I recently came out to the people around me as non-binary. I’ve still not got a more concrete grasp on my identity than that, but am probably leaning towards agender.
What I am struggling with is that I have known about non-binary identities for years, I have learnt about them in depth, but only recently have I really started to identify with them. And it is a huge source of anxiety for me. I constantly feel like a fraud, like I am making it up, or like I am appropriating an experience that is not mine.
Part of my anxiety stems from my being a TCK. I’ve noted my need to belong over the years: Every TCK will identify with our ability to chameleon on to new experiences and groups. If you’ve not come across this before, have a read of this series. I’ve been tying myself in knots wondering if the last 8 years of me living here have been me absorbing the culture, and cherry picking who I am to fit in. It is something I have done before. At the age of 12 when I changed school, country and continent, I went from being a reserved, quiet, shy child, to outgoing, assertive, and leader of the school council. I also know I am a different person with different people, adapting my personality to suit the environment I am in and the people I am with. My accent still changes depending on who I am talking to.
Am I doing the same thing with my gender identity?
I’m still muddling my way through it, and considering seeking counselling to help come to some more concrete conclusion. But right now, my thoughts are that this is actually a turning point for me. No longer am I simply reacting and molding myself to the world around me, but am actually looking in wards and becoming more authentically myself. Having been settled in one place for so long, its no longer a case of editing myself to fit in, I’ve been able to let my guard down. And as a result things that I never had the mental space or energy for are finally seeing the light of day.
If this was a fitting in mechanism, would I not identify with the largest group? Cis people are widely more accepted than trans people, than non binary people. It doesn’t make sense then that a “camouflage” technique would see a person align themselves with a minority group. And this is another reason why I am fairly certain this is not a phase.
Sitting here writing this now, it is easy enough to say. However, day to day it is harder to live. The anxiety is still there, the fears are still there, but I am moving forward, focusing on getting to know myself, and be comfortable with who that is, and then mold the world around me to fit that.