317 // Mismatch

My emotions are all over the place today. My wife and I are heading up to the mountains this evening for a little photoshoot and finding the right outfit has been… difficult.

I don’t much talk about my gender or gender expression here but over the years I’ve become more and more comfortable with the term “non-binary” and “they/them” pronouns. I’ve always been a little masculine of center in the way that I dress though it’s only that way because truly androgynous clothes do not exist in easily accessible or affordable department stores.

That being said, I was assigned female at birth and this body is more feminine than my inner self would like. This means there never seem to be clothes that fit quite right or make me look quite the way I see myself when I close my eyes.

It’s distressing to have your outer self exist in such contrast to your inner self and if you’ve never experienced this mismatch of sex and gender, of body and culture, you cannot understand.

So, each special occasion is accompanied by a minor breakdown and a wife at a loss how to help. Nothing helps right now but time. Nothing will help in the long run but losing a little weight and even then I’ll never be quite what I want. There has to be a higher dose of acceptance and perhaps adding time and a budget line for tailoring.

This morning the world is a little rosier, despite the cloud cover. The gloom is forecasted to lift by morning’s ends and I expect a cup of strong coffee and a hot shower will lift my spirits. Deep down I am looking forward to the photography, and the mountains, and a beautiful time with my love. I can’t say I’m not looking forward to the end too and to a cold glass of wine on the couch with warm blankets and a movie to lose myself in.

Until then, smiles on and one foot in front of the other. Nothing is ever as bad or scary as you imagine.

316 // Long-Earned

It’s a long-earned early day home from work this Friday. The weather is nice but I’ve decided to stay in and catch up on some notes and fragments I’ve collected in notebooks and across app timelines. I’ve got a window full of sunshine and Flow State Radio playing on in the background. I’ve got my timer on and a big cup of coffee from the Moka pot. I’m ready to work.

It feels good to be back in my little space, somewhere I have been away from for far too long. The reasons are all so varied it’s hard to know where to begin. Any explanation is only an excuse. Then again, an explanation isn’t really owed, is it? All I will say is so much has changed, I am changed, and I am excited to fill you in and catch you up, little by little.

For now, I simply want to celebrate a whole week of being brave. For those who don’t know, I’ve long suffered from severe driving anxiety. It has hindered my independence, limited my opportunities, and devastated my self-esteem, but this week real progress was made!

My wife and I got a second car this month, and it has been just the push I need to push myself past my fear. Every day I wake with knots in my gut. I want to cry or vomit or both every time I sit behind the wheel, but this week I drove, anyway. I drove to and from work, home for lunch, to get gas, and even to get a flu shot! I have so many more places I plan to go as I slowly, slowly, slowly venture out of my comfort zone.

This may seem a small victory to those for whom driving is nothing to fear at all, but just imagine your greatest fear—heights? spiders? snakes? germs?—and having to face it multiple times a day. This is what I am going through. I have faced it but the truth is I’m still afraid and will be for a long time, maybe the rest of my life, but there is a seed of confidence that grows each time I prove I can do it.

For now, I’m focusing on the positive alone. I am feeling capable, strong, and fully human. I feel good about myself and that turns out to be the most important change of all.