Misgendering as an Act of Self Sabotage

It’s a cold slick feeling in the back of my throat

A quickly expanding pit in my stomach

A stuttered uhhhh

A slight internal flail

Sometimes I misgender my self.

It’s a heavy sickening feeling

A sharp intake of breath


freeze, berate myself


Every time, it gives people around me the wrong impression, the impression that I don’t care

This week, this time

But nothing could be further from the truth

Except when I don’t care, really actually at all

more than likely this is not one of those times though

More than likely this hurts me

But I’m not sure

Or I don’t know

Or maybe…maybe so

So this time I should be more careful not to do this to myself

The world does it enough without my help

I have been thinking about my seeming inability to remember my own pronouns. I have been trying to get to the bottom of why I just can’t get it established in my own head. I know that I am such a habit oriented person that it is possible, that part of the problem, even most of the problem, is that it’s just not a habit yet. No betrayal of self, just bad memory outside of rote rituals and scheduled everything.

But I suspect deeper aspects as well. I have difficulty with having healthy emotional boundaries with the people I love. I have trouble advocating for my own emotional and mental space when it may inconvenience or upset my loved ones…at least I do before I am hemorrhaging emotionally.

So I wonder if perhaps, while my conscious brain is saying, “Fuck you anyway if you don’t like it.” if maybe my subconscious brain is saying, “as long as it isn’t to much of an inconvenience for you, beloveds.” That my friends, is a sobering and thoroughly depressing thought.

So I am working on doing better by myself, I am working on using my proper pronouns as much as possible…even though I generally prefer none at all, to give me practice in saying it out loud. To give me practice in breaking from the anxiety causing cycle of “she-uhhhh”. I probably can’t keep referring to myself to myself as mama to avoid the situation. Eventually the kids will be grown up and that would just get uncomfortable for everyone.

In the mean time we can work on it together. I prefer they/them most of the time, or at least it is always the safest choice. Most of the time I do not care for being called girl, chick, or woman. I am not any of those things. I have compartmentalized and accepted for to long, years and years. It is time enough for me to live without cringing my way through conversations, without being reminded how much it hurts sometimes…not any more than necessary anyway. It is time for me to put some effort into remembering me, to protecting my boundaries, to insisting that this is me, that this is real, and that this is my need.

I hear that if you take yourself seriously, other people will too.

I guess we will just have to see.


2 thoughts on “Misgendering as an Act of Self Sabotage

  1. that happened to me for the first time the other day since I started viewing myself as a guy months ago…I was talking to someone who doesn’t know that I’m transgender and I referred to being a “mom” one day and after I said it I was shocked. I’ve been super conscious of referring to myself as anything womanly (she, mom, ms., etc) for over a year. Perhaps it was because I was talking to someone who didn’t know so I was playing the part. Either way, I get how bad it feels when your own brain slips.

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