Our world is obsessed with symmetry. In our physical spaces, we seek symmetry in nature, design, furniture and art. Even our partners expect us to be symmetrical. From a natural selection perspective, symmetry denotes good genes. And — if you didn’t know, good genes are sexy.
As complex as we’d like to think we are, we’re maddeningly simplistic. We really like when things match. It makes people and things easier to read and understand.
But as a self-identified cis-gendered, lady-lover, with a masculine gender expression, I don’t match.
I love my boyish clothing. I love the way they fit, and how they make me feel when I wear them. There’s comfort and confidence that comes with cloth that covers your body the way you want it to — helping to sync a self-identity with our shell. Patterns and colours mean different things to people and I’ve always been partial to blue. My masculine gender expression feels right.
But this wasn’t always the case.
From a very early age, I was told the way I dressed wasn’t okay. When I was six years old, rocking my bowl cut, and matching cactus print outfit, a girl in a restaurant bathroom confronted me. She demanded I leave at once because I was a boy, and this was clearly the girls’ washroom.
This incident may sound inconsequential. I was a confident kid who was, up until that point, uncompromising in my mud-mongering, baseball cap wearing and pink-loathing ways. But to me, this girl had struck a nerve. To her, my style and gender were irreconcilable. I didn’t match, and it wasn’t acceptable. She, representing many others who share her view in our society, made a social judgment. She made me feel like what I was doing was wrong and unnatural.
This became my first taste of adversity.
As time went on, I subtly remolded my style to fit what was expected — I submitted to social norms. I grew my hair out, wore tighter shirts, and shopped exclusively at women’s stores. I was a girl and wanted to make this fact explicitly clear.
My decision was born out of social pressures — and the choice to conform to a more traditionally female gender role was never really mine.
Although I made these changes, I still clung to some of the old me. I wore a baseball cap whenever I could. I lived in my sweats until I discovered jeans could be comfortable — and my favourite hoodie was always nearby when I just needed a day off.
In many ways, I was still me — but at the same time, I wasn’t. I was tirelessly trying to look like someone else. My shell, for a while, just didn’t fit right.
It wasn’t until I cut my hair in the summer of 2013 that I began to feel more like myself than I ever had before.
It sounds crazy, and completely cliche [insert lesbian joke here] — but that haircut changed my life. It reminded me of that spunky and confident kid I used to be. I came into my own again.
Since then, my style has been about going back to my roots, so to speak. Now, I buy and wear things because it accurately reflects who I am: a Tomboy.
I know this word has an interesting Internet life — but it’s a term I’m comfortable calling myself.
I am an adult Tomboy who loves boyish clothing, other women, and the fact that I am a woman.
It takes time to figure out who you are. But I think it takes even more time to be comfortable with who you are. I took a cyclical root to this realization, but I know for some it’s less of a cycle, and more of a process of reinvention and rebirth.
Symmetry is really overrated.
Image credit: Instagram