Masculinity has always been a difficult concept for me to embrace. I was never girly enough. I didn't know what to do with my hair or makeup or clothes. I went through puberty as gangly, awkward, and a head taller than all the boys. Family members and friends clucked about how masculine and broad my shoulders were, suggested I wear certain things to soften them up, pointed out how my upper lip could use a good waxing, bought me (never used) containers of bleach for my facial hair, gave me plenty of fake sympathy over how terrible it must be to have body hair like mine. I never tried hard enough to be a girly girl to compensate. I wasn't interested, and I already knew I was doomed to fail. I just had to be girly enough to hide the masculinity I quickly learned to be ashamed of.
Over the past year, I've started honoring my masculinity for the first time. A friend had a drag-themed party in November, providing the perfect opportunity for me to fully embrace my masculine side. Since then, I've rocked the boi look at a few different events, and let me just say, had I known I could garner that kind of attention from the ladies, I would have tried this path a decade ago! I'm still unsure and halting when it comes to masculinity and what it means to me. My own masculinity was never something to explore. It had always been something pointed out by others as something I should feel ashamed of, something they should pity me for, something to cover up with perfume and pink. Bringing this out instead of covering it up is finally giving me a chance to figure this out. To me right now, masculinity means confidence. It means not bothering with what others think of how I "should" look. It means jutting out my chin and squaring my shoulders with a cocky grin. It means embracing all the parts of myself I wanted to hide. Screw waxing my upper lip and bleaching my face. Instead, you can find me experimenting with mascara and a stipple sponge in an attempt to give myself that sexy stubble look.