Wrapping up July: More on Chest Binding and My Queer Bubble

These months are really flying by! So, in July I resolved to not order food and work out at least 20 minutes a day. I did not quite accomplish either of these goals. I was doing well on not ordering food - which was more of a challenge than I initially realized - until I started PMSing. The unfortunate monthly hormone soup flavored with a healthy pinch of stress put me over the edge. Sorry body and wallet. Working out I kind of did, but in different ways. I spent one entire weekend outside hiking at Harriman State Park and Bear Mountain State Park, and it was glorious. I loved it as much as my phone hated it (it completely died, so I have no pictures from the trip). I got to do my longest ever solo hike, my first hike with all of my camping gear, and to top it all off, it was blueberry season! There were delicious wild blueberries in both parks!

I’ve also spent a lot of time walking around this month. Any guesses as to why? Yep. The same reason as everyone else - Pokémon Go. Instead of reading or taking a nap on my lunch break, I have been walking around the West Village hunting Pokémon and taking on gyms (go team Intuition)! It is amazing to me how motivational this game can be for getting out and walking around. I can’t wait to read the stories in a few months of people losing incredible amounts of weight, overcoming social anxiety, or meeting the love of their life playing Pokemon. Between this new app and the release of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” the part of myself that will forever be 10 years old is screaming with pure delight.

On to July. My challenges this month will be a little bit different, because they have more of a purpose than just a personal challenge. This month I will focus on building and paying more attention to my social media presence, and give up swearing. First, social media. I have a few projects I am working on, and I am realizing the importance of social media. Yes, even the dreaded Snapchat. I will spend this month consciously making an effort to be more present on social media. Follow me/my projects here:

GenderQueery Facebook Page
GenderQueery Instagram
NYC Bathroom Selfies Instagram
Personal Instagram
Twitter
Snapchat - eecgarcia

I will also spend this month consciously trying not to swear. This challenge is actually somewhat arbitrary, but it might be interesting. I am often in situations where I cannot swear at all (family and work), but have other spaces where I swear freely. It will be interesting to see if maintaining a swear-free vocabulary 24/7 will feel restricting in any way. I don’t imagine it will be a huge challenge, but drunk me might disagree.

On to my brainspace this month. I have had quite a lot on my mind all year long as I begin to open up about my various identities. It has been extremely helpful to have this blog both so that I can work things out while I’m writing, and have a framework for my thoughts in the time between posts. This space gives me a way to organize my thoughts and feelings, and explore out the ones that are important to me. This month my thoughts have been largely around chest binding, and the idea of being inside of a queer bubble.

I have been chest binding almost every day for about a month and a half now, which I touched on briefly in my last post. Chest binding has been an extremely important exercise for me in understanding my personal brand of genderqueerness. As I discussed in detail in my post about adolescence, I have always had a difficult time with my chest. Binding has been an experiment in what it feels like to appear to have a flat, masculine look, and I absolutely love it. It has been wonderful to take steps to alter my appearance in ways that make me feel more true to myself. I realized that many of the steps I have taken towards authenticity have required abandoning my most feminine practices, i.e. getting rid of my dresses, ceasing to wear makeup, ceasing to paint my nails, etc. With chest binding, I have the specific goal of embracing my masculinity. I sometimes wonder if I am so attracted to masculinity and masculine energy as a reaction to being pushed into being feminine in my past. I wonder if at some point in my gender identity explorations I will once again embrace parts of my inherent femininity. I am still unsure about how all of this will evolve in my future; specifically if it means I will be interested in top surgery at any point, but for now chest binding is enough for me. It might be enough for me forever. I have a difficult time with the idea of elective surgery, similar to my issues with hormone therapy because of my medical history.

I have a thyroid disorder that requires me to take hormone replacement for two different thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. Remembering to take the medication isn’t much of an issue, the harder part comes in the periods when my levels/dosage is incorrect. It is incredible how much hormone levels can affect a person. I can almost always tell when my dosage is off due to a few unfortunate symptoms including: insomnia, irregular periods, low energy, weight gain or loss, excessive fidgeting, etc. My experience with my thyroid, which began when I was 13, has left me generally hesitant about anything involving hormones. My resistance has resulted in never being on any type of hormonal birth control, and a fair amount of certainty that I will not pursue hormones as a way to come into my gender identity. If I have learned anything this year, however, it is that being open minded and patient with oneself may take you down roads you could never have imagined.

anigif_enhanced-13438-1445446499-15.gif

Now, for my beautiful queer bubble. One of my favorite things about the incredible group of queer people I have found is being able to talk to others about the things I am exploring, and having them relate/have suggestions based on their own experiences. I have learned so much - even in this past week - about people’s various experiences with chest binding, and the road to top surgery. For example, did you know that some insurance companies will cover up to the entire cost of top surgery, but you have to pay the surgeon out of pocket first? Or that you may have to claim mental instability in order to be deemed suitable for the program at all? I haven’t looked further into the specifics, but all of this was news to me. I am so grateful that the community of people I have found is so open to discussing these deeply personal topics with a level of vulnerability that is difficult to find in other spaces. I have been wondering if this community is built on a mutual history of marginalization. I wonder if everyone else in my little bubble is as excited as I am to be surrounded by people with similar issues, interests and concerns. I wonder if it is as jarring for them to step outside of these spaces as it is for me. I wonder if they also feel like the beautiful acceptance, understanding and love we experience together is missing or diminished in so many other spaces. I wonder if other people are having a hard time balancing the time they spend in their queer spaces with their other spaces, because I certainly am.

These musings offer a perfect segue into a shameless plug. My main project right now involves attempting to recreate my queer bubble in a way that it is accessible to more people via a website, genderqueery.com (not yet live). I want to create a huge bubble and invite everyone to participate with the expectation that it promotes nothing but love and acceptance. I want to collect personal stories from the broader LGBTQQIA+ community, and invite people to share their own. The site will be live in a few weeks, once I have a few more stories to launch it with. If you are interested in sharing your story, please contact me. I am happy to help you with the entire process, and I am happy to share your work anonymously if that would make you more comfortable.

mg_6419.jpg

As always, questions, comments and concerns are welcome.

Thank you, I love you.