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Suzanne-73

Isn’t this a pretty picture? Insert fella to sit here with. Also, RIP, Spats. 

In keeping with my word for the year – true – and meeting resolutions, I’m doing pretty well. New job? Check. New place to live? Check (in June). There are many ways I’m making my life truer to who I am and where I want to go.

I can’t help but notice something else on that list of twenty things I’d like to do this year. Go on a date.

Heh.

I have not had a proper date in…I don’t even remember when.

If I were design the perfect guy to sit on that porch with (because that’s how it works, right? You just put in your order?), he would have these five characteristics:

1. Charming – When I tell people I like charming men, they think Neal Caffrey on White Collar. But really? What I find most attractive about Neal is that he looks like Matt Bomer and dresses like a member of the Rat Pack. I don’t mean pleasantry designed to get you what you want. Not smarmy pseudo-niceness. If it has an easy on-off switch, it’s not charm – it’s manipulation.

When I think of charm, I think of people like Finch on Person of Interest.

Or Marshall on Alias.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tnn7zLFSFf4

Or Wash on Firefly. Or, for the most part, Xander on Buffy.

These characters have many differences, but the thing they have in common is that they say and do things that are 1) ADORABLE and 2) genuinely delightful. They’re not afraid to get excited about things, and they often go out of their way to be pleasant. When they give you a compliment, you know it’s sincere, because their only agenda is to encourage you (see every speech Xander ever gave. I mean – “You’re not special; you’re extraordinary.” That’s just a good friend.). And if you mention that they’re kind, they tend to brush it off. They’re not even looking for credit. They get blushy and nervous, and that’s charming, too.

2. Witty – I like funny people, and I find a lot of different things funny. Give me someone who can deliver a one-liner with panache, and I’m hooked. I want someone who makes me laugh so hard I cry. And they need to find me just as funny, because I’m a riot. Recognize.

3. Veering near the very liberal side of Christian – I’ve heard that it’s easier to make a life with someone who is going the same direction you are. This preference is more pertinent to a potentially long-term relationship than an afternoon coffee date (which technically, is all that this resolution requires, so that’s as far as my current commitment goes). But as long as I’m designing a dream guy, I might as well throw this in.

4. Musician – First, I get music. That alone would be enough. But musicians – particularly those who study music seriously or perform professionally – tend to have this particular kind of persnicketyness that I enjoy. I like the way their minds work. It’s mathematical in its precision. Also…music.

5. Ambivert – I have often said that I need to match with an extrovert, because if I’m with an introvert, we’ll pretty much never leave the house. Forget that you knew us – you’ll never see us again.

But I think I would prefer an ambivert. Someone who is extroverted enough that they need to be social on a regular basis for their sanity but also who is introverted enough that they’re ready to leave the party when I am (or within a half and hour of when I am. I can be reasonable…ish.). Someone who will encourage me to try new things and will gently pressure me to go dancing because they know I love it once I actually get there, but also will totally give in when I, with wild eyes that just cannot take any more socializing that day, say, “Let’s skip it, order a pizza, and binge-watch West Wing.” Give me someone who says yes to that.

So if you know this guy (and he’s single – because I do not share – and oriented toward the ladies – because I’d like to be his preference, too), send him along!

Disclaimer: this post is the result of an actual recent conversation about transgender bathrooms. The other party has read the post and confirms that it summarizes our conversation and might be helpful to others. He also remarked that it’s less “shouty” than what I unleashed on him in person. No, I will not reveal his identity. He’s suffered enough. Bless his heart. But good news – it’s not about you. Unless you’re that one guy who already knows it’s about him. If you feel offended by this post, an interesting question to ask yourself might be “Why?”

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First, welcome to this conversation. Grab a cup of coffee. And good luck (or God be with you, if you prefer).

I admit up front that you are at a disadvantage, because you have higher expectations for said conversation than I do. While you expect the outcome of this exchange to be the complete change of my mind on the subject, I merely expect you to understand my mind on the subject. I have no delusions that I’m going to change your worldview. I understand that you believe that male-female is either-or, constant, and unwavering, and you believe that God doesn’t make mistakes (although neither do I, but I also believe that sometimes people are born with birth defects and childhood leukemia and various other difficulties and that these conditions do not diminish the value of the human who happens to have been born with them and are certainly not causes for mockery or disdain but rather compassion and an attempt at understanding through the magic of listening. To preview, this is similar* to the way I view gender dysphoria.).

*in the sense that experiencing gender dysphoria is no more an issue of morality/measure of faith (which is, at best, what is implied by that particular cliche) than suffering from one of the physical afflictions given would be.

(Also, I’d like to state for the record that my view of gender dysphoria is inherently limited to listening to those with the experience, as I have not had the experience myself. So if you really want to understand, listen to them instead. Individual experiences vary broadly and deeply. Therefore, to truly increase understanding one must read/listen broadly and deeply.)

(Also, stop using bumper sticker slogans like “God doesn’t make mistakes” or the more colloquial “God don’t make no junk” as arguments. As your friend, I’d like to believe that’s beneath you. It makes you look the opposite of clever. Stop trying to derail the conversation with a sound bite.)

Second, I would propose that, before you say another word on the subject of transgender people and their experience/restroom usage, please know the vocabulary. For example, know the difference between gender expression and gender identity, and the difference between transgender and transsexual. Know the definitions of the terms cisgender, gender non-conforming, and genderqueer. If I use these terms and you are confused, that tells me that you don’t really know enough about the subject to have an informed opinion, so continuing the conversation is not going to be very useful. It’s really not so much to ask that you have knowledge of a point of view before you say you disagree with it. To fail to do this before even forming – much less voicing – an opinion on the subject is to be the reason we still have an electoral college. With the whole of the Internet literally at the tips of your fingers, it is inexcusable for the populace to be uninformed. You don’t get a pass because we pray together.

And no, I will not simply tell you the answers. You have to care enough to find them. I didn’t do your homework for you in junior high, and I’m not going to do it for you now.

Fine. I’ll just leave this here. Go read it. I’ll wait.

Third, we base our opposing viewpoints on a shared value. We both want kids in schools to be safe. I believe this about you. I believe that this is your heartfelt concern. I honor that concern.

In this situation, though, cisgender students are not the ones in danger. I mean, yes, the world is a dangerous, scary place to send your kids in general. But sexual assaults against minors are more typically at the hands of an adult they know and trust than at the hands of the freaked out transgender girl who, in addition to undergoing all the other hells of teenage life, also has to deal with not feeling at home in her own body.

A friend (who has bravely given permission for me to tell this story) once described for me what it was like for her to be that freaked out girl in high school. If she entered the girls’ room, she was taunted and teased and on more than one occasion, pummeled with trash from the women’s hygiene receptacles in the stalls. But she endured that, because the last time she used the boys’ room (the “correct” one, according to her birth certificate), she was pinned against the wall, groped, and told, “The next time I catch you in here, I’m going to treat you like a girl, since you want to be one.” Now, clearly these were nasty children who probably didn’t limit their bullying and crimes to their transgender peers (and are now adults who are lucky I don’t know their names), and the idea that treating someone like a girl means sexually assaulting her is certainly a disturbing mindset on its own, but that doesn’t change the reason my friend was singled out. When she reported it, nothing was done. When I asked her if she would have preferred the risk of going into a family bathroom or a gender neutral one, she emphatically said that she would. The bullies still would have bullied her, but at least then she could have peed in safety behind a locked door.

What she would have liked more is an authority figure who actually protected her.

Of course I care about student safety. In fact, that’s pretty much my whole point.

And last, if you respond to the previous story with a flippant, “Well, that’s just what happens when you’re different,” instead of being appalled that my friend had no place to go – no advocate – not even the school officials – at her high school, don’t waste your time trying to discuss anything on the grounds of morality with me, because it’s going to be a long, hard road just trying to convince me that you have any morality on which to base your opinions.

And yes – I will get shouty about it.

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Same cup, new office. I think it looks good here.

This week, I started my new job. It’s a welcome change, and I’ve been allowed to acclimate slowly (which is my very favorite way to acclimate). I even got to choose the office music yesterday (Ingrid Michaelson playlist, so basically we’re listening to the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack. You’re welcome, office mates.). In mid-June, I move to my new home across town. This is also a welcome change, and I have a whole month to move. Change – even good change – stresses me out, but I am making these changes in the least stressful way possible.

This is a kindness and a blessing. There’s a lot of hope around lately.

Because I gotta be me, though, I still have anxious moments. I have gotten clutchy with the purse strings in the last couple of years, so dropping deposits and knowing my rent is going to increase so much *cough*notreallythatmuch*cough* in a couple of months is disconcerting. I couldn’t keep much of anything down and didn’t get much sleep the week that I signed the lease and gave notice that I was moving out from my current apartment. In the midst of immense relief, there still was anxiety. It wanted to be my best friend.

One night as I was watching the light on the ceiling change with the hours, exasperated, I breathed to God, “I’m going to trust you. I’m going to believe you that nothing has been forgotten or overlooked. I’m going to trust me. And I’m going to trust you to back me up.”

This is not the most faithful prayer I’ve ever prayed. It’s not quite the flying leap I used to make when I knew I had not thought the decision through and went ahead and made it anyway. I’ve thought this one through. I know it’s not all faith and hope. It’s mostly common sense and careful planning.

But the hope is important. The hope is what is making it possible to sleep and eat again.

Hope* kicks anxiety’s tail.

Hope is becoming my favorite change of all. I’ve missed it. I’m glad it’s back.

 

*and also the appropriate professional help and possibly meds. Get help when you need it. /public service announcement

 

I’m linking up with Marvia Davidson’s Real Talk Tuesday. Join us?

 

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April was a month of celebrations and change. I typically am opposed to changes,  but I like these ones.

Mom and Dad, my brother-in-law, and several friends all have birthdays in April. I didn’t get to see my parents on their birthdays, but we talked on the phone. I got to go out to dinner with several friends and my brother-in-law on their birthdays, though. I forget how expensive going out to eat is. How did I do that so often when I was in college? Mystery.

I did get to deliver good news on my parents’ birthdays, though. On Mom’s birthday, I got to tell her that I got a new job (which started today!). And on Dad’s birthday, I got to tell him that I found a new place to live (moving in June). I think they’re even more excited than I am. Mom broke out that chipper, squeaky voice that she usually reserves for babies and feral cats she’s trying to woo.

I’ve been binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy. This show has taken over my life. I’m on season five, and I already know the terrible thing that happens toward the end of the season, and my heart is angry already.

Most of my reading has been cookbooks. Simple Food, Big Flavor by Aaron Sanchez makes me want to roast all the things and make them into sauces. I don’t like the way he writes, but the food makes up for it. Simply Done Well Done by Aaron McCargo, Jr. also had some great food ideas. There was a lot of deep-frying and heavy cream involved, though, so they’re going to have to be sometimes-food. My favorite cookbook I read this month was Sunny’s Kitchen by Sunny Anderson. I appreciate her stories about how her travels have affected her cooking. I also appreciate that she cooks exactly the way I do. Usually when I read a cookbook, I find myself saying, “That’s a good idea, but I would change this and substitute that.” Not on hers. I will follow those recipes exactly.

In March, I started a new health plan that basically involves drinking more water, eating better, and exercising regularly. At the beginning of April, I had already lost 6 pounds. Now I’ve lost 3 more pounds, even though I have eaten luxuriously and only completed about half of my exercise days. Yippee!

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I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer. Hop over there and tell us what you’re into!

 

 

SFT Memories

Two Friday Fives in one day, you ask? Why not?

Today is my last day at my desk job at SFT. On Monday, I move to Central Housing to work in Assignments. I am two parts excited, one part nostalgic.

Here are some memories from my time at SFT.

SFT animals

Puppies, squirrels, and creepy rats left in my drawer.

SFT Festive

SFT is festive. Also, proof that sometimes, it does snow in Texas.

SFT groups

Aw, friends. SFT of yore.

SFt shenanigans

Aw, former residents.

sft i do not know

Weirdness and truth.

I’m happy to be moving forward, but I’m also happy about all the friends and memories I’ve made at my hall.

This month on Instagram, I’ve been participating in Susannah Conway’s April Love challenge by writing letters according to her daily prompts. Here are my five favorite letters (and some of the pictures came out small. We’re going to call that “artsy.”):

photo 4 (1)

Dear Truth,

All day, I’ve been trying to think of something to say to you. It should be easy. True is my word for this year. I should know what to say.

But my words are all jumbled up. So I’m just going to ramble.

I believe in loyalty. And fairness. And happy songs in minor keys.

I believe that good coffee is worth its own separate category in the budget.

I believe in dancing. And in breakfast for dinner.

These are a few of my (little t) truths.

Thanks for indulging my ramble.

Love, me

april love fear Dear fear,

You like to show up when change and progress are afoot to see if you can thwart their plans.

I get it. It’s your favorite thing.

But this week…

…I wrote out a solid 100-day plan for finishing a manuscript.

…I sought, found, signed a lease, and put down a deposit on a home that is better suited for me than the place I am now.

…I received congratulations on the official announcement that I start my new job May 2.

So you can suck it.

Love, me

photo 3 (1)

Dear courage,

It might not take a lot of you to drink more water. Or exercise. Or eat right. Or even jump on a scale every 2-3 weeks.

But put them all together and keep track of them in writing? This has me surprisingly intimidated.

Come sit by me. I may need more of you than I thought.

Love, me

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Dear Younger Me,

Sometimes we still dress like a cartoon character.

I think you’d like us now. In fact, I think we are becoming the hero you always dreamed of.

Don’t stop dancing. Or running.

Don’t get rid of the piano.

And when you go to Public House with Hunter that one afternoon to share towers of Blue Moon, be careful when you’re crossing the street, for it is clearly uneven.

I love you. Try to relax a little, even thought it’s hard.

Love, Current Me

april loveDear love,

You show up in the simplest places and with the most wonderful people.

Thank you.

Love, me

And just because I love this picture:

photo 3

About Last Week

photo 2 (3)I’ve been talking for what seems like forever about getting a new place to live that better suits me. This year, I listed it as one of my main goals.

Truthfully? I only half-expected to make it a reality. I’ve been talking about wanting it so long and not being able to make it happen that I only half-believed that I’d actually be able to pull it off.

That unbelieving half has to eat her words, because in June, I am moving to a new place! It has two bedrooms (instead of one) and two bathrooms (instead of one). My  books and writing desk get their own room again, and guests won’t be subjected to my hair product arsenal when they need to visit the facilities.

Other happy features include:

  • washer dryer connections in a closet hidden off the kitchen instead of in the living room
  • single-story structure = all the benefits of a ground floor apartment with none of the drawbacks
  • a real neighborhood – no student housing structures
  • closer to my sister, my church, my grocery store, and walking distance from the north branch library with its book sales and bookshop (so I’m expecting the extra few miles to work will actually balance out)
  • city trash and recycling bins – goodbye, dumpster life!

I know my move-in date is well over a month away, but I’m so excited I’ve already started packing books.

 

 

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