Basic Butch Style is a monthly series showcasing how to wear timeless masculine of center classics for every occasion. This is the last in the series.
Breakups are unpleasant, no two ways about it. Whether out of the blue or long-simmering, ending a relationship is not fun. For butch women especially, who often face aggression and ridicule for the way we dress and carry ourselves, it can be easy to fall into a pit of self-doubt. If you’re struggling in the wake of a breakup, feeling like your butchness is unappealing, unsexy, or unworkable, I wholeheartedly feel you. It is tough. Sometimes, you have to put your game face on even to make it down the block or through the grocery store. This column is a love letter to all of you — put down the scissors and hair dye and stay with me.
For most of us, a breakup prompts some introspection. Sometimes it’s fruitful, like asking yourself how you could better communicate your wants and needs, and sometimes it’s torturous, like when you lie awake in the middle of the night and wonder if you’re fundamentally unlovable. Often, we decide that with the end of a relationship, we need to make a definitive statement about closing that period of our lives: the classic Ann Perkins dye job, a spending spree, or a hasty Tinder profile.
Many of us look for something to blame when a relationship ends — a person, issue, or situation that caused the breakdown in trust and desire. Sometimes, we blame our exes, justified or otherwise, and sometimes we turn that blame inwards where it can fester and turn into ugly self-hatred or crippling self-doubt. This blame can lend itself to making dramatic decisions without the benefit of rational thought.
If you’re nodding along with that last paragraph, I want to invite you to step out of that second-guessing spiral. Sadness, anger, and loss are healthy and productive emotions to acknowledge. Bitterness, spite, and self-loathing are not. There is no fundamental flaw that you must address in order to be attractive to another person. You don’t have to radically reinvent yourself, make yourself over, or dive headfirst into a slew of new and interesting hobbies. You only have to take the time to breathe, think, recover, and move on. It won’t hurt forever. You will trust yourself again.
Not convinced? As a survivor of the short hair – long hair – short short hair grief cycle, here are my three tips to turn solo surviving into thriving:
1. Invest time in a hobby that keeps your hands and/or feet busy. Use a physical pastime to keep yourself grounded in the present, and escape from intrusive thoughts. Think about picking up a sport if you’re lacking camaraderie, or try a solo endeavor like running or learning an instrument if you’re more of a stay-at-home Jane. Throughout this period of exploration, stay open to good people, opportunities, and vibes entering your life.
2. Challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone. Do, see, try, and experience new things – not with the intention of bettering yourself, but simply to stay busy and engaged. Get to know yourself, find out more about what you like and don’t like.
3. Appreciate the good platonic relationships you’ve cultivated. Remember: These relationships aren’t limited to one species. If you’re not really feeling humans at the moment, why not take a trip down to the local Humane Society?
And finally, always remember that a relationship of any kind doesn’t define you. Appreciate the bravery it takes to go out there in your snapbacks or a three-piece suit. Whatever you’re feeling, mathematically, the odds are you’re not feeling it alone. Exchange a head-nod or a hug with fellow butches, share your sad vibes playlist, whatever it takes to feel connected. Hope springs eternal!