As a kid, getting dressed for church, or for weddings, or for pretty much any formal event was always a battle. When left to my own devices, I would throw on a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and a comfortable pair of shoes, and be done with it, but that was never good enough. My mother would want me in a skirt or in a dress. I at least had to wear earrings. I had to change out of those shoes. And I did. I’d pout and I’d complain, but I ultimately had to wear whatever outfit my mother had deemed appropriate.

As a teenager, the trend carried on. My two older sisters had begun wearing makeup, and I was “childish” for not wanting to. I “lacked a fashion sense.” My mother chided me for being so strange. I started wearing my older sister’s clothes to compensate. I wore high heels even though I hated them. I occasionally wore makeup. The compliments came flooding in. My mother was pleased and I was happy to be doing something right.

During my last three years in college, when I lived away from home, I found myself wearing clothes that I actually wanted to wear. Without my mother or my sisters standing over my shoulder and scrutinizing my choice in clothes, my t-shirt collection grew tremendously.

In the weeks leading up to my graduation, my mother grew concerned about what I would wear on the big day. She called to ask about it.

“Uh. I think I’ll wear a blazer, and maybe a pair of black pants?”

That didn’t cut it. She was sure to pack a dress and a pair of heels in her suitcase for me.

With a friend and fellow graduate (2014)

With a friend and fellow graduate (2014)

Two years have passed since then. In that time, I have cut my hair, moved across the country, and officially come out to my family. I haven’t worn anything that I haven’t wanted to since May 2014.

I thought we had all come to terms with the fact that I just didn’t like to wear certain clothes, so imagine my surprise when I got a call from my mother last week informing me that she had bought me a dress to wear to my older sister’s graduation (she’s getting a Master’s degree. Go sis!)

It is completely ridiculous to me that we spent over five minutes going back and forth about it.

“Why won’t you wear the dress?”

“I don’t want to.”

“What if you just wore it for a few hours and we got some pictures of you in it.”

“No.”

“I spent a lot of money on that dress.”

“I didn’t ask you to.”

“Just wear the–”

“No. No. No. No.”

I could probably just wear the dress (and the heels that I’m certain will accompany it). Make myself uncomfortable for a few hours so I can keep the peace. Pose for a few pictures so that my mother can upload them to Facebook and pretend for a while that her daughter isn’t a butch lesbian. But I’ve done that for too long. I’m sick of pretending to be someone I’m not, and I won’t do it anymore.

me in the woods

This is me.

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