Who am I?

The question is, who do we think we are? Do we get to determine how someone else presents, identifies, etc. We are told no, but then society shouts the opposite. YES!!! Everyone is made to live their life the exact way I want them to. They must present the way and do the thing. Please do the thing because if you don’t it makes me uncomfortable. How dare you do the thing that isn’t what I told you to do?

It makes me doubt myself when I am trying to understand who the hell I am supposed to be when you tell me that this is how I look so I must be this. Why would I want to fit your societal norms when I have never felt normal? Why wouldn’t I want to celebrate who I am and being able to become who I am?

Identities change throughout our lives. Why should we stick ourselves in boxes? I enjoy labels in discussion because it allows us to try and present ourselves to others. However, society teaches us some labels are more important than others. Why is this? Do we hate ourselves this much? Are we really that desperate to make everyone the same? If there is someone you see as threatening to your identity then you need to look at yourself, not blame them.

I’m not changing who I am. I have always been me, but I am changing who the world sees.

Convention 2016

I have so many thoughts racing through my head, my feet are swollen from being in a car for so long, my wallet is hurting from the drinks and food I purchased, and I am completely exhausted, but that being said I do not think I have ever been so completely happy. Yes, this will be a long post. No, you are not obligated into reading this if I tagged you, but please feel free to browse as I need to express so many things that I never knew existed until this very weekend.

So many people who know me are surprised when I tell them I joined a sorority. I never thought I would rush Greek because of the horror and shame that typically comes along with it. Even when I saw the student paper my freshman year stating a gay sorority was coming to campus. I eventually forgot about it. Even when I started dating someone from it and we spent hours talking about me joining I rejected the idea. I hated the idea of such an institution, but things slowly evolved. I got invited to events, I went to recruitment and then people started asking what was keeping me from joining. I kept trying to make excuses why I could not join, but problematic people left and people wanted me so I thought I would try it out. It wasn’t easy for the longest time. I have this innate belief that everyone secretly hates me (yes, this is trauma induced and not a personal judgement).

Though there have been serious points where I questioned why I joined the people I have connected with and met have always been there. Until this weekend I did not really know any of you except through Facebook and Alyssa talking about the amazing things you have done (yes, she talks about all of you). I thought it was incredible that the strangers on the internet supported me through hard times and it taught me that this was a core value that we desire. All of a sudden though the people on the screen have become people that I have hugged, people that I have almost cried saying goodbye to. I felt myself grow alongside all the people I met and even though it was so much fun there was a lot of learning. I learned about myself, I learned about identity as a group and an individual, I learned that sometimes I should take more risks when I feel scared and vulnerable, and I learned that people will surprise you.

I do not think I stopped smiling once this weekend. The counter is already on for next year, I am planning in my head trips I want to take to visit people while also anticipating nationals coming for their chapter trip, and the feeling that some of the people we look to for leadership feel it is their job to protect us from the world around us.

Sam asked us today to say why we joined and though I often joke that I was forced I realized that until today I never really knew why. I figured out that I joined because I saw so many people doing things together and I wanted to know their secrets. I wanted to know why my partner was willing to be out late at night just to wake early the next day for some organization. I wanted a community that I did not feel on my campus. I found all of these things within GRL. Joining was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Driving home I had lots of time to think and I couldn’t stop thinking of all the people who knew me and were excited that I was around them, sharing space. I almost cry and the look on some people’s faces as I had to say goodbye. I feel so close to this family and I want to protect them with everything I have. Our world is scary and unsafe and I didn’t want to say goodbye because so much can happen before next year, but that’s also why I say I love you so goddamn much.

The hugs I got from people made me realize that our body language speaks volumes. And even with such tragedy happening within our community, itself, there was so much support. There were so much I wanted to say within the letters we wrote for our jars, but there wasn’t enough time to get to explain all the ways you have changed me in just this weekend alone.  I have some people that I feel very close with now and I hope they agree with me because I want to grow closer. Through the dancing, the laughing, the crying, winning multiple awards, and the tequila I can honestly say this will be a convention I will never forget. It reinforced that I belong her and that people want me here. I have so much respect for everyone I met and cannot wait for the future. Thank you to so many for being here. Thank you for being so caring and understanding. And to some of you thank you, just, for being protective. Also, thanks for the endless hugs. I have been hugged until I almost couldn’t breathe, but I need more because those are the ones that I didn’t want to let go of. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Also, I love you.

 

(Here are a couple personal ones, if you read this far) I only did a few, but omg this is the most wonderful group of human beings I have ever been around.

Savannah- You are so brilliant. You are so kind and honest. It has been great seeing you online and you offline is even better. I really do want to talk outside of official things (I know we kind of do, but still). Just please keep being your phenomenal self.

 

Chase- I am completely and utterly grateful that you have entered my life. I didn’t get to say thank you, but feeling as though someone is there that I can talk about identity and misunderstanding of personal feelings is awesome. It meant a lot that you were so willing to talk about things and were open to more conversations. You are doing a great job. Please keep staying funny.

 

Miranda- There is so much I actually want to say to you, but I probably won’t. You are one of the people that I was just so swept away by. I had so much fun dancing with you and understanding more about you. I hope we can stay close and maybe figure some way to do something together because I need to see more of your face!!!I honestly miss you so much already; it is honestly not even funny. You are one of my favoritest people in the whole world and are just such a special star. You deserve the moon. I hope things go well in all that worry you and please know I am ALWAYS here. If you want you can have my number and text me at 3am. I wish I had gotten to spend more time with you, but once we did spend time I didn’t exactly want it to end. Thank you for the dancing and the laughs. Maybe one day we can hang out more and do something, like get food. Also, you owe me wine (not really, but I still wish I had gone with and made sure you were okay). Please keep  evolving. I believe you can do anything. I look forward to snapping with you and talking with you.  I formed a connection with you and that doesn’t happen very often. Thank you for helping with much and I look forward to exploring more with you.

 

 

Taylor- I don’t know why writing yours is so hard. I feel as though I just want to talk to you and be best friends with you. Sorry if that sounds weird,but it was so great getting to know you. It was hard stopping the hug and I was kinda glad to know I was not the only one who didn’t want to be the first one to break the hug. You are so incredibly wonderful and an even more amazing person in real life. I want to skype with you and talk about obscure things that don’t make much sense. I definitely want to play games with you, please let us plan things. Also, please let us try and plan things for next convention because I want to do so much and where ever we are we need to make it amazingly memorable. You are such a fun, incredible spirit. I love your entire vibe and you cracked me up so much this weekend. I cannot even describe how amazing it was to connect to someone. We didn’t spend a lot of time, but it was the small things. You touched me very deeply and it is so appreciated that this was a thing that happened. we can text or snap or whatever if you want as well. Please keep being you. There is not really a word to describe you, but you. Like I said there is so much more I want to say to you, but I really do not know how to form it into sentences. Thank you for helping make this weekend amazing.

Sunday

Dear day of the sun please listen to the silent apologies that cross the threshold out of my larynx into the wind. Please stay with me as I gather up my windpipe to utter the words in chronological-I mean alphabetical, I mean, shit. What do I mean? I mean do we ever really mean what we say? And for that matter why are we so mean when we do mean it? I was weaning my tears when my fingers stopped, freezing as though winter entered in the middle of July. It’s June and too soon grades will be due and I will be too because I understand this is the last time I will need to say anything about my grades.

So much tragedy and on such a sugary goodness day. Forgive me for I am cynical of the well being and the well wishes that wash the dirt down the well until we forgive and forget, but please never forget. My tongue is swollen and my spit dried up and the words refuse to exit out the way they came. My tears, however, have never let up. Bursting the dams on treasures buried so long ago. I remember why I refuse to come out and play. I remember why I hide while everyone else slays in their lives. I forgot to live mine a long time ago and it is only now that I am getting my words back.

Why do some of us hate so much? Why were we forced out of the womb that once promised to love us no matter what into the world that promises to hate us no matter what. I have seen so much happiness exuding from the inner lips of my comrades and the irony is that they are the ones who have been screaming. The ones who are silent now, picking up their soldiers, laying out their own funeral clothes are the same ones who have had to shine every rainbow after a rainstorm just for you to remember that they never were swept away by the flood. Storms are beautiful, but with the right force they can become a force to be reckoned with.

A.V.

I love you.

Sometimes the mountains are high, so high I can not fathom the energy to climb. When I wake up in the middle of the night to hear the tickling air rushing through your nose. I giggle at times while you are by my side because you are my best friend and I miss you all the time. I see you everyday, but it doesn’t change that from the first moment I saw you I have never been the same. Thank you for every bit of life you have blown back into me, I honestly breathe much easier with you holding my hand.

National coming Out Day

This is it.

I cannot believe I am making this. I admit, I was inspired, but it has been bothering me. I have thought about where to put this and someone else posted so I guess… I hope they don’t get mad at me. If you are reading this, and I hope you are, and you know who you are please don’t hate me. You inspired me.

Anyway, I had to post this. Everyone sees me and I am confident: I am confident in who I am and what I claim to be, but what they do not know is that it is hard. I do not fully understand who I am or what I am doing with this, but I am me.

More and more I have started identifying as queer. This is not me erasing who I am or trying to make other people feel better or even me worrying what the hell other people feel. No, I do it because it saves time. I do it because it is easier for me and therefore less stressful.

Last week in class I was speaking up about something and I claimed queer because half of the class would have been spent in me explaining everything, but then later my professor (a cisgender, white male) told me that for him the word queer was in an equivalent to the N word. I found this 1. a terrible equivalency, and 2. almost personally attacked. That took a huge amount of courage to say that in my class- I had never in that class- and also was the single person who claimed I was in that class. Therefore him saying this almost felt like erasure.

For those of you who know me, or maybe want to know I identify as pansexual and genderqueer. I am more like a panromantic and demisexual, but to say all of this in that short of a span would be too terribly long. I fight with my pronouns because I am not into labels and nothing ever feels right on me. I also have this issue where people use my full name and not only do they not say it right, after being corrected a million and one times, but they also use my full name to introduce me to everyone in their circle. That is a lot of people who know my birth name. My friends who truly know me know my shortened name and respect it. They call me by it and if they hear someone else use it incorrectly they will do what they can to correct others. I have never had this issue before, but lately it has been bothering me. I did not understand what was wrong or why I felt like I couldn’t breathe, but finally I understand I feel as though I am being pushed down and told no.

As many people as there are in the world I still have the feeling I am alone. So many people don’t understand as much as they would like. Today I heard how truly difficult it is to explain a feeling or way of life you have never experienced.

Some people will never know what it is like being told you don’t exist. I act as though this doesn’t bother me and most of the time it doesn’t, but it is in times when I am going out of my way to try and explain something or connect something that it really bugs me that they just don’t.

Also, for those of you not in the community in any way you have no right to tell us what we are allowed to be offended by. You must acknowledge your privilege which I have seen mocked many a time today. Coming out is something that is so hard for us and if you do it in a mocking manner you are telling us that we don’t get a right to celebrate the difficulty that we go through to be able to show who we are to others. when you tell us that we are taking things too seriously and you don’t know what it is like to have to beg yourself to stay alive because maybe someday everything will be alright, that maybe someday you can change so that someone will like you for who you. If you have never had to figure out who the fuck you are or who you like and then had to deal with others telling you you are stupid and that you are wrong for who you are then you need to step down. If you claim ally, but cannot stand for those you stand by to celebrate and demonstrate that they know who they are, in much the same way you were born knowing, then you cannot claim ally. That is a falsehood that needs to be stopped.

Not only for us, but any group. Do not claim to know what “should” make a group upset or angry and then mock and push them off saying they get offended too easily. Do not every tell someone that they use the —-card too often, because they may feel like they have to because they have only ever been attacked for that label. Never underestimate how lucky you are never to have to go through that.

Now if you are in the group of LGBTQIAA* people then always feel free to celebrate. Never be afraid of who you are. Also, never feel you have to be out, always make sure you only do things when you are comfortable/ safe to do so. If you ever need anyone feel free to talk to me. I am always here.

Much love to all,

A.