I have penned many frustrating sentences trying to convey how one ‘feels like a man’ each time i try to write it in it’s most simplistic form, it has always struck me just how absurd a notion it is and never felt quite eloquent enough as a description. I’ve pondered the question over and over in my head “How does one feel like a man?” asking myself “How do you describe such an absurd phenomenon?
Tonight, as i thought about it some more it struck me that the terminology used such as “I feel like a man/woman” is a misrepresentation. But due to the appearances of that phrase being the only way to express it verbally, it becomes the go to phrase.
To say someone ‘feels’ like a man brings up the image of someone waking up on a daily basis and thinking about and attributing feelings to gender. When speaking to cisgendered people (I use the term here only to distinguish them from transgender) an often heard remark or question is “How do you feel like a gender?” and they will point out in their confusion that they don’t wake up everyday thinking to themselves “I’m a man” (or woman) it seems obvious to trans people why, why would they? If you have the validation of your body being male then why would you think to yourself “I feel like a man” you simply just be.
Just like cisgendered people though trans people (unless they’re the ones obsessing over identity politics) don’t generally wake up everyday saying to themselves “I feel like a man/woman.” At least in my experience i am not conciously thinking at every moment “I feel male, I feel masculine, I feel like a man” we do what we do and we just be. It’s an instinctual thing more than it is a feeling, the feelings come after the instinct. Like a lot of instincts it’s an automatic thing, but then when your body contradicts this instinct suddenly your gender is thrown to the forefront of your consciousness. Your body contradicts this seemingly ingrained instinct and the lack of language we have to explain it translates from our mouths as “But i feel like a man” Your body is not validating your instincts, your experience, or your instinct and experience are not validating your body, either way, it’s awkward and it’s painful.
Thanks for reading