Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I miss her.

It's been 5 months since my friend's suicide.

Tomorrow would be her 30th birthday so I've been thinking about her a lot the last few days. There won't ever be a Whirlyball party or a super nerdy Cosplay party or any other event or conversation again. No baking her any birthday cupcakes. No card. Nothing. No goofy banter. No random talks. No weird little messages. Just nothing. The random conversations and dumb little jokes is what I miss the most.

I miss her sassy little smile and her wit and the weird things we used to joke about. I haven't been bothered by it much lately but significant dates and events of deceased loved ones are always tough. Especially the first ones you go through after they're gone. And then I think about how awful her family must feel, how much they must be hurting with her being gone and I feel terrible for them. I know how I feel and can't even fathom how they must feel. I haven't deleted my friend from my facebook yet so I've seen every time a family member posts how much they miss her. It was one of them posting something this evening about her birthday coming up tomorrow that set me off tonight.

I feel like I should be fine by now, that I should be passed the tears and the hurt. And mostly I am but there's still some part of me that hurts so much when I think about or am reminded of her. Though it doesn't happen every time. Sometimes I will see or hear something that reminds me of her and I just smile. When it hurts though, it's this raw space that feels like a wound that just won't heal. Then I go through all the emotions again. Crying because I'm sad and miss her. Angry because she would still be here if she hadn't pulled a trigger. Guilty for getting angry because I so completely understand that mental illness is a bitch. Then I'm sad again and overwhelmed because it's so much to feel and it always rushes over you quickly. Like a sucker punch that hits you hard in multiple places simultaneously.

Suicide is hard. If it's something you humor the idea of or think about at all, please reach out and get help. You might feel like no one cares but if you're gone, you'll leave behind people like me. People that will miss you more than you might think possible. People that will cry for you. People that will be left with memories and pictures. People that will wish they could hug you and laugh with you and plan with you and celebrate birthdays with you and have the dumbest most pointless conversations in the world with you. People that will wish they could say things to you that they didn't get to say because they didn't realize that last time was their last chance. People that will feel pain so raw and so deep that it will reduce them to a sobbing aching mess sometimes.

No matter how alone you feel or how much you're hurting, it can get better. Not even just for those people that you'll be leaving behind but for yourself. You're worth it and you're not beyond fixing. You aren't broken. You aren't ruined. There's no shame in not being able to overcome things on your own. We all need help sometimes and that's nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of.

And as I've stated in previous posts, that's said as someone who has been there and someone that still struggles sometimes.

If you're struggling in any way, talk to someone. That first step, that decision to reach out for help and making yourself do it is the scariest part. Talk to a teacher, a friend, a coworker, a parent, a sibling, an aunt, your partner, a professional, anyone you feel safe and comfortable talking to. You can email me if you can't or don't want to talk to someone you know. Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) and talk to them. If you'd rather chat online, 7 Cups Of Tea is a free, confidential online one-on-one or group chat with a real people there to listen and help you.

It can get better.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Much to her surprise. I'm not a lesbian.

One of my new coworkers was surprised to find out I have a boyfriend. Not because I'm hideous looking or because I'm a horrible person. She assumed I'm a lesbian. The logic (and I use that word incredibly loosely) behind her theory was very special.

Her: "You like sports, like a lot. Like you seem to know baseball and hockey better than the guys here do. And plus you drink scotch and that's a total man thing. Plus you listen to metal music and like muscle cars and you're into shooting archery. And you dislike shopping and don't like chick flicks. And you don't seem feminine really very much. Plus your Nike's look like they're men's Nike's. I mean not like you're manly but you're not girly at all and seem pretty tomboyish like you'd be better off being like in a guy's body, you know? So I really thought you were a lesbian." 

Just.... really? A person's interests, dislikes and personality in general does NOT indicate what they're sexuality is. Also, I did at length explain why her assumption was stupid, offensive and horribly problematic. I'm pretty sure she hates me now but I think I'll be able to live with myself. Also, quite happy in my current womanly body and definitely do not wish I were a man. Getting erections at random times and no longer having boobs anymore? No thanks, I'm fine here because this works for me and I'm good with who I am. I'm a big fan of doing what works for you, what makes you comfortable and what makes you happy. As long as you're not hurting yourself, hurting others or doing something that could cause potential harm. 

I have never understood why things have to be sectioned off as "boy things" and "girls things." I think that's partly because I grew up as a girl that had little interest in the "girl things" I was supposed to like and much more interest in the "boy things" that weren't for me. Gender binary can go die in a fire now, thanks.

Growing up, I liked LEGO's and Ghostbusters. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Batman were idols of mine. I liked sports. I liked music. I liked painting. I had an obsession the trains (that still exists to this day.) I loved books. I liked building things with my hands and science sets were rad, too. I liked the color purple. I loved art. I loved monster trucks. I liked playing outside and getting dirty. I liked hanging out on the garage floor with my grandpa while he worked on cars. I liked doing crafts. I was fascinated with pirates and dragons instead of the princesses I was supposed to be interested in. I pretended to be a Ghostbuster, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or Batman in whatever made up fantasy game I was playing with siblings or friends. I loved stuffed animals. It's not like I didn't like "girl things" just on some kind of principle because there were things considered as "girl things" I did like. I remember being a kid and wondering why it was weird for girls to want to play with Tonka trucks or why boys weren't supposed to want an Easy Bake Oven. It always made sense to me that you should like what you like as long as it makes you happy but that's not what society told you back then. It's largely still not what it tells you today, sadly. 

Bless my parents, they didn't try to push stuff off on me that I didn't care for. They stopped buying me dolls and other "girl things" and just let me have the things I was interested in instead of the things I was supposed to be interested in. Sometimes those were "girls things" and sometimes they were "boy things." I called them toys and hobbies. I know, weird.

So hearing my cw explain to me why she just assumed I was a lesbian brought me back to that. I do love sports and have since I was a little kid. I was also an athlete growing up and happened to play all of my favorite sports at one time or another. I'd hope I'd have a pretty good understanding of the games given the time spent playing and the even longer amount of time spent watching. Girls like sports, too. I swear it's not some trick and no, we're not all trying to impress the mens by liking sports and showing off our sports knowledge. Some of us (and there are a lot of us, I can direct you to tons of avid sports fans on Twitter that identify as female) just really enjoy sports, k.

I get that because of movies and television there are things considered as "man drinks." Men drink beer. Men drink scotch. Men drink whiskey. If it's a brown liquor, men put that in a glass and knock that right back. SO DO WOMEN. I'm not the only woman I know who can enjoy a nice glass of whiskey. 

And yes, I wear men's Nike's because it's really fucking hard to find women's running shoes I like that aren't doused in colors I hate. If I'm paying $70+ for some shoes, I'm going to LOVE the way they look as much as I love the way they feel on my feet. 

I'm not listing out why every example she used to come to a conclusion about my sexuality because no matter what else was used as an example, it's not indicative to how I identify my sexual orientation. 

I'm bisexual so don't think I'm ranting because she assumed I was a lesbian and OHMYGOSH HOW DARE SHE. But really, how dare she drop her jaw and let her eyes fly open in surprise at the mention of my boyfriend that she assumed I didn't have because I'm like a totally masculine tomboy brochick who obviously wishes she were a guy so obviously I like girls? Because every dude on the planet only wants women and if you're not a heterosexual female it's apparently because you wish you were a man but you're in deep denial or some such bullshit. I digress. I'm mainly irritated this way of thinking is STILL so prevalent in today's society. I know I'm not alone in thinking you should like what you like, as long as you're not doing harm to yourself or others, as long as it makes you happy.

 Aside from assigning things as appropriate based on your gender, another issue I have is assuming because a person's personality doesn't fit the mold here then they obviously belong there. I'm not girly enough so obviously I'm not heterosexual. I'm not but that's not an indicator to make a judgement off of. Being an "ultra feminine" woman  is not a sign of being heterosexual anymore than being a woman who is "tomboyish" is a sign of a women being gay. 

All of these silly preconceived notions about how people should be this way or should be that way or vice versa are really insane. You really can feel like there's something wrong with you when so many people and so much of what you see around you is telling you the way you are isn't right. That can be horribly confusing and quite damaging to a person.

There's no set way to be. There are no guidelines that say if you like these things and act this way then you go here in this box. But if you act this way and like these things, please go here instead. If everyone were meant to be the same way, we would be. We're not, so it shouldn't be so difficult of a concept for people to grasp or accept.