Thursday, September 19, 2013

Talking About It


Talking about it is hard.

Whenever you make new friends there inevitably comes that moment where you have to tell them.

Maybe not right away, maybe its like a few months in.

But eventually you have to say yeah… my childhood wasn’t actually perfect.

“they were really religious… they homeschooled me k-12.” But you seem so normal!

“yeah I have 10 siblings.. no we’re not catholic…” I could never do that! Your mum must be a saint!

“no I will never have that many kids. No I don’t plan to homeschool. No it wasn’t a good experience.”

You sit there feeling like a freak show. Everybody’s gawking because they’ve never even heard of such things. Surely you must be exaggerating?! But in reality you’re dumbing it down, polishing the edges.

And in the back of your mind is the old family mantra hissing “You are so selfish. Telling tales for attention. People are going to think bad things about the family! Where is your loyalty?!”

They all shake their heads in wonderment. Courtship? Isn’t that another word for dating? You are monopolizing the conversation now. But they won’t let you stop. They have so many questions. You’re like a space alien telling stories about your exotic and barbaric planet.

You mentally sweep the years of violence and neglect and manipulation into a neat little dustpan and name it: “It wasn’t really a healthy environment.” And people infer what they want, and you move on. And eventually someone changes the subject and you sit there feeling embarrassed.

You wonder if your cheeks have turned red. Did you say too much? “You always say too much!” You smile and engage in the rest of the conversation. And then you go home and aggressively wash the dishes, fighting back your rising anxiety.

Eventually you find yourself in bed with a pillow over your face.

Trying to slow your breathing. Trying to fall asleep.

Its been ages. It should be so hard to talk about.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pole Dancers, Irony, and Awesomness

Today was "Quad Day" at my University. The day before classes start, campus organizations set up booths along our main quad and students come out to look at what the school has to offer in extracurriculars, clubs, and organizations. I went by myself in a t-shirt and a pair of short short short short athletic shorts. That's not actually an important detail, I just wanted to say it. wearing shorts out in public is STILL a big deal to me even four years after moving out of my parent's house.


So anyway. The quad was PACKED. There had to have been over 2000 students there, milling around between tables, talking, laughing, it was insane. I wandered all over the place. There was a LARPING group hitting eachother with foam swords on an empty patch of grass. There were a bazillion demographic-specific student groups. There were glee clubs and drama clubs and dance clubs and judo clubs. There was a big stage set up where some clubs were giving demonstrations. There was one club called the Fitness Pole Dancing Club that gave a demonstration. My first reaction would be to roll my eyes and the spectacle of it all, but to my surprise, the first Dancer to demonstrate really caught my eye. She was wearing a sports bra and short short short booty shorts. She looked about 20, Latina, and she had a really big jiggly belly. What really stopped me in my tracks were her thighs. They were large and curvy but most strikingly they were covered in scars. hundreds of inch-long slices all along the outside of her upper thighs. And there she was, jiggly belly, fading scars, and a HUGE smile on her face as she rocked in on that pole. I just. I don't even know what to say I was so amazed and inspired.

So there were a bazillion organizations, but it really felt like at least 20% of them were Christian groups. Just dozens of different christian organizations that all do the same things like have pizza parties and prayer groups and go help someone rake their lawn once a year. It was weird to me that none of them seemed to have a specific mission other than... hanging out? Anyway. In the "advocacy" section of the quad, there were all the awesome causes represented. Students were there handing out flyers on how to get involved ending human trafficking, or feeding the homeless, or bettering public services, or ending AIDS. And right in the middle of all those booths was the "Pro-Life" table. Literally two feet away from a girl talking about sex trafficking victims, there's a 19-yr-old white guy shouting about ending abortion and saving the fetuses. Who classified "pro-life" as an advocacy group? I wonder if anyone else noticed the irony.

So once I'd had enough fun at the quad, I headed off to walmart to pick up some last minute school supplies and I ended up coming home with these super extremely awesome Avengers pens. I wanted Batman pens too but I figured I'd wait till I inevitably lose these. 

And yes those are my Star Wars things in the background. That's like 20% of my collection.

I wonder if there's a nerd club at my University?


Friday, July 26, 2013

Longing


I am intimately familiar with the feeling called longing
Intense, sharp, caustic need
the kind that chews a hole inside your chest
like a shot of novocain, a burn and a sting

I only ever longed for freedom
burning my hands over a steaming pot
the future stretching out before me
strangled by the sameness and monotony

longing like bile in my throat
gagging, choking, my stomach in knots
fight or flight, but i could do neither
twelve years old and living in my own coffin

need is dangerous
if you acknowledge it, it demands to be satisfied
and when you can’t deliver
longing will tear.you.apart.

with sharp, curved claws
longing tore it’s way through my lungs
i stopped breathing for 6 years
those talons tore divots in my baby skin

I chased after freedom even as my lips were turning blue
flat on my belly, crawling with my fingernails
this longing is brutal
it will kill you before it will be ignored

every year i long for Fall
every fall i’d turn one year closer to freedom
it was fall when I broke away and started running
fall is a clean cold slate against fevered skin

the longing for freedom is part of being human
it’s right beneath your skin
a hungry monster you will never escape
I’d advise you to embrace it before it eats you alive


(originally published on my Tumblr)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Progress: As Seen In My Morning Routine

I wake up.

My room is a little bit messy.
I have learned that there is no need to berate myself for not folding my socks before they go into the drawer. Skipping laundry day does not make me a bad person.

I stumble into the bathroom wearing boxers and a star wars t-shirt.
I am not obligated to wear sexy lingerie and nightgowns to bed. I am not obligated to wear underwear designed for women. I am only obligated to wear what makes me feel comfortable.

I brush my teeth and wash my face and I DON’T weigh myself.
There is no scale in my bathroom. I have learned that my health is measured by how I feel, and my worth isn’t measured at all.

I rub styling paste into my short, boyish hair and stand it straight up.
My hair is not my crown of glory. My hair is not a symbol of my relationship with a deity. My hair does not hide the roundness of my face or accentuate my femininity. My hair is just hair. And it makes me feel free and powerful and I think its sexy as hell. And that’s all that matters.

I slap on a swatch of winged eyeliner.
I don’t care what it “says” about me. I just like how it makes my eyes look greener. It’s not for you. It’s for me.
I get dressed.
Dress pants from the men’s section of Banana republic. A flattening sports bra. A button up, tucked in. A grey cardigan. Wide, flat stud earrings. My clothes make me feel confident, and they reflect me very accurately. I am masculine and feminine rolled into one. I am me. I am different. And that’s okay.

I eat breakfast.
Fruit and toast with almond spread. I am a vegan. Respecting nature is important to me. This is a personal moral decision, and it doesn’t mean that I am foolish, or arrogant like I was taught. Living vegan makes me feel honest and compassionate, and that’s a good enough reason.

I kiss my Hunnie goodbye on my way out the door.
I’m off to work an 8 hour day. I bring home the bacon, and that doesn’t make me less of a woman any more than it makes him less of a man.

On the way to work, I call to make an appointment with my Doctor.
I’m getting a  hormonal birth control implant in my arm, because I don’t want to get pregnant. Not now, maybe never, and that’s okay. My value is not defined by my willingness or ability to give birth. My family is not defined by how many children we have.


Feminist, queer person, agnostic, vegan, student, nerd, employee, blogger, singer, activist; these labels fit me, but they don’t define me. I am Sarah, and I am more than the sum of my parts. I am free, and I am finally learning what it means to be happy.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Journey: An Update

I have been neglecting my blog.

But I promise, the reasons are mostly good. I have been getting better. So much better. The suffocating blanket of uncertainty has almost completely disappeared. So many of my fears have been replaced with confidence and peace. I don’t feel so raw all the time anymore. I don’t always feel the need to pour my emotions out on “paper” to get them out of my system. I think I know who I am now. As an individual. And most days that means I feel peaceful, and happy.

None of things happened over night. And I’m sure I’ll change and have new questions all over again. But for once, I am not afraid of the future, because I finally trust myself to navigate it with authenticity. If I change, I change, and that’s okay. Because human beings are fluid. We are meant to change and grow, and rejecting that fact is unhealthy. P/QF folks will tell you that there’s a solid, biblical answer for every question, and if you don’t get it you need to try harder. But that kind of mindset removes us from our consciences, and from the opportunity to change and grow, which is what makes us human to begin with.

Letting go of belief in “right answers” is scary.
Letting go of the walls that you were always told would protect you is terrifying.
Letting go of the personality pajamas your parents swaddled you in at birth leaves you feeling naked and without identity.
Waking up in your twenties with no sense of self seems unbearable.

But I let go. And I started from scratch. And I trusted my conscience, and as cheesy as it sounds, I trusted my heart. It’s been over 2 years now, of slowly putting myself together, piece by piece. This is not the end of my journey. But I am happy to say that I know who I am today. I know what I want today. And that is more than enough for me.


I would love to talk more about my journey. I know how helpful it was to hear stories like mine when I was first beginning my journey. The tips and tricks and encouragements of others were invaluable to me. Please feel free to email me, or leave a comment about what you need to hear about. What will help you on your journey? If I get any responses I will write on those subjects.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Self

I am a member of the family
I am a member of the housework crew
I am my parent’s possession
I am their trophy
I am a representative for Christ
I am a future mother in a future family preparing to serve a future husband
I am not an individual.
Feelings are superfluous, needs are selfishness, I do not know the vocabulary of self.
I am depressed overly dramatic
I am hungry gluttonous
I am tired and overworked lazy
I am sick weak
I have anxiety lack faith
I need affirmation whine too much
I need privacy am selfish
I need to be respected punished
I do not deserve to have needs.
So I take tweezers and tear a blade out of my father’s razor. And I keep the razor in a tiny jewelry box that my grandma gave me, under the cotton, because nobody can see it, because using it is selfish, and I am ashamed. But nothing compares to the relief of sliding the blade across the soft parts of my thighs, my calves, my ankles, my wrists.
Simultaneously punishing myself and expressing my hurt.
People deserve love
people deserve support
people deserve respect
But I don’t know these things

 Because I am not an individual
I am not a person
I do not know the vocabulary of self.



(I wrote this post as an entry for the Homeschoolers Anonymous blog. You can see the Original Post here)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Jerry Lewis Doesn't Want Women Debasing Themselves With Humor

Renowned comedian and asshole Jerry Lewis recently reiterated his “distaste” for female comedians.  In case you missed it last time, Jerry famously said that it “bothers” him to “sit and watch a lady diminish her qualities to the lowest common denominator.” Most people take this to mean that Jerry is somehow blind to all the funny ladies in the world.

I was listening to Chicago AM radio on my way to work this morning and the talk show hosts were discussing how senile Jerry must be to not notice all the good female comedians. They started listing all their favorites and repeated again and again how strange it is that Jerry doesn’t think women are funny.

Everybody is missing the point. Jerry never said that women are not funny; he said that women shouldn’t be trying to be funny in the first place. You see, Jerry still thinks that women should be seen and not hears. Jerry thinks women should be the butt of the joke, not the person telling it. Jerry doesn’t want to live in a world where women are free to speak openly, or be who they want to be. He doesn’t want to see us ladies “diminishing our qualities” by displaying personality and autonomy.

Jerry isn’t some sweet, doddering old man who’s just not paying attention to modern comedians. He is deliberately boycotting female comedians because he is ignorant and sexist. Poor Jerry, he misses the days when “quality” women were sweet and silent arm-candy that dreamed only of motherhood and marriage. It must be so hard for him to see women behaving like… oh I don’t know… human beings.