Flow State and the Fluidity of Gender Expression

Kelly L. Campbell
4 min readJul 13, 2021

We put aspects of ourselves on the back burner until we’re ready to address them and find true happiness. For me, that has long been the expression of my gender.

gender fluid, gender expression
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

The most incredible outcome of my spiritual journey thus far has been the ability to slowly, continuously release layers of pain associated with my core mother wound. In the process, I’ve learned how to re-parent myself in a way that enabled the little version of me to get what she really needed when I was a child. Discovering that I have the capacity to love myself unconditionally has enabled me to be more self-aware — and either attract those with similar values and characteristics in my life and work, or accept them as both a work-in-progress and a mirror to my own work that remains to be done.

As I‘ve been in the process of healing and growing, I’ve also noticed myself saying yes to opportunities that present themselves. For me, being in a flow state means surrendering and opening up to the possibilities that exist, those that seem to naturally lead you from one moment to the next without effort or resistance. As opposed to engineering or controlling how experiences will unfold, I trust that where I am is where I’m supposed to be, who comes in and out of my life is purposeful, and that I will be guided to what, when and where I’m needed most. And anything that doesn’t feel aligned is simply a boundary, where I advocate for myself in order to remain in integrity.

Being open to unknown experiences has brought about freedom on levels I had never known to exist before. Through my travels and deeper connection with others and nature, I have been learning what true happiness can feel and look and sound like. It’s certainly sourced from within.

There are many moments when I feel like I’m in the stream — gliding through life, embracing the unknown, connecting more deeply with people everywhere I turn, embracing both the darkness and the light equally, and being unbelievably grateful for each day of my life.

When everything feels to be in flow, it’s easier to recognize the aspects of ourselves that may have been put on the back burner. For each of us, there’s likely something that we’re pulled toward or curious about or that we just know about ourselves. For me, that aspect has been the expression of my gender for as long as I can remember.

I have never felt comfortable within my own body.

When I was twenty-six I had a breast reduction, but what I really wanted at the time was top surgery. At the time, I thought that was the answer. I wanted the surgeon to perform a double mastectomy to remove both of my breasts. To be clear, it was not because I felt as though I was born in the wrong body, called gender dysmorphia, but because my body conveyed a level of femininity that was inconsistent with the level I felt inside.

I didn’t have large breasts, so it was already a question in the mind of the surgeon as to why I wanted a reduction that was medically unnecessary. Most of her patients experienced severe back pain, and insurance often paid for their procedures. When I hinted that I wanted them to be ‘as small as possible’ — nonexistent, in other words — it gave her pause. She asked if there was something else underlying for me, and she let me know that I would have to get a letter from a therapist and find another doctor if I wanted my breasts removed. She didn’t perform that kind of procedure. I didn’t know of any doctor that did at the time, and it certainly wasn’t a topic of conversation back then. I was so worried that any reduction procedure would be delayed, so I reassured her that I was not looking to have them removed.

In retrospect, nearly twenty years later, I’ve come to accept that part of my body. I have virtually no scarring, and the size of my breasts is technically proportionate to my body. The recent realization I’ve had is that my gender expression is much more fluid than a binary male or female chest.

I like having the opportunity to feel and appear more feminine one day, gender-neutral another day, and perhaps more masculine sometimes. I love to put on a dress and rock a pair of heels at a wedding just as much as I like how my chest looks in a binder under a t-shirt. That sense of fluidity is right for me. It feels aligned with who I am and how I feel inside. The options available to me on any given day set me free.

And, if my account of gender expression is not one to which you can relate, I understand. I appreciate your willingness to read my story anyway. If you have said, prior to this, that you don’t know anyone who is gender-fluid in expression, or identifies as queer from a sexuality standpoint, that’s no longer true — because you now know me.

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Kelly L. Campbell

Trauma-informed Conscious Leadership Coach to self-aware visionaries. Author of Heal to Lead. Founder of Consciousness Leaders. More at klcampbell.com