I’ve spoken about figuring out my style again, transforming myself into how I want to look.  I see this as reclaiming myself from the years of just wanting to blend in, fit in, be who I was told I should be.

But something I did not anticipate is how incredibly vulnerable it is to make these changes in public.  Everyone is watching.  And by everyone, I merely mean the people I know, my friends and family.  But that is everyone to me because they are all the ones that matter.

There are markers that make me know I’m headed in the right direction.  The thrill I’ve always gotten when I dress “like a boy” is one.  How good I feel in boxer briefs is another.  The comfort of men’s jeans–not so tight and constricting as women’s, plus they hide my everlasting hips.  The feeling of looking like myself with my shorter haircuts.  (Remember the breathe of relief when I cut it the first time?  Finally, I was myself.)

But I’m also making these changes while I’m going out with women.  First dates are still weird for me because the women I meet are making static judgments on me based on how I look that day.  One woman (another butch) tried to convince me to grow my hair out–assuming I cut it because I came out, not because I want it short.  I was actually offended at that, mostly because I feel as though no one has the right to try to tell me how to look.  If I solicit their help, that is one thing.

I’m reading book after book about being butch.  Not as a primer, but as a way to see how it feels, to explore thoughts, to find normalcy in something I’ve been told isn’t normal.  It helps.  It starts to feel like home when it feels familiar.  And if you can’t feel at home in your own body, where can you feel at home?

There is no big, important point to this post.  I just wanted to express how hard it is to reclaim yourself in your 30’s while your whole world watches.