Straight pride…

I can’t remember how old I was, maybe six or seven. I was standing in the living room beside my Mom when a boy only a little older than me walked past on the road. It was obvious he was crying.

“Why’s he crying Mommy?” I asked.

“He’s going to karate and he doesn’t want to go,” she replied.

“But why does he have to go if he doesn’t like it?”

My Mom thought for a few minutes, likely tailoring the story into something more suitable for my age. “His father thinks he’s too… sensitive… too girly and he’s trying to toughen him up.”

I thought of how sad he’d looked. “Can’t someone stop his Dad?”

“It’s not illegal to send your child to karate, even if he doesn’t like it. It’s not even against the law to make him walk there.”

I could tell by my Mom’s voice she didn’t like it. It was also obvious that there was nothing she or anyone else could do. It was also obvious that some adults did not like their children for who they were. Fit in or get hammered in.

The years passed and I was in high school. I was in a crowded hall when the group next to me caught my attention. Maybe because they were loud. Maybe because there was a teacher in the group. It was Monday and they were talking about what they’d done that weekend.

“I went downtown,” one said with a shit eating grin. A second and the teacher had also gone.

I loved going downtown too. I’d go down Queen Street to Bakka, a sci-fi/fantasy bookstore and I’d sometimes eat at The Old Spaghetti Factory. That wasn’t why they went though.

“There’s so many fags there, I didn’t have enough rocks!”

“I hit one and made him bleed!” The rest, including the teacher, made noises of approval, while I slid through the crowd and hurried away, feeling sick.

Time went on. I joined a choir and looked forward to our weekly rehearsals. One year we performed the song “Putting on the Ritz” and had a tap dancer perform in the middle. I couldn’t keep my eyes off him and couldn’t stop blushing either. He was really cute and a really good dancer. I mentioned the latter to the person beside me who looked at me with surprise.

“She’s a girl,” the choir member informed me. I looked closer and, sure enough, she was. But the interest didn’t go away. And, unlike the feeling of curiosity I felt when I was romantically attracted to a boy, this time all I felt was fear.

I was bullied at school and already knew how kids treat those they feel are different. And, of course, I couldn’t forget the guys blithely talking about throwing rocks at strangers for fun.

By the time I finished high school I was so far into the closet I’m surprised I didn’t come back out riding a lion. I married a man and was pregnant before our first anniversary. I’d worn my hair almost down to my waist for years but was finding it harder to keep it brushed and decent so I’d got a short cut in my 8th month. We went out for a walk one evening when a car drove by. The passenger yelled, “Fags!!!” out the open window. Anything else he said blurred into nonsense syllables while they sped away. I was terrified. Would they come back? Would they care that I was pregnant if they did. My ex wasn’t worried at all. I, however, knew how they treated those who were different.

It was last December and on our first date when I slid my hand into my girlfriend’s hand. We walked down a quiet path and I quietly breathed a sigh of relief when no one said anything. I knew that wasn’t the case all the time. Times have changed but by how much? Apparently enough to have a straight pride parade.

The parade is scheduled for this August in Boston and, to no one’s surprise, has links with the far-right and includes having Milo Yawnopoulos as the Grand Marshal. I’ve read a mixture of opinions regarding it but all I have is rage.

Pride started out as a protest against police brutality. It started with a brick thrown by a black trans sex worker, causing a riot that lasted for several days. The following year they started a parade and it’s continued ever since, spreading across the world. It was a parade of rage. Rage against the police officers who would pull them onto the street naked to shame them. Rage against the public who didn’t care. Rage against people who attacked them and mocked them… who refused to hire them or rent apartments to them. It wasn’t a party.

Now the Pride Parade is more of a party, a celebration of how far we’ve come. A celebration that we’re here, we’re queer, and we’re not going away.

But now there’s a straight backlash. They want to be in the LGBTQIA2S acronym, you know, because it isn’t quite long enough yet. They want their parade too. It’s not fair.

Do you know what’s not fair? What’s not fair is that child crying his way to karate, knowing his father only wanted him if he was someone else. Someone stronger… someone more straight. That child’s suicide attempt risk is so much higher than a straight child.

What’s not fair is all the people who had rocks thrown at them all because they dared to hold hands in a gay enclave. Or had slurs screamed at them.

What’s not fair is the eleven POC trans women who have been killed this year alone.

Or how about gay conversion therapy for youths, a treatment that has huge suicide rates and can cause PTSD.

Straight people want the party without the pain. They’ve never worried about holding hands or being attacked. They don’t have to worry about being misgendered and mocked by hospital staff after being assaulted. The people demanding their straight parade are like a spoiled child seeing a student get an award and demanding to know where their award is too, even though they didn’t put in any of the work.

No one’s stopping them for attending a pride parade, although I have a hunch they refuse out of a fear of having a pass made to them. They can wave rainbow flags and laugh and cheer with everyone else. Allies are more than welcome.

But they’re going to have their parade and a bunch of my friends are figuring it’s going to be the most boring parade ever, unless the far-right ignites a riot. And I’m just glad I’m nowhere near it.

 

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Losing myself…

We were all lazing around the resort pool on a hot tropical afternoon. I was a bit bored and remembered that someone I know, who was on the trip, used to brag about her “gaydar”. So I went up and asked her to guess me. I wasn’t that interested in the label, I just wanted to see if she actually read my posts.

“Kath,” she replied, “you’re not going to like this but I see you as being lost, lonely, and desperately looking for labels.”

I was simultaneously shocked and angry. Shocked that she could think such a thing and angry that she paid that little attention to my life. I’ve been identifying as an asexual for around four years now and panromantic for almost as long. I never mention it anymore because the label gets too long but I’m still demiromantic too. We have to be friends for me to be interested in a relationship. The last four people have been friends. I’ve only ever mentioned two of them though.

A little while ago someone who’s very close to me told me several things, all having to do with “the old me”.

“These days you put yourself in so many tiny boxes. The old you wouldn’t do that.” and so on. I’m assuming the boxes are sexual orientations.

Most of the conversation washed past with the “the old you” comments stinging like a wasp’s bite. I know I’m not the same as the old me. I have memories, both my own and on Facebook. I know I could do a lot more before my breakdown. I didn’t need daily naps and didn’t go to bed at 8pm. I didn’t struggle with making simple meals. I used to meal prep on Sunday, something I think I posted recently, and had no problem doing so even though it took most of the day.

Being told I’m not the same as the old me makes me feel like the new me is an inferior copy, one that can never succeed.

It’s noon on Monday and I’m still in my pjs. I’ll get dressed soon but will likely pass lunch because there’s nothing I can think of that I want to eat. It’s okay because I’m not hungry anyway.

I try my hardest to be a good and decent person. I hold doors open for people, smile and hold a cheery (albeit brief) conversation in the elevator. I always make a point to smile and say “hi” to the homeless people downtown and give any food I have, which is usually my own lunch. I support people on Facebook, helping talking them down from suicide sometimes, giving relationship advice (mostly how to tell if it’s abusive). I’m not qualified for either but somehow I’ve fumbled through and helped. And all of that feels inadequate because I’m not working 40 hours a week anymore then coming home to cook from scratch. I’ve always tried my hardest, it’s just that my apparently my hardest isn’t good enough anymore. And I don’t know what to do about it. I can’t go back to my old me. She’s gone now and I have no way of bringing her back.

It’s now 1pm. I’m up and dressed and even fielded a phone call from a Facebook friend of mine. I’ve even made my bed. So now’s the time to wash the handful of dishes in the kitchen and take a nap. I’m going downtown this evening to support having a rainbow crosswalk (or two). I don’t want to leave this post on a down note so here’s a song I sang while my friends and I sang karaoke. My apologies for the couple of flat notes in the beginning and I don’t have a clue where that half a line went. But it does get better, hopefully just like me.

 

Happy birthday!

It was a month before Colin’s birthday and he was turning 11 years old. I was trying to decide how to celebrate when Colin announced he’d like to go to Build a Bear for his party.

“That’s a pretty big party,” I cautioned him.

“But it’s a really big birthday,” he exclaimed.

I was pretty sure the 13th birthday was the important one and told him so.

“No! It’s the 11th birthday! The two numbers are the same and that won’t happen again!”

“It’ll happen when you’re 22 years old,” I commented and got a deep sigh.

“Mom, that’s ages away!”

I got the party organized and Colin ended up with 14 guests. They had a ball making their bears and, unlike that lady making the internet rounds for collecting every guests Build a Bear for her daughter, the guests all went home with their creations..

Then there was Colin’s 22nd birthday. The day went like usual. I got laundry washed and Colin played on his computer and with his computers. Then I went to take the cakes out of their pans and they crumbled into a million little pieces. I tried to spread frosting as best I could but it really was nothing more than a pile of cake bits topped with frosting.

I lucked out. I promised Colin I’d transfer money onto his prepaid credit card and I did so on the 8th. They stopped accepted deposits on the 9th and the cards are all closing on June 30th. So, out of sheer luck, Colin ended up with his birthday money after all then went onto Steam to do some downloading.

We walked over to Pizza Pizza to order their two pizza special before chatting on the way home.

I was about to put one of those spinning flower candles on the “cake” when Colin stopped me.

“I want to save that for a birthday that feels real. This one doesn’t. I didn’t even get a phone call from anyone.”

It turned out that my sister worked then had an over dinner meeting so didn’t have time and my parents are on a mini vacation and left their phones at the hotel all day. But Colin got his birthday phone call at bedtime and was so happy.

It’s hard to see your kid unhappy, no matter what age they are. Luckily this was a short lived disappointment because he was fine yesterday. And next year I’ll work at making him a better day.

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Colin having a birthday lunch with me and his grandparents at our favourite restaurant iThai

Monday musings…

me-feeling-sunnyYesterday was amazing. The temperature went up to 25C and I was in shorts and a tshirt. Plus Value Village had a 50% off sale where I got five new tshirts that I love and a pair of lacy shorts.

The only down part to the day was I just had 3000 steps for the whole day, not nearly close enough for my 10 thousand steps goal. So I put on my sandals and went for a walk in the woods that evening.

I know I make it sound so easy but it’s not. I struggle the whole time I’m going to the conservation area and the whole time back. Even in the woods I struggle a fair bit of the time, although it’s easier there. I used to wonder when this anxiety would fade away. I’ve finally realized the answer is never. I did, however, enjoy the walk. Except for the mosquitos. I didn’t have mosquito repellent at home so I used Vicks Vaporub since half the internet insisted it worked amazing as a repellent. I had some reservations about it but the mosquitos sure didn’t. I’m pretty sure a sign went up saying “fresh meat” and then they descended en masse. I was so itchy last night, trying to scratch everywhere at once.

Meanwhile, by the time I’d finished my walk I had over 16 thousand steps, which is a great amount! I my-steps-on-the-9th-2went to bed very happy with my accomplishment. Then, of course, I wanted to weigh myself this morning. I think it’s a mixture of curiosity and anxiety that fuel my urge to weigh every day. I managed not to this time and I’ll keep holding off on weighing myself until July 7th.

Today is not so amazing. It’s calling for rain all day long and is 10 degrees colder. I’m currently hiding out in my room with my little electric fireplace puffing out warm air. I do have to get cat litter so that will be some outside time. Otherwise I’m going to hit the treadmill this evening. Not as nice as a walk outside but considering a walk outside would be miserable today, it’s a decent alternative.

Oh my goodness, adorableness alert. Lara and Blackie were curled up with their heads touching and they looked like they were making a heart. Of course I carefully turned my phone on and gently swiveled my chair around before quietly standing up, which is when both cats looked up at me curiously. So no picture but it was sweet.

I’ve got so much ahead of me, short term is getting ready for Colin’s birthday this Wednesday. I can’t believe he’s going to be 22 years old. And my packing. I’ve got two boxes done now, which is good for a movie in October. I had no idea how much stuff was in the corner of my room until I started packing it up. There’s still so much left. I’d been under the impression that I had one box of kitchen supplies and a box of decor. Boy was I wrong! It’ll all look amazing in my new place though.

It’s almost lunch time. I better get out to No Frills and buy the kitty litter (and hopefully some fresh berries) then start cleaning up the living room so it’s ready for Colin’s birthday on Wednesday. I hope you’re all having an amazing Monday!

glitter monday

 

Bobbing in the weight loss pool…

I went to pull on a short sleeved shirt today, one I’d worn in the Dominican Republic this March, and it didn’t fit. Like not even a tiny bit. The good news is I’ve only put on five pounds since then. The bad news is the effort at taking the weight off. Dieting while taking an antidepressant is akin to diving while wearing water wings. Once the pressure eases off, you’re bobbing to your original weight again. And I’m currently on three.

I have another issue, one I really don’t know how to solve. I regularly have days where I just don’t care about me or my weight. Feeling a bit peckish? How about a sleeve of Oreos? Really liked that ice cream bar? Have two. You know you want them. Deep down inside I know this is a really bad idea but the rest of me just. doesn’t. care. Right now I’ve limited the number of treats I have in the apartment to just one, salted caramel balls. The only problem is I can see the grocery store from my window, it’s no problem at all to nip over and buy something yummy and high calorie. How do I convince myself to eat healthy when I don’t care at all?

Meanwhile I’m still slogging along trying to get my 10 thousand steps in each day. I get it on most days, today I’m at 13,424 steps. I need to start using the treadmill regularly as well. I find my stride lengthens after using it regularly and I walk faster too.

The last thing I’m going to do is only go on the scale once a month. My weight bobs up and down (and up and down) which doesn’t help my mood. Hopefully ignoring the scale until the first Sunday of the month will help my “I just don’t care” days. Something’s got to.

Some of these things will resolve themselves eventually. It appears to be about a 20 minute walk from my new place to the nearest grocery store, making a spontaneous trip for ice cream not so appealing. Plus I’m signing up for a gym membership and hopefully will learn what some of the other machines are for and how to work them. And I’ll find cooking easier too. Colin rearranged the kitchen yesterday and I no longer have a counter (this isn’t unusual). It’s so much easier to chop veggies and knead dough with counter space. But for now, I’ll simply do my best and that will have to be good enough.

tomorrow is a new day

Be you…

From the time we’re born, we’re taught how to be normal. We’re taught when to sleep and eat, what colours are appropriate for us to like, what shows to watch. Through peer pressure we’re taught what attitudes to have and who to befriend. We’re taught what to believe in, what is proper and what to ridicule.

We grow up and conformity continues. What conversations are appropriate to have with friends and family. What clothes we should wear. What to think, how to decorate, what activities we should enroll our children in.

If we succeed we’ll have a life that’s fairly similar to all our neighbours. But is that really succeeding?

The world doesn’t need a cookie cutter copy of your neighbour. The world needs you! Dare to be different. Dare to choose the clothes you like, even if they’re not the same as everyone else. Rescue worms and caterpillars from the sidewalk. Have the pet you want, whether it’s a mischief of rats, a fuzzy tarantula, or a snake. Take your cat for a walk. Just be you.

me-with-glitter-1I tried so hard to fit in, especially for my kids, although I never really managed. And I kept on trying until I was crushed under the weight of depression. As I slowly put my pieces back together, I asked myself what was wrong with wearing sparkles and glitter. What was wrong with sequins? I found hair and body glitter at Marshalls and just had to have it. I nearly put it back because it wasn’t normal. Then I thought to myself “why do I have to be normal?” and bought it anyway. I found floral garlands to wear at Icing and, once again, nearly didn’t buy them. But I did and love them. And I’m sure you’ll find your little pieces of joy too.

Hold your head up high and take pride in who you are and who you’re becoming. Take the time to enjoy the things you like, even if it makes you different than everyone else. You came into this world as an individual, don’t leave it as a carbon copy.

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