Relationships…

She seemed… nice. A bit formal but nice. I had some concerns, mainly over why someone who’d lived in Brussels, London, and New York would want to move to my small city, but otherwise she seemed like a strong possibility for a long term relationship. So why was I upset at the thought of the relationship progressing?

If we did eventually get together would our decorating match? How were we going to sleep together? I’m used to sprawling across my bed at night, surrounded by cats. Was she going to want to snuggle? I still haven’t figured out where to put my bottom arm when I’m the big spoon. Separate beds seemed unromantic and cluttered, not to mention an extra expense, but years of cuddling would be claustrophobic.

Was I worried she might be fake? That was a legitimate concern but not the reason. When a friend of mine discovered her picture on a foreign model’s Instagram page, I felt relief and it finally dawned on me. I’m looking forward to my own apartment. One that’s all mine and no one else’s.

my-stuff

Stuff for my own place

I knew demiromantic fell under the aromantic spectrum but I never stopped to think of how close they were until I realized just how much I want a place of my own. A place where friends can come over to visit and then leave. A place I could have all to myself.

I made a dating profile last month and half-heartedly flipped through the proposed matches a few times but I think I’m just going to let it lie quiet. Going out on a date sounds… okay. But then what? I don’t want to kiss someone who’s essentially a stranger. I don’t even want to hold hands with someone who isn’t a close friend. The whole concept of dating seems odd. Both times I’ve dated, I went out with someone I was friends with first. I’ve never been interested in dating a stranger (which is what someone would be even after chatting a few times online).

So far I’ve figured out I don’t want sex, I’m not interested in dating, I’m not much for kissing, and I want my completely own apartment. A few more identity puzzle pieces fall into place.

Defining sexual orientation…

C: Not a person alive hasn’t felt at some point even if it was brief and fleeting some sort of carnal sexual attraction to another person male or female.

Me: *asexual here* no brief or fleeting carnal sexual attraction.

R: But you have two kids….so….

No! Just plain no! Our pasts do not define our sexual orientation (or gender for that matter). Gay men can have ex-wives, lesbians can share custody with ex-husbands, and asexuals can have children. We are all people, with complicated thoughts and behaviours. Our pasts do not define us.

Sexual orientation is not a simple switch; flick one way for straight, the other for gay, the middle for bi. It’s a broad spectrum with a variety of sexual attractions, intensities, and genders. And it’s not always easy to define.

I know of one lesbian who’s happily married to a man. She (with much confusion) loves him deeply and freely admits he’s the only man she’s ever loved or even been interested in. Meanwhile she’s loved several women and would go back to only dating women if anything happened to their relationship. He’s an anomaly in an otherwise lesbian existence and, as much as she loves him, she feels erased of her identity.

Bisexuals and pansexuals exist and remain existing no matter who they’re with at the time.You can be mostly interested in men and only slightly in women (or vice versa) and still be bi. Plus, despite the name, bisexuals can be interested in more than two genders as well. Which overlaps with pansexuals but, hey, sharing is caring.

You can be asexual and have children. You can be asexual with sexual partners. You can be asexual and enjoy sex. The only definition for asexual is a lack of sexual attraction and, even that gets blurred in the case of grey-aces.

In my case, I had no idea asexuality existed. I figured I was broken and spent years trying to fix myself… right up to and including marriage. I wanted children and sex is one easy way to get them, which I did. I joke I built them from scratch. Now that I know asexuality exists and I’m not broken, I’d rather stick with hugging and cuddling.

We all exist on a tapestry of sexuality and it’s no one’s decision except ours as to what thread we chose to weave with. My thread is iridescent, which doesn’t exactly fit in but it’s certainly not extraneous. I think it makes the tapestry look fabulous.

New Years…

I found myself at Wal-Mart on Boxing Day with my Christmas money and a complete lack of exercise clothes. Gaining fifty pounds in half a year will do that. Thanks Abilify. Finding a top turned out to be the easy part. I also needed pants in size “I ate Christmas dinner and all the baking”. What I found were pencil thin exercise pants (even in XL) and shorts shorter than my underwear. The latter would probably look amazing on someone who’s fit but on me it would look like my crotch was eating them. Which is never a look I’m aiming for. Luckily I found some comfy yoga pants at Penningtons, a Canadian chain for fat people. They have great clothes.

Fifty pounds is a scary amount of weight to gain all at once, especially when it happened so fast. Literally, one week I could wear my favourite jeans and the next I couldn’t pull them past my hips. I was out of breath yesterday on a walk I did with ease this fall. So, naturally, my resolutions this year are health centred.

Our local gym offers a discount for people on disability so I signed up to start in January. They have all the usually equipment but what I’m really happy about is their indoor track. My iridescent rhinestone headphones and I can listen to music and walk without banging my knees around on a treadmill.

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So sparkly!

I told Jeremy that I’m going on an apple diet, which is kind of true. I’ve decided that every time I’m having an absolutely irresistible craving for junk food, I’m going to eat an apple. Plus I’m centering my diet around beans, legumes, and vegetables. Hopefully this will make a difference.

Jeremy and I are on wait lists for our own separate apartments and, while that’s not happening this year, we can downsize while we’re waiting. Not only will it be cleaner but it’ll make the eventual packing that much easier.

Both of us can’t wait until we have places of our own. Me because it’ll be so much cleaner and Jeremy because he won’t have to hear me complain about cleaning up. I’m not sure how he’s going to end up once he’s on his own. He’s either going to be the sort that cleans dust before it falls on his furniture or I’m going to show up one day to hear a muffled “I’m over here” from under a pile of junk. There’ll be no in between.

One big resolution is getting out of my comfort zone. My comfortable New Year’s Eve would be sitting at home with Jeremy. We’d watch a video together and end up in our own rooms on separate computers… in quiet… only getting together for the count down. Instead, I’m going to my parents’ house for dinner and to my sister’s house for a big New Year’s Eve party. It’s going to be loud, crowded and definitely out of my comfort zone.

And, how about you? What are you doing for New Year’s Eve? Do you have any resolutions?

There is no agenda…

Anti-trans people seem convinced there is an agenda to make kids transgender. That a little boy picked up a Barbie just once and his Mom (it’s always the Mom) immediately stuffed him into a dress and decided he was trans. Or that she wanted a little boy so badly she made her girl act like one. These people have never actually talked to the parent of a trans child and especially have never listened to one.

Jeremy picked up a Barbie when he was a toddler. I didn’t think he was trans and I certainly didn’t put him into a dress or pick out a girl’s name. I simply figured he liked Barbies. When he was six, he stole one of his sister’s nighties and wore it for months. It stayed in his dresser for several years after he outgrew it. I still didn’t think he was trans. I figured he just liked the way it swirled. He started playing online games around eight years old and played as a girl every single time. I figured it was a novelty for him. It took one thing to convince me he was trans and that was him saying, “Mom, I feel like I’m a boy on the outside and a girl on the inside. I’m half boy and half girl.”

The fact is, every narrative I know has started with the child (no matter how young). The child repeatedly wants to know when her penis is going to fall off, or if he can crawl back into Mommy’s tummy to get his boy parts, or when God is going to fix them so their insides match their outsides. Almost every narrative has confused and bewildered parents wondering what is going on and why their child is asking these questions. What can they do? How can they help? Is it all right to mourn the child they thought they had?

Parents do not want or choose this for their child. They don’t want the risks of violence and sexual assault. They don’t want the misgendering, the misinformation, the teasing, the legal loopholes, and bathroom headaches. They don’t want to argue with doctors and insurance for reasonable health care. They don’t want the potential of being ostracized from their religious community. They don’t want to lose family support. They plow through anyhow because this is their child but this isn’t what they sought.

Then there’s the fear people have of “what if the child changes their mind?” that’s brought about by misinformation or simply fabricated from a wild imagination. No one is “chopping the dick” off of any child. Children don’t get hormones either. If a child changes their mind, they simply change their clothes, pronouns, and name back. That’s it.

That’s what’s happening with Jeremy right now. He’s always been on the feminine side of the gender spectrum and, over the past year, he’s slowly drifted closer to the male side. His perfume sits unused, he wanted (and got) his hair buzzed short, he’s drifted to darker and plain clothing instead of bright colours and silky material. And none of this would make him cis. What makes him cis is that he came up to me and said, “Mom, I feel mostly male and only a little bit female. I think I’m cis now and I want to be called he and him.”

There isn’t an agenda with raising a trans youth. There are no awards, no medals, no ticker tape parades. It’s just like any other child. There’s Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and, if you’re lucky, someone will wash the dishes and remember to shower without prompting. For all people complain that kids are forced to be trans, I’m living proof that’s not the case.

I don’t have a crystal ball. I have no idea if he’ll stay cis or if he’ll end up gender fluid and, honestly, it doesn’t matter. I’m not raising the Jeremy of the future or the past. I’m raising him now and right now he’s cisgender. We’ll deal with tomorrow when it gets here. Either way he’s fabulous just as he is.

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Jeremy and his new drone from his grandparents

Christmas Eve…

It’s quiet at home. I’ve packed the stocking stuffers, presents, and clothes… and made the filling for tonight’s vegetable pie. The cats have extra food and water and Lucky the frog’s been fed. I’ll feed him again before we go… he’ll eat at any and all times (anyone who’s had an African clawed frog will know what I mean).

Jeremy’s downstairs washing their laundry while Emma’s chatting online and sending me cat videos (which is still pretty quiet).

Christmas is my absolute favourite holiday and this one is shaping up to be amazing; three days filled with family and friends. I hope everyone here is having a wonderful weekend, whether they’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or a holiday that’s already past (or nothing at all). No matter what it is, I hope it’s fabulous. And, remember, if your family is unsupportive, that’s a reflection on them NOT on you. You are still amazing, worthwhile, and deserving of happiness and joy!

merry-christmas

On doxxing and reading comprehension…

Nothing good ever comes from a message at 1am. That’s when I woke up and found a note from a friend warning me that I’d been doxxed. Apparently a small horde of them lives hangs out at a website where they have nothing better to do than spend their days anonymously mocking people.

All they managed to do is discover my real name (Kathleen) and the names of Emma and Jeremy. Oh and our Facebook pages. Emma alternated between furious and laughing at the irony of these people outing us while hiding behind their pseudonyms and cartoon pictures.

“Mom, they don’t have any personal information about themselves at all. It’s all fake names and pictures. When you click on their names, they have nothing.”

If you get doxxed, be prepared for a whole whack of misinformation. They skim through posts and only seem to read about every second or third word (if that). They have a habit of making stuff up whole cloth too. None of them correct each other’s errors either, presumably out of a fear of being seen as supporting the person they’re doxxing. Which is understandable, it’s not like the lot of them have an ounce of empathy combined.

Right now they’re claiming Jeremy functions at about the age of 7 or 8 years old, which would make them severely developmentally delayed. I’d love to know what 7 year old makes their own computers and sets up networks. Jeremy is delayed emotionally, but only by a year or two. Otherwise they’re mainly severely learning disabled. And the trolls are raking Jeremy through the coals as some major abuser.

*looks at Jeremy asleep with two cats*

Yep, they’re terrifying all right.

I think the most hilarious part is the pearl clutching over brightly dyed hair. They literally call it “Danger Hair” as if it’s going to jump up and bite someone. It’s coloured, not radioactive.

The second funniest is the general poor comprehension and their inability to realize this. At one point someone finds my post in which Jeremy talks about a nonbinary character in a cartoon called Gurren Lagann. Someone claimed that’s their favourite show yet had no idea that the flamboyantly gay character Leeron exists. Instead, they gravitated right to Nia, an extremely feminine (and female) character. Almost as if they have a huge bias.

If you have a blog that centres on LGBTQ issues (especially trans issues) it’s important to keep yourself as safe as possible. Use a fake email address for your blog, complete with fake information. If I remember correctly, I’m 73 years old according to my information. Setting up the blog with fake information helps too.

The part I slipped up on is pictures. When I first started out, I made sure to keep every picture under false names because the picture name shows when you open it in a new link. I got lazy after a year or so because “who was going to go through that much effort”. TERFS, that’s who (remember they apparently have loads of free time). So rename your pictures before you upload them.

If you have a Facebook profile, lock it down. That part is so easy. Just go to the privacy settings  and make sure you have your phone number set to friends only and your other information to “friends” or “friends of friends”. The good news is privacy settings confuse the hell out of them. They’re still trying to figure out why I don’t have photos from 2011 onward (other than profile pictures). So far they’ve determined I’ve deleted them all, something that would make my friends laugh out loud. I’m known for being a little snap happy.

You can hide your friends list as well but that’s not in the privacy settings (of course). You need to go to your profile page on the desktop and click on Friends (right below your banner picture). Your friends list will pop up with an edit pencil on the right. Click on the picture to change your friends list settings (mine is set to just me). You can also hide the people, places, and lists you follow from there as well.

I live in Canada, the land where LGBTQ rights are protected and our prime minister marches (under glitter no less) in pride parades. But if you live in Trump Land (or somewhere more restrictive), don’t mention where you live. Or just drop a random city in. It’s not like they’re going to check.

And, if they do dox you, take a deep breath. It’s not the end of the world. In fact, you can think of it as a badge of honour. They only dox the people who are out there making a difference.

Closing a chapter…

It’s easy to say it’s over. The hardest part is finding all the little bits of a relationship and separating them from my life.

One year ago today was one of the happiest days I’ve ever had. It was less than two weeks away from my favourite holiday and I was chatting, once again, with my best friend. It couldn’t get much better, then this happened…

Michelle: (((hugs))) He flat out said, “I like you. Do you want to be my girlfriend?”. I need blatant information like that. Subtlety confuses me.
L: are you asking me to ask you?
Michelle: I’m asking if you’re interested or if I’m just wildly missing something.
L: yes, I am, yes I’m kinda shy, no I don’t want to lose my best friend somehow
Michelle: Aww you’re not losing me (((hugs)))
Michelle: I love you
L: I love you too. Would you do the honour of being my girlfriend?
Michelle: Sure 🙂 Thanks

Suddenly things were a whole lot better. After almost 15 years of being single, I was dating my best friend. Soon we were making plans to get married in Cardiff, followed by a hot air balloon ride overlooking the ocean and pictures at the Doctor Who museum. I even picked out my wedding dress, which needed some alterations and a handful of butterflies but was otherwise perfect for me.

my-dress

We were going to move to Richmond, England together, which I found a tad poignant seeing as my Mom grew up in Richmond, BC. All my life I’ve lived in the same two cities, both side by side. This was my chance for adventure and I’d be doing it with the one I loved beside me. I just needed to hold on.

That was the hard part. I’d been depressed for over a year and it was getting worse instead of better. Plus I was finding it harder to cope at work. But I needed to hold on… I had to. L couldn’t move to Canada and I needed to be sane and employable to move to England. There wasn’t any other way. I just needed to hold on.

And the more I tried to hold on… the more L stepped back in self preservation… and the deeper I tumbled. I didn’t realize I was holding on too tight. I just knew that I couldn’t let go or else I’d fall. And he let go.

I spun into a free fall of suicidal depression that spring, one that ultimately ended up with me in the hospital. The night I got home, I sent L a letter, begging him for our old friendship back, and got this in return.

“Your idea of being friends is hiding from issues instead of dealing with them or letting them go. I don’t need to have a pretend tea party every time something bad happens, I need to deal with it. I have changed, and you can’t accept that so I guess things will be very quiet for a very long time because you don’t accept the type of grown up friendship I can give – the only type of friendship I can give. take care.”

I was blocked shortly after.

I look back at L’s initial nervous fear that he’d lose his friend and it brings tears to my eyes. He did lose me barely half a year later… and it was of his own free will. I don’t think either of us got what we really wanted. How do relationships end up so tangled anyway?

I’ve been slowly letting go. Changing passwords and secret answers so he no longer was entwined in them. Deleting monthiversary notices off my phone. Removing email addresses, phone number, and his snail mail address from various locations. Taking the charm off my keychain… the one I kept there to remember him by. Putting away the postcard he mailed me so I could see his favourite cafe. Removing… deleting… hiding. And now it’s been one year.

The last connecting piece was L’s blog. He started blogging before me and I was one of his first followers (just as he was one of mine). I’d tried to unfollow him before but he wasn’t on my list of email follows. It wasn’t until now that I realized I’d have to log out of my blog in order to remove him. Deleting him reminded me of all the times we spent working on blog posts simultaneously, sharing in the excitement of posting and seeing the stats go up as people read.

And it’s now done. I don’t want to be that person, the one who won’t let go long after a relationship is over. I loved him, and I miss him as a friend, but it just plain didn’t work out.

Someone we both know assured me that if our friendship was meant to be, we’d find each other again and, hopefully, we’ll have kept up with each other. All I can do, in that case, is hope he keeps up because 2016 is almost over and my 2017 is going to be fabulous.