? Am I suppressing stuff now without realizing it? If I "switched", will I switch back? If my primary sexual relationship is "hetero" now, does that make me more straight than gay? Am I really straight or straight-ish? Has the gay thing been a sham all this time? And what about gender? If I'd had a chance to explore gender earlier in life, would I have done so? Is there a more complex gender along with a more complex sexuality that's inside of me?

And so on and so on. All this to say, the "how could I not have known this about myself" aspect of this comic really resonated with me. I've been beating myself up a lot about that, as well as mourning what my life could have been like if I'd wrestled with this stuff in a concrete way much earlier. This hit home in a big way.
posted by treepour at 12:55 PM on April 26 [4 favorites]


I can't stop reading this over and over again. It's so much like my story and like Alison says in the comic, we don't see those stories very much.

I think I feel especially goofy about taking so long to figure this out because, like Alison, I have had queer people around me most of my life, at least since college. I always gravitated towards queer people, but also felt reluctant to take up too much space or be the overeager "ally." (LOLOLOLOLOLOL)

And the regret thing: oof. I think so much about what my twenties and thirties would have been like if I'd come out, say, in college (where I was a gender studies major and led the campus feminist group, of course). What would my life be like now? Would I be married? Would I have woven this into my career in some way? (I work in advocacy)

What about when your journey isn’t a steady march towards openness and acceptance, but a clumsy stumble through “what the hell is even going on with me?”

This is cute and funny but also painful. Cause, yeah, I spent a not-insignificant amount of time wondering what was going on with me, and sometimes "what is wrong with me?" and that really sucks. And doesn't just go away when you come out (though coming out has helped soooooooooo much and I highly recommend it).

The last panel, where Alison comes out to a room full of welcoming queers: that hit me right in the heart. Because it's what I experienced too. Just a lot of queer people who have been so happy for me and so welcoming and I could not be more grateful for how wonderful the queer community can be.
posted by lunasol at 1:39 PM on April 26 [7 favorites]


seanmpuckett - I'm right there with you.

I hate my male-form body (yet do male form stuff to it/ with it like develop muscles) but still almost exclusively attracted to female-form bodies of all types. I too have used the "lesbian in a man's body" phrasing/ thinking, but I've acknowledged that there's a lot of baggage associated with that (Rodney Dangerfield's joke probably being one of them, and then there's the who TERF thing).

What started out as occasional guilty crossdressing (with plenty of rounds of closet purges) evolved into being 100% femme when I'm home alone to slowly accepting that I'm transgendered and gay because of the transgender.

I too like the sex as a male form and body integrity issues preclude me from reductive surgery/ transition. Breastforms have come a really long way and I love them and I'm saving up to get a pair of the newest generation (but they're pricey). I have some pretty socially conservative (old) bosses and need to work with a lot of largely socially conservative (cultural background) technicians who I have QA authority over that I need to maintain in order to do my job. So.
posted by porpoise at 1:42 PM on April 26 [4 favorites]


I turn 40 at the end of this year and I have started to have feelings that I may not be hetero. I don't feel like any of the categories or labels I know of really fit what I'm feeling, so I am trying to just sit with these feelings until I get a bit more clarity. One thing I am stumbling on is the imposter feelings. I am not comfortable coming out as anything yet because I don't know what that is, but that makes me feel like an imposter in queer only spaces since I am not willing (yet!) to openly take an identity other than straight cis woman.

"How can I be X if I don't want to do/be Y?" "Am I really X or just telling myself that?"—can be even scarier. Here's the thing tho—you don't need permission to be trans or non-binary or queer, you don't need permission to explore whatever that means to you, and you don't need permission to decide that you aren't, after all. :-)

Thank you, octobersurprise. That helps :)
posted by twilightlost at 1:43 PM on April 26 [6 favorites]


Basically, I've always known that I wanted to be a girl (since at least preschool) but I've always known that I want to be with girls (since at least grade 3).

Every romantic partner except one has rejected me - some kindly, other less so - when I disclosed/ they found out, so there's that little bit of trauma, too.
posted by porpoise at 1:49 PM on April 26 [4 favorites]


One thing I am stumbling on is the imposter feelings. I am not comfortable coming out as anything yet because I don't know what that is, but that makes me feel like an imposter in queer only spaces since I am not willing (yet!) to openly take an identity other than straight cis woman.

This held me back for too long, and it is so real among most of the people I know who came out later in life (or at least started questioning). One piece of advice I wish I could give me from a few years ago is to talk about it with people I trust, even if I'm not sure. I felt like there were two categories: questioning and Out of the Closet and if I wasn't ready for a label, I couldn't "come out." What I wish I'd realized is that you don't have to have a label to just talk about it. With a therapist, a close friend, whoever you trust. Once I started talking about it, things started becoming a lot clearer, and I wish I'd started doing it earlier.

(Also, I belong to a few really great online communities of women figuring things out a bit later - the women run the gamut from fully-out as a lesbian to "I think I might like women in addition to men." If you'd like information about either of these, feel free to memail me.)
posted by lunasol at 1:59 PM on April 26 [3 favorites]


This is a touching, apt, spare, elegant, wrenching, true comic. I'm so glad to see it get this reception, as Alison has a knack for cutting out everything but the hard human experience of a story.

I admire the men who can do this and I feel very bad for their ex-wives. But mostly struck how it's a relatively common experience and yet one our society doesn't really know how to handle. Often the narrative is somehow it was a sham marriage but that's very much not the experience of the men I know.

Thank you for posting this, Nelson. I'm wrestling with this now, and how to wrap my head and heart around imminently joining that group of ex-(husbands). It wasn't a sham, but it was also wasted time for others, and that's hard. I expect that many people in our lives will not understand.

Hopefully I can be a part of the welcoming crowd outside the door in the last panel.
posted by peripatetron errant at 2:38 PM on April 26 [9 favorites]


Sudden onset last-panel crying!

Thank you for posting this it helps people. That’s not me in the comic, but it rhymes with me irl in different ways. I want to read more things like this.
posted by Sterros at 2:45 PM on April 26 [2 favorites]


I have to say that I am incredibly lucky that my partner is essentially my opposite, who has a woman-form and has always felt like they were in the wrong kind of body (and you should see them in their Brooks Brothers suit... [dies]), yet is still attracted to the way I look. We're both non-boxable and yet very comfortable with each other so if I can just say one thing about this fucked up journey it's really great having someone to share it with. Who knows what we'll look like in a decade.... it's strange times in queertown for sure.

This is just intended as a ray of hope; there is romantic and sexual acceptance of out there.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:05 PM on April 26 [10 favorites]


I have to say that one of the best things I've done as part of my trans journey is to find a trans/non-binary support group. I don't know if it's just this group or just . . . a lot of trans people generally but it has been so, so amazing to see the variety of bodies and presentations and yet still felt the deep commonalities between us. At my worst and self-doubty, it is a space where I can speak to my own questions about validity and they extend me the grace that of course I would extend to any other trans person besides myself. It's very easy to say to someone else, "You can have breasts and be a man" or "Your presentation and your gender aren't the same." It's another thing, in the world of TERFs and truscum and whatever else, to feel it. Funny thing, too, because I've spent plenty of time around queer people. But this is the first time I've felt that exhalation of belonging. I wish I could take you all to my group.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:14 PM on April 26 [13 favorites]


dinty_moore, that comic was exactly what I needed to read and I really did not get much work done today. Thank you.
posted by lauranesson at 4:23 PM on April 26 [2 favorites]


That was interesting. I've come really recently to identifying as non-binary, in my late thirties. When I was trying to think how I identified as a kid, I realized that my only strong feeling was "not a boy", which at the time seemed to mean girl. I was, at least partly, raised in a queer community. There were plenty of people who were gender-non-conforming, as well as people who were trans. But I never really saw non-binary. People seemed sure of their gender and there didn't seem to be a place between butch lesbian and trans man.

It reminds me some of how when I was a kid, I assumed that the butterflies I felt around boys were crushes and it was difficult to even talk to those boys, but those same feelings with girls meant I wanted to be friends with them, so I worked on talking. And didn't learn to tell the difference between crushes and friend making until my teens. Even with all the info from my parental community about how women can love women, they never talked about crushes and how crushes feel. So I mostly got that from books, where all the girls had crushes on boys. I came out as bi while I was in high school, but there were examples to follow all around me.

Now that I'm seeing my lack of gender more clearly, it's interesting seeing some of the pictures of myself from college, when I was quite butch, and I wonder how I didn't see it sooner. It was so plainly there. I even called dressing up femme "doing drag".
posted by Margalo Epps at 6:08 PM on April 26 [5 favorites]


So, two media things that have hit me hard in my own gender-and-sexuality considerations…

When I was trying to think how I identified as a kid, I realized that my only strong feeling was "not a boy", which at the time seemed to mean girl.

In an episode of The Allusionist about how "the vocabulary for sex and associated body parts is tricky to navigate in many ways - but even more so if you are trans or gender non-binary", one of the people interviewed said (misquoted from memory) "I always knew I wasn't a man, I just thought I was crap at being a woman." When I heard that, I honest to goodness punched the air in spontaneous recognition. Yes. That.

It reminds me some of how when I was a kid, I assumed that the butterflies I felt around boys were crushes and it was difficult to even talk to those boys, but those same feelings with girls meant I wanted to be friends with them, so I worked on talking.

This video by Chantel Houston (one of the people behind Buzzfeed's Ladylike channel) really resonated with me about that, and also reminded me of what the linguist Suzette Haden Elgin (RIP) used to say about how society makes it difficult to talk about things that mainstream society doesn't consider important or acceptable. As Chantel says in the video, if you're bi (especially if you're demisexual or on the asexual spectrum) it can be way easier to notice attraction to people of the societally "appropriate" gender while thinking that attraction to other people is just… friends! We're good friends! And that's why I have this urge to go all puppy-eyed and want to hug and snuggle and be around them all the time…

That's not why? Oh. Huh. Well, that's interesting. And here I am, 48, married to someone I love dearly and can't imagine my life without, and… huh. I don't want to change my life now, but sometimes I wonder how things might have been if they were different, sometimes.
posted by Lexica at 9:57 PM on April 26 [6 favorites]


I’ve been a sucker for coming out narratives for as long as I can remember and this one is really touching (and definitely hits close to home). Thanks!
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:23 AM on April 27 [1 favorite]


"I always knew I wasn't a man, I just thought I was crap at being a woman." When I heard that, I honest to goodness punched the air in spontaneous recognition. Yes. That.

Yep, me too. I tend to tell people I’m a bad exemplar. Not the way a cassowary is a Bad Bird, but the way a platypus is a bad mammal.
posted by eirias at 4:49 AM on April 27 [8 favorites]


but first I'm going to take a moment to recommend O Human Star to everyone in this thread.

That is a lovely and optimistic comic, but that workplace romance between a superior and a subordinate is clearly inappropriate.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:09 AM on April 28


Yeah, I don't think we're supposed to take the past relationship as emotionally healthy on a number of different vectors, not least of which is the boss/assistant relationship aspect.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:38 PM on April 28


Loved it. I came out (as a trans woman) to myself at 38, to the wide world at 39. I'm now 44, and it still seems surreal. I feel so much like myself now that it's hard to remember what it was like before. As I transition (and don't pass), I've really started to embrace non-binary and genderqueer identification. I'm still not sure who or what I am, but I know I'm a lot closer than I was ten years ago. Hooray for self-actualization!
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 7:48 PM on April 28 [6 favorites]


i almost cried this morning. it's been just six months since i pierced my lobes for the first time, and even though the piercing studio said it was okay for me to swap out the studs they put in for earrings of my choice, i'm still finding it phenomenally difficult; when i swap them out sometimes they bleed a little, and when i try to screw on these flat backs or ball backs it's an exercise in frustration because they're so tiny and my fingers are so big.

i know that what i was crying about was silly. it is not that my hands are gigantic man hands, given that they're sized similarly to my women friends of similar height, though that dysphoria exists, in a small way here and there. it is not that the earlobes hurt since they didn't really, or that there was still more blood than i wanted since my lobes are still technically healing, i guess.

i know that womanhood doesn't really come easy to anyone, least of all those of us who arrive into it years late with storebought hormones. some of it just takes lots of time to get used to the differences, muscle memory that has to be learned and unlearned. i still try to fasten buttons on the wrong side on my new rain coat and my canvas jacket, for instance, and i still haven't gotten used to threading the spike of the earring easily and quickly.

i know that 35 isn't that old, in the grand scheme, and i still try to forgive myself for running from this so long, but that doesn't stop the envy and sorrow when seeing so many others realize who they are and take their first steps at a younger age, before the damages of first puberty really set in, or even after, but get to live their youths as who they are, rather than robotic shells attempting to mimic human activity.

maybe if i had, too, i would have gotten used to putting in new earrings, instead of panicking in terror for ten minutes that maybe the piercing closed up in the scant minutes since i took the old ones out. maybe i should be nicer to myself, because it's not like it's easy to learn how, exactly, to move your arms and hands and fingers the right way.
posted by anem0ne at 1:27 PM on April 29 [8 favorites]


I think "be nicer to yourself" is the best advice.

My partner and I were talking about Quakers in the shower last night and I said it was a thing I could go for except for the requirement that you subscribe to a higher authority (this is what I said, not necessarily true), and I said that the only invisible voice I'd regard a higher power would be Kurt Vonnegut Jr. saying "babies, you've got to be kind."

Then my partner said, "or, 'Be excellent to each other!'" And we allowed as how Bill & Ted definitely roll out the spiritual wisdom.

The best part I think is that "Party on, dudes!" is jsut another way of saing "be nice to yourself."

Be nice to each other; be nice to yourself.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:39 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


« Older UFO sightings by the US Navy   |   'Builds up a hand of steam like no other' Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments