(I never did finish this one, but I figured I might as well go ahead and publish it anyway.)
Am I the only person who feels loneliest when surrounded by other people?
Today I went with Hans, Maureen and Mercer to a theme event in my dorm. It was fun for a while, batting balloons around and waiting to see what getups everyone had come up with, but when the dancing and socializing started in earnest I sort of melted off to the sidelines. I think we stayed maybe an hour or so before getting bored and leaving.
I can't dance. Period. I did ballet, jazz and tap when (and only when) I was in my single-digit age range, and there was an ill-fated period in my teens where my mom made me take ballroom dancing lessons. In any case, I've tried, and I just inherently suck at it. There is a certain kinesthetic sense of where my body is in space that I lack (which is also why I suck at sports). So I can't exactly walk up to anyone I fancy and ask them to dance unless I want to make a total fool of myself.
I also can't socialize. I spent most of my childhood with books instead of other children. I make friends by accident; my friends tend to be more extroverted and outgoing because someone who isn't usually doesn't bother to try to draw me out of my shell. In stark defiance of my Southern lady upbringing, I managed to skip learning the trick of small talk, and as a result, I find it next to impossible to strike up conversation with someone I don't already know.
When it comes to social situations, for all my fluency in writing and journaling, absurdly extensive vocabulary and Nazi-like command of grammar, I can't talk worth a damn.
Mostly, going to the party reminded me why I never go to parties: because parties are depressing.
So my last assignment in my lifedrawing class was a figure rendering on toned paper (blah blah blah). Since I couldn't find a friend with the time to model for me, I ended up doing myself. And since it was indeed a figure drawing, I did have to draw myself naked. I ended up doing a side/back pose wearing black-and-white-striped knee-high socks, because if you're going to be showing off your conte-rendered ass to your entire class, you might as well do it wearing fun socks.
At class, everyone starts putting theirs up right after they walk in. Mine goes up on the wall and I sit down to see what everyone else puts up. So Cute Girl (Yvonne, for the sake of creative pseudonymity) walks in with hers, and I'm looking around at everyone else's while waiting to see what hers looks like...
Hers was an extremely well-rendered full frontal nude self-portrait.
When class was over and I'd already put mine in the pile, I looked around to see where Yvonne was, and walked over and said (mostly to my feet but NOT ALL) "Hey, um, I just wanted to tell you that I thought your picture was gorgeous. I figured you'd probably see me steal it, though, but I thought it was really well-done..."
And she laughed, and said thanks, and reaches out to pat my hand AND I SEE THAT SHE'S REACHING OUT TO PAT MY HAND AND...
well, I bolted, really. But I was still sorta proud that I had the wherewithal to say anything at all. And it was a really good drawing, the class was agreed on that.
(Critique revealed a consensus that the best part of my picture was, yes, the socks. Not that the rest of it was bad, but that the socks were simply the coolest. I tend to agree.)
Also, she sat next to me on the floor during critiques and struck up conversation again. I'M SO CONFUSED. But HAPPY.
How do you tell if a girl is flirting with you? Especially if you are a girl?
In my Lifedrawing 2 class, there is a girl (well, duh). She's absolutely gorgeous, seems quite friendly and reasonably intelligent, and incidentally draws really well (not that it's necessarily a consideration, but it didn't hurt that her bra-wearing self-portrait was extremely well-rendered).
Several times she's given me compliments on my work in class or made small talk with me. Today she took the drawing board next to mine (while the majority of the easels in the room were still unclaimed) and struck up conversation with me throughout class time. We were talking about the model's particular body peculiarities and how different models' proportions and structures are easier or harder to draw, and she began using her own form as an example. "See, I have a really short torso-- my belly button is all the way up here..."
Oh geez. Please don't ask me to stare at your torso (any more than I already have been).
I have no "gaydar" for women. Men I can pick out fairly easily and on at least two occasions have predicted it before he himself knew it. Women? If she's not wearing rainbows, double-venus-symbols, or a t-shirt saying "Yes I am, and no, you can't watch," I've got no way of telling which way(s) she swings. Go figure.
I also have no skills in or refined knowledge of flirtation. I can't really do it, being prone to doing things like conversing with my shoes, temporarily losing my grasp of basic grammar and extensive vocabulary, tripping over my own feet, and generally finding ways to make myself look more inept than usual. I also have a hard time recognizing when other people are trying to flirt with me; usually I only realize it in retrospect, after having done something that in retrospect was probably mean. Hence, my dilemma.
Hans, being who he is, says she's obviously hot for me and I should suggest private lifedrawing study sessions. Maureen asked how long her hair was. (Longer than mine is, so no help there. If she was visibly queer this wouldn't be nearly as much of a dilemma.) Paul (Hans' roommate), like me, had no idea.
My wishful thinking says anything's possible, but then again, my natural pessimism says that given the usual statistics there's about a 90% chance she's just being friendly.
I moved almost all of Old Journal. What I did was go through and move the entries that were actually substantial, since I did a lot of "bulletpoint entries" on occasion when I was too busy or uninspired to write full entries. I had second thoughts about it for a while, wondering if I was just being an attention whore or trying to get one back at the 'rents by doing so. But honestly I think it's a valuable thing only in its being shared by other people. I know random folk would email or IM me just to tell me that they appreciated my writing, because they had the same problems.
I changed the template of the former journal to display a link to Family Acceptance, because I figured if I was going to get the last word there I might as well be snarky with heart.
In the process of moving, I ended up rereading just about everything I wrote from midway through 2002 to midway through 2005. It was a definite headtrip. I think I might have even seen myself grow a little, and believe me that was a shocker. It was funny, the things I used to worry about. Some of it seems light-years away now. I was also an angry little bitch quite often along the way. Hell, I'm still an angry little bitch sometimes. I can't entirely blame my mom for being angry at some of what I wrote.
On the other hand, I'm disappointed that she skipped over the points I was trying to make sometimes and simply absorbed implicit (or, well, explicit) insults to her. She complained to me that she comes off as a hateful, ignorant bigot in the journal.
I can see that. Quite a lot of the time I did see her as willfully ignorant; she did (and does) refuse to learn about things that might upset her worldview. In retrospect I don't really blame her for that, because that's how she was raised and that's how she is. I mean, I spent from puberty to age 18 pretending to myself that I was a straight girl with a "problem" that would go away if I stopped thinking about it. I of all people know how comfortable that kind of certainty can be.
And as for hateful... when she spent three hours talking at me about how sick and filthy I am until I'm curled in a fetal ball on the bed, no, I didn't find that particularly loving. On the other hand, honestly, it was hard to take precisely because I knew she was only doing it because she loved me. She knew what was good for me, and by God she was going to help me if she had to kill me to do it.
That's sort of the crux of it, really. My mom thinks of this "lezz-bee-an life-style" that she's built up in her mind to be the paramount of all that is sick and evil and icky, and she wants to save me from that. She truly believes that once I'm where she thinks I should be, I'll be happy. She's happy doing her stay-at-home mother-and-wife thing, why wouldn't I be happy doing the same?
I sort of wish she put the same effort into understanding me that I have to put into understanding her.
So I've gone through and manually moved most of the entries from my old journal to a new URL and manually changed all the names and whatnot. They're now at resipiscence.blogspot.com.
I'd rather not have it linked, given that it's really just the archival extension of LitG, but if you're interested in my backstory you're welcome to peruse it. (If you know me in RL and you notice a pseudonym I missed, email me and let me know. I think I got them all, but I probably missed one or two.)
Also: For those who might get confused, my relationship with Hans ended at the beginning of last summer. We sort of mutually decided our coupledom had run its course. We are now the best of friends and personally I'm sort of happier this way.
*looks at unfinished panel on last page beside her, due tomorrow* Right, then. I'll write another entry.
My mom first found out I'm a lesbian a month before I left for my freshman year of college, when Dymphna showed her my start page (you know, the page you get when you start up your browser? I make my own with all the links I usually visit) which had a link to Christian Lesbians on it. (Personally, I think it could have been worse; it could have been something like MuffDiversGalore.com or AnarchistBabyEatingDykes.com.) My world imploded for a little while, and through a series of events I sort of accidentally went back in the closet.
Demonstrating her impeccable sense of timing and self-restraint a second time, Dymphna showed my mother my online journal a month before I was to return to my third year of school this past summer. She was directed to it by a few of my high school classmates who had recognized me. Apparently my journal was something of a hot gossip topic, since I used a pseudonym for myself but no one else, so there were identifying details aplenty. Yeah, that was stupid; hence, why this time I changed every proper noun I could think of that would lead someone here via Google, and have not linked to any of my other pages, nor let anyone I know in Real Life™ link to here.
Also, hence the footnote at the bottom of the page. I still don't know who first found my page and started passing it around, but rest assured should I ever find out who it was they will know the extent of my pissedness. Currently, I've changed the public template to display a snarky message to said offender, without deleting any of the entries. The content is still there, simply unviewable.
I definitely don't want to completely delete it. I kept that journal from 2002 until this year (I had previous journals). In total there's about two hundred entries, and they average about six thousand words each. That journal took me through just about my entire journey:
- Coming to grips with the fact that I indeed did like girls.
- Dealing with being in the closet and hiding something very basic from the people I loved the most.
- Slowly starting to tell my friends, or deciding which not to tell.
- Coming out (as bisexual) to the Internet in one entry and getting the most amazing outpouring of love and support from a readership composed of a shocking percentage of Christians; I got comments that made me cry with how much they understood and cared about me.
- Figuring out that maybe I was more accurately described as gay than bi. (When you realize that you've "always been more concerned with personality than looks," tend to go for boys that look and act like girls, and if told to pick would choose women with no qualms, you start to wonder if you really like boys per se at all.)
- Wrestling with the religious consequences and interpretations.
- Getting emails and comments from people who read my entries and identified with them, often undergoing the same struggles themselves, and thanking me for putting words to screen.
- The fallout from the first coming-out to my parents.
- The frustration and pain and stress that came with recloseting myself.
Depression. Religion. Sexuality. Politics. The good and the bad. God and art and life.
That journal's got a shitload of meaning, to me and others, and I'll be damned if I erase years with a few clicks just because some jackass I went to school with decided my revelations made good gossip fodder.
Thing is, when my mom read it, she didn't see pain and frustration. She saw spite, rebellion and hate. And I did vent a lot in no uncertain terms. When something frustrates me, I don't mince words about it. If I think something is fucking stupid, I will write "This is FUCKING STUPID." And usually I'll follow up with about a paragraph or so about why, exactly, I think something is fucking stupid. (I did debate in high school. I can hold forth for quite a long time in blunt, concise prose about my opinions. I also have an absurdly large vocabulary.) I hated a lot of things my mom did and said, and they made me angry. I thought a lot of her reactions were at best, inappropriate, and at worst ludicrous. When all that came out in writing, it looks a lot like I really just hate my mom. So I can't necessarily blame her for getting angry about some of the content, even if I think she sort of missed the point.
I also rather abused my sister in the journal, but I'm quite open (in person, as well) about the fact that even if I have to love her as a sister I will probably never like her as a person. She has treated me like something she would scrape off her designer-label pointy-toed high heels for about as long as I can remember, and I see no reason why I should do much more than avoid her as much as possible and civil when it is impossible to be elsewhere. Her actions regarding my journal didn't exactly do much to contradict my opinion of her.
At any rate, the question of what to do with the damn thing still stands. I've considered going back and re-copying select entries to either here or a separate journal (after going through and obliterating the identifying details this time). I've also considered just downloading the whole shebang to my computer and saving it that way, but a lot of the meaning it holds for me is in how others reacted to it, and I would sort of prefer to let it be public in some way. What can I say, I'm an artist and I'm a storyteller, and I like/need to be heard.
Anyone got any opinions on what I do with it?
I just now remembered a particular conversation with someone on how to "solve" my problem with my mom over Teh Gay as quickly as possible.
We eventually concluded that all I would have to do would be to bring home unannounced a big, black, Jewish butch girlfriend who wears Gay Pride everything, votes Democrat, shaves her head (and nothing else), has multiple facial piercings and lots of visible tattoos, and speaks with a New York accent.
Thereupon my parents would spontaneously combust.
Guess what my shrink and I spent two and a half hours talking about today?
No, seriously. After we got the stuff about how lovely school was going and how I was doing on Lexapro out of the way, we talked about pants. Mostly jeans, really. It started out being about why I wear pants and not skirts, but we got into the specifics: why I buy my jeans at Goodwill and not the mall, how I secretly believe I started that fad for letting out jeans hems so the uneven bleaching pattern showed, why it's stupid that mall stores sell "deconstructed denim" for fifty bucks when I put authentic holes in my ten-dollar pants for free, what "boot-cut" means, and why men buy women's jeans and why women buy men's jeans.
So, how much an hour do my parents pay for this guy to listen to me, again?
I think said shrink is a little too focused on the SEX part of "homosexual," because when I mentioned the whole celibacy thing to him he said "So you desire a SEXUAL relationship with a woman, with ORGASMS and [blah blah blah]?"
"Well... yeah, in the same sense that straight people usually desire a sexual relationship with a member of their preferred gender. But what I'm getting at is that I'd like a MARITAL-type relationship with a woman partner, and marriages usually involve sex."
Seriously, does everyone not get that? It's not just about bumping uglies with a willing nymphet. It's about building long-term, committed, loving relationships with a willing nymphet, with whom I would indeed want to share a sex life. If orgasm was all I was after, I'd marry a vibrator, thankyouverymuch.
I think he's particularly interested in my gender identification, especially in relation to my sister Dymphna. Whenever anything about femininity comes up, he asks me to compare what I do (how I dress, think, whatever) with what I think my sister does, or what she thinks or says about what I do. 'Tis true, we have a long-standing mutual dislike. 'Tis also true that Dymphna could be quite accurately described as traditionally femme, whereas I could quite accurately be described as aggressively androgynous. 'Tis also also true that Dymphna is heterosexual, which I am not. Dymphna is on record as saying that she believes that I am gay because (a) I was despondent over my inability to get men and (b) I was seeking "acceptance." Because, you know, it's so much easier to get laid and/or loved as a LESBIAN in the BIBLE BELT. I am on record (now, at least) as saying that I think Dymphna is on crack.
I eventually explained my entire philosophy of gender with regard to clothing thus (paraphrased):
"Why do I wear pants and not skirts? Because pants are comfortable. I view clothes as a purely utilitarian matter; I wear them to keep from breaking public nudity laws. I don't dress the way I do because it's 'butch,' I dress the way I do because it's comfortable. My mom and sister tend to believe that femininity is something you achieve through clothes and makeup and manners and that kind of thing; I think femininity is something that I have simply by virtue of being female."
So, why do I not wear skirts? Because it's a bitch to find skirts with pockets. I don't carry a purse because I find they're more hassle than they're worth, so I need functional pockets in my clothing. In my years of searching I found exactly two skirts with pockets (that were long enough to make sitting down a non-underwear-revealing affair and loose enough so that the hem didn't cut my stride short). Hence, jeans became my uniform of choice.