published through: Waif Magazine
What is my femininity through my hair long ways down to my fingernails being painted?
I stopped painting them because I felt too much like a boy, with drawn-on black nail polish that lay dark with my feminine arm hair. I stopped painting them because looking down and seeing the artistic color I felt like I was trying too hard. I cut my nails not for masculine context but for dirt to not be stuck on me. I cut with a clipper that shines silver. I pluck with a sharp set to draw blood or rather carefully avoid it. I’m careful like a woman.
My femininity runs through hollow tubes of makeup bag. I carry my funny paints that flush my cheeks and shine my lips. I love to sparkle, I realized. For so long I avoided sparkly dresses and shiny shoes just to discover that my lips were where I wanted those finishes. I’m pretty as a woman but now I can be pretty as a man. Men can play dress-up almost better than me, and I envy men now for being rough and delicate in the most balanced fashion.
My curls used to help me and tie me down with feeling femme. The more I braided the more motherly I became. The longest hair wins. But cutting my hair gave me more strength than Samson and more intelligence than Delilah thought she had. I, Delilah, felt femme with shorter curls, shorter braids. Less of a mother society thought I became.
I look in the mirror and feel immensely masculine today. I don’t do it on purpose, it just feels that way. Rougher around the edges, not as put together as a woman would put herself together. No open-toed shoes or thin dainty necklace—I leave those in my room because putting them on makes my arm hair feel darker. Russian blood maybe darkened them for me, no box dye holds on that tight. I look in the mirror today and forget about my insecurities but rather focus on my gender. I love my body I am sure of that, but why do I feel like a man with thicker eyebrows, and why do I feel like a man with painted lips?
Rougher around the edges is not something I fear, but something I wonder in. Jagged outer rim, like a halo, now we’re thinking femme. A halo around my rim, how angelic and soft, remanence of my sex.
I take fifteen minutes every morning and night to stare into my mirror more deeply, ruminating on my skin. Smooth occasionally yet texturized more often. I smear honey, well it’s only 40% but it smells heavily of the bees I admire. I work hard on this organ to make sure it’s appealing. I say to myself, it’s the first thing people see, hiding my femininity behind my skin, I seal it with tape. It’s not great for the skin, but I like the tack. I close my mouth off and forget how to speak.
It’s quite hard to explain where I am coming from. Being a woman who identifies as one has recently fallen short. I like to remain hidden in my identity at times; walking outside I make myself appear more of a stranger to a passerby. I look down and form my lips into a line, not giving off a hint of what my mind may be dwelling on. But my gender, it’s loud, I am woman the passerby hears, my lips don’t say it, but they might. Their shape teases, soft like a woman I think. But I walk by and I am immediately so, a woman with lips and hips and I can’t cut my hair short enough to pretend I’m not. I do not want to hide that I am but what is a woman except for the paint she wears and the hips she swings. I was called "femme" and it made me cringe. I can’t explain that. I am not gay enough, but enough of me is gay, so why do I get labeled "femme" in order to diminish the attraction I feel toward a woman? Is that not what sexuality runs through? I’m sick of shock factors and "really?" responses. More compartments in gay than I can count, and I feel too much strain to decide where I fit. My gay runs through my veins, not something I can label on my clit for your passerby to see. Even that makes me cringe. Silly to say now, but I don't think about what others think of me, more wonder about what they think. Like my passerby glancing at my lip, or my mirror reading my complexion. I take care of myself, gay like a man but fine as hell like a woman. Femininity runs through me.