20101222

Yes Means Yes, with one hundred percent more Hindemith

Let's talk about rape.  I do that a lot; it's one of the occupational hazards of being A Feminist and all.

So, someone recently posted this on Facebook, and I loved it.  I haven't read the article to which is refers, but the sentiment within the post is something about which I feel strongly because of personal experience.  I absolutely agree with No Means No, but also feel strongly about the need for Yes Means Yes as a paradigm shift, and about the need to acknowledge survival tactics for what they are.  Enthusiastic consent should be the minimum for sexual relations, period.

Storytime!  I have told this story before on my old blog, but I think a different retelling to address definitions of rape is in order.  No, I'm not horribly traumatized by this story, and, on the off chance that someone comments, I don't need apologies for it having happened.  It's just, the rape culture and all.

When I was seventeen-year-old junior in high school, I was dating a senior.  He was very good-looking.  He was also dumb as a rock.  I realized that I didn't want to date him the second he pulled me aside in weight training class to ask for my phone number, but I was fresh out of a relationship in which "no" had meant literally nothing to my ex-boyfriend, and so I had no idea how to say it anymore.  Thinking that I was being ridiculous, that this guy was good-looking, and that I didn't want to hurt his feelings, I gave him my phone number.  We went on a date to the dollar theater, and the first thing he did when the lights dimmed was stick his hand up my shirt.  While I'm sure that was sexy for him and all (especially considering that he was a virgin), to say that I was unenthused would be to overstate my interest in him.  However, I obligingly let him feel me up, and, two dates later, obligingly slept with him, because that was what I did.  I was a nice girl, I'd already slept with two people and, as a conservative Christian, though, in for a penny, in for a pound (the petals were already off the rose!), and thought it would be rude to refuse him.  (Not that the thought process was that complicated.  It was more like, "Well, I'm already a slut, so it's not like it matters."  And not like in a, "Why not have fun," kind of way.  More like a, "Well, I already let one guy, so what's the difference?"  Sex has not been fun for the majority of the time that I've been having it, although it's been fixed.)

That wasn't rape, though.  It was a couple of dumb teenagers acting like dumb teenagers, and my exhibiting behaviour you would expect from an indoctrinated kid who had been abused.  He had little- to no sexual experience, and most of my sexual experience was indifferent at best and abusive at worst, and condemned by my religious upbringing to boot.  I thought I was worthless.

One night, when we had been casually seeing each other for perhaps four months or so, with an increasing level of disgust on my part, I was settling in to have a nice night alone with just a glass of tea and the CD of my band's spring concert.  I didn't want to go out, and had let him know repeatedly before that I appreciate a phone call before he dropped by.  Perhaps that makes me a crazy hypercontrolling nazi bitch in the eyes of some, but I'm an introvert, and I would far rather have been allowed my space from someone who wasn't even my boyfriend.  I don't care who you are.  I need warning if I am going to interact with you IRL, and I was even less social in high school.

I was settling in to listen to the march from Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis.  I don't know why this is what sticks so hard in my head, but it is.  I just wanted to listen to the goddamn march and be left alone.  I didn't want anyone to come by expecting anything of me.  I mean, listen to that march!  Shit!  I don't care who you are; you want to play the horn listening to that.  My evening was booked.

There was a knock on the door.  Irritated, I looked through the eyehole and found myself rolling my eyes.  Fucking, this guy.  Since I was a nice girl, I opened the door instead of just pretending not to be home, and he wanted to go out, which translated to he wanted to have sex.

I did not want to, for a variety of reasons, and I told him, "Guy, I will go out with you, but I do not want to have sex.  There will be no sex.  I AM NOT HAVING SEX WITH YOU THIS EVENING, GUY.  So, um, DO NOT EXPECT SEX."  He probably nodded or gave some other sign of acknowledgment, but this dude was dumb enough that it didn't really matter.

We went to a movie.  It might have been Hannibal.  Whatever.  The movie ended, and he went through the usual routine of starting to make out in the back of his van in the parking lot.  I put a halt to those activities so say, "HEY, GUY!  REMEMBER THE PART WHERE I SAID NO SEX!  THERE WILL BE NO SEX!"  Now, understand how averse I was to it, considering that I'm pretty sure that this was the first time I had said no in a situation that didn't make me feel physically threatened.

Well, when one isn't planning on having sex, one doesn't buy condoms, but he figured, in his wisdom, that perhaps he should stop by a gas station and buy them anyway because, hey, it might happen!  My asking to go home (since we were not having sex) was just a "maybe."

We went to our usual dark spot and he started to take his clothes off.  I said, "HEY, GUY, I WANT TO GO HOME, AND WE ARE NOT HAVING SEX, OKAY GUY REALLY."  So, if we're counting, that's, like, a spillion "nos", approximately.  Well, just in case, of course, he kept disrobing, and then he started to undress me.

Honestly, I do not even remember exactly how we got to the "having sex" point.  I remember that I said no the entire time, but he couldn't have taken all of my clothes off.  This is why I'm talking about survival tactics.  I'd actually been forcefully raped before, with full physical threat, and I knew what that felt like.  I didn't want to go through it again.  I kept on saying no to him, but I went through the physical gestures that would spare me being held down and forced to have sex.

I don't know when I stopped protesting.  I'm pretty sure it was well into the act.  That would have been the point where I started crying, silently, not responding at all to his ridiculous flailing, because why bother?  I was no more than an appendage for his pleasure.  It wasn't even that he gleefully disregarded my "no."  I wasn't even sufficiently human to warrant notice when I said it.  I lied there and wept silently, did not move, did not respond, and stopped saying no, because I didn't want to fight back against this guy.  I mean, he was nice, right?  Even if he ignored me saying no?  It's not like he forced me.  He just knew that I wouldn't back up the word with my fists, with my feet, with my teeth.

Afterwards, we got out of the van, which was good, because I wanted to scream.  I didn't know that the word "rape" applied to what had happened there.  All I knew was that I hated him more than I had ever hated anyone, abusive ex included, because at least my abusive ex had thought I was human enough to abuse.  This guy literally did not see me as a factor in our sexual relations.  He asked me to sit by him, and put his arm around me, which was odd, because he was rarely affectionate, and I didn't want it from him, either.  Maybe he knew I was upset.  I don't know.

We drove to McDonalds to get some chicken nuggets.  A song came on the radio.  "I don't care about anyone else but me."  He took me home.  He kissed me good night.  It was all very civil.


Now, what the hell is wrong with our society that, while I was willing and able to call what happened to me a violation, I thought of it as grey, maybe rape-ish, but not, you know, rape-rape, like what happened to me in my prior relationship?  I mean, I DID stop saying no after a while.  I DID take off my clothes, even if I had told him before that I didn't want to.  I DIDN'T fight him.  I didn't think of what I was doing as the survival tactic that it was.  I thought of it as automatic.  There was no conscious thought.

Then, one day while I was in Missoula, I was driving and listening to the radio, and the song that I mentioned earlier came on the radio again.  I hadn't heard it since the day that I had been out with Guy.  I had to pull over, gasping, and nearly vomited.  Oh, God, I thought, that shit was rape.  It was worse, in its own way, than what had happened to me before him, because I had never even given myself the right to claim it as such, and because most people wouldn't think of it that way.

Shouldn't have been fucking when I was a teenager.  Shouldn't have been fucking someone I didn't like.  Shouldn't have gone out with him when I didn't want to.  Shouldn't have taken my clothes off.  Shouldn't, shouldn't, shouldn't.

And there wouldn't have really been anyone I had known at the time who would have said that he shouldn't have disregarded my request that he call before he stop by.  That he shouldn't have ignored me when I told him that we would not be having sex.  That he shouldn't have stopped at the gas station to get condoms when I told him we were not having sex.  That he shouldn't have taken me to the dark spot when I asked him to take me home.  That he shouldn't have ignored me while I said no the whole time.  That he shouldn't have taken his partner's silence as assent, and that, for that matter, no person, male or female, should consider an unresponsive partner a consenting one.  (This wasn't the last time we had sex in which I was unresponsive; a similar occasion was when I had spent all day in summer band and a good deal of the evening working, and he stopped by unannounced to pick me up from work.  I didn't want him to and I told him because I was completely exhausted, I smelled like ass and chicken, and I hated his guts, but he didn't listen that time, either.  I fell asleep for a few minutes during and he didn't even notice.  This is a problem, you guys; it's funny in a let's-make-fun-of-his-dumb-ass kind of way, but it's also immensely fucked up.)  He shouldn't have done any of that shit.  I was raped because he couldn't even be considerate enough to call before he came over, much less consider that maybe the cessation of my protest wasn't consent.

My point isn't to ask for sympathy, so please don't give it.  I don't care what you, dear reader, think about what happened to me, so much as I care about this story's part in the larger narrative.

We need a narrative in which enthusiastic consent is the baseline for consent.  Ceasing to say no is not consent.  I deserve better than to have felt responsible for this asshole's coldly waiting out my protest.  My daughter deserves better than to ever feel that way, and so does every other female.

I apologize for the general trailing-off feel of this, but I don't have much else to say.  That's my story.  Most of the women I know have a story like it.  I'm sick of that.  If it was just me that would be great, but, for fuck's sake, it's women I know, and it's women who have been unfortunate enough to be attacked by powerful men.  We need to remove the option of, "Well, she didn't scream," or, "Well, she stopped saying no," from the equation.  We need a better narrative.

20101221

Writing

This post is firmly in the spirit of "the personal is political."

This has given me a problem for a long time.  When I sit down to write, I start thinking, and thinking is never good for me.  It always starts as a niggling suspicion: "You don't have anything important to say."  This branches out into the more destructive, "Since you have nothing to say, why don't you read what other people have written?  They have good things to say."

I'm finding this to be particularly poisonous to the process of writing about my past.  Again, I think that I have a history with experiences that fill a wide spectrum of emotions, and I think that I have the ability to frame these events in ways that will make them interesting to a reader.  I don't think that my stories are uniquely fascinating (I think that most people have fascinating lives when you get down to it), but I think that I have the ability to express that people who have been through similar things are not alone, even if they feel as if they are.  That is why I want to write. 

The problem is, a lot of what I want to write about happened to me when I was a teenager.  Now, I don't know if I agree entirely with Twisty Faster when she says that, "Teenage girls are the most despised people on the planet," but it's certainly close, and I see these own prejudices in my own thoughts about teenagers, particularly girls, and very particularly my former self.

A few months ago I went through the terrible poetry I slaved over as a teenager in order to post some of it for mockery, and, after looking at the vast majority of it, was stunned.  I wasn't stunned over how terrible it was (although it was pretty terrible for the most part, and there was certainly comedy fodder).

I was stunned at how ungodly fucking depressed I was.  I mean, it's one thing to look back and say, "Yeah, I struggled with some depression issues as a teenager.  No big deal."  It's another to look back at poem after poem talking about a sense of worthlessness, about blood and death and shit that no teenager should be obsessed with, period.  It took me, for a moment, out of my smug sense of adulthood and placed me firmly back in the shoes of the honestly troubled teenager that I used to be, and it made me cringe, because she deserves better than to be mocked by adults, even if that adult is the person she grew to be.

See, I want to minimize that girl's experiences.  Her earnest morbidity is embarrassing to me; I don't want to identify with her, with her reducing everything to blood, with her bizarre fascination with death.  I want to identify her as privileged and spoiled and stupid, and I want to say that her problems were entirely of her own making.  (Again, to be fair, these things are true, to a degree.)

But I can't do that while giving an honest recounting of abuse.  I can't do that while giving an honest recounting of how incredibly heavy the world felt at the time.  I can't do that while reaching out and saying, "You're not alone."  It's not funny that I was so depressed.  It's not funny that I put up with abuse.  None of that shit is funny, and, if I keep on laughing at myself as a teenager, I'm doing a disservice to teenagers who are now going through some of what I went through.  In minimizing my own struggles, I minimize those of people who struggle now.

I don't know.  I mean, on the one hand, it really has been a decent coping tool: it's easy not to feel keenly the memories of isolation, of mild physical abuse, of self-loathing, of rape, if I shrug them off as normal, stupid bullshit that all teenagers go through.  "Oh, yeah, I was a dumbass melodramatic kid.  You know teenagers."  However, on the other hand, it's easy for me to mock it: I'm here to do it.  If I had actually succeeded in my suicide attempt my freshman year, or if I had tried again later in greater earnest, and if I had died, that simply would not be funny.  And there are kids who do this.

I can't point a finger in the mirror and laugh without doing damage to my perception of people who hurt.

The thing is, I never went to therapy for real.  I never went through therapy for the abuse that I went through because my parents weren't even aware of it until long after it had been over and done.  I ended up making a lot of immensely stupid decisions because of a lack of awareness of the motivations for my decisions, but I came out on the other side.  And I've laughed, because part of me really does find melodrama morbidly hilarious, but it's partially because, when I really sit down and think about how I felt then, I want to curl up into a ball.  It was truly horrible.  No, it wasn't as bad as what a lot of people go through, but what mattered was how I felt at the time.  No, I don't carry the feelings with me, but it is very hard to think about them without laughing hysterically at the sheer absurdity of how goddamn heavy everything seemed at the time.  I never sat down and thought honestly about how awful it was, and I'm having to actually do this if I want to write.  It's hard to think about a time when you were miserable when you're genuinely happy.  It's like throwing off a warm blanket and stepping into the howling cold.  You don't have to do it, so why would you?

Part of what has me thinking about this is the death of Mrs. G*.  See, she didn't really care if it was melodrama.  What she cared about was that there was this kid who had tried to hurt herself.  What she cared about was that she had a teenager who turned into a nervous wreck in the middle of rehearsal and had to be guided out in order to pull herself together.  She cared what my reasons were, sure, but she wouldn't have judged me on them.  She had the time and the care for a sixteen-year-old who had been raped the day before, whose world had fallen apart, and she wasn't laughing.  She was the only person to take that teenage-me and say, "You matter," even though she was at least somewhat aware of how incredibly fucked up I was at the time.  I haven't even done that to myself, because, when I wasn't completely falling apart, I was bitterly mocking my own hurt.  I thought it was absurd, even then, because I was a teenage girl, because my problems didn't matter.  She told me that my problems were real and deserved to be addressed when I wasn't even willing to tell myself that. 

I want to work in a rape crisis center.  The thing is, I don't know how I can do that, how I can do what she did and go to other people and tell them, "You matter; your stories matter," if I don't even do that to myself.

So, here goes.

*I have no idea what her politics were, no idea of her position on feminism, and don't want to attribute any views to her that didn't exist.  My point isn't that she was an explicit advocate for victims of abuse, sexual or otherwise, although she certainly played the part by being a generous, attentive person.  My point is that I would like to take that healing care and apply it in areas of interest to me, and I am passionate about advocacy for rape survivors.

20101218

So, yeah

Okay, seriously?  I'm pretty bad at blogging.  It's a combination of the inability to hold down a thought for long enough to write a comprehensive post on anything (usually my posts die because I start reading something else), or it's that I can't bring myself to come over here and blog.


To top that off now is the fact that I do believe I'm going to start writing on something.  Maybe.  I don't know.  I say that a lot.  But I have a set of autobiographical stories in mind because, despite how boring I am personally, I've had some bizarre, interesting shit go down in my life.  I can't give a comprehensive story of my life for a lot of reasons, but I can give a series of short stories.  The idea came when I was sitting last year in a hotel room on New Year's Day en route to visit family in Georgia, and they were playing "Clocks" over some sports montage that my gentleman caller was watching, and talking about how it was a Decade!  Over!

And I thought, you know, as decades go, mine has been pretty fucking insane.  Maybe I should write about it.  "Ten Years In The Life: A Checklist Of Shit Not To Do With Your Life."  Except, of course, the later parts that got me here, that required the earlier parts, but whatever.  Everyone takes their own path, and mine is usually exceptionally crooked.  I was one of those kids who probably burned their hands to a crisp repeatedly on the stove.  Make of that what you will.

Anyway, exacerbating that was the death of someone to whom I was not close as an adult, but who was important to me through the worst of my teen years, when I was being abused and was so depressed that it's a miracle that I didn't try to hurt myself again in greater earnest.  I was very sorry to hear about her death because she was truly one of those people who knew what people needed and when and, the day after the worst of the problems happened, when I sat in band class and quietly had a complete meltdown in my chair, she pulled me out and asked me what was wrong.

She was the only adult in the entirety of my time in high school to ask me what was wrong.  It doesn't matter that I didn't have the words to tell her and wouldn't have if I did.  It just mattered that she asked.  That was the kind of person she was.  Mind you, I'm not blaming my parents for this, because neither of them was particularly happy at the time and I was giving them absolute hell as payback for the shit that I was going through.  But, still, she was the only one to ask.


And, in a couple of days, I'm going to a memorial service for her, because it's that important to me.  However, at this memorial service I will probably be seeing a lot of people I went to high school with.

Have I mentioned that I broke and ran from here as fast as I could upon graduation for a reason?  I wanted away.  I did not want to see people from high school anymore.  I wanted to forget about it.

I realize now that that isn't possible or productive, and I'm not running from my past.  It's just, I don't want to see people from it.  One of my greatest fears upon moving back home, and one of the biggest reasons I didn't want to, was the fear of encountering people I knew.  I don't know what to say or to do.  And I'm about to go be around a bunch of them probably, at a service to honor someone who helped make those awful years tolerable.  I'm not looking forward to that part.

So, long story short, this makes me want to write.

Yeah, this isn't about politics.  I won't be able to write about politics for a while without the post containing largely the word "fuck" and the occasional sputtering noise.  I am done with this bullshit.  It's not apathy.  It's the opposite.

So, yeah.  I'm going to continue right on being boring now.

20101130

(Currently untitled)

Been a long time,
she said,
years of silence between us.

It has, I said,
not fond
of the phone and its distance

You remember
that time
I fell asleep back then

When we were still
talking
on the phone late at night

Wasn't that so
funny
with you calling out and

Trying to reach
and find
me, your friend, still sleeping

Yeah, I recall,
being
thirteen and liking the

Telephone back
before
the advent of texting

It was easy
when young
to communicate and

Somehow the long
dead air
didn't bother me then

I guess I grew
out of
enjoying being so

Aware of the
silence
that springs between people

How have you been
since I
last spoke to you as a kid

Back when silence
was not
something that brought distance

Well, you know how
it can
be when they don't tell you

I did not need
to ask
what she meant by the words

It is a cruel
world now
so different from back then

They never said
that it
was full of people who

Wait in the night
with knives
sharpened and ready for

Unwary hearts
to be
cut still-beating from chests

20101129

Obliviate

This is a post about Hermione Granger, Inception, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I promise.  It's just incognito.  It is also partially about the politics of being female, and of being a mother, but you might need to read between the lines.

I group my feelings into two subgroups: Relevant and Irrelevant.  If they are Irrelevant, I like to detach from them, and generally can.  If a feeling is relevant but cannot be controlled sufficiently to make progress in a situation, I group it in Irrelevant anyway.  Most of my feelings about my son are in subgroup Irrelevant, since his feelings are the only ones that matter.

I mastered my detachment skills the morning after my ex-husband (let's call him EH) called his parents and had them take my son.  I don't see the point in overburdening this with a description of how I felt.  Either you can feel the edge of what it might be like, or you can't, and I don't know how to help you with it.

The next morning, I woke up and made breakfast.  I picked up EH's living room.  I picked myself up off of the floor, dusted myself off, and continued on as a completely different person than the one who had finally fallen asleep a few hours before.  I mean, certainly I had all of the same feelings that I had possessed before, but put them in a box and tagged them Irrelevant.  I absolutely had to, or I would have lost my mind, and I had a baby daughter to care for.  This wasn't even about choosing my own health; it was about choosing hers. 

(I did all of this without appealing to God or gods, despite my nominal theism of the time.  Sorry to insert an Atheist Aesop here, but I think it's truly tragic that so many people do not realize their own strength when dealing with difficulty, and have to credit it to something external.  No, you are strong.)

I continued with my life and learned the hard way to make decisions.  I mean, the "decisions" to enlist at the end of high school, to get engaged, get pregnant, and get married at nineteen can only be considered a decision by the broadest of terms; I had never learned to think for myself, and just let things happen to me.  (That's the nice thing about the military: it is profoundly easy to simply follow orders.)  I had never learned to take responsibility for myself, much less for someone else, and just kind of let shit happen to me until, at twenty-three years old, I found myself in that living room without my child.

Self, meet adulthood.

Having felt worse upon meeting adulthood than I ever had because of sexual assault (very few things trigger me about rape, but I have a very rough time with triggers for this event), I kept breathing.  It was like a near-death experience; I looked down on my broken, bleeding body, and said, "Nope, just going to continue on without that mess, thanks.  IRRELEVANT."  I'd say that a part of me died that day, but it's still there.  I just don't have use for it, and it will not benefit anyone else in my life, either, this ghost-me, so I don't pull it off of the shelf.  I just kind of wipe the blood off of my shoulders when its get on me.  No, thank you.  It has to be like something that happened to someone else, or I would suffocate.  I don't particularly care if it's healthy, because the question is not whether or not it's healthy.  The question is how I get up every morning, and this is how.

I still can't get through some songs.  Like Seal Lullaby, that we're singing.  Half the time I stand there, statuesque, mute, incapable of using my favorite means of expression to say, even to an audience, even essentially anonymously, that I love my children, son and daughter both.  I can't say it, because that body will come tumbling down on my head and get blood all over me.  That's a messy affair.  I know it's noticeable that I can't get through singing it half the time because I'm one of the more assertive altos, and our director looks at me strangely.  Whatever.  I have a bleeding body marked Irrelevant falling out of my closet on my head.  I think y'all can manage this one without me, thanks.

The only time I actually say how I feel is during another song, when we have to shout in a foreign language, a few words, anything, and I shout, "Extra├▒o mucho a mi hijo!"  God damn it, I miss my son! 

The problem is: this is not only related to me.  This affects my son as well.  I can carry this burden myself.  I'm big, I'm strong, I've lived with this for a long time.  Please, let it just hurt me.  I have the skills to cope.  I'm used to having the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I can deal with this as long as it's just my own bleeding body in my closet.  Mine is Irrelevant.

No.  My son still has abandonment issues.  I don't know how well he remembers that night (he was three and a half), but he's terrified that he'll never see me again.  While I'm busy trying very hard not to answer any questions he might have because I am simply not willing to undermine his father, EH is telling him that, if I had gotten to take him back to Texas, they never would have seen each other again.  I tell him otherwise, but I'm not the main one talking to him.  I can tell him that I wanted him desperately, that I have my own bleeding body stuffed in a closet and have ever since a night he might not remember, that I would tell him my feelings about it if they weren't Irrelevant, but it won't mean anything because I'm not there.  They are.  I got very, very sick last night of saying the words, "It's very complicated" to him.  I think he deserves better, but, by the time he'll be able to understand better and will be out of his father's house so that I can tell him honestly, he might hate me.  I don't know.  I might if I was him.

He has two parents there who love him and care for him, and the decisions, both of myself and others, that got us to this point, aren't particularly relevant to that.  I am not there.  I am Irrelevant.  They are.  And still, he, the only one with Relevant feelings, hurts.

The first time he went away with his father, for the three months of the summer of 2005, I saw "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" very shortly after.  That movie hits ms like a cannonball to the stomach, and it did at the time, too, but it's not the storyline.  It's the idea of being able to erase agonizing pain like that.  I asked myself, what good am I to my son?  Do either of us need to hurt this much?  But, of course, he was coming back to me, so I dismissed the very painful thought.

That's not the case anymore.  When EH's girlfriend adopts him, we will be signing paperwork allowing me to continue to have the same visitation and contact rights, and I appreciate that concession.  It is being made for his sake, not for mine, which is as it should be, because I am an unperson in this situation.  I am a big person, and I can handle big feelings, but we have to consider how he will feel.  He would be hurt by the loss of myself and his sister, and I don't know whether to be bothered or happy at that, because I would rather him not hurt.  I dread my daughter getting older and really understanding the situation and hurting like I do.

But let's be honest: He's never coming to live with me now.  There is never any chance of shared custody.  I am signing away my son, for his good.  I gave him my blood up until his birth, and I have not stopped giving it since.  I wish that I could show him how much I love him, but there is just no way to do it aside from doing this, and, ironically enough, this will probably give him the impression later on that I don't.  How am I supposed to show love?  My love is Irrelevant.

And I wish I could do this to him.  It would be so much easier on him, and I could carry this alone.  He has a mom, and he has a dad.  He has a life.  The only source of pain in his life is my absence.  I could handle all of this tumbling down on me if it would spare him, but it won't.  This isn't a dream, I'm not waking up and coming home to my child, and there is no forgetting.  I chose this reality.  I sign away my son, as simple as that, because it is what any mother would do in this situation.

And I think it's going to get uglier from here.  It's become more and more the case that the only thing I obtain from loving my son is pain, and I wouldn't change my loving him because of it, but.  It's Irrelevant, but this is putting it in the spotlight.  I am losing my son in most possible ways.  I'm glad that I don't have to handle it alone this time.

I don't really have anything else to say.  This is a shit-mess of a post, but whatever.  I need to breathe.

Brief Thoughts on Parenting From Afar

See, this is why I suck at blogging.  I firmly believe that the personal is political, but somehow that doesn't always translate when I try to post personal stuff.  Regardless, this is something I need to talk about, and better in an internet forum where no one is reading (in particular, no one who knows me very well).  I'm going to talk about it at greater length later, maybe in a discussion of the politics of motherhood, but I don't really know that I need to politicize it.  It's already there.

So, my ex-husband's girlfriend, soon-to-be-wife, wants to adopt my son, because my ex-husband is (supposedly; he's like a leaf in the wind) going to the police academy and will be in a high-risk position.  She's been with my son for the past couple of years.  I haven't.  She's taken care of him.  I haven't.  (I like her much more as a person and as a parent than my ex-husband, by the by, and I am glad that she's been there since I can't be.)  I mean, the reasons are complicated, but the facts of the matter stand.  It will absolutely be in his best interests for her to adopt him, and I would never put up a custody fight, just as I didn't during the divorce for the same reasons.  I am an unperson; I have no feelings and no rights, and it is by my own design.  This is motherhood.

You need me to open another vein for my son?  I'll do it.  I'll try to let it splatter elsewhere.  I've gotten used to deflecting his occasional questioning so that I don't actually talk to him about the fact that his father kidnapped him and stranded me.  Keeping bile and blood from my child has become about half of my dealing with him, and very little of it is my fault, but that's become a very bitter satisfaction.  I just roll it into a tiny ball and try to keep it from touching the rest of my life, which is pretty good.

I did not want this, but for his good, sure.  Without a thought.  I'll bleed elsewhere, thanks.  Where's the paperwork?

20101123

It's harassment story time!

So, my very first post on here talked about my morning as Piece of Ass, with my lovely four-year-old daughter, Piece of Ass Jr.  I never posted it because, well, you know, the forgetfulness.  Whatever.

So I just saw something on a blog that I read that made me think, this would be a better post for the blog than for Facebook.  Why the hell not?

Let's start with harassment story time!  Harassment, you guys!  It's not an isolated issue!

I've mentioned on here, briefly, how I ended up coming to feminism because of how many goddamn black roses there were onstage at my first Vagina Monologues.  I've been raped by two men, both when I was a teenager (there are other shady instances from adulthood that just haven't impacted me that strongly, so I don't really bother with them), both of whom were previous consensual partners, both of whom were my age at the time (sixteen and seventeen, respectively).   I have no problem talking about it.  My triggers are more from the verbal and slight physical abuse that I got in the more abusive relationship.  That being said, rape is still kind of a big deal.

However, it's not like these are isolated incidents.

When I was eight years old or so I was on a playground by myself (and I was farther away from my house than I was supposed to be).  A man came and started watching me jumping rope, and he told me that I was good at it.  I was a trusting little kid, so sure, okay, I'm good at jumping rope.  Then he asked me if I wanted to see something that only boys had.  Now, I wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but my mom didn't spend my childhood trying to hide what sex was from me, so I knew that dudes had junk, and this freaked me that absolute fuck out.  I told him no, and politely asked if I could go home.  He said yes, but then he tried to follow me.  I sprinted and hid in a place that only I knew about, watched him walk by, waited until he was completely gone, and then went home.

When I was twelve we moved to an apartment complex that spent a very long time with areas under construction to get a golf course set up.  Being, you know, fucking twelve, and prepubescent in most ways, I thought it was safe to walk around.  I was safe walking around in my old apartment complex (which was the place we lived in after the one where the dude tried, strangely politely, to molest me).

Nope.  Totally not safe.  Everywhere I went, for most of the three years that I spent in this place, the landscapers and construction workers would hoot, holler, and whistle at me.  Keep in mind that, while this is unacceptable when done to anyone, I didn't even look pubescent until probably sixteen or seventeen years old.  They were harassing what, to all intents and purposes, appeared to be a little girl.  (And, mentally, in a lot of ways that related to sexuality, I still was, even after I lost my virginity at fifteen.)

This scared me, of course.  I couldn't set foot out of my own front door without feeling molested.  However, it got worse, because the men started actually following me around.  Now, mind you, I was a kid who wandered everywhere with impunity; I spent most of my childhood outside and alone and blissfully happy.  I stopped that about at puberty because I didn't feel safe anywhere.  I couldn't go fucking anywhere without a man following me around and making creepy noises at me.  I thought this was weird until I asked a friend about it and she said that one of the men had tried to actually make a pass at her.  So!

But, there was one guy I trusted.  He took time to tell the other guys to shut up, would walk and talk with me, and didn't seem particularly creepy.  I know now that, if some dude in his early- to mid-forties was trying to be BFFs with my thirteen-year-old, I would be creeped the fuck out, but I was thirteen, and I still trusted far, far more than I should.  I'm pretty sure that this incident, and the later abuse, put an end to my trust problem.

Well, one night I was walking home in the twilight with a basket of laundry.  The guy saw me and stopped to walk with me.  Then, like you do with thirteen-year-old girls with their hands full, he waited until we got to a shadowy area and then grabbed me and stuck his tongue in my ear and groped at me.  I don't remember how loudly I said no, but I would've started screaming bloody murder if he hadn't have stopped.  He did.  I went home.  When I tried to report it to the apartments, since they employed him, they basically laughed me out of the office.  Because, you know, a thirteen-year-old has a lot of goddamn reason to come to the office and bitch about fake sexual harassment.  It totally wasn't fucking humiliating.  Bonus points for when they pretended to try to verify my identity by asking me if my dad had a sister and what her name was, and THEN sent me home.

So, um, I was a little bit suspicious of dudes I didn't know at this point.  Cue getting used to street harassment, because, you know, guys, it's really fucking sexy when you honk at women and scream at them from cars.  Since I know that the dudes who do that aren't stupid enough to think that they're actually going to see some titties, I'm going to make the (correct) assumption that it's a public campaign of intimidation rather than attempts to get sex or to celebrate their sisters' beauty in the streets.  Gotta keep bitches in their place, you know.  Where this irritates most women, it just triggered me then, and actually terrified me, because I was afraid of being fucking raped.  And now it actually makes me feel physically violent.

But surely, you must say to yourself, in adulthood, since I'm chubby now, since I'm a mom, since I'm not a teenager anymore, I haven't dealt with this!  Surely!

Yeah, guess again.  It's much less frequent, sure, but three incidents out of a few from the past few years stand out in my mind.

Back in 2008 I was walking to work in my usual work outfit: heels, a knee-length skirt, a blouse, whatever.  And a dude drives by and screams, "Whore!" out the window at me.

No, I did not jump on his dick, despite the aspersions he cast on my character.

Then, back during Hurricane WhatTheFuck in September, I was stranded in the rain and was (un)fortunate enough to catch the attention of a gentleman who was willing to take me to class, provided, of course, I was willing to put up with repeated verbal sexual advances.  Because when you see a desperate woman in the rain and you get her by herself in your car, when she can't get out and go anywhere, that's the fucking time to solicit sex.  Who knows?  Maybe she's a prostitute out in the rain!  Bitch shouldn'ta been outside.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was sitting at the bus stop with my four-year-old.  She is a very cute child, but if people have started catcalling her already then I'm seriously buying a fucking shotgun.  I'm wearing jeans and a tank top because what the hell else would I wear?  And we get to have the pleasure of some dudes in a big truck laying on their horns as loud as they can and hollering out the window at us.  I'm guessing it was me since I'm the one with tits, but you can never tell with this kind of dude.  And it got my daughter some special training for her happy future as a sex object!

Moral of the story?  Back the fuck off of women, dudes.  Just because they're outside doesn't mean they're cruising for cock, if they're in a situation when they're more powerless than you then you have absolutely no place trying to get them to fuck you, and I might put a fucking baseball bat through the window of the next guy to lay on a horn.  Don't tell me this shit is isolated, because, if mousy little me has managed to accumulate that many incidents in one lifetime, and if all the other women I know aren't lying, for no reason, then we have a serious cultural issue.

Anyone got a baseball bat?

It Gets Better

So, the It Gets Better project.  I love it.  I haven't made a video for a lot of reasons, the main ones being that I don't have a webcam and I'm not gay.  I don't see my bisexuality as being intrinsic to my identity, and I haven't really suffered for it, so I don't want to appropriate anything that isn't mine.  But I love the project.

I can talk about feeling like an outsider, though, and I'm far more articulate when I write than when I talk.

When I was a kid I moved a lot.  I started kindergarten in Phoenix, AZ, moved to Arlington, TX in the middle of first grade, and then moved to Dallas when I was seven, before I started second grade.  The two years I spent there were objectively among the worst of my life, although I don't remember them very clearly because I was so young and because I simply don't like to think about them.

Now, when I was a kid I was tiny.  I only grew up to be five feet and one inch tall, so I never was big, and I was a skinny, wispy little girl who had to have books taken out of my hands when I was outside because my mom saw me nearly walk into traffic so many times.  I was introverted but not shy, and I trusted people with no reservations.  I passionately loved school, and the ADHD that later nearly destroyed my high school years hadn't appeared yet.  I was prone to singing to myself, dancing around, and behaving like, well, the intelligent, fearless, happy, quirky, trusting little bitty thing that I was.

I paid for that very, very hard.  I don't remember when it started, or how.  I do remember, though, that it originated in a nickname: "The Jennifer Disease."  I got the living shit kicked out of me on the playground, kids wouldn't drink after me at the water fountain; I mean, I was a complete pariah.  I only had two friends that I remember, and one of them was a girl who used the fact that I trusted her to steal my lunch money out of my wallet every day.  I went for the better part of a school year eating nothing for lunch.  It was pretty hellish, and I'm glad that I don't remember it very well.

When I was eight years old, I think, I came home to my mother and told her that I wanted to kill myself.  I don't remember doing this, but, the way my mother tells it, it scared her pretty badly, and she went to the principal.  I remember them having the nurse come to my classroom and read my medical record to the kids so that they would stop it, but they didn't, and my teacher actually told my mother that this school was really terrible for me and that they needed to get me out in any way possible.  (The district tested for G&T kids and offered to send me to a magnet school, but it would have been forty minutes one-way bussing, and my mom wanted nothing to do with it.  I don't blame her.)

So, they did.  We moved to Lewisville, where I bullied people because, honestly, I was completely fucked in the head from the couple of years I spent being harassed nonstop.  I managed to get my head screwed back on right after spending half of fourth grade in the principal's office.  In the next couple of years living there (we moved away right before I started the seventh grade) I started playing the clarinet, started choir, and I met the man I'm married to today (we were very close friends in the sixth grade).

Shit got better and, whatever issues I had later on in school, little of it was due to how different I was because I found people who were like me.

Unfortunately, while it was better in that I had people who were like me around, the people who were like me were mostly passing their classes with flying colors, and I was failing classes like it was going out of style.  Undiagnosed issues combined with depression from all kinds of mess got me in a lot of academic trouble.  I didn't want to end up doing nothing with my life and I had to find something else to do when I graduated in order to make sure that didn't happen.

I think the time that how different I was hit me the hardest was when I was in the Marines.  I mean, I was very young, very dumb, and very conservative when I joined (although I never, for the record, outright supported the wars, and I did not enlist because of 9/11, although I enlisted right before graduating high school in 2002).  However, I was lucky enough to meet my future ex-husband and, even though the marriage was a complete disaster and I doubt we will ever be so much as friends again, I think he saw a lot of what is in me today and he nurtured that much at least.  I think he was the first guy I was ever with who valued me for my potential to be something different than what I had been taught was correct.

I'd never been entirely comfortable with the conservative Christian upbringing that I'd had (to the point where, my junior year, I declared myself agnostic, only to rescind that because my boyfriend my senior year was very Christian), and this guy helped me to dump the holy terror of Hell that I had and look in other areas.  I spent five pretty productive personal years as a pagan because he encouraged me to look into other options, and I don't know that I would have been open as quickly to becoming the atheist that I am today without that time.  (I would have gotten here eventually, but I'm glad I got here sooner than later.)

Then, we ended up splitting up for a whole crapload of very good reasons, some of which have blame to be assigned, and some of which are neutral.  (Don't get married and have kids at nineteen, folks.)  This would have been manageable, but he also got out of the Marines at that time.  Why?

He was gay.  (There are a lot of complications in labeling here, so I'm going with the simple explanation that he was discharged for homosexual admission.  He did not feel safe or welcome, and he talked about it and was discharged.)

So, I was suddenly very alone in a mostly conservative unit.  I had friends to whom I could talk about it, but by this point I was a very vocal pro-gay-rights soon-to-be-socialist, and I had been isolated from my coven by the separation (my ex continued with his training to be a priest, leaving me at home since I couldn't drive, and I had very, very little social life for a very long time).  I had no home to go to, no support system, no one who seemed to think like I did.  I'm not a social person, but let me tell you: I absolutely ached for someone who would understand what I was going through.  I didn't want my husband back.  I wanted my friend back, in a military that would accept him for who he was (because he was a good Marine).  I didn't want to be in a place where everyone was constantly playing "F-A-G" on their instruments like it was the most hilarious joke ever, where everyone said that everything was "gay," where people would whisper rumors about my ex and then stop when I walked into the room.  I was sick of being in high school for adults.  It was like constantly having a stick poked into an open wound.  I was very, very angry for him, very, very angry for myself, and very, very depressed.

During this time period I cut myself, thought about taking bottles of pills, thought about driving my car off of bridges over the ocean, and, even after my ex went to the unit to say that I was a suicide risk, was sent to the pistol range that week, and I thought about shooting myself in the head.  (AID LIFE, devil dogs.)  There was almost literally no support from within the chain of command (who sends a suicidal person to the fucking pistol range?!) or from without.  The only reason I didn't do anything, I think, was that I made a vow to the goddess Hecate that I would never again attempt or think about suicide or self-harm.  I don't believe in any sorts of deity anymore, but I still haven't looked back since then, and I am fiercely glad that I made that vow.  It made me able to get here.

Towards the end of my time in the Marines I saw Rent, most notably, this, and I remember nearly losing my shit every time they got to the line, "To being an us for once, instead of a them!"

I found some friends in the unit and it got a little bit better, but then I got out.  More shit went down, then I came here, and I found a home.  I found people like me (including the awesome dude I'm married to; we found each other on Facebook after years of no contact), I started speaking out (I had to limit myself while I was in the Marines because we don't rate the First Amendment rights we volunteered to defend with our lives), I went to school, and I found a place for myself.  My little girl has an awesome daddy, I have a large extended family now who understands, respects, and even supports my crazed liberalness, my parents grew to understand and to accept me (I remember a conversation in which my mom said, "You're doing what you think is right, and I'm proud of you," and I still tear up), and it got better.  I have a home, a family, an education, skills that are being nurtured, and the key is that I've found where I belong.

My point is, you are going to spend time in places where you don't belong, but grit your teeth and bear it, because, truly, once you find the place where you do belong, life is amazing.  After spending years completely depressed off of my ass, sometimes I feel like I must be dreaming, but there it is.  I'm really living the life that I want right now.

I am glad beyond all gladness that I never seriously hurt myself.  My problems weren't because I was gay, but a lot of them were because I was different, and I managed to find people who treasured that.  Anyone can.  It is worth living to find that.

20101119

The ADdHeaD

So, I'm mentally ill, you guys.  Been thinking about it a lot lately.  I mean, it's generally on my mind because I can't get through a day without completely and totally forgetting something vitally important.

Example: Today I have no iPod.  I have no idea where the hell I put the thing.  None.  (I don't know how my gentleman caller hasn't already killed me and stuffed me in the refrigerator or something.)  This is because, when I have something my hand that I do not want to be in my hand, my brain does not register what it is or where an appropriate place for it would be.  Nope, my brain just says, "GET THAT SHIT OUT OF YOUR HAND RIGHT NOW," and I comply literally without a thought.  As a result, cleaning my house becomes something like climbing Mount Everest (I set a LOT of things down) and I would literally lose my own head if it wasn't attached to my body.  And I don't have my goddamn iPod today.  I really hope it's somewhere that will immediately present itself to my husband because, if it's not, then we're going to need to spend even more money to support my losing-important-shit habit.  I mean, do you know how much money it costs to constantly lose things? 

Of course, this isn't as bad as the first week that I spent driving, in which I left the lights to the car on two days in a row and left the battery so dead by the mornings that we had to call a tow truck to super-jump it.  My first marriage was pretty stupid and irrational, but the one thing I don't blame my ex-husband for is not being able to put up with my insane disorganization and inattentiveness to detail.  I want to punch me sometimes.  The one good thing about my husband having a milder version of this disorder is that he at least understands.

So, the iPod is important, for the same core reason that I lost it: I literally start to freak out if I am not entertained 24/7.  If I do not have music, a book, SOMETHING to do, then I start to twitch, then to pace, and then to sing to myself.  In short, I look exactly like the mentally ill person that I am.  While I can manage this when I'm, say, in a class, or on a computer (preferably both), when I'm standing, waiting for a bus, walking from one place to another, or in any situation in which I am forced to be alone with my thoughts for longer than about one minute, it takes a herculean effort for me to pretend to be a relatively normal human being.  The internet, my iPod, Tetris on my cell phone, having a book with me literally everywhere I go (except freaking today), these are my ways of managing myself.  And I don't have my goddamn iPod today. 

The thing is, I've been told that I'm just fine.  Generally it's not by people who dislike me or think less of me; it might be easier if this was the case.  No, it's by people who think highly of me, the ones who think I'm brilliant and want me to succeed.  They tell me that I don't seem disordered, that I'm probably just too smart for day-to-day tasks, that I'm just scatterbrained.  I was too smart for public school and was failed by a broken system.  See?  I'm doing great in college!  There's nothing wrong with me!  (I agree partially, but not entirely, with the part about public school, but that's something for another post.  There was a combination of failure to properly address mental health issues, and a failure on my part to put in the work that I was actually capable of.)

All of this would be fine if they would clean my house and keep track of my fucking iPod.  It sounds so simple, but I want to slam my head into a wall over it.  Little things like that are like tiny pebbles falling in my head: other people wonder why I'm so distressed, but I never know when they signal that the whole mountain is going to come down over my head.  I have to remain vigilant against my own mind.  Little things like this, like losing my keys, like not being able to have people over to my house because it's at a level that I find acceptable but other people don't, make me want to put my head down and weep.  I feel like I'm fighting a giant.  I'm not depressed (and I would know; I've been depressed), but that is depressing.  It sucks being mentally ill, but it sucks more when most people don't believe it because you just seem so functional.

On the other hand, it lends me a childlike wonder about the world, and some people seem to think it's charming that I bounce around as much as I do.  I'm very easily entertained for very short periods of time, and I really do fulfill the stereotype of the ADHD kid all grown up (only more introverted).  It's just that I can give you whiplash moving between my moments of innocent glee and my earnest discussions of serious topics.   I don't know whether this amuses me or not.

20101118

A post I almost put on my old blog about abuse...

I was going to post this to my old blog this summer, and left it out, but here's a starter post about something that isn't incredibly narcissistic:

To be honest, I can't really think of any good leadin for this and, since this isn't a paper, I'm not going to worry about it. I'm also going to use gender-neutral wording in this case because, hey, dudes are abused, too.

Abuse is nasty. I mean, we all know that, we're told not to hit as kids, and we're told that, if a partner ever hits us, we should leave them (at least, I sincerely hope that people tell their little boys that, too).

Problem is, people in abusive relationships can't always identify it. Sometimes they're not actually being hit, sometimes they think the sex is just rougher than they would like, sometimes they think that their partner is just a dick to everyone else, so why not them, sometimes it's the wall crumbling instead of their flesh. Abuse? Psh. That shit ain't abuse. It's just that my partner loves me that much, right?

And then there's the fact that any human being, when they feel physically threatened, is inclined to fight back. There isn't always a clear-cut case of antagonist vs. victim. Sure, he called my ass fat, but I called him a prick, so what? Just two high-spirited people. Double points if you're both teenagers, because you're just hormonal and, I mean, teenagers don't have a lot of self-control, so of course sometimes she'll chunk a chair across the room, of course sometimes he'll force himself on her.

This is a problem.

Watching this video is what started me thinking about this. Mind you, it's by Eminem, who is, as has been discussed a little on my Facebook, a career misogynist. If you're not familiar with his work and you're not thrilled about graphic depictions of violence against women, don't familiarize yourself. It also features Rihanna, and you all know that story. I don't think that the video is one way or the other. I don't think it glorifies abuse, but I don't think that it makes a strong statement about it; rather, it shows a fairly realistic portrayal of how those kinds of relationships often work. I also don't know that I think that it's this song's job to argue against domestic violence. It's not that I think that we have enough argument against domestic violence in our culture, but I don't think that one more awareness song is going to make a difference. We need changes in the thick of our culture, and one shallow statement from someone who spends the rest of his time discussing violently assaulting women isn't going to change the game.

This Week In Shit You Probably Already Knew

So, you are asking yourself.  Who is this person who made one post, like, a month ago, and didn’t bother making the second post that she promised?

It is I!  But, since you either don’t know me or don’t know these things about me, I’ll do an introductory post with ten short, sweet things about me that you probably don't know and ten things you might already know that are in stupid amounts of detail.  If I bore you, feel free to move on to something more entertaining.  I feel the need to do that myself, more often than not, which is why I never get any blogging done anymore.

Short and sweet:

1. The first time I felt like I really owned my body was when I got my first tattoo.  I have three.  I plan on getting tattoos until I stop having ideas for them.  Same goes for piercings, but they don't get the same priority.  (Tongue is my only exotic piercing.)

2. I considered majoring in voice, sociology, women's studies (I would if it was offered here), history, creative writing, and some other stuff that I'm forgetting.  I settled on English Comp.

3. I don't hate being overweight so much because I hate the way I look, although I feel that, too.  I hate it because I hate my body's inability to perform the tasks it used to fly through with ease.  Then again, that's not just a weight issue, since I have the back of an eighty-year-old.  I resent my body.

4. The longest time I have ever spent living in one city is four years, and it was Havelock, North Carolina.

5. I didn't even learn to drive until I was twenty-one.  I learned quickly that I love driving.

6. I spend a remarkable amount of my time fighting the urge to burst into full-throated song.  Sometimes I am only successful enough to keep it down to half-throated song.

7. I do not get Radiohead.  Seriously.  What's so great?  Most of the people I know and respect love Radiohead.  They just sound pretentious to me.  Maybe it's because I have shit taste in music.

8.The thing I regret most about my childhood was that I stopped thinking science was cool around adolescence. 

9. I am bisexual, but I haven't felt the need to have a coming-out since I'm married to a dude and will not ever actually be with a woman, if everything goes according to plans.  It is what it is, I don't feel like I'm denied anything, and I'm never going to make a larger statement than this since it's not a big deal to me.  However, I don't like closets, and don't care who knows it.

10. I am obsessed with Symphony of Science.
Ten obnoxiously long facts:

1.  Amusingly, “Losing My Religion” came up on my iPod as I typed this. 

I am an atheist.  But surely, you say, I knew that you already knew this (if you knew me).  What you might not know is why, specifically.  No, I haven’t experienced any particularly great trauma that made me throw up my hands and abandon belief in God.  No, Christianity did not scar me to the point where I could no longer believe in a God (sorry, Christians who have asserted this without really knowing me).  No, it something much simpler than all that: one day last summer I was reading a thread on a blog that I frequent, and it happened.  My faith simply fell away from me.  I could no longer put effort into believing something without proof.  It was as simple as that.  I knew that we are wired neurologically to have experiences such as people deal with in religious contexts.  I knew that I could not give a single rational reason to claim to be a theist.  I could not justify it.  So, it was gone.  It was a long pathway to get there, but that’s how it happened.  It was as quick and easy as falling in love.  I had, to a degree, felt this way the whole time, but finally admitted it.  And I haven’t looked back once.

It was like a day on the road when, thinking about it, I said something strange to my gentleman caller: “I believe in deity, but it seems to me as if the sky would be much bigger if there wasn’t one.”   He was more bewildered than anything, since he’d been an atheist for a while and wasn’t inside of my head, but I found, when I stopped trying to believe, that I was right.  The sky is much, much bigger to me now.  It’s a sentiment I can’t explain.

Now, my reason for being a militant atheist is different, but I’ll save that for another post.  I’m sure I’ll get there someday.  My atheism went from a next-logical-step-in-my-development to a very important part of my personal philosophy within a few months.

2. I will never be able to give a straight answer about how I feel about my service in the Marine Corps (I spent five years in the band, most of them on light duty of some sort or other, and never deployed).  I’ve written about this briefly on my other blog, and I still puzzle over it.  I’m anti-war now that I’m not a dumb fucking eighteen-year-old.  I am not comfortable with the thought of what I would have been supporting had I gone to Iraq, even if it would have been in a support position on an airbase.  However, I am not comfortable with the fact that people thank me for my service when I don’t feel like I served at all, and when I didn’t want to serve that.  I don’t know how to be proud of something that I feel was of no consequence.

3. I am a musician.  Oh, ye gods, I am a musician.  I do not remember a silent moment of my life, because there has literally been music either around me or in my head ever since I was able to understand that what I was hearing was music.  I am obsessed with it, consumed by it.  I am not completely functional unless I am part of making music in some capacity or another, and I found it out through two and a half years of what, in my life, was silence.  I was happy with my partner-in-crime before I went to college and got to be back in choir, but I think that part of my happiness now can be chalked up to the fact that I am giving myself something that I actually would group as a need on Maslow’s Hierarchy.  My body aches to make music.  Since I don’t play the clarinet as well as I used to, and I don’t have the patience to work back up to any level of proficiency on an instrument, I am left with my voice, but I cannot explain how wonderful it feels to hear this sound come out of me.  It’s like my entire body is channeling everything good in the universe through my throat when I sing well, like something from outside of me is producing this throaty contralto sound.  Performing in ensembles cause the only experiences I’ve had that resemble a religious experience (which makes sense if you understand the neurological component).  (I think that my being synaesthetic contributes to this.  I see colors when I hear music, and one of my earliest memories is of telling my mom that a song by Michael W. Smith was blue with yellow polka dots.  Music is a multisensory experience for me.)  The reason I’m not majoring in music is partially that I worry that I’m not good enough, but it’s mostly that I do not want to tie something that makes me as blissfully, uncontrollably happy as music to something as stressful as auditions, juries, and grades.  Nope, I’ll take the music straight, thanks.

4. I am completely obsessed with civil rights and liberties.  I’ve been that way for a while.  I do not plan on getting over it.  I am a socialist partially because I believe that you cannot truly enjoy civil rights and liberties if you don’t have food and shelter.  My passion for freedom is what makes me passionate about economic issues, but I am less knowledgeable about the latter.  This blog will probably address that a lot, when I use it.  I think I ended up this way because, even though I’m mostly “normal” in terms of demographics, I’ve always been different, never felt very mainstream, and I also happen to care so much about other people that it hurts.

5. Feminism made no sense to me, considering that I am generally privileged and interact well with men, until I went to my first viewing of “The Vagina Monologues” and, as a rape survivor, saw how many fucking black roses there were onstage.  It devastated me, and brought it home that this is a societal problem, not an individual one.  (I still interact well with men as long as they’re willing to treat me like a person and not a walking set of tits with a low IQ.)

6. I have severe ADHD, with a more invisible hyperactive component.  It was easier to tell if you knew me in junior high and high school, which is when I started getting seriously symptomatic, but I had behavioral issues in late elementary school as well.  I was institutionalized briefly my freshman year of high school for a suicide attempt, and I think I did it more because of boredom (I had a cutting problem, and I cut when I was bored, not depressed) and extreme stress at feeling completely unable to cope with, well, fucking anything, because everything was insanely distracting and overstimulating.  Unfortunately, they treated me for depression and not ADHD.  Resultantly, high school was a treat.  It irritates me sometimes to think that I was a textbook case and they couldn’t be arsed to actually look into it, because it might have saved me ridiculous amounts of grief in adulthood.

As an adult, I’m not easy to treat because they generally use stimulants, and I have a heart problem.  (In fact, that’s probably part of my caffeine addiction: it’s a stimulant, and it does relax me a little.)  The best description of what it feels like to be me is one that was used by Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half: “Hyperactivity is like being forcibly injected with way too much crack-cocaine and then being tied down to a table and made to watch a documentary about sea snails.”  My hyperactivity is invisible largely because I have a stronger inattentive component to my disorder, and also because it manifests in other ways, like in my grinding my teeth down to absolute shit and constantly twitching (I am never not moving, and if you think I’m not then you are not able to see my toes/hands/teeth).  And yes, it’s difficult knowing that, although I am (miraculously, it feels) doing well in school, I have to be completely vigilant in order to ensure no slippage.  I also hate that I tend to disappoint people because I don’t keep small promises because I can’t even remember where I put my keys, much less a task I said I would accomplish.  I also hate that I probably will never be able to keep a clean house because, any time I have to physically organize anything, my brain tells me, “YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.”  I’m probably going to write a fair bit about mental illness as well, because, let me tell you, it gets really fucking irritating being told that I’m hallucinating something that kept me from doing much of anything for the first twenty-five years of my life, and that keeps me from being able to function on a normal level in areas that I’m able to easily hide.  Pisses me off.  This is not a sign of my being smart.  This is what keeps me from doing much with it.

I'll probably be spending some time writing about comorbidity of ADHD and obesity and other issues with it.

7. I’m vulgar, and when I say I’m vulgar, I mean that I curse easily as much as everyone else I know combined.  I’ve always been this way.  (That’s most of the reason that I titled this blog the way that I did.)  I know that it offends people, but I don’t particularly care, because I think it’s silly.  I don’t believe in word magic, don’t think that the word “fuck” lowers the level of discourse unless it’s hurled abusively, and even then, you can lower the level of the discourse by resorting to abuse without using any dirty words.  I think we’re way too obsessed with propriety in our culture, and I curse so much because I want to deliberately undermine this bullshit idea that we should concern-troll over people saying “fuck” but not over children in Africa mining our fucking diamonds.  There are such better things to worry about than whether I’m being a meany-face with my tone to people who think I’m less than fully human or think that my gay friends don’t deserve equal rights, so on and so forth.  I call a fuckstick a fuckstick.  I am concerned about words that actively work in our culture to hurt people by demographics, and so, when I hear words like “faggot,” “bitch,” “cunt,” racial slurs in general and other such languages, then I take offense, because I am not comfortable with using words to treat other people as if their identities are less-than.  (However!  I am very inclined to describe myself as a bitch, cunt, slut, whore, and the like, because personally, I am not insulted by what people mean when they say those words.  I’m empowered.)

8. Along those lines, I am rather blunt about sex.  The details of my sex life stay private out of respect for the people who have participated in it, but I have absolutely no problem discussing the fact that I’ve had casual sex and that I think that a healthy attitude about sex has to include talking openly about it.  I understand more why people are uncomfortable with anyone saying, “I’ve had multiple sexual partners,” but I would like to do my part to undermine the illusion of women as either shrinking violets or caricatures of human beings.  I’m a wife, I’m a mother, and I’ve been around the block.  Similarly, I know plenty of dudes who haven’t been around the block much.  I don’t think that we have moved forward much in the direction of realizing that women and men are not wired that differently in terms of sex, and that it’s more a matter of personal morality or personal preference than of gender.  I missed the shame gene, missed the “don’t-have-sex” gene, and just jumped right onto the “sex” train.  The biggest deal with sex is trust and consent, and, if you’re operating with those, you’re fine in my book.

9. I am a firm believer in frivolity.  I don’t think that you can enjoy life without having things that you do for the sheer joy of doing them, without purpose.  Whether it’s going out on a walk, listening to Lady GaGa, playing Farmville, reading trashy romance novels, watching terrible movies, or whatever, you need frivolity.  I would literally defend frivolity to the death, because it’s the little snatches of fun you grab that make life worth living.

10. I’m shitty at blogging and will probably forget to for another month or so.  So sorry.

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New Post

This is my new blog. I will post in the next couple of days about my wonderful Friday morning as Piece of Ass with my wonderful daughter, Piece of Ass, Jr.

Explanation of this characterization to come. I have a football game to go to.