Gendering as self-care
Binary femme perspective on the psych ramifications of gendering for people with strong gender feelings. Originally written to self on a bad night as an exercise in positive self-talk, lightly reëdited.
Ok girl, so you’re clearly in a dysphoria crisis. Sucks to relapse, you were doing so well, I know. For a good while, you were happily embodied, you didn’t fear your own body. The orchi wasn’t supposed to make it worse and that’s super frustrating. But progress is not linear, you know that.
So maybe your hairline is receding. Maybe your body hair is blacker. In all likelihood it’s just paranoia, but think, this is not your gender, you can survive this either way… Worst case there are implants, there is laser, but you need a job, you need the visa, we need to get back on our feet…
You know how to dysphoria, so remember what you learned. Gender is not aesthetics. Gender is not vanity.
Remember when you cracked your egg. You put that fluffy jacket, you felt better. You put the masc coat, experimentally, you felt worse. Clear like flipping a button, stronger than any therapy or antidepressant you ever tried.
You thought that was ridiculous. Who cares for the gender of jackets. How does it even make sense that fluffy=fem, extra hair is a T trait anyway, it's all arbitrary. How can fluffiness cure depression—
…your mind cares is who. Your body cares. You’ll never rationalise gender away. Gender is selfcare to you, as necessary as food and rest and love—
You’ve experienced this in your cells, in your bones, you know this is true.
You’re every day on gym pants these days, easier to keep warm in these icy lands, warm leggings are a bother to fit, you have so little energy, it takes energy to do a nice outfit. Well do it anyway.
It takes energy to do makeup. It takes allowing oneself good things in spite of the voice of capitalism telling you you didn’t earn them. Do it anyway.
You’re so late for all the things, doesn’t matter, shave your body, do your nails it’s been >2weeks without polish, resume the skincare, these things are important, it’s bodycare to you, mindcare…
You’d never tell a sister she doesn’t deserve to put on makeup because she’s late on the deadlines. So don’t tell yourself that.
American prison slaves, rubbing ink out of hidden magazines to improvise some blush. North Korean women, risking their lives to contraband lipstick in the forbidden colour, red. Makeup is important for those of us for whom it is important. Let’s wear makeup for work. Put an office outfit, if the lab can be an occasion to fem up, so can your desk under quarantine.
What can you do today? It’s too late for nail polish, much as you crave that. Have some tea in the dark. Keep crying, crying is good. You fought the world for years to be able to cry, just for times like this.
Can't shower after transdermals. Light skincare is doable, retinoid on face for the T receptors, urea for those follicles, finas. Brush your teeth. Go to bed even if unsleepy, so we’re rested enough to shave body in the morning.
Tomorrow is red lipstick day.