I wore lipstick the other day. At home, getting dressed and choosing to accessorise with the red lipstick, it felt good. It made the look work. Then I went to work and was reminded of why I so fiercely choose androgyny.
First person I see does a double take and says “something’s different about you.” When they realise it’s lipstick their face lights up in a look that I have come to resent- approval. Approval in the worst way. Approval of heteronormative expressions of femininity. Approval of me doing something expected of me because I own a vagina.
I hated it. I didn’t wipe off the lipstick. But I went home deciding to never present myself so… acceptably again. Approval from the same system I’m fighting to destroy is failure. A soul death.
Some notes on desire:
Desire is where we get licence to fuck shit up. Confuse the fuck out of them. Force to look away if they must. Force them to address the envy that our freedom to desire sparks in them. Force them to dare to imagine free for themselves. What if they reached for it?
Desire must be complex to be true. Freedom lies in the complexities. Be slippery with your identity. It’s a beautiful higher plane to be at, where they can’t place you. I can hear that bigoted woman go, “Is it a boy or a girl?” (she then went on to touch my vagina and confirm loudly to everyone, “it is a girl”). Fuck you!
My desires are complex. The starting point is freeing myself from everything normal & compulsory. Noticing what I was taught to want versus what I actually want, as undefined as it still is. Freedom is finding calm in that unknown and trusting the process.
My desires are complex like, I desire sexual relationships with men, as in- just sex. I desire more with queer, trans & non-binary folk, where complexities are embraced, celebrated and indulged. I resent that I desire sex with men. (Men don’t deserve anything good, in fact, when is their bad karma coming back around for their years and years of violent oppression?)
Complex like, I don’t desire to own a uterus anymore. I’ve known I didn’t want children for a long time. Even with access to all the condoms in the world, I still craved a permanent solution. My fear is not HIV/AIDS or STDs or getting attached. My fear is getting pregnant. My fear is experiencing my body change in that way. Or worse, getting pregnant, showing no symptoms and popping out a living being x months later. The horror y’all.
I don’t desire to own a uterus anymore. It never occured to me that I could take it out until one day, deep in research about sexual politics and queer theory I came across Akwaeke Emezi’s story on Figuring Out She Is Transgender. Their story was fascinating and has stuck with me since. An actual permanent solution to my not-a-girl predicament. I am transfixed.
At the same time, I am deeply connected to my feminine energy. I find my strength, foundation, divinity in my sacred feminine and in the womxn around me. Woman is not enough anymore as a way of being that defines me. (Man is definitely not it either)
I desire to be perceived as not-a-girl. It would make it easier to be topless out in public. I get away with being topless because I have small breasts, not all the way small, but small enough that it takes them a second. Small enough that no bra in the world has ever fit. Eventually I stopped faking it with bras. Today, I’m topless whenever I feel like it, in my safe spaces and it’s amazing.
I am punk. I desire for my punk to be how my aura introduces itself when I walk into a room. I desire for my punk to be recognised & revered. It shows in my hair, my clothes, my mood, how I say what I say, how I love & how I show up for those I love. My (appearance) punk has previously expressed itself from a femme place. By default. Now I am in flux… rejecting everything and shedding it all. I am free to start again from my most authentic place.
(Yes, I will wear red lipstick again. In a way that they would utterly disapprove of).
Punk in flux is an exciting place to be. I get to see the parts that have always been me, and it’s all my favourite parts! The colour (rainbow, neon, brights), the brazenness, the attitude, the rejection of misplaced approval.
Punk in flux confuses the shit out of them. I love it.