Monday, October 24, 2016

What matters to us?

I still remember the first time I heard a person speak about me--he was on a phone call--and refer to me as "a girl" from young life.

A what? What did he call me?

Now, let me take a step back and note that I knew I was female. I'd noticed. I'd done everything I could to prevent the onset of puberty, and I had hated puberty every step of the way. I had checked out a Star Wars comic and resolutely read it all through every health class at school. I answered every health class test question as vaguely as I could, and whenever my mother forced me to accompany her into the bra and underwear section of a department store I did everything I could to simultaneously disappear and avoid eye contact with anything that was on display.  Once when I was very young, one of my uncles told me that if I licked my elbow I would turn into a boy. I was smart enough to know that one cannot lick one's own elbow, but still, in secret, I tried. I told members of my family that when I grew up I was going to have myself "fixed," like a dog or cat, so I wouldn't have to menstruate. I was devastated when all of that bloody mess started. I lasted as long as I could without resorting to a bra. (Sweatshirts work wonders.) I heard that sleeping in a bra could stunt your breast growth, so I always slept in one. Maybe it was different when I was a toddler, but as far back as I can remember I hated skirts, I hated tights, I hated frilly frou frou anything. I never understood why or how all the other girls were so excited to grow up and be women--the idea of doing so disgusted me.

I'm not transgender. I'm not a lesbian. (Bicurious at best.) I don't self-identify as a man. But did I ever really feel comfortable as a girl? Do I feel like a woman now?

No. In fact, as an adult I still avoid referring to myself by any kind of gendered label. When I do inadvertently put myself in a corner where I must, I still always stumble over the word "woman."

In fact, as a young child, I declared war on girlhood. I took everything I could find that a person might associate with girls and I shoved it all in a box labeled "fuck that shit" and locked it, and I left it there for years. I spent somewhere between five and ten of my most formative childhood and adolescent years engaging in the highly damaging practice of defining myself only as NOT THAT. Goddamn it, you motherfuckers, I AM NOT THAT. I first started wanting to kill myself soon after I hit puberty--or rather, soon after puberty hit me. I used to have fistfights with my best friend from school, because it didn't make me feel girly. In the gym locker rooms, I always changed under my shirt. I remember the day my dad sat me down and told me that it was time I started wearing more skirts to school, and if looks could kill, I'd have become an orphan that day. Seventh grade was, I think, the year I developed my rage.

So I guess this is me telling you, whomever, that all this mess I thought I'd left in my childhood is still here inside me.

I can tell, because I've been shaking uncontrollably since the third sentence. And it's not cold in here.

What do you even call a person who just didn't want to be anything?

It doesn't matter. I don't want a label. I guess that's the whole point. I just want to be a human person.

This all started out, I started writing tonight with the intent of explaining that even though I'm...whatever I am, it doesn't matter. It isn't the most important thing about me.

And that's true, I think. But maybe it's more important than I've been telling myself.

Thursday, June 9, 2016


Yesterday I was taking care of some cats for a friend of mine who has cancer, and I got a call from Ian. Turns out his mom--effectively my mother in law--has cancer. We thought at first that she might have had a stroke, but in fact she has an inoperable brain tumor. Naturally one of the first people I told was my good friend who recently had cancer. Got on facebook before writing this and at the top of my news feed was a post from a cousin who is fighting a long battle with cancer.

Guys, I'm getting real sick of cancer.

Thanks to aspirin in her system they can't biopsy until late next week, so for right now we're basically all trying and failing really hard to pretend that everything is still normal. We're all going forward with our original weekend plans, desperately gripping the illusion that we held so easily on Wednesday morning, and watching with rising panic as it dissolves into nothing.

I cried a lot yesterday.

Everyone is trying not to think about the radiation and chemo that will start next month, right after we come back from a week of pretend vacation at the beach. I am trying really hard not to think about how she might never hold the grandchildren that she wants so desperately to meet and love. There's talk of moving our wedding forward. She wants us to make sure we visit before her biopsy next week--the unspoken reason being that she fears she may never wake from it. This is the same cancer that killed her mother.

I don't know how to act. I'm not sure any of us do.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

This is problematic.

I'm not really in a good place. I'm not very interested in looking forward, and I don't want anything that seems to be coming. I'm having a hard time deciding whether I'm afraid

or just walking in a very wrong direction.

I'm spending a whole lot of time wistfully looking back, and a whole lot of time wishing I were someplace else.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Where have I gone?

I'm reading my old blog posts because I'm supposed to be doing other things, and I'm feeling too mopey. Specifically I should be applying for healthcare, which I apparently don't have. I am told (via text) that there's a message in my inbox (which I can't access without calling the Healthcare Marketplace) explaining why I don't.

Can't face it right now, so...unless I find time and space to face it tomorrow, it looks like I might just not have health coverage until I get a real fucking job. Note to self: don't get sick. (PS, I'm feeling like I might be getting sick.)

In other news, Ian and I finally retrieved my ring today from the jewelers, it having been resized. (Did I mention that we're engaged? This is a relatively new thing.)

In reading old blogs I am noticing that I used to write much nicer things. I used to spend much more time alone, watching the sky; I used to spend much more time alone, thinking and writing about the sky, and about the trees, and about my heart. Where is all that now? Though I have no desire to own my own pet, I am beginning to think that I ought to have a dog--because evidently that is the only damn way I get myself outside for walks every day. And it seems that not walking means not breathing, in an expansive metaphorical sense.

It doesn't help much that I've been living in the city, and people discourage me from walking alone at night. This doesn't mean that I don't ever do it, but when I do, I feel like I need to look purposeful. Looking purposeful cuts down significantly on meandering, and walking with my face up to the stars, and occasionally sinking to my knees in prayer, or joy, or grief. There has been none of that here, and I am missing it.

Perhaps the issue is in part that I'm never alone. I haven't particularly been feeling that "get the fuck away from me" feeling (which is probably a good sign, in some ways), but nevertheless I haven't really spent any time alone since I moved in with Ian and Sara. And yet, even when I took my mostly-solo August road trip this past fall, I still moved too fast to stop and reflect in any meaningful way. I filled almost every moment with driving, rushing, researching, audio books, and exhaustion. I spent weeks alone, and weeks distracted. I can't say I didn't spend any time in quiet reflection, but I did spend far too little.

It seems that the lesson here is that I do not only need to learn to take time alone for myself--I need to learn to utilize it for myself. Not for rushing from one destination to another, but for simply being, and watching, and appreciating the world and the blessings around me. I need to feed and soothe and caress the quiet, expansive thing in me that is my spirit--the quiet presence that will so easily shrink and defer to the frantic, purposeless demands of whatever stupid whim happens to be yelling at any given moment. I've been spending all my time rushing around in vain attempts to quiet those endless whims, and forgetting that attention only makes them louder. That the only peace I'll ever find is inward.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Just now I changed into real clothes* (it's almost 9 pm as I begin writing this) so that I'll have something to change out of in a few hours. I'm only now changing because I've spent the entire day alternating between studying for a ProveIt test, taking breaks from studying for said test, and feeling like shit (wait, can I say that here? I haven't written in a semi-private forum in so long that cursing "aloud" feels weird) because A. my period isn't quite over and needs me to know it's still around and B. I worked out a bunch yesterday and now I'm sore. Feel sorry for me.

I've spent rather a lot of time recently with a very wise and very generous friend, revamping my resume and writing a skeleton cover letter in preparation for applications to "real adult" jobs...but I forgot, during this whole process, about ProveIt tests.

It's really easy to say things like, "yeah, I'm familiar with the Microsoft Office suite," and then figure that shit out on the fly (initially mistyped that as "on the sly," which is also appropriate), but it's a lot harder to, you know, pass a test on said Office programs. Particularly Excel. Fuck Excel.

Also, apparently ten-key is a thing? I'm a pretty great typist, but not at ten-key.

In other news, I'm good. I mean, the holidays were insane. Absurd. Among other things, an uncle had open heart surgery just before Christmas, and my car bit the dust, and around 11 pm Christmas eve I ran over a dead deer in the middle of an empty highway in a borrowed car, which was totally not stressful at all.

But I got through it, we all got through it (except for my beautiful car), and then. And then on new years' day, Ian proposed on a walk in the woods. So that was lovely, and we're engaged now. And having a wedding and a car to pay for, I've come to accept that the time has come for me to acquire a "real adult" job--the kind with regular hours, and regular pay, and maybe even sick days and PTO and health insurance and company holidays.

I've been considering several companies, and I've applied to three positions at one as well as having my resume forwarded to a company recruiter, and now they've sent me this GD ProveIt test. So here I go.

*I just realized that I'm missing a skirt that I like a lot. A burgundy one from H&M. I'm really hoping that it's in the dead Saab.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Oh, that

God, I am way more of a suicide risk than anyone realizes. Most (?) of the time I'm fine, but it takes about three seconds for me to go from functional to about-to-throw-in-the-towel. And it happens a lot. Maybe most days. Maybe a couple of times a week. I don't know.

That sounds so extreme. I'm not saying that I've got elaborate plans or anything, letters composed, anything like that. I just wish dying didn't feel like such a good idea. Like a fantasy vacation I don't ever have to come home from.

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Update: getting the fuck out of bed made me feel quite a bit better. And somehow today (or at least this evening) I've been doing a better job of not withering under the weight of all the scary things in my life that I can't control. Hard to say whether that's health or denial, but for now I'll take what I can get.

On another note, this just happened.

Marie: I am lying around in a towel and I just found a spider crawling on my inner thigh. Sweet dreams.

Ian: I just drank a gnat with my medicine. Saw it right as I was gulping.

Marie: high five.