I figured out I was asexual because I had questions and Google lead me to an asexual blog where the writer said they thought originally they were “straight by default”. For me that was a light bulb moment. Similarly I thought I was gender by default. I didn’t know there was a third (and many more) option.
It’s hard when someone says “Put your big boy/girl pants on” and I can’t just come out and tell them, “That’s not my gender, your argument is invalid.”
I’m not pink. I’m not blue. I actually like to think of myself as green (because the color is present on both the aromantic and agender flags). And it’s not easy being green.
I don’t really feel like I have a gender. I don’t “feel” like a man or a woman. I basically came to the conclusion that I was agender the same way I found out I was Asexual and Aromantic. Since I had to ask what gender felt like, I probably didn’t experience it like other people did. It’s a hard idea for “normal” people to wrap their head around, but it’s a little like if you were a boy, and you know you’re a boy, if somebody tells you “put your big girl pants on”; That’s an insult. If you’re a girl, and you know you’re a girl, and somebody says “put your big boy pants on”, that just sounds silly. The mind rejects it because it’s the wrong gender.
At the same time it’s hard to present as agender. People equate sex with gender and all my “equipment” is still obviously there. Occasionally I’ll feel dysphoria (a sense of discomfort or unease) about my appearance, but there are a few things that help like having a uniform and a routine.
Having a uniform helps. I don’t just mean a work uniform either. My work uniform is thankfully unisex and all the employees wear the same thing (polo and khaki). Looking professional for interviews or wearing business casual attire makes me feel uncomfortable so I know the corporate life isn’t for me. I also have different “uniforms” that I use for daily life. T-shirt and jeans for hanging out with my friends, lounge wear for home, and different outfits specifically for errands and things. These outfits can be either masculine or feminine depending on how I want to appear, but they don’t define me.
Having a routine helps with general mental health as well as keeping my gender related uneasiness to a minimum. I always know I’m going to do steps X, Y, and Z before going to work and P, Q, R, before going to bed. I’m very much a creature of habit and like changes to be noted well in advance. If I’m in the middle of my morning or evening routine and somebody interrupts, I’m going to snap and growl for the rest of the day. I’m not saying I’m not flexible, but having those routines as a constant is a good fall back.
Actually my schedule is all over the place so the times will always be different, but the steps are the same. The first thing I do when I wake up and right before I go to bed is read for 10 or 15 minutes (ideally 30 if I have time). Reading helps me relax and gives me something to focus on during the day and something to look forward to later.
Another thing is that I accept that the majority of people are not going to understand. I’m not comfortable telling people “I’m agender.” If I did most of my acquaintances would just be like “WTF?” To my understanding there is no agender representation in media. Maybe someday there will be. I hope that someday there will be a popular book or TV show and I can point to that character and say, “Oh, that’s just like me!”
So until that ground breaking TV show comes out I’ll just have to put on my big, agender pants and deal with the fact that for now I am generally going to be misunderstood.