I’ve been masturbating to the idea of being tied-up for as long as I can remember. It’s literally my earliest memory.
I must have started as young as three years old. Time and time again, I would lie face-down grinding my crotch against a stuffed animal, thinking about being tied-up by a big scary cartoon bear that was about to cook me for dinner. I kid you not.
– typical Lenten for-swearing and goals
Next week is Lent, a very important Christian holiday that begins on Ash Wednesday and continues until Holy Thursday or the day before Easter. Traditionally, in western denominations of Christianity, it is viewed as a period of time during which Christians pray and do penance, in order to cleanse themselves and feel closer to God. Additionally, the crucial aspect of selflessness is involved, in which Christians practice almsgiving or other acts of community service in order to help others. While there is a lot more to Lent religiously, spiritually and culturally, I have come to understand Lent as a time of meditation, reflection and empowerment.
In the queer community we like to talk about the maze of awkwardness, politics, safety, and inspiration that is coming out. In a world where everyone is taught to make assumptions about how “normal people” ought to live and love, those of us who don’t fit those norms are going to have to correct the assumptions of at least one person: ourselves. Coming out to yourself is what matters most, yet this journey is too often skimmed over in narratives of coming out.
I’ve come out to myself three times: as queer, kinky, and poly. The funny thing is that I’ve gotten better at it over time. My first coming out to myself was a torturous and slow process. My third self-outing was an exciting discovery. There are skills you use as you come out to yourself, and they’re skills that can be useful in every part of life. So for everyone who has a coming out journey yet to come, I present to you what I’ve learned about how to come out to yourself, as whatever you are.
The following post is about my learning disability. This is my writing raw, before I send it out for comments / edits. I am leaving it this way to show me unfiltered and unashamed.
This July, I was diagnosed with Moderate ADHD at almost 23 years old. While every case of ADHD is different, my disability affects me in a way that makes simple things difficult, like, remembering things or giving my full attention to tasks after I’ve already spent an extended period of time on them. I’m impulsive, which can be endearing or enraging depending on the situation. I’m extremely hyper and, if I’m not physically active enough during my day, I become overwhelming anxious with the amount of energy that is trapped in me. The diagnosis was not a shock to me and I volunteered for testing because I wanted to understand myself better. I had struggled with assignments all through school. I would edit my own papers for hours but some how they would be marked up in red when I got them back. Teachers and professors praised me that I was intelligent but careless. I was also incredibly forgetful. I was losing my phone at least two to four times a day because I just couldn’t remember where it was. I would forget to text people back for days (probably because I couldn’t find my phone…). While these sound like petty, little things, they manifest into something larger when you start to believe that you are stupid or lazy or thoughtless or an airhead. You begin to think that, instead of you are just different, that you are worth less than someone without your disability. You internalize it and you believe it.
About 2 and a half years ago, I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, except for one tiny detail…the dating scene. Specifically, something that yesterday’s post mentions, a preference for the blonde, skinny, white girl. Which, for the record, is not me.
Now let’s get this clear, I was not looking for anything concrete, anything long term, since I was only in Madrid for 6 short months. But after the first month when most of the guys I met were asking about my two friends in the program, who were both blonde and blue eyed, I started to feel a bit peeved. We had been warned that racism was rampant in Spain; immigration had just opened up about 20 years ago and Spain still had a lot of issues to work through. In fact, women of color in our program were specifically told about how we could be treated, as sexualized prostitutes, because, people of our color, where “always” selling ourselves on street corners. Lucky for me, I only experienced a little of this discrimination, with cat calls of “hola morena” (literally hello brown girl) or blatant studies of certain parts of my anatomy. However, a fellow female of color peer got it much worse; people asking her how much for a night, touching her and calling to her, that she left the program early.
Recently, Rosie wrote a fun and empowering post about having a little slutty, safe fun. Ok stop and read. It’s a fantastic post that makes me wish I was single and could fuck some sexy peoples. Because, as much I love my partner, I love being a slut. I think everyone should be a slut – Sexual Liberated Unforgettable Thing.
Has anyone else out there had that awkward moment when you facebook creep on your ex-boyfriend from a few years ago and…
You both have the same haircut?
Yeah? No? Well that happened to me yesterday. And I laughed out loud with glee. You see, I am a white, queer, cis-woman with SHORT hair. Not shoulder short or chin short. No, normally my hair is two inches long… when I grow it out. Yeah I cut my hair “like a boy” and I love it. It’s easy to manage. It’s fun to play around with. It’s a GREAT conversation piece.
For me, it’s also a political statement.
It’s so wonderful to see you. You look great! Did you get a haircut?
But I’m getting distracted. Friends, I want to talk to you about this great video I just watched.
If you’ve got fifteen minutes, watch this with your eyeballs. It’s pretty wonderful.
It’s a TedX talk by Tanya Geisler about “Impostor Syndrome.” You know – that feeling that you’ve somehow faked your way into every success you’ve ever had? That any minute now, someone is going to look at you and realize that you have no idea what you’re doing and that you’re not even supposed to be here, and everything is going to come crashing down?
Yeah, that one. It’s a terrible sort of anxiety, isn’t it? It makes us unwilling to speak up, even if we’re sure we know the answer. It makes us reluctant to throw ourselves into projects, to go after the things that we really, really want. About 50% of my self-sabotage is a result of Impostor Syndrome.
We’ve all felt it, I bet. Especially you friends who are women. Odds are you feel like this, well, pretty much all the time.
***NOTE: this post will be a little bit of a spoiler for the book Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede. The post will discuss the first two chapters. SO if you do not mind a very little spoilage, read on! ****
Throughout most of my youth and young adulthood, I was a reading fanatic. Any fantasy, sci-fi or fiction book I could get my hands on were devoured by my need to escape into another world and for a little bit of time, become a character on a space ship or a detective on the streets of London. My favorite books had female protagonists and authors such as Tamara Pierce, Robin McKinley, Diane Duane, Phillip Pullman, Holly Black, and many others, were the ones who introduced me to the basis of my feminist belief that women are as kickass, powerful, and moving as men. One particular book whose character fit these characteristics was Cimorene in Dealing with Dragons, written by Patricia C. Wrede.