“How Do You See Me?”

Blue Plaster

This is a question I’d love to ask people that know me. It doesn’t matter how long they’ve known me for, whether they’ve met me in person or just know me from social media, I’d still like to know. Given what’s happening in my life right now, it’s become more and more important to me. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I just know I’ve become quite concerned about it. Maybe it’s made me feel even more self-conscious? Or maybe I’m starting to pay attention to the possibility that I can exist here? I never used to care, but with people staring at me all the time or avoiding me like I’m diseased, it really does get to me these days. What goes on in my mind aligns with the judgement of those around me, making me very insecure and even more aware of the way I look. They’re emphasising the fact that I’m not right. Some don’t even realise they’re doing this, others know but still do it. I wish they’d stop as I’m well aware of my dilemma. The last thing I need is for some ignorant twat to remind me. To be honest, a lot of people who don’t know me well, or only encounter me for a brief moment, are confused by me. I’d love to ask them why the fuck it even matters and why looks affect how they interact with me. What goes through their heads when they see me? Do they need to know if they’re talking to a male or female before they can continue with the conversation? As if the conversation is going to be any different!! A customer once came in and half way through the conversation he stopped mid-sentence and asked “sorry, but are you a boy or a girl?” I just laughed and told him he wasn’t the first person to ask that. It wasn’t funny though. If I didn’t have to be polite for the sake of the business’ reputation, I would’ve told him get the fuck out after verbally ripping his head off. As I said in one of my earliest posts, our business is all about reputation. We’ve worked hard to build up a good reputation in the area…but have I also given us a bad reputation just by being there confusing people with what I am? If they can’t handle me talking to them then there’s certainly no chance they’ll want me tattooing them. I mean, what if they catch something from me or I try to hit on them? Fucking idiots.

So why else would I ask this question of people? In a way, it’s also a way to find out how they’ll react to me telling them about all this. Kind of like damage control, before the shit hits the fan. Do people see me as a male with long hair? Or do people actually think “I’m sure he’s gay” or “I wouldn’t be surprised if he turns out to be transgender” when they look at me?? I’m sure people have formed an opinion of me already – regardless of how long they’ve known me. And what about the people I’ve known for a long time? I never used to wear make up or have long hair. When they see me again after a long time, what must they think? Some of my oldest friends haven’t really reacted, which is reassuring. But that’s over something superficial though. Make up and hair aren’t permanent. It could even be put down to a trend or a phase. This is neither – not unless the trend/phase is one that’s been with me all my life!! This will change the way people see and judge me. Well, they judge me now, so if anything they’ll judge me even more. I remember playing a gig once and somebody pointed out that there was a woman in the venue that was actually a guy. Why the fuck would you need to point that out? You’re there to watch a gig, not judge people!! As soon as the “news” spread, everybody became obsessed with trying to find who it was. As much as this shouldn’t happen, it does. Humans can be cruel like that. I never found out who it was. I didn’t care. As far as I was concerned they were just another person coming to see us play live.

It takes a great deal of courage and strength to not let a witch-hunting crowd ruin your night. I don’t think I have what it takes. The self-hate and increasingly familiar fear of how others see me is what stops me. When I was about 5, I fell over at school and needed a plaster on each of my knees. They were blue plasters. When I went back to my classroom, an assistant who was watching the class until the teacher returned looked at my knees and immediately burst out laughing. When she was able to talk, all she could mutter was “Blue knees!! Look at his blue knees!!” Immediately, the whole class erupted into laughter. All I could do was cry as everybody pointed and laughed. Why the need for that? They were blue plasters. Plasters that are blue. WHAT THE FUCK IS FUNNY ABOUT THAT???? That moment of humiliation and sadness has stuck with me ever since. They were blue plasters. Trivial as fuck. But what about this? Gender dysphoria is not trivial. What about the cruel taunts and stares of people when they find out a woman used to be a man or vice versa?

I’m my own worst critic, I’ve always known this. If people compliment me, I don’t believe them. If they say anything negative, it just fuels the internal hate I have for myself. I can’t win. These days I can take positive stuff on board a bit better than I used to but, to be honest, I still can’t deal with it fully. Not when I know there’s nothing to be positive about. It does make me wonder why I hate myself so much. Usually when you hate yourself, it’s due to a particular body part of something you’ve done in your life. As far as I can remember, I’ve always hated myself. All of myself. I’m starting to wonder if it’s because I hate what I see when I look in the mirror? The person staring back at me is alien. It’s not me. It’s the wrong body. I find it easier to just avoid mirrors wherever possible. No painful reminders of the problem. If my self-hatred could be linked to gender dysphoria, then surely other destructive or negative behaviours could be too? When you’re not happy with something, it’s bound to have a knock on effect with other things, right? I previously looked at the possibility of BDD and whether that was the reason for me feeling this way…but I soon realised this wasn’t a warped view of my own body. I don’t think my body is flawed because I’m a guy and therefore I need more muscles (just a general example – I know it’s never that simple). It’s not about worrying over my appearance or having a compulsive need to fix myself. No, what I feel is nothing to do with fixing a flaw or becoming obsessed about my appearance. What I feel is a lot more simple: it’s all wrong. My body is all wrong. My brain is in the wrong container…this not only breaks my heart, it makes me hate myself even more.

Featured image: via Google

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