How often have you heard or said the phrase “Ah, why do we bother eh?“. I ask this not out of judgement, but from curiosity. That and to lead into this chapter of Lessons Learned. 🙂
As a genderfluid person, I spend most of my life in bloke mode. What helps keep me okay, is enough time to express all of who I am. To anyone who thinks being genderfluid is just about dressing up, it’s not. My nature and needs do not switch off, I am always me, with whatever gubbins is going on in my head. The backchatter of “That’s nice… Ah, but not in Richard mode #SadFace”. Moreover I have to mask who I am or push away such thoughts, if it’s not safe for me to be me.
Like much in life, there are times in which you cannot be bothered. I may refer to this as CBB, merely to save my fingers typing. Northern readers may wish to use CBA, instead. 😉
The CBB factor can play havoc with your gender expression. There’s times when the idea of hair removal, shapewear, padding, tucking, cosmetics, clothing, and… well, I’m feeling quite tired just listing that lot. 🙂
I feel the issue can come when you may not know when you’re next able to express who you are, or if you do know, but it’s some time away. Here lies the rub: being able to push yourself through the barrier and take the opportunity.
Barriers? Well, tiredness, self esteem, weight gain (or loss), stress, to that old devil, Dysphoria. Those factors can make it feel we have a steep hill to climb. That well before we even reach the practicalities of opening the proverbial wardrobe door. What to wear? Of this out if style? Well this fit? Is this too frumpy or too young?
So, background set, what’s the lesson learned here? I would say – and remember the usual disclaimer, this is only my experience; yours may well be different. Different is okay.
Don’t believe the hype
Think about big events in your childhood. Holidays, a day out, having a friend over, celebrations; and think about the effect hype had on those. The more something is bigged up, if you will, then in my experience, the greater the risk the event has of not meeting those grand expectations. Indeed, a study suggested a strong link been low expectations and increased happiness. Note, I’m not saying you should switch to “well, this’ll be sh**e” because that’ll hammer your motivation too.
Hype can come from various places – advertising (“this is the style for this season!”), wishes (“this is going to be so good!”), targets (“when I drop a dress size, I’ll be better looking”), silver bullets (“this new corset will finally give me the curves I want”), etc.
I don’t think we can eliminate hype and to an extent, hoping something will be good may not be a bad thing. Perhaps, it’s a case of balance: there’s a difference between a gentle sense of hope and the more cartoon Best Day Ever view of the world.
Lower your expectations
Sometimes, and I know I do this, it’s easy to fall into the trap of slipping from planning, to hoping, to dreaming. A day dream in which your outfit, hair, and makeup are top grade. But, let’s take a moment to breathe and reflect: how often are things amazing? Not to be negative, but in the bell curve of awesomeness, if everything is awesome, isn’t that the new typical? 🙂 Most of the time, things are just okay and sometimes a bit pants, but it’s rare things are always awful. If you pardon the fortune cookie phraseology: sometimes, good enough, is good enough.
If you can, push by the worries and just do what you can. Your outfit does not have to slay, you don’t have to be your best self, and it’s absolutely okay to wear something you’ve worn before. Take a breath, be kind to yourself, and just go with the flow. You may find cruising through things, well, without the noise and the stress of perfection, you can enjoy the time you have.
Be kind to yourself
The inner monologue of negatively can be overwhelming at times. That voice that tells us we’re not good enough, too fat, too thin, too square, too round, too masc, too femme, etc. Thinking back to wishing earlier, often we cannot magic away the perceived flaws we have through nagging. When did such psychological bullying ever did anything? I would wager all it did was make the recipient feel awful.
So, perhaps it’s time to revisit that old phrase would you say this to a friend?
In the case of Can’t Be Bothered, maybe our route forward is “it might be okay”, “why don’t we give it go?”, or “You could go for twenty minutes and you don’t have to stay.”.
Just, give it a go
There’s been many times when I’ve not felt like going to Chams. It’s absolutely not the group that’s the issue, it was me. Sometimes a build up of not feeling good enough or that tiredness around the whole process. But, when I have decided to pack a bag and go, when I meet up with friends, it all helps and I’m glad I made the effort.