just keep writing

Words, identity politics, and a case of the blahs

Over the last year and a half or so, I’ve been steadily moving away from describing myself as genderqueer and toward just using non-binary. I deliberately avoided the word ‘genderqueer’ entirely in my coming out message at work, just because ‘non-binary’ seems less intimidating somehow? I’m not even sure.

Genderqueerness definitely feels more inherently political, more inherently “fuck you and your entire gender system” than non-binary does, to me at least. Because queerness itself is kind of inherently political, about rejecting existing systems either by struggling to get by outside them, or by trying to build your own.

And, a few years ago, that was why I preferred to call myself genderqueer. Because I was still in the process of figuring myself out (I mean, to some extent I always will be, in all kinds of ways, but when I was first coming into my non-binary/genderqueer self, there was a lot of things all happening at once in a way that no longer applies. At least for now.) Because that shit was hard, and scary, and it seems pretty clear that leaning into that fear was part of how I coped with it. Because my defensive instincts often take the form of a strong offense, really.

But I haven’t really been feeling that way lately.

I kind of just want to be able to exist as my gender (or lack thereof, or whatever) and have that be ok. Or rather, I suspect that the fact that I have carved out some pretty significnat spaces in my life where I d ofeel that way is very seductive. It’s nice to feel that I can just be me and that the people around me aren’t going to interpret that as a political move. I am so lucky, and so privileged, to be in that position so much of the time now. I want other people to have that, and I know that means I need to keep fighting, and keep making this a political issue so that one day it won’t have to be for anyone, but also, maybe I am just falling into a gentler version of that fight?

I don’t really think it’s because I have de-radicalized in any particular ways, although I think the last year or so has softened my distrust of the average person, and I definitely have more emotional resources for dealing with people who actually mean well, but just don’t quite get it (whether ‘it’ is related to trans/non-binary issues, or whether it is about other social justice values, either specific or general). To some extent this just means that my approach to advocacy has shifted from ‘angry queer’ to ‘nice, friendly, forgiving queer’. Which, I think both approaches are valid and valuable, so maybe I should just stop worrying so much about which one I happen to have the resources for at any given moment?

At the same time though, I am worried that’s a cop oiut. Because I think I have definitely been tired of it all, for quite some time. Even my writing here lately has quite had the direction it used to have (though I don’t know if that’s something that’s coming through, or if it’s just how I’ve been feeling about it. I am pleased with the Shit Cis People Say alphabet either way.)

I hope that being tired is all it is, anyway. My regular seasonal-changeover depression has settled in (though mildly, thankfully), and I haven’t been taking as good care of myself as I should be, so the compounded impact of not quie enough sleep and kinda crappy eating habits definitely aren’t helping.

I am also thinking that I may be a little bored of focusing so stringently on gender issues in my writing here. I used to cast a broader net and talk about other feminist/social justice issues more often, so maybe all I need to do is let myself feel freer to write about whatever I find myself drawn to for awhile! I mean, I already started doing this with last Wednesday’s post about coloring sheets, anyway.

Hopefully those of you who read this blog regularly will find my various thoughts interesting!

Keep Calm and Just Keep Writing

Ever since WordPress added the “Insights” tab to the stats page, I have been fascinated with the pating activity calendar. I find it really satisfying to see my posting schedule line up in a regualar way. I also find it intersting to see the places where it doesn’t; it’s sort of interesting graphical depiction of my life, in some ways. Here’s what my last year looks like as of this writing (August 12):

Screenshot 2016-08-12 15.44.10

For reference, it was last August that my ex-spouse and I actually decided that we would stop living together once the lease on our apartment was up. I was also dealing with another break-up on top of that. I was posting on my regular schedule at the time, for the most part, though. In September I was also mostly unemployed (I had a gig on Sundays only), which made it easier to find time to write. In October though, I went back to my old retail gig, which involved a lot of twelve-hour days, so between that and obviously dealing with a lot of emotional stuff, my posting dropped off dramatically (there’s usually a two- to three-week delay between things happening and my posting schedule showing it because when things are running smoothly, I usually have posts scheduled that far in advance.

Somehow I managed to get my shit together for a bit in the new year, but then by March (the month we actually moved out) I gave myself another break.

Since then, though, I have been this awesome power house. There’s definitely a few things contributing to that.

For one thing, April is when I started my new job, which is great and energizing, and also (significantly) very part-time. So I have lots of both the time and energy required for writing!

Deciding to the the Genderqueer Challenge has also been helpful for keeping me writing – I will not be keeping up with a three-post/week schedule once its done, though; I’ll be back to my regular standard of “Every Wednesday for sure, and Mondays when I have other things to say that don’t feel like they deserve a Wednesday slot/when I’m so far ahead of schedule that I’m comfortable with an increased post frequency.” But the challenge has inspired some of the non-challenge posts I’ve written in the meantime, helping me keep my regular writing flowing.

But even given all that, I am doing remarkably well with producing content lately (I keep thinking I’m going to hit a week where I at least skip the Monday post, but I keep finding things I have to say that I can slot in there), and to be honest, it is partially a coping mechanism. There are some extemely important aspects of my overall life goals and plan that are massively out of control right now, and that’s giving me a lot of anxiety attacks. And it’s also making it more important to me to keep solid control over the things that I can. It helps abate those feelings of powerlessness that I am otherwise dealing with. I can look at this graph whenever I want be like “see? I do have shit together.”

Which is overall yet another way that keeping up with this blog is quasi-therapeutic for me. So for the time being, here’s me:

justkeepwriting