Gleipnir’s Ingredients (ii)

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.

Transmasculine is a term used to describe transgender people who were assigned female at birth, but identify with masculinity to a greater extent than with femininity. (Source)

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.

Jormundgand

[I’m sharing how I’ve known and interacted with Everyone, starting with the Aesir. The Vanir will be next, then the Rokkr, and then the category where I put those Who don’t seem to pick just one category.]

In the past, I’ve hailed Zhim and said a prayer for Zher on the third day of the Dark moon – Jormundgand’s First Lesson by Raven Kaldera (from Zher northernpaganism.org shrine). For quite a few months, immediately after doing that I would write devotional poetry (however I don’t have the permission / clearance to share any of it publicly).

Jormundgand was the prime instigator in claiming my trans identity, and it took a combination of Zhim and Hela asking for me to honor the trans dead before I broke down and started doing so. Zhe is hailed on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, but that’s sort of it for now. There have been hints that things may change once I’ve started the process of transitioning, but that’s a bridge for later.

Relevant tumblr tags: Jormundgand, snake, trans (see also: dysphoria, pronouns), trans resources (see also: bras, menstruation products), trans ancestors (see also: adventures in candle making). Several Others also have a thing for snakes, and I have an irl friend who’s afraid of snakes following my tumblr, so I have a specific tag set aside for that (to help with blocking).