What does it matter?

“It’s just a difference of opinion,” she said. “People are allowed to have opinions. It doesn’t make any difference.”

Except it does. Every online voice is a person; a cashier, a doctor, a lawyer, a mechanic, a landlord. They don’t solely exist in the void of online. And when they have a negative opinion on trans people or the LGBTQ community in general, it makes a difference in real life.

The woman ranting that trans people are mentally ill is the doctor who says she “isn’t prejudiced but…” before denying services. The man who claims gay people are perverts is the lawyer who won’t take that adoption case because children need a mother and a father. The person who talks about “trans freaks” is the manager who looks at a trans person’s face then their ID before throwing the resume in the garbage. The couple, complete with conjoined Facebook names, who lament the lack of a straight pride parade are the landlords who suddenly doesn’t have an apartment to rent… at least not to them. The anonymous account spouting hatred is the politician forming laws regarding bathrooms, adoption, and outright approval of prejudice. The lady sharing awful trans “jokes” is the children’s aid worker harassing this family.

We need to stop pretending it’s just an opinion when that opinion has body counts. I’ve seen people say “it’s just an opinion but I think trans people should be gassed to death”. There’s no ‘just’ in that sentence, with any meaning of the word. Opinions are “I like chocolate ice cream better than vanilla” not “I think my neighbour should be exiled to a rocky island to die”. That’s hate speech, not an opinion.

People talk about free speech as if it’s sacrosanct, meanwhile they have no idea what it means. In both Canada and the United States it was created to allow you to freely criticise the government without being arrested. It was not written into law so you could talk about killing your neighbour over their gender or who they love.

We need to stand up and against the people who spout hatred. Call them out. Point out the hatred in their words. Maybe they’ll learn something but, at the very least, maybe they’ll simply shut up. And, more importantly, the people on the fence will get information they need to form a real opinion, one with facts.

And we need to keep doing this until hate laws stop being presented, all families are considered equal, and it’s not considered shameful to share age appropriate  information about the LGBTQ community to children. Until it’s recognised there are LGBTQ children.

We need to keep fighting until there’s no longer a body count.

Advertisements

Bits and pieces of our lives…

Today is a nasty day. The sky’s grey and rain seems to be drooling from the sky in an annoying drizzle. We were going to PFLAG tonight but I’m anxious and Emma doesn’t want to go back out into the rain so we’re staying home. Just us and the internet and Emma’s super spicy soup.

It’s a great day for Kait* however. She’s booked the weekend off work and is at Anime North with her boyfriend, a tradition for them. It’s Emma** who’s into anime but, while Kait doesn’t know who the characters are, she loves the costumes regardless. She looks forward to this trip every year.

It was a great day for Emma too. She finally got to meet her new family doctor for the first time. He’s going to talk to her more at her next appointment in July but told her he’s planning on starting her on testosterone blockers before estrogen. And he made it seem like it would be soon.

I didn’t go to the appointment. Emma told me she wanted to go on her own to show the doctor this is her decision and no one else’s, which I thought was very mature of her. She has social anxiety and it wasn’t that long ago that she’d have me do all the talking for her. I’m so glad she’s able to speak for herself. She’s always had strong opinions, now she can use her own voice to share them.

We’ve both heard horror stories over the past few months. Emma was going to need intensive counselling first. She’d need to get yet another doctor. It was going to take years and years for the hormones to start, two and a half at the very least. She could very well get denied… lots of people are. None of the people who told us these stories were trans and all admitted they had no concrete information but that didn’t stop them from sharing. We’re both so glad to hear from Emma’s new doctor that this isn’t the case.

As for me, I spent the day writing and washing dishes so my day’s been quiet and, now that I know I’m not going to hang out in a crowd, my anxiety’s dropped dramatically. My busier day was on Tuesday when I went out to a nature preserve with a friend. All this rain had an effect on the trails but we still got to see chipmunks, a blue jay, and redwing blackbirds. We’re going back next week too, or maybe to somewhere higher and drier.

DSC04247

Now we just need to wait until after our camping trip in July for Emma’s next appointment.

*Kait is Emma’s real name
**Emma is Julie/Jeremy’s real name

Thank you Mom…

Thank you for teaching me not to eat funny, melted looking ice cream
Thank you for my gold Sea Wee mermaid and my Mandy doll
Thank you for building me a cool “college student” bookcase out of cinder blocks
Thank you for teaching me about centrifugal force, in the basement, with a bucket of water and a rope.
Thank you for teaching me the times tables, especially nine. I understand nine thanks to your tips. Seven still eludes me.
Thank you for bedtime stories. Even if you had to read The Pokey Little Puppy way too many times.
Thank you for reading The Secret Garden, complete with accents.
Thank you for understanding about the worms… and the spiders… especially the spiders.
Thank you for tree climbing, and fence climbing, and goal post climbing. And for understanding my need to climb.
Thank you for taking us camping and letting us run wild in the woods. Thank you for marshmallow roasting and teaching us not to fling the burning ones with gay abandon (and mild terror).
Thank you for hours of campfire songs.
Thank you for showing us the stars at night and pointing out the big and little dipper and Orion’s belt. I still have no clue who Orion was but I know his belt when I see it.
Thanks for showing me how to hold a baby, raise a child, and sew a button.
Thanks for teaching me that sometimes things will go wrong and you just do what you can to fix it as best you can.
Thanks for teaching me the earth revolves around the sun and all the planets, including Pluto.
Thank you for trips to look for tadpoles and walks to look for fossils. I may not know any others but I’ll always recognize a trilobite.
Thank you for summer bike rides and winter toboggan runs.
Thank you for trips across Canada and many repeats of our favourite songs.
Thank you for all the repetitions and variations of “car games”
Thanks for huge batches of chocolate chip cookies, perfect both warm from the oven and frozen
Thank you for home made Barbie outfits
Thank you for all the little playdough figures that magically appeared at night and for the shells that magically appeared in our garden
Thank you for home made spaghetti sauce, which took all day to simmer and taunted us at lunch.
Thank you for not strangling Dad when he brought home a kitten while we all had the chicken pox
Thanks for teaching me how to swim and dive
Thanks for giving me a camera and a microscope so I could explore my world
Thank you for being there when I need an ear and when I need advice
Thank you for being you. I love you Mom

13177225_10156915761590434_592454299676472021_n

Mother’s Day 2016

Introducing us…

Julie was very concerned about privacy when I started this blog so I promised we would use pseudonyms and hide our faces. But we haven’t hid our faces in over a year and I share this blog under my real name on Facebook in several groups. And the trolls know our real names too. So here is us.

Julie’s real name is Emma, which is the name I chose for her at birth. Her previous pseudonym, Jeremy, was the name I’d picked for her sister if she’d been a boy. Her birth name (now dead name) is Colin.

Emma’s real name is Kait. Obviously, when I picked out our fake names, I had no idea Colin would pick her pseudonym as her real name. It didn’t cause much confusion in real life because, well, we never use pseudonyms in real life. It did, however, cause a bit of confusion online.

My name isn’t Michelle, it’s Kathleen. The name Michelle had no meaning whatsoever. It’s just the name Colin picked at random one night when I asked for a fake name.

The cats all go by their real names and so does the frog LOL.

And my sister Karen is really Jen.

So there you have it. Kathleen, Kait, Emma, and my not very often mentioned sister Jen. Now off to update everything!

Weighty matters…

When I first started gaining weight, I treated it like a fluke. Nothing had changed diet or exercise wise and soon the gain would stop and I’d go back to normal. Except it didn’t stop. One day my pants fit like usual then I couldn’t pull them up at all. The gain was rapid and relentless. By the time it stopped I’d gained 47lbs, all in half a year.

Emma took a video of me singing “Stay” at karaoke last night and I didn’t even recognize myself. Even my face has changed dramatically. I hate the way I look now. I miss my old self.

If I followed societies narrative, I’d be doing anything I could to lose weight. Restrictive diets, extreme exercise. Even medicine fueled weight gain must come off eventually. That’s how success happens, right?

I see the videos and before and after pictures of smiling, happy people… finally proud in their new skin. I also know the failure rate and the struggle and this is when I say “fuck it”.

Our society teaches us to shrink ourselves in so many ways. Physically is just one of them and from now on I’m refusing to shrink.

My Facebook flashback today showed a past me who bragged about only eating one crepe at work and I brought my own diet syrup so I could save 20 extra calories. This was a once only experience where our store owners came in and made crepes and pancakes, complete with whipped cream and strawberries… and I refused an extra crepe so I could lose weight. I didn’t by the way.

We only have one life to live and I refuse to live it in an endless cycle of trying to lose weight so society likes me more. And endless cycle of saying no and praising myself for punishing my body.

I will eat healthy food, exercise to keep myself limber, and treat myself when I need some kindness. And I will accept that I am no longer a size medium, average woman.

Maybe someday I’ll be that size medium woman again but I doubt it. I’m on too many psychiatric medications (including Abilify and Lithium, which are known for weight gain). I have a feeling the only way to lose this weight, other than starvation, is stopping the meds… which are keeping me alive. That’s not an option.

My life was not meant to be scenery. I was always more than a pretty face and now I’ll show it.

One year later…

This winter went on too long then, just when I thought I couldn’t stand another grey day, the trees burst forth in blossoms of lime green. I’d forgotten how soft they looked pressed against the sky. How brilliant the green contrasts against the blue. How the weeping willows look like they’re dancing with veils. How new leaves glisten in the sunshine.

This time last year I was convinced my life was over. There was nothing to live for… no one who cared. I was going to jump off my balcony and land in the dumpster seven floors below. My thoughts at the time was it would save my family money for a burial. Somehow I figured the truck would simply take my body away with the trash. Obviously I wasn’t in my right mind.

I wasn’t going to leave a letter, I didn’t think anyone cared enough to read it, but a former friend of mine convinced me to post a note on Facebook saying how I felt. I didn’t see the point and then he dared me to. If there wasn’t a point then it didn’t matter? Why didn’t I try?

So I did try. I posted and my sister almost immediately replied. So did my Mom and countless others. People did care. I did matter. I’d cried until my eyes swelled shut, I was a mess, and people still cared.

If life were a made for TV movie, everything would be perfect now. I’d be back to work, my relationship would have magically healed itself, and music would softly swell over a picturesque ending. But life doesn’t work that way.

I didn’t jump that day. Thankfully. But my soul… my self… shattered and it hasn’t magically fitted itself back together again. I’m still fragile. I take a handful of pills a day to function.

And yet…

Just like the softened new blossoms are distinct and real against a twilight sky, my thoughts coalesce and form into a whole. I might not be perfect but I’m me. And I’m glad to be here.