I’d like to thank the Academy…

liebster-award

Or, more specifically, I’d like to thank rimonim for so kindly nominating me for the Liebster Award!  I’m incredibly honored, mostly because I never know for sure if people ever read — let alone get anything out of — my writing.

But enough bashful stammerings.  By virtue of the rules following this award, I have some matters to attend to.

11 Questions:

  1. Why do you blog?
    I started blogging in the hopes that someone somewhere might get something positive out of what I write.  I continued because I received positive feedback.  Additionally, if I didn’t write I’d probably go crazy.
  2. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Why?
    I’d go to the UK, specifically either England or Ireland.  I’ve always been fascinated by that area of the world, and in particular with my English heritage.  I’ve been to both countries at least once, and I can definitively say they’re my favorite places to be.
  3. What work (book, film, music) has most influenced your worldview? Pick a few if you can’t narrow it to one.
    Harry Potter (yes, I am one of those.)
    Numerous other works, particularly books, poems, short stories, etc.
  4. What is your favorite food?
    Orange juice.  I hate food.
  5. What was your first job?
    Newspaper carrier.
  6. What was the first concert you attended (of your own volition)?
    Evanescence in Toronto, Canada.  It was marvelous.
  7. Besides blogging, how do you spend your free time?
    Reading, writing, playing guitar, and (more recently) PC gaming.
  8. What chore or errand do you dislike the most?
    Going to the grocery store.
  9. Where are you while writing this post?
    …At work…
  10. Describe one of the strangest experiences you’ve ever had.
    I was walking by my high school English classroom and saw my twin sister through the window.  I went closer to see what she was up to…only to realize I was looking at my reflection.
  11. What is the secret of life? According to you, of course.
    42.  Or else love.  Take your pick.

11 Random Facts:

  1. I’m an identical twin.  (As if you didn’t know already.)
  2. Ever since the second grade, I’ve wanted to be a traditionally published author.
  3. I have a borderline unhealthy obsession with cats, Harry Potter, books, and weather.  Quite possibly in that order.
  4. I chose my name because it means “little raven,” and I picked that meaning to honor my father.
  5. I picked my middle name because it’s just pretty.
  6. I have one tattoo and am getting my second one today!  (Pictures eventually to follow.)
  7. Growing up, I had more pets than people in my house.  Greatest count: 5 dogs, 4 cats, some rodent-like creature, and either a lizard or a hedgehog.
  8. I’m convinced that I should have been born a British librarian, clad in tweed and drinking tea with scones.  Until I can master my missing accent, my life is incomplete.
  9. Additionally, I’ve always wanted to be a ginger.  I just found a ginger hair in my pathetic beard.  It made my entire life.
  10. The instruments I can play proficiently are the cello, guitar, piano, and handbells.
  11. I can speak English and German proficiently, and have a beginner’s knowledge of French, Chinese (Mandarin), Swedish, and Klingon.  That last one was entirely not my fault.

My nominees (in no particular order):

The Ace Theist
A Boy and her Dog
First Time Second Time
Genderkid
Gendermom
Trans*forming Family

Rules and other regulations:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  2. Display the award on your blog, by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
  3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
  4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, which have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
  6. Create a new list of questions for the bloggers to answer.
  7. Copy & paste these rules in your post. Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
    • Inform the people/blogs that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award.
    • Provide a link to this post so that they can learn about it.

11 Questions for You:

  1. What’s the inspiration behind your blog’s name?
  2. What’s your ideal family?  Pets count too!
  3. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
  4. Favorite book, and why?  (Can substitute with movie/music group/etc. if necessary.)
  5. What was/is your favorite school subject?
  6. What do you most fear?
  7. What do you consider to be your best trait?
  8. What are three positive things about you?
  9. If you could meet anyone, dead, living, or fictional, who would it be?
  10. Describe your ideal vacation.  Please?  (There, now it’s a question!)
  11. How do you find your inner Zen?

Non-binary

This past week I had a phone interview with a Washington Post reporter, off the record, about being non-binary in a binary world.  It went exceedingly well, but that’s not the point of this post.  What I’ve been mulling over for a while now is — wait for it — my identity.  Go figure, right?

So in my never-ending quest to figure myself out, I’ve made quite a few steps as of late to try and suss out who or what I am.  For as long as I can remember I’ve felt distinctly different, other, irgendwie anders.  Having an identical twin only further complicated things around puberty; she journeyed off into this magical realm called Womanhood, leaving me alone to figure out why I didn’t feel myself to be a girl, but also couldn’t conceptualize myself as a boy.

Now I’m at a point where, if I decide to medically transition more, it’s going to be complicated.  Now that Facebook has the pick your own gender option, I may just put “It’s complicated” there instead of agender, transmasculine, and genderqueer.  Because honestly, I feel very much like I’ve lost sight of myself.  I started with hormones on the average dosage, which wasn’t something I’d wanted in the first place.  I wanted a low dose, but everything happened so fast with getting a job and getting on hormones that I just kind of sat back and watched the changes happen.  Since the start of the year, however, I’ve been trying hard to reclaim myself from my transition.  No, I’m not detransitioning, but I am making more clear for myself what I want to get out of medical and social transition.

So I’ve begun opening up to my new friends more.  I’m ever so slowly telling others that I want to try out gender neutral pronouns (they, their, them).  I’m exploring hobbies, interests, even behaviors that I used to shun for being “too girly” or “not manly enough,” because honestly what does that even mean anymore?  I’m completely non-binary, queer on all levels, and really none of this gendered terminology has much bearing on who I am as a person.  I refuse to let society’s image of who or what I should be dictate how I live my life.

An apt expression now that I’m officially a Badger.

Yes Virgina, Honey Badger really don’t give two shits.

Workers Comp–”This is Battledome!”

“Bedford, this is a dark day.”

Piper Perabo as Meike in this battle of wits and brainpower.

Piper Perabo as Meike in this battle of wits and brainpower.

Or so said Piper Perabo in one of my all-time favorite Wives of Bath-meets-lesbian dramas.  But her words ring true today, for today I endeavor to go toe to toe with my employer’s workers comp company.

See, back in September 2013 I was the victim of a brutal assault on my face over chicken noodle soup.  Well, that and clarifying the unit’s expectations, but the long and short of it is that I ended up in the ER by 11:00pm and had filed charges against a former client at my workplace.  This was back when I worked on the milieus still, and it was a turning point for me in my profession; I had finally met the enemy known as physical harm, and had conquered it!  Granted it was with a severely swollen, sore, and bloody nose, but I could totes begotes handle that.

Fast forward to February of this year.  My sinuses were wreaking havoc, at least more so than usual for this time of year, and I thought nothing of it…until on the way back from Cleveland, where I experienced probably my first real migraine.  If that wasn’t suspicious enough, I was also having constant sinus headaches.  This eventually faded within two to three weeks of being back home after top surgery, but was picked up by the worst sinus infection I’ve had since late elementary age, no later than the sixth grade.  My entire left side of my head was congested and my ear was completely blocked.  I went for near a week without being able to hear out of it, which oddly enough disrupted my day to day functioning.

Come to find out from my girlfriend around this time that, apparently, I’ve been snoring nonstop since September.  What’s more is that my nose took two months to return to a normal-ish size, and I had at least one episode of sleep apnea by her reckoning.  All of this culminated in a

So my nose is pretty much screwed royally.

trip to the ENT which diagnosed me with a severely deflected septum.  What this means is that instead of my nose being completely straight, the cartilage of my inner nose is bowed out specifically towards the right side of my nose.  It’s almost touching the wall of my left nasal airway while (potentially) digging into the floor of my right airway.

What all of this means is that I now require nasal reconstruction to fix my lovely schnaz.  After I just got out from under the knife, to boot.  And wouldn’t you know it, my employer’s workers comp company flat-out refused to cover anything because of this magical thing known as “lagtime” — in short, anything “seriously wrong” would have occurred immediately as a result of my injury.  Because, naturally, the folks up at Synergy are medical professionals.

Luckily my girlfriend’s coworkers have been providing her counsel on how to do battle with these folks; one of them even used to file claims for a workers comp company.  And I just so happen to be working on interpersonal effectiveness in my DBT, so I’m using this as a much-needed character-building exercise.

And now comes today.  I have slept maybe 3.5 hours out of sheer nerves, and the inability to sleep without my mouth lolling open.  I prepare for battle.  In the eternal words of some of my more bad-ass and ghetto coworkers: Bring it, foo’!  SHO’NUFF!!!

Much in the style of the Squire from Dungeon Defenders, I prepare to go to war most epically — and most fabulously.

A sexual object

I’m twenty-four years old, and I can safely say that, until last Sunday at least, I’ve only ever been hit on once in my life, and that was by my girlfriend.  (I’m not counting the wannabe boyfriend who Facebook messaged me wanting to get together after having only played two rounds of D&D together.)  However, last Sunday was a strange and uncomfortable exception to my life in that not just one, but two girls hit on me in one evening.  Both times, for me at least, it was completely unwanted.

The first one identified as a butch lesbian, and my single friend (who was bound and determined to “hook up” with someone) had apparently been eyeing her all evening.  Being the oblivious asexual that I am, I had absolutely no clue about any of this.  At one point we walked by her, and her eyes followed me this entire time.  I made eye contact and smiled, trying to be polite, because what else do you do in a noisy, crowded bar in the middle of a drag show?  Not two minutes passed before she joined us outside and she honed in on me, asking about my name, whether my parents had given it to me, have I ever had a girlfriend.  It was by this last question that I got suspicious, but her next sentence (“Well, you’re very convincing”) turned me off completely.

Then, as we congregated at a table, another — quite intoxicated — young woman asked me about my tattoo, so I took off my shirt to show it to her.  I thought that was the end of it…until we both were back in the bar and she was dancing up on me, grabbing me in places I’d rather not think about and giving me a drunken kiss on the neck.  I avoided her the rest of the evening and hid behind my girlfriend whenever she walked by.

If this is how they thought I would dance, they were sadly, sadly mistaken.

At the time I had difficulty in understanding why both encounters upset me so much.  The first girl’s comment about me being “convincing” was certainly frustrating, because I wasn’t entirely sure what I was supposed to convince people about; and I told her as much.  But between the not-so-subtle flirting on her part and the overly sexual dance session with the other, it occurred to me that my being asexual was entirely why I was so uncomfortable.  I was being treated as a sexual object, which is something that I don’t even treat myself as — so why should anyone else?  For someone else to treat me as some object of sexual or erotic desire absolutely does not fit my own sense of self, so not only was it incongruous toward my identity as asexual, but it was also entirely against my will.

This is why I hate dancing, clubbing, or anything similar that enables one’s body to be the focus of sexually-driven attention.  Before Sunday I’d never even thought of it in those terms, but looking back on my life it makes a lot more sense through an asexual perspective.  As uncomfortable and frustrating as Sunday night was for me, it’s also made me aware of two important points.  Firstly, I refuse to allow others to erroneously label me as a sexual person, and therefore treat me as a sexual object.  But perhaps most importantly, I refuse to allow others to do that to another person that they don’t even know.

I’ve been looking for a reason to become more involved in asexual politics and awareness.  I guess one evening of queer women on the prowl was enough to get me started.