I've never liked being called Christine (thanks Dad!), so when I was a teenager I started insisting everyone called me Chris. But I don't really like that name either, I just thought of it as a (slight) improvement - though I must admit that its androgynous nature - in fact most people hearing it assume that it belongs to a man - has often annoyed me a bit.
My mother's OH calls me Chrissie. He's the only one who does, and if I'm honest I do like that name - but I don't feel it suits me. Why? Because when I hear that name I think of someone very feminine, and I have never seen myself as feminine. I don't know what it is - I don't think a person has to be very slim, very pretty, short or fat, thin or tall to be feminine, in fact I could name people who I consider to be very feminine who are all or none of those physicalities, but whatever I do think is feminine it isn't me...
I am so make-up challenged that when I was working and decided to make more of an effort with my appearance I had to set up a daily reminder on my calendar... I don't suit long hair (yes, I do think long hair is more feminine than short - and then I see a photo of Audrey Hepburn or Winona Ryder with short hair and realise that's not it either) so my hair pretty much sticks in the same short style most of the time (a style I chose from a photo of Charlize Theron - another example of short hair being both feminine and sexy)
I can wear skirts or trousers and sometimes (occasionally) be pleased with what I see in the mirror. But when not looking in the mirror my image of myself is a sexless lump clomping around the world, shaking the ground with every step. (I felt that way when I was 183 lbs, and I feel exactly the same now.) Don't get me wrong, I know I don't look actively masculine - no-one looking at me frontally above the waist could ever mistake me for a man (and most men only look at me between the waist and the neck... I'm sure you can work out why). But I think there's a difference between looking female and looking feminine, and I just don't think I pull it off. I've talked about this with M, and he thinks I'm nuts. The reason I'm writing this post now is because I discussed it with my Mum when she was here, and she had the same reaction. And even hearing them say that just doesn't dent my conviction that I am not feminine. As a result of the conversation with my Mum, she's going to start calling me Chrissie as well, to see if I can shape my perception of myself to fit the name as I hear it more often (and also just because she likes it better!) Is that really superficial and trivial as a method of altering my self-perception? You bet it is, and I know it. But I'm so tired of feeling unfeminine that I'm willing to give it a shot! I might even manage to start introducing myself to new people that way, and then perhaps I won't be hearing people who don't know me asking 'where is he?' instead of 'where is she?', and then maybe I'll start feeling like a girl / woman for a change. (not too like a girl - I don't like pink things! or frills! and I never liked dolls - they're creepy, like little clowns in disguise!)
In the grand scheme of things I guess it isn't really a major issue, it won't kill me and it doesn't blight my life on a daily basis. But it would be nice to wear a dress and make-up to go out without feeling like a fraud. Or even, unlikely as this seems, to feel pretty dressed that way... Something has to change, because I don't think having this self-image is doing a great deal for my self-esteem, or making me a more positive person, and it sure as hell doesn't do a lot to inspire me to keep the weight off and stay fit and healthy.