Growing up, I didn’t really have anyone who taught me how to be feminine. My peers growing up being taught by their mothers or older siblings. Whereas I picked up what I could scramble bits and pieces pulled from magazines, the theater, and popular culture. I often stayed away from clothes that clung to me too much. Remembering my mother shaming me for wearing anything that did not hide my size.
Time in school was not a help in teaching me not to hide my femininity. Most necklines will show off at the very least a hint of cleavage. Skirts will always end up being shorter on me than they look. The adults in my life at the time either oversexualized or shamed me for this. So, I learned to cover up or layer at all times. It gave me a lot of bad feelings about my body I have been learning how to work through.
Trial and Error
It was when I was in my late 20’s when I finally started figuring out my own feminity. Finding myself in a job where I had a strict dress code. Though I could accessorize as I pleased, it was a nice way to start. It also gave me a chance to explore makeup, getting tips from coworkers. Slowly I started to find myself.
I stayed away from pictures for a good length of time. One can start to see in my Instagram where I really started to find my own look. Enjoying at least the way I chose to present myself at the time. Slowly evolving into this sort of comfy, goth, femme look that I enjoy today. Going from pink, red, and aqua hair til I found something that stuck. It just took a few years to get to that point. Each little bit of rebellion against what I was taught, pushed me further towards finding who I was.
However, because I choose to present as femme. It causes a lot of others to assume my default is Cis Female when I am out in public. Which can be frustrating. I am lucky my work and polyam family are accepting.Which at times, also causes me to feel like I am not valid as a non-binary person.
Since coming out as a Non-Binary, the term femme has meant more to me than before. It has become part of my identity. Getting to choose how I wish to present it to the world. Somedays, it is full makeup and vampy clothing. Other days it is a soft edge around otherwise hard looks of boots and flannel. No matter how I am choosing to present myself to the world, femme is part of it. It may have taken me some time to find it. It may be something I am still finding what fits and what doesn’t. But it is all my own.