Posted in This Is Real Life

Suicide Prevention Day

Yesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day.

What many of you don’t know is that 6 years ago next month, I lost my little brother to suicide and life has been a struggle since—for my entire family.

What none of you know is that for a few years, I hated him for doing it because he took that option away from me. I had always assumed that at some point I was going to be my family’s monumental tragedy, that of any of us, I was going to be the one they’d lose. I’ve struggled with major depression since I was 4, and it only got harder as I got older. When I lost my brother, it put me in a very hard position because it meant that no matter how hard it got for me, no matter what happened or how desolate I felt, I had to go on. Losing Matthew destroyed us, and I couldn’t do that to my family again. Not again.

So I fought to make my life better. I fought until my present looked better than my past, until I thought I had a future worth working toward. Until I thought I had a life worth living. I have fought so hard to get here, and I continue to fight because my brain chemistry makes me want to fold up and call it a day. My body is imbalanced and it makes everything harder. But still I fight. Why? Because I choose to. Because I have a family that loves me, even when they don’t understand me. Because I have people who need me, and age has allowed me the knowledge that I am not as easily replaced as I used to think I was.

If you are struggling, it’s okay. If today you are losing your battle, that’s okay. Life is hard. It has always been, and will always be hard, but frankly, it’s worth it. The world is a beautiful place, despite being filled with horrible things, and you have a future worth working toward. You are deeply loved even if you can’t see it. You have worth, even if you don’t feel it. It takes time and effort and frustration, but when you get to a better place, it’s worth it. It’s so worth it. To look back on your struggle, even if you are still struggling, and to know that you had the strength and the will to get through all of that and make it to where you are now—it’s empowering. We are all stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

So far your track record for getting through bad days is 100%, and I think that’s pretty awesome.

 

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Posted in Uncategorized

2015 in Review

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2015 was a weird year. I’ll say that up front. It’s been weird, and long, and ridiculous, but it’s also been, on the whole, a good year.

I went from being engaged to being, well, not, and have spent the last 11 months of my life figuring out what it means for my life moving forward. To be honest, that’s still nebulous, and I feel like it probably will be for awhile. I’m okay with this, though. My relationship was very much what I needed at the time, and I don’t regret a day of it.

I graduated from college in May, which was more of an accomplishment than it probably should’ve been for all the physical and mental health complications that have arisen over the past few years.

I got into graduate school in Boston, at the premier school in the country for my program, despite all my set backs and, really, my failings, proving that there really is more to a student’s worth than her GPA.

I moved to Boston in June, with no idea what I was stepping into. I was graciously housed by my cousins (my grandmother’s first cousins, so whatever that makes them for me)​, who really saved my life in more ways than one, and have been more than helpful in this new stage of my life.

I finally got to go to Warped Tour, after 10 years of failed attempts. I went to a handful of other brilliant shows, discovered at least a dozen (if not two) amazing artists, and discovered that Spotify isn’t anywhere near as obnoxious as it used to be.

I moved into an apartment with three girls I had never met, terrified that it was going to be a disaster, and was instead pleasantly surprised.

I got a REAL job, a “Big Girl” job, as they say, working as a content curator for TripAdvisor, which has been invaluable and amazing, and brought me into contact with a couple dozen really interesting individuals whom I’d otherwise never have known.

And I survived my first semester of graduate school. Despite the chaos, the madness, the stress, and the sleep deprivation, I made it through intact and, actually?, happy.

Posted in Sociopolitical Commentary, Uncategorized

Unpopular Film Opinion

As I was attempting to shop for my boyfriend’s Christmas gift just a little bit ago, I was confronted with a series of shirts bearing faces, quotes, and imagery from a few of the films that are hailed as Great American Classics (insofar as they’re cornerstone films, not because they’re really old enough to be considered “Classic” in any way), like The Goonies, Sandlot, The Christmas Story, etc.

And just looking at the face of the one kid from Sandlot, you know, the one who pretends to drown so that he can kiss the oh-so-sexy lifeguard he has literally no chance with?, I was immediately hit with a very sudden clarity about that moment.

That, my friends, is an instance of sexual assault that is branded as this really cunning, really fantastic and hilarious move by some nerdy underdog kid. It is looked upon and remembered as some perfect plan of success, but has anybody thought about how absolutely horrible this plan actually was?

I don’t know what the lifeguard situation looks like out here in the Northeast, or in Boston more specifically (since that’s where I am now), but back home, all of the lifeguards were high school kids. It was just a summer job. They were our classmates and siblings, friends, applauded athletes, etc.

Try to imagine, if you will, being a lifeguard, whose job it is to, you know, guard lives, and seeing some kid drowning. It doesn’t matter who this kid is, whether you like him/her or not, what they’re like outside of the pool. Nothing matters except the fact that you are positioned to make sure nobody dies and now there is a human in your immediate vicinity who is on his/her way to doing just that. So, anxiously, you get up from your place and dive into the pool to rescue this at-risk human and now, back on the pavement, s/he isn’t breathing. Shit, you think, because you are 16, maybe 17, and you have never seen somebody die  before, let alone let somebody die, and it’s your job to make sure that this doesn’t happen. So you start doing life-saving motions for this person, attempt to get them to restart breathing, and no matter how calm you might appear to on-lookers, your heart is pounding and your gut is filled with dread because somebody’s child might die and it might be partially your fault. 

Now, assuming you’re still with me, imagine that this human who is raking your heart over the coals and making you sick with worry suddenly, and obviously without warning, starts sucking your fucking face off because HA HA HA YOU PUT YOUR MOUTH ON MINE IT WAS LIKE YOU WERE ASKING FOR IT.

Tell me it’s still funny.

Tell me it’s funny with a straight face, in all seriousness. Can you do it? I certainly hope not, because then you would be telling me that sexual assault—not to mention trivializing both your life and the job of a lifeguard—is funny, and it absolutely  isn’t.

The lifeguard is furious in this film, as she should be, and drags the kid out by his ear none too gently, but this isn’t enough. The fact that people still think it’s hilarious, cute, funny, clever, and/or harmless? That isn’t okay.

Some of you probably think I’m overreacting, that something like this doesn’t deserve so much passion when it’s been over for so long. But here’s the thing: Sexual harassment is not always violent. Even sexual assault is not always violent, although the nature of the word “assault” implies that it is.

Let me tell you something: As a person who has been on the wrong side of more than one situation, violent or not, a non-consentual sexual act is always an assault. Always. Whether or not you physically wound a woman is irrelevant, because she will carry a psychological wound with her for a very long time, if not the rest of her life, and that is assault.

So do not watch The Sandlot and this scene with this shitty little nerdy kid emotionally and then sexually assaulting a lifeguard and think that it is funny, that it is clever, that it is harmless. Watch this, and any other moment like it, with a seed of disgust, and open the conversation about internalized violence toward women.

Open a conversation about internalized patriarchal ownership over the bodies of women, because this child did not care about who this girl was, he did not care about how she might feel; all he cared about was owning a part of her body for however a brief period of time because, after all, she had nice tits. And every time you watch his actions and laugh, smile, or even allow his actions validity, you are contributing to the oppression of your female peers.

And that is not okay.

Posted in This Is Real Life

Warped Tour Ain’t What it Used to Be—Hallelujah

I started paying attention to the punk rock scene when I was in early middle school, about the time that my clinical depression really started to rear its ugly head and I found that the Top 40 scene just didn’t represent the feelings that were wreaking havoc in my head (and it was getting annoying, besides). Bands like My Chemical Romance (now unfortunately defunct) and AFI took over my music library, and before long I had branched out into [a few different varieties of] metal and screamo, hardcore and varying strains of punk rock and alternative.

And then I discovered the music festival to end all music festivals: Vans Warped Tour.

Dish Network used to feature FUSE, which was covered with WT programs in the summer, and my only lifeline to culture that didn’t involve cowboy hats or country music. At that point, Warped was almost entirely metal/core and grungy punk rock outfits that were a little on the stripped out side. Pennywise, for example, was a staple (but it’s been a long time since then and I don’t remember other names, although I could probably hit up the Google). Since then, Warped Tour has morphed into something a little different, something a little more inclusive, maybe. The metal and the hard rock and the stripped out punk music is definitely still around, but it’s scheduled alongside pop punk and hip hop and EDM, straight up pop music, etc.

Warped Tour has become something new entirely in the past 10 to 12 years, and although there are probably some purists who are really strung out about it, I think it’s great. Hip hop and rap have infiltrated almost every genre of music we care about, just like EDM/dubstep or even autotune, so it makes sense to start including some of those acts in the Tour. There’s more genre crossing-over now than I feel like there ever has been, especially in the punk rock scene, or, more aptly, the Vans Warped Tour scene.

So what does that mean for me? It means that now, more than a decade after I discovered the event that made my heartrate increase (in part because I was a 9 hour drive from the nearest event location, and there was no way for me to get there since my parents just didn’t understand–#growingupemo, right?), when I am finally able to attend a date, 1800 miles away from home, I’m looking at a group of artists that represent the diversity of my current music library, which has been developing over the past several years. It also means that there’s a significantly more mixed type of attendance at events, people who are there for entirely different scenes but all for the same reason: because live music is the shit. As a student of American culture and sociopolitics, this is exciting.

I went to Mansfield with my boyfriend, and we were late, because mornings are hard. But we got there in time for Hands Like Houses, which is one of the handful of bands on my “Absolutely Cannot Miss” list (one of whom I missed. #Sadface). Aside from their perfect hair and adorable accents, the Australian outfit absolutely killed their set Tuesday afternoon. Trenton Woodley has a voice to make a girl swoon (not to mention a smile), and the energy they presented was infectious. It was definitely the best way for us to have started the day—and their announcement probably helped. New album in November—wut wut!

We went straight from HLH to Riff Raff. Now that’s a transition I never saw coming, lemme tell you. We didn’t stick around for the whole set because we had other places we needed to be, but we were there long enough to watch the energy of the amphitheater completely shift over, which was fascinating from a sociological standpoint.

We watched The Wonder Years and Man Overboard play pretty solid sets on the Shark and Unicorn Stages respectively before August Burns Red tore it up. There’s something deeply satisfying and enjoyable/amusing about watching the higher pitched screams come out of this brunette’s mouth. I don’t know quite what it is, but every time I watched him scream I just grinned like an idiot. It was a really good set, and even though I don’t really listen to them on my own, I was suitably impressed.

At this point, I split off to go watch Slaves on the Kevin Says stage because they were at the top of my “Cannot Miss” list. I discovered Slaves and Jonny Craig JCMeabout the time that I was going through a really rough breakup in January, and their album really helped me through it. It wasn’t that the lyrics were relevant, or even that I could connect to the messages so much as it was a body of really gorgeous work that featured strong emotion and a struggle. I don’t pretend to know Jonny Craig or his struggle, nor do I pretend that his music “saved me” because (1) I didn’t need saving and (2) I always do that myself, but it was a soundtrack of deeply emotive struggle and it came into my life right when I needed it. He was nice enough to take a picture with me, and then to humor me and hug me, which made my whole damned day, even though it probably wasn’t REALLY that big of a deal. It just felt like it to me.

Anyway. <cough/> I stood front and center for the Slaves set, up against the barricade, because that’s straight up my favorite place to be. (I almost never get to be there when at shows with other people because I’m respectful of my companion’s space and comfort, but it always makes me a little sad to be as far back as is desired. Oh well.) It was short, but it was really powerful, and the crowd responded really well to them. There’s a lot of conflict surrounding this band and particularly the vocalist, and while I can see where it comes from and why, but… that’s another subject for another day.

The only thing I’m upset about regarding the Slaves set is that it was at the same time as the Icon for Hire set, and they were another band on my “CANNOT MISS” list, and… <sigh/> I had to miss them. #Bigoldsadface. I expect that they’ll be back, though. I mean, I did move to a cultural epicenter. Hurray for civilization. Moving on.

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I was actually pleased to see The Kenneths (although I really only just saw them while we walked past on our way to something else, because time) on Warped this year as well, because it’s really a fall back to the aforementioned stripped out punk rock that Warped used to be chock full of. They’re a London-based outfit, and man, do they look their part. Mohawks and grungy, ripped clothing all the way. They were a unique unit amidst the rest of the acts I encountered in Mansfield, which is maybe sad from a nostalgic standpoint, but I feel like, based on the exploration I do in the scene (of which, I admit, there hasn’t been nearly enough of lately because life post-university is weird), that section of the scene has grown rather small. It’s becoming phased out, in a manner of speaking, although I will never call it obsolete. As long as there are listeners, a genre is never obsolete. Besides, they have things to say and a solid medium with which to say it. More power to them. They’re good to watch live, too, what little I saw.

I introduced my boyfriend to Silverstein, who were a staple in my high school playlists, while we waited for Senses Fail, per his request. The SF vocalist has recently come out as Queer, and took the set as an opportunity to remind people that homophobia/transphobia/using “faggot” as a pejorative is really shitty, and that anybody who didn’t see a problem with it should really just leave, because punk rock is and has always been about uniting the counter cultures and representing the people that the mainstream neglected. (It made anybody who left at that point look a little suspicious, haha.) Knowing about the recent ongoing drama with Attila and God only knows how many bands in the scene, it came off a little pointed, a little more angsty than it otherwise might have, although I certainly can’t blame him for his frustration and hurt.
I’m going to immediately point out that I have no idea if Buddy Nelson had Attila in mind or not, because I don’t know anything about that relationship or if there even is one, and I’m not going to make any further comments about Attila because I am not suitably placed/informed to make comments.

After Senses Fail, we caught the end of the Four Year Strong set before Pvris hit the Unicorn Stage and stole the whole damn show. Lyndsey Gunnulfsen is gorgeous and has one helluva voice, and, if I’m going to be fully honest, they were probably my favorite performance of the entire day.

We pretty much ended the day with Bebe Rexha, with whom I have a sordid love affair. Just kidding, but seriously, she’s kinda bomb. Infiltrating the mainstream by writing songs for a ton of hit artists including Eminem and Rihanna (e.g. “Monster”), David Guetta and Nikki Minaj (Hello “Hey Mama”, wherein she actually BebeRexhasings the hook), Bebe (pronounced ‘Bee-bee, fyi) is probably the most “pop”-esque artist on the Warped Tour lineup, alongside Metro Station, who were in the Top 40 a few years ago. (Oh my God, wait, wasn’t that in like, 2008 or something? Uff dah). At least of the names that I know (and I’ve looked into almost all of them). Bebe writes some really strong lyrics and some hella fine hooks, not to mention infectious melodies. Her stage presence was a little sporadic, but it made sense all the way through. She hit the stage in a leather jacket over her crop top and leggings, and I don’t know how she kept it on as long as she did. I was dying in shorts and a tank top all day. (Granted, I’m from the Midwest, where heat does not invite humidity to play. This whole being hugged by the air thing takes some getting used to.)

That was pretty much our day in a nutshell… a long… explanatory nutshell… =D haha. It was a really great experience, and it was definitely worth the wait. Warped Tour isn’t what it was when I discovered it, but I reject the idea that it’s a problem and celebrate the evolution of the scene. Anybody who knows anything about me knows that I’m all about evolution and growth, and not just on a personal level. Warped isn’t just an annual series of events, it’s a culture, and culture that refuses to evolve with its members is a culture that eventually phases itself out of existence. Letting Warped breathe is the only thing that will allow it to continue, because, lets be serious: being a hipster is fun, but only when there are events that like, you know, alive.

PS–I was taking these pictures on my phone, so the quality really isn’t that great. I wish it was better. But I am (somewhat unfortunately) not a professional photographer and therefore lack a good camera. Maybe someday.

Posted in Sociopolitical Commentary

Cultural Response: Flags and Racism

This business with the Confederate flag is ridiculous, you guys. Not such that it’s finally being targeted as a symbol of racism and offense, but rather that, (1) it’s even still flying, and (2) that there’s such major pushback against its removal from our public spaces as a nation.

Ever since I was a little kid learning American history, the Confederate flag has represented a history fraught with racism and slavery, of intense violence and oppression. It has represented a faction of people who were so angry about losing the right to own people that they intended to form their own country wherein it couldn’t be disputed. The Confederate flag is the symbol of “rebellion” in its ugliest form, and yet, somehow, thousands of people in this nation seem to think that it’s perfectly okay for it to be flown, and with pride, at that.

News flash: it isn’t okay.

It has never been, and will never be okay.

This is akin to someone whose ancestry contains Nazi Germans flying a Nazi flag and going “No, no, no, it’s not racist! It’s just part of my heritage!”. That wouldn’t fly, would it? So why does the Confederate flag? It’s part of Southern identity? Why are you so proud of being the people who fought back against human rights? Why are you proud to imply that you still think you’re above black people by flying a flag that was designed to separate you from the people who finally woke up and said, “Guys, no, this isn’t cool.”?? I don’t understand, and I don’t think that I ever will.

Companies across the nation are removing media featuring the flag and banning its presence at events, et al, and people are screaming oppression and censorship. We all know that I’m anti-censorship, and have always been, but I don’t think that disallowing a racist symbol to be plastered across public spaces–proudly or otherwise–is really censorship. It’s a call to our black populations that we stand with you, not the people from a hundred years ago who considered you livestock. Why is that so bad?

I, for one, am glad that the subject is finally being tackled. In the upper Midwest, where I was raised, the only people who bought shit with a Confederate flag on it were the people we all considered “trailer trash”, and they were all racists. Every last one of them–at least of those I ever came into contact with. And every time I see a person with that flag on something, I immediately assume that they’re racist. Why else would they fly that flag? There are better ways to advertise your heritage, and there are better ways to advertise where you’re from. This flag is 100% unnecessary in modern American society, and I applaud the day that I never have to see another one in public again.

Like defamatory language, the Confederate flag is a barb in a still-healing wound for many Americans, including African Americans and any white person conscious enough to be embarrassed about how his/her ancestry treated others. Sure, slavery existed, and still exists, elsewhere in the world, and that’s bad. It’s terrible, as a matter of fact, and it definitely needs to come to a stop. No one human being is any better than any other, and until we can accept that and start acting like it, things aren’t really going to get better. The abolishing of this flag, however, is a damned good start.

Posted in Sociopolitical Commentary

Cultural Response: Bad Mansplaining

Last week a [really super-gorgeous] woman made a poignant and beautifully worded blog post about a shitty message that she received from a Tinder date. The man outlined that, although he found her to be a truly wonderful person–funny, charming, smart, witty, etc, all the things that we strive to be–and was undeniably attracted to her because she was kind of the perfect match… she was too fat for him. No, I’m serious, that’s what he told her. Not in quite so many words, but that’s the gist of it. Because she wasn’t thinner, he didn’t think that, when it came down to brass tax in the bedroom, he would be able to manage an erection.

Now, part two of this situation: Some guy on the UK version of DailyMail posted a piece about how it was hypocritical for her to shame this guy for having preferences on physical appearance when women do it, too. This is why I’m angry. This is entirely why I’m angry this evening.

This guy completely and entirely missed the point of this woman’s blog post. Either that, or he is completely disregarding her message in order to make his own point, which, on its own merit, away from this particular allegory, might be actually valid. (Okay, it’s fairly valid as a separate point, but his argument in and of itself isn’t on the chopping block here, it’s the fact that he mansplained her post, and didn’t even do it right.

It’s not about how pretty she is, or whether or not it’s okay to have preferences about physical appearance. Because she is totally fine with him having preferences. It’s human nature. We all have them. She’s even fine with him preferring thin women. What she did was call him out for sending her a shitty ass email that completely wrecked her self-esteem for a few minutes until she could get herself back in line. It has absolutely nothing to do with shaming his preferences, and all about the fact that he was a total dickwad about it. Nobody cares that each and every individual has feature types that they prefer, or features that they dislike, or whatever, because that’s how attraction works. That’s how humanity works. If we all liked the same thing we’d look like androids or something. I dunno, but it would make the world significantly less diverse and beautiful than it is now. I digress.

This guy is fucking butthurt about the fact that she called out some dude for his shitty email and decided that what she meant was that dudes can’t have physical preferences that don’t include her. That isn’t what she was saying at all, and that’s why it’s so fucking annoying to read that post because it’s all a bunch of bullshit, irrelevant mansplaining and it’s really, really beyond aggravating. It goes beyond annoying all the way into infuriating, as a matter of fact.

Because yeah, culturally, there are still a lot of equality-type imbalances regarding what’s okay for women versus men. And they’re just as annoying and heartbreaking or saddening for us (women) as it is for them (men). It’s just… really unfortunate. But what’s more unfortunate is when people like this guy on DailyMail completely derail the discourse by misconstruing somebody’s argument or story with “BUT WOMEN DO IT TOO!!!” or “BUT NOT ALL OF US!!” Because yes, we know it’s not all of you, and yes, we know that we’re not perfect. We arent asking you to think we’re perfect. We’re asking you to listen to us and actually hear what we’re trying to say, and to respect us as non-sexual objects.

Posted in Sociopolitical Commentary

Cultural Responses: Pride Week

The United States has, for several years now, instituted a week, or a month, which is considered “Pride” period, during which persons of whatever group get to revel in their visibility–but that’s just the start. Pride [Period] means that the included individuals don’t have to be afraid to be themselves, don’t have to hide the reality of their personalities or interests, don’t have to pretend to be somebody that they’re not just simply for the satisfaction of those around them.

Do you know why nobody seems to give a shit if you’re straight? Do you know why there’s no Straight Pride Month/Week? Do you? Because I’m getting really sick of seeing all of these posts and pictures bitching about it.

Straight people don’t have a pride period because, at no point in human history, at no point anywhere throughout the vast expanse of civilizations, has being straight been taboo, been forbidden, been illegal and a jailing–or killing–offense. At no point in American history has anybody intrinsically hated you for being straight. At no point in global history has anybody murdered another human being for being heterosexual. (For copulating with the “wrong” individual, certainly, but not for their orientation.) Straight people don’t get a pride week because–and look closely, because this is the key–heterosexuality is normative.

HUZZAH! There you go. You don’t get a pride week because you aren’t a minority. Because you haven’t been marginalized, or told to go away and hide who you are and that you’re going to hell just simply because your affections happen to gravitate toward persons of the same gender. You don’t get a pride week because at no point in the entirety of human history have you needed one. Nobody cares if you’re proud to be straight because nobody’s marginalizing you for your sexuality, and because you have the freedom to move through life without people shunning you or being uncomfortable in your presence just because you exist.

Nobody thinks you’re lesser, or less exciting, for being straight. Nobody thinks you’re making the wrong decision or lying to yourself or wallowing in sin and in desperate need of salvation. Nobody wants you to just pray really hard to like genitalia that doesn’t look like yours. Nobody wants you to live a lie for the next eighty years of your existence just for their comfort. If you’re straight, you get the luxury of living a normal life, represented accurately in media of all sorts, catered to by events and legal situations, accepted by religious and/or family-oriented groups. You have the luxury of being automatically accepted for who you are, just simply for who you choose to love–and we’re leaving race out of this right now, because that’s entirely another ballgame.

So please, please stop posting “Why don’t I get a pride week??” statuses, because you just sound like that whiny kid at someone else’s birthday party who’s upset that someone else is getting all the presents. You can do better. Really.

Posted in Sociopolitical Commentary

Cultural Response: Rose by Any Other Name…

The picture to the left is of Ruby Rose, a devastatingly beautiful human being who has recently been discovered by the general populus via her role in the Netflix-original series, Orange is the New Black. She has a 5 minute video online in which she goes from one gender extreme–very, explicitly feminine–to the other–rather masculine indeed, including a strap-on (for the bulge effect, but probably for other reasons which I’m not about to go into at present, because that’s a subject for another day) and bound breasts, which has also resurfaced*, causing straight girls everywhere to suddenly “question” their sexuality, and this is causing one helluvan uproar for the queer community.

I’m going to weigh in, because this is what I do.

Now, there’s a point that I must make now, as it is key to this discussion, even though I don’t want this to be the focus of my post. It isn’t really something that I talk about, and not because I’m ashamed of it, but rather because I never really figured that it was really anybody’s business.

We’ve most of us been exposed to the model of sexuality which presents it as a spectrum, rather than a binary with only two options: straight | gay. We now have a whole range of terms to describe sexuality, what we like and are attracted to, and how we respond to those things in terms of physical/emotional desire. This isn’t a new idea, at least not for most of us. I fall somewhere into the space between straight and bisexual. I find myself statistically more interested in men than in women, but that does not, under any circumstance, invalidate my very real interest in women. I like each gender for very different, and very similar reasons. At the end of the day, I’m a sapiosexual (attracted to intelligence, and often flagrant displays thereof) and so, with that in place, much of the rest of the person ends up being supplementarily attractive, gender notwithstanding. Scratch that: gender included. Because gender does matter, just like their face and their laugh and the way they look at me when they think I’m not looking.

That said, this isn’t about me. This is to illustrate that I have authority to talk about sexuality from a perspective that is not cis-gendered straight woman. I have, at no point, claimed to “go gay” for any person. At no point have I had a sexual awakening over somebody. There was, of course, a tipping point, whereupon I was forced to realize that my interest in women wasn’t purely casual aesthetics–it wasn’t just that I thought they were pretty. I was actually legitimately, physically and emotionally attracted to women. It was a wake up call, and it forced me to reevaluate a number of things in my life, the way I looked at and felt about them, specifically. Last year, when I saw Ruby Rose’s gender transformation video titled “Break Free”, I was deeply moved, and (sorrynotsorry Mom) really turned on. I showed it to a few people and moved on with my life. Now, suddenly, it has resurfaced thanks to her role in OITNB, and people all over the country are losing their minds.

I’m going to say this now: At no point has any straight woman had a sexual awakening for Ruby Rose. What these women are experiencing is recognition of another human being’s (admittedly astounding) beauty, and they are misinterpreting it because current society has placed us in a very precarious situation wherein we immediately question everything we know about ourselves once we find someone of the same sex to be more than casually attractive.

For some, yes, perhaps this has been a wake up call, the sudden realization that, yes, my appreciation for my own gender is a little bit more than casual, like my tipping point as mentioned above–but for most of these straight girls? They’re just riding the current fashion. It’s the new thing to “go gay” for a hot celebrity. It’s a trend–and everybody wants to be in on the trend. But this isn’t how sexuality works. Sexuality isn’t really a choice. The choice is how we act on it–and even then, only to a certain degree.

Technically, this has been a little bit of a coming-out post for me, but that’s not the point of this. The point of this post is to remind you all that finding another person of your gender attractive isn’t enough to call yourself gay, or bisexual. It’s to point out that by saying so, by announcing that you’d make a conscious choice to “go gay” for X celebrity, you’re trivializing the struggle of every non-binary person around you, who has struggled for years with culture and their own self to be who they are without fear of antagonism (and there’s always fear of antagonism), by implying that every non-straight person made the choice to be not straight, made the choice to be attracted to whomever they’re attracted, made the choice to be different and berated for it. Nobody has made that choice. I don’t choose who I’m attracted to, nor do you, nor anybody else.

So please, do everybody a favor and stop “going gay” for celebrities. Because you aren’t, and you wouldn’t if it came down to brass tax. If that person were actually, physically naked in front of you, you wouldn’t know what to do with them. They would know exactly what to do with you. And that is the difference.

Posted in Sociopolitical Commentary

Cultural Response: Duggar Hell

If I see one more post defending Josh Duggar with the “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” argument I am going to scream.

First off, these posts are all such a screaming perpetuation of American rape culture that it’s horrifying. Sexual abuse/violence is a massively big deal which causes lifelong trauma and both internal and external struggle to live normally and have functional relationships with others, let alone their family. The fact that Josh molested his sisters–not just some girls in town or his church something (all situations which would be equally horrifying, for the record), but his sisters–just makes it worse for those girls because now there is a severe conflict of interest: how do you go about loving and trusting your brother–because he is your brother–while coping with the fact that he did this to you? Furthermore, that these girls were forced to live under the same roof while their family told them it didn’t matter and protected their abuser instead is more than just a suggestion of conceived male superiority. It’s a functioning example of blatant sexism.

Secondly, yeah, sure, God forgives all our sins, and theoretically even the most heinous of them, but have you all forgotten the part that demands that you repent first? Josh hasn’t repented, has only issued a very basic public apology and disappeared from view; that isn’t repentance.

Thirdly, just because God forgives him on a cosmic plane, regarding his eternal soul, doesn’t mean that the rest of us have to disregard his crime just because he’s done good things in the past. It doesn’t mean that the rest of us have to say “oh yeah, man, no problem, God forgives you” because that isn’t going to do anything for anybody.

The state of his eternal soul isn’t my business, nor have I any interest in it. I live on a physical plane on a physical planet with physical people and the laws we have instated to protect ourselves and each other. Josh committed a tremendous crime and deserves to go down for it. His sisters deserve validation of their trauma and the backing of an offended public.

No, I don’t know the Duggar family, but that’s completely irrelevant. No, I am not without sin, but that is equally irrelevant. What I am is a human adult who is capable of reasoning and compassion for victims of a crime committed by someone they should have been able to trust with every part of their lives. I hope that all members of this family and situation find peace with themselves and each other.

Posted in Daily Post

Daily Post: Cue the Violins (10 Days Late)

If your life were a movie, what would its soundtrack be like? What songs, instrumental pieces, and other sound effects would be featured on the official soundtrack album? —http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/cue-the-violins/

Oh dear, friends. This is a terrible question. I think that, like any dramatic movie, there would be high moments and low moments which would be necessarily mirrored in the accompanying music. I would like there to be a lot of really emotive strings, frequently soaring in minor keys to contribute to the sense that something is off in my mind, even when externally everything seems to be fine. The tragic suicide of my brother would probably alternate in crashing, discordant chaos between the low strings, the upper brass and the wind instruments and utter, cacophonous and decaying silence… just like my head was. It would be disorienting and painful and traumatic, just like the event was. But I think that, over time, the music would progressively fall into more casual, melodic and harmonious patterns as I began to get my shit together and, hopefully, end up in very pleasant, upbeat whimsicalness as things in my life became acceptable and even, dare I say it, functional.