February202014

Genderqueer

"I want to be a boy."  That’s what my four-year old self told adults who asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I didn’t tell them I wanted to be a firefighter, vet, doctor, writer, or any other career I ever considered when I was younger.  No.   I told them I wanted to be a boy because that’s how my four-year old self interpreted enjoying the games and toys that were associated with males.  I liked Legos, tag, wrestling, climbing trees, guns, the color blue.  If I liked these things and I hated Barbies, playing house, arts and crafts, dresses, the color pink, etc., then I must need to be a boy.  That’s what society taught me.  It taught me that I wasn’t supposed to be a girl who liked playing with boys.  So my solution was to want to be a boy.

As soon as I was old enough to dress myself, I began picking out boys’ clothes to wear:  loose-fitting shirts, guys’ jeans, cargo shorts, hoodies.  Not so much because I wanted to be a boy anymore, but because those style of clothes were what I felt comfortable wearing.  I felt much more like myself in a pair of cargo shorts than in a summer dress.  When puberty started, I was scared - probably because I had never wanted it to come.  But after a few years, I was finally growing into my body, and I realized that this was what I was given.  I began treating it right, working out, eating healthier, and today I absolutely love it.

I. Love. My. Body.  I love everything about it because it’s mine and no one else’s.  I respect it, and it respects me back.  According to society, I still dress like a guy.  I still wear cargo shorts and bow ties (although usually not at the same time).  But I’m just dressing like me.  I’m dressing in clothes that I feel comfortable wearing.  Oh, and I’m majoring in Mechanical Engineering, so my interest in male-dominated activities hasn’t diminished.

Sometimes people who don’t know me will refer to me as a he.  And while that’s not how I’ve considered myself before, it doesn’t feel wrong.  In the past several months, I’ve realized that it feels just about as right as being called she, and the only difference between the two is that I probably respond better to female pronouns just because that’s what I’m more familiar with.

So where does that leave me in terms of gender?  I’m not both.  I’m definitely not neither.  I don’t really think I’m one any more.  Mainly, I just don’t give a fuck.  In other words, I’m genderqueer.  Or at least that’s how I’m beginning to think of it.  I am a genderqueer lesbian.  Go have a field day with that one all of you who believe in heteronormativity, because I’m breaking about every box that you tried to put me into while I was growing up.  I am a genderqueer lesbian, and I am completely okay with it.

January252014

Courage

I have no idea why lions are usually the first thing that comes to mind when people mention courage.  Lions have very little to be courageous about.  Last time I checked they’re basically the rulers of their habitat.  They are the kings of their animal kingdom.  What animal does have more courage than a lion?  Probably a lot of them, but I really like the peregrine falcon.  When in a dive, the peregrine can reach speeds upwards of 200 mph.  Two. Hundred.  Think about that for a minute.  It’s stupidly fast.  It dives knowing that its wings will be able to pull it up before it can cause harm to itself.  It always dives with complete faith, and that’s courage.

Courage is knowing that if you do something crazy that your life will be better because of it.  For reference, here’s the definition from dictionary.com:  “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.”  But I don’t think that having courage really has anything to do with facing problems without fear.  If you’re never afraid, you’re just stupid.  Real courage means conquering your fears - even those you are absolutely terrified of.

For me, and for a lot of you reading this, this test of courage came in the form of coming out.  I was so scared.  I was so afraid of who I was and what I would become.  I had no idea what would happen, but I knew that I could no longer keep my gayness contained.  I had to start telling people, or I was going to become suicidal.  I needed for people to accept one of the biggest parts of me.  I was forced to put so much trust in the world which had never been particularly kind to me.  Coming out became a matter of life and death that was solely dependent on people’s reactions and my ability to find a community that would accept me.  It was my triumph over that fear of the unknown that took more courage than anything else I’ve done in my life up to this point.  It was the risk that I took because I knew my life needed to change.

Coming out was the cliff I jumped off of expecting to grow wings while I was falling, and it paid off.  I survived.  Just like the peregrine falcon, my wings opened during my purposeful dive.  Since then I’ve flown into a wonderful community, a falcon with a bunch of raptors.  But I have been completely taken in and surrounded by warmth, advice and new friendships.

So what was your cliff?  Where did you finally build up enough courage to jump and conquer your fears?

January212014

Choices

Every day of our lives, we are confronted with choices.  Some of them just small things like choosing which shirt to wear or which bow tie looks best with this shirt.  But some of them seem like they could dictate the direction our life takes from that moment on.

Recently, my friends have been asking me to go after some very challenging positions.  In the past month, I have been asked to run for Senator at Large for my university and to apply to be a resident adviser in the dorms next year.  I’ve also had to decide how many activities I can manage and still be successful in my very demanding major (Mechanical Engineering).  I had to decide whether playing rugby was worth losing my physical health, something that I definitely need as a captain of the ultimate frisbee team.  I had to decide if I had time to be in an a capella group (nope. Not really).  I had to decide if I still had time to go to Alliance meetings since I’m also secretary for ASME (mechanical engineering stuff).

So. A lot of decisions in the past few months.  But I don’t think there was ever a right or a wrong decision to make — just decisions that lead down completely different paths with completely different people.  And as much as I hate actually making the decisions, the feeling of release after choosing something is amazing and makes the agony of the process almost worth it.  To be honest, most of the time I get frustrated, say “fuck it” and then just pick whatever my gut is slightly leaning towards.

There are some decisions that I like making, usually ones about the future.  Things like knowing that someday I will go to A-Camp.  I have no idea when.  But it will happen.  Or that I will work at P&G as either a co-op or maybe in a few years as a full-time employee.  Or that I will make a family and a program out of my ultimate team here at school.  Those choices are the powerful ones.  They are the ones that give life purpose.

Don’t be afraid of choices. Embrace them with everything you’ve got.  They define you in a way that you have complete control over.  They are your very essence and should be something you come to enjoy rather than stressing about because they are constantly giving you the opportunity to be true to yourself in a way that the rest of the world can see.

January202014

Dreams

For some reason, whenever I am presented with an opportunity to write about anything I want I almost always end up writing about dreams.  Not dreams as in what you imagine while you’re sleeping.  The kind of dreams that are something that you want to achieve but feel distant at that moment in time.

The first time I was presented to write openly was in my junior year of high school.  I wrote about how much better the world would be if people didn’t compare everything to what they thought “normal” should be and how people should not have any regrets about being different and standing out.  I talked about how I had a hard time feeling at home at my all-girls Catholic high school.  When I was required to read this essay to my entire English class, I knew that this style of writing was going to become one of my hobbies.

The second time was when I was applying to colleges.  The main essay I wrote was titled “Achieving Your Dreams” (or something to that effect; it was a few years ago, don’t blame me).  This was initially crafted for Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, my first choice for college.  The essay was about how I’ve always wanted to be a mechanical engineer and how going to RHIT would help me become more successful than going anywhere else.  I suppose the essay worked because I was granted admission to the school.  Unfortunately, I did not receive enough money in scholarships to make going there a reality.

So where did I end up?  The University of Cincinnati where I am now a proud student.  Coming here wasn’t what I originally wanted, but it has become such a good fit for me in every manner from the classes to the co-ops to the outstanding friendships that I have formed.  As far as I can tell, I am definitely on the path to achieve my vague career-related dreams.

I love dreams.  I love the drive that they give people.  I love how much power they have in people’s lives.  How inspiring they can be and how much hope they provide.  If presented to a group in a good way, they can change a team’s entire motivation, technique and strategy.  They can change someone’s entire life, for better or for worse.  Dreams might just be my favorite thing in the world.

dreams 

December232013

Integrity

Last spring at the career fair, one of the companies presented me with a list of their core values and asked me to pick which one(s) stood out to me the most.  To my surprise, my immediate answer was “integrity”.  When I couldn’t figure out off the top of my head why the concept of integrity stood out to me so much, I did some digging to try to understand my attraction to it.

 The first thing I came up with was the quote from V for Vendetta:  “Our integrity sells for so little but it is all we really have.  It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch we are free.”

 The second thing was a working definition of integrity that I came up with:  integrity (n):  the essence of being honorable, compassionate, understanding, and morally upright.

 Here’s the real definition: 

 ”adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”  <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/integrity?s=t>

 So I think I came pretty close with what I felt like it should be before I ever looked it up — to me it means what it sounds like it should.  Just say it to yourself.  Relish it. Integrity.  It sounds like something that people should want.  That they should care about.  It’s a characteristic that I like to pretend all of the Disney princes(ses) have, and when I’m bored I may or may not pretend that I am one of those.  It’s a noble idea.  A concept that I think a lot of people have forgotten about but one that should never be left out.

 To me, integrity means being honest with everyone around you.  It means protecting those you love even if it results in more pain for yourself.  It means trying to figure out the right thing to do and then doing that even if it’s difficult.  It means fully respecting everyone you meet, listening without interrupting, not being phony (as Holden Caulfield would say).  These are some of the values I try to stand by everyday in my quest to be myself, to be different than any other person you know.

3PM

Relationships

I couldn’t tell you the first thing about relationships.  I couldn’t tell you what it feels like to be so much in love with someone that nothing else matters.  I couldn’t tell you what passion feels like.  I couldn’t tell you about how emotions influence decisions.  Or what it feels like to want to spend the rest of your life with someone.  Or being able to forgive her anything because you love her.  Being able to say “I love you” and really mean it and have her say it back to you the same way.  Able to proudly hold hands or just cuddle up on a couch.  Able to be yourself entirely and freely with no regrets.  I know none of these things. 

You might hear me say that I don’t want a relationship - that I don’t have time for one.  But I really don’t think that’s true.  It’s just a front.  Just me trying to put on a brave face.  Avoiding thinking about how lonely I really am.  About how much I really want to be with someone.  Because it’s really fucking hard to be alone when the people you see the most have these great SOs who they will probably spend the rest of their foreseeable lives with.

 And then there’s me.  Alone. Because a part of me still hates the fact that I’m gay even though there’s nothing I can do to change it.  But at least it’s a smaller part of me than the part that hated pretending to be straight.  If I can’t accept myself, how can I expect others to accept me?  How do I even start that process?

 If I was being honest with you, I would tell you that the one thing I want more than anything else is a girlfriend.  To just be with someone without it being complicated.

 Oh and another thing.  When most people are going through hard times, someone can say to them, “well at least you have so and so”.  I’ve never had that with someone.  Never had someone who will always be there for me and love me no matter what I’m going through.  Someone to support me when I need it most.  And that’s probably why I have so much trouble trusting anyone - because there was never anyone for me to trust with any of my most important issues ever before.  I’ve always gone through life alone.  No one to confide in.  Just hoping that someday I’ll make it out okay.  That I won’t drown along the way.  Because I almost did.  Back in high school when I was trying to figure this sexuality stuff out.  I almost didn’t make it.  And I’m in a better place now, but there’s still that fear that I will fall back into the darkness.  Back to where I’m struggling with so many issues and there isn’t ever anyone to help me.  It’s that fear that I live with constantly.  It’s part of the reason I live with so much self-control.  Right now I only feel rage and pain.  And if I lose control someone will end up seriously hurt.  I don’t know who or how, but it would happen.  I don’t want to hurt anyone.  It hurts me just as much as it hurts them.

3PM

Closets

I hate the fact that we live in a world where people are afraid to be themselves.  It bothers me so much that people have to hide in the closet around their family out of fear of being rejected.  I want it to be a world where people can say, “This is ____, my (boy/girl)friend.”  And everyone just says “I’m glad to finally meet you” or has that sort of reaction.  It shouldn’t matter what sex your SO is, or even if they don’t know what sex they are.  What should matter is that you’re dating someone that you love.  That’s it.  Love.  I want to live in a world where that is truly the foundation of everything.  Where the proverbial River is Love. 

Being in the closet was a painful experience for me, and it pains me to see other people hiding who they because they’re afraid of judgment and rejection.  People shouldn’t have to come out.  Other people shouldn’t make assumptions about anyone’s sexuality, straight/gay/whatever.  Everyone should be focused on finding someone they can love for the rest of their life and not worry about anything else. 

In fact, I think that everyone has two soul mates.  Two people that can fulfill the hole that everyone has for a special someone.  One soul mate is male, the other female, and it’s just a matter of finding whichever one first that will determine your “sexuality” as other people see it.  Because sexuality is really so fluid.  It’s just about finding someone you have chemistry with, and if you’re open to the idea of both sexes, then you have so many more possibilities of finding who you really belong with.

3PM

What is this?

This is a blog about, well, me.  It’s about my thoughts, my feelings, my struggles.  Stuff that I think about and/or decide to rant about.  Some of my entries will be things that actually happen to me.  Some will be about whatever topic it is that I just can’t stop thinking about.  Writing is how I get anything and everything off my mind.  So with that, I welcome you to my world.

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