I’m at this meetup wearing my new outfit. Collared shirt, tie, fedora hat, men’s style pea coat. I receive a few compliments on my style which feels super affirming.
After the meetup we all head out to dinner and I’m conversing with a guy. We’ll call him D.
D asks, “So what’s the reason behind your style of clothing?”
I immediately freak out. I turn my head away, look down furtively as a million thoughts race through my head. Oh my god he knows. I have to come out. Should I tell him my new pronouns? Wait get a hold of yourself. I don’t have to come out if I’m not ready. I don’t have to out myself to a stranger if I don’t want to.
I settle on, “It’s a new style I’ve started experimenting with recently.”
D realizes he’s caused some discomfort and quickly says, “I was just wondering.” He leaves it alone and we move on.
Later on in the dinner we are chatting some more, and he brings up the outfit again. (It was relevant to the conversation somehow, so I want to clarify he wasn’t being an asshole about it.)
“You said this was a new style you were experimenting with. Why did you decide to start?” D asks.
“I dress this way to feel badass.” I reply with confidence, happy I have a smoother response this time around, now that I know I don’t have to out myself.
I mean what I say. I’d recently watched this youtube video by Ari Fitz about dressing in an androgynous style. My favorite part of the video is when she offers this advice:
Take an extra minute every morning and remind yourself you’re a badass and you can have everything you want. Then put on your favorite pair of shoes, your favorite jacket, whatever that thing is for you- put it on and walk out the door, cause now no one- no one can take that feeling away from you.
“Do you look in the mirror every morning and say ‘Fuck You’?” D asks.
We all laugh.
“Well, I don’t say, Fuck You. That would be kind of weird since it’d be like saying Fuck You to my self. But I do look in the mirror and say ‘I’m badass'”
He tries to explain his slip up, “I meant more like a fuck-you-world.”
At first I’m a bit offended. Why can’t a girl wear a tie? Why does it have to be a statement? I feel like he is reacting this way because of cisnormitiviy. But when I’m debriefing with a friend later, she gives me another perspective. “Maybe he just admired you for having a fuck the world attitude,” she suggests.
I like that way of looking at it. Because that’s how I feel a lot these days.
My very existence. My gender expression. My choice of clothing. Every minuscule act feels like a revolution against society. Everyday I’m fighting a war in my head against the conditioning of culture. FUCK YOU WORLD gives me a sense of empowerment.
Fuck you world, I can wear what I want. Fuck you world, I can use whatever pronouns I want. Fuck you world, I can be a gender that you’ve never even heard of. Fuck you world, I don’t have to live up to your expectations of what a girl wears, how a girl acts, or what a girl looks like. Fuck you world, I’m not even a girl in the first place. Fuck you world, do not tell me how to dress, how to cut my hair, or how to control my appearance. Fuck you world, I’m gonna do what I want and be true to who I am. Fuck you world, I will not be ashamed of my identity. Fuck you world, I reject every expectation and constraint you try to shackle me in. Fuck you world, I’m gonna be myself and no one is gonna to stop me.