My name is Kaila Prins, and I am a woman. I was born with a vagina, and that is how I identify. Yet I spent the majority of my life not-so-blissfully unaware that my gender identity was not a prison.
When I did not fit in with the other girls at school—taking no joy in reading teen magazines, wearing makeup, going to parties and sleepovers—I blamed it on a fault in myself. This is how a “woman” performs.
In an effort to fit in, I tried to look and act more like a “woman.” By the time I reached college, I was taking out loans to buy clothing at popular chains, reading (and following) the advice in every woman’s fashion and fitness magazine that I could get my hands on, and, finally, exercising and (not) eating my way into an eating disorder.
And I was still not happy. I was still not performing woman well enough.
It took years of recovery and what I call “Discovery” to figure out that I was performing woman without being a performing woman. And that the way to, if not happiness, then at least less inner struggle, was to learn how to apply what RuPaul’s been saying for years: “We’re all born naked and the rest is drag.”