Monday, December 25, 2006

88. Merry Christmas!

I made a little Christmas greeting video... it's made rather quickly, so it's not all that fancy, but it's still cute.

I'm not really doing all that much Christmas stuff. I have plans to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" today, which will make me feel festive, but other than that, my Christmas Day activities basically boil down to cleaning my apartment (finally!). But I did want to send my greetings and Christmas blessings to all y'all! So... MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday, December 18, 2006

87. Appearances

So, I’ve been talking about this a lot lately… this thing I don’t talk about. It’s just that I’m having a minor identity crisis, but of the good variety, and it’s making rethink a lot of things. Or at least reevaluate the way I’ve thought about myself for years. It’s not really relevant to this blog… but I don’t know really where else I can express these thoughts, and I’ve gotten used to expressing these sorts of private thoughts so here you guys go.

I’ve grown up pretty much just hating my appearance. In Bermuda I was too white – at least for the kids around me. It’s not that they were very creative with the names they called me, but having anything chanted derisively while you walk by feels shitty. Despite the awkwardness of the chant, “Little white-yellow-mixed-up-girl” hurt. Then we moved to a nice, white little suburb in Canada and I had quite the opposite problem. Now all the things that I had taken comfort in, the things that had made me the same in Bermuda, made me different in Canada. I had funny hair, I talked funny, and now I got to be called new names.

All kids go through that sort of thing, I suppose. Some more than others. I don’t know where I land on that scale, but it sucked. Oh, I didn’t have a horrible childhood, I just know I internalized a lot of hatred about my body. And I hadn’t even gotten to the worst of it yet. Puberty hit, and I quite suddenly started putting on weight. It’s not that my life really changed, it’s just that my body did, and really quickly. And now that was all I seemed to hear about from both of my parents. My father, who hardly ever called, would during his infrequent calls ask me how much I weighed. My stepmother, who I had known for about a minute, would give me weight-loss advice. And my mother…oy. If I would only lose weight then the boys would like me. If I could just get down to my ideal weight then I would look good in my clothes. Every item of clothing I owned was evaluated on an “is it slimming?” scale, which meant that I often owned and had to wear clothing I hated because it was believed they would “minimize” certain things about my body.

And I got older, and I got bigger… and it’s not a passive thing, I know. I let it happen. There is the minor muscle disorder that stops me from doing a lot of conventional exercise, but there are alternatives. I sometimes wonder if I did it on purpose, at least at some level. Maybe to piss my parents off, maybe to stop myself from having to date guys, who knows. Maybe I didn’t do that at all. I don’t know. I do know that I’ve felt rather helpless though. Or hopeless. Actually, both. I couldn’t seem to lose the weight (maybe I didn’t want to…), but if I did would it actually change anything? I would still look like me, only smaller, so really, what’s the point?

Virtually every conversation I’ve had with my mother over the past decade has involved my weight somehow… heh, the same conversation for 10 years and she gets mad at me because I don’t sound interested. Actually, it’s been more than 10 years… I’m 31 now, so probably for half my life that’s the conversation I’ve had with my mother. It’s gotten a bit better recently, but she still calls me here in Korea and says things like, “Are you sure you’re drinking enough water? I’m sure if you drank plenty of water, you’d start to lose weight. Are you losing? What do your clothes feel like?”

And when she tries to be positive it’s actually worse. Because what she says is this: “You’re actually cute, do you know that?” – and she says it as if she’s surprised. “I was looking at you the other day and I saw that if you lost weight you’d be kind of cute…” or “I was praying and I had a vision of you thin, and you actually looked cute…”

It’s not that I have an aversion to cute, I don’t… but it’s the surprise. The use of the word “actually”, as if all this time she’s been convinced I was ugly, but… lo and behold, I’m actually not.

And my dad… I remember him trying to compliment me once… it was horrible. It involved him pointing to my chest and saying “Well, you’re busty. Some men like that.” There was also the “I’m glad you’re intelligent. It compensates.” That was fun.

I know it’s shallow to be so obsessed with one’s appearance, even if it’s a negative obsession, but this whole thing was a huge part of my depression… it got kind of tangled up with the gay thing, and I ended up hating myself from the outside in as well as from the inside out. The only way I got over that was the eventually come out of the closet and stop thinking about what I looked like entirely. And I do mean entirely. This is going to sound a bit odd, but I’m not really sure what I look like. I hate seeing pictures of me, not just because I’m not fond of what I look like, but because it kind of throws me off. I’m always kind of surprised. Not pleasantly, or even unpleasantly… just… surprised. Because in between the moments when I am forced to see myself, I forget what I look like.

This has actually been the problem with that conversation my mother and I have. It’s not so much that I’m bored with having the same conversation for years and years, it’s that I’m afraid to talk about it because I’m afraid to end up back where I was… hiding in my room so no one will look at me, sneaking into the bathroom at parties to stop myself from crying because someone did look at me… so when she tries to talk about it, I completely zone out. Self-preservation. I’ve told her this, but… she’s persistent, if nothing else.

But here’s the thing… I’m losing weight now. A lot. I have no idea exactly how much… I’ve never been a fan of scales. Even before I got big I always weighed a lot more than girls who were the same size as me. I’ve since learned that black people just tend to be heavier… more muscle mass or something, I dunno, but I’m still a little scarred from having doctors and nurses express shock every time I was weighed from when I was six on up. Anyway, at first it was rather unintentional, but it’s happening faster now because I’m really trying. Not that anyone really notices but my massage therapist, and her only because she probably touches my body more than anyone else in my entire life history. But it’s still weird. All those years of telling me that I needed to lose weight in order to be attractive, and it had no effect on me, other than to make me feel like shit. Now I’m doing it on my own (well, with help… but self-motivated) and do you know what is giving me the drive? The thought that I might actually already be attractive.

This has to be the most unexpected side-effect of this whole thing, this whole venture into the ‘lesbian world’. I’m reevaluating my opinion of myself, and it’s weird and kind of scary… a little unstable… but I think I like it. Maybe I’m not a freak. Maybe I don’t look all that bad. It’s not that (as my mother’s theory goes) I’m ‘too ugly to land a man’ so I’ve resorted to lesbianism through ‘sour grapes’ (not that I ever bought into her theory, but man, did I ever want to take a picture that first night at the club, just to show my mom all the gorgeous lesbian women who could certainly ‘land a man’ if they chose). I’m actually probably not ugly at all. It’s entirely possible that someone I’m attracted to might reciprocate. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen it happen, at least on a superficial level… and it’s not like I’m winning these girls over with my sparkling wit or personality, they don’t even speak English… so they’ve really got nothing more to go on than my appearance… which it seems that many of them like.

I know this sound so cocky, but I can’t stop thinking about this. I find myself replaying so many of the incidents I’ve had in the company of these women… being asked to dance, being flirted with, being bought drinks, and some other more… um… direct approaches. More than the basic pleasantness of these memories, I find myself trying to figure out what these girls wanted, what it was they saw in me and I can’t think of anything other than that they liked what they saw. Which means that what they saw must be likeable. And that’s a new thought for me. It’s going to take some getting used to.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

86. Links Ahoy!

I just stumbled upon 2 articles online...

The first is one in which Justin from is featured. It's a pretty cool article from the New York times which discusses gay evangelical Christians. I think it's a very thoughtful article... I especially found this section interesting:

"Gay evangelicals seldom find churches that fit. Congregations and denominations that are open to gay people are often too liberal theologically for evangelicals. Yet those congregations whose preaching is familiar do not welcome gay members, those evangelicals said."

The second article I found today blames soy for making people gay.

I didn't say they were both good articles!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

85. Hope

So... there's been a weird side-effect to hanging out with the lesbians. I'm beginning to care. And I'm wondering what it means.

What do I mean by that? I'm beginning to care about things that I haven't cared about in years... actually probably ever. I'm beginning to care about what I look like. Now anyone who has discussed this issue with me (and those people are very small in number) knows that I have cared, but in a bad way... like basically, I hate how I look and I figure everyone else does too, so I don't think about it because it depresses me. I also have had a sort of hopeless attitude about it, sort of a belief that I couldn't really do anything about it, and besides... why bother? It's not like it would ever matter to anyone anyway. And beyond that... what the hell do I care what people think anyway? I mean, so what if someone thinks I'm ugly... it sucks, and it makes me feel crappy (and when I was in my depression, it made me not want to leave my room ever), but it doesn't actually matter.

Now I know some people are going to jump in here and go on about how everyone is beautiful in their own way, or whatever, and that's all well and good, but I'm actually not talking about that sort of thing. I'm just letting you know pretty much how my head has worked for the past... oh, 25 years. Whether or not I actually am as ugly as I've thought I am is kind of not the point, the point is that the way I'm thinking about myself is changing.

Now, I'm in a room full of lesbians and I care. It does matter. I want to look good. I think about what I wear before I leave my apartment. I'm doing my pilates every day cause I think that losing weight might actually make me look better... and besides, I kind of care about being healthy now, whereas before... well, what's the point in being healthy if you can't be happy? There's a hope here... and I don't know what it is, cause I still don't think I'd be okay (conscience wise) being in a relationship with a girl (although, I didn't feel a bit of guilt going on that 'date'-- what's that about?).

I started writing this blog post earlier today, and so I’ve done a bit of musing on the subject and I’ve thought of something else. Of course, I don’t know if I’ll be able to explain it properly, but I’ll give it a go.

Being around lesbians, being in a venue like a lesbian club where lesbians go to meet other girls, I’ve been experiencing something I’m not used to. It’s not that I’ve never had anyone express an interest in me, I have… it’s just never been anyone I was actually interested in. With any of the guys who have asked me out, or complimented me, or hit on me in some way; well, it’s like nothing resonated. They ask me out, or do their thing, and to be perfectly honest, it’s usually been more upsetting than anything, mostly because I think someone has convinced men that persistence is a good thing whereas I am convinced that my “no” means “no” – not just in regard to sex, but in regard to buying me a drink or dancing or something, and if they try to push me I get really pissed off.

Anyway, the difference is that when a woman does that same thing… well, I’ll reuse my own word here… something resonates. I really hear it, and more than that, I feel it. When I went to the club a few months ago and there was this American army girl (shhh… don’t ask, don’t tell!) who looked me up and down and said “Hey sexy”, I found myself grinning, and more than that, entertaining the possibility that I might, in fact, be sexy to her. How cheesy is that? When I’ve had similar greetings from men, my thought quite literally is “Pervert.” Being told that I’m “lovely”, or having my face stroked or hair played with by another woman (who is a lesbian, I might add)… this is going to sound strange to some straight people who have certain theories on lesbianism I think, but it all has made me feel more ‘feminine’ than I think I ever have before.

Does any of that make sense? Regardless, I feel hope. And that's kind of what this whole journey has been about.