Musings on gender

I’m overall quite content with having been born a cis female, but there are times when I’m annoyed. It usually has to do with my gender limiting my options (like hating all the colors something I want comes in), or setting expectations that I have no desire to meet.

I was a cute kid, and I never really enjoyed it when people complimented my appearance. I think what bothered me most was how some of my mother’s friends were fond of me even though I was very quiet and reserved. I didn’t want to be liked because I was cute. I wanted to be liked for who I was.

To some degree I’ve grown out of that, and will go out of my way, on occasion, to dress for compliments, but it’s something I have to be in the mood for. It’s not natural for me to try to be specifically cute or pretty, “done up,” on a daily basis. I like simple, functional and comfortable. Solid colors, soft, durable material, and as few decorative distractions as possible.

I’m not trying to be a man or a boy. I’m just being me, and me is someone who happens to prefer certain things more traditionally associated with men, me is someone who doesn’t always click well with the women and would rather hang out with “the guys.”

I’ve grown to dislike the term “tomboy.” At the same time, I don’t like trying to avoid labels, because I think labels are a big part of how humans think and organize information. Is the solution for masculine and feminine to become more gender neutral terms? Perhaps, but will it ever happen?

I like being a mix of features and stereotypes. I like home domesticity; cooking and cleaning are pleasant chores to me. I also like power tools (used to build sets in high school), and I like to play video games. I love flowy skirts, and there’s nothing better than weather so hot and humid that I can just throw on a simple cotton dress and feel comfortable. But generally, I prefer pants, and the main reason I’m considering trying to wear skirts more is because it’s a pain to find pants that fit my figure. (Actually, I prefer leggings and I lived in them as a kid. Unfortunately, I’ve bought into the belief that leggings generally are not appropriate as pants in public, unless your butt is covered).

I don’t have much of a point to this post; it’s just something I’ve been thinking about again, largely because I’m in the process of trying to aim for owning the right combination of clothes such that I’m rarely stuck staring at a packed closet wondering what on earth I want to wear. I’ve been trying for a while to upgrade my clothes, and only recently realized that I was trying too hard to aim for a more standard feminine style, when that’s not quite me.

Some good news

On Sunday, after speeding in my rental car to return it and then half running with my suitcase to the ticket counter before I missed the window for checking in a bag, I got an email from the big academic program near Ember inviting me to one of their last few interview dates because a handful of people had canceled. Happy news! Even better, I was able to schedule it just two days after my originally final interview at the small community program near Ember, so I only have to change one flight and I still don’t have to pay for a hotel.

Other good news: Both Catalyst and his wife Dreamer are coming to my medical school graduation! I’ll have to figure out how to cram all four of us comfortably into my studio apartment, which at that point I’ll be mostly moved out of, but it’ll be fun! Like… indoor camping? =D This also gives them a chance to meet my family before I explain to my parents that I’ve been dating a married guy for, at that point, very nearly two years.

It’s normal to want to blog when I have something to complain about, but I thought it’d be nice to share a little something more positive too. :)

Not Having It All

I was in LA on Thursday, interviewing once again, and fell in love a little bit. The weather, I’m sure, had a lot to do with it, because everywhere I’d been for the two weeks prior, were cold and rainy and grey. LA? Brilliantly sunny, and even I would say it was warm (though still cool enough to be comfortable in my dreary black suit).  I really liked the program too, I’d be happy to work with and perhaps befriend the other residents, and I loved the program directors.

If I were single, I think there’s a good chance I’d be ranking LA first. I’m sick and tired of winter (I grew up in perpetual summer, and though I’ve been in the US for twelve years, I still resent cold weather), and ever since I went to my oldest brother’s college graduation in California, back in 2002, I’ve had a vague dream of living there.

But I’m not single, and I can’t drag my partners wherever strikes my fancy. Actually, I can’t drag them anywhere. Ember just got a new job and moved to the Bay Area, so he’s stuck for at least another year and a half to two years. And Catalyst, and especially Dreamer, are very settled in the Pacific Northwest. So of my ten options of programs I could match to, come March 15th, only one puts me able to build a life with Catalyst, and two with Ember (except those two are small, though very good, programs that if not for location, I normally would not have even applied to).

I know that in the end, everything’s going to work out somehow. At the very worst, I end up alone again for another two or three years. If I’m really unhappy from the beginning, I could also try to transfer after just my first year. And while I really would like to start working on having kids in about two years, I’ve got nine more years before I hit 35. There’s still time.

What’s getting to me right now is the waiting. Sixty nine more days of wondering where that letter is going to tell me to go.

(Did I explain the Match process, btw? In their last year of medical school, medical students interview for their medical internships/residencies. They make a list of the places they went to, the places make a list of the students they interviewed, a computer matches everyone up, and on Match Day, we all find out the results. It’s a binding contract).

A Very Poly New Year

It’s a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world.

So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you: in the world to come, let us be brave – let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we’re faking them.

And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation.

So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.
Neil Gaiman

Happy New Year to you all! I’m so terrified and excited about this year, and I’m so happy it’s finally here. 73 days till I find out where I’m supposed to live for the next 4 to 5 years! I’m also going to be so relieved to be done with school for once and for all. I’ve worked extremely hard for this medical degree, and I’m going be pretty damn proud of myself while I walk on stage for it this May.

I spent the transition from 2012 to 2013 with Ember, Catalyst and Dreamer. Ember spent the weekend visiting friends so I picked him up in the morning, and while at Walgreens to pick up cold medicine for Catalyst, I couldn’t resist the half off Christmas decorations…. Say hello to my tiny fiber optics tree! (I thought the optics looked tacky so I decorated it with a single string of 100 lights.)

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After Catalyst and I made breakfast, we finally exchanged gifts, which went really well, especially considering it was our first time all buying each other gifts! Then we played a cooperative video game (Dead Island. Yup, zombies), and then there was downtime before the New Year’s party hosted by the triad whose party two years ago is how I met Catalyst. :)

All in all, I think we all had a good day and night, and I’m looking forward to doing this again in some fashion next year. And maybe next year I’ll get to decorate earlier and less haphazardly!