Tuesday, July 28, 2020

insomnia



insomnia is a familiar annoyance for me.
pandemic insomnia is a whole 'nother struggle. 

nedra tawwab shared about the collective trauma we're experiencing. the coronacoaster. i wonder how you're doing? it feels bizarre and wonderful, mostly terrible, knowing we are all in this together.

even when i don't think it's on my mind, i know coronavirus makes everything feel exaggerated right now. we fight for life in the groundhog-day-ness of it all. and when will it end? how? 

financial burdens loom, homeschool planning, chronic illness, scorching alabama heat. rampant injustices in every sphere, white supremacy and anti-blackness on full display. unrest, grief and death are all around us. 
all realities to rightly feel.

i don't know how to do any of this. 
being a person, a parent, life partner, family member, friend, neighbor; it all feels dimensions away from my ability. 

i want to sleep. am i trying too hard? 
how do you press pause on a brain, muting thoughts and summon peace? 
i ask god for these miracles. 
i ask god to lull me from chaos to comfortable rest. 
waiting. 

waiting is exhausting but rarely enough to send me true respite and rest. i'm weary and desperate for sleep but i can't get there.

sometimes i'm content to lay still, which is close enough at times. stillness is a gift. why am i greedy for more?

my body and mind, they're set up to shut down after awhile. right, god? can you hear me tonight/this morning, god?

some night music is magic. reading can be too. when everything, even stillness, feels too much or if i can't feel anything at all i read comforting things. i'll get lost in my favorite asmr trigger videos, check on my favorite social media connections, snuggle with our cats. 

right now i am back to the stillness and i think this quick vent did the trick. my eyes are finally heavy and i feel relief in the birds' song outside my window. my ceiling fan has just the perfect rhythm and i hope to dance in a dream. 

Friday, July 24, 2020

I'M NON-BINARY: QUESTIONS & A FEW ANSWERS

art and info via wednesday holmes // @hellomynameiswednesday

following up on my coming out post, i wanted to answer some of the questions i've received.

HOW DID YOU KNOW YOU ARE NON-BINARY?
the main reason i know i'm non-binary, is because i am.
i've always known. only in recent years i learned the label "non-binary". 
this past fall, october 2019, i realized/accepted it fits me, i am non-binary. 

i know partly because of dysphoria; which i have also had forever and only made a connection well into adulthood that is what i'm dealing with. keep in mind, not all non-binary and/or trans folks experience gender dysphoria. gender euphoria is also a thing.

how do you know you're right or left-handed? i'm right-handed because it feels natural.
sort of like hearing lyrics for the first time to the song that's played in the background my whole life.

it's hard to explain? and i think that's because we're so conditioned to gender binaries, we demand concrete answers for anything to make sense.
gender isn't that. if you feel it is a concrete, binary thing, you're probably cis. if you feel like those rigid boxes of man and woman can't contain your gender identity fully, i think you should explore gender.
i think everyone should explore gender.

no, doing so won't make you transgender. 
but if you're not a cisgender person, there may be a lot of freedom and understanding out here for you. a home. it's important for cisgender folks to get familiar with gender identities and experiences. this helps love people more fully. so far, you know at least one non-binary person. me!

i'm non-binary, genderqueer, not on a line between male and female, rather up and around, over and under. gender is a spectrum. (i've shared it before, this paint chart visual is a favorite, i hope you'll take a look.)

ARE YOU STILL A CHRISTIAN?
yes. i'm a christian. coming out as non-binary didn't change that. my faith is helping me every step of my gender journey!
 
DO YOU THINK CHANGING YOUR GENDER IS IN LINE WITH THE BIBLE?
i haven't changed my gender, i named it. labeling my gender identity is still a recent thing for me, but i've always been genderqueer.

the bible is important to me. the bible helps me understand god and creation and truth. the bible isn't a science journal but does contain gender diversity and reflects god's creativity!

those of you asking this question: i want you to check out austen hartke. his videos and writing are so wonderful and informative; be sure to read his book, transforming: the bible and the lives of transgender christians. his work has helped me understand things that i wasn't sure about or completely missed in the bible. please reach out to me when you're reading, would love to discuss with you!

DO YOU BELIEVE GOD MADE A MISTAKE WHEN HE MADE YOU A WOMAN/WITH A WOMAN'S BODY?
i don't believe god makes mistakes. god made me as i am on purpose. it's important to remember that sex doesn't determine gender and one's gender may not match their sex. 

WHAT DOES YOUR HUSBAND THINK ABOUT YOU BEING NON-BINARY?
that's for him to say, i think. 
patrick has been a massive support for me. since coming out to him our relationship has strengthened; that's what can happen when partners are vulnerable and honest. he still has a wifey, last month we celebrtaed 14 years married. i'm still me. we'll always be getting to know one another and we're committed to the journey as a couple. including my gender identity and expression.

ARE YOU STILL CALLED DAUGHTER/SISTER/WIFE/MOTHER/AUNT/MRS.?
yes and no. 
weird maybe, but in my family context, these titles don't feel gendered to me. they're terms of affection from my family. it does always make my skin crawl to be called mrs. or ma'am in any context. i don't love to be called a woman either, but she/her pronouns don't bother me at all. wifey is a nickname patrick has called me forever and it feels like just like that, an affectionate nickname.
there's also the issue of people pleasing. i really don't want to feel like i am hassling anyone by changing up how they see me. i'm getting better in this area though, so watch out for me becoming more assertive when appropriate. it's a process for sure.

for now, trust me that i will let you know if you've referred to me incorrectly, you can correct and we'll move along together.

WILL YOU CHANGE YOUR NAME?
i've been thinking about the name my parents gifted me at birth. hannah feels much more feminine than i feel but i am definitely attached to it after almost forty years! again with the people pleasing issue.

someday you will see me experimenting with new names and nicknames. 

WILL YOU GET ANY SURGERIES?
a big note here: please don't ask non-binary and/or trans folks this question. it's none of your business and it can trigger dysphoria. 
some trans people get gender affirming surgeries, some do not. you do not need to medically transition to be valid. if one's gender isn't their assigned gender at birth (agab), they're transgender! there's no certain way to look if you're non-binary and/or trans. let's get that into our collective heads.

IS COMING OUT NECESSARY? WHY DO YOU THINK ANYONE NEEDS TO KNOW YOUR GENDER PREFERENCE?
it is necessary for me. 
i can't be fully present in my relationships if i'm hiding under a mask. 
wrestling with my gender identity and keeping it secret was affecting every part of my life, including my health!

whether or not someone comes out publicly or to anyone at all is their choice. coming out for me is safe most of the time. many non-binary and/or trans people stay closeted to stay alive. their gender identity isn't less valid in the closet. 
this is one reason we all must explore gender and dismantle our biases and prejudices. lives depend on it! trans people are widely discriminated against. non-binary and/or transgender people of color are exponentially marginalized, specifically black trans women. this is a crisis we must care about!

A FEW THOUGHTS FROM ME:
i chose to answer these questions because i think they were asked with good intentions. please understand, you really don't need to be asking queer folks these questions, unless they explicitly say "ask me anything" or at least if you're in close relationship with them.

do i identify as trandgender?
non-binary gender identities are under the trans umbrella:
a transgender (trans) person is someone whose gender identity is different than their assigned gender at birth. non-binary (sometimes enby) means your gender is outside of the binary male and female genders. this could mean between those, mixture of those or beyond those. as non-binary people's gender differs from their assigned gender at birth, they are trans. some non-binary people identify as transgender, some don't. all valid.
i feel at home in the trans community! i'm comfortable being labeled as transgender. i usually don't say that myself though, sticking to non-binary and genderqueer. partly because i have imposter syndrome and internalized transphobia. i'm working diligently on both and grateful for the many queer and trans folks who validate, educate and embrace me.

i'm early in my social transition to expressing my gender identity. some parts i will probably continue to write about. when i do share, i want to be very open. taking the chance and being vulnerable, because it matters to me. for myself/my own fulfillment, for the reader to maybe learn a new experience. 

there is so much to learn and i'm not an expert on gender. i don't believe anyone is!

whether you know me or not, feel free to contact me if you want to talk more about gender or ask more questions. please respect my answers or not answering, even if it's not what you want to hear.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

pandemic summer feelings


living through the grief and stress of a pandemic isn't what elijah had his summer-loving heart set on.

this season is different for all of us, for many reasons. weathering everything together, figuring out new feelings and circumstances as a family unit, there are growing pains. i cry a lot and we're all getting quicker at making apologies.

some days we try pretending everything is back to normal. but we know there is no going back.

we're already halfway through summer! the heat is melting our brains and we're praising jesus for ceiling fans. i planned a bunch of activities, even made a schedule, to help things feel fun and safe. we're banking memories with backyard treasure hunts, a tiny pool, water hose and minecraft marathons. peaches, popsicles and pancakes. sleeping in, walks at night and audiobooks. many good things.
smiles and joy.


many days the best we can do is take a nap, or hide under the covers and watch youtube kids like a potato.

life-changing history is being made. for our family, our world, our souls. and it doesn't feel safe. frustration and grief overwhelm.

this time is full of unknowns, hard news and loneliness. the burden of the world is felt and its weight is pressing us toward hope of what's next. imagining how things can be better than before.

as i've written previously, joy and grief can coexist. we can know real joy, finding pockets of sunshine and celebration even as we know anxiety and all the feelings. it's ok to not be ok all the time.

i want elijah to know it's ok to feel whatever he's feeling. we don't need to pretend. we can do summer a new way, even if a hard way some days, a together way.

our feelings are real but they might not be true. truth is, we are not alone. that's what we're setting our hearts on.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

i'm here and i'm queer.


i'm queer! i've always been but only recently gained understanding and acceptance of who i am.

for most of my life i was confused and/or plain wrong about queerness, wrong about LGBTQIA+ people and their identities. of course this harmed countless folks, including myself! i'm a recovering bigot. it's devastating to know so personally how hurtful my wrong was. 

through my husband's job we have access to therapy. access to this privilege has saved my life and really my whole little family. for me, part of my therapy work has unearthed deep trauma roots and provided me with tools to work toward healing. physically, mentally, spiritually, i'm deconstructing and getting healthy and free. many things were known and expected, some surprises were buried in plain sight. queerness was the latter. 

if i haven't already spoken to you and you're among those who've been affected by my queerphobia, homophobia, transphobia,

i'm sorry. i was wrong. 

i was never mean or hateful, i was a nice queerphobic person. but nice queerphobia, homophobia and transphobia? it's still evil. i'll say even more evil, in its insidiousness. 
we'll unpack this further in future posts, for now, 

i'm coming out.
and i didn't plan for it to happen now, but just found out today is NON-BINARY PEOPLE'S DAY and it felt right.

i am a non-binary queer person. 

queer is a term charged with history, trauma and emotions. queer has been reclaimed by many in the LGBTQIA+ community. i feel connected and at home in the queer community.
for me, queer means rest and welcome. queerness is unrestricted, it's creative, abstract and infinite. 

focusing on my gender identity for this post,
i'm genderqueer. 
my pronouns are she/her/they/them.

genderqueer is a non-binary gender identity, under the transgender umbrella. fluctuating among the binaries of male and female genders, genderqueer fits me. 
gender isn't binary or linear. it's more of a spectrum, like paints on a palette.

i'm thrilled to share more about gender things, about many things, i'm learning and more about my unfolding story.


for now, i'll close with this i shared last month on facebook:

trans women are women.
trans men are men. 
non-binary people exist.

gender isn't binary. 

gender may not match sex.

a transgender (trans) person is someone whose gender identity is different than their assigned gender at birth.

if you're non-binary (sometimes enby), it means your gender is outside of the binary male and female genders. this could mean between those, mixture of those or beyond those. as non-binary people's gender differs from their assigned gender at birth, they are trans. some non-binary people identify as transgender, some don't. all valid.

cisgender (cis) means a person's gender identity matches their assigned gender at birth. 

transgender. not transgendered.

trans woman. not transwoman. 
trans is the adjective, woman is the noun.

trans women are women.
trans men are men. 
non-binary people exist.

gender isn't binary. 

gender diversity is a necessary and intrinsic part of nature. like nature itself, gender diversity reflects god's creativity!

gender may not match sex.

sex assigned at birth has nothing to do with gender identity. 

sex is female, male, or variations of intersex. 
one's sex is physical characteristics and includes: genitalia, gonads, hormones, chromosomes, and secondary sex characteristics like breasts, body hair, voice changes.

intersex is a naturally occurring variation of sex characteristics and reproductive organs that do not fit the typical definition of male or female. 
intersex people exist.

"gender is sociocultural attitudes and behaviors that shape behaviors, products, technologies, environments, and knowledge. gender attitudes and behaviors are complex, changing as cultural norms and values change across time, with education, wealth, and age, and are specific to cultures, religions, ethnicities, and infrastructures. gender also intersects with other social categories, such as sex, age, and ethnicity. gender is multidimensional." 

are you interested in exploring gender? 
the gender wheel is a great gender diversity resource for all ages.

Monday, July 13, 2020

writing again


i stopped blogging here five years ago. since then i've been learning and unlearning so much. 
my old posts are hidden and rather than start fresh in a new space, i need to stay here. 
many things i shared over 10+ years of writing need righting. 

it's time and i hope you'll join me.