blogging milestones

Blogging (and life) updates: HALF A DECADE!?!?

Whoa. I actually let this milestone pass me right by last month (January was one hell of a busy month for me at work, with more than double my usual load of children’s programming, plus I presented at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference at the end of the month!), but yeah, I’ve been keeping up with this blog thing for a full five years now!

How’d that even happen? Where did the time go? How do I keep finding things to say? (I’m closing in on my 400th posts now, though it may take me while to actually get there, since I don’t post quite as regularly as I once did…)

Anyway, congratulations to me, and happy birthday to Valprehension! YAY!

I’d already decided how I was going to ‘reward’ myself if I made it this far. I’m planning to start up a new semi-regular feature where I bring attention back to something from the archives that I think sill holds it’s own, and deserves to be seen by my newer readers. Maybe once a month? But I’ll try to make sure it’s not the only thing I’m doing here, so if I fall off of writing new stuff, I’ll take a break from spotlighting old posts, too.

So much thanks to all my readers, new and old :)

Here’s to five more years!

Just Keep Writing, 300 times over!

Y’all this is post #300 on Valprehension! How even?

Spongebob and Patrick (Spongebob's starfish friend) are floating in the upper portion of the image, against a background gradient from black (at the top) to white (at the bottom). Yellow text reads "300th *@%!# Post!"

I honestly wasn’t sure whether I wanted to acknowledge this one, or just wait for the big 500, but whatever, every hundred posts takes just as much work as the previous one, so I’m just gonna keep up with the centennial celebrations :)

The last hundred posts actually came out more quickly than the previous ones, with my recent tri-weekly posting blitz powering it through – I wasn’t going to commit to this yet, but with the end of my Genderqueer Challenge adventure looming large, I plan to find more blogging challenges to do in the future. It really keeps me in the habit of writing better than my other self-imposed schedules have managed to do.

Yay! *Spirit-fingers*

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Blog Notes: Whoa. 200 posts!

My most recent post was the 200th post on Valprehension, y’all. When I started this thing up, I really never thought I’d make it this far and still be going strong (really strong right now, too – I have so many writing-thoughts brewing these days it’s ridiculous). But right now, it’s time for another cake!

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“Misgendering”: questions from the search terms, vol. 1

WordPress tells me I started writing Valprehension three years(WP lies; it has been two years) ago today! Go me! Posts have admittedly become more sparse over the past few months, though, so in an attempt to get back in the habit of writing more regularly, welcome to my new blogging series!

[I am always interested to see what search terms bring people to my little part of the internet. A lot of the time I am baffled that I could have been high enough in the search results to merit a visit. Other times, I can tell that people wound up in exactly the right place. Every now and then, though, some compelling search terms come up for which I know the searcher did not find what they were looking for, even though I wish they had. Posts in this series respond directly to those search strings, filling in gaps in what people want to know about :)]

Today, the topic will be misgendering. This is a thing people are concerned about (and well they should be), and I am here to help!

“is misgendering a word”?

Yes. It is a word. To misgender a person is to use words (pronouns such as “she” or “he”, or other inherently gendered words like “sister”, “man”, etc.) that don’t match their gender. In other words, it is applying the wrong gender to someone.

“misgendering is it a problem”?

Misgendering is definitely a problem, though how big of a problem it is depends on circumstances. It is common, for instance, for anti-trans bigots people to deliberately misgender people, and insist on referring to them only by their birth-assigned gender and name. This is an incredibly mean, rude, and disrespectful thing to do. It is a form of bullying, in fact.

Accidental misgendering is a different thing. Sometimes a person’s perception of another person’s gender is wrong, and they might use the wrong words or that person. Misgendering of this kind of complicated, in that it is often very painful for the person being misgendered, but at the same time it is hard to know how to avoid this all the time. Sincere apologies and honest efforts not to do it again, starting from the moment you are informed of your mistake, are the best way to make up for accidentally misgendering someone. Also, if you don’t know someone’s gender, instead of just guessing, get in the habit of asking them before using gendered words to refer to them!

“how to avoid misgendering”?

The easiest way to avoid misgendering a person is to ask them what their gender is, instead of trying to guess! Sometimes people still have trouble with using the correct pronouns for people even when they know the person’s gender though. This often happens when our perceptions of that person’s gender are different from how they identify (i.e. a lot of people look at me and think that I am a woman, even though I am not.) Because most of us have spent most of our lives only aware of two genders (male and female, “he” and “she”) and we are accustomed to people “looking like” the gender they are based on whatever our particular culture says those things are supposed to look like, it can sometimes be difficult to overcome the way these things are programmed in our brains, especially during casual conversation.

The best way to do better with this is just to get into the habit of thinking more carefully about the words you use for people all of the time. This is honestly a good habit generally, and you will find you make fewer errors this way. Additionally, when you *do* slip up, you should make a point of correcting yourself as soon as your realize you have done so, and if you realize quickly enough repeating the sentence you just said, but with the correct gender. This will help your brain get used to using the right gender for that person, while also making it clear that you care. An apology is usually also appreciated. So for instance, you might say “Leslie and I were at the movies today and he didn’t enjoy it as much as I did. Sorry, I mean she didn’t enjoy it.”

Really, all it takes is practice. If you put effort into it, you will get there, I promise!

“email apology for misgendering”?

I am hoping the searcher here was looking for advice on how to apologize for misgendering someone. First off, sending an email is a great idea. Sometimes we misgender people by accident, because our brains are so wired to see gender in a particular way, and even if we know better that can be hard to overcome. Or sometimes it happens for other reasons. But sending a note acknowledging your error will generally be very appreciated – it sends the message that you actually realize you made the mistake, and that you know it matters. You might also want to consider letting them know what you plan to do to avoid making the same mistake in the future, even if that simply amounts to trying harder.

Milestones!

100So, the fourth post in my series on the exclusion of trans women from women-only spaces was also the 100th post on Valprehension! I am pretty super proud of me for making it this far.

When I created this blog, I was in a job I hated, where I worked with a lot of awful, racist, classist shitheads and it made me feel slimy and terrible. So creating a space where I could talk about social justice stuff, as well as work through a lot of stuff I hadn’t figured out for myself yet, around past experiences of abuse and my gender identity. But I really had no clue whether I would stick with it.

In fact, I mostly didn’t think I’d still be blogging a year later. But here we are 18 months later and 100 posts in, and I’m not only still writing, I have posts already written and scheduled weeks in advance. I know for a fact that this blog will survive at least one more month before going dormant forever, and at this point I really believe I just might keep it up for years. And that’s pretty cool.

I’m just going to use this post for some general check-ins because I haven’t said much about myself and my life lately.

I’ve actually reached a lot of goals and made a lot of positive changes in my life since that long-ago day when I started Valprehension.

I left that awful job a few months after I started blogging, without notice, without a new job, without any idea what would happen. And I fell into an amazing, nurturing work environment, surprisingly enough, as a retail worker. I was super happy there for about a year. And then just this summer, I landed my first paying position in my chosen field of librarianship. I’m doing inventory this summer at a local public library system, so that’s pretty cool.

I had a graduation a few weeks ago, too, and I am officially a credentialed librarian, and that’s pretty cool.

Over the last year and a half, I’ve also figured out a lot of things about myself with respect to dating and my sexuality, which have helped me feel more stable in my relationships. There will actually be a giant coming-out post about this next week, you guys! I am on the asexual spectrum, y’all, and the implications of this for me are complicated and hard to untangle sometimes, especially(?) as a poly person.

I also fell in love this year. That’s pretty great, too.

Things are good in my life, and while blogging maybe has very little to do with a lot of it, it is sometimes my lifeline in some ways – it is an outlet, and it is a thing that I can do that makes me feel productive, which is so important for me to have in my life. And at this point, this blog is, for me, emblematic of so much growth in myself that I don’t think I will be able to let it go any time soon.

I love being here, and I love the community here, and I’m super glad to have made it this far.

To all my readers: I love you!

To all my readers: I love you!