Written by Rudolph Bessit


I hated my appearance, I felt like my face was my curse. I’ve been told “you are pretty like a girl”, “you would’ve been such a beautiful daughter”, “jy’t hare soos ‘n meisie”, “you should’ve been a girl” and “jy lyk soos n myt.” Sometimes I got compliments, at other times compliments accompanied by laughter and or giggles… 


There were insults, lots of them. Regardless of what I got served, I knew not how to react to any of it. Responding with thank you, to a compliment for that which I hated about myself would be a false declaration of gratitude. Besides, I questioned the sincerity of any compliments as it was in complete contradiction to what I’ve been told, and made to feel about myself way before the outside world could get to me. The insults were based on truth; it upset me that it was my truth. Outsiders confirmed, confused and complicated that which I had already been told and understood. 


I often felt summed up based on some of the features I possess of, features I was made aware of by those around me. At times I was actually asked why I looked girly… and there were those who seemed very expectant of an answer, one I didn’t have. 


My ‘girlish’ appearance had the ability to spark a conversation without warning or consideration for me, at any time. My appearance was my enemy and became just another one of many truths about myself that I hated. It exposed me to everyone, with the power to ruin any moment at any time. There was nothing I could do to hide my ‘misfortune’ from anybody. 


I knew what my fate was at home: fears, uncertainties and insecurities. They were all mine to deal with – all on my own. 


 Then I saw the light. There was a way out, but I had to wait. I began to gather information regarding the beard: at what age to expect it and if there was anything that could speed it up. I didn’t learn much, nothing promising to speed up of the process, so I waited patiently for my life changing moment. I decided to front an un-phased appearance to the insults as not to show the power of the words spoken to me. 


Years slowly went by and my moment arrived, I’ve been experimenting various looks ever since. I love my beard. Those who know me know I’m not fond of going without, unless it’s necessary for Rudeybah-LeAnn (me), to make an appearance. 


A little while ago, Rudeybah-LeAnn called a meeting with me and the rest of the occupants in my upstairs, basically informing us that she is no longer in favour of the beard we present with majority of time… My response was basically: “Hell no grirrrl, jy kom die anne dag hie aan. Wie dink jy is jy?” I quickly reminded that I still run the show. 


This recent flashback got me thinking… What if Rudeybah-LeAnn raised the beard issue because she remembers? It was her features I hated, her features I purposely camouflaged with beard since my teens. She’s that part of me no one knew and she probably reckons that the reasons for bearding up all the time now, is the same as it was then and is no longer valid.


I truly believe that no one is who they are; just because our ways, decisions, likes, dislikes, those things about us that contributes and forms who we are, they are not just nje. Our experiences contributes hugely to the people we ‘become’. At times we forget what lead us to developing certain characteristics, and we perceive these as mere facts about ourselves, claiming “that’s just who I am.”


I try to listen and understand my inner-self as much as I can. Why did I dismiss Rudeybah-LeeAnn’s voicing her unhappiness regarding 1, 2 and 3? It’s just beyond me or perhaps because I thought of her approach to have been rather windgat en ek laat mossie some sukke dinge reg gekry word op my watch nie, oh no. 


I’m calling a meeting with all the members in my upstairs to offer an apology to Rudeybah and grant her request. 


She’s correct, the reason for always having to have facial hair, “even if it is just a little”, is no longer valid. I assumed it was just my preference, just who I am, but the flashback reveals it started as an attempt to make my existence a little easier. 


Lately I’m learning to love and embrace everything about me, because it makes me me, it’s mine. My features that I did not purchase, or steal, or found left somewhere waiting to be claimed. They didn’t end up with me because of an error in delivery. No my sweedies, they were designed, created and assigned to no one else but me. There’s never been any confusion as to whom to place any of it with, its creation and existence right from start, had me as an assigned destination. They are mine and no one’s disapproval thereof has anything to do with me. 


Less than two years ago I got to understand and make a bit more sense of who I am. I decided to allow each and every part of my being to express themselves in their truest form, whenever and where ever they wish to emerge.  Ons steek nie meer weg nie.


She is Rudeybah-LeAnn-Marily-Jane Bessit, the first and the last and if she can’t express her true self then I fail to exist to my fullest. We are a gender fluid being and I’ve learned that it is absolutely okay if they don’t understand who we are, who I am… I got me. Understanding and knowing me is my responsibility. 


It takes courage to be you in a world which dictates whom we should be, and gathering that courage could take a very long while. I found that the magic lies within wanting to get to know who you are, the willingness to unlearn all the survival-selves we accumulate on our journey and learning how to become the true version of ourselves, unapologetically. 


Know that you are the only chance you’ve got to present who you are to the world and right now is your only chance to do so. 


To all of us taking it step-by-step, shaking off and unlearning whom we’ve become because of our personal experiences, knowingly or unknowingly… and to those already walking in their power, SALUTE Darlings! We are all warriors. May we continue to strive to exist as per whom we were meant to be, with Pride. 


Sending love and happiness.


Ps: Don’t rob the world from the one opportunity it has to experience, and witness your divine uniqueness. Be courageous, let go of the fear of you and carry your uniqueness unapologetically and with PRIDE.


Purple Fly


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