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May 27, 2009

I love my life. Also: The Internet.

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 6:22 pm

“Now I understand why poly people are addicted to their Google Calenders.”

August’s girlfriend is off on holiday with her other partner, who August knows but who I haven’t met yet. Meanwhile, my boyfriend Eric is coming here to visit for the first time since she and Aug started dating. They’ll be back in town before he leaves – and she just IM’d me from Italy to work out a time when all five of us can meet for dinner. This makes me smile.

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May 26, 2009

Bodies and Babies

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 10:50 pm

There I sat, listening to a pretty young white woman with a cute stroller’d baby and a well-groomed older lady with salon red hair gooing and gurgling together about how the lady’s little granddaughters just loved getting their nails done…

When it hit me.

One of the biggest reasons I’ve always been so uncomfortable with the idea of having children is not political, logistical or relational. It’s that motherhood in general, and childbearing in particular, seem super femme. I’ve felt this for a long time, although I’d never articulated it like that until now…

See, I don’t have hardcore childfree politics. I do think making babies is politically problematic and something that should be thought about very carefully, but so are a LOT of things. I’m still glad my parents had me (blah blah blah) and my brother. Some of my closest friends are having a baby in a few weeks. I’m thrilled for them and can’t wait to meet him. I’m really glad my friend A had her daughter, who is now almost three – and, yes in fact, is The Cutest Thing On The Planet.

And I don’t have anything against kids personally. Babies…I don’t know about. I don’t really get how they operate – although I’d be down to learn, mostly because the great thing about infants is that they turn into kids with a quickness. But kids are great. They intimidate the hell out of me sometimes (so do grown-ups), but man, if you are between the ages of about 2 – 20 and you want to hang out with me, you have my undivided attention. There are lots of interesting adults out there, but there are lots of boring ones too. I have never met a boring kid. Kids are amazing. I really want there to be kids in my life, in my family, in my home.

I just don’t know if I want them to be mine. The idea of being a Mom wigs me the fuck out. Not just because I don’t want to be my Mom – but because I can’t imagine “Mother” being part of my identity. It just…Ugh! Gah! What?! No! What??! But here’s the funny thing: …I think I’d be a pretty good Dad. And I think I’d be down with Dadhood. I realized this years ago. Then I decided that was ludicrous; that I was just essentializing gendered parental norms; that all being a “mother” meant was being a female-gendered parent and that “father” was simply shorthand for “parental figure with male gender identity” – and that if I couldn’t cope with parenting in the way I saw fit and calling that “being a mom”, I should just forget about it. And, basically, I forgot about it.

Here’s the other thing: The pregnancy thing. Pregnancy terrifies me. Not because it’s supposed to be one of the most painful and uncomfortable things any human can undergo. I don’t seek pain out, but I’m not afraid of it. Physical pain is temporary. Pain is never a good enough excuse not to do something that would be worth doing otherwise. No, it terrifies me because…I love my body. But it has been a long, hard, continuous process to love my body as it is – as a short, tough, solid, buxom, resilient, round-bellied, square-jawed, squat, thick-thighed, poised, present, butch woman’s body. The thought of that body suddenly being transmuted into a pregnant body – the symbolic epitome of all things traditionally tagged female, feminine and femme – just. feels. so. completely. dysphoric.

Like, if wearing a skirt makes me feel this weird, carrying a baby is going to break my brain into a thousand pieces.

Don’t get me wrong. I like getting into femme drag once in a while. It’s hot to play dress-up and flirt.

Hell, I own these ridiculous things:

But it’s not me.

This is me:

That’s not, I’m told, the kind of body that raises babies, much less makes them.

It’s not true, though. Right? Butchness and motherhood are not inherently incompatible. Not any more than butchness and bisexuality. There are definitely butch women out there who are enjoying raising children and probably doing a damn fine job of it. We just don’t get to see many models of butch moms in magazines. Not nearly as many as we see “glowing” girls with sparkly eyes and pretty hair cooing over their little sweetumses…

But there are plenty of feminine-gendered and femme-associated things that can be done in a butch way. Hell, the only reason I even ran into these first-paragraph ladies is that they were in the nail salon where I was getting a pedicure. Just buff and trim. No polish. Inside my beat-up Doc Martens, my feet feel great now. And I still have no idea what to do about babies.

This doesn’t mean I want to have kids. There are still a lot of reasons – political, logistical, relational and personal – not to have them. Plus, just because it’s probably possible to get over the more perniciously gendered aspects of parenthood, that doesn’t mean it would be easy or the right battle for me to choose. But it does mean that, maybe, if I did ultimately decide to have children…that wouldn’t necessarily mean forcibly turning myself into something I’m not.

Facts About Me

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 5:25 pm

I just stumbled across this in one of my notebooks. I’m sure it was notes for a draft of something I’ll never get around to writing – but I thought it was kind of cute, so I figured I’d just post it raw.

Facts About Me

* I am a (self-diagnosed) manic hypergraphic. It’s a mild case – I’m no Charles Bukowski – but there is a direct correlation for me between the act of writing and my will to live.

* I have some raw talent as a writer, but my only formal training is in analytic philosophy frosted with phenomenology. This means that my writing tends to be obtusely wordy and full of unnecessary qualifiers such as “tends to,” and that I overexplain and then overexplain my overexplanations and then often make meta-commentary on my explanations of my overexplanations. Sometimes I call this “unpacking.” Others might call it “ad nauseum.”

* I don’t think I’m very clever – so when I do say something I think is clever, I get all delighted with myself and want to show it off like a twelve-year-old with a new toy or cool bruise.

* I am very good at investing myself. I am very bad at being “goal-oriented.” My investments almost always pay off, often blossoming in ways I never could have imagined. My “Five Year Plans” are a museum of things that will never happen.

The best thing you can possibly invest yourself in is other people. Having faith in things, ideas or institutions can be a kind of high-stakes gambling, but having faith in people is the best kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.

Naming Racist Thoughts

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 5:18 pm

Back in March, as part of the aftermath to RaceFail, debunkingwhite mods made a Debunking White Goes Back to the Basics post in which they asked more experienced members to list their top three pieces of key advice for new anti-racist allies.

I’ve found the comments on this post invaluable ever since. Many of them mention things I already knew but helped by bringing them back to the forefront of my consciousness; some comments clarified nebulous ideas that I was aware of but hadn’t been able to quite lock onto; and a few provided brand new insights and things to contemplate. A couple of the comments stuck out for me especially – and one of those was muddyslush‘s comment on acknowledging racist thoughts.

2. Acknowledging that you/I are racist is immeasurably helpful. Then it’s not so terrifying to have someone point out that something you’ve said or done is racist. It’s just factual. During the day as part of my mindfulness practice I keep track of racist thoughts. I just notice them come and name it, “racist thought.”

Intellectually, I get that our entire culture from the foundations up is steeped in hegemonic racism, so it shouldn’t be remotely startling to see it everywhere – including constantly inside my own brain. As Paul Kivel insightfully points out in Uprooting Racism, looking for the ways that racist oppression influences a given situation is akin to describing the economics that impact it. The question isn’t whether or not economics factors are there. They are. The question is in what way are they present?

But emotionally, I’m still pretty hung up on the inculcated classist belief that Racists (BOOGA! BOOGA!) are Bad *cough*uneducatedpoorruralSouthern*cough* People Who Wear Sheets and Burn Crosses – and that I’m not like that, so I’m not a racist!

One of the most powerful things about getting in the habit of acknowledging my racist thoughts has been that, since they are usually fleeting and nigh-unconscious, expecting them and actively naming them allows me to capture, examine, unpack and work on actually eliminating them. Rather than being so startled and then wracked with guilt and shame by their presence that I hastily stuff them back under the rug while telling myself they never happened because I’m a Good White Person!

This morning I was lying half-asleep in bed and, for some dreamstate reason, the first thoughts to float into my mind were about Latin@ communities being smaller in Northern states. Bfp had written recently about how there being fewer queer Latinas in Michigan than in, say, California affects her life…and I realized something. When I think about US racial demographics, I immediately think about immigration and, what’s more, I unconsciously think about white, Black, and Asian immigration as having a chronological trajectory, but Latin@ immigration as having a geographical trajectory. The implication being that when non-Latin@ people immigrate or have immigrated to the United States, that’s a natural and organic historical process of populations changing over time; but when people from Latin America do the same thing, it’s a palpable physical incursion into “my” space.

That’s a racist thought.

NPR Liberals and Sonia Sotomayor

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 4:39 pm

I’m sure the folks at NPR and the various local stations don’t see themselves as part of the problem. They’re self-congratulating white liberals that think they aren’t racist because they don’t belong to the KKK. The same kind of people who listen to NPR and think they’re getting “better” news because it doesn’t come from Fox or CNN or whatever. – K. Tempest Bradford

I listen to a lot of NPR. Certainly not as much as some – but I have it on in the car, I stream it in my office, and it’s where I get most of my mainstream news. I’ve listened to enough NPR that its political sensibilities have taken on a clear and distinct flavor in my mind – a progressive ecoliberal white heteronormative flavor that smacks of privilege. The kind of privilege that allows people to feel like being Democrats makes them an oppressed minority. The kind of privilege that means responding to an economic crisis by canceling the only show in your line-up focused on the Black community.

Here’s today’s example of racist fuckery on NPR: President Obama just nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. I learned about this on Morning Edition. I also heard some variation on the following construction three times in under ten minutes of broadcasting:

“Sotomayor will be the first Hispanic and the third woman to reach the Supreme Court. She has a long history of experience in the law and as a judge.”

… Ya don’t say. A nominee to the Supreme Court has years of experience on the bench? Really? You mean she’s not just being nominated because she’s a Woman of Color? You’re saying that, in addition to her fabulous affirmative-action friendly identity, she’s also the best qualified candidate for the job? Shocking! Thrilling! Thanks, NPR!

Look. Yes, unequivocally, it’s incredibly exciting that a Puerto Rican-American woman whose parents were working-class immigrants will be serving on our Supreme Court! And yeah, it’s kind of a neat piece of trivia that “with 17 years on the bench, [Sotomayor] would bring more judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice confirmed in the past 70 years.” But the fact that OMG YES SHE’S QUALIFIED REALLY REALLY WE SWEAR HERE’S PROOF!! doesn’t need to be the focus of every news segment about her nomination.

And they certainly didn’t need to then bring in two “expert” commentators to debate whether or not these claims about her qualifications are valid or just so much political smoke and mirrors. I guarantee, if the nominee were a white man, that they would have expert commentators debating about him – but they would be debating his political biases, what his nomination meant for the legislation, and whether or not he was likely to be confirmed, NOT whether or not he really deserved to be nominated in the first place. His “personal story” and professional history would be a footnote.

Come on, NPR. The fact that Sotomayor knows how to do her own job absolutely cannot be the (second) most interesting/important thing about her nomination. If there were some kind of professional scandal in her past, then this kind of non-discussion might be newsworthy. But there wasn’t. There’s only the scandal of her, despite being not-white and not-male, being so successful professionally that she’s been nominated by the effing President to serve on the highest court in the land. So how ’bout taking it as a given that her damn resume stacks up and talking about whether, politically, she’s the right person for the job?

Unquestionably, NPR isn’t the only news source fixating on this. Assuredly, more conservative mediamakers are pushing the agenda that she simply doesn’t deserve the nomination because the fact that she increases the diversity of the judicial line-up automatically proves she’s not fit to serve. But this is the kind of ridiculous spew that ought not be justified with a response – or, at least, the response should be a critique of the Right’s racist tactics themselves, rather than defensively trying to beat them at their own game.

The fact that some other people are being noisy flaming racists (or that, as Good Liberals, we assume some are) doesn’t make NPR implicitly calling Sotormayor’s qualifications into question every four-and-a-half minutes any less embarrassingly or obnoxiously racist. Nor does it change the fact that this encourages white progressives to believe this is an appropriate and safe tack to take on the issue – because they heard it on NPR! So it can’t possibly be racist! It’s not like Bill O’Reilly said it or anything!

I got into the beginning of heated conversation with Jay the other night about the rule of law, the judicial system, retributive v. restorative justice, and the prison industrial complex. It’s one I’d like to continue when we’re, y’know, sober… I’m not sure where the Supreme Court and Constitutional law fall into that discussion. As usual – either because I’m a burned out cynic, a dewy-eyed idealist, or maybe just a perspicacious radical – I’m skeptical about anything that happens at the Federal level, assuming that it’s either largely irrelevant and/or broadly engineered to fuck me and my loved ones…

Still, I can’t shake the memory of being 14 years old in Washington DC and stepping inside the Supreme Court building for the first time. Of standing awestruck inside that smooth, glowing, cathedral-like marble edifice and feeling like…like something here meant to do right. Like something here might not care about me personally, but it was powerfully and passionately devoted to protecting the idea that I deserved a good life. That’s a little creepy – but it’s a little encouraging also.

That this potentially protective body now includes a person who brings the perspective of meaningfully different cultural and gendered experiences to the table is, I say tentatively, even more encouraging. But I’d really like to know more about who she is than about whether she’s really earned the right to be there. (Hi. She has. No duh. Move on.) And I’m probably not the only one.

Thanks for the millionth time to BFP…

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 5:56 am

Although the link at the beginning is problematic in several ways, reading bfp’s what is butch? post and comment thread – and the very fact of it being discussed in the context of bisexuality – has been pretty healing for me.

I’ve been wanting for a long time, pretty much since the day I re-started this blog, to write about my sexuality and gender identity; about the slow process of learning to own and honor my queerness, and the responsibility to radical queer community that entails, in the face of internalized bi-phobia; and about the ways that process is impeded both by the fact that my ability to pass as straight gives me access to massive heterosexual privilege, and by the fact that, by virtue of being a bisexual queer woman with cismale partners, I am perennially read in ways that erase my queerness by both the heteronormative and homonormative cultures I live in.

This entry has been percolating through my being for months and I’m not ready to write it yet. It involves some anger, some pain, some sadness, some regret and some joy that I’m still in the process of just feeling. But I can say this: Reading the phrase “bisexual butch” felt like coming up for air.

May 20, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 2:20 pm

This is a post. I am posting something. Thank you, that is all.

Oh yeah, also, I went canoeing. It was cool.

May 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 12:43 am

Oh! Oh! I know this one!

…This is the onset of depression. This is what that feels like.

I’m sick, so I haven’t been leaving the house, and my diet has gone to hell because I can’t really stomach much of anything. I also haven’t gotten any exercise in the past couple of weeks and my sleep hasn’t been great. I’m having exaggerated fears and getting teary about random things. I feel headachy and bleary most of the time – since before I got struck down by the Crud. I’m not getting any work done. I feel tired and want to nap all the time. I don’t feel up to socializing, even with people who are in my own house. I’m indulging in really twisted self-destructive masturbatory fantasies that I know mess up my head. I’m spending hours and hours on the Internet without knowing what I’m doing there. I literally haven’t been outside the house in about 48 hours. I’m ignoring really important shit like I need to sign up for medical benefits, and pay my credit card, and write thank you notes to my grandparents, and all these things have deadlines. I’m not writing. AT ALL. I’m not reading much of anything. My living space is trashed and disorganized. I keep trying to get up and go for a walk but finding myself screwing around on Facebook for another hour instead. …And I just Googled download Gossip Girl.

If I’m at the point where I’m considering watching Gossip Girl rather than do, well, anything else…Houston, we have a problem.

Because, don’t mistake me, it’s not like I was going to just download an episode of Gossip Girl. No, if I start, I am going to hole up in the basement and watch twenty-two hours of worthless, socially unredeemable, trashy, self-loathing inducing television straight until I feel like my eyes are going to bleed, emerging only occasionally to feed myself subsistence-level fistfuls of Cheez-Its and cold tortillas and… I have a job? What?

Fuck.

We are not doing this.

I’m going for a walk.

May 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 9:56 pm

There’s too much STUFF going on in my life.

At this rate…I’ll never write anything.

Sometimes I want to hide.

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