Where I Am Now

Where I am now is home. A new home, yes, in a new neighbourhood, with a new housemate and his cat. I live in a little green house near the west bank of the Red River, in a lovely neighbourhood that both inspires and requires me to walk more. But the most important thing about where I am now, is that it is the city I love most, the city in which I became an adult, the city that somehow, over the ten years that I lived here, burrowed its prairie roots deep into my being and identity and made itself a part of me. I may not have grown up here in the Heart of the Continent, but the person I have become is so much a product of this city’s soil, grass, concrete, stucco, clapboard, rare bricks, disparate neighbourhoods, uncommonly common kindness.

Oh, Winnipeg, I'm home.

Oh, Winnipeg, I’m home.

This move has proven difficult and stressful, as most moves do, certainly moves across a nation so spacious as ours. I arrived 10 days ahead of my furniture and am camping out in my new room-that-doesn’t-feel-mine-yet on a borrowed air-bed, my clothes and sundry items spilling out of suitcases in unruly piles. Jack the Cat has made himself right at home, of course; I’ve discovered that he is a much more easily adaptable being than I am. Not the fragile flower I assumed he was, he’s adjusted to each new space with a spirit of curiosity and adventure, leaving the anxiety and stress-migraines to me.

So yes, dear reader, we are in a time of transition. As I settle into a new routine and begin carving out this next stage of my life, I’ll return to posting more regularly and getting back to the weekly features you’ve come to know and (hopefully) love.

On Persistence (or, what I really learned from my first surfing lesson)

Hello, dear readers!

I haven’t forgotten you. The last month or so has been consumed by preparing for two major events: moving back home to Winnipeg, and going on vacation with my boyfriend. I write to you from South Cocoa Beach, Florida, where I have been wrestling with my attitude toward high heat and humidity while revelling in the company of my favourite boy. We’ve so far enjoyed the beach a fair bit, which is a block and a half from where we are staying, as well as the Kennedy Space Center and local gastronomical landmarks like Taco City.

Taco City - the most delicious tex-mex dive joint around.

Taco City – the most delicious tex-mex dive joint around.

I’m not here to give you a log of my vacation activities, though. What brought me out of my blog-hibernation, what tugged my writerly heartstrings and made me crave to talk to you, dear reader, was my first surfing lesson, which I had yesterday.

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The Thing About Depression

Oh readers. I haven’t forgotten you. I look longingly and with a heavy, guilt-ridden heart at the stagnating space here, grasping at straws and reaching any place I can for some writerly inspiration. I know that there is so much more to say and to share, even if at times, mental illness builds labyrinthine walls between my core ego and the things I want to explore and share. Walls like “I’m too tired to write today.”

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“I don’t have anything else to say.”

“What’s the fucking point, anyway? This world is awful.”

“Yes, by all means, continue celebrating your failed adulthood by pretending to be some kind of pro-bono Internet Sex Oracle.”

And the thing is, I know all these internal monologues are the products of illness, not of reality, truth, love, compassion, or kindness. Even being on a (mostly successful) regime of medication and therapy, I find that my mental health still cycles through periodic dives, especially in periods of stress and uncertainty. My time in therapy has given me tools to help me work through these times; my practice of mindfulness helps me to sort of ride it out, but while hanging on and trying not to completely relapse, everything else kind of…. stops. All of my energy turns inward. Socializing gets really hard, and then I get very lonely, and then I start feeling more doubts and sad things about my worth as a person and the value of my friendships. It’s a delicate walk on a knife-edge that demands so much of my mental and emotional energy, I find myself often sleeping twelve to fourteen hours at a time. This doesn’t create much of a fruitful headspace for writing, because I don’t feel like I can trust the thought-products of my mind.

I don’t feel safe or confident writing about sexuality and kink during these periods, either, because my own drives take such a sharp turn toward self-destruction, self-annihilation, and I am still in my own process of learning how to manage and channel the urge to self-destruct in a healthier, more compassionate and self-caring way. Kinkster friends and readers, do you have experience with this kind of thing? Learning how to express and work through self-destructive impulses and drives, without having to deal with the immediate dump of shame-bricks? It’s not easy.

But I am still here, and I’m still determined to fight my way through this latest round of neurochemical assholery.

Thank you for hanging in there with me.

 

 

The Wedding and the Gender Police

The first time I went out in public in men’s formal wear was the day of my graduation from University of Winnipeg. A great deal of the time I was wearing my robes and regalia, but when the suit itself was revealed, the compliments began flowing. I was happy, I felt confident, I felt comfortable, and I felt a delicious sense of inner consistency. I wasn’t just celebrating my academic achievements that day. I was celebrating my growth, owning and occupying my identity. I felt beautiful. I felt handsome. I felt loved. I felt AWESOME.

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I considered this the outfit’s dry-run before its main debut event the following weekend: a Mennonite wedding. Now, before you go leaping to any conclusions about covered heads, barns, farmer sausage and borscht, I should qualify that it wasn’t that much different from your standard modern Christian wedding. The bride and groom were (and are) both wonderful, socially progressive, compassionate, cool people, and that is why I accepted the invitation to celebrate their wedding with them.

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Sometimes I Get Angry.

It is not always easy being a feminist on the internet. Apart from explicitly feminist havens, most of the places I find myself online are pretty male-dominated domains. This isn’t always necessarily a bad thing; sometimes there are benefits to being the Unicorn in the room. Not all male communities are dominated by douchey, obnoxious, condescending patriarchy-worshipping cockswingers, either. There are a lot of really excellent, intelligent, well-spoken and politically progressive men out there in the Wild West of cyberspace, and I greatly enjoy interacting with them.

Unfortunately, in many, many online communities, these excellent men end up getting drowned out by a small but persistent chorus of patriarchy parrots determined to make the feminist look stupid, shut her up, and drive her out of the conversation, either by authoritatively declaring the conversation suddenly inappropriate and changing the subject, or simply by repetitively asserting that BITCHES BE CRAY CRAY, RITE GUYZ? HA HA HA.

bitchescray

The Patriarchs have hereby thusly declared in their great eminence that SHUT THE FUCK UP.

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Butch with Boobs: A Sartorial Retrospective

If you read my opening throwback post about the Very Dykey Haircut, you’ll know that at that time, I dreamed about wearing a suit to an occasion, anxiously curious about how it would feel to go out dressed up as my dapper, increasingly butch-ish self. Since my first formal outing in masculine dress back in 2011, I have had many such opportunities, and I currently boast a magnificent collection of over 30 neckties. But let me tell you; finding masculine dress clothing to fit my very feminine body was an adventure all in itself. Let me tell you about my very first butch-style shopping trip for formal dude-wear.

You see, I’m not one of those slight, willowy androgynous girls who can just hop into the men’s section and pick out a smashing vest or suit jacket.

Exhibit A (Image credit pinterest.com, Via Rebecca Andruszka)

Exhibit A (Image credit pinterest.com, Via Rebecca Andruszka)

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Losing My Religion (and Finding My Empathy)

Religion is a touchy subject. It’s difficult to speak with critical distance about something that so many feel is deeply personal without stepping on too many toes. Especially when the things one has to say may not always be particularly charitable. I have had a long and complicated relationship with Protestant Christianity that began in seventh grade, and persists today. I’m no longer a member of any church, and I consider myself an agnostic/soft atheist; that is to say, I don’t believe that there are any gods or supernatural forces governing the universe, but I believe that I cannot know that for certain. However, I am still interested in the cultural phenomenon of Christianity, my boyfriend is a Christian, many of my dearest friends are Christians, and I still draw significantly from my experiences as a Christian, so I think it’s fair to say that I still have a relationship with Christianity.

Okay, guys, maybe I needed to be a little clearer on the whole "love" concept.

We’re cool.

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