My heart is heavy…

So far today I’ve had one friend say that, as a white woman, Heather Heyer’s death was the least she could do for the cause and another friend freely admit she has no sympathy a man who got mistaken for a Nazi and stabbed in the hand. After all, if men did more before, we wouldn’t be facing Nazi’s now.

I look at Heather Heyer and see someone who was similar to many of my friends. Passionate about her causes and devoted to beliefs, she had strong values and was considered a sweet and kind soul. Dying wasn’t the least she could do, it was the most. She gave up her life. You can’t do anything more after you’re dead.

I don’t know anything about the man who got stabbed. He could be on the verge of being nominated for sainthood or the closest thing to a Nazi. Chances are he’s somewhere in between. The part that matters is his innocence. Someone screwed up and stabbed the wrong person. He deserves our sympathy for that.

My friends are all caught up with punching Nazis in the face and proclaiming that if you don’t then you’re a sympathizer. Which I guess makes both Gandhi and Nelson Mandela sympathizers because I can’t see them walking around punching people in the face, no matter who they are.

I’m not interested in punching Nazis in the face. I think it’s ineffective and will ultimately lead to more violence. But that doesn’t make me a sympathizer and I’m furious with the black and white thinking that assumes I must be. Personally, I prefer the glitter bomb method or spraying them with non removable dye. Let them show up for work looking like a disco ball or like they shoplifted a shirt from the local mall. Keep them from hiding in the crowd.

Emma came up to me earlier and said New Jersey had declared antifa an extremist anarchist group. I shushed her and told her it was nothing more than a liberal group, formed to fight Nazis. Now I’m worried about the path it’s going and I’m worried where it’s taking my friends.

Dreaming my life away…

My bed is comfortable and safe. I slip inside it and minutes later I’m ensconced in dreams. They’re vivid, more exciting than my real life, and disappear moments after I wake.

Thanks to depression, I sleep 12 to 15 hours a night, the twelve is if I set an alarm. Thanks to anxiety, I end up curled up on my bed… and the cycle continues. I slept 12 hours last night then, after breakfast, I took a two hour nap. I could easily go back to sleep right now.

What worries me is I’m dreaming my life away and shortening it at the same time. My life might not be exciting but it’s mine and it’s the only one I have. And, to be fair, most people’s lives aren’t excited. We all have dishes and laundry and floors to mop. There is no glamour there.

With that being said, I’m putting on YouTube and going to wash the dishes. I could go back to sleep until Emma gets home from school but I’ve got my life to live.

You are not an ally…

You are not an LGBTQ ally if you can explain gay or lesbian relatives to children with ease but decide it’s too complicated to explain a trans relative.

You are not an LGBTQ ally if the trans relative’s chosen, real name and pronouns are too hard to remember so you go back to their old pronouns and name.

You are not an LGBTQ ally if they’ll always be deadname* to you

You are not an LGBTQ ally if you accept bisexual people but figure they’re really just confused.

You’re not an LGBTQ ally if you assume bisexual people are natural cheaters

You’re not an LGBTQIA ally if you figure the A stands for ally

You’re not an LGBTQIA ally if you complain there’s too many letters. It’s the length of a phone number and people aren’t crying those are too long.

You’re not an LGBTQIA ally if you figure asexual people are straight but confused.

You’re not an LGBTQIA ally if you decide asexuals are simply prudes

Go back to grade school and re-learn that a word can have two meanings if you think asexuals have to bud in order to reproduce.

You are an ally if you listen to your trans relative and follow his, their, or her narrative to explain to younger family members.

You are an ally if you use your trans relative’s name and pronouns as often as possible, apologizing if you forget.

You are an ally if you realize bisexual people aren’t any more confused or promiscuous than the rest of society, they simply happen to be attracted to two or more genders.

You are an ally if you learn the acronym without complaining.

You are an ally if you listen to the LGBTQIA community and learn about their various orientations without judgement

You are an ally if you stand up for the LGBTQIA community and correct any misunderstandings you hear.

If you are an ally, I thank you!

Selfie filtered

Emma’s self portrait last summer

* deadname equals birthname

Anxiety…

It’s late and you’re alone watching a horror movie. The music starts. Something is going to happen. The protagonist bravely sets forward. Your heart starts pounding, you feel weak and trembling, your stomach churns.

Except there’s no horror movie, no late night, and you’re probably not even alone. Yet the racing heart, weakness, and stomach churning continues.

That’s what anxiety is like for me. It’s hard to breathe, hard to think, and the anxiety sits there like an unwelcome guest. The most minor chore makes me want to curl up like a pill bug and hide. The major chores are beyond me.

Counting breaths doesn’t help. I end up worrying I’m counting too fast or too slow and end up hyperventilating, which is so not the goal. Reassuring myself helps a bit. Sleeping helps a lot but is a huge inconvenience. And Ativan helps, but brings along a worry of addiction.

I wish I had some amazing ending to this, some great way of alleviating anxiety, but I don’t. In fact, I’m rocking while I write this and thinking about curling up for a nap. What triggered this bout of anxiety? I don’t know. Maybe the fact there’s dishes to wash? But probably not. It just seems to show up like an unwelcome house guest and never knows when to leave.

If you’ve got a great way to decrease anxiety, please feel free to leave a comment below.

“I’m transitioning”…

“Well hello,” said the elderly man from our UU church. He smiled then turned to Emma. “And who might this handsome young man be?” he asked jokingly.

“I’m Emma,” Emma replied. “I’m transitioning.”

The man looked bewildered. “Erma?” he asked.

“Emma,” both Emma and I replied.

“Alma?”

“Emm-mma,” I said slowly.

He smiled and went on with his conversation. I wondered if he thought we were joking.

Emma tells everyone she’s transitioning these days from her cousins to the cashier at the grocery store and every one gives her the same blank look. We belong to online groups and PFLAG, to us it seems like half the planet is either in transition or related to someone who is. I’m guessing, judging by the blank looks we encounter, that’s not the case outside our little circle because no one seems to have a clue what she’s talking about.

I wonder how people’s reactions will change when she eventually starts taking hormones and begins to look more feminine.

Disposable friendships…

We were friends for twenty years. Twenty years of birthdays, dinners, movies, outings, laughter, and games. And we stopped being friends over an internet meme.

We’d been friends for six years. Our kids played together, we went out for lunches, we could chat for hours. And we stopped being friends because I suggested a dog trainer before abandoning her dog.

We’d been friends for three years. Just online friends, as people say, but we messaged regularly and often. The last I heard was a message “I’m going to take my medication” then a notice that I could not respond to her conversation. She blocked me, so I heard, because I reminded her in some way of her ex. I have no idea how. The day before she’d told me I was like a sister to her. There was no warning.

I was chatting with a friend of mine a few days ago and she commented on how much friendships seem to break these days. I had to agree. My parents have friends that go back for 50/60 years. My longest friendship, one in which we actually talk more than once a year, is now fifteen.

Somehow we’ve reached a point in our society where friends have to agree about everything. And, while I agree that some lines that are deal breakers, some are just plain ridiculous. I had a friend block me once because I prefer door to door delivery over big box mail services. I refuse to believe this is a hard line ethical issue.

At some point we need to give in on the minor issues. We might not agree with religious beliefs or eating habits. We might not approve of all parenting styles. But as long as no one’s getting hurt, is that the hill we want to die on?

And, as much as I love the internet, I have to wonder how much of the disposable nature of friendship is because of the ease of online communication. You can delete someone from your life without ever seeing the hurt on their face. It’s a lot easier than saying “I don’t want to be friends with you” and dealing with the aftermath. Every friendship of mine that’s ended has been through social media. Cold, clean, swift, and remorseless.

I went through my block list a few days ago and unblocked about thirty people, none of whom I know, all of whom had irritated me on Facebook at some point. Chances are I’ll never even see them again. The next step is unblocking the two people I do know. I have no idea if I’ll see them online or not, we don’t (as far as I know) have mutual friends. But it’s a start.

I don’t have any answers but, what I do know, is life’s too short to end friendships over trivial matters. Friendship is too important for that.

P and Jeremy

P and Emma sharing a quiet conversation.

Cisgender…

When I was little I thought that words were carefully thought up and voted on by a group of old white men, all seated along a table. They’d weigh each word ponderously before voting. Then we could finally use it. It wasn’t until I was older that I realised our language evolves, taking words from other languages and sometimes creating words as needed.

As gay people became more positively talked about, a new word evolved to explain people who aren’t gay. Straight. People have no noticeable problem with being called this. Then transgender people became more positively talked about and a new word evolved to explain people who aren’t trans. That word is “cisgender”, using the Latin prefix meaning “on this side of”. And people lost their freaking minds.

For some reason people seem to think cisgender is an insult, some nasty slur being tossed at them, instead of a simple description. The same people who have no problem being called white, straight, their nationality, their religion, male/female etc suddenly don’t want or like labels when it comes to cisgender. Hell, someone named Olivia even wrote a “poem” about her hatred of the word.

Cisgender.
This is your term for me.
Your stereotype, your aggression
When you have been called it all
Fag queer whatever.

Well now i speak

I am not gay.
I am not bi.
I am not a man.
Or unsure.
I am not your words.
I am not “cisgender”.

I am a woman.
I love a man.
But that doesnt matter.
Because my name is Olivia.

~blogged by aliceoblivious~

I’ve come up with two theories for why so many people dislike the word so much. The first theory is that, unlike straight, which has positive connotations (such as straight as an arrow), cis sounds too similar to sissy, leading people to think of “crybabies” or “whiners”, even if it’s more unconscious than conscious.

The second theory is that some people dislike transgender people so much, they don’t want a word labelling them that has anything to do with trans people, even if it does mean the exact opposite.

Or maybe it’s a mixture of the two.

Whatever the reason, the word cisgender is not a slur. The only time it becomes a slur is when it’s transformed to cishit and, in that case, I don’t want to know what you said, and chances are you probably deserved it.

But cisgender is fine.