Two different types of people…

There are two different types of people in this world; those who plan for holidays early and those who say “Why are you buying presents so soon?”… right up until they change their mantra to, “OMG I can’t believe the holiday came so quickly! I barely have enough time to shop!”

I’m firmly in the first category.

Christmas presents

A few of the presents I’ve bought already

At this point I have several presents for Colin, a present for Kait, a present for the little sproglet, presents for both my nieces and one of my nephews, my Mom’s gift, and I know what I’m getting for Kait’s boyfriend. Phew! And almost every single person I mention this to is shocked because it’s so early. Why would I buy presents this soon? Like gifts have an expiration date.

Then there’s the people in my group who give me a knowing nod and smile, one that says, “You’re not alone. I have bags in the closet too.” I like talking to these people. They know the thrill of finding the perfect gift at an amazing price then tucking it away for four months.

My absolute favourite stores to shop at are Dollarama and Marshalls. Dollarama gets some amazing stuff, like that word art picture above, which was originally from Hallmark for $19.95. I love wandering the aisles in search of treasures and am thrilled to pieces when I find one. Marshalls is my favourite place for birthday cards and unique gifts. I already have the sproglet’s 2nd birthday card from there and he hasn’t even been born yet. But it was so cute!

So the earth will continue to spin and I’ll continue to buy presents months in advance. And people will continue to criticize because it’s “too soon”. And I will sit in my swing chair in December, sipping a mug of hot chocolate and thinking about all the people struggling their way through the crowds in search of the perfect gifts, and will decide that my way is a pretty good choice.

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Searching for sex ed in Ontario…

When Kait was in her early teens, I agreed to send her to a sex education program run through our Unitarian Universalist congregation. This program was comprehensive, informative, and LGBTQ friendly, something that couldn’t be said about the school’s program at the time. When he got old enough, Colin got sent to the same program for the same reasons.

In 2015, after several years of research and discussion, our then premier, Kathleen Wynne, unveiled a new program. It was comprehensive, informative, and LGBTQ friendly. Young children were taught the names their body parts, including their genitals, while older children learned about consent, sexting, and online bullying. And LGBTQ students were addressed as well.

We have a new premier now, a buffoon named Doug Ford. He’s not only scrapped the new program but has set up a snitch line so parents and students can report any teacher who uses any material from the now scrapped program. The old program, written in 1998, did not include online bullying, which makes sense since we were on dial up. The new program does. So if a teacher addresses online bullying, they could be facing disciplinary actions.

Meanwhile a generation of students need education.

That’s were the Canadian Unitarian Council comes in. They are offering to teach any student in Ontario the OWL program (Our Whole Lives). From their press statement

The Canadian Unitarian Council is deeply concerned that the loss of comprehensive sexuality education in Ontario schools will leave children and youth vulnerable at a time when they most need accurate information and empowerment to make good decisions. Asha Philar, OWL Coordinator for the CUC states, “The Our Whole Lives program gives youth the tools to make healthy and age-appropriate choices and helps LGBTQ youth find self-acceptance and support. Without access to accurate information and learning opportunities, Ontario students are put at risk and we fear that LGBTQ youth will face even more barriers to acceptance.”

The program is not free, the price for a several day program is $250, but it is worthwhile, especially considering the education our children are (not) receiving. If this program sounds like something you’d be interested in, please email owl@cuc.ca. OWL programs are available at many UU congregations from September through May and have age appropriate programs from kindergarten to adulthood.

Hopefully Ford will back down on his decision, especially faced with so much opposition but, until then, the Canadian Unitarian Council is there to fill the gap.

Colin and Kait at Niagara Falls

Colin and Kait. Happy, healthy, and educated

Exhausted to the bone…

I struggle to keep myself busy. Washing the never ending pile of kitchen dishes, feeding the cats, cuddling the cats, going out for a daily walk. I sing karaoke with a friend every Saturday, sometimes at her place… sometimes at a bar. I visit my parents every Sunday plus my groups all start in another few weeks. And I’m depressed through it all.

Depression leaves me bone weary, like someone filled my marrow with cement and left it to harden. Every chore, every task is that much harder. I’ll go to message a friend or call a family member and realize I just don’t have the energy. I still manage to take my walk most days but need a nap afterwards, just so I can function, something that irritates the heck out of Colin. The nap… not me functioning.

medsIt’s frustrating and a bit scary. I’m already taking Effexor, Abilify, and Lithium for depression (and clonazepam for anxiety). How much more can I take? What if this is the best I can get?

Every day I force my mind away from catastrophic thinking. If there’s a worst case scenario my mind has already come up with it and two alternatives. Will the bus crash? Will I get attacked on the trail? Will I fall and badly hurt myself? Will a train fall on me? Yes, that’s one of my concerns.

Every day I give myself reasons to live. It would hurt my parents endlessly. It would scar my children for the rest of their lives. My grandson would never know me. I’d wound my friends. Blackie and Lara would never understand why I didn’t walk through the front door to pet them again. Then there’s the person who would find me and the ambulance attendants. Too many people hurt for a moment of selfishness. Peace at too high a price.

So I stay away from the balcony, take my meds twice a day, go for a long daily walk, eat healthy food, get plenty of rest, and tell my negative thoughts to fuck right off. And I take my half hour nap, desperate for a tiny handful of oblivion.

 

When school isn’t safe…

Update: There is now a GoFundMe for Maddie and her family to move to Houston. Please click here for it!

TW: extreme transphobic comments against a child

Twelve years old, that boundary year, the line between childhood and teen. Still young enough to play on the playground but old enough to start worrying that the slide and swings are a bit uncool. The age where they’re cool in groups but going home to play Minecraft, Barbies, and lego. An age of innocence. And an age where grown adults think nothing of using the slurs of “it”, “half baked maggot”, “thing”, and “the transgender” if you’re not cisgender and/or straight. The adults also refer to a gay teacher as “the queer teacher” and want to get rid of them both, the teacher and twelve year old transgender girl Maddie.

These so called adults have children of their own and not an ounce of empathy between them. They cheerfully choose which children of theirs who will kick “his” ass in the bathroom with the ultimate plan of running her and her father out of town.

 

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Not even half an ounce of empathy

The child in question usually uses the staff washroom, which isn’t a surprise considering the attitude of the locals, but couldn’t find it in the new school and used the girls’ room once. That was enough to get these junior high wannabe adults blathering and egging each other on.

People act like bullying is a childhood issue and forget the kids are learning it from somewhere. This is simply more blatant than usual. How do you think they’d treat a trans adult who dared to move into their town of 492 people?

Sometimes bucolic just means inbred.

If I were her parents, I’d be moving as quickly as I could. The townsfolk would think they won but they’re like the apocryphal chess playing pigeon. Strutting around shitting everywhere, acting like they won. Meanwhile the family would be in better surroundings with better people. They could hardly find worse, no matter what the townspeople think.

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What Seth doesn’t realize is that, overall, 70% are supportive of trans people, wanting the government to do more to help them. Half the population of the States believes they should use the washroom of their gender and 61% in Canada. Seth’s an outlier, a dinosaur in wait of a meteor strike.

I’d love to have a happy ending to this post, everyone loves a happy ending, but the reality is a child is stuck in a town where she is seen as vermin to be destroyed and not a child to be supported. A child who’s in hiding, along with her siblings, for their own protection. All I can suggest is to support the people you know and the people around you. If you see someone who’s trans, simply smile like you would to anyone else. Stand up for her (or him) if she’s being hassled. Be there.

If that’s not enough, you can buy “you can pee next to me” pins. I know there’s a similarly phrased one and I’ve totally lost the phrase. If you know it, feel free to remind me. There are groups like Transgender & Allies Circle of Trust where people offer, in part, support and empathy to newly out trans people. You can attend your local PFLAG meetings and find out what’s happening with the LGBTQ community in your area. They openly accept allies. And you can stand up to people like Seth and Eddie and Kevin. People who think nothing of attacking and harrassing a 12 year old.

The best birthday present ever…

My Mom called and asked if we could have lunch together, one day after my birthday, at the local Indian restaurant we like. I agreed and we all got together for a scrumptious lunch. Then my Mom handed me a fat envelope, which I looked at in surprise. It was too fat to be money and envelopes don’t tend to hold much else. It turned out to be a one night/two day stay at Ste. Anne’s Spa for myself, my Mom, and my two sisters. A girls’ getaway.

My anxiety immediately kicked in. I’d been assured there were vegan options. But what if my breakfast option was oatmeal and bananas, neither of which I liked. I stewed about that one night until I finally fell asleep then woke up and checked their menu online. They don’t even serve oatmeal. I don’t think bananas were on the list either.

I stood outside on the morning we left and stared at the torrential rain. This was so not what I’d hoped for (but was definitely what I worried about).

pouring rain on the way to the spa

Jen might as well have been driving through a waterfall

But luck was with us and the rain stopped shortly after we arrived at the spa. We got dressed in our white robes and bathing suits then puttered around the spa and outside.

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The back view of the spa

It was amazing! We sat in the eucalyptus steam room until we couldn’t stand it anymore then went outside to the hot tub. They actually had three tubs, a hot tub, an absolutely freezing plunge tub, and a bigger cooling tub. Everyone else cooled off in the plunge tub while I enjoyed the cooling tub. And I loved the massage chairs, especially the foot massage!

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My sisters are adjusting the massage settings, not playing on their phones

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Me in the massage chair

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The hot tub in a quiet moment

Soon it was 4pm and we could collect the keys for our cottage. We were staying in the Farmhouse cottage, just a short walk away from the spa. Like everything else, it was absolutely gorgeous.

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The Farmhouse. My room was directly above the front porch

My room had the cutest triangle door…

My room's triangle door

… and sloped ceilings. It had two steps down and I was a bit worried I’d forget about them in the middle of the night but I didn’t. It was so cozy!

my room

I think the hardest part of the meals was the food was all so good, we ended up stuffing ourselves until we were as round and plump as butterball turkeys.

my ratatouille dinner

My vegan ratatouille

I could go on for ages, it was just a wonderful trip, and we did so much in such a short amount of time. I haven’t mentioned our free facials or the spa treatments or the pool or the dalmation spotted great dane.

Great dane in the garden

Look at that wittle face. He’s a 9 year old puppy

We all kept saying, over and over, that there was way more to do than could be fit into two days and that we have to go back. It won’t be soon but maybe sometime in the next couple of years we’ll be walking through the gardens again.

Me, Jen, and Mom

Me, my sister Jen, and my Mom walking to the spa from our cottage

The great pretender…

We were walking into our apartment and Colin, as usual, was chattering away about misogyny and misandry. I was paying more attention to getting our wagon of groceries past the front hall table than what he was saying, mainly because this is a regular topic on his part and I’ve pretty much heard everything. Plus it’s tricky getting the wagon around the table. Then, suddenly, he announced “and it goes double for my gender”.

“Which gender?” I asked since it wasn’t obvious by the conversation. “Male or female?”

“Male!” he yelled. “I’ve already told you this so many times!”

“And you’ve told me you’re female so many times before too,” I replied.

And, with that, he quieted down. “I can’t say that I’m female anymore,” he replied sadly. “It hurts me too much. I need to pretend to be male.”

I have so many emotions about this. Part of it’s sadness because he obviously wants to transition almost as much as he wants kids. Part of it’s anger because he’s been told, repeatedly, by fellow trans people that he can stop hormones for a few months and get his sperm back for conception.

I’m angry at the medical profession for being, once again, so far behind trans people on medical knowledge. They should be researching this information and, as far as I can tell, they aren’t.

I’m angry at Colin because he’s putting a non-existent child ahead of his own wellbeing. Maybe, someday, there’ll be a child but conception’s going to be damn tricky when he’s living in his bedroom 99% of the time. No one’s going to jump out of YouTube and invite him on a date.

And I’m sad because he’s so obviously not happy and not doing well mentally but keeps plugging away on the same route, getting more and more unhappy. But he’s a grown adult now and has to make his own decisions. Hopefully one day soon he’ll decide to put his own wellbeing first. Hopefully someday it’ll be his time to shine.

born to be awesome