Yes, I am a Feminist.

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Today is International Women’s Day and despite the fact that there are many many writers and speakers who have talked about this subject in a better and smarter way than I ever could, I need to get some stuff off of my chest.

1. Feminist is not a bad word.

Just the other day I sat down to try and talk to my mom about feminism and why some women refuse to identify as such. “I don’t understand why a woman wouldn’t want gender equality,” I said. To my surprise, she didn’t agree. Instead, fear and caution clouded her eyes, and she simply said, “some people don’t believe in that stuff.” That stuff? But why? Who in their right mind doesn’t want gender equality? Or is it the word itself?

In my family, I think it’s the word, the label. I was raised by strong women, taught to never take shit from anyone, especially men, but yet I was never taught about feminism. Rather, that word was used to describe angry women who constantly yelled about politics, alienating themselves from all of the “normal” people who just dealt with the world and didn’t complain.

2. I am angry.

I was finally, gradually, introduced to feminism and what it means over the past ten years. Part of my awareness of it was brought about when I came out as lesbian. In the early days I was shocked by the things men would say, do, assume, when they found out I was gay. It was as if the fact that I’m attracted to women was a personal affront to their own life and ego, and I wanted to know why.
So I read and studied and listened to women who were smarter than me, who understood what I was just beginning to really see, and I learned. I’m still learning, honestly, which I think is something that never really stops. But when you start to become aware of the ways in which women are oppressed or taught to feel or perceive themselves, and how damn fragile some men’s egos are, you become more aware of sexism and its presence in your day to day life. You also become aware of the pressure to just let sexist jokes and comments slide at the risk of sounding like an angry feminist that hates men.
But that’s the thing….I AM angry. Not all the time of course, but when something keeps happening to you over and over again and you start to see not only how it has affected you and your life, but those of the women and young girls around you, it’s frustrating.     We aren’t angry, hateful, people. But we’re pissed off that we still have to fight this shit, that we, somehow, still aren’t equal to men in so many ways.

Oh and by the way, your racist, sexist, misogynistic, ignorant, homophobic, ableist, jokes aren’t fucking funny.

3. I will keep fighting.

Many of the people around me have noticed the change in me over the past few years as I’ve become more aware of the world around me and the issues facing women. I think it really came into view for them after the election last year, and their reactions to me have been varied. Some are okay with it, willing to talk about things, but others have told me to keep quiet about those things, that people shouldn’t discuss politics or equal rights with each other. To be honest, it’s made me self conscious about it sometimes. I feel like by just bringing up the subject or adding to a conversation that’s already happening, that I am living up to what their idea of an angry feminist is. I can see that they don’t understand why I just can’t let it go and deal with it. Or why I can’t just be more like them. I don’t miss the cautionary, condescending look they throw my way when one of the subjects is broached.

But I’ve never been that person to just conform. Despite being soft spoken, introverted, and awkward as hell, I’ve also always been full of fire and passion. I don’t want to be like them. I don’t want to be quiet and sit back and hope that one day it all changes, especially when it has an impact on my life every single day. It changes when we start talking about it, when we don’t let those sexist comments or jokes pass us by unchecked. It changes when we fight and make ourselves heard and demand to be treated with the respect we deserve.

So maybe some of the people don’t like me as much anymore, but if they only liked me when I was quiet and uniformed, then maybe I need to evaluate our relationship.

Living with your bro as an adult…

Most of you know that I’m staying with my brother for a couple of months until the big move to ATX. We get along fairly well but I think it’s been at least 11 years since we slept under the same roof. Also in the house is our friend, Tyler, a guy we both know from work. It’s a full house but there’s plenty of room and it’s been a nice change from living alone.

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Here’s a pic of a brother to show you what kind of maniac I’m living with. Yes, that is his real face. *meow*
We all get along but sometimes things get interesting…
Here’s an example of how our days generally go….

8:00am: House is silent. Seriously, everyone here is childless and under the age of 30…therefore, no one is awake this damn early.

An accurate representation of what’s usually happening in my room with my cat, Toast.

11:00am: Tyler is still asleep (what a bum). Cameron’s in the garage smoking and drinking coffee because he thinks it makes him more of an adult. I sneak Cameron’s dog into my room and try to convince her to love me more than him.


12:00pm: Lunchtime..or breakfast depending on how you look at it. For the guys: frozen pizza and/or pizza rolls. For me: a sandwich. Cameron says something vaguely misogynistic in an effort to make me mad. Tyler encourages him. I flip them both off.

1:00pm: Cameron “plays game.” Seriously, that’s what he calls it. Whatever, he plays on his xbox before work and argues with my manager, our mutual friend, on speakerphone about whether or not “bike life” is a stupid thing to tattoo on your body (hint: it is). Tyler’s in his room and I’m on the couch reading a book and making fun of Cameron’s gaming character.


3:00pm: Cameron leaves for work. I saran wrap his toilet seat as revenge for his ongoing sexist attitude. Nothing teaches you to be nicer to people than peeing on yourself…Ghandi said that, I think.


5:00pm: I also eat the rest of Cameron’s Cheez-its for good measure and give his dog an extra treat to reinforce the idea that I am way better than my brother. I think it’s working. Then I leave for work.

1:00am: I get home first, feed the cats, and make some dinner. Cameron gets home next, goes upstairs, uses the bathroom, and finds the saran wrap. There’s a lot of yelling on his part, but I can’t stop laughing. He gets all grumpy and goes upstairs to take a shower. I sit on the couch and watch Dance Moms with my dinner.


1:45am: Cameron comes back downstairs and I force him to watch the rest of Dance Moms while he complains the entire time. I throw a pizza roll at his head. It makes contact. His dog eats it and comes to sit next to me. Operation steal his dog is a success.

A dramatic reenactment of Cameron being hit with a pizza roll

2:00am: Cameron makes his own damn pizza rolls because my projectile weapon make him hungry. We turn on It’s not always Sunny in Philadelphia and hang out until someone gets too tired to stay awake. At some point during the show, Tyler leans over the balcony on the second floor and tosses his rent down to Cameron…in singles…


So, as you can see, things are going pretty well!

 

Just Updates

Well, I’m officially out of my apartment and in my brother’s house with him and his roommate for the next couple of months. I’m not gonna lie, it feels pretty amazing to be out of that place. I’m grateful for that experience and the sense of accomplishment that came along with it, but towards the end it became a symbol of my own loneliness and I started to feel suffocated.

Things aren’t perfect now that I’m away from it of course, but being around other people most of the time helps. Even when no one is at the house, just knowing that later on they’ll be home or sitting down and watching a movie together when everyone is there, has done wonders. I don’t feel so alone. Most of the time.

For the other times, and to help give myself as much of a chance at success in TX as possible, I decided to go back to counseling. It’s only been one session so far and we don’t have a lot of time, being that I’m leaving towards the end of April, but already it is helping to challenge the thoughts ruminating in my mind. I’m hoping to get out from under this black cloud following me and I know so much of it has to do with the way I think and live day to day. So, here’s to hoping it helps and I’ll be able to move with my head just a little bit clearer.

So that’s that as far as updates, there isn’t much else going on right now.
Oh! Except that I saw Get Out the movie yesterday and it was fucking awesome. It was really smart and scary and also hilarious and everyone should go see it immediately. <3!

 

Community. 

When someone finds out I’m moving, they often ask me “why” or “what’s in Texas?” And I haven’t been able to give much of an answer outside of “it’s not Indiana” or “I’ve always wanted to live somewhere else.”

The closer the move gets too, I find myself checking and double checking my reasons for wanting to go so badly. It isn’t like being in a new state, in a new city, is going to solve my depression. It isn’t like it’ll be easy or that I know that many people there, or all of my Trump anxieties will disappear. So why do it? What am I hoping to find there that I haven’t been able to get here? 

The answer is community. A support system of some sort. Friends. Human connections that have evaded me in so many ways in the life I live in Indiana. 

The times in my life when I have been the happiest and the most fulfilled, besides when writing of course, were times when I belonged to a group or had a small network of friends. When I was part of a dance company. When I was a youth at IYG after I came out. When I accidentally stumbled upon two great people who eventually became close friends. When I’m surrounded by friends and family at my second family’s house. When I was unofficially adopted into a big loud family that loved me as much as I loved them. 

People come and go, I know that as well as anyone, and because I know it so well, I have a hard time trusting people. For instance, I have friends in TX, but already I’m afraid of burdening them, of wanting to hang out too much or saying the wrong thing or just not being good enough in general. I’m already anticipating the day when our friendship ends. I’m already anticipating the day I form a new group of friends I haven’t met yet that then will at some point also dissolve and leave me right back where I started. By myself. 

I’ve done everything in power over the past 3 years to make sure I can survive with only myself to count on. Now I know I can. But I also know that being that alone, that lonely, changes something in a person. We are solitary creatures by nature. We, I, need to feel like I have support and a sense of belonging to thrive. 

So that’s what I’m looking for. Maybe I’ll find it, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ve been alone too long already and broke the part of me that used to relate to people and therefore will have to live like this forever. I’m not gonna lie to you, I don’t know if that’s something I can do. But there’s no reason to worry about that yet. 

I have to go down there first.

I have to at least try. 

A Light. 

I think I decided not to break today…

I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the way stories, movies, books, music, etc can make us feel, and I don’t think it’s something I ever want to get used to. 

I hope that it never ceases to amaze me when I pick up just the right book, or the perfect song for the moment comes on. For me, to survive, I need there to always be movies that can bring forth emotions and revelations that I’ve been ignoring or pushing down in my day to day life. 

Today, for the first time in a long time, because of a movie, I started thinking about the future again. About the possibility of my future and what it can be and what I want it to be. For so long I’ve been living day to day, struggling to get through it all and hoping it passes quickly and painlessly. 

But it’s been killing me. 

Sure there’s the plan to move to Texas, this Hail Mary jump into the unknown to jumpstart my life after it came to a screeching halt almost 4 years ago. But it never felt real. And even when it started to, I was still so much in the dark that I didn’t think anything could save me, even that, and I didn’t know if I wanted it to. 

This dark cloud following me around has been my best friend for longer than I can remember. It’s started to consume me, to put thoughts in my head that I know aren’t coming from me. Not only that, but I’ve been scared of the way our world is changing and how quickly it’s all happening. I’ve been torn between wanting to fight and wanting to hide. 

But today I realized that, first and foremost, I want to live. 

And not more than 3 seconds after that realization hit me, Sia’s “Reaper” started to play and I started to feel like maybe things are going to get better. Maybe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel after all. 

“You came to take me away

So close I was to heaven’s gates

But, no, baby, no, baby, not today

Oh, you tried to track me down

You followed me like the darkest cloud

Oh, reaper….

So come back when I’m good and old
I got drinks to drink, and men to hold

I got good things to do with my life, yeah

Oh, I wanna dance in the open breeze

Feel the wind in my hair, hear the ocean sing

I got good things to feel in my life,…

Don’t come for me today

I’m feeling good, let me savour it….” -Reaper-Sia 

Jumbo Shrimp

Today I battled a disgruntled middle aged man to defend our dearly beloved Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimps…and the shrimps themselves came to my rescue. 

I should probably explain. 

I listen to this podcast on Cave Comedy Radio (check them out they have a ton of awesome podcasts and I love them) called The Roundtable of Gentlemen. A couple of months ago one of the news stories they covered was about a small baseball team in Jacksonville, Florida that changed its name from The Suns to The Jumbo Shrimp. 

The podcast being the ridiculous riot that it is spontaneously came up with a song for the team. 

“We are the jumbo shrimp, here to play a game! *whip sound* ahhaaaaa!”

It’s pretty catchy. 

So naturally the podcast listeners took to the Jumbo Shrimp Facebook page to share the song and bring some much needed positivity to the team’s new identity. All good right? Except some people are still a little grumpy about the name change and didn’t approve of my enthusiasm. 


Thankfully, the Jumbo Shrimp are proud and accepting of all members of the proud Crustacean Nation and quickly came to my defense. 😂 

Okay, I’m not gonna lie, this might have been the weirdest fight I’ve ever been in with the most unique defender but hey, gotta keep things interesting and fun and accepting where and when we can these days, right? 

A Tale of Unrequited Like

Apparently Valentine’s Day isn’t too far away, at least according to the seasonal candy aisle at my local grocery store, but I am happy to be spending this one alone. I’ve been single for awhile, mostly by choice, because what’s the point in starting up a potential relationship when you’re planning to move (ALONE) 1,000 miles away. Even if I had met a girl, I have no interest in dragging someone else along with me to TX when it’s something I  know I need, and want, to do alone.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t have the occasional crush, and one in particular has stuck around for a few years now…
There’s this writer/personality/awesome person whom we’ll call Dawn for anonymity’s sake (and to save me some embarrassment if hell ever freezes over and she reads this). So, this Dawn and I have a lot in common; we’re both writers, we’re both adorable, we’re both outspoken about mental health, and care about women’s issues, etc. We’ve met in person briefly but I’ve also talked one on one with her several times online and through email.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do next or how to even tell her that I’d like to get to know her better, because I didn’t want to come off as creepy or weird, but I’m super awkward so I can’t guarantee that still didn’t happen despite my best efforts. So, I went my usual route and just told the truth (well, not about the crush part). I asked if I could get to know her better and was semi-rejected. She said we could be online friends. So I guess, not a no in many ways, but also yes a very firm no.

Which I totally get, we live in different parts of the country, even though our paths cross often, and from the outside I probably just seem like a weird awkward fan of some sort. So, it is what is. But now I don’t know what to do. I feel weird interacting with her online. Also, I can’t help but feel like if maybe I were more on her level career-wise, she might have given me more of a chance at us getting to know each other, even as just friends – which is totally fine. I’m aware that I’m a nobody right now with big dreams and a life in transition, but that won’t always be the case.

So, here’s to hoping. Here’s to continuing to respect her and her work and hoping that maybe one day, when we’re more evenly matched, our paths will cross again and she’ll see me, instead of seeing through me. i-love-dreaming-daydreaming-20470827-500-280