Throughout the past few years I’ve had the privilege of sharing my experience on gender-fluidity and how it can serve as a tool towards self-expression.
Looking back, my personal journey in discovering my fluidity hasn’t been easy. It isn’t for most people. What did come naturally was my inclination towards being different. I’ve always enjoyed going against the grain.
Growing up in a small town called Swansea, MA, makes one feel as if being different made them special. But the cost of being different is frequently not belonging in and of itself. I believe that when you grow up without necessarily having a group or tribe to belong to, you often try on many personas and identities, desperate to find the one that fits. You’re a chameleon that tries every color until you find your own.
It would take me many years before learning that I belonged to myself. I always had my own unique color. That journey started my exploration, and that’s where I believe it all begins.
There’s a reason I referred to my journey as a discovery earlier because it’s all about exploration. I personally don’t believe it’s just about making a political statement or about being different – which, don’t get me wrong, can be beneficial in some measure. For me, it simply became about existing as a person that I felt most comfortable with. It’s about representing yourself in a way that compliments your view of yourself.
It’s your identity, yours to change, mold and develop. But what’s most important is that it is yours and does not belong to anyone else. The point of fluidity is that you’re meant to flow without rigid boundaries. Your identity, like mine, may want to be a bit more masculine one day and feeling feminine the next. But it’s important that the motivation can’t be for anyone or anything else but yourself. Otherwise would mean it’s inauthentic. All of it is meant to be explorative and, above all, it’s meant to be fun.
I understand ignoring the “rules” – aka the gender binary under the patriarchy – isn’t easy. I understand that we are all born and immediately force-fed societal expectations of how we should act and how we should look based on our assigned gender at birth. Stepping outside of the normal black and white can be scary but it starts with a bit of re-programming. But once you’re able to re-learn everything you’ve been taught, life becomes a lot more clear. Gender roles are nonsense and you can be free to just be.
When I came into my on gender non-conforming identity, it came with finding items that give you power. They are pieces that make you feel like that bitch, make you strut, not walk. For me, that happens to be a pair of heels and makeup. I personally love the effect that heels have on me – aside from the physical pain sometimes – I love the way they change my posture, make my butt look cute, and make my feet look absolutely adorable! That’s my power item and it gives me such a sense of personal confidence that the opinions of others mean less than the power they give me.
Had I not taking the step towards exploring the vast arena that is cosmetics, I likely wouldn’t have begun exploring other aspects of my identity.
Now I’m not saying grab a pair of heels and strut around the New York City streets – yet! But start small, maybe it’s starting with a bit of makeup – that’s where it actually started for me – but the point is to play! And these discoveries may start in the privacy of your room, but eventually you’ll be comfortable enough to show someone.
Before gathering the confidence to step out for a day in heels, make up was my go-to. It started small with the Glossier Skin Tint – a very simple liquid foundation – but it quickly evolved to include concealer, mascara, brow pomade, and my personal favorite, highlighter.
I became addicted to the feeling that a good face of makeup gave me and the inner glow that the confidence gave me (the outer glow helped too). But now, make up is something I still LOVE to play with and currently is included in my daily routine, just the degree in which I play changes depending on how I’m feeling that day – that’s the beauty of it all, it’s subjective because it’s for me. Had I not taking the step towards exploring the vast arena that is cosmetics, I likely wouldn’t have begun exploring other aspects of my identity. The point is, these small steps opened a much bigger door.
So, like me, eventually you’ll be ready to step out for a night, then a day, and before you know it starts to complement the very framework of who you are and your identity so much so that looking back you don’t even recognize the person you were. And I know – the hardest thing is taking that first step, but I promise you, the liberation and freedom this risk comes with is insurmountable and impossible to measure.
For me, it simply became about existing as a person that I felt most comfortable with.
Sure, as with any risk you will always have people snicker and hate. They may even think you’re crazy. But, it’s like one of my favorite quote from Doctor Who: “Anybody remotely interesting is mad.” I’d rather be the “craziest” person out there and be free, than living my life by a rule book from an author that I don’t know.
To prove the it’s a long journey I include a lovely series of some pictures of me from 2018 – 2020 and you can truly see how I’ve progressed into feeling more and more confident in myself and the baby steps it took to get there. (Some of the outfit choices are very questionable so don’t judge me!)
January 25th, 2018 – Wearing my first pair of Syro heels in public! Pure power!
February 5th, 2018 – A lot going on in this look but I felt hot.
May 23rd, 2018 – I was finally 5’10 with these 5″ platforms.
November 20th, 2018 – My first Ricky King corset changed my life.
November 29th, 2018 – I will never forget this Rose Berger dress. Still dreaming.
February 4th, 2019 – Serving in my full femme boss mode. Don’t play.
April 14th, 2019 – Yes, I thought those fury Jeffrey Campbell heels were cute at the time.
May 15th, 2019 – One of my favorite tops. A necessary Nicola Indelicato piece.
June 9th, 2019 – Finishing with one of my favorite looks of last year. Couture Denim Ranger.
I will continue to play and discover new versions of myself. And I hope this inspires you to do the same.