Again, going in order and taking inspiration from the ritual Chaining Fenris: A Ritual to Bind the Inner Beast, the second ingredient: Beard of a woman.
The second thing on the list is the beard of a woman. This is tossed off as if it is impossible, yet we all know that it is not so. There are women who grow beards, and there are people who have beards who are women inside. This tells us that part of dealing with a monster is to find your inner balance between male and female, not to allow yourself to settle unquestioning into one or the other. That inner finding of balance helps you to maintain perspective.
This seems fitting with the gender questioning that’s been happening lately. I gave a reasonable summary in I hit almost every branch falling out of the “I’m not het” tree (questioning sexuality happened first, hence the title). On the basis of sex = gender, I’ve been raised femininely coded with a female body (for 21 and 8/12 years as of writing this). I do not identify as a woman with 100% inner femininity.
Part of why I ran into trouble with admitting that I’m in the trans umbrella is that I haven’t always known this, and I haven’t always known that I’m “actually a man with 100% inner masculinity”. It’s more like I went along minding my own business and moving freely between doing “boy” and “girl” things as a kid (because I could choose what I wanted to do, I did enjoy “girly” things as well as the “boy” things), and then puberty happened.
I was not consulted about what the fuck was going to happen, let me tell you. It was no longer as much of a choice of doing “girly” things, and I leaned heavily towards “masculine” things as a reaction against everyone suddenly trying to force only “feminine” things. I didn’t want to be their traditionally feminine woman that they were expecting, but I didn’t get a ‘yo, you’re actually a man’ feeling.
Once I came across this term, I thought I had finally found some sort of answer. However, I ran into issues that seemed to contradict (or at least muddy the waters) of identifying this way. People expecting me to be 110% committed to wanting he / his pronouns, people assuming that I ‘want a penis in order to fix my body’, and general expectations that I must now only want “manly” things because I’m a man.
I still hold that transmasculine works (for now). The thing that gets me (and perhaps muddied the water in the first place) is the expectations of how my internal sense should manifest externally (expectations of gender expression). I was running into people who were expecting close to traditionally coded masculinity, and this didn’t leave wiggle room. Some elements of my expression match up with expectations, but others don’t.
To a certain extent, it’s figuring out what I feel comfortable with while ignoring the gender associations that X item or Y activity is for men / women. I’ve run into it in androgynous people, non-binaries, genderfuckers, and other people where they cross social boundaries and remove gender associations (make up, hair length, painting nails, and “pampering” self care tend to come up first).
I’ve purposefully avoided certain associations when I don’t really need to. I mean, I’m sure I know part of why. I’ve been trying to fight against not being perceived as masculine leaning with some cards stacked against me, but I think when I’ve addressed the dysphoria adequately enough (and remove that feeling of cards being stacked against me), I think it’ll be easier to lose the gender associations.
I touched on how Jormundgand connects to this whole trans thing (and honoring the trans dead) in Their intro post. They’ve been the vocal spokesperson on being encouraging and supportive with figuring out what the hell is going on and how I can be most comfortable with my own skin. They seem particularly supportive of this fucking with gender expectations bit, and I have this feeling that They’ve been waiting for me to
finally get around to this.