Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Archive for September 12, 2010

Reclaiming the Flannel

When I was in high school, I wore flannel shirts almost every day. It was a Catholic school for boys. The dress code was pretty chill: shirts with a collar (pretty much of any kind) and pretty much any kind of pants besides jeans. I got sick of flannel shirts, but they were good at hiding my breasts, and so I wore them a lot.

I still wore them after high school, though with much less frequency.

I have not worn a flannel shirt since my transition.

Until the other day in Atlanta.

The Darling Boyfriend let me borrow one of his shirts to bring with me to Dragon*Con. He doesn’t wear flannel too much, but he let me choose from a few shirts, and this one just seemed snuggy. I wore it as a jacket on our last night in Atlanta when we went out to a pub for dinner. I had reservations about wearing it. It’s amazing how much emotional weight an article of clothing can carry. Flannel shirts are strongly associated with high school for me, one of the worst times in my life – and one of the periods when I was most trapped and repressed and shame-filled. So it was with some trepidation that I put that shirt on and wore it out.

I actually thought, at least in the deep recesses of my brain, that a flannel shirt would suddenly make people see me as a boy again. Perhaps I’m making a mountain of a molehill, but I was worried about being mistaken for a man when I put the shirt on.

But then we got to the restaurant, and it was all, “Hi ladies.” And the like. And all was well.

It’s funny that I still have worries sometimes. And yet, it’s only been four years since I transitioned, and it had been 36 years of trying to present as a man, so it makes sense that some of those fears would be deep enough to surface every now and again. Especially when there’s something that has a strong association with the Before Time.

Flannel. Powerful stuff. Who knew?

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