My grandmother used to sew a new Easter dress every year, which inevitably turned out to be my favorite dress until the following Easter. There was a period of time when I was a little girl where despite climbing trees, running and playing, I refused to wear pants. It was not because girls shouldn't wear pants. It was because pants were hot and with skirts the breeze can cool your legs in the hot Florida sun. As I grew older I set aside skirts little by little. By the time high school came around, I almost never wore them except to church. My blossoming figure was getting me some unwanted attention so I started to hide my curves by wearing unflattering clothing. Even later still, from the end of 2005 until the end of 2007, I had a very masculine stride despite the feminine manner of dress that I picked up again during my former life as a missionary. Throughout all of these different configurations, I was still femme.
I did not feel comfortable and settled into my femmeininity until I started realizing how very much I adore female masculinity. Obviously not everyone who is femme is drawn toward butches and vice versa. Not all femmes were born female. Not all femmes are gay (although I do believe we are all queer, despite various sexual orientations). Masculine women did not make me feel threatened like most men did at the time. They supported my feminine side, did not make fun of me or force me into the cult of true womanhood. Maybe it was the type of butches with which I was associating at the time, but I felt encouraged and valued and seen... That's how I came out to myself. Little by little, as I became less and less afraid of the attention my femmeininity would attract. As I started learning about how femme and butch are radical rather than conformist (and what if they are? does it matter?). After that, every time I ever came out to anyone it was both at once: my mouth said "I'm gay" and my body, my grace, my curves said "I'm femme."