Archive for May, 2010

May 22, 2010

…messageboards

Just wanted to say “hi” to everyone that Imaginatrix sent  here!

………………………..

I was an active member of a specific messageboard for a number of years. What board it is doesn’t matter, though many of you reading probably know. The name doesn’t matter.

It was the messageboard of a popular YA author, though it was really about young people (ok, young women) being empowered. The mission of the board was blatantly feminist though many of the members did not identify as such as it wasn’t “cool” or they were somehow beyond that. But we were empowered, at least in that teeny, tiny part of the vast world wide web. Empowered to engage is discourse about politics and hypothetical questions about “sensitive” issues, and empowered to jump down the throat of anybody who we thought disagreed with us. Empowered to discuss cake, whether we should get our hair cut, and empowered to call people out on real, perceived, or invented bullshit.

That messageboard was really transformative for me, and it watched me grow up. It watched me move out of an abusive childhood, shed a lot of the stuff that came with that, and move on. It saw me through three colleges, four states, coming out as trans, learning to NOT shut up, and eventually it saw me outgrow the boundaries that were there. I was yearning for something more and bigger and it wasn’t where I belonged any longer. I left a year and a couple months ago. As stupid as it sounds it was remarkably painful. I am so grateful that I left.

I left because the community there was incredibly progressive to my 16 year old self. As I became more progressive, more educated, more able to form my own opinions that were informed and true to myself it became less and less progressive. There were a few loud members who made it a point to tell others how they USED to be so “progressive” but then then grew up and became informed. They drove me crazy. There were a few members who were more than happy to throw other members’ emotions and difficulties aside in order to make a point.

I left because of gender stuff. Because people there said some mighty insulting things regarding trans people and by that point I had learned that I did NOT have to sit around and take any bullshit. Heck, it was easy. Click the little red X. So I did.

But that’s not to say that that community never had things to teach me. It did. I learned a lot. In a lot of ways they gave me the strength to learn to stand up for myself and say, “No. This is not what I need.”

In a way it’s really strange, even now, to be going through a big life change without that messageboard to kind of unravel it all on. It was a safe space for a long time. I kind of miss it.

May 13, 2010

…teenagers

Dear Andrew,

Welcome to your post-college life, complete with your very own delinquent teenager. She’ll arrive a few days post graduation with, possibly, some basic necessities like clothes. No guarantees. You will need to register her for classes, keep her out of trouble, feed her, and possibly even let her have a little fun. Any thoughts you had about a post graduation live that involved freedom, conferences, or dating? Not happening.

Congrats on that whole bachelors degree, btw. That’s pretty cool.

Love,
Life

May 9, 2010

…sunrises

I love nature. I don’t quite love it as much as some of the students at my school do. Or perhaps I love it in very different ways. Regardless, I do love nature. As a kid I loved laying on the beaches of southern California for hours upon hours, alternating between reading and swimming out to cool off. Here on campus I love going and laying on the dock, really any time of day. Sunrise and sunset are two of my favorites, but 2pm on those really hot days at the end of spring term work well, too. I think I always need to live near a big body of water. Water grounds me. I love it.

Last year I spent a whole month waking up early and watching the sun rise. It wasn’t always with a willing and grateful heart, and sometimes I went right back to sleep afterward. But most of the time I felt more refreshed and happy than if I’d gotten an extra few hours of sleep. Think about how totally crazy the sun is.

It’s a flaming ball of incandescent gas, that’s upon thousands of miles away, that has SO much mass that it has a gravitational pull that yanks hard enough on the ENTIRE earth to keep us spinning around it. And the earth, meanwhile, is orbiting also on it’s own axis so only half the earth is seeing the sun at one time. And then this little rock, also thousands of miles out, is orbiting US, yanking on our oceans and such, giving us tides. I mean… WHAT?

Sometimes I think I just love nature because I’m a geek.

May 7, 2010

…the unexpected

I don’t really like the unexpected. I don’t like it more than the average person doesn’t like it. I have a hard time dealing with change.

This is not good considering I graduate from college in a few weeks.

I mean, let’s talk about changes.

So I am, of course, looking for ways to extend the 20 years of September-June education I have already completed. Auditing classes! Grad school! Underwater Basket Weaving! Anything!

I’m looking at grad schools. I found an amazing program. My mind is screaming “APPLY! APPLY! APPLY! THEY HAVE ROLLING ADMISSIONS! APPLY!” Logically, though, I know I need to be out of school for awhile. At least for a year. I need to step back, realize that I don’t have to be a perpetual student.

But ohhhh is it tempting. It’s new and interesting and SO not me and SO tempting.

I should go to bed.

May 3, 2010

…organized religion

Tonight I talked to a former high school teacher. She was an amazingly influential part of my life when I was graduating from high school, and remained really important to me my first couple years of college. We have drifted apart as I have moved and she’s started new ventures. We hadn’t talked in months when I sent her a message today.

We used to joke that I was like her kid, she was like my mom. we were really, really close. Our conversation tonight was awful. Maybe she changed. Maybe I changed. Maybe I am less willing to take people’s bullshit and blatant disrespect of my ideas and ideals. I don’t know what happened.

We really started growing apart when I told her I was trans. She didn’t care, which is different than saying she didn’t mind. She asked me why I had to tell her, if I was still the same person. She never grasped how important it was for me to come out to her.

Tonight I told her I had been going to church. She mocked it, and said that it’s sad that I have to go to a church to find community. That the world doesn’t need organized religion telling people what to do. She told me that she prefers to define herself. I said that one of our principles was the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Her response?

“I don’t drink koolaid, no matter the flavor.”

Ouch.

She was so unwilling to listen to me. Only interested in telling me how dumb religion was. how dumb this awesome thing that I have found a lot of comfort in was. It hurt a lot. I am really glad we had the conversation, but it hurt.

Was that how I have acted toward evangelical Christians in the past? So unwilling, unaccepting, unable to see past my own prejudices to recognize that even if it wasn’t .my. choice that it was .a. choice, and a valid one at that?

Even with all she said to me, I’m so grateful for her presence in my life. Without her insistence I would have never applied to college, moved across the country, or grown up nearly as much as I did. I just wish our friendship had turned out differently. It’s like when a little kid idolizes their mom, before realizing all her flaws. Not an exact analogy, but close to what I am feeling. for so long she was this person who stepped up to the plate when she realized my family of origin wasn’t going to do much. Now I realize that that was useful and important, but that I did a lot of it for myself.

I’m glad I have found new people to support and encourage me in my journey. In my free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

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