This is going to sound like a weird thing to say in such a forum, but I feel that I need to blog a little less. For the past six or seven months (but the last few especially), my go-to response every time something bad has happened to me has been to blog about it. That’s fine, but it won’t solve all my problems by itself. I kind of need to live a life outside of my WordPress account. So if my output drops over the next few weeks or so, bear with me. I’m just reminding myself of what life is like in the real world.
I used to think that if I waited long enough, I might be treated to a moment in which everything in my life came together for one glorious moment. I’m growing out of that. It’s happened once or twice before, but it’s foolish to expect it. The stakes are the highest they’ve ever been. I am, after all, trying to carve out my own little corner of the world or whatever you want to call it. The thing that keeps tripping me up is red tape. I started applying for jobs this week. Nothing much, just a work-study position that I can work for up to 20 hours a week that will get me back in the rhythm of employment (I haven’t had a job since 2011), but on every application, they ask me if I’ve filled out the requisite tax and New York residency forms. “No, but I’m about to,” I want to say, but I dunno: Maybe they want me to fill out the forms first, even though the application form just says that I would need to do that before I start work, not before I get an interview. I am in the process of filling out said forms, but they never taught me how to do that in school. Every time I try, I want my mommy.
My apartment is starting to feel a little bit more like home, I guess. My parents gave me a $200 Pottery Barn gift card for Christmas, but neglected to add that nothing in Pottery Barn costs anywhere near that. A fancy wooden office chair caught my eye, but it cost $400. So I bought it anyway, figuring that I never would have shelled out that amount if I’d had to pay for it myself, but that $200 is not exorbitant for something this nice. (Seriously, this chair is really fancy. I’ll upload a picture if I can figure out how.) Perhaps my parents are encouraging me to put more money and effort into making my apartment “my space” in the hopes that I’ll stay there longer than I did at my last few places. Granted, I did not leave my last six or seven living situations of my own volition, but if that’s their hope, I understand. Maybe they’re right.
I’ve been trying to fit this next part into a blog post for some time now, and since I don’t really have a segue for it, I’m just going to say outright that I am sick of the splintering (for lack of a better word) within the LGBT community. There are gays and lesbians who think we should drop the ‘T’ because they feel no solidarity with transgendered people. Over my dead body. To be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, or what have you is to be told that based on the genitalia you were born with, you must dress, behave, and love a certain way. The barriers to our equality are crumbling, but anyone who can’t see the similarity between saying that it’s wrong for a boy to love a boy and saying that it’s wrong for a boy to decide that he is actually a girl and start taking steps to better align her life with her identity isn’t trying very hard. At the same time, I think it’s obnoxious that so many queer people feel the need to make such a show out of not fitting neatly onto the LGBT spectrum. There are intersexual, bi-gendered, and pansexual people, and the only thing they all have in common is that I support their equality and wish they would shut the hell up. No, we do not need to add other letters to the end of “LGBT”. We use that acronym because it’s succinct, and there is nothing to say that anyone not specifically covered by those four letters can’t still fit under the umbrella. I am reminded of a charming English lesbian who, at one of the events for a queer group that I was semi-involved with a while back, promoted an upcoming event called “Gender-Neutral Line Dancing”, for those of us who want to line dance, but feel alienated by that boring gender binary that is more or less woven into the fabric of the act itself. Men dance with women, she said, but “I’m queer. How do I fit into that?”
However you fucking want to, honey, I silently answered. Seriously, why is that such a big deal? I’m not into line dancing, but if I were, I doubt I would mind dancing with women. (I used to be an actor, and–gasp!–I had to kiss girls sometimes.) I might not even mind dancing the woman’s part if we were short one woman, for that matter. I might even go out on a limb and suggest that there are probably line dancing groups already in existence that would be perfectly willing to let a lesbian dance with women if that is her cup of tea. Some problems are minor enough that they don’t need their own advocacy group or cutesy acronym. I don’t normally say this, but sometimes, a minor change of attitude is all that is required. For the sake of my sanity, please.
There are a million stories I could tell about my experiences in this group. There was the woman who wrote us a long, rambling open letter in which she seemed to say that since she didn’t identify as male or female, she would prefer it if we alternated gender pronouns when talking about her. How about we don’t? Asking people to respect your identity is one thing, but asking them to treat you like you have some dual identity is doing exactly what bigots are always accusing us of doing: asking for special privileges. There was the long-winded debate (seriously, it went on for pages and pages) on our Facebook page about whether “you guys” is a sexist phrase because it can denote either an exclusively male or mix-gendered group while “you girls” can only refer to women, but I don’t want to get too negative. The queer groups that exist on most college campuses are an important haven for those of us who are still figuring ourselves out. But as someone who as moved past that stage already, I basically just rolled my eyes a lot. There were awfully friendly, though.
This post is already running long, so I’ll be succinct with my last few points. I tend to see everything in absolutes, even though I know I shouldn’t. Whenever I get into a fight with a friend or family member, I worry that they’re going to sever all ties with me. When I get kicked out of an apartment, I think I’ll never find another place to live. It’s an easy fear to have when you’re young, and–who knows?–maybe when you’re older, too. If I were always wrong, that would be one thing, but sometimes my worst fears really do come true, and then I just have to fucking deal with it. It might be nice to see somebody stick their neck out for me, but that rarely, if ever happens. Whenever the shit hits the fan, it’s always me against the world, and I can throw all of the logic and persuasive argument that I want against people’s prejudices, but when they just want to protect their own clan, it won’t do any good. It’s kind of stupid to put your faith in people. You have to find something greater.
On a completely random note, this is the only Mariah Carey song I’ve ever enjoyed. Her brand of pop music is not my thing–not even close, really–but this one feels sincere, if not exactly brilliant.
I wish people would stop asking me to explain myself. I don’t see why I should think something just because everyone else does, and in the long run, I almost always turn out to be right about something. Getting people to listen is a weak spot for me and always has been. Men come and go, but the Robot King abides.
My birthday is relatively close. I’d like to make the next year not just better, but halfway decent. I don’t think I’ll succeed, but I still want to try.