Just popping in to share a quick reminder to everyone who is new and who is popping by because of the A to Z challenge. Although the challenge takes Sunday as it’s one day a week away from posting, here at TD365 I take Friday off. So while everyone else out there is now posting “F”, I’ll be back tomorrow to share my post.
…and honestly? Even if Friday wasn’t my usual day away from blogging, I wouldn’t be posting a challenge post today anyway. I had a dentists visit to deal with some serious pain – and it resulted in an extraction. I have one less wisdom tooth tonight than I had this morning. So, this week, both Deedee (the Chihuahua puppy) and I went in for extractions. 😉
Have a “Good Friday” – get it? ‘Cause it’s good Friday? Yeah, I crack me up too. 😛
There is something to be said for having such a handle on who you are that you can take a glance in the mirror and say “There I am. I am _____.” Personally I don’t know what it’s like. I’ve never fit neatly into a little box. Life is messy, and so am I. I’ve tried to stuff my vast and varied parts into an easily labeled box… I tried for many, many years to stuff myself into one. But there were always parts hanging out, keeping the lid only half covering the contents. I’ve come to be grateful for it though, as I’ve come to accept myself. That unclosing lid is what kept me breathing. I think I’d likely have smothered if I’d managed to get it on tightly.
There is this drive, this need in our society, to define ourselves. Like I said, I suffered from it myself for many years. Now though? I really don’t get it.
The minute we can slap a label on that box (whether the box represents others or ourselves) we can put it up on a shelf and forget about it. When a box has a label on it, we don’t need to dig any deeper. We don’t need to slowly discover it’s contents. We rob ourselves of that joy. Discovery, let’s be honest, really is a joy. And self discovery? It’s even more so.
Accept yourself as you are, and if you need a label, there are many out there. Take which one fits when you need it, and discard it when it no longer does. Allow yourself the discovery, and allow those around you the same. You are worth the time it takes to really get to know you. You are worth the joy of a slow reveal, the slow clap, the slow motion entrance. Grab that 80’s teen flick moment and just run with it! Be pretty in pink!
LMAO Okay, yes, super eye-roll-causing segway… but I HAD to get in this photo of the kid and I – all dressed in our matching duds – as we headed out for the walk to school. 🙂 And while it was a seriously dorky way to lead into the photo that doesn’t take away from the truth of it.
The minute you accept yourself as you are, and stop searching for a way to squish yourself into a nice neat box you’ll find your world will open up in ways you didn’t expect. You really are worth the joy that comes from slowly discovering all the glorious mysteries that make up that amazing package – don’t deny yourself that pleasure. Don’t slap on the first definition that seems like it just might fit okay. There is no rush. You have your entire lifetime to discover yourself, and those who are worthwhile in your life? They’ll happily take that time too.
One of the very best things you can do for yourself is to build community. Having a “family by choice” will provide you with the supports we all need and don’t always get after coming out to our family by blood. Even in those instances where your family is fabulous and supportive, it always helps to have a community of people who really understand what you are going through and who have either been there, or are currently right with you.
The internet is an amazing resource when it comes to finding a sense of community. These days, even individuals with severe, life-limiting anxiety disorders can still find others and build camaraderie. We can find a global community, always ready and waiting thanks to things like email lists, online forums, and FB groups. But I do encourage you to also seek out local individuals, because there are times when we all need to reach out and actually FEEL another person whom we can trust and know will be there for us.
Here in Saskatoon I can’t recommend the ACC any more highly than I already do. They run a number of excellent programs for individuals of almost every age range in almost every situation. You can find them online at http://avenuecommunitycenter.ca/. PFLAG is also another amazing resource, and there are branches all over North America. Check them out at http://www.pflagcanada.ca/ and http://pflag.org/. For those of you in high school, talk to your guidance counselor to find out if there is a GSA you can join. And for more information on resources in your neck of the woods, check out http://www.gaystraightalliance.org/ which includes a directory that is world wide.
There is no reason to feel you have to go it alone. You aren’t alone. Far from it! No matter how you identify, even if you aren’t sure how exactly you fit into the whole spectrum, you can be sure there are others out there just like you. And now you’ve got some tools to help you find them.
As I mentioned yesterday, I was considering taking up the April A to Z blog challenge. I already blog almost daily, so that wasn’t the issue. For me? The biggest challenge is actually staying on topic. I enjoy writing on whatever hits me as interesting or important at the moment. I lose my interest otherwise. But, I figure, if I pick a topic that is dear to my heart – putting in 26 days shouldn’t be an impossible task. So, I’m going to do it. …and if I feel the need to go off topic, well… on those days I’ll just post twice. LOL So here we go. Day one: Blogging our way from A to Z on sexual and gender identity.
For some folk, the most intimidating thing when encountering someone who doesn’t clearly fit into box A or B on the sexual and gender binary, is asking. And honestly? It’s something we need to become more comfortable with as a society, because even when someone appears very clearly to fit into “HE” or “SHE” it doesn’t mean that’s their preferred pronoun. A wonderful individual, whom I am proud to call “friend”, recently posted the following on their Facebook status:
“I find it is no longer important or useful, and in fact has become a negative experience to identify as male. Rather than identifying as another type of gender, I will leave the spectrum of gender identity altogether. This means that the current English language of gender identity pronouns, such as she, her, his, her, xe, and hir, become problematic when referring to me. So with great respect and earnestness, I ask that you refer to me simply by using my name, for in a name the entire soul resides. Thank you.”
This is an individual, whom upon appearance, would very easily fit into the neat and tidy package we call “male” or “masculine” and is proof positive that we cannot, nor should we, presume to use male pronouns based solely on our impressions of said individual.
How we each identify is an intensely personal thing, and it is perfectly okay to ask someone what pronouns they prefer – if any. In fact, for many of us, it’s a question we welcome. So the next time you are introduced to someone try asking. Not sure how to word it? Give this a go: “Hi Francis, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Would you mind telling me which pronouns you’d prefer?” Plain, simple, straightforward. And if you feel the need to say more, try this: “I’d hate to offend by insisting on using something that you don’t identify with.” Chances are they’ll be happy you had the respect and courtesy to ask.
And hey! Ever had something you wanted to ASK (see? I’m keeping it on topic) about gender, sex, affection, desire, expression, orientation or on any other topic of interest to the acronym community now’s the time. 26 days is a lot to fill, so help me out. Let me know what YOU would like to see me blog about. And thanks to Sarah for her suggestion of “Asking” as our very first in the alphabet series.