Wednesday, April 29, 2009

137. More Mom Stuff, etc...

So, I got quite an email from my mother this morning… in it she explained that Satan has ‘attacked my sexuality’ and that often he attacks us in the ‘areas of our anointing’ (so, my sexuality is anointed, I guess…). She went on to illustrate this point by pointing out my love of children, sensitivity, poetry, and ‘love of Laura Ashley clothing as a child’ (which… not true. I have never like flower prints or anything like that in clothing. It is true that I wanted the Laura Ashley quilt and wallpaper trim for my bedroom back in the 80s, when I was a teenager… but regardless… this harkening back to my tastes as a child is ridiculous.) She says these are all very feminine traits that God wants to use if I am obedient. And now ‘the enemy has been found out’ and he owes me double what he has stolen. And so that is what she is praying for me.

So many things in there to comment on, but well… lets first just say that this is a typical example of how conversations and dialogues go with my mother… everything couched in these uber spiritual overtones that cannot be argued against without sounding like a ‘non-believer’, which is the worst thing in the world in her mind. After that… well, lets point out the obvious… she is confusing sexuality with gender (or femininity). A very common mistake, to be sure, but still, very irritating. I have never had or expressed a desire to be a guy, I am very happy being a woman. Oh, there are times when I can’t help but think how much easier things would be if I were a guy, but then I think “but then I’d have to actually be a guy”… and I don’t want that. I know I don’t do a lot of overtly feminine things… I don’t wear skirts or dresses and I rarely wear makeup (although I’m doing that more often now… mostly due to there being certain females in my life that inspire me to care about how I look)… but I am very feminine internally. I have always known that and said that about myself. The way I view the world, the way I process things, the way I interact with the world… it’s all very feminine. And it has absolutely nothing to do with my sexuality.

I’m not going to bother attempting to explain this to my mother because… well, deaf ears and all that. It’s just an exercise in futility.

In other news… well, you know that post I wrote a little while back, the one I said I was nervous that someone I know might stumble upon… but didn’t think anyone would because no one I know really reads my blog anymore… well, someone I know (and who the post in part about) did stumble upon it. She hadn’t read my blog in years, and when she did… that one. Argh. We talked about it a bit… well, she mostly talked, I felt way too embarrassed and exposed to say anything. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or not that she read it, but, it happened and so now we move on.

And in completely different news, I thought I would share a little snippet of my life at preschool with you… a conversation I had with a young girl the other day while we were playing at a local park.

Me: Are you okay? You look like you are having a bad day.

Girl: I am having a bad day. I can’t find my Jesus.

Me: (slightly stunned) Your Jesus?

Girl: Yes. Everyone has their own Jesus that only they can see, and I can’t find mine.

Me: (still slightly stunned) Oh. Where did you see Him last?

Girl: (pointing behind her) He was over there, but then I looked away, and when I looked back, he was gone.

Me: Oh. Okay. Why don’t you ask Him to come back?

Girl: Okay. (turns towards the trees behind the park and starts calling) Jesus! Jesus! Come here Jesus! Come… oh, there You are. Are You having a good day? … no?

Me: Jesus is having a bad day too?

Girl: (still looking where she sees her Jesus). Yes. He’s having a bad day.

Me: Why?

Girl: Well… God went shopping and forgot all about Jesus.

Me: ….oh…

I was too stunned (I know I keep using that word, but there isn’t another one to describe my reaction) to continue this conversation… so that’s where it trailed off. Thought you might enjoy that. Kids really are amazing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

136. Processing my Weekend(s)

So… I am writing this during the last day of my mom’s visit (Easter Monday), during practically my only time alone I’ve had this long weekend. Seriously – aside from the shower, and sleep – it has been literally every waking moment with my mother this past 4 days and it is exhausting. Well, there was the 5 minutes after a minor fight yesterday when she said she was going for a walk – which couldn’t have been what she did because well, it was only 5 minutes. Right now she is actually on a walk, so I might get half an hour. I am very much looking forward to tomorrow night after work when I can finally relax in my own home.

I am still after all these years, trying to find a successful strategy to make her visits as painless as possible. This time, for the first time in years, my place was cleaned to her satisfaction – which is remarkable because I once hired a maid to come in before she came to give the place a thorough cleaning and she still found stuff to criticize that time. It turns out, though, that the problem with her being satisfied with the cleanliness is that instead of furiously cleaning the place, she furiously goes through my stuff. She was up much earlier than me on Saturday morning and I awoke to find all this stuff I had quite consciously hidden away for her arrival all laid out on my dining room table – poems I had written, bank statements, books she doesn’t approve of, etc… it was maddening.

The poetry part was the most frustrating not only because she is a mother and thinks it’s the most brilliant stuff in the world (which, while fine in it’s own way, just gets silly after a while), but because she really does want to understand me and so proceeded to try and dissect them line by line and word by word and demand that I explain to her the exact circumstances under which these poems were written and the step by step process of writing them. It was irritating. And while I appreciate the fact that she does want to know me better, it’s frustrating because she refuses to accept the me that she sees, thinking that there is some hidden me or some me that I am supposed to be but am not allowing myself to be right now. She constantly refers back to things that I said or liked when I was a child (ie: Laura Ashley wallpaper for my bedroom) and trying to insist that they are proof that I am only pretending now, instead of allowing for the possibility that a person can change over time, or even that styles can change over time (the Laura Ashley Wallpaper being a case in point.) She also refuses to accept anything I tell her about myself – ie: I’m an introvert… she allows that I might have ‘more introverted tendencies’ than her, but insists that I am, in actuality, an extrovert just like her.

We have discussed my sexuality over and over again this visit and I have been as honest with her as I think is humanly possible. She asked me if I had seen the video she sent and I told her I had, and then wanted to discuss the whole ‘intimate friendships with people of the same sex as a cure for homosexuality’ thing… once again insisting that I can’t possibly have any intimate friendships, which drives me crazy. As proof for this, she cited the fact that I don’t have anyone who could drop everything and go on a trip with me… which… well, do most people have friends like that? And to be frank, I’m actually fairly positive that if I wanted to, I could get someone to go on a trip with me, I have just never tried it. She also thinks I need more single friends (it is true that most of my friends are married, it’s a symptom of being in my 30s, I think) and found me a bunch of groups online for ‘straight single women’ or Christian singles. And then, of course, there have been her not so subtle hints that I need to change churches. She hasn’t liked my church for years, partially because it is not charismatic (at least, not enough for her liking) but mostly because she decided a while back that everyone there hates her. This is based on things like the time she went there when I wasn’t there and my pastor didn’t recognize her and greet her like an old friend. Concrete evidence like that.

What else was there… oh, once again, she digs way back into my past, talking about how when I was little I always said ‘when I grow up I’m going to get married and have 3 babies’, so obviously that is what I am destined to do. Oh, and at one point she asked me if I ever had any significant dreams, and I couldn’t really remember any except one I had from when I was very little about being attacked by dinosaurs and throwing them away but they would just keep coming. It took her a few days, but she has now decided that that dream is about my ‘struggle’.

Oh, and today she told me “I just want to affirm your femininity’, going on to say that I am very sensitive and I love children and have many feminine traits so there is no way I can be… you know (she didn’t say the word). Apparently lesbians are made of stone and hate children… at least, that is the inference.

(Just to fill you all in the when and where of the writing of this, my mom has returned from her walk and is now lying down so I have a few more minutes alone… of course, she returned from her walk and ‘asked’ if she could stay another night… one of those loaded questions to which there is only one appropriate answer. She could tell I wanted to say no, even asked me if I was sure, but… well, maybe I’m a coward, but I don’t know that there is any way to say no to her that won’t result in a fight that could last for ages.)

There was also the gem of a conversation that basically boils down to her theory that I am gay because I’m overweight. She explained that when I lose weight I’ll suddenly start to get attention from men and that will make me straight. She followed this with the ‘affirmation’ that I’m not bad looking… with the word ‘bad’ stretched out like a rubber band. She really needs to stop commenting on my appearance at all because her attempts at compliments always come out as insults.

(Again, in keeping with the theme of letting you know when I’m writing this, this next part is a full week after that last paragraph, my mother is back in Toronto – finally – and I have been to Toronto and back – without her knowing – for my friend’s bridal shower)

She asked me where I stand, and I said, quite truthfully, that I am still on the fence. She quickly grabbed onto that, thinking that I meant that I was on the fence about being gay, and I corrected her on that, explaining that I meant on the fence between celibacy for life or a gay relationship (to which she responded “I don’t want you to have a gay relationship…”, which was not a surprise). Maddeningly she cannot accept that celibacy is at all an okay choice, seeing it as giving up or a sign of depression or something. There was a lot of talk about my having given up hope, and how that was unhealthy… but of course, the hope she means is hope of becoming straight, meeting and marrying a man. And I suppose, she’s right. I still believe in an omnipotent God who could do that if He so desired, but I have long since stopped believing that He was going to make me straight, or even that that is what He wants for me. Believing that left me feeling unloved and abandoned by God, which I tried to explain to her, and she says she understands, but I don’t think she does. Our theology differs in a very fundamental way… I don’t know how to say this in a way that doesn’t seem condescending or demeaning, but her belief in God seems almost limiting to me. She believes she knows and can predict what God will do, and if God does not do what she thought He would then it is because we have not behaved according to the formula she believes He has given. There is no room for mystery or perhaps even misunderstanding or misinterpretation of what God may or may not want… or of God being so much bigger than we can possibly understand.

As I mentioned, I did go to Toronto this weekend for this bridal shower… and didn’t tell my mom because the bridal shower is for my friend who is marrying her female fiancĂ©e – ie: a gay marriage. My mom tried to call me on Saturday and couldn’t get a hold of me (because I wasn’t there) and by Sunday afternoon (seriously, one day!) she was very worried. (She actually called my Dad in Bermuda… which makes no sense. Why would he have any more information than she does?) When I got home from Toronto, late Sunday night, there was a series of increasingly panicked messages on my machine and so I called her back, thinking she must have been worried for my safety, but when I did manage to get a hold of her (on Monday) she informed me that she was worried that I was away with my girlfriend or something. So… she doesn’t believe me that I’m not with anyone right now, which… well, I don’t know what to make of that.

But in brighter news, the shower was a blast… I got to see my friend in her wedding dress and I came very near to crying. It’s beautiful. She looks like a fairy princess. And I’m slightly smitten now with an actual lesbian… who speaks English… this is big for me. A little frightening, but she’s taken so that dulls the fear. The girl in question is the bride’s cousin, who I had met before when she was 13 or 14, but now she’s 25 and gay and doing her PhD in Montreal (ie: an hour and a half away from me). Crushing on an actual gay girl is new for me and like I said, a little unnerving. But well… nothing will likely come of it. She’s all wrong for me (I think… I have no idea what’s right for me, to be honest… my expertise in this area is extremely limited), but we are supposed to get together to buy shoes for the wedding at some point, and I’m alarmingly excited (and terrified) by that upcoming event.

Anyway… this post has gone on forever and probably needs to be posted before I add something more to it.

Monday, April 06, 2009

135. Just because I felt like it...

So, I don’t really have much to say right now. Honestly, my life is so very dull… very full, but not full of things that I think would be interesting for you to hear about. My job continues to go well, which is nice. Having a job you actually look forward to is a real rarity, I think, so I try not to take that for granted. The kids are a constant source of joy (and occasional frustration… and disgust… the stomach flu that is making its way through our numbers has resulted in some very extreme unpleasantness that I won’t go into here except to say that God knew what He was about when He made kids cute, because otherwise there is no way we would be able to handle some of what goes on with their little bodies.)

In other news… there isn’t much other news. Oh, except my mom sent me a video to ‘watch and consider’ of an ex-gay preacher named Sy Rogers. So I did… it was frustrating, but nothing I hadn’t heard before. Oh, except for his claim to be an ex-transsexual… which I don’t think is a correct identification. His explanation for how he started on the road to transition sounded nothing like what I’ve heard/read from other trans people – how they always knew they were the wrong gender, how their bodies felt wrong, etc… he spoke of making a decision at some point in his twenties that he had failed at being a man so he would try being a woman. Which doesn’t sound at all like what I imagine a real trans person would say. Plus, his explanation of how God ‘saved’ him from this also didn’t ring true. He went to go for the operation and was told he had to live as a woman for 2 years, so he did, and at some point in that two years he had a revelation that this was wrong, that he should not transition… which to me only proves that he was not, in fact, really trans – that is, in fact, the reason that the doctors make you live as a woman for two years… to make sure you are certain about this life altering operation. This is not evidence of a miracle to me, this is evidence of the wisdom of the system.

The video did give me an explanation for a recent conversation my mom and I had had in which she was quite insistent that I did not have any intimate friendships. No matter what I said, she would not accept the fact that my friendships were in any way sufficient. And she went on to say that I need to have ‘an intimate conversation with a friend every single day’. It was bizarre, and kind of insulting. At the time I chalked it up to a regular theme with my mother… that my life is inadequate. She has never been a fan of any of my friends that I have at the moment. It is not as big a deal now, but it was a huge deal when I lived with her. She always wanted me to be friends with people she chose for me. Or oddly enough, if I moved on from a friend (mainly due to simply growing apart) she would suddenly start trying to get me to be friends with them again instead of whoever I was friends with then. It was very frustrating. Still is, but mostly now because it is simply part of her criticism of my life. Oh, but here’s where the video came in. Sy Rogers explains in this video that his ‘cure’ for his homosexuality came mainly as a result of intimate friendships with men. Hence the weird and sort of prescriptive nature of my mom’s most recent criticism of my relationships.

Anyway, this is a very hastily thrown together blog post. I just felt like writing one and so… I did.