The wrong way to get recognized…

November 22nd: I’ve read more about Lori Alexander and it turns out she’s an asshole who lives to shame childfree women and basically anyone who doesn’t follow her narrow ideas of living. It’s probably best to completely ignore her.

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I’m pretty sure most bloggers want their blog to get noticed, to go viral. Well maybe not the people writing their diary online and, in those cases, I suggest a lovely journal from Marshalls. I know that I’d love to see one of my posts get noticed. I should be more careful about what I wish because sometimes it’s like wishing on a monkey’s paw, you get what you want but in the worst possible way.

There’s a blogger who, like me, has a small blog and a Facebook page. Our content is worlds apart. I write about Colin, LGBTQ issues (mainly trans), vegan recipes, my novels, and mental health issues (mainly my own). I’m also an atheist. Hers is about her interpretation of the Bible, offering suggestions for living a godly life, in full blown posts on her blog and handwritten notes on her Facebook page… with the occasional photo thrown in.

so regrettable

I want that font!

A friend of mine posted against the blog on her page, after getting banned for commenting. I went on as well and, I must admit, I commented too.

“I need to go get another tattoo. Would girls still like me?”

I wondered why I never got banned and then I took another look at the sheer number of posts and their times. I had to scroll up to get out of the 1 minute old messages then the same for two, three, five… there was no way a single person could delete that deluge. Plus many of the posts were people calling friends in to see and comment.

Then I wondered why she didn’t just delete that post… until I scrolled down and realized it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. Her posts were buried under thousands of comments. She’d become viral in the worst possible way. I figured, by then, that she was probably extremely shaken, maybe even crying, and away from the computer. I know I would be. Most of the comments were along the lines of:

No, REAL men preefer strong independent women who dont take.lessons on how to live or who to be from.a FB article. This lady is nuts!

That was an average comment. There were better and there were plenty worse. I did not see a single comment supporting her.

I get that people have the right to their own opinion but if your opinion has already been shared 500 times, do you really need to post too? There’s even an article on Woke Sloth that God helpfully shared (the Facebook persona, not the sky Daddy). Someone, who appears to lead a quiet, sheltered life, has suddenly been shoved into the lime light and it’s all negative.

There are all sorts of people that I don’t care if they get negative press. Actual Nazis, rapists, child molestors, people who make pickle and peanut butter sandwiches, and bigots of any kind. She didn’t fall into any of those categories as far as I could tell. She simply wanted to share her 1950’s views on the Bible. She certainly didn’t deserve what happened to her page.

With any luck, something new will happen in the next few days and she’ll fade, once again, into obscurity. And, hopefully, when the next viral blog shows up, they’ll be remembered as a human and not just something to mock.

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Endings and beginnings…

Kathleen and James

James and I before my choir concert. I had a solo and was so nervous

Years ago, when I was 21, I met a young man named James. I was at work at the time, working my way through college as a part time dishwasher. His mother was the bartender and he came in one evening while I worked. Soon we were dating and were engaged a few months later. By the time we’d known each other for a year, we were living together and planning a wedding.

I was pregnant with Kait on our first anniversary and pregnant with Colin on our third. We broke up on our 6th anniversary, had a brief reconciliation, then separated for good in January 2001.

Those bare bones facts don’t share the struggles and the emotional pain I went through in our marriage. They don’t show James keeping all his student loan money in his separate account instead of placing it into his  joint account because it was easier… leaving me stuck in the position of begging for milk money. They don’t show our frequent arguments over college when it was apparent to me he wasn’t working on school work. Arguments where he insisted he was working hard at school and I was simply over reacting. An argument he kept using until his report card was handed out. He assured me he didn’t get the lowest grades in the class, just the second lowest, as if that made things all right. I was pregnant with Kait then and needed him to work hard and actually try.

I struggled for six years, raising two babies (Kait and Colin are 22 months apart) and keeping the house together. Meanwhile James kept sliding downhill. I’d give him a bill to pay (pre internet banking). He’d walk out the door, ostensibly heading over to the bank less than a block away, then he’d come home saying he’d paid the bill. Which meant everything was fine until the next month when, whoops, our phone bill was double and James had spent all of last month’s “extra money” on computer parts. I made sure that I, for the most part, paid the bills but, with two small children, it wasn’t always feasible.

I didn’t want to break up our marriage but it’s something that takes two people in order to work and I was the only one doing the work. By the time we separated for good (we’ve since divorced) he was doing nothing around the house. The kids barely noticed his absence. The closest either of them got to wondering where he went was when Kait asked where the big pillow in the living room went. What big pillow? Oh right, James used to fall asleep on the floor instead of going to bed or sleeping on the couch. Then the kids would use him as a pillow. I reminded her that pillow was her Dad. She said, “Oh okay” and went back to playing.

He did everything in his power to ensure no child support reached us. He wouldn’t say where he lived. He got friends to buy him a phone under their names so he couldn’t be searched for. His jobs were often under the table and, if not, he only stayed for a few months so that FRO (Family Responsibility Office) couldn’t track him down. They were always a job behind him. All of that over $50.

He showed up when he wanted, sometimes twice a month but more often two or three times a year. Every single visit was fraught with drama. He left the kids alone in the Walmart McDonalds while he went outside to talk on his cellphone, leaving them unsure what to do. He ran them across a local highway at rush hour because he didn’t want to walk half a block to the crosswalk. To this day Colin absolutely will not jaywalk. It doesn’t matter if there’s no cars on the road in either direction, he has to find a cross walk or he has an anxiety attack. They were that close to getting hit.

As the kids got older, his behaviour worsened. He’d share things that would be TMI even for adults, like the time his girlfriend overdosed on sleeping medication. Instead of checking up on her or calling an ambulance, he left her in their bedroom and went out to buy two cups of coffee as an alibi. She lived but it was through no help of his. He called Children’s Aid (Child Protective Services) and told them that 13 year old Kait was beating me up (she wasn’t). He spent a year trying to convince her that he wanted her to live with him then dumped her at the end of the year, calling her “that one” and asking me to back him on banning her from his visits. There was a lot more but this post is threatening to be a novel already. It’s hard to compress 25 years.

He gave up pretty easily on Colin, which wasn’t a surprise because he’s favoured Kait since Colin was born. Which means Kait got the brunt of his erratic behaviour. Once he called her late at night to say he’d bought a bike from someone then it got stolen so he didn’t feel he needed to pay them. They were coming to get their money no matter what so if he didn’t call her by morning, chances are he was dead. Then he turned off his phone and went to bed. Kait called me in a panic and I told her to call the police. The police did a wellness check and, sure enough, he was just sleeping. She was a teenager when he pulled this.

James and Brenda

James, after his baptism into the Mormon church, and his Mom. He celebrated his baptism with a cigarette, a joint, and a drink

Colin and I have had him blocked on Facebook and phone since the fiasco in June. Kait did initially but then we found out their paternal grandmother was dying of cancer and unblocked him so updates could be passed more easily. She died in mid January.

The kids and I had a great Christmas but there was one thing we didn’t know and that was Kait’s pregnancy. She got a positive test on Boxing Day and waited until the end of the first trimester before telling anyone in the family. I went to her 12 week ultrasound and got to see the little heart beating and to her 13 week obstetrician’s appointment. Sadly we couldn’t hear the heart beat with the doppler but she was still pretty early.

I don’t know if it was the loss of his Mom or finding out about the new baby but James pretty much lost his mind. He’s been texting Kait a bunch of crap and he went one step further.ultrasound

There’s a troll website called Kiwi Farms (don’t search them, they’re nasty) where people do nothing but find blogs, mostly trans and trans positive ones, and pick the posts apart badly. I posted about them back in December 2016 when they first found my blog. I know they’re still around because they show up in my statistics once or twice a week but otherwise I ignore them. Kait sent me some screen shots from their site recently that left me shaking my head. They are still convinced that I’m forcing Colin to be trans and shoving him into my clothes, like he doesn’t have clothes of his own. He borrowed a shirt from me for Christmas because he spilt something on his good shirt and suddenly they think he’s wearing all my clothes all the time. Not to mention, I’m 5ft3in and Colin’s 6ft3in. My clothes, other than one loose tank top, don’t fit him.

Colin is as stubborn as a mule and as movable as a boulder. I’m not manipulating him, no one is. He’s not saying he’s a man, he’s made it quite clear he’s female. But, thanks to autism’s black and white thinking, he feels that if he’s going to stay the way he is without hormones, he has to use he/him pronouns and go back to Colin. Which is no big deal for us. I remember 99.9% of the time now to call him Colin and he’s gone back to Colin at the doctor’s office. Maybe he’ll change his mind down the road and maybe he won’t but he’s loved either way and he knows that.

Their Dad has found the site and has started posting there, under the name Xofkathleen, as if being my ex is the only way he defines himself. Weird. His posts are pretty much a word salad mixed with almost incomprehensible spelling mistakes.

post3

If I shrink these they become unreadable. Also 19 pages?!? Do these people have lives???

post5

And, yeah, that’s Kait and I talking up in the corner LOL

His texts to Kait are just as badly written and even nastier. Kait’s comments are teal.

Text 5

Text 7

Yes, he’s bragging about blocking her. Also, I’m pretty sure mefs are meds

Text 24

I’m pretty sure he won Father of the Year right here

Text 25

Eww… like Kait or I needed that mental image. I’d like to believe I came via the stork, thank you very much. And spoiler, Kait blocked her Dad, they did not, in fact talk “tomorrow”.

The simple truth is our lives are getting better. I’m doing a lot better on my medication and branching out into new programs. Colin’s happily working towards his high school graduation. Kait and her boyfriend Josh are looking for a new apartment in April, after they’ve saved up some money. Both of them are working full time. Josh is the assistant manager of a furniture store. His store’s doing a seasonal close in November and then he’s eligible for free training in a trade from EI so he might end up with an even better job come 2019. Blackie’s perked up and happily eating her food. 2018 is an amazing year for us and I’m sure it’ll keep getting better.

Kait, Kathleen, and Emma

It can’t be seen but there’s a baby in this picture 🙂

Perfect people…

Every time I hear about a my life is better than everyone else’s person, I remember Stacey and I smile. She taught me a lot, although it likely wasn’t what she wanted to teach.

Stacey was the perfect person in the parenting forum I belonged to when Jeremy was young. She had the perfect job as an educational assistant, the perfect husband, and the perfect two children. Her house was always perfect (and spotless). Her children never misbehaved. She never disagreed with her husband. As far as I could tell, she was only on the forum to lead us lesser beings to the light by way of her superior knowledge.

Any time someone had a problem, Stacey was there to let her know that she’d faced the same problem but had succeeded because she was smart, educated, worked, and had a perfect husband who loved her dearly and took her out every single Friday night.

It was because of her perfect Friday night dates that she missed the troll. Every week a troll would show up on the forum and wreak havoc. It would mimic the names of regular posters; at one point it pretended to be me, asking if I could feed my kids dog food because I was supposedly too lazy to work full time. Why I’d feed my kids dog food while owning cats was a mystery. Another time it took a regular’s name and proceeded to tease and taunt that person’s friends. Then it discovered how to bypass post titles and write rude messages in the name section. Post after post with only a name section would flood the page in bold, stark profanity. No one could keep up. By the time a post was written, the troll had flooded the whole page with nonsense.

The next day everything would be back to normal, except for people gossiping about the worst of the troll’s messages, and Stacey would ruefully comment she’d missed all the excitement again, it was too bad the troll didn’t pick another night to hang out.

And then Stacey disappeared. It turned out she was the troll all along. There were no Friday night dates; those marvels that Stacey claimed help preserve her perfect marriage. Instead, every single Friday, she’d sit down at the computer and spend four hours bashing the same people she claimed to be friends with for the rest of the week.

No one has ever claimed I’m perfect. My house is currently a mess thanks to Jeremy taking apart a spare computer. My hair looks like I chased a kitten through brush (which I did… the kitten was leashed). I rock and hand flap in public, I’ve been known to sing in the produce department, and I almost never remember names. But I remember Stacey’s lesson. I’d rather be real than perfect.

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Rage…

In some ways my friend is pretty average. She has a house, three kids, a dog and a cat in small town America. Her children go to public school and are actively involved in sports. They camp, climb trees, swim, and love to get messy.

In other way’s she’s not. My friend is pansexual and non-binary, her oldest is gay, and her daughter is trans. Small town America doesn’t like them very much. And it shows. Her daughter has a diagnosis of gender dysphoria by a reputable paediatrician; she was told to follow her daughter’s lead and let her be herself. She’s bought enough clothing, from both sides of the children’s department, to open a clothing store and I’m reasonably sure she’s cleared out Target’s toy department as well. Their pantry is well stocked, the children attend school regularly, they’re clean and unbruised with that confident and slightly cocky attitude children have when they know they have a parent who is going to listen and support them. Meanwhile children’s protective services might as well have a revolving door installed on their front porch.

Children’s protective services removed her children for several months a year ago and allowed her daughter both to be beaten and have hot sauce and vinegar poured on her tongue for daring to say she was a girl. What’s a little pain now if it cures her? This preschool aged child spent months surrounded by so called professionals who berated her for saying she was a girl and insisted she had to go by her boy’s name. And now they’re back. This time claiming that if she really was a girl, she’d say so persistently and wouldn’t be scared to announce it. Once again this child, who’s biggest worry should be remembering if n comes after m, has to worry about her physical safety from the people who vowed to protect her.

My friend gets to comfort her sobbing child who wishes she could cut off her own penis and die. I don’t know what the worker gets out of it. Maybe the self satisfaction of not allowing the liberals to ruin her country.

I go on Facebook and see a veritable flood of articles about bathroom bills in various States. They all contain arguments from people who insist that there is nothing but male and female and that both are readily defined and recognizable. These people know they’re right, after all it’s obvious. There’s only been male and female forever. Won’t anyone think of the children?

Then they proceed to ignore the facts laid before them. All the various combinations of X and Y which make up people’s chromosomes. The prevalence of intersex people. All the various cultures who have and do recognize more than two genders. Studies that map how prenatal hormones shape the brain in regards to gender (most of which I’ve discussed here). They don’t need to read anyone else’s information because it’s their opinion, which they’re allowed to have, and no one can tell them otherwise.

It’s easy to shrug them off as unimportant, nothing more than wilfully ignorant trolls, except they’re not. They’re the caseworkers my friend has to deal with, the parents of her daughter’s classmates, and the coaches in their teams. They’re the people my adult friends hand their resumes to, who look at their ID then their face before filing the resume in the trash. They’re doctors and teachers and politicians. The people who won’t allow my friends to have ID that matches their gender. They’re people who have a gun and hatred and a burning need to show what they’ll do to protect the children.

They’re very eager to protect the children. Just not all the children. Not the little girl who’s being forced to hold hot sauce in her mouth until she recants and promises she’s really a boy… just please make it stop hurting. Not the six year olds with bladder infections from holding it in because they want to use the “wrong bathroom”. Not the children who get told by adults that they should kill themselves for being different. No one will miss you. They only want to protect children who were never in any danger in the first place, from a threat they made up to incite hatred.

My arms aren’t big enough to hug my friend who’s so very tired of reading articles and posts detailing society’s hatred of her… and my friend who’s positive there’s no one in the world who cares… and my friend who feels like no man will ever love her for herself… and my friends who are terrified for their children’s safety (children who are still young enough to be tucked in with a bedtime story and a kiss)… for my friend who’s growing increasingly tempted to cut off their own breasts because surgery is far too expensive in “the land of the free”… for the young artist who receives scores of hate mail every single day because she draws cartoons that depict her life.

And then some one else complains their free speech is being trampled because how dare some damn liberal disagree.

And my friend rocks her sobbing daughter to sleep.