“I am the sole author of the dictionary that defines me.”~ Zadie Smith
I don’t know how I learnt to not care about being the same as everyone else but even when I was little I was always marching to my own beat and was never all that bothered that other people weren’t quite the same as me. I think perhaps because I was lucky enough to always have friends that seemed unphased by my quirks and just left me to it.
I’ve had plenty of other people define me though. When I was in secondary school I was not so affectionately known as ‘that lesbian girl’, genuinely the entire school year would have pointed to me if you’d asked them who that was. I wore an ‘I love Mel C’ badge on my prefect sash, dressed a bit alternative and cut my hair really short, so being a lesbian was clearly the explanation for my appearance and interests. I always knew I wasn’t a lesbian but I never corrected anyone, I was given the lesbian label for years, by straight folks and folks with the LGBTQ+ community.
Outside of my sexuality, there were other ways in which other people decided my identity on my behalf. I was the smart girl, the one who’d go to university. The sensible girl, who would always make the right choices. What I discovered though is that you are always going to disappoint other people when you let them define you because when you start to define yourself they are always surprised when you’re not who they decided you were.
Despite knowing that the only way to be happy in my own skin was to make sure the person in charge of defining me was me, it took a long time for me to action that consistently and in all areas of my life. I’ve finally got the hang of it though and now I am unapologetically me and I choose how I am defined, nobody else.
KnowFor a long time, I found it hard to align the definitions of me as a Mum, alongside me as a partner, as well as me as a sex blogger. I’m finding that easier to do now though. I thought for a long time the answer was compartmentalising various aspects of my life, in reality, it feels much easier when things gel together a little bit more. With Mr F I don’t have to be a sexy, sex blogger, kink extraordinaire whilst trying to leave my mum skin behind. I just sit around in my Pj’s, wiping up baby sick, chatting about my blog and somewhere in amongst all that he finds me sexy.
How I define myself has definitely changed over time and I’m sure will change again in the future and I think that’s how it should be. Where is the fun in being able to define ourselves it’s we aren’t able to grow and change as we discover new things about who we are as people.
One of the things I’ve never managed to do is find myself a box to stay in forever. I’m not very good and finding who I am and then staying put. I like to keep evolving, trying new things or going back to old things. When I was a kid I was obsessed with tie-dye clothes. My Mum to her credit always let me dress how I wanted even though she was always far more conservative than I was. I imagine she always thought she’d be glad to see the back of my ‘hippy phase’ but when it was replaced by a punk/goth clothing combo I think she longed for the tie-dye to return.
It’s probably been about 26 years since I had a wardrobe full of tie-dye and over the last couple of years I’ve been enjoying that again. The goth in me still lives on too though and I think that perfectly sums up the dictionary definition of Floss really. I’ve lost count of the amount of times people have said to me ‘oh, so you’re XYZ now’ and I often have to explain I’m just enjoying one facet of who I am, not necessarily declaring myself to be that one thing forever more.
I think the easiest example of the above is being bisexual. If you get a girlfriend, you hear ‘oh so you’re a lesbian now’, if you get a boyfriend it’s, ‘oh were straight all along’ and everytime my eyes roll so far into my head I think I will lose them forever as I explain that nope, still bisexual, always have been, always will be regardless of my partner at the time.
I even have to, or get to perhaps, define what bisexual means for me. For me it means I’m into my gender and other genders, so pansexual would also work. I use bisexual though because I took a long time to take ownership of that label and there’s so much bi-erasure that I use it to keep fighting the good fight for our existence. Queer also works well for me and I tend to interchange that with bisexual too.
I sometimes feel like I’m bi everything not just bisexual. I never like just one thing. I really quite like Jesus, so I have some crosses & stuff around the house, but I also have a Buddha and some pagan things too. I don’t have one clothing style but many. I don’t know a lot about one thing, but some things about lots of things. I never settled into being a top or a bottom, but felt right at home being a switch.
I don’t think I’m alone in this, I’d imagine what I’m describing fits lots of people’s identities but I do think we are encouraged to streamline our identity into an easy to explain package rather than presenting people with a chaotic Floss type persona. I’m not really into the neat and tidy version of myself. I did try it and it’s dull as dishwater. So I much prefer to be a little bit of everything I love. Which to sum it up is a queer, bisexual, vanilla loving switch, with a free loving hippie heart wrapped up in a shroud of gothic magnificence. I think perhaps that should be the new tagline for FlossDoesLife. I’ve been looking for a rebrand and maybe I just found it.