Monthly Archives: July 2010

A Week of Looking Like Someone Else

I started today on a roughly week-long family vacation. Destination: Florida. More specifically, that happiest place on earth, Disney World. I am, of course, really excited and absolutely do not want to seem ungrateful for the no-doubt fabulous vacation for which my parents are paying.

I am, however, also apprehensive about the trip. It’s Florida (which means hot); it’s Disney (which means we’ll be outside a lot); and it’s my family (which means that there are some things, gender-wise, that I’m not yet sharing). More to the point, my wardrobe is drastically different from what I would otherwise wear (mostly due to the fact that it will be extremely hot out, but also partly because we’re sharing luggage, and that calls for a bit of self-editing). Continue reading

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I Feel Like I’m Losing Myself

I feel like I’m being pulled in so many different directions. I don’t know how–I’ve never know how–to deal with multiple identities in a way that doesn’t cause one of them to be neglected and ignored. I’m a Korean adoptee, but I’m also queer and trans, and I haven’t yet been able to figure out a way to unite those identities, instead of simply pushing one to the foreground and the other to the back.

I was at the Dragon Festival today. My old dance group (Korean traditional dance, mainly for Korean adoptees) was involved in hosting an exceptional group of professional Korean dancers, as well as two b-boys, all from Korea, at that festival. It was an amazing performance. Despite the heat, the sprinkling of rain, and the outdoors location, it was one of the best Korean dance performances I’ve seen (including several in Korea). Continue reading

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Take My Breath Away

To bind, or not to bind? That is the question. Right now, that question is always on my mind. Either way, I can’t breathe–it’s just a matter of whether I interpret the word ‘breathe’ literally or figuratively.  It’s sort of a lose-lose situation, really.

If I bind, my breathing is greatly restricted, and my breath is literally ‘taken away.’ My breathing necessarily becomes shallow. I can’t help but notice each breath I take because the binder makes it difficult. Continue reading

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Summertime, and the Living is Not Easy

Don’t get me wrong, I love nice weather. I love the sun, and I love summertime. What I don’t love is the unrelenting heat. Summer is not a good time for me, clothing-wise. Summer means warm weather, and warm weather means that I can’t wear  the kinds of figure-disguising clothes I usually wear.

Summer means it’s too hot for layers. It’s too hot for binders (well, it’s too hot to wear them comfortably, anyway). It’s too hot for heavy pants and shorts. It’s too hot for thick, structured shirts that hide what can’t be bound away. Continue reading

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Routine Physical, or Utter Nightmare?

I had a physical today at the doctor’s office, with everything that being admittedly female and over the age of 18 entails. It was a disaster. Oh, everything went fine on the surface–the doctor was nice, and I seem to be healthy. I was determined to not appear squeamish or embarrassed–I’m too responsible, too sensible, too adult make a fuss over the doctor having to poke around down there. I held myself together beautifully (did I mention that I was into acting in high school?) . . . until the door closed, and I was alone.

Then, the emotions overtook me, and I was standing in the middle of the room–still in that stupid, open-backed gown–trying not to panic, trying (failing) not to cry, trying to convince myself that I shouldn’t be so upset. It was the responsible thing to do; I need to take care of my body and ensure that I’m healthy. I know that my body is female, and thus, there are just some things that need to be done. Making sure that I don’t have cancer is the smart thing to do. So why did it feel so damn awful? Continue reading

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Listening to the Right Voice

It sometimes seems as though there’s this societal insistence that gender can only be either personal or social. It’s either directly due to people as individuals, or it’s solely the result of socialization. Furthermore, I, at least, have felt a message that it needs to be individual, in order to be “real” or “authentic” or “legitimate.”

There’s this idea that how I feel about my gender, or how I present myself, isn’t real if it’s influenced by society. It’s only considered legitimate if I do something because it’s what I want for myself, not because I want others to view me in a certain way. And while I understand and respect the importance of staying true to oneself and not being too bothered by the rest of the world, it’s an undeniable fact that we’re influenced by society. And that’s okay. That’s simply how the world is. Humans are social creatures; we do not exist in a vacuum. We cannot act as though we’ve never noticed, or been affected by, how society treats us. We can’t ever truly know how we’d feel about gender if we hadn’t had any sort of social influences–societal pressures, messages, and expectations are such a part of our lives that to do so would be impossible. It would mean having been raised without other people around (particularly impossible, given how dependent human infants and children are), without human-made clothing, without books and toys and so many other things. Continue reading

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