Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Invisible Me: TTL Post

This has recently been on my mind, so I decided to write a post for The Lesbian Lifestyle.

Invisible Me

Sometimes, out of the blue, the thought will hit me that I will be single forever. Usually being single doesn't bother me overly, but in these moments of stark realization, I am saddened and pulled down by the thought.

I try to figure out why I'm continually single and can never come up with an obvious reason. Currently the thread that is interwoven into my life is that because I'm not a stereotypical lesbian, I simply don't get seen. I vacillate between wanting to cut my hair short in order to send the message and liking my somewhat feminine appearance. I'm not a person you'd look at and immediately think, "Yeah, she's gay."

When I disclose the fact to new acquaintances, I invariably hear things like, "You're gay?" or "Wow, I'd never have taken you for a lesbian."

I'm used to being different, that's not the problem. But I can't help but wish for more queer women in my life, either platonically or otherwise. And I can't help but wonder how much of it has less to do with personality or physical attractiveness than the pure fact that to most lesbians, I'm inappreciable. I don't know what goes on in their heads, whether they write me off as "who knows" or "straight" because they're not sure, but the truth is it often feels as if I barely exist at all. As if I'm a nearly transparent phantasm that floats amongst them at the bars, the marches, the pride parades.

While I'm still growing, changing, and figuring out how I work on many levels, I have little desire to change the core of who I am to fit into stereotypes or to please other people. It seems shallow to me to cut my hair short in order to look more masculine and, thus, look more lesbian. I'm not feminine or attractive enough to fit into the traditional "femme" role, nor do I feel that at all describes who I am or what my interests are. I am mostly at a loss to discern my niche, my place in the community, because it hasn't yet been made okay to cherish and enjoy my equally masculine and feminine sides. It's as if even the lesbian community is most comfortable if a woman has a defined male or female role and/or appearance.

Not that long ago, I came upon a term I hadn't heard before: tweener. I was curious, and upon investigation, I learned that there is actually a label for what I am -- someone who falls right in the middle, straddling the line between male and female. I dislike the term, as it sounds rather dorky to say, and I feel it lacks the same seriousness of the other, more established labels of "butch" and "femme". However, it describes me, and I have neither regret nor apology for being this way. Part of why I hesitate to adopt a more masculine appearance is that I enjoy being recognized as what I am, a woman. Frankly, when my hair is very short, I look like a boy. I did try that particular style for a while, and what surprised me most was how popular I suddenly became within the lesbian community of the city in which I was living at the time. I felt comfortable enough with the hairstyle due to the large lesbian population and size of the city, and I fully admit the sudden demand for my company was a nice boost for my wounded ego.

When I moved south, into a much more conservative state with a starkly smaller and less organized lesbian and gay community, I quickly tired of the public bathroom confrontations, and of being called "sir". It's not me, or who I am, and I don't have the inner desire or constitution to hold up in the face of constantly being mistaken for a man. Don't get me wrong, I have respect and admiration for the women who deal with this on a daily basis, especially those who it doesn't bother. But I'm a woman; admittedly a woman with some strong masculine traits, but nonetheless, I love that which makes me female.

I wish I had a solution or some easy answer. To my reckoning, there is none. I keep telling myself that the only person I need is myself, and if The One is out there, someone who will similarly cherish and enjoy my traits, I will find her. It just disappoints me, the invisibility I feel. At the very least, it would be nice to have some fun once in a while.

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