Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Achy Breaky Heart

Before coming home, I had decided that I had zero intention of coming out to my parents, my brother, or any other family here. I knew that the emotional stress was more than I wanted to tackle while living here for the next 3 1/2 months before school begins again, especially when I am still financially dependent and vulnerable.

Some quick background on my family: largely republican/conservative views, Southern Baptist, and suburban middle class values. My brother is the family jock who has a girlfriend and popularity for being the good ol' boy (aka douchebag extraordinaire a lot). My dad is the most relaxed, but still holds strong religious views. My dad would most likely be the most accepting because he has said that gay men are horrible, but he doesn't much mind lesbians. The logic defies reasoning, but whatever . . . And then we have my mom. My mom might feel liberally about some things like women's rights and abortion. But her feelings about lesbians and gays can be summed up as: it's ok for some theoretical people to be gay as long as she doesn't have to see PDA, and as long as it's not her kids who have been attacked by The Gay because God says it's wrong and dirty.

In high school, my mom occasionally accused me of being a lesbian because I never brought boys home/ talked about any/ hung out with any. This made me immediately defensive and deny the accusations. I know my mom hoped that I would (and I quote) "meet Prince Charming" in college, but instead she and my dad think I am gay-er than ever, and this is technically true. A few days ago, my mom point-blank asked me if I was "like that." She won't even say the word lesbian. This was kinda my worst nightmare. I mean, what am I supposed to say? How do I diffuse this situation and keep some integrity?

I just kept saying, I'm not answering that or talking about this, but for the record don't think there is anything wrong with it. She wanted to know if my friends were lesbians, and thinks that I have fallen into the wrong crowd in college with all the man-hating lesbian feminists. The next morning we were going to the Ob-Gyn for an appointment (info about this coming eventually), and in the waiting room began questioning me again. She was mean and hurtful; she told me she hoped that she dies before she ever has to see me with another girl.

We were in a fucking waiting room, before my very first gyno exam. I was already nervous. Adding in the stress about my mom flipping out about my sexuality and being embarassed about that plus being tired from going to a concert the night before . . . it's no wonder that my blood pressure was high. I just felt really desperate and lost and alone in that doctor's office. And angry. I felt/feel so angry about the whole situation. Yes, I am a lesbian and I love women. Get the fuck over it; this is me, who I am, who I want to be.

Oddly enough, after my appointment was over (it took 2 hours of mostly waiting) she had calmed down and didn't mention a thing about it, like it never happened. Later on that night before I went to bed, she said, "You are determined to break my heart." And I said, "What about mine? What about my heart?" She didn't answer.

By the way, I didn't mean this as a Oh, poor me post look at my horrible family. I just really needed to vent and write it down.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Glasses

 Guess what friends, readers, and general blog-o-sphere? I got my very first pair of glasses yesterday! I went to get my eyes checked, and discovered that I have astigmatism in both eyes which affects my vision both up close and at a distance, but is most noticeable up close. So, I got a prescription for lenses that I am supposed to wear for reading, essentially. However, I would like to note for the record that I did not fake the test. Because I know that someone will accuse me of stooping to low measures, but I didn't. So, with my eyes all wide and wonky, I dragged my mom around town to a total of 4, yes 4, stores before I settled on a pair of black RayBans.

I looked at a lot of colored frames and bigger, funkier square frames and also mom-ish square frames, but I just couldn't resist the pull of the simple, sexy black frames. And now, admire the pictures.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Vegetarian, Vegan, and Me

I have been a vegetarian for 4 years, since I was a first year in high school. I actually tried being vegan for about a month, but eating at Whole Foods all the time is expensive. Plus my parents think that meat is pretty essential. And, ok, I really, really missed cheese and milk.

I just finished reading Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals. Foer is one of my favorite fiction authors; his books are amazing. This book, Eating Animals, is his first non-fiction work, and it's been out for a few months. So, before beginning the book, I assumed that this would be fairly straightforward; I would pat myself on the back for being vegetarian and sparing all those animals I might have eaten. Wrong. Foer's fact based reports and accounts of the harsh realities of animal welfare in both the meat producing and dairy industries are abysmal, and furthermore unacceptable.

Just because I am vegetarian does not mean that I do not participate in factory farming. The eggs I consume come from animals tortured by factory farming where they are deprived of normal animal behaviors, food, water, sunlight, and humane treatment. Additionally, the eggs that I eat are produced by birds who are deeply unhealthy; chickens today have been genetically bred into Frankensteins of the avian world, along with all the other factory farmed animals: turkeys, pigs, and cows. To eat today is to support factory farming and the evils of a system that single handedly produces more environmental sludge than all others factors. This includes cars and other modes of transportation. That's huge!

Me "reading" the book whilst sunbathing.
I do not want to support factory farming. But, I do not want to be vegan; I love cheese and ice cream and omelettes and tasty baked goods. However, am I willing to participate in factory farming just because it tastes good? No. No, it's wrong. Morally, ethically, it's wrong to buy animal products produced at the expense of animals who are tortured. With 99% of animal products coming from factory farmed animals, the good options of farms practicing decent animal husbandry are few and far between.

For right now, I am willing to drink soy milk, and at the very least reduce the amount of other dairy that I eat until I can find sources that value animal welfare. I need to do more research on Whole Foods' dairy products because I don't know how strict their standards are in comparison to the a regular grocery store. Ideally I would be able to find local farmers in Greenville and Charleston, but I don't know if that's going to happen. I'm not excited to be spending more money, but I am willing to do what is right in regards to food choices, I think.

Monday, May 10, 2010

First Year Wrap-Up

Insead of blog-stalking, here's me being creepy in person.
It's hard to believe that I am home after all that happened in Charleston. Last summer I discovered feminism, blog-obsessed over Alison Piepmeier, and felt really cray-cray about moving to college and making friends and being successful in classes.

And then I got to Charleston where everything just dropped into place. I fell in love with friends and professors and farmer's markets and glasses and the city. I did so many things this year: clubs, plays, extracurriculars. I earned a job as an undergraduate assistant next year. I made a 3.9 GPA. I also tried for so many different opportunities that I didn't get. But I tried, and that act, in and of itself, is a lot more than I felt prepared to do last summer. My first year was really, really fabulous. That is just the most accurate description. I grew so much this year, and I'm so much happier with the person I've become.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Whole Lesbian Sex Book, review

Research really rocks my socks. Actually, though, Felice Newman's The Whole Lesbian Sex Book is fantastic. I like her short and sweet writing style; she presents a lot of information in an easily digestible and factual manner that makes reading all 300 packed pages fun.

I learned lots of new info about safer sex practices for lesbians, an abundance of kink DIY, and appreciated the illustrations featuring women of varying color, size, and gender roles. This book covers everything from anatomy to health to masturbation to relationships of all sorts to a slew of sex acts. It seems like the lesbian reader that all lesbians should probably read at some point.

I especially like reading things and changing my mind and abandoning preconceived notions. Here, the author manages to make things like fisting sound really romantic with the right partner. Fisting has always seemed unnecessarily violent to me, but obviously it doesn't have to be. Rimming, on the other hand - grosses me the hell out. I totally think it's a valid and acceptable way to play with a partner. But. I can't turn off the part of my brain that shudders out a succession of Yuck, yuck, and double yuck.

Newman quotes a lot of lesbians in the book talking about their own lives and lovers and preferences. Some of the people sound amazing: proud and beautiful and intractably sexual. I am really attracted to people like that, people who seem to have real passion.

The only down side to reading this book was the mini-pity party I felt like throwing my sad, single self.