My almost, but not quite, relationship…

I’m curious about something
And feel free to say no … obviously
I’m looking to be in a relationship.

Do you think you and I are a possibility?

To say this was a surprise would be an understatement. Ann* and I had previously only messaged each other sporadically on Facebook (mostly her messaging jokes about Canada) and had never met. And I’m a demiromantic asexual. I need to know someone in order to be in a relationship. And yet… I’d never get to know her if we didn’t talk plus I’d never know if we were compatible if I said no. So…

I’d have to talk to you more. I don’t know you well enough. I wouldn’t rule it out though.

Then we started to talk about politics and camping and food and families. It was the most we’d talked ever. But I still didn’t know her. I mean I’d talked multiple times a day to L for three years before we started dating. How do you get to know someone through awkward conversation?

I messaged her “good morning” the next day and got a three word reply four hours later. The same thing happened that night (except I hadn’t texted good morning at that point). I was beginning to think she and I were on different pages when it came to learning about each other through messaging.

Then came a four am message. Nothing good ever comes from a four am message.

Hey

 I’m sorry for being slow on responding
 I don’t even know how to say this.
 Now that I’m working the day shift, I’ve rediscovered a crush I had on someone
 I’m sorry

What could I say to that beyond “It’s okay”? When L and I broke up I’d needed an Ativan in order to start breathing again but Ann? All I really knew about her was she liked chicken and camping and preferred the term progressive over liberal.

A short while later I was warned by a few people that Ann had a mean streak and could get quite nasty. A short while after that she blocked me when I pointed out it was rude to waste a cashier’s time just because she was mad about a bus delay.

It definitely wasn’t a match made in heaven. It technically wasn’t even a match. But it was interesting while it lasted.

me-in-winter-pjs

Me in my winter pjs, just because 🙂

*Ann is so not her real name

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The little bits of our lives…

“Mom?”

I stopped putting on my shoe. “What Jeremy?”

“While we’re on our walk, could we stop and pick up a computer? It’s only $15. And it’s right here!” They pointed at a circle outline which encompassed a 5 block radius. It was near where we were walking but still a decent hike to even the nearest part of the circle.

I mentally groaned. If they picked up a computer, there was no way we were going to continue on our walk on a gorgeous wooded trail, something I’d been looking forward to all day. And we knew nothing about the computer. I explained that to them. They immediately texted the person who almost immediately texted back. It was right near where we were walking and he was willing to meet us in an hour. The excitement on Jeremy’s face made me agree.

They babbled all the way to the bus and the whole half hour long bus ride then for the whole twenty minute walk too. We got to the man’s apartment and Jeremy’s jaw dropped. It turned out the man’s job was finding deals on lots of computer parts, fixing them up, and selling them on kijiji. Jeremy was in computer heaven.

“This is the $15 computer,” the man said, “and this is the $25 computer.”

It was my jaw dropping turn. I’d picked out a tiny $150 netbook when Jeremy offered to buy  me one (the cheapest computer at the store) but it was very slow… like can’t manage Facebook slow. I needed a new computer… especially a $25 one. It was the beginning of the month so we bought both.

Then came Jeremy’s time to shine. They checked my computer, decided the hard drive was way too small and swapped it for the one in the netbook.

“Don’t worry Mom, it’s not the hard drive that makes it go fast, it’s the CPU and the RAM.”

Then Windows had problems so they tried me with Linux and Ubuntu. I couldn’t use my programs on either so they sorted out Windows and got that reinstalled. Through that whole time of uninstalling and installing, Jeremy kept all my photos, novels, and scrapbooking graphics safe. And now I have a computer that will actually load Facebook.

On Sunday we went down to the lake to watch the full moon rise over the water (and take pictures). Unfortunately it rose over the tiny bit of land to the east but I got a few good shots of the moon rising over rock piles at the shoreline while Jeremy got an amazing short video of the waves rolling in.

full-moon-over-rocks-close

A bit blurry but still cool

Jeremy’s waves video…

We were almost home when I heard the friendly “mow” of a cat greeting us. I immediately replied back as Jeremy said, “Mom! There’s a cat!”

I looked over to see a beautiful grey and white long haired cat walking through the brush beside the path all the way to the fence. It squeezed through and stayed for a moment, long enough for us to note the lack of a collar, then it ran back as a dog drew near.

“Mom, we need to take her home,” Jeremy pleaded. “She doesn’t have a home and she’s going to freeze to death soon.”

I looked at the tiny area of brush and the townhouse complex behind it. “Hon, she has to have a home. She’s got long fur, she’d be covered in burrs if she was abandoned.”

Just then a man and his four little dogs stopped by and looked at the cat behind the fence. “Such a pretty cat,” he mused. “Too bad someone dumped her. She’s been here begging for a few days now. The cat lady had food set up over there…”

He gestured down the path to a section with trees between two buildings. “… but someone keeps setting his dog on them and knocking down their shelter.”

“Fine,” I said to Jeremy. “Let’s take her home.”

We coaxed her out and Jeremy carried her the rest of the block while I debated naming her Mariposa and finally settled on Luna because we’d found her under the full moon.

Once we got her inside, we realized how filthy she was. Brushing turned her into a mixture of tabby and white and she was laid back enough to let me pull burrs off her belly. Even the embedded ones. And she was gorgeous!

luna-under-my-bed

The next morning I got up and started calling. The vet clinic, the humane society, animal control, a local animal rescue. Then we hauled her over to the clinic and… beep… they found a microchip. She turned out to be Tarzan, a 1 1/2 year old male (I also stink at sexing cats). Tarzan had been rehomed nearby because of his extreme laid back behaviour. Behaviour which allowed their puppy to shake him by the neck. He’d jumped off his new owner’s 6th floor balcony and, of course, couldn’t get back home after that. His original owners live an hour away and came that day to pick him up… despite us being in the middle of a power failure that engulfed half our city. We’re talking traffic jams for miles. But he’s safe now and back home. Smudge looked for him for a day.

And I have another frog. This one is an albino African clawed frog. He’s quiet during the day but I can watch him swimming while I drift off to sleep at night. He had a sibling who escaped this morning and was found by the kittens. He was alive when I found him but died about an hour later from his injuries. My remaining frog is named Lucky. He’s not nearly as adventurous but will hopefully outlive all my other frogs. Plus I have a filter now, which will help Lucky’s breathing and my sleep.

I still stink at endings so here’s Lucky (in the back) and Not So Lucky making jazz hands in the front.

albino-clawed-frogs

Depression…

It clings like tar, oozing over my toes, coating my feet. Each step is ponderous… laborious. My legs burn with exhaustion… my lungs strain. And the tar climbs. Trapping my shins, encasing my fingers. It weighs down my mind.

Panic revs but it’s a futile fear, akin to a hamster running frantically in a wheel. My thoughts might be going as fast as they can but they’re not getting anywhere. My heart trembles… and it hurts.

What did I do today?

I made my bed and brushed my teeth. I nearly cried but I got my clothes on. I toasted an english muffin for breakfast and had a vegan “cheese” sandwich for lunch. I took one of our cats to the vet two blocks away. I almost, but didn’t, cry again over the thought of making dinner. A seven hour long power failure solved that one. I made another “cheese” sandwich. Then I sat. I didn’t have the energy for anything else.

Lazy, my mind tells me. Lazy, my body agrees.

I curl up into a ball with BunBun and agree with them both.

bunny

Remembrance Day revisited…

CN: discussion of violence and prejudice

I stand on my balcony and can see Lake Ontario. On a clear day we stand on the shore and look across the lake at Buffalo. This has never scared me until now.

I went online yesterday and my news feed was flooded with stories of hatred and violence. A friend of mine has an openly gay ten year old who was terrified to go to school… to the point of stress vomiting. He’s been taunted since kindergarten, this fear is something new.

Another friend of mine had a pick up truck, with a poorly shored confederate flag, nearly hit him at high noon. The driver stopped and jumped out screaming “fucking faggot” before heading into the nearby post office. My friend wasn’t sure who he was more scared for, himself or the solitary black woman operating the office. Luckily both were fine.

After my friend posted, one of his friends chimed in to say she’d just had passengers tell her to flash them in order to get a tip. Pro tip, that’s not how taxis work. But maybe that’s how they work in Trump’s new United States… if the driver is female and the passengers are male.

Yet more friends are panicking about getting IUDs inserted before January 20th or getting married before that time. One’s researching nursery schools in Canada while others half joke about marrying a Canadian citizen.

I’d expected the hatred and violence to start slow and increase. Instead it poured out as if a flood gate was opened, starting with a bottle bashed over a gay man’s head because this is Trump’s America now. It moved on to school children drawing and shouting “build a wall” while their classmates cried. To high school students scribbling racial slurs and graffiti about white pride. To grown men harassing and groping women because it’s their right under Trump.

And, through it all, Trump stayed silent.

Well, not exactly silent. He complained about people being mean to him on Twitter and placed Ben Carson, the man who thinks the pyramids were grain silos, into the position of the head of the Department of Education. The masses will now become even more uneducated but they’ll know the Bible right down to every last hate filled corner. I don’t think the more positive and altruistic verses will have a place in Trump’s world.

I’m terrified for my friends. For my black and brown friends and my gay and pan friends, for my friends who “don’t pass” and my friends who do, for my friends who hold their LGBTQ children close and hope for the next four years. And I’m scared for those of us living in the US’s shadow, because if Trump starts lobbing bombs, just because they’re there, that border is not going to hold back retaliatory radiation.

On this cold and quiet Remembrance Day, I feel like history is repeating itself.

poppies-and-full-moon

Poppies under the full moon

Be gentle with yourself…

Dear American friends,

Please be gentle with yourself today. You, as always, have the same inherent worth and dignity of every human being. You are valued, needed, and wanted no matter how you feel right now.

It might seem like it but the whole world is not against you. Yes, Trump got in but almost the same amount of people voted against him as for him. You are not alone.

Now is the time for grass roots organizations. Talk to friends on Facebook and form groups. Join your local PFLAG Meet with friends and queer up the PTA. If you have a gender creative child, make or join a gender creative playgroup (sign up and fill out the application in the link). Four years is a long time but it is not forever. You will make it through. You are stronger than you think.

If you are suicidal, please, please get help. No matter what, there is someone who cares. I care. I have a whole list of resources on my resource page that encompass the world. There’s even a texting option if you can’t bring yourself to talk.

Practise some self care. Have a shower, wash some dishes, have something to eat (even if it’s just cake). Brush your teeth, go for a walk around the block, colour a picture. Do something that makes your heart happy.

I am so sorry you’re having to go through this. Sadly, the idiots who voted for Trump will not be the ones dealing with the results (for the most part). But, hopefully, they’ll open their eyes over the next four years and vote better next time. Good luck, best wishes, and stay safe. You matter.

Love, Michelle
secretmom@email.com

Our bedtime discussion…

I’m not sure what most people discuss at bedtime but I’m reasonably sure it’s not what we talk about.

Jeremy stomped into my bedroom yesterday evening. “I’m mad at some celebrities,” they announced as they flopped onto my bed.

I put my book down beside me and waited. As far as I knew, celebrities hadn’t done anything to us.

“There are trans celebrities who won’t tell people if they’ve had surgery on their genitals or not,” Jeremy continued. “People are going to continue to be scared of surgery unless they know of people who had it done and say it’s easy and safe.”

I’ve talked to people and watched videos before; easy wasn’t a word that came to my mind when affirmation surgery was mentioned. But I could see their point.

“Besides, celebrities need to let normal people know it’s okay for them to have surgery. That way they won’t worry about having it themselves and once it becomes normal, it’ll be easier to get.”

I ignored the whole ‘celebrities are weird’ insinuation. “Except trans people already get too many pointed questions about their genitals,” I pointed out. “Everyone, even celebrities, need to be seen as more than just their private parts. Cis people aren’t asked about their privates.”

“Except everyone already knows that someone like you has a vagina and they know I have a penis. What people need is information and celebrities can give that,” they said as they Blackie’s tummy. She started purring.

“I think most people get their information from their peers,” I pointed out. “There’s all sorts of groups out there.” And Jeremy wasn’t in any of them. Were their questions just general thought or was this of specific interest to them?

“If you ever need any information you can always come to me,” I added.

Jeremy stopped petting the cat. “I have that information,” they blurted indignantly. “You signed me up for sex ed classes through our church.”

The Unitarian Universalist church has a very liberal and comprehensive program. It does not, however, delve into gender affirmation surgery. I pointed that out and Jeremy snorted.

“You’ve explained that to me too. The penis gets cut in half and turned inside out to make a vagina.” They demonstrated with their hands.

It was a little more detailed than that but they had the gist.

“Has your thoughts about your gender changed at all?” I asked hesitantly.

They shook their head. “I still think gender isn’t real, well society’s version of gender. I still believe in science’s version. People start out with basic bodies of male or female.”

“Well that’s not really science,” I pointed out. “That’s society’s version. Science is a lot more complex-”

“But people are born with either a penis or vagina,” they interrupted.

“Not exactly,” I replied. “People are born anywhere from female to male or in between. Doctors look between a baby’s legs and if what’s there is under an inch, it’s a girl with a clitoris. If it’s over three inches it’s a boy with a penis. And if it’s in between then the baby is intersex and the doctors try to guess what the baby is. They either decide it’s a really small penis or a large clitoris and, if it’s a clitoris, they’ll cut it down to size.”

Three inches sounded big for a newborn. Maybe it was two inches? How would I google something like that?

Jeremy winced. “That’s not fair. They need to let the baby decide when they’re older.”

“I agree and they’re starting to do that now.”

“But what about the chromosomes?” Jeremy asked. “Those say if they’re male or female.”

“Usually,” I replied. “But there’s more than just XX or XY. There’s single X and XXX and XYY.” Or wait, that last one might just be an airport.

“I think people need to stop giving out genders to babies,” they said emphatically. “People can decide when they’re twenty years old what their gender is.”

“Most people know their gender by the time they’re two years old,” I said as tactfully as I could, fully aware that Jeremy’s still questioning at nineteen.

They nodded, “People need to be allowed to transition as needed and they can change their mind if they want to.”

Music started playing from the other room. “Oh, my show’s back on,” they announced. “Talk to you later.” And they left, abandoning Blackie and I.

I wonder what today’s topic is going to be.

colin

Jeremy on a recent walk