Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I hate being sick and chicken...


So I have no idea what this weeks theme is, as usual. I am also sick and totally stressed about freakin finals so there you have it!

So I thought I would talk about insecurities. I think these are things that all obviously have but how we deal with them is so different from person to person. I have a one major insecurity that I have had since I was 9 years old and it is still my biggest enemy today; I have body issues. I have two sides to my family, there is my mom's side which consists of tall blonde haired, blue eyed, skinny people; and there is my dad's side. Heavy, shorter, and full of natural diseases... oh great. Unfortunately I got a mix of both and one major thing was the metabolism of a dead person. Actually they might loose weight faster than I do by simply rotting.

I was always a little bit heavier growing up but at around 9 I knew it. I haven't gone swimming without a shirt on since I was 9 and I don't think anyone has seen me without a shirt on since around then as well, and yes this includes my family. I always have something on.

Honestly being gay I think has only made this worse because when you think gay you think either super skinny twink or beefcake and I don't fit into either of those groups. I am not massive but I am not skinny either. I have a love for water and also one for fashion and so my weight is something that I am always thinking about.

There are a few different guys that I go to school with that I would LOVE to ask out but in the back of my mind I am literally thinking that there is no way they could ever like me because I am not in amazing shape. I freaking hate worrying all the time but at this point I think I have trained myself into thinking this way.

What pisses me off is that I am a great cook and a healthy eater but I think people assume that I am a garbage disposal. I'm not I just have a shitty metabolism. And if you mention the word 'gym' or 'diet' I might punch you because I have done both. I was on a competitive swim team (as in 4-6 hours of swimming a day and meets on weekends) for 9 years, I play tennis, and have had 3 personal trainers. Nothing seems to work so my next step, accepting myself. I have come to the realization that I need to start to love myself no matter what I look like.

This will take time...

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Single Story




"The danger of the single story."  Even within a subset of a group, there is a variety, a diversity.  I think over the years, the world has embraced larger, and then groups within groups, learning to appreciate diversity further and further.  Trans people have many stories to tell, and there are many similarities and a lot of variety through our, what my mother would call, "realities".  Stereotypes come from a "single story" being told about a group of people.  When trans people don't always fit that single story, there is further confusion, naturally.  By learning and being open to other realities, we can expand our worlds.

My story doesn't include a conscious awareness of my transsexuality as a child, but it does include an epiphany as a young adult.  This doesn't make me any less trans than a child that says they're a girl from the moment they can speak.  I would like to transition and have a lesser form of bottom surgery one day, but this doesn't make me more trans than a gender queer youth who desires no form of transition.  Trans people hold the common thread of having a disconnect between their bodies and gender identities, but past that there is plenty of diversity.  I still have to learn how to listen and learn.  It's a skill!

I try mostly to speak within my own experience.  I am entitled to my own opinions, my own perceptions and realities, but not my own facts.  Hopefully, my skills at speaking from my own experience while not denying other experiences will continue to be honed, through practice and precision.  

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gay Family Values

Maybe I've already mentioned my favorite YouTubers before...but I'm doing it again.

Jay and Bryan Leffew with their adorable children, Selena and Daniel, have created a channel called Gay Family Values which basically just shows their family and how wonderful they are as a gay family. They just want to show how they're just like any other family (although a lot better than most, in my opinion). Here's a vid Bryan made on A Gay Collab explaining what his family's blog is all about.





Here's their wonderful love story. I just adore this family. Jay and Bryan are so great. I love what they're doing.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Guest Post: Explaining the homosexual kissy kissy to children

So I was watching Downton Abbey on Netflix and at the end of episode one there is a little kissy kissy section between 2 boys and my Lydia was watching with me, shes never seen anything so far involving the same gender. And she immediately said "Look Mommy! Its like a Mommy and a Daddy but just two daddies" I said "Yep, some times families have a mommy and a daddy, some families like *insert family in our ward* have only a mommy, some families have a step mommy or daddy like Grandma Julie (her step grandma), and some families have 2 daddies or two mommies", her reply "Oh theres lots of mommies and daddies! And you are MY mommy" Ok all the haters out there... how hard was that really?!?!! Shes not scarred for life, shes not going out and kissing other girls on the playground because she saw that, she accepted it for whats its worth and moved on. *Cheers to raising a new generation that accepts, understands, and loves*


Friday, November 25, 2011

I’m Christian Unless You Have an Opinion That I Don’t Agree With

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
–Buddha

Most of us have read THE article ( http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-aJNaBrxvzYE/TsaF-Hf53UI/AAAAAAAAAqc/Qw_wA3wF1Nw/s1600/LGTB+Hate.jpg ). You know the one. The one that compared single parent families and homosexuals to prostitutes and serial killers. The one where I was shaking with anger and disgust (and hurt). The one where some dude went and shared his opinion.

During my fuming a friend called and asked if I wanted to go play laser tag. Did I ever? I was itching to shoot someone. Lasers would just have to do. When the buzzer went off I was this powerful ball of fury, shooting everyone in my path, absolutely furious at this guy’s audacity to share his opinion. How dare he?! Around the half way mark I became tired and empty, empty from my diminishing anger. I WAS mad at this guy. But for what? He just shared his opinion. I love sharing my opinion (hello I’m blogger) so why was I mad at him. Because I didn’t AGREE with his opinion (and I never will)? But I knew someone who did. When I read the article to my roommate she was totally chill with it. Someone I love dearly thought that that was okay. So why was I so mad at him when I still cared for her? Was it easier to be mad at someone I didn’t really know? Yea, it was. I couldn’t be mad at my friend for her opinion yet it was the same as his.

And all this crazy thinking drew me to a conclusion: Because I had strong opinions, I had the duty to respect (and even value) other strong opinions. So I couldn’t hate this guy, disappointing I know.

Back ground information on me. I was raised (mostly) by one awesome guardian. I also lived with a few not-so-great couples throughout my childhood. But that’s an individual bias. In MY experience the single person was better FOR ME! I’m sure it’s different for everyone, so I wasn’t too happy with his generalization. And this applies to homosexuality. Maybe that is what is exactly best for a child, to be raised by two dads or two moms or one dad or one mom or an uncle or an aunt or grandparents. . . (you get the idea). Who am I to say what is right for any specific child? I may think and believe something with all the conviction in my heart, but I will never know what is best for a single individual.

Did everyone read “I’m Christian Unless You’re Gay”? (AMAZING article! It’s about love, not just homosexuality. READ IT! http://www.danoah.com/2011/11/im-christian-unless-youre-gay.html/2/ ) Can I support that article and really say, “I’m Christian unless you have an opinion that I don’t agree with (and that hurts my feelings)”? No, I cannot. Though I don’t think he had a right to put that generalization on ALL homosexual couples and ALL single-guardian families, but he does have a right to share his opinion. I can be pissed about the way he said it though. Seriously? Serial killers? WTH?

So what CAN I do? . . . Love him. Love the people who raised him. Love the people he condemned. Love my roommate even though we don’t agree. Love the “normal” couples that tried to raise me but left the scars that make me believe single guardians do it way better. Love homosexuals. Love heterosexuals. Love the people who hate me, who don’t understand me. Love the people who hate you, who don’t understand you. Love myself. And love every single one of you and hope you have the power to love and forgive this guy.


Song Of The Week


This song is very personal to me. When I was coming to terms with my grandmother’s passing, I was very angry at the man who was charged with her death, my grandfather. I felt I was in the right to be angry at him, to hate him for taking away the woman who had taken care of me throughout my childhood. But I didn’t want to hold on to that hate, so I forgave him. Sometimes when I write him in prison, I wonder if my grandma feels betrayed that I still love my grandfather. But I think she would be proud of me to be able to move on with my life. This Thanksgiving was hard without her, but she knows that I love her and will see her again someday. So this song is for her and for him and for all of us; may we learn to forgive those who have hurt us and just let it be.


Let It Be —Across The Universe cover (Beatles original)







Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thursday

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving!

And second (and most importantly)....Happy Thursday!


Back in high school (all those many, many years ago), my best friend and I decided that there was a serious lack of celebrating in our culture.  We were tired of how commercialized the holidays had become and how much the focus had gone from spending time and spreading love to giving gifts and having cooler decorations than your neighbors, so we made up our own holiday.  We called it Happy Thursday.  Unlike all other holidays and birthdays, it happened once a week rather than once a year and it was always a big deal.  Always.  By creating our own holiday we had no social rules to abide by, no ideas of what the holiday should "look" like or who should be invited to it's activities, should there be any.  It was different every week.  Sometimes, it was simply a phone call to wish each other a Happy Thursday.  Other weeks it involved opening one's locker only to have hundreds of hand-folded origami flowers pour out onto the floor.  There were dinner parties.  There were cards and letters.  There were mini road trips to the park across town.  Thursdays were whatever we wanted them to be, but they were always wonderful, and for no other reason than that we wanted them to be.

I suppose the fact that we can make things our own and create new meaning in old traditions is what I am most grateful for today, and also what I wish for you.  I know that the holidays are not everyone's "most wonderful time of the year."  Some are not on the best terms with their families.  For others, the "reason for the season" might not hold meaning anymore, making the traditions feel hollow.  And for others, the holidays might be the thing they most look forward to.  Wherever you are on the Love-the-Holidays continuum, make it your own.  There are so many reasons to celebrate, laugh and love, and so many ways to do so.  I'm getting all excited just thinking about it!

A very Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Halloween... oops I meant THANKSGIVING!!!



Hi Dear Friends and readers... oh wait, I forgot no one reads my posts as clearly reflected by the amount of comments I get. (Yes what I am getting at is that I am a whore for that 'personal' touch, leave me comments so I can talk to you!)

So these past 2 days I was like oh where is the email that tells me what to write about? Oh wait I didn't get it so I know, I'll check the blog... wait a minute why is it saying that the blog I am looking for doesn't exist? BLARGA FLARGA! Not to fret readers, the problem has been fixed and indeed the blog does still 'exist' (internet, the Matrix, what?)

So this week I thought I would focus on a holiday theme so I am going to be talking about my favorite 4th of July foods, Just kidding (although I do hate watermelon, just so you know)! Nope I am going to talk about what Gay things I am thankful for this year. Did you see how I worked in my gayness into the topic, geez I am so magical.

So this year I have so much to be grateful for in terms of gay stuff (yeah I know I speak good english right?) So firstly I am SO thankful for the fact that I am gay! Not going to lie but I love it about myself and I think it makes me unique and fun so yay to my gay. I realize that my third coming out anniversary is coming up rapidly (by rapidly I mean march but whatever); I need to start planning on what to treat myself to! I came out in march of 2009 and have celebrated 2 wonderful anniversaries; last year I bought myself a PS3 to celebrate! (Any other gay gamers out there?)

So the pictures above are what I am going to focus on specifically and that is, I am thankful for Cute gay couples. I am not talking about cute guys because they are everywhere, I am talking about the couples that are adorable and show off how LBGT people can still be romantic and affectionate. So many people focus on the sexual wether that be in straight or other relationships; media has certainly only perpetuated this. (not all media, thank you Pushing Daisies and Modern Family!)

I am a classic romantic and I love a good chick-flick or romance as much as the next crazy teenage girl. I think that the world needs more romantic and loving LGBT couples out there who get more attention. I honestly don't think that people can truly be always angry at the gay couple who are respectful, loving, good neighbors who go to PTA, potlucks, and school fundraisers; those are INCREDIBLE people! I am not saying that you need to have kids to fit the 'good' couple mold; look and Ellen and Portia, they are so cute and loving and AMERICA adores them because they are romantics and great people.

I want more examples of strong and loving LGBT couples out there because, I am tired of people playing the 'it's just about sex' card. It's really not about sex people, if it was just about sex than men wouldn't bother trying to get with anyone when they could just go hump a freaking tree. It is about romance, love, and companionship.

So this thanksgiving I am thankful for Cute, Loving, Romantic LGBT couples out there! I raise my glass of apple cider to you! Have an incredible Thanksgiving everyone!

Oh and in my continued effort to fling my craziness into your life here is a link to my personal blog, careful there is a LOT of me talking about my various adventures as a wizard on there :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Other

Yesterday was the Transgender Day of Remembrance, and I think I should talk about that, but I really don't know what to say so I'll offer some scattered thoughts.

Yesterday, yes, on TDOR, NPR's show "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" ran a segment where they were comparing bizarre headlines.  Which was the real outrageous headline?  Nudist Zombie Attacks Tour Guide or Drunken Transvestite Rides Manatee?  (Mind you, I'm paraphrasing)  Transvestite (the more appropriate term nowadays, or so I hear, is "cross-dresser") is used as an example of the bizarre.  My wonderful girlfriend heard this, and it upset her, so she wrote into NPR and wrote a beautifully articulate, empathetic letter explaining how hurtful this is.  Here is a bit of her letter:

The problem with your usage of the word transvestite is that it was an example of the bizarre, and was also meant to illicit laughter. This stigma is an ugly and persistent roadblock for transgender people. For my loved ones who are courageous enough to come out, many of their friends and family have no experience with transgenderism, except for media portrayals of trans people who are portrayed as having a sexual fetish, acting an outrageous role, or being unrelatable or even crazy human beings. They are taught to be disgusted by or even suspicious of such individuals instead of understanding the risk they take by daring to be true to themselves.

So, how lucky am I? ;)

I was unable to attend the ceremony in Salt Lake that honored and mourned our trans siblings we have lost to violence or ignorance, although I would have liked to attend such a candlelight vigil.

I know we need to speak out against all the violence, and to bring it to the forefront of everyone's mind.  Talk more, not less!  But sometimes as a trans person, I get really tired of hearing these stories, because they're somewhat traumatic and very frightening.  When I identified as gay, I heard about Matthew Shepard and it was terrifying.  Someone could leave me out to die, beating me nearly to death, for being...me.  I had never experienced this kind of inner-terror before.  As a trans person, of course I want more media coverage for violence against trans people.  I want us all to be disgusted.  I do not want a single victim to go unnoticed, or their story untold.

But sitting with my loved one, listening to someone explain how, after beating a trans person, the perpetrator took a large rock and smashed in their head until their skull was basically obliterated, or watching a video (Boys Don't Cry, I recommend) where the transman is raped... and then killed for reporting the rape... Well, it's traumatic, particularly because I have been raped.  I hate that I have had a conversation with my loved one about what I want them to do, or about what they want me to do, if I am attacked.  How is that right, how is that fair?  I know, I know, the world isn't fair.

In the style of Eve Ensler, I am "over" violence against trans people.  And I am over press coverage for violence against certain gay people, but not for trans people.  How am I over something I've only experienced for a couple years?

Funeral and Fiction

I wonder what it will be like when we can categorize all of the different kinds of genders and sexual orientations that are out there, across cultures. The author in me says that it will likely be when we've gone across the stars, gained more knowledge than we could ever hold in our minds, and lose all sense of fear, humanity's first god.

I just went to a funeral for my name-sake grandmother, and there were some awkward jokes and words about those of the not-heterosexual colors. It made me wonder of what it would be like if I was completely honest with them with how I felt--bisexual in orientation and neither male or female in gender. It also reminded me of a science fiction piece I had intended to write that involved axes of evaluations that determined (up to around forty) different types of gender, ten majorly known sexual orientations, and even more lingo for races. I may start up on it again to process more feelings about it all. It's about a woman with a more masculine gender perspective who had a wife killed in a terrorist attack.

I've also felt very distant from most people as of late. I've lost most of my friends over the past year, especially since graduating. I can count all of the people I can go to for close friendship on a hand, as opposed to all of my digits. Granted, I did push some jerks out of the way, and that has included people involved with those jerks. Loneliness is a jerk too, but I can't push him away.

I must tell you this though, Tamarack State Beach? It's one of my favorite places in the world, and earlier this morning, I got to go. It's been almost exactly two years since I've seen a beach, and that was in India when I last went.

Everybody stay ruthless for your truth.

-Amber

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Books

I have a lot of books.
Except now I have a lot less books than I once had.

I've been downsizing.
Letting my books go.
Selling them off.
Giving them away.

I thought it would be hard.
But, it's actually really nice.
I feel like I'm setting myself free somehow.

I love books.
They are my everything.

Except that they aren't.
I'm learning that I don't have to keep things just because they are books.
Just because they have pages.
And words.
And that smell of old tree with ink.

I'm a writer.
I used to be a book hoarder.
But not anymore.
Even though I kind of still am...


I decided though, that if it ever came down to it, I could live happily with only 3 books.
Here they are (in order):
1. once upon a time when i was a rabbit
2. If I Ran The Zoo
3. Book of Hugs (that may or may not be the actual title...but I'm leaning towards may)

Those pretty much sum up my personality.


~live your own truth~

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sleeping, Graham Canyon, and Glee to Name a Few

So Wednesday I got pissed. Some stupid teacher with some 1/2 a point question who thought they were so clever decided to trick the class. Go you. You're a freaking genius with a PhD, and I bet you are very proud of that, but instead of showing off to freshmen (cuz it is a freshmen class) why don't you go impress your peers (if you can). Anyway pissy rant over. My point was after that I got up and left the class and went to the library to watch the episode of Glee from the night before. And while it was loading I read the most recent blog post. And what do I find? Nathan and his awesomeness. I read and became happy, and it made me wonder what else made me happy. So I decided to put together a list (in no particular order) of things that make me happy:

Glee and Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl

Posts on Breaking the Silence

Reading: Unwritten Rule is my favorite, closely followed by Twilight (I can admit it :P); Vampire Academy; Harry Potter (of course); and whatever else I'm in the mood for. Also check out Hard Love and Keeping You A Secret, two LGBT books that I love.

Ice Cream . . . Graham Canyon's my favorite

My friends. Now this one needs more describing. Because while just knowing that I have friends is nice, it’s who they are and what they do that makes me happy. To keep anonymity I’ll just name some things they do that make them awesome!
Introduced me to peppermint white mochas (I’m addicted to coffee because of her and she is dang proud of it)
Crawling on my lap when she is scared
Taking 50 pictures of my dance competition but somehow thinking that isn't enough
Comforting by not actually comforting me. This girl has the most amazing skill of doing things by not doing them. I lovingly call her the Master Manipulator
Listening to my craziest thoughts and still trusting me after everything I've done to hurt him (and somehow being able to still trust him after everything he has done to hurt me)

Anyways . . .

Did I mention Glee? I just love Santana and Kurt. (mini spoiler) I just about cried during the last episode.

DANCING! Anybody want to go to the club because I am always down! I’m also into Latin Ballroom, and competing was the funnest thing. I felt so good after taking the medals exams and somehow passing them.

Memories of my grandma Sara cussing. It’s adorable to watch old ladies curse. Also memories of dancing with my Grandpa Paul and Grandma Sandra.

Doodling. What I do isn’t exactly considered art so it’s been dubbed doodles :)


My job. Crazy I know, but I love it! Maybe it’s the people, maybe it’s the place, or maybe it’s just want I was meant to do. I’m not questioning it though. Shout out to all my grovers!

My family. That shouldn’t be so far down on the list. But I really do love them. Even though I am here and they are there they have taught me so much! My family is nowhere near perfect, but they are perfect for me. That includes Sam and Nicole and Shirley and Stu and ALL you other feud-ers :). I love you all so much! And I’m thankful for ALL the support and love you give me!

Red Velvet cupcakes with straight up vanilla icing.

Dirty Dancing (the movie), Step Up(s), High School Musical (once again, I can admit it), and basically if it has music and dancing I’m there. Along with the mushies like The Notebook, creepies like Nightmare Before Christmas (Tim Burton wins!), and intensities like Harry Potter.

Going for drives

Hitting up the theaters by myself

SLEEPING!

Swimming in creeks and rivers (who needs purifying chemicals when you can play with algae?)

Facing my fears (also known as the ropes course)

RAIN. The harder the better. Dancing in it, hiding from it, running through it, jumping on it, and (hopefully someday) kissing surrounded by it.

PostSecret! If you haven’t seen it, CHECK IT OUT! It’s a suicide prevention website. Most of the time things are just fun but sometimes you get one that reminds you that you are never alone.

Quotes. I keep “sticky notes” with quotes around my desk, near my bed, on my computer. My room is almost covered in sticky notes.

Covered rooms. There are almost no bare spots on my walls due to posters and pictures and art work and just EVERYTHING!

The fact that the RB elevator smells like melted crayons, and the Tanner one smells like weed (poses a lot of questions, I know)

And A LOT (or Alot if you’re a fan of Hyperbole and a Half and if not check it out http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/04/alot-is-better-than-you-at-everything.html) of other things! So now that you all have a deep, personal look at the things that make me smile. I challenge you to make your own list. It was awesome to sit down and think about it. You just feel better thinking about things that have made you feel better. And if you can’t think of any, make a list of things you think could POTENTIALLY make you happy, and find a way to accomplish them. Happy writing!

P.S.
Song of the week. So Glee this week was awesome, and I just LOVE Santana and Adele so this mash-up is amazing. It’s been on repeat all day VIA youtube. LOVE IT!!

RUMOUR HAS IT/SOMEONE LIKE YOU- GLEE






























Thursday, November 17, 2011

Date Time!

(This is totally something that would happen to me)

Hey Blog-topia!
Today I want to tell you about something that I love.  LOVE, love, love.  Ready?  Okay, I’ll tell you. 
I LOVE DATES!!!
Now, before you get carried away thinking that this means I have an extreme liking for trying to get to know a half-stranger over dinner or some awful thing, let me explain.  I love dates…by myself.  (That is not to say that I don’t like “real” dates, especially if they are with someone who is no longer a stranger and that I adore with every fiber of my being and love being around, but that is not the subject of this post).
I’ve always loved solo Jo time, but spending time alone is a lot different than solo “date” time.  “Date” time is planned ahead, thought out and guarded with a vengeance.  Just as the purpose of a DATE date is to get to know or to spend time with someone, the purpose of my solo dates is to spend time with my inner child, my inner self, with Little Jo.  It’s a chance for her to be heard, for her to express her heart, for her to have some unabashed fun.  That is not to say that I can’t be my little kid fun self around others, because I most certainly can, but solo date time is precious.  When someone else is there I say different things, I think and do different things.  Even if the other person is silent they are a shadow, a presence.  (PS I got the idea for solo dates from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, which is an amazing book, if you’re interested.)
When I am on a date with myself, I listen to Little Jo completely.  It is a time when I turn off my critic, that nagging little voice that tells me I’m “too old” or “too poor” to do this or that I can’t paint the sun purple because the sun is yellow or that I can’t use that word because it doesn’t exist or that if I act a certain way then I'll be a social outcast forever and on and on.  It's our silly, childlike qualities that allow us to explore and create without inhibition and our inner critics keep us trapped in the "shoulds".  The critic isn’t invited on my dates.  End of story.
Little Jo and I do whatever we want on our dates, and Little Jo always gets to choose.  If she wants to splash around in a tub of bubbles, that’s what we’re going to do.  If she wants to explore a bowl of decadent ice cream with all 5 senses then we will!  If she wants to go to the symphony, for a walk up the canyon, rock hunting, rollerblading on a new trail, on a tour of the capitol, rolling down hills…then we will!  If she wants to finger-paint, explore an antique shop, play at the park, dress up and pretend she’s a hobo next to the river, go to a poetry reading, see how many colors of leaves she can find, go shopping for a new houseplant-friend, watch the sunset, read a book, fly a kite, make a kite, go to a museum, buy a bushel of helium balloons and record herself reciting a poem in French, attend a symposium on astronomy, make paper or take a drum class, by golly that’s how we’re going to spend our date time.  Nothing is too silly for a solo date.  Sometimes Little Jo and I even like to go on weekend excursions, so date time isn’t limited to just a few hours. 
My date time with Little Jo is time of self-discovery, of awakening, of loving and learning and laughter.  It is a time to see with little kid eyes the wonders that are in the world and inside me.  It is some of the most sacred, beautiful and fun time I ever spend.  Hands down.
And now I’m curious….What are some of the things you do to reconnect with yourself, to give yourself a break, to find that unabashed, little kid joy for life?  Do you have a little ritual or practice that gets you out of the box and into yourself?  Anyone??


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What? Oh hey there you...

Oh hey there Ryan! What’s that? You said you just happened to be in the neighborhood with a bunch of flowers and wanted to take me to out dinner and mini-golfing? Oh okay, I guess I am okay with that, just let me grab my coat.

HAPPY WEDNESDAY!!!!! I hope I spelled that right? (then again I don't even care.) So the theme this week is and I quote 'whatever the hell you want week' So I thought I would talk about what the hell I want :) see what I did there? Oh so tricky.

So I am 21 and I have never been on a first date or had a first kiss and honestly I think it is about time. I am so freaking tired of it because every other person in this school is getting hitched around me while I stand here. Yep I feel like a cliff face that is constantly getting hit in the face by waves of straight romance from the endless ocean of gag me cheesy-ness. So I think my goal for this next semester is to start dating because being single so far has been stupid. Here's the hitch; I want to be asked out not do the asking. This is tricky because so far no one has done it and I don't know how to get the guys I like to realize 'oh hey maybe I should ask him out'. And this my dilemmas continue.

FUNNY STORY TIME YAY!!!! So here is the scoop. One of my room mates, who I don't mind, has been dating this girl pretty seriously; I am fine with this. It's when they stage a home invasion into my apt that I start to become pissed. They sit and wrap themselves around each other for HOURS in our living room, probably 4-5 nights a week. My tv and videogames and movies are in that living room but I don't want to be around them while they are practicing what they are going to do on their wedding night. So stupid. Not only that but when she get around my room mate she begins to act like this is a cripple who has had her arms and legs cut off. "stop your tickling hurts" "Oh that's so spicy I can't eat that" (It was ketchup by the way). She is in my ward and is totally normal but the second she gets near him she turns into a baby talking blubbering IDIOT!!! I can't handle the pair of them...

So I may have done a bad thing ;) Recently their idea of having fun is to sit in our living room and play sudoku together; They play the same game in separate books in silence, like some freaky race. Here are my thoughts... if you aren't married yet and already your idea of having fun is playing sudoku in silence; then holy shit you are going to have the most boring marriage I have ever heard of. I would die. Well in an attempt to rid my apt of the mating squid couple I went and hid one of the sudoku books... yep I am a total jerk but I don't regret it at all because last night my room mate asked me 'hey have you seen a sudoku book around? @#O*$% is going to come over and play.' I said no to his face and like magic, she never came. I am quite proud of myself even if I might be a jerk.

Moral of the story... I want to date, I want to have fun, I don't want to invade someone's living room, I can be amazingly sly when I need to. Hope you are all going to have a great day and weekend! I am headed of to CALIFORNIA! YESSSSSSS!!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Being Misgendered SUCKS

It is unavoidable.  People every now and then use female pronouns when referring to me.  "Oh, I'm just getting this for her."  "Have a nice day, ma'am."  And I know it isn't really their fault-- they looked at my different characteristics, and those read "female".  I still have certain feminine facial features and something I guess you couldn't really call stubble.  I wear a binder shirt to bind my chest, but it works better some days than others.

Yesterday I woke up and wanted to wear something... nice.  So, I put on my Sunday clothes-- button up shirt, tie, slacks.  I shaved, gelled my hair up a bit and I didn't pay a lot of attention thinking about it, but I thought I looked rather handsome.  When my girlfriend got home, we ran and got a double cheeseburger at Wendy's.  When the cashier, obviously new, gave me my food, he got this deer in the headlights look for a second, looked to, where else, my chest, looked up and said, "Have a nice day, ma'am!"  I didn't do anything-- turned, and walked away.  We got outside, and I don't want to be dramatic or anything, but I cried.  Ugh, here I thought I looked masculine, and what did I look like?  Did I look like a butch woman, or a woman dressing up as a man?  He looked at my chest for an answer, and the painful reality was that my body-- my body that is getting in the way of me living a normal life-- , my body continues to betray me.

What does being misgendered feel like for a trans person?  It feels embarrassing, humiliating, and annoying.  It feels dangerously naked.  Completely vulnerable.  It makes you wonder how much you really pass... It felt like I'd made a fool out of myself, and I was absolutely embarrassed.  Which we all know is ridiculous.  I had nothing to feel embarrassed about, and if anyone had any reason to be embarrassed, it was the cashier.  But I went home and changed into a striped polo that's a little bigger on me.  Gender dysphoria makes it difficult for me to truly appreciate my wonderful body.  There are too many features that are an exquisitely painful reminder that I have to struggle for something that should be simple.

Kellie, my girlfriend, and I went out to eat at a new sushi house last night.  A friend of mine works there, and it's open on Sundays, so I thought I'd try it out.  It was a pretty routine sushi night.  Average waitress, good sushi.  This morning, my friend messaged me and we chit chatted, and then she said that she had something awkward to tell me.  Our server from last night had kind of freaked out a bit last night because she couldn't tell if I was a guy or a girl, and my "androgyny" had made her uncomfortable.  Not that she wasn't sure what to address me by, but this woman thought it was her business to be upset because firstly, she couldn't tell if I was a boy or girl, and so, secondly, she couldn't tell if my relationship was heterosexual or homosexual.

There is a very important difference between what happened at Wendy's, and what happened at the sushi house.  Although I think it was inappropriate for the cashier to look at the world's biggest moobs to determine gender, I do think it was a fairly innocent gesture.  He's in the service business, and gendered language is often used.  "Yes, sir", "Thank you, ma'am".  It was very innocent, and I don't really hold him at much fault.

The server at the sushi house, however, completely crossed a boundary.  It is none of her business to be annoyed or disgusted because I do not clearly come off to her as male or female, and it is none of her business to be annoyed or disgusted if my relationship is homosexual OR heterosexual.  In my opinion, an act like this is ignorant, but not innocent.

If you misgender someone, calmly apologize and repeat the correct, desired pronoun, and then move on.  It happens, and it will happen.  When I see someone do that, I see that they slipped up, but they're willing to take responsibility and they take effort to treat me with respect.  And I appreciate that.  It's embarrassing for everyone involved, but I think if you do that, you'll be good most of the time.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Aunt Flow Loves Punctuation

Have you ever wondered why a woman's menstruation cycle is called a period?
I guess it doesn't take too much to answer that wondering anyway because period isn't just a punctuation. It's also a block or amount of time. An interval. A woman's "cycle" is just that, I suppose. What I think is funny are all the other names we use when we don't want to come out and say MENSTRUATION.

Aunt Flow
Uncle Tom
Time of Month
PMS (which really if you know what the acronym stands for you wouldn't use this one, would you? Pre-Menstrual Syndrome...really, people do we need an English lesson here? pre=preceding i.e. before)
Anyway, don't get me started on PMS!
the bloating
and the cramps
and the increased drive for sex (is this just me? oops!)
Cranberry Juice (this may have just been a code that some of my high school friends used around our guy friends so as to not make them uncomfortable.)
Monthlies
On-the-Rag
The Curse
Crimson Tide
Hell

Whatever way you say it, it's still the lining of the uterus sluffing off and coming out of the body via the vagina. And as embarrassing or gross as some might find it, I think that menstruating is a very LOVELY thing. I've always been a little embarrassed myself to say that I enjoy my period because it seems like society has taught women to hate it. I find it rather fascinating. And to be honest I'm still in working on finding a good way to keep it a little bit contained so I don't go around having bloody pants all the time.

I started out using pads.
Those were awful. Never soaked up anything--especially because it's not just blood coming out; there're clumps of the lining of my uterus as well.
I "graduated" to tampons, which still don't really soak up anything because (I feel like I"m repeating myself) there are clumps of the lining of my uterus coming out as well as streams of blood. I also really hate tampons because I always feel like I'm pulling a bloody, dead mouse by the tail out of my body when the tampon is full up. Now THAT is gross.

I decided at one point that pads were stupid because they had all these nasty cotton things and plastic wrap and weird cloth webbing stuff and no matter what I did I always got blood everywhere especially at night as I lay sleeping. So, my solution was to go back to the good ol days--rags. I have my "period rags", which in all honesty are actually just wash cloths that I put between my legs at night when I'm On-the-Rag and then use to wash my face (if ever I wash my face) the rest of the time. My rag is one of my favorite things about my period because I get to wash it out every morning and watch the brilliant reds drip and swoosh around in the sink and down the drain. Periods are just beautiful. I love having a rag too because it's so much more cost effective. I have one rag which I use for everything (actually I have 2 because I think it came in a little towel set, but it works out good that way because if my rag doesn't completely dry by bedtime then I have another), and I don't have to pay for a bajillion new pads that will not even collect what I need it to before throwing it away.

EW. don't even get me started on the whole feminine products industry and how it's just a ploy to squeeze money out of women because there's really no escaping the monthly visit from Aunt Flow and Uncle Tom. Yeah, I'm not even gonna go there right now.

I'm still working on finding something better than tampons. Lately I've been trying out soft cups, which might only be produced in one brand at the moment called Instead. So far I like the concept much better because they're little cups that catch all the blood AND the little uterus clumps...I'm just not sure yet if this is my favorite way to contain my beautiful messes, but it seems to be much better than tampons at least. There are no strings--no dead, bloody mice images. That's a big plus!

I've heard of other options like sea sponges, which doesn't seem to help with the clumpies, but then again I haven't ever tried them so who knows. Do you know of any other options? I'd love to hear about them.

Sorry (except not really) for another post about bodily fluids, but I just thought periods would be something nice to talk about since nobody ever really does talk about them.

Women, you have anything to say about periods?
Men, you have any questions about periods that you've never been able to ask before?
Share!! ASK!!! :)


~live your own truth~

Friday, November 11, 2011

Favorite, Not So Much, and Just Plain Awesome!!

So I was thinking about social expectations, and I asked some of my friends to tell me their favorite social expectations, their not so favorite, and ones they thought were awesome or odd.

Jen says her least favorite expectation is “that going on a mission is the only indication of whether or not a guy is a good person.” Robbie said one of his least favorite was “that a mission will make guys automatically mature.” His favorite was “SHOWERS!!” Agreed. Then Tristan’s odd one “ ‘Wait, you’re from ___, you must know my good friend ___!’—obviously people from the same state know each other.…”

We can relate to all these. Especially showers … hopefully. So after reading these I felt like I should make my list.

I’ll start with the odd (AKA awesome) one. So I learned of this one from my psychology professor (who was AWESOME btw, if you go to BYU take REBER’s psych 111). He was talking about social expectations we all fall into (like facing the door when you get into an elevator), and my favorite was the shopping cart expectation. We don’t shop out of other’s shopping carts. And why not? They haven’t purchased those items. They don’t belong to them. Even though they have technically “dibbed” them, they’re not necessarily theirs. So I think it would be awesome to just start shopping out of someone else’s shopping cart.

Okay happy moment gone, back to serious.

I’m a convert. I’ve mentioned this before, but I believe it’s a huge part of who I am. Just because I believe in Christ now and do my best to follow the Church doesn’t mean I always have. Back in my hometown everyone knew my family (and their problems) for generations. So seeing as I’m one of the youngest of the last generation to live in this tiny, gossip-filled, hick town, I was the last “Potter” (family name, awesome, I know) to be judged by the people in my town for generations past. And I loved it. They all thought the worst of me which made me constantly want to prove them wrong. I’m thankful for everyone who doubted me because they were just a stepping stone to get where I am now. When I left that town, I was terrified at the thought of not having people look down upon me for fear I wouldn’t have someone to prove wrong. I was certainly wrong about that. Which brings me to my least favorite expectation: perfect Mormons.

I was guilty of this expectation when I first arrived at BYU. I thought everyone around me was perfect, and I was just this sinner drowning in a sea of Zion’s elite. So I wandered, ridiculously depressed, for two semesters, telling myself I would move to Portland where I could sin in peace. Then I went to work this summer at a place where I actually met other Mormons (I pretty much lived under a rock my freshmen year). And I was pleasantly surprised. The people I worked with weren’t just these mindless clones going around being perfect. They had faults. This one night I was out with some of them and this one guy who wasn’t a member joked with his friend about how he couldn’t listen to music that cursed. His response, “Damn it! I’ll listen to whatever the hell I want.” Is it odd that after that I instantly trusted him? He wasn’t perfect, and I was drawn to that. So the summer went on. I was on the watch for people who weren’t perfect. But after I got past all the judging I was doing, I thought about what I discovered. For example, three boys. All very different. I judge people on their taste in music. So one was classical, one was more punk with an eighties rock edge, and another hip hop/top 40 kind of guy. One was shy and sweet, another in your face and blunt, and another dorky yet cool. But all three had one thing in common. They believed in Christ. They were all LDS, but they were so different! That summer taught me that Mormons had thoughts and feelings (shocking I know) but that wasn’t something I quite grasped until then. Before, I kept trying to take the pre-baptized me and the post-baptized person I thought I was supposed to be and smash them together. After that I realized that I could be just me and that was okay.

I learned that I didn’t need to cram myself into this little box that I had defined as Mormonism. I could be free, allow myself a little wiggle room. So I challenge you all this week to break the social expectations laid out for you. If you are LDS I’m not telling you to go off and sin on purpose, but don’t hate yourself if you make a mistake. And if people think you suck prove them wrong. And please, please, shop out of others shopping carts.

My two songs to leave you with this week:

Defying Gravity (Glee version)



Because A) I <3 Kurt

And B) This song is all about achieving your dreams. Taking that leap and going for it. When I get discouraged about my dream of making it on the ballroom company, I listen to this song and think Heck yes! I can dance!

And…

Someday by No More Kings



This song is just kind of fun and upbeat. But it has a good message about finding yourself and not being so hard if you don’t have it all figured out right now. As the song goes, “Someday I won’t be so self-defeating. Won’t kick me when I’m bleeding.” Someday you’ll just know. But don’t take my word for it. Listen and make your own interpretations.



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Not What I Expected (About Expectations)

I set out being really excited to put down some thoughts about social expectations for this week’s post, but it has proven more difficult than I had anticipated.  I even had a bit of fun doing some research and asking a gazillion questions to friends, family, coworkers and innocent civilians about the expectations surrounding relationships (a big thank you to all of you who responded.  Love you all!)  I originally thought this would be an easy topic because there are so many expectations surrounding every aspect of life:  Education, love, career choices and pursuits, family life, belief systems, holidays (ugh), personal hygiene….

I could go on about each of these and how I think we are often driven by these expectations (and understandably so, in many cases).  I have experienced the restraints and pressures of expectations in all of these categories and I know most people have and do.  But as I tried to write about them I kept feeling a gnawing dissatisfaction about something.  It would be so easy to condemn all social expectations and “norms” and call anyone who conforms to them brainwashed people-pleasers! ...Or would it?  Personally, I have come to be extremely cautious of any “group” or “organization” (religion, club, social party…) because they create a group mentality which distracts from listening to and honoring my own soul-voice.  But that is not to say they don’t serve a useful purpose…and I’m still not sure how I feel about that last line, but whatever.

Really, social expectations don’t matter one crumby bit.  They are only expectations.  We may break hearts and let people down by not following them, but that is just a byproduct of honoring our hearts, of listening to our own soul-voice.  Yet this doesn’t mean we always have to go against social expectations either.  What matters here is that we are doing what is right for us.  It means allowing ourselves to be selfish if we feel we cannot participate in the holidays as might be expected by our families.  It means NOT moving in with the one that you love because it is what is right for your relationship, even though it might not make any sense to the world.  It means quitting a stable and career-centered job with great benefits and the possibility for advancement because it doesn’t quite fit with your heart and makes you want to slam your face against a brick wall every time you think about it (this is entirely hypothetical I promise).  But it could also mean getting married (social expectation), showering a few times a week (social expectation), going home for Christmas (social expectation) and perusing a stable, well-paying job (social expectation).  The beautiful thing about this journey of life is that it is going to look different for everyone.

I feel like I’m always saying the same things:  Follow your heart!  Honor your own truth!  Be who you are!  Do what is right for you!  Listen to your soul-voice!  Perhaps this is the song I’m singing right now because it is the one I need to hear the most.  But I’ll keep singing anyway.  (Insert operatic vibrato-drenched voice here).  In my experience, the joy and beauty that come from honoring my truth (whatever that is) is worth any sacrifice.

Forever and ever, AMEN!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Drag queen will cut you!


HAPPY WEDNESDAY!!!!!! Yeah we are half way through the week thank goodness! So did anyone watch glee last night? Yeah it is my favorite episode ever and made me totally cry. Blaine and Kurt forever. Soo onto this weeks wondrous topic; social expectations.

So here are my thoughts... (me speaking in my head)
Brain: 'Nathan you should care about social roles and limits because society says so!'
Me: 'Hey brain just shut your freaking face because I am better than that and I can be who I want to be'
Brain: 'hmmmm, fine but I will still linger here and bug you'
Me: 'Then I will cut you with awesome day dreams and deep thinking!'
Brain: 'Damn you!'

So I think that social expectations should really be ignored and are quite horrible. They are just limits that we are exposed to and become accustomed to because they are in the world around us; society secretly tells us how to be. I have chosen to be myself no matter what. I am dorky, friendly, clean, kind, creative (Yes I am a Hufflepuff, PRIDE!) and so much more and you know who told me that? Myself. I don't need society to tell me who I am or who I should be because I have to accept and love myself first and foremost. I posted the picture of RuPaul because she is kinda amazing.

Drag queens in general choose to TOTALLY reject social limits and flaunt it in everyones faces and I think that's why people love them. They are proud, they are fierce, they don't give a crap about your opinion of them, and they are human; they live life. Now I am not saying that we should all become drag queens but I think that we should learn from them for sure; we should learn to be proud and love ourselves no matter what society tells us we should be. So remember folks keep a mini drag queen in your hearts at all time.

Hmmm... now I think I need a good drag name. Any ides? Bonus points for Harry Potter related drag names!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

- Social Expectations -


"Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom."

-Bertrand Russell


This holds for those who look at social rules and expectations and run, as well as those who cling to them like life-saving ropes.

Social rules and expectations were demons for me when I was a little kid. I didn't understand them, and they had no empathy for me. We didn't get along very well. By the time I understood them and could use them as tools in interacting with others, I had already figured that most of the social rules were meant for cultural checks and balances. You could also use them to pull strings and make people dance like puppets if you were really cognizant of what the other people were feeling and what the social atmosphere was like.

All of us here are in our twenties and either in college or freshly out of it. Most of us wouldn't feel a desperate need for those social rules. We're discovering who we are. From day one, I never felt that I was meant to fit in with those social rules. There are a very few specific instances in my life where I felt that I was human, and not just serendipitously fitting in. I learned to crave the feeling, but part me always feels alien and distant when hanging out with others. Ah well, you can't have everything you want.

 Thanks to that distant part of me, I gained much more insight as to what it means to be yourself over the years. It also makes me more jaded and skeptical to when people declare that they don't need social boundaries or limitations. I've seen that be the excuse for a lot of self-destructive behavior and a lot of hurtful behavior directed at others--especially with myself. It also helped me see that there is value to the stability that social expectations bring. If you can live without them, great. If you try to sweep them out from under the feet of others, that's rude and not at all charitable. If you want to have a large effect on others through politics or a given message, you have to pay your emotional and social taxes to King Moderate--no one wants to hear an extremist except for other extremists, and the label wouldn't exist if the very word 'extreme' didn't have the connotation of rarity. If you don't care about having others hear a message that you mean to spread, well, good for you, enjoy your life however you'd like to. I mean that in the most sincere way.

This year, I threw aside continuing a sparkling record of academia in pursuit of love. I still don't regret it. Social expectations have been instilled in all of us for most of our lives, as far as I'm aware. Sometimes I feel nervous for riding the waves of temp work and not having a stable job, but despite hormone replacement therapy and my namesake grandmother passing away, this is one of the best times of my life.

I love feeling this free, even if I'm riding on winds of the unknown. Fear will not touch me.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Great Expectations

I wrote a book when I was nine about who I would be as an adult.  Reading it now is entertaining, to see how I perceived the world at nine.  At nineteen, I had dated several people and was getting married to a, what else?, RM.  We eloped to the temple, had kids, some of them die, it was very drama-filled.  When I was 17, I was getting ready to graduate high school, and I knew what I was going to do: UVSC for four years, graduate with a bachelors in behavioral science, and attend U of U to get my masters in clinical psychology or something like that.  Somewhere in there, I would meet and fall in love with (ha, I hoped!) a nice RM and he would "take me to the temple". Part of the reasons I had these expectations, was that I was taught to have these expectations.  Some of these expectations can be very helpful and very useful, and others only allow us to not bother thinking outside the box.  The reason I knew who I was going to marry was because it had all but been planned out for me.  I knew I was going to get a good education, because further education was the next step after high-school until you have a degree.

I've been thinking a lot lately about who I thought I would be now.  At 22, I was sure I'd be at U of U right now, working on my master's.  I'd be married and seeking a career in psychology.  Maybe I'd even have a child or two.  I'd be closeted as a homosexual woman, and probably still have no conscious clue why I felt such a disconnect from my female body.  I wonder if I ever would have been Relief Society president.

Things are very different from what I expected.  Actually, things are very different from what everyone expected.  And that is not always such a bad thing.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"the shoulds" are worse than "the shits"

Sometimes I get "the shoulds."

I should do homework.
I should call my dying father.
I should write to my grandmother.
I should stop saying "shit".
I should put the period inside the quotations because that's the correct American way.
I should go to church.
I should clean my room.
I should stop using my car as a closet.
I really should do homework.
I should get good grades.
I should go home to visit my family for Christmas.
I should work more hours.
I should go to FHE.
I should stop staring at the pretty girl with brown eyes and curly red hair in the library.
I should write an essay.


When I was having a really difficult time with life and I hated myself and cut up my arms and legs, I decided to try counseling. I really only took that option because the woman I thought I was in love with at the time suggested it might be a good idea and because I had no other options left--nothing else was helping--and because BYU offers free counseling to full-time students. I also thought that it would be a gateway to getting happy pills, something that would, of course, help me fit into Happy Valley a little better. My goal was to be happy. Because I should be happy--especially because I'm Mormon; Mormons are happy people.

What I didn't realize before I started counseling (aside from how much I really needed to talk about my feelings and my personal issues) is just how much I based almost all my decisions on what other people expected of me. My therapist asked me several times "Where are these 'shoulds' coming from?" For a long time it threw me off a little bit. I would come up with reasons. I should get good grades because I want to go to grad school and I want to have a good chance with applications. I should go to class because I want to graduate. I should call my dad because he's dying and what if I regret not calling him then? I should do this because it produces this result and that's good because it should be good...or something.

I learned that I don't have to do anything. I don't have to let these "shoulds" take over my thoughts, my time, my life. If it isn't a "I want" then who cares?

The thing is, it's not that easy. I still get a serious case of "the shoulds" every once in a while--actually more often than I'd like to admit. It's even worse than "the shits" because usually when that happens there's a good reason, right? That can be blamed on dehydration, or too much coffee, or drinking water on a backpacking trip without properly filtering and boiling first (in which case I hear it can become "explosive shits"--ewww. Sorry, I always have to come back to what *should* be left in the bathroom).

I've noticed something about "the shoulds". I get them especially when I lose sight of who I am. I forget that I'm a person--for real!--and that I get to live my life for ME. It's easy to forget because I grew up in society. I grew up with all these cultural expectations directing my life. Smart people should go to school to get smarter. Smart Mormon Girl people should go to BYU to get smart-mormon-girlier (i.e. get married, get pregnant, and become the first counselor in the Primary). Successful people with jobs graduate from college. And here are my "shoulds". I should do my homework. I should write an essay and finish my lessons because I should finish my Independent Study courses soon soon soon so I can graduate because I SHOULD graduate because successful people with jobs graduate college and I should be a successful person with a job. Here's the catch, I AM a successful person. I've done a LOT of things in my short life. I've changed the whole world already--did you even notice? Well, I did. You were too busy paying attention to all your own "shoulds" that you didn't even see. And, for the record, I do have a job. A fairly decent job at that. Look at all these social expectations I"m meeting. Yet, here I am writing a blog post that I should have written yesterday (because today is Monday although you won't know because I'm magic and can post retroactively) while I really should write a little essay for my class that I have to finish in two weeks. TWO WEEKS. I tend to get "the shoulds" really bad when I'm stressed out. You know what it does? It just stresses me out even more and then my "TO DO" list has more and more "should" type things on it like:

  • turn in that one essay I finished already
  • finish analysis essay
  • (but first read the stupid thing to analyze and then start analysis essay)
  • write one-page proposal for super long awful research paper
  • Read "The Dead"
  • Write Dead essay
  • get a headache while trying to finish yucky to do list in the library and failing miserably
And it has less things on it like:
  • call person I have a crush on
  • make a smoothie and put something new in it
  • work on awesome sewing project
  • go for a walk--because the day is SO lovely even though it's November and it snowed all weekend
  • take a long, warm bath with all the rubber duckies I own
  • pick my nose in a public place and make no effort to hide the fact
  • write lovely stories in my ugly blue journal with the quiet pages
  • play in blueberry shake puddle on the kitchen table with my friend's baby sister

Unfortunately, I don't have an anecdote for myself tonight. Not that I NEED one...just...I don't. I want to graduate. Because of this want, I've got to conform to completing the requirements for graduating--even if they don't seem to match what my soul wants. It hurts to tell my soul that now is NOT the time for covering the floor with construction paper and fingerpainting a giant red, yellow, and green portrait of Bob Marley and then rolling around in it after making proper documentation. But, sometimes things have to wait.

here, listen to a good song


walk on, walk on, walk on cause you can't go back now


~live your own truth~

Friday, November 4, 2011

Perspective Via Potties

Hey everyone! I’m your new Friday blogger. I’ve never blogged before so bear with me. Little bit about me: My name is Dupree, I’m 19 and I go to BYU. I’m from around Portland, Oregon. You’ll get to know me better as the weeks go by. :) But for this week let’s talk about toilets…


What did you do this summer? Did you vacation with your family? Spend time with friends? Flip burgers down at the local diner? Or were you like me and spent your summer cleaning bathrooms on a mountain?

Yes. Bathrooms. Lots of them. 166 toilets to be exact. Which took up 3 hours of my day, 4 days a week, 4 weeks a month, May to August. Which totals to 192 hours cleaning bathrooms. To say I know the ins and outs of a bathroom is an understatement. I know that some cleaning chemicals like HDQ smell like fruit loops. And SHOWER POWER, with its minty cough inducing haze, was sure to get you a nice buzz for the rest of the afternoon. I also learned a pretty awesome knock-knock joke.

“Knock Knock”
“Who’s there?”
“Dwane”
“Dwane who?”
“Dwane the tub I’m drowning!”

This was made even more hilarious due to A) SHOWER POWER and B) the huge lake (AKA sewage) that inhabited the restroom we were cleaning at the time.

Times were hard (like when the lake was created or when it was pouring rain and so muddy that we couldn’t even mop the floors) and they were good (like every time “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” came on my radio). But while working this summer, mostly in bathrooms, I also learned a lot about me and what kind of perspective I wanted on life. I could be the person who moaned about having to clean bathrooms (because it is a disgusting job). Or I could take the more positive route: laugh when a toilet made a “mess,” smile when I got caught in the rain between bathrooms, and sing “BE A MAN” at the top of my lungs every chance I got.

Which perspective will you choose? I chose positive, and I had the best summer of my life, cleaning bathrooms.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Toilet Talk

I simply must say I LOVE MY BATHROOM! …Whoa.  Let me explain. 
Have you ever thought about how wonderful your bathroom is?  How much has happened and how much you have discovered in that one little room?  Although small, bathrooms seem to hold the record for the most influential and versatile of rooms, hands down.  Allow me tell you a bit about my personal love for and history with the bathroom.
The bathroom started out as a play room, the highlight being bath time with cousins.   We would go on great sea voyages to far and distant lands, almost always sinking our ships on the way or being overtaken by pirates, yet somehow living to tell the great tales.  And remember all the bubble costumes???  So many possibilities!  We created everything from wigs like the ones grandma wore and bubble beards to Tarzan loincloths and Roman togas.   And I still like to play in the bathroom, particularly music.  There is nothing quite like the sound of a guitar in the bathroom.  The acoustics are amazing.  Give it a try.
(Caught red-handed playin' on the pot)

The bathroom was also, and still is, a place of comfort.  When we were upset as children my mom would rock us in the bathroom while letting the sound of the running water calm us down.  To this day that still remains one of my favorite and most soothing sounds.  Another favorite thing about the bathroom is the lock on the door.  Growing up in a large family, the bathroom was usually the only place one could go to get a few moments of peace.  Even in school, though the restrooms were multi-stalled, they were one of the quietest places in the entire building and often served as sanctuaries when there was someone seeking my attention that I didn’t want to give it to.
Most of all, my relationship with the bathroom has been one of discovery.  It is where I lost my first tooth, where I began to learn about my body and the bodies of others.  It is where I first discovered acne on my face and hair in new (and sometimes shocking) places.  It is where I first learned to shave my legs and where I discovered that a “period” was more than a form of punctuation.  It is while looking in the bathroom mirrors that I first admitted to myself my attraction to women, where I have been most self-critical, and where I have learned to love myself over and over again.  Don’t get me wrong, not all my experiences in this wondrous room have been pleasant.  Some have been downright painful.  But the bathroom has allowed me a space to get to know myself and to watch my personal transformation through the good, the bad and the ugly (like those huge dark hairs I keep finding growing out of the side of my face!  Yet I have even learned to love those in a strange way).
What does this have to do with LGBT issues, you ask??  Nothing.  And everything.  Self-discovery is everything, wherever it occurs.  So, since we are all on a wonderful and never-ending journey of self-discovery, send out some gratitude to your bathroom today for creating a space for you to be whoever you are at the moment, for never being critical when you find something in the mirror (or inside) that you are unhappy with, for allowing you a place to cry and laugh and learn.  Having a space like the bathroom is a wondrous thing indeed.  Maybe give it a little extra scrub next time you clean.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bathroom revenge!!!

Hey there friends and dear readers

I am your new wednesday and I hope that we will have an amazing time as we continue this blog. Here is a little bit about me. My name is Nathan C. and I am a 21 year old, gay, byu student studying illustration from Hollywood CA. I hope to one day work for in animation as a concept designer and also do children's illustration on the side. Harry potter is basically my life (I have read the entire series a total of 29 times), I am a hufflepuff, I teach charms at Hogwarts, and my patronus is a wolf. I spend my paychecks on books, movies and video games and then realize I have no groceries but hey that's life. If you have any questions or comments than let me know!

Bathroom time!

Oh boy bathrooms...

So here are my thoughts on bathrooms. They can be a magical place or a nasty hellish nightmare, it really all varies. I am part fish in case you wanted to know, I love love love water (I would for sure be a waterbender) and so I need showers and baths to survive. I have to say that I love long showers (my max is a 2 hours shower) and baths and in this way the bathroom can be a magical escape. It helps me to relax and ignore the troubles of stupid school or money etc. Here is where the issues come into play. If you have gross nasty room mates you end up with a disgusting, smelly, hair covered restroom and this kills me! I hate hair in the shower, pee on the toilet, and toothpaste all over the sink. People let's not be slobs!

Story time. So one year I had 2 horrible colorado state champion wrestlers. They were the worst room mates I have ever had. They were loud messy and pretty much ignored me all the time. Well they TWICE flooded the toilet and left it for me to clean up. We had one bathroom and it was flooded with Poo Water. The first time I used their bath towels to mop it all up. The second time I scooped up some of the poo water and put it into their milk. Yeah I know that is sick but hey be kind be courteous; people clean your bathroom and don't be a jerk.

So there are some of my thoughts about bathrooms. Keep it clean keep it magical. Till next week!

Oh and P.S. paper toilet seat covers are a wonderful invention, why do we not have them in Utah???

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Showers of Thought

Bathrooms. Well, if you have to have a topic...
I kid. This is actually a good topic for a few reasons.

I talk about my disability a lot, and bathrooms are actually a sanctioned place to get away from other people and are expected to be somewhat quiet, which makes it a haven for me. I have gone into men's bathrooms on accident and on purpose, whether to make a point or to just freak people out. While I'm a deviant in the sense that I want people to think and don't mind making them uncomfortable to do so, I've been trying to do less of that. Taking out anger on strangers is useless, even if it's because you're trying to vent or express the fact that you've been uncomfortable for most of your life.

Showers and baths are the places where I do most of my thinking. Water has spiritual meaning for me, and it's where I've come the closest and the farthest away from God. It's where I've had last minute prayers of "Ohpleasedon'tletmebelatetoworkIgottago" as well as hours of meditation while my skin turns into a prune. Water is accommodating to every twist and turn, feels awesome on the skin, and can be refreshingly cold or warm. It can also carve canyons, burn by abrasion or heat, facilitate rot and necrosis, and if there's none to be found anywhere, we die in three days.

My experience with the water this morning was fairly pleasant. I stepped inside the room with all outer thoughts and garments stripped off, sighing as I turned on the hot water and lifted the latch at the bottom of the shower. I can't stand showering standing up since the spray of the shower water is about 5'8" high, and I'm 5'11".


I got in and I sat, letting my hair undulate over my skin as the water washed me down. I let myself sit there for a few minutes, thinking about my recently passed grandmother and all of the things that she meant to me. I imagined all of the stress of living a normal life washing off and going down the drain, hating the fact that I feel like I am a square peg being shoved into a round hole too tiny for all of the issues my body and heart face. I let that hatred wash away as well, letting all things pass except for who I was and that if nothing else, the water felt good. All time outside could wash away with it, for all I cared.

That's the usual feeling I get each time I'm in the shower, and I love the walls and curtain around me for blocking out all other thoughts. Sometimes I shower in the dark, and it tends to give me even more meditative experiences, able to let my senses open as far as they want without having to focus on light. It reminds me of what a primordial world must have been like at night--quiet, still, not rushed or stressed or filled with the toils of a world where the constant struggle to survive was the law. There would have been just a few floating amino acids sailing across an ocean dotted with a night sky, feeling nothing but the liquid and warmth around them.

 Then, I let loose the plug, dry off, and re-illuminate myself to an electric and digital dawn of another day. I turn on the light, check my phone, and rejoin the ever-chaotic law of life.

-Amber

Also- may Lawana Kay Bell rest in peace.

A little late

I apologize for a late post, it should be out by Thursday at latest. I've been having to do testing for diabetes and my grandmother passed away.

Have a lovely week!
-Amber