Monday, July 09, 2007

98. More Than Meets the Eye

This is just a random sampling of what’s going on in my head.

So… today I saw Transformers. Because I’m a nerd. Oh, and at one point I was a prepubescent lesbian. I came out of the movie thinking about how, when I was a little girl I really, really wanted some transformers. Or any toy cars, really… but especially the transformers. They were just so cool. Thinking back about the toys I had as a little girl, I honestly can’t remember most of them. I remember the barbies I had, mostly I remember cutting their hair off of them – oh, and always having to redress them after these neighbour boys would come over for my mom to babysit. They were always stripping my barbies, and while I didn’t care about them very much, I didn’t like them to be naked. (Prepubescent guilt over having naked plastic women under my bed? Perhaps.) I did have a few toy cars, but… well, true confession time. I stole them. Sort of. I would find them in the local parks and just keep them. Actually, what I remember playing with the most were the cardboard centers of the Christmas wrapping paper – I’ve mentioned those before, they were my light sabors.

Now, I’m not sure how much of this is ‘toy amnesia’, and how much of it is a result of the fact that we were not really financially well off when I was growing up, so I don’t think I had a lot of toys just in general. Plus, I was always more of a reader than a player. I do remember being overjoyed at the birth of a male cousin on my mother’s side. Not that I didn’t love the girls there, I was just so excited about the prospect of cool toys being available when I went to visit. Unfortunately, he aged too slowly, so that by the time he was old enough for the cool toys, I was too old to be entertained by them for very long.

Ooh, I’ve just had another memory… I remember going shopping with my dad for presents for my little sisters (this is many years ago, when toys were still appropriate for them) and watching in stunned silence as he picked out this super cool dump truck with all kinds of moveable parts for my youngest sister (my other sister got hair brushes and fake jewelry), and feeling so much envy because he knew that that’s what she would want to play with. Not envy of him knowing specifically, but of the fact that there was someone – anyone – significant in her life who knew that she wouldn’t want a doll or something else particularly girly. There was no one like that in my life. I’m trying to figure out how to say this, because as many problems as I have with my mother, I think she worked really hard to be there for me while having to work, and go to school and all of those sorts of things when I was growing up. She feels a lot of guilt about that, and it’s kind of funny, because I can’t seem to alleviate it even though I don’t really feel like I was neglected. What I do feel is that I wasn’t understood (and that hasn’t really stopped). She bought me the things that she thought I should want, instead of what I actually did want (and it should be noted that she still does this even though she no longer works and seems to focus most of her energy on me… so it has nothing to do with time or neglect, it just has to do with her inability or unwillingness to really see me. I can’t begin to list all of things I own that I don’t really want in my home, but don’t feel like I can throw out because they were gifts from my mother. It verges on ridiculous.) So, yeah, I was envious that someone was seeing my sister for who she is (and I have no idea if she’s gay… probably not… just a tomboy most likely), and was happy to indulge her.

Anyway, all of that was a long tangent. As I said, I came out of Transformers thinking about how I never got the toys, and how some might see my desire for those boy toys as a sign of my burgeoning lesbianism, and I got all defensive. In my head. Because, of course, I was having this conversation with myself. Boy toys, I argued to myself, are just more fun. They actually do stuff. They have cool, moveable parts. Sometimes they light up, or they fly, or they shoot stuff out of their eyes. They are just more interesting. All of which, I think, is just true. Girl toys seem to focus on clothes… or accessories. And I can’t see how that’s interesting for very long. I can’t see how changing outfits can compare with saving the planet from evil alien invaders.

But as this little argument happened I suddenly remembered something else. I remembered junior high and Randy River. If you are too young to remember the 80s and/or you are not Canadian, Randy River was the store where all the cool boys got their clothes. Boys. Not girls. Boys. (It’s still around, apparently, but I haven’t see an outlet anytime recently.) And here’s what I remembered. I remembered that the main reason I got my first job was so that I could buy my own clothes because my mom refused to buy me anything from Randy River. She wouldn’t even go in the store with me. And I really, really desperately wanted a Randy River shirt. And one of those skinny ties. And maybe some suspenders. I remember having arguments with her, saying that no one would know if I wore a boys shirt (to which her response was the somewhat reasonable “If you think they’re that similar, then why do you want a boys shirt?”) Now, once again, I tried to argue with myself… I mean, it was the 80s, and a lot of girls were wearing suits, at least in magazines. But I couldn’t hold that argument for long, because I remember how much I wanted those clothes. I remember going to the mall by myself so I could go into Randy River, but never having the courage to actually try on any of the clothes I wanted. I did immedietely buy some pant suits, however, so I didn't have to wear skirts every time I was asked to dress up.

So, it’s not that I think that all tomboyish girls are lesbians, but… well, maybe lesbian fingers aren’t the only sign. Anyway, that’s what I was thinking about today.

Oh, and my thoughts on the movie? It’s exactly what you think it is. No more, no less. But I do have this to say… and warning, spoiler alert. But once again, it’s 2007, and still, the black guy dies. Or, actually, the black robot dies. Seriously. What’s up with that?

In other news, I’m an idiot. Christine actually links to both her interview in Glamour magazine and her appearance on Good Morning America from her site. How I missed that, I don’t know. But check it out. You can also check out her new site, Beyond Ex-Gay. Some cool stuff happening there.

Monday, July 02, 2007

97. Lesbian Fingers

So, I had my TV on today as I was doing stuff around my house, and there was this guy who was talking about how “gaydar” was real. I, of course, had to stop and listen. All he was talking about was a sort of list of statistical realities about gay people, like how gay people are more likely to be left-handed and stuff like that. I also learned that I apparantly have lesbian fingers.

This little segment reminded me of the craziest part of those conversations between my mom and my aunt that I really can’t believe I forgot to mention in my last post. My mom was talking about that guy in her church (the one who “used to be high up in the gay community”), and what he has to say about homosexuality… and I remember sitting there on my aunt’s couch trying to keep my mouth from falling open from the sheer absurdity of it. First of all, there’s the belief that homosexuality is “the enemy’s way of stealing good men from heterosexual women. Because, you know these men would make really good husbands. They’re gentle, and attentive. Sensitive and kind.” …and they could help you pick out your clothes, style your hair and decorate your home I guess. I found this a little confusing because this belief involves admitting that there are innate differences between your stereotypical gay guy and your average straight guy while refusing to believe that homosexuality could possibly be innate.

She then went on to expound on one of this guy’s theories on homosexuality that I must admit I had never heard before. The theory goes something like this. These men (for, of course, all thought on homosexuality seems to revolve around gay men… for some reason, no one really thinks about women) love women so much that they don’t want to get involved in the ‘heterosexual games’ that most men play with women. They don’t want to hurt women, or make women feel used, so they disengage from the ‘heterosexual lifestyle’ as a result of their overwhelming love for women.

Um… okay. That’s a new one.

This got me thinking of all of the theories I’ve heard from Christians on what homosexuality is, or rather, where it comes from. The first theory I heard was from my mom when I was around 10 or 11. My mom was taking this sign-language interpretation course and for some reason, her class was populated almost exclusively by gay men and lesbians. I believe there was one other straight woman in the course – she had thought there was one straight man, but he turned out to be gay too. Her conversations with her friends about that class were how I first learned that homosexuality was an actual thing (instead of this weird nebulous un-named feeling I had that something was a little strange about me)… and incidentally, how I first heard about AIDS, not that any of her classmates had AIDS, but they talked about it... this isn't really relevent or anything, it's just that I remember when AIDS started to be talked about in public I already knew what it was. Anyway, I remember being in the car with her (and perhaps someone else, I’m not sure), driving down Portage Avenue in Winnipeg and hearing her theory on what made all of these people gay. She said that it was a form of arrested development – that everyone goes through a homosexual phase in their lives when they are attracted to their same gender friends – but that they are supposed to grow out of it, but some people get stuck there and they turn into homosexuals. I remember this so vividly because I remember the feeling of overwhelming hope that I had, that one day I would just grow out of this. That I wouldn’t ever have to tell anyone, that one day it would just go away.

Incidentally, she also brought this theory up with my aunt (I can’t believe how much of those conversations I left out… although I may have blocked this portion out because thinking about my mom’s sexuality is icky), saying that she remembered going through a ‘homosexual phase’ where she ‘fell in love with’ her best friend. My aunt just stared at her, and my mom asked “Don’t you remember going through something like that?” To which my aunt quite quickly replied. “Nope.” My mom kept pushing, “Everyone goes through it Aunt L, don’t you remember? You must have.” My aunt just sort of tilted her head and gave my mom a searching look before saying, “Well, all I can tell you is that I never fell in love with no woman.” To which my mom replied, “Well, most people have.”

Now that I think about it, I must have just blocked that out, because I’m suddenly remembering another time that my mom talked about having feelings for women… the second time I came out to her – or rather, the second time we actually talked about it. She mentioned how she had had feelings for women sometimes, and maybe she had passed on the ‘spirit of homosexuality’ to me. “Or maybe it’s genetic,” was my response. She didn’t like that too much.

Anyway, those are my thoughts today. I’m working my way through the blogosphere, and I’ve learned that in my absence, Peterson and Christine have become famous! You can check out clips of Peterson on the Montel Williams show here , or on the Tyra Banks show here . Christine was on Good Morning America, but I can’t find the clip I was watched, and she was also interviewed in Glamour Magazine, but I haven’t been able to find that article yet. I’m still just getting back into the blogging world, so maybe I’ll figure that all out. Regardless, it’s pretty cool all the stuff they’ve been up to.

Anyway, I'll leave you with that for now. Love and all that jazz...