On Beginnings

I like beginnings,
beginnings of books and movies,
of life stages and relationships.
There is nothing so final and concrete
about beginnings.
In the beginning,
everything is new,
a great unknown we try
to understand with excitement
and fear.
But endings,
endings are filled with too
much pain and often regret.
At least one can remain
temporarily ignorant in the
beginning.
That is what I miss the most,
not knowing how it ends.

On Gender Roles and Gendered Products

Today I received a package from Sephora I had been expecting, containing some foundation I wanted to try. Sephora also does this cool thing where they give you three free samples with every purchase, so I selected some sample perfumes and added them to my cart. One of these three perfumes was “Versace pour homme,”which basically means that it’s Versace for men. So I sprayed some on my wrist and it smelled so good that I considered investing in a bottle of it in some point in the future. But then I starting thinking about how annoying it is that we gender perfumes. It’s not only for men. Anybody who likes the scent can purchase it. But this is just part of a bigger issue. Our society so strongly feels the urge to gender everything and make a clear distinction between what is “for girls” and what is “for boys.” Because god forbid a guy bought a razor “for women” he would instantly become emasculated. And oh how sad that would be, to be compared to or even be considered a girl.

The social conditioning of gender roles and gendered products is literally introduced into our lives since birth. Boys get wrapped up in blue blankets, and pink is exclusively for girls. Little girls are urged to play with dolls and wear tutus and become obsessed with Disney princesses. Boys should play with hot wheels and Leggos and try out for the little league team. And it’s not as if this behavior and way of thinking is innate. It is learned behavior and ideology. Five-year-old girls don’t have this innate sense to play house or want to be a ballerina when they grow up. We are taught this through observation and guidance. No one ever questions if their little boy prefers pink or blue. It’s just not an option. Fathers automatically assume that their daughter doesn’t want to play catch because she is female. Never giving her the opportunity to decide whether or not she likes sports is what continues this cycle.

And of course people will tell me to not care so much, that it doesn’t really matter. But it does. It shapes the way we view men and women, the way we stereotype, and assume these roles solely based on gender identity. I’m a woman and I like “men’s cologne”. I like dressing comfy and not giving a shit about appearing as a “proper lady”. I’m also gay. But I wear makeup and jewelry. I’ll even occasionally wear stilettos (although that is usually reserved for weddings). What it means to be a man or a woman is not determined through how the media dictates what we should wear, buy, do, or even look like. That is something entirely up to the individual. And I am certainly including transgender folks in this argument. They should not be required to “pass” as a certain gender in order to be respected. Surgery and hormones cost a lot of money, which many trans people don’t have. And someone’s biological make up should certainly not determine their worth, i.e. the overpowering and smothering patriarchy. And of course if you are someone who fits into these specific gender roles that is perfectly okay. There is only a problem if it is not your choice and is forced upon you throughout your entire childhood and adult life. So if you are looking for any rolls to choose in the future, I’d go with sushi.

The Fight Against Gays

       Religious liberty is attempting to make a most unflattering comeback in the United States. Mike Pence, Republican Governor of Indiana, recently signed a Religious Liberty Bill modeled on the former Religious Restoration Act. The bill will legally allow business owners and the like to refuse goods and services to LGBT individuals on the basis of religious freedom. While Pence later went on to “fix” the bill, the fix does not directly apply to religious groups and LGBT individuals are still unprotected by Indiana law. The fix was simply a way to make the bill more palatable to those opposed to it. Arkansas, Louisiana, and Georgia are also in the process of enacting their own Religious Liberty bills, further enhancing the threat to LGBT Americans. The bill in question goes way beyond upholding religious liberty. It allows for discrimination on the grounds of faith. Many religious people argue that they should not be forced to participate in a same-sex wedding or serve same-sex couples and individuals because they believe it is sinful and unnatural. And of course these same people go on to implement the ever popular “it’s say so in the Bible” excuse. Anti-LGBT christians do not want to knowingly aid those of that “lifestyle”. But in what way is discrimination supposedly Christian? Of course no one who supports this bill is willing to admit to what it actually does, that it legally allows someone to discriminate against another person. Of course they deny it. Read the news articles and watch the videos. They cannot outwardly admit to it.

        Interestingly enough, no one is preventing Christians from practicing their faith, going to church, praying, wearing whatever religious garments and accessories they choose to. Yet many still claim that is in fact the Christians who are being discriminated against. However, the Christians are not the ones being denied service, and that is the very important difference of the matter. One cannot infringe upon someone else’s rights, call it religious liberty, and then act as if they are the real victim in question. It is completely unethical. It is also uneconomical. Businesses will only end up losing profit by turning away paying customers on the sole basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Big businesses like Apple will take a stance against states in which the bill is enacted, which will certainly not be a loss for the billion dollar corporation, but rather for the various local Christian-run eateries and flower shops. Hopefully, it is this argument that will turn some heads because apparently money is much more greatly valued than the rights of other people. Needless to say, there are many Christians who strongly disagree with using religion as an excuse for homophobia. However, it is the Anti-LGBT Christians whose voices overpower the non-discriminatory ones.

This is not how it ends

It starts with a tear
a gut-wrenching heartbroken sob
that forces my whole body to tremor
sweating with anxiety and pitiless emotions
which sends me head first into what
my therapist calls a “spiral of doom”

Degradation and self-deprecation
consume my being
and I can only think of how
lonely I feel or how
I’m not being loved or
fucked (in the more pleasurable sense)
or how the only person who ever
cared for me threw my love
away

But perhaps that’s why it hurts
to know my efforts will
always be greater
my love will always be fuller
than anything anyone can
offer me

Inconsistency

It comes in bursts,
like the rising and falling
of a fickle storm
with no end or
destination,
and like a storm
It is wet and violent,
treacherous to
those nearby
and beautiful to those
who watch from
their windows,
blissful and far removed.
Sometimes I seek comfort
in the storm;
in the rage, the tears,
the spiraling thoughts
and emptiness I do not
wish to feel, yet
it is all I have ever
felt. And we all
cling to the familiar.

A Brief Note to My Former Lover

I miss everything about you and I hate myself for that. I hate myself more than I can allow myself to hate you. You were everything to me, and I don’t know whether to feel foolish or angry for allowing myself to be treated that way. But I can’t help but want you back.

First Degree

This emptiness
this agonizing ache
I cannot manage
to rid myself of
keeps it hand
firmly planted on
my shoulder
always there to
remind me of
every knife you twisted
deeper and deeper into
my spine
turning my mind
into a slab of paralyzed matter,
where it is cold and numb
and dead
and the worms have
already begun to make
their homes.
And I still cannot
fathom why I
needed to be stabbed
at all.