It’s Easier Not To

Hello, friends.

As you may or may not know, I recently spent a weekend in Boston with friends, and we went to see Jagged Little Pill: The Musical. It was a wonderful weekend, truly, but the highlight was definitely seeing this musical. Sorry, friends. Your Disney singing was a close second. Continue reading

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Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

I am 40 years old.

I am married (for almost two years) to a lovely woman who I’ve had a crush on for almost half of my life.

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I live in a world where my sexual orientation is a boring statement of fact that isn’t really a thing…or at least I think it is, until someone makes it otherwise.

I started coming out gradually, at 19, first between wrenching sobs to my freshman-year RA, saying that I might be gay. She was the first I told about these swirling, confusing feelings that were only amplified by the roommate (let’s call her N) I had fallen for. I stared at a bottle of Advil, wondering if taking the entire bottle would be enough to put me out of my misery, and I found the strength to put it down, knock on Jen’s door, and just…come out with it.

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Hymns 

It’s interesting what sticks with you over the years. 

I was raised Roman Catholic. I had two Catholic parents and a Catholic brother. Dave and I attended the same Catholic grade and high schools that my mother graduated from. I attended a Catholic university and received a degree in Theology. So I feel confident in saying that I have, at minimum, a basic understanding of Christianity. 

Up until last year, I hadn’t attended mass in quite a few years — At least three. I hadn’t attended regularly since my first year of college (sorry, Mom!), and I hadn’t been back to any other mass since a priest had a bit of gay-bashing in his sermon. 

One of my close friends — a devout Catholic– died last year, and I attended her funeral mass. The one thing that stuck with me (other than the fact that the priest refused to shake my right hand, opting for left, despite shaking everyone else’s right) was how many of the hymns I remembered. I guess when you sing them at least twice a week for nine years (Sunday mass plus Wednesday children’s mass during grade school), they stick with you. 

As the country is descending into what feels like the darkest place it has in a long time, I see a lot of self-proclaimed Christians speaking out in favor of our president and some of his executive orders, either rumored or fact. “Close the borders!” “Make our country safe from the immigrants!” “Bomb them all and let God figure jt out!” “Don’t make me bake a cake for a gay!” “Jesus says it’s wrong!”

Sigh. 

I’m reminded of the Prayer of St. Francis. 

Make me a channel of your peace 

Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope

Where there is darkness, only light

And where there’s sadness ever joy…

And also “Whatsoever You Do.”

Whatsoever you do to the least of my people

That you do unto me

Also “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” a personal favorite of a longtime priest at my home parish. 

Let peace begin with me

Let this be the moment now.

With every step I take

Let this be my solemn vow.

To take each moment

And live each moment

With peace eternally.

Let there be peace on earth,

And let it begin with me

And just a good, old-fashioned bible quote. 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

Jesus would not have turned away immigrants, nor would he have supported a thinly veiled law for “religious freedom” that seeks to deny the rights of LGBTQIA folks (or, as one of these Christians said to me, “LGBTXYZ or whatever”). He wouldn’t have approved of violence against Muslims, Christians, atheists, gays, or, you know, anyone.

When you want to “make America great again,” remember that you, too, are most likely descended from immigrants and that this “great” country was built on the backs of slavery and genocide, two things Jesus most certainly did not condone or support. Please be mindful of the “greatness” you are claiming you want to go back to. 

Whether you believe in them or not, I would hope you could agree that the stories of Jesus paint a picture of a man who put love above all else. 

If you consider yourself a Christian, I would just ask that you examine your life and do the same.

Queer Fangirl AF

Today is National Coming Out Day. I officially came out years ago, and (let’s be honest) unofficially way before that with all of that flannel I wore. Anyone who has ever read this blog knows that it was a rough process for me. Growing up, I felt alone. I thought that no one could possibly feel the way I felt, and I couldn’t bring myself to talk about it. It led to some dark times for me, but I eventually accepted and embraced who I am. I wish I could go back in time and tell this girl that it does, in fact, get better.

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One of the roughest things was that I felt like I had no one to talk to about it. I almost kind of did once, that time my “friends” started a rumor about me that I was gay. I introduced myself to a friend of a friend with “I’m Monica, and my friends think I’m gay.” Her response? “I’m Beth, and I don’t care.” (Still friends, by the way.) But after that rumor was shut down, I shut down about it. No sense drawing attention to the thing that almost ruined (and ended) my life.

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One of the great things about the internet — and, yes, there are many awful things, but so, so many great ones — is that, no matter what community you want to be a part of, you’ll find it. And with lesbian spaces disappearing, that’s more important than ever.

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Representation Day

So, I spent the day making notes for this blog post, part of a “No Chill Week” for my new favorite show, Wynonna Earp (because this fandom, myself included, has no chill). And, in true Monica fashion, I can’t find them. In an unusual twist, neither can my wife. 

So, as you’re reading this, just remember how good it could have been, I guess. 

Guys, Wynonna Earp has representation of all of the people — for days — and it’s a big freaking deal. 

First of all, though this is far less personal for me, let me say how awesome it is that a person of color is shown as a viable romantic lead. I’m not saying it never happens, but outside of a Shonda Rhimes show, it’s unusual. And it’s awesome and sexy and hot and believable and amazing. 

So, I’m a gay. As I have said many, many times before (just look at my previous three posts), it’s unusual to see myself onscreen. And it means something when I do. And if you’re used to seeing yourself everywhere, well, it’s not a feeling I can describe. Sometimes, especially in my younger days — you know, before I owned my awesomeness — it felt like I was the only person in this world like me. Gay. Nerdy. Et cetera. 

And Wynonna Earp gently picks up this “normalcy” of other shows — gay characters few and far between, disposable women only there to advance a hereronormative storyline — gently packs it up in its U-haul, and moves it to Canada, where it evolves into something else. 


Science fact. 

I literally could go scene by WayHaught scene and talk about why each and every word, touch, look, and heart eyes means something to me. 

But I will try and be succinct. 

Instead, I will talk about two scenes which really stuck out to me because of representation. They both take place in the penultimate episode of the season, “House of Memories.”

First, the good. Waverly descends the staircase, eyes only for Nicole, as they see each other for the first time at Bobo’s party. 

 

I know, I know. This is from that episode but not that scene. But the look is the same. Stay with me. I lost like an hour of writing time looking for those notes. (Photo copyright SyFy)

How many times have one of us wanted to see a woman look at us like that? I’m willing to bet a lot, and I’m willing to bet it has happened to quite a few of us. 

Myself included. 
But it’s so much rarer to see it on TV. That look — that one of love where your heart is ready to burst out of your chest because that other person is so perfect — it’s never me. Is never us. And this time it was. 

Thank you for that, SyFy. Emily. Kat and Dom. Beau. Everyone. Thank you. I love you. 

And thank you for the next scene, too — the one that is so much harder to write about. The one that I know so many of us have lived in one way or another but seldom see validated onscreen. That’s just as important even though it’s a thousand times more painful. 

I saw all that, you know. 

Not now, Champ. 

So you two are like together now, eh? That’s disgusting. Disgusting. 

I heard some version of this every day — Every day — for a very long time. From a lot of people. Sometimes from myself. And just because I can get married now doesn’t mean I don’t still hear it. It’s not always as blatant, you know. Sometimes it’s subtle. Sometimes they don’t even know they’re doing it. But it’s there. 

And so, once again, Wynonna Earp shows me myself. 

Because representation isn’t always about the good. It’s important to show people the bad is still out there, because it is. 

Thank you for that, SyFy. Emily. Kat and Dom and Dylan. Beau. Everyone. Thank you. I love you. 

Representation is important. Even now — at 39, married, established, confident, happy — it means so much to me. If 15-year-old Monica — depressed, anxious, sad, lonely, alone, desperate to fit in, thinking she never would — watched this show, I can unequivocally say it would change her life. Give her a confidence in the knowledge that, hey, I’m not alone. 

“There I am.”

Slaying It

So, everyone knows how much I love TV. If you’re only a fan of my supreme writing skills and don’t know me, well, I’m pretty sure it has come through. If you do know me, you know that my profession for the last almost-15 years has been to watch TV all day. Well, technically, for the last several, I watch other people watch TV all day, because supervising. But still. And then, after a long day of work, sometimes I come home and…watch TV.

I don’t watch as much as I used to. Life with Chris is pretty busy. Since we only are on the same shift about half the time, when we do have the opportunity to see each other, we seldom want to be apart.

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Who can blame me? Heart eyes for days.*

Ahem. Where was I? Right. TV.

Some TV shows have really resonated with me over the years, and a movie or two has really hit home, as you might remember from earlier this week. Carrie Fisher made six-year-old Monica realize she might be gay. But I’m a Cheerleader made me admit that I was gay, and it started something else — the urge to see myself onscreen more.

The next show that made a big impact was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sadly, I did not watch it when it was first on — a friend introduced it to me after it finished airing. Three of us used to watch it together after work, staying up till 1:00 in the morning with the people from Sunnydale. Then the other two started dating each other, effectively shutting the door on our group hangs, so I started watching it by myself. It was better that way, anyway, because he dictated which episodes were “bad” and worth skipping. No time for that, mister. All of the episodes need to be watched! Even Beer Bad!

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A gift from those friends for doing a reading at their wedding. I guess it ended well for them.

[ Spoilers from BtVS are ahead. But it’s been off of the air for years, so, really, if you don’t want to be spoiled, watch the damn show already. ]

Once again, I saw myself onscreen, both in nerdy Willow and gay Tara. And also insecure Xander, demonic Anya, knowledgeable Giles, and even kickass Buffy. Probably not in Riley, though. Thank God. “This show is so real,” I remember saying, thinking how ridiculous it was to say that about a show that takes place on a Hellmouth. But it’s true — literally high school (and eventually college) as Hell.

I always had a soft spot for Willow — nerdy, awkward, adorable. Also, Alyson Hannigan. Then she went to college, got dumped, went a little crazy, and met Tara. And I was a goner.

There I was, on that screen again.

A friend burned me a copy of the Once More with Feeling soundtrack, and I listened to Under Your Spell on repeat. In my car. Getting off the phone with my GF so I could listen to it one more time. Sitting in the parking lot of somewhere (Burgh’s? Kings? I think the GF let me go for a rare night out — Chris must not have been going) listening to it one more time, feeling my heart swell as Tara sung her feelings to Willow, explaining that she was completely taken by her. Being sad that the relationship I was in wasn’t that; trying to come to terms that I would never have that and that’s okay. That’s just not the kind of person I was, and I wasn’t capable of those kinds of feelings. I was happy enough, GF was a good-enough person, and that was…enough.

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I was wrong. It wasn’t enough. I’m capable of more than I thought I was, and this is the result.*

The day I got the box set, I came home from work at 11:00pm and announced to GF that I would be staying up and watching Buffy. She just shook her head, probably. I don’t know. Maybe it spun the whole way around.

She went to bed, and I let Buffy, Willow, Tara, and the gang keep me company. My heart swelled, making me feel less alone with that sweet, sweet box set in my TV stand. Making me feel less alone than the woman sleeping in the next room did.

It’s amazing what we tell ourselves is acceptable in life, isn’t it?

We broke up, obviously. Some BS about her not being willing to put me through being with her. Some stupid, ridiculous crap where she tried to make herself out as a hero when all she wanted was out.

Best thing that ever happened to me. Not an exaggeration.

Buffy kept me company in those months after. When I needed a laugh, I’d turn on Doppelgangland, my favorite episode. When I needed a cry, The Body was the obvious choice. Wanting to be scared out of my mind? Hush. Reminded of the kind of love I wanted for myself? Seeing Red, stopping a couple of minutes before the end.

I could take this opportunity to drone on for thousands of words about the “Bury Your Gays” trope, about how a gay is brought on a show (often a lesbian), and then she’s killed for no purpose other than advancing someone else’s storyline. I could ramble about the horrible, horrible message this sends to the LGBTQ community — gays deserve to be killed, they only exist as characters to further the straight people’s journey, if you sleep with someone of the same sex, you deserve to die — but I won’t. It’s utter bullshit, and it’s rare to find a show that doesn’t do it. Not to jump ahead here, but SyFy (and the country of Canada) does it right, both with Lost Girl and (so far) Wynonna Earp.

But I won’t. Ahem.

The day after our first official date (because we really had been pre-dating for the entire week and a half beforehand — sorry if this is a surprise to the people we hung out with [Heather, Beth, Amy, Sansón]), we went for coffee with her friend/my acquaintance (now our friend) Michelle and hung out at Barnes and Noble. I somehow convinced her to come back to my place, and we sat on the couch and…watched Buffy. My rambling about how Doppelgangland is the most perfect episode is probably why she agreed to continue dating me.

Every time I watched that episode afterwards, I thought of our sweet, special date 1.5. It made me feel even less alone than before.

Chris agreed to watch the entire series while she was in California, just because it meant so much to me. I am under no delusion that it meant as much to her as it meant to me…but the fact that she did it because I meant to much to her — well, suddenly, I didn’t need to watch Doppelgangland as often, you know?

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And then she took me to the bridge from Under Your Spell because I married the perfect woman.

Up next in Monica’s Blogs About Media That Means A Lot To Her…Wynonna Earp. That’s what this was supposed to be, and then I started word vomiting about Buffy, and I couldn’t stop it. No fever, though, so at least I didn’t have to pull out the cowbell.

Until next time, friends, may your stakes be pointy, your pancakes funny-shaped, your candles extra flamey, and remember — the hardest thing in this world…is to live in it, love makes you do the wacky, and bunnies, bunnies, it must be bunnies.

*Photo credit to Laura Kathleen Photography