Look at Me

Hello, friends.

As you may know, today — April 26th — is Lesbian Visibility Day.  The day when we cast off our Harry Potter cloak of — oh, wait. That’s not it.

Growing up, the last thing I wanted to be was visible. I tried to blend in, mimic what other people were doing, stay under the radar so no one would see that I was different. I didn’t want anyone to notice me, to notice I was different. Growing up in small-town West Virginia, the last thing I wanted anyone to do was see me for who I was in my Catholic school. Slumber parties were probably the worst, especially with the introduction of Truth or Dare. I have never been big on lying, so Truth was a nightmare situation, but at that age, Dare sometimes consisted of exposing body parts or something similar, and that also filled me with fear. What if I answered a question about a boy wrong? What if I stared at someone too long? What if I didn’t stare and that was suspect?!

Hell. Pure. Hell.

The older I got, the less visible I tried to be. Locker rooms, volleyball and basketball practices, and a sudden passed note of “you’re hugging people and it makes us uncomfortable” forced me deeper into my wishful cloak of invisibility. I graduated and got the fuck out, but it took years before I allowed people to see who I was.

Looking back, oddly, I’m not sure that my feelings were ever “shame.” All I ever wanted — and all I want now, to be honest — is to fit in. I just want people to like me, to be amused by me, to not be weird. You know, in a bad way. I’m totally okay with being weird in a good way. If that makes sense to you — good news! You are also my kind of weird!

Anyway, I guess that’s its own kind of shame — not wanting people to see you for your differences. But it never felt that way. Or at least it doesn’t now.

I think the existence of representation on TV can’t be understated here. For the first time in my life, I have felt like I’ve seen myself when I hit that button on the remote. From Wynonna Earp to Everything Sucks to One Day at a Time and even Supergirl (though you’re not doing a very good job right now with other things, SG, but whatever), women dealing with their sexuality and falling in love with other women are there. We’ve come a long way from shouting “I’m gay” over an airport PA system, Willow Rosenberg having an extra-flamey candle, and Kerry Weaver shooting longing looks at Kim Legaspi. Those moments were important and significant, sure, but they were moments. Unusual circumstances. Newsworthy. The representation I see now is noteworthy because of its normalcy. Being gay isn’t done for ratings. It’s part of the overall story of people’s lives that is told, helping it to become visible.

We have always been here, and the entertainment landscape is starting to reflect that.

The older I get, the more visible I become. I remember several months ago, I made a comment about just wanting to be inconspicuous, and my friend Angie told me that as long as I had this hairstyle, my hopes of disappearing were unlikely to happen.

But I kind of dig it now. I feel like my outside is starting to match the insides that were always there. I’m content to stay in the background but also coming to terms with the fact that, when you have all this sizzle, people are going to notice.

And that’s okay.

It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to be loud and inappropriate. It’s okay to be who I am.

It’s okay to love women. It’s okay to be turned on by women. It’s okay to be married to my amazing, wonderful, caring, understanding wife. More than okay. (But that specific one’s just for me, friends.)

I also know that all lesbians don’t look like me, talk like me, act like me. That doesn’t make me or them any less of a lesbian. It’s important to remember that. We don’t all wear flannel. We aren’t all good at sports. Some of us have long fingernails. And some of us are trans women. WE ARE ALL LESBIANS, AND WE ARE ALL HERE.

Today, on this Lesbian Visibility Day, stand up and be proud of who you are. Embrace the things that make you different. That make you the same. That make you who you are.

I am a lesbian, but I am so many other things. A wife. A friend. A fangirl. An Earper. A Lenasexual. A bestie. A softie. A Ravenclaw whose Hufflepuff tendencies show way too often. A Star Wars fan. A grammar and punctuation snob. A human who reads to much fanfic.

My sexuality is one of many parts of myself, all of which I’m proud of.

Even though this world has come a long way from the one I lived in as a child and a teenager (and a university student), my story is still important. I’m fortunate that I can be visible, and I hope that my visiblity helps someone else. Helps them to become who they were always meant to be.

Look at me. I’m invisible no more. There’s no going back now!

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Amsterdam, Day 1

Here’s the thing about day 1 of Amsterdam. A lot of it was spent sleeping, on a plane, or in the airport.

We got up at 2:00am to drive to the airport, after about an hour of sleep. Happily, I slept on the flight. Chris wasn’t so lucky. We ate lunch at the airport because check-in wasn’t until 2:00pm, and we made our way to the hotel. After my Atlanta debacle, I was a little gun shy about picking a place to stay, but it turned out well. They let us check in a half-hour early, upgraded our room, and gave us a voucher for free drinks since we are celebrating our 2-year anniversary, which was truly lovely of them. Even if they did wake us up to give us that…and wished a happy anniversary to me and my husband. 😶

After naps and showers, we looked around Amsterdam a bit, and it was a little terrifying. Bike culture is a big deal here, and unlike in the US, it seems they always have the right of way, regardless of lights, crosswalks, pedestrians, etc. We are both cyclists and fully support bike lanes, cyclists, and everything that goes along with that, but here it’s intimidating and not what we are used to. And someone yelled at us because we crossed in a crosswalk and he came barreling around a corner and got mad at us. I mean, sure, right of way. But there’s no need to be a dick about it.

We had a mediocre doner kebab near the train station and a spectacular holiday drink at a Starbucks that was built in an old bank. We collect the city mugs and were able to add to our collection. There’s just one more that exists somewhere that’s on the list. Fingers crossed!

The canals are lovely, especially at night. One of my favorite views.

Iceland, Day 3

How has it been three days?!

Today we put our rental car to the test and went from Reykjavík to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon — a 5-hour trip one way.I hardly slept last night so, to no one’s surprise, I was a little grumpy. But Chris took the wheel after an hour, and I got a nap. And then some lunch. And then my mood improved. Oh, Monica. How does she put up with you?

Our first stop was Reynisfjara, which also happened to be the wallpaper in Chris’ computer for two years. Bucket list item for her.

Next we stopped at a crazy diner/gas station/mini mart that I dubbed Icelandic Sheetz. We had delicious lamb soup and a lamb burger.

Our last stop was Jökulsárlón, a lake that had bits of glacier bobbing in it. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

One of the best parts of the day was the scenery along the way, so here’s some of that.

Also, our first task of the day? Getting gas. It’s 6am and 3 degrees Celsius outside. I pay with my credit card, and it asks for a pin.

But…I have no pin.

It’s freezing, I’m exhausted, and we are in Iceland. I shrug and enter the pin to my debit card, thinking if I ever set one up, that was probably it.

Bingo.

Oh, and I thought I locked us in a bathroom for 20 seconds before Chris saved the day.

Tomorrow’s our last day here! So much lamb soup, so little time.

You Can Tell Everybody That This Is Your Card

Happy anniversary, my love.

We’ve done a lot of walking and worn a lot of shoes in the six years we’ve been together, but these shoes from this day — always my favorite.

I’m sorry I didn’t get you a card. Did we have any idea when we got married what a whirlwind our lives would become? And that we would have no free time and be bad at planning stuff and basically be living life flying from one thing to the next? I certainly didn’t. “After this, things will calm down.” False.

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I love that dress so much, and you looked so amazing. You look lovely every day, but that day really took the cake. And doughnuts. And cookies.

You have made my life so much better, and are so supportive of all of my fangirling, even if I’m not always the best about dividing my attention. You even agreed to a Star Wars theme for part of our special day. Who does that? You do. And you are amazing.

So I’m sorry that I didn’t get you a card, since my free time during the week was spent writing, doing pod prep, dealing with plumbing business, and trying to do laundry to prep for Iceland in the middle of our busiest season at work. And also reading fanfic, because please see above regarding “bad at dividing my attention.” And then on the weekend, we hate to spend any time apart, because we are those people.

You made a day I was sort of low-key dreading because my father wouldn’t be there one of the best days of my life. He would have loved you.

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He would have loved your sass, your wit, and, most importantly, your all-encompassing love for his daughter, the giant nerd.

And he probably would have wondered how I landed such a hottie.

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I also wonder that.

You’re my protector, my biggest fan, my best girl, and my occasional makeup artist.

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So I’m sorry our lives were so hectic that I didn’t get you card, but I hope this blog will do.

We’ve certainly had our share of rain, but there’s no one else I’d rather be under the umbrella with.

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Here’s to the next two…hundred.0937

I belong with you, you belong with me. You’re my sweetheart.1091

#CHRONICA2015 FOREVER!

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Time, Time, Time, See What’s Become of Me

So I’ve blogged two days in a row (!) and it feels weird not to do it today. But I have to get ready for work 15 minutes ago, so nothing substantial is coming out of this brain. And I really thought I’d catch up on a lot of this while my wife was out of town, but I feel like I had even less free time than when she’s here! Hopefully in the next few weeks, here are the things you have to look forward to.

  • More in my new favorite blog installment, Monica’s Unnecessarily Long and Detailed TV Recaps (just for Wynonna Earp and not Orphan Black, evil friend who keeps telling me to write about OB)
  • More updates on the #TravelingFandras movement (and when I buy my new shirt, because that’s definitely gonna have to happen. Maybe I can crowd-fund it!)
  • My inability to choose normal blog titles (but Susanna Hoffs, am I right?)
  • Finally finishing blogging about my wedding in 2015 (sorry, honey)

  • Finally writing about ClexaCon and this amazing, epic photo op

  • Also this one

  • And this one, which is in some ways the most important one

Hope to see you soon, friends.

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Monday, Chris and I celebrate one year of marriage. The optimist in me wants to say “one year of wedded bliss,” but anyone who’s a regular human knows that that’s…a bit of a stretch. Honestly, going into this, I thought, “I’ve got this marriage thing in the bag. No problem.” We had been together for four years when we got married (and had lived together for three of those years), and I assumed that we would just continue on, business as usual.

I was wrong. Marriage is wonderful and amazing and glorious. It’s also hard, frustrating, and aggravating. I cannot imagine being married to anyone else, nor do I want to be. I have never loved anyone like I do my wife, but on the flip side of that coin, no one frustrates me anywhere near as much. (I just read her this, by the way, and she laughed — because she agrees with me, I assume.)

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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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