…if it fits, you don’t notice. If it doesn’t fit, you can’t help but notice.
So, obviously my assigned gender doesn’t fit, that’s why I’m here talking to you, my nonexistent internet audience. For me however, the things that I “notice”, the things that make me dysphoric, aren’t always consistent. I don’t know if this is true for anyone else since I don’t really make a point of asking people about their dysphoria for obvious reasons.
For example there have been periods of time when being called “she”,”her”, “miss”, “lady”, “woman”, etc. made me really uncomfortable, but my dysphoria relating to being verbally misgendered waxes and wanes, sometimes it bothers me a lot, sometimes not so much. I don’t identify with those terms at all, but currently it doesn’t make me feel terrible and uncomfortable the way other things do. It just feels vaguely weird to hear female pronouns paired with my name, when people do it I always feel like they’re talking about someone else. Conversely, I’ve gotten more dysphoric about wearing clothing that is designated as “women’s”. It used to be that only skirts and dresses made me feel that way, but now anything more feminine than a t-shirt doesn’t come out of my closet, which makes me a little bit sad, because I have clothes that I really like but no longer feel comfortable wearing. I suppose this will be another source of dysphoria that comes and goes. Skirts and dresses are never okay for me, but other things may or may not be depending on the day.
Some things on the other hand, always make me feel dysphoric. Menstruation would be one of those things, even talking about it is not something I’m particularly comfortable doing. In general, I’m very comfortable with my body, and have a very positive body image. Except when I’m bleeding. Then I hate my body, I want to crawl out of my own skin and go live somewhere else until its over. Its hard to describe, but menstruation is by far the most extreme source of dysphoria for me. The only thing that’s helped, and its helps significantly, is having a menstrual cup because it allows me to pretend I’m not bleeding for up to 12 hours.
Another consistent source of dysphoria for me has been romantic/sexual interactions with cis males. As a personal policy I don’t get involved with cis men anymore because of the dynamic that springs up. Its really unpleasant because not only do they have a penchant for treating me in a way that misgenders me as female but also as a lesser, unequal partner because of that perceived femaleness. For me, that power dynamic in a relationship manifests itself as a nagging and pervasive wrongness that just makes me feel gross.