Recognition (or the lack thereof)
Have you ever just looked in the mirror, and didn't recognize the person looking back? I have, and it's kind of scary. I mean, we all have this image of ourselves, sitting in our memory. But how often is it right? Many beautiful people think they're grotesque. Many homely people just know with absolute certainty that they look good. How accurate are our perceptions of ourselves?
These days, I have a fairly good idea of how I look, but even now, I see flaws that others don't even notice. But back then, just after my breakup with Amy, I had absolutely no idea who I was. And that extended to not knowing what I really looked like.
I guess I'm glad I had that moment where I really saw myself. It spurred me along my path just as surely as Amy dumping me had. Could I have lived the rest of my life in the dark? Maybe, but probably not. Even so, I'm glad that it happened when it did. I think I was ready. Maybe it was the perfect time.
Anyway, there I was, having just realized that it was unequivocally over with Amy. It wasn't the best time of my life, but I had cleared the worst of the post-breakup depression. I was on the way up, I guess you could say.
I had just woken up, and I was still half asleep (I'm definitely not a morning person!). I went into my bathroom, and washed my face. I'd done it hundreds of times before, but that morning was different for some reason. I opened my eyes, and, for maybe the first time, really saw myself.
Plump, pouty lips. Big, blue eyes. Perfect cheekbones. A cute, button nose. I was beautiful. How had I never seen it before? It was the same face I had seen in the mirror everyday for my entire life, but it just had more...gravitas than it ever had before.
It was just so stunning, that realization. What else had I missed? Was I really so lucky to have been with Amy? Or was she lucky to have been with me?
I had to see myself in another mirror - this time, full length. I'm not sure what drove me. Maybe I knew, subconsciously, that I'd been hiding from myself for all those years. Or It could have been that I just wanted to admire myself. I am a vain person, after all.
When I went to the full-length mirror I had in my room, I wasn't as shocked as I thought I'd be. It was just me -- a small, pretty boy in his underwear.
That feeling of disappointment was more shocking than anything else, I think. What did I want to see? I wasn't so deluded that I thought I'd see a man in the mirror. But did I want to see something else? Maybe something to match that beautiful face?
I don't remember how long I stared at myself in that mirror. It could have been minutes. It might have been hours. All I know is that sometime later, I found myself lying on my bed, staring at the ceiling, thinking about my life up until that point.
Who was I? I know it's really, really cliche to ask that question, but, at the time, I really wanted to know. And I had no clue.
I wanted Amy, but it also felt so nice being kissed by a man. Would I feel the same way about some other woman? Could I even find one that could give me the sex life to which I'd grown accustomed? Was I prepared to even try being with a man? Was that even something you planned? Or did it just happen?
And then there was me. What was I? I know I wasn't a man. But I wasn't a woman, either. I was caught somewhere in between. I had, you know, boy parts, but they were small and nearly useless. But my body wasn't really feminine, either.
I wanted to look at it all logically. I mean, I knew that I liked anal sex. And I knew that men had the equipment to give me what I wanted. I also knew that my clothes, mannerisms, and attitude was far more feminine than masculine. But sexuality is seldom rational. So much goes into it that you can't just look at the facts and make your decision. It's all about feelings. And then, on top of that, we're all conditioned to think one way or another. Did I belong with men? Probably. Was I ready to admit it to myself, much less anyone else? Definitely not.
So I made almost no headway on the "Who am I?" front. But I had started to think. So there's that, at least.