June 16th, 2019


What to claim and what not to claim.

If I phrase the question "am I allowed to claim Father's Day?" the answer is, of course, yes. Even though I identify more with motherhood (one of the few places where I feel feminine in any genuine way) and even though my kiddo calls me "mommy" not "daddy" and even though I bore and did not sire, I can claim Father's Day if that's what I want.

When it comes to feelings and identities and staking out one's space on the planet, one is allowed to claim anything. Don't ever let anybody tell you otherwise.

So I can, but do I want to? That's where it gets weird for me, and I'm not really sure.

On the one hand, I have an urge to grab anything any everything masculine with both hands and go "Mine!" about it. That's a response that comes from insecurity more than from anything else, though. Nice as it feels to watch football with the guys, I know I wouldn't have kept doing it if I hadn't come to genuinely enjoy watching football. Claiming Father's Day just because "it's a man thing and I'm a man!" is a bad reason.

On the other hand, I feel attached to Mother's Day, even if that's also super complicated and kinda difficult for me. See above about feeling maternal, about the kid calling me "mommy." She had such a hard time learning that word, and the first time she called me that, my heart just melted. Mother's Day is mine, I'll claim that. And as half of a couple where the other half is a cis man who's definitely comfy with fatherhood and "daddy" and Father's Day, it seems pretty unfair for me to stake out a claim to Father's Day too. Sure, we could share it or whatever, and he'd still "get" to celebrate it, but I feel like it's just a bit wrong for me to want both spaces and him only to get one of them?

On the gripping hand (I can never resist that when I have three things to say...) I went to the UU church again today. It was focused on fatherhood, and to be honest, most of it didn't touch me. It felt impersonal, it didn't feel mine. One thing that did strike a chord, though, and got me a little teary-eyed was the children's sermon, which was about fatherhood in the animal kingdom, and of course talked about seahorse dads, because if you're talking animal fathers you have to bring up seahorse dads. Thinking of myself as a seahorse dad was a big part of how I got through the body-trauma and horrible dysphoria of pregnancy. (I didn't really latch on to maternal feelings until I started nursing, which is a whole 'nother weird-gender-issues saga, lemme tell you.)

So I think I'll stake out one tiny corner of the Father's Day thing, labeled "seahorse dad" but the rest of the day is for my husband, and he's a great father, so I'm happy to celebrate him. Maybe eventually my feelings will shift, that's always possible. For now that seems like the way to go.

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1535006.html.