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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Pride in procrastination

It's close to 1am and I haven't even come close to starting the quick review I promised myself I would do before tomorrow's exam. The last final exam of the semester. It's kind of annoying that I missed just enough points in the biostatistics exam to not get the top grade. It annoys me to think that I missed points because I fucked up the multiple guess and what work I did in the part that was deleted because too many people had trouble with the exam became worthless. Such is life for a procrastinator, I suppose.

And yet... well, not quite. I really should get started on work with the group theory textbook, because I meant to show it to the nice maths professor this week and I'm not even half-way done but... I've been doing things for PRIDE instead. I have modified the common misconceptions post and turned into a document. I asked NGBB for feedback and all he said is that it looked good. I asked YAP for feedback and he just sent me numerous heart icons. I asked A for help and she made me double-check the content for political correctness, which made me realise I'm still missing a distinction between gender identity and gender expression. She was also kind enough to point in the direction of Joan W. Scott and Sonya O. Rose for further reading and as references to add to this file. If I want to read more, chances are someone else might, and it only makes sense in a club with so many psychology majors. I asked YAP for more references or the contact info of someone who won't mind me asking for references but I still haven't heard from him. I won't lie: I do wish he'd lead me to them. 

I've also been working on an FAQ for the website that is "updated" and all but empty. I've done my best to include important information and hope YAP will have some sort of input here because he really does know more than me about this.

That's not quite enough, so I'm thinking of t-shirt designs to work on with my sister. I have not yet been given official instructions, which is annoying because their deadline is in two weeks and they really can't push it another week if they actually want the t-shirts to be printed. All the more reason for me to actually look up t-shirt printing services in the area and ask about the way to lower our costs while still getting a rainbow in there somehow. Since the biggest factor appears to be the number of printing colours, it makes sense to me to use CMYK, except something tells me it can't be quite so simple. I'm thinking of CMYK pop art and my sister's gotten her creative juices flowing while she does homework for me asking how small the dots should be if they can't overlap. My homework will be to ask for the resolution of the printers and how sheer they can make the printing. 

You think that's a lot? Let me tell you about last night, then. I spent a good while searching YouTube for sex ed videos intended for LGBT+ freshmen. I learned a few things while I was at it. NGBB and I talked about how we don't want PRIDE to be about sex, but I really think we do need to include it, if only in the form of sex ed so that they don't do anything stupid and they don't ask for sex-themed meetings which, according to NGBB, make general members stop showing up for meetings. The fact that people who want to talk about sex are most vocal doesn't mean that they are any kind of majority. *sigh* I actually thought about it a bit and opted for videos because these people are too lazy to read, and I took the trouble of finding inclusive answers to unasked questions provided in an enthusiastic and sex-positive way. I'm asking EBF to take a look at these over the weekend. 

Of course, I still want to procrastinate and don't feel busy enough so instead of doing maths like I promised myself and instead of doing the bloody review, I find myself planning a talk on being an ally based on this post... which I know I'll have to modify quite a bit before it's useful. I even want to prepare slides! And, it must be added, I have not been given instructions to do anything more than the t-shirt (and I volunteered for that). I've just been picking up on shit that needs to get done and my way of helping is to do it for them. Even though it probably will be taken as a commentary on their poor skills to get shit done... which it sort of is. 

I wish I could talk to SmTn about all this. He'd have fun and smile, I'm sure... but, Alas! it can't be. I considered asking AOB for help but he really doesn't seem to want to talk to me and I will not talk to him only because I want his help. I'd feel awful. I do intend to ask more general members for help. NGBB and I decided at least one of our ideas (the FAQ) should be brought up by a shy and not very outspoken officer who needs a louder voice to be heard. I figure it could help if he had something useful but also important to say and he can say he used the help of others, which could encourage the other officers to delegate. One can only dream...

Magic, no cards

I had a dream that oddly reminded me of this man. The dream was set in a fantasy land of kingdoms, magic and dragons, yet there were cruise ships roaming the seas. My sister and I were staying in a man's house with his family. He was a kind man, and some kind of scientist and/or professor. He and his wife had three children, all boys, of varying ages. The youngest one must have been 4 or so, and never spoke. The middle one had an element of good-hearted naughtiness about him and seemed very clever. He must have been about 12. The oldest one was about my age, an engineer, and his name was Renzo. Except there was an accent somewhere. I remember his name and not the others' now because I'd forgotten his name in the dream and made a point out of remembering it. Funnily enough, I knew his brothers' names but I can't remember those now. The youngest one, I remember was making snow balls of growing sizes. However, it was warm enough out that we (me and others? can't remember them) wondered what the point was if they were going to melt. I have no idea where the snow came from. Like I was saying, I was staying with this family. They had a huge house bordering on mansion or little castle. This house was somewhere near a lake or another body of water and yet I remember there being a town close to it. 

In the dream, I had control over a dragon or a dragon spirit. He was purple. I was fond of him and became very upset at the mention of necessary events happening only if he died. Necessary events like saving a cruise ship full of people from sinking. I remember dungeons and I remember summoning the dragon at some point with some other thing that was gold in colour, so that they spiralled around one another forming a cone. 

As for Renzo? I remember him because he fancied me. It made me uncomfortable... and yet I didn't quite shut him out. I'm not sure why. I suppose I felt bad for him because part of him fancying me was just a deep rooted admiration and I didn't want to break that bubble for him. I also remember a swimming pool and wearing nothing more than a bikini and feeling observed. Not by him, though. There was a small group of grownups having drinks and talking next to the pool, including his mum, and I think it's her I worried about.

The last thing I remember from this dream is candy. Candy was being divided into groups and offered to the father. 

If you've been looking out for dreams about them and are starting to think that because I haven't written down any it must mean I'm actually straight... I have news for you: I have had dreams about them. I have just chosen not to write any of them down both out of hopelessness and the silly belief (based on Cinderella saying it in the Disney film) that if I tell my dreams they won't come true. 

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

A dream about switching houses

I had a dream where my parents dragged me and my sister along to look at apartments. They didn't bring it up at first, but we had been looking at old apartments we'd lived in when I was 5-10 which had been remodelled. People still lived in these remodelled apartments and I remember walking into the room of an ancient old lady with white hair that had lilac walls. I also remember being in what appeared to be a penthouse apartment with two floors, except most of the second floor was part of a factory that dealt with shoelaces. I remember being worried about how exactly my parents would be able to afford this, but it seemed that they were cheaper options than I thought initially and that the old man had somehow come into better times and this was his gift to us. Any similarity to reality is pure coincidence and not intended by the author of the script that dictates what happens in my life.

Monday, 28 April 2014

I've known him for 8 years now and this is when I have this dream.

I had a very odd dream about EBF last night. He was in a relationship, which I assume is everything going according to plan as he explained the last time we talked. We were close like we once used to be, but it was somehow different. It was somehow implied that I fancied him and he would cheat on his girlfriend with me but I wouldn't allow it. It's a weird merger, that of SmTn and EBF. We drove around the city he comes from and neighbouring cities. We entered a doughnut shop and bought food. The cat was in the passenger seat of the car. Aunt MT was in the dream and waited for us to pick her up. At some point, and it's now been forever, EBF and I danced together. I remember a foreign elderly man, not so unlike the German man in The Wind Rises, except I believe he was British. It was an unusual dream because it hinted at feelings that have never been there as if they'd been there all along and it made me uneasy. 

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Spoon --> introduced

I've been hanging out with the pride folk quite a lot lately. All day Thursday for day of silence events (well into 1am, actually), then Friday night (until midnight), then again today when I crashed an officer meeting and ended up being taught how to play magic cards. 

On the brighter side of things, my ideas for a wall of change (instead of a wall of hate) and a movie festival spread over a week (instead of a single movie night) seemed good to the officers. Score one for making a difference, however small. I picked up on an awful lack of organisation when putting together events and just about everything. I picked up on a lot of disagreements that were completely pointless. I picked up on a bit of cattiness that helped no one. After talking to someone who would know better (hint: he didn't) I've been assured that my heart is in the right place and I should continue to offer my help in any way it will be accepted, even if it doesn't necessarily show results. I don't have to get along with everyone and, if I butt in as much as I think will help move things forward, I definitely won't. But I'm okay with it.

I was worried, honestly, when NGBB mentioned on Friday that he will be gone in summer and will not return until after I graduate. He's my first pride buddy. I can't replace him and I haven't found anyone else who shares my passion for The Phantom of the Opera, but I'm quite confident it will all be okay because just about everyone is absolutely lovely. I feel welcome. I can be myself and when I excuse my weirdness I'm told I'm special. I can honest questions. That's a typo, but I suppose I'll make that mean that I can both ask and answer questions honestly. In fact, quite a few people have been exceedingly honest around me and that's without me knowing them all that well to begin with. Because this is the internet, I will not speak of any of the things that have been shared which I think touch on sensitive topics. I will only point out how wonderful it is to find this kind of honesty outside of group therapy. I felt comfortable sharing the fact that my living situation is not ideal, I called things out by name in a matter-of-fact kind of way and the response of people around me was to hug me. And I love them. 

Fun fact, even though they'd been in every other officer meeting, they weren't there today. I became paranoid and wondered if they saw me there and decided not to participate in the meeting. I kept looking around me hoping to see them arrive late. I guess it was strange to hear others talk about them in a negative light  (and rightly so, at that). Bubble --> popped. They're not quite as mature as I thought. I also don't know if it was them who asked someone out in a very strange way but the very mention of it made me feel jealous (Why her and not me? Besides the fact that they don't seem to acknowledge my existence?... Right). I was 100% prepared, even though I knew NGBB would be there, to talk to them and just say it: "I like you." In my head I'd add a bit more to that and it would just be a disclaimer where I said "I like you. I think you already knew that and I'm pretty sure you're not interested. I want to talk to you and I want you to understand this is not me being sleazy about spending time with you." Even though it sort of would have been, if I did it at the end of today's meeting after realising they weren't, in fact, the right person. Yay! I'm getting the pronouns right!


It looks like I'll be attending more pride events, including a social event before next Sunday. Maybe they'll be there. Maybe they won't. Kind of like with NGBB, though not quite, I can sort of be content with the idea of helping out and socialising with all of these lovely people even if I don't get to see them. I look forward to seeing them, don't get me wrong. But it's been so long since Thursday, when they didn't even stay very long or come close to where I was to say hello, that the idea has started to settle in me: it's not going to happen. C'est la vie. Shouganai. [Shit] happens. 

For now, I'm focusing on the positive aspect of feeling like I'm making a difference, feeling loved and appreciated for who I am and feeling happy to love them all. However melodramatic, at times, this environment is still quite healthy and I wish there was a way to introduce more people to it. Goodness knows I've grown used to the hugs, feel more and more like giving them and I've seen a number of people who look like they could really use them. I absolutely must include a word of thanks to my parents, for being so supportive in all this. Should it ever come to that, I would feel comfortable introducing them to a non-cisgender male partner. For the record, I've made up my mind and that's exactly what I'd do: much like with LesMisGuy and D, who I only mentioned in passing and when absolutely necessary, I'd introduce any other partner after keeping it to myself became inconvenient and I'd introduce them without taking a moment to come out as anything. I'd just say "Here is this person I am with. We are happy together." I feel confident it would go swimmingly and I am immensely thankful for this. 

What precious social skills I gain now I hope to retain for later and I'll make sure that graduation doesn't mean the end of my LGBT+ related activities. 

It just occurs to me that the title up there could maybe be introduced as sexual innuendo. I assure you it is not. For those unfamiliar with the idiom, "sticking the spoon in" in Spanish is intended to mean "getting involved" (especially where you're not particularly welcome but you simply must speak your mind). 

Putain de merde, Facebook! Je n'ai pas besoin du "Vous connaissez peut-être..." pour me rappeler de lui! Je lui connais bien! Ce n'est pas le problème. Le problème? C'est qu'ils ne me reconnaisent pas!

Someone remind me to look up investigate gender neutral adjectives and pronouns in Romance languages outside of a Google web search. It proved useless. 

[Two days later edit]
It's exciting to see NGBB's enthusiasm for the LGBT+ causes and his eagerness to just make the world a place with more smiles. We're already working on an FAQ and a common misconceptions file to offer up for use by pride. He's also busy thinking of events pride could host and ways pride could get more involved in the community. I've thought up a way to spend my spare time now that those two first files don't really require much attention until I get some feedback: I'm going to put together a powerpoint presentation and a whole talk about being an ally and doing advocacy the right way. Though it's bound to have a small percentage of effectiveness (measured in terms of how many people are bothered to do a sod after I'm done) I hope to have an impact and do better than the last talk we got about allies. If I keep this up, the officers are going to hate me a little. Can't say I'm too worried.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Advocacy: am I doing it wrong?

Chances to pick their brains gone, I'll have to write this without help and based on nothing other than wild speculation and what conclusions I've managed to reach so far. Take it with a grain of salt. Not a heaping pile of it, though, I don't think I'm being unreasonable.

Onwards, then.

I've noticed that there are significantly fewer people in the pride meetings than there are in the club. Significantly fewer people in the club than there are LGBT+ people on campus, and that is hopefully significantly fewer than LGBT+ friendly people. Why, then, are they so few?

It comes down to a two things, mostly. The first is passion for the cause and everything LGBT+ related, and the second is the need for some sense of belonging somewhere that is not being met otherwise. That's how it comes to be that the transgender and genderqueer students have a different group and they don't join pride. It's not to say there are none of them in pride, but they have a group of their own because they somehow don't feel pride caters to their needs specifically enough and they thus don't quite belong. 

Question: Is this an issue?

I'd say it is, because you don't get a lot of participation anywhere and if you're trying to help raise awareness for a cause or get anything done it's made increasingly hard the fewer people there are and the less enthusiastic they are about helping out. 

Question: How do you solve this issue?

I don't actually know. I started writing this post as a means to try and figure something out, though. 

Why did I join pride in the first place?

To be honest, I'm not too sure. It's not the only cause I believe in (I also believe in protecting animals, for example, and saving the planet, but you won't see me attending meetings or doing anything much about it besides writing about it here and now). It's my pet cause, if you will. And that probably makes it sound bad, but I have a point: I can't think of a reason why I'm passionate about this one and not others. It's not just because I think it's a good cause, it's not just because I think it's a worthy cause, it's not even a cause that is my own. It wasn't when I first joined, at any rate, and the label I use on myself changes nothing. I couldn't tell you why I'm so drawn to the LGBT+ community. I couldn't explain why I have developed an anti-prejudice to deem them better or somehow nicer than the average cisgendered straight person. There are other underdogs I'm not nearly as sympathetic towards. There are other minorities I've never particularly cared for. They are not even particularly fascinating. Not in general, at any rate. They just are to me

Talking about it with NGBB, I found a better explanation: I wanted ally visibility. I'll build on this later.

Why didn't I join earlier? On my first try, I felt weird. Out of place. Like I didn't quite belong. Why did I join later? The promise of a drag show was too tempting, even after I almost talked myself out of attending it. What compelled me to talk to the person in charge and ask to meet with them? I won't lie and say I just wanted another extra-curricular activity for my spare time, or that it was just another excuse to be out of the house. Something in me saw the amateur nature of it, saw the opportunity for more to be done (that's how it started when I first saw the wall of hate) and I guess I took myself up on it. I wanted to make a difference.

I can't say that a difference has been made, but I'd like to think I've made myself at least a little bit useful. Which is not remarkably hard given how disorganised and vastly unprepared people seem in the group. If they are amazed by how prepared I am for different situations, what does that tell you about them if you know me? They are mostly young and a bit too prone to drama. They don't have the best communication skills. They can't quite seem to agree on what to do or how to do it. And I want to be a part of that mess, even though I don't know any better. That's the point of the post, partly: I want to know better. 

Word is going around that new people show up for a single meeting and never bother showing their faces again. Some of the more consistent members only go to make friends and stop attending events when they feel they have them. Among the reasons mentioned to stop going to pride meetings is the drama and chaos. Some thought the meetings were boring because they were educational. I'm not sure they can somehow not be. One of the club's mission statements must be to educate others. I don't think it is possible to be educated and think stupid thoughts of the LGBT+ community. No sexologist worth their salt will say that homosexuality is an aberration, no decent psychiatrist will say transgender people have a disorder, no worthy doctor will say it is wrong to be polyamorous. Education grants you the ability to see these things in shades "different" rather than "better/worse." 

And this is not just for allies in the majorities, it's for everyone because they're a collection of minorities and it has been pointed out before that being gay doesn't make you better equipped to understand the issues of being trans any more than being black equips you to understand the issues of being Indian. There has been some talk, lately, about the right to be annoyed (or angered, even) by questions which are actually considered rude. 

"How do you have sex?" 

"What do your genitals look like?" 

One side argues human decency will keep you from being so nosy. Another offers this is just curiosity and such questions are not necessarily ill-intended. It doesn't change the fact that such questions do, indeed, get asked and there is a choice between answering them or not and I lean towards answering them. For one, the more these questions are answered the less they will be asked, but there's more to it: you can answer them and encourage other, better, questions. As for how to answer them, I can't think of a better way to do it than to answer the questions before they are asked, like good teachers often do. And this is where advocacy comes in. It's not enough to educate the few people who show up for meetings. A point should be made out of reaching as many people as possible, whether by going out to them or making the meetings worthwhile. 

The problem with education is that, no matter how useful it is, it is looked down upon by the general public and considered invariably boring. Who wants to learn things anymore? It would seem that the answer to that is "those who know they need to learn," and that knowledge is driven by emotional needs which brings me back to the issue of passion and passion for knowledge. I have a passion for this. That much is clear. What about the others?

Who are the other people in pride?

For the most part (if not entirely), misfits. Anime geeks, magic cards players, cosplayers, videogame obsessed geeks, meme experts, people who self-harm, people with social anxiety, people who romanticise the life of a librarian, people who have dealt with depression and other mental illnesses, people who learned Latin during high school for fun, people with substance abuse problems, a lot of psychology majors. I'm not naming names and I'm not pointing fingers or judging. I'm just remarking these behaviours are not exactly usual and it makes it quite rare to match minorities like that. These are the minorities in the minorities. They fit together in pride because they most likely don't fit in many other places and that's why it makes sense some of them left pride as soon as they made friends. I know other LGBT+ and friendly people from my classes who are not in pride and I have to imagine it's because they're not quite so ill-adapted to socialising. It's fair enough, and that's maybe why the idea of having a room on campus dedicated solely to LGBT+ people, events and issues is a good idea: to welcome such people. I don't know if pride should try to invite others, though.

See? Now I'm questioning even the original premise. Maybe pride should stay this small. Except it shouldn't because it's not going to make a very big difference if it stays this way. And I finally think I know why I want pride to make a difference. It's a lousy analogy, but it comes down to passion again. Pride now (and always) should make a difference so future members don't have to. Pride needs to not to be so... alone. It's not enough with reaching out to other LGBT+ organisations in the city because chances are they're about as small and have a similarly limited outreach. The true challenge lies in reaching out. Because in an ideal world LGBT+ people shouldn't have to come out or answer uncomfortable questions or be observed, poked and prodded like aliens. They should be considered normal, much like a black person in Norway. It's not polite to stare and wonder about all the ways they are different because they are, too, essentially every bit the same as everyone else: human. What do you care how unusual it is to see a black person in Norway? I assure you it's not as rare as you might think it is right now. They speak Norwegian just like everyone else. They are no better or worse adapted to the cold and they need the same things (food, water, a roof to live under) we all do. It would be impertinent to wonder if their skin colour won't change due to the low sunlight exposure, if they feel differently about the country from others or prefer different foods. Why would you assume any of those things? Well, it's sort of where I'm going with this. If pride had more "normal" people, it would have more "normal" people. Sorry for the tautology. 

The end goal of any LGBT+ cause is to not need the labels or names. We shouldn't be talking about whether or not a marriage is same-sex or not. We should be talking about whether or not it's a happy marriage. We shouldn't care about whether a given person was born with one set of genitals or the other. We should care about whether that person gets proper care when they go to the doctor. We shouldn't worry about who other people want to be intimate with. That's just manners. 

This erasure of labels is not to erase the things themselves but rather the need for the labels. Remember in 100 Years of Solitude when everyone forgot the names for things and they had to be written down on them? What I'm proposing here is that every single person gets only one name written on them: "human." 

The problem with this, of course, is that the label, other than human, some people choose to affix to themselves somehow defines them. You can be a mathematician first and a woman on the side. You can be a father first and a physicist on the side. You can be queer and a geek on the side. 

The LGBT+ community has a problem with visibility. While being visible and loud is a way of saying "we're here and we're staying and you will have to live with it" it's also a way of saying "we're different, but we want to be treated as equals." Visibility is important and visibility awards like Lana Wachowski's are important because it's one way to say that they can be awesome too and it's not in spite of themselves but because they're much like everyone else. When the LGBT+ community is victim to the atrocities it is victim to, visibility is humanising. And yet to stand out is counterproductive because to wish for equality requires this not to matter. Women who want to be treated as equal to men should not expect pointless chivalry. Chivalry is a type of special treatment and when you ask for equality you give up special treatments of any kind. So it is that bold visibility isn't quite fair to ask for, but I am not sure how to reconcile the two other than by pointing out everyone should be entitled to others showing good manners.

Perhaps the difference between women and men is not the most appropriate analogy. Let me switch to the difference between a person with a disability and a person without it. The person with a disability strives to be treated as just a person and asks for reasonable accommodations on behalf of others so that their particular challenges can be overcome in order to give them equal standing among their peers. In polite societies, you should not stare at a person with a disability nor somehow imply they are worth any less than the rest of us. You must, however, acknowledge the fact that they are different and require adaptations to everyday life not everyone considers. That is how it comes to be that they have to request reasonable accommodations. And that's what they are: reasonable

Accommodations for people with disabilities don't take away any of the ease other people have living their lives. Allowing for a clause in whatever book needs it to make same-sex marriages or polyamorous marriages legal and valid in the eyes of the law doesn't take away from the marriages that already exist. When you're told not to stare at someone with a scar, a limp or a missing limb you're just being told to treat them like you would everyone else. That's because they are people first and happen to be different in some ways second. We overlook the differences by making sure they can do everything everyone else around them can, albeit with some modifications. And that's reasonable. 

If you are friends with a person with a disability, will it be assumed that you have one too? No. Then why should anyone label you "gay by association" by wanting to hang out with the LGBT+ crowd? To the true allies (and yes, I'm calling the rest of you cowards) this is not an obstacle. Because to be called a lesbian is not an insult and to be assumed to be asexual is not offensive. If you are LGBT+ friendly, you chould see the logic in this (typo made accidentally on purpose). When mum worried others would think I'm gay I answered with "that's not actually a bad thing." It would be no worse than people assuming I am from Australia. Incorrect, perhaps, but easy enough to clear. Too bad if they like my actual country of citizenship less than Australia, but neither of the two is inherently bad, I'd be ashamed of neither and if you think differently that's your problem, not mine. I didn't choose where to be born, you know. 

Will I go there? YES. No one chooses who they love, how to show their love, or who they feel more comfortable being. You can decide whether or not to act on wanting to cut your hair or ask a person on a date, but you can't decide to feel more masculine or have a crush on someone. Don't you dare, overzealous religious people, tell me that LGBT+ people can always choose the path that will lead to heaven if they just follow arbitrary rules and live unhappily ever after for the benefit of fucking no one. I mean that literally, too. 

I won't stop there, though. Allies can choose whether or not to do a damned thing. Bad allies choose not to for a number of reasons: afraid to be labelled gay by association, afraid of confrontation, afraid to be disliked by people who disagree. You know what? If you do the right thing and other people have a problem with it, guess whose problem it is? Hint: it's theirs. We want to normalise LGBT+ people so they don't need to live by their labels. It should be about telling people you're in love, not coming out. It should be about making sure people who have children are good parents, not making sure they have a binary set "so they don't miss out on anything." We get there by refusing to use words incorrectly and assign derogatory meanings to simple descriptions. We get there by acknowledging that good people are good people regardless of what they look like or who they love or what they do in private. We get there by calling out stupidity and educating it out of existence (or, failing that, into a small, dark corner where it can do no harm). Realising you don't identify with your designated body at birth should not be a traumatic experience where you have to fear for your well being and what others will think or how on Earth you will cover the medical costs to be more like the person you want to be. Realising you like someone (or several ones) shouldn't bring more trouble than acting a bit silly around them should. Realising you don't quite fit any particular group of people is fine: you make a very good you.

Making all of those changes invariably involves politics. I hate it, I really do. But it's a necessary evil and it requires a majority of people to agree with you. You get them to agree with you through education and you get them to learn by making learning fun and easy. A good teacher will make you feel smart while a bad one will make you feel stupid. We don't tell them they're being stupid even though they are. We show them how to be less stupid and give them the benefit of thinking they'll get there. We don't invite them to see sadness and victims but invite them to be a part of the change for the better so there are fewer victims (and hopefully none) in the future. We don't let them distance themselves hoping the problems will go away, we ask them to be friends and be a part of the solutions. I'm joining as a friend, then, and an ally to all such battles. 

This is starting to get speechy. I think I've said all I had to say here. I'll have more to say if I have the courage to speak out in front of the pride officers tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Brutal honesty is hard to market

Would you believe it? I have not posted anything in a very long time and it's not because there's nothing to write. I just haven't finished my post about advocacy, which I've kept open for a week or so, and I've been in one of those moods that makes it impossible to bring myself to type.

I've had quite a few dreams lately. Notably, one about hurt animals, one where I was at the beach, and very realistic ones talking to people form pride (NGBB about last week's shabbat and Tx about housing). 

What about news?

Let's see.. I have bee lazy and not really done as much as I could to find housing options, but I've at least sorted out a loan to have money for summer tuition. I mentioned this in passing and left my parents worried. Mum's still worried about why exactly the As aren't really holding up to their end of the bargains and I dismiss it as plain and simple not being rational but she thinks I might have said or done something to upset them. Maybe something related to not wanting to stay here after I graduate. But I've already talked about that mess. Mum suggested I try to look for jobs here and didn't quite get the message: I don't want to stay here. Not to make them happy. Especially not if it's what it takes to make them happy. They make me fucking miserable and I cry when I think too hard about being here on my own. I cried before jumping on the plane to get here and I cried when aunt MT left. Why would I want to stay? I'm sorry, mum, but the problem  you are trying to solve has no solution outside of me leaving the crazies behind as soon as is humanly possible. 

There's also SmTn's message from Monday around 7 (not that it matters). He's in Turkey on vacation and he couldn't think of a song to send a YouTube link for, but he was wondering how I was doing. I freaked out, not sso understandably. On the one hand, he sent me a message!!! he was thinking of me while he's away on vacation, most likely with his girlfriend! On the other hand, I hadn't quite thought of him quite as much as you'd think. Which is to say that I still his name out loud in my thoughts randomly in between other thoughts, but I tend to think of them more often and sometimes merge the two names. I haven't felt the urge to send him a song or a message. I was just happy to see he hadn't forgotten about me because it reminded me of how much I care about him... followed by how pointless it is to think such things. I answered with a description of the picture I couldn't send: one of the chalk sign we were making on the floor when he messaged me to advertise a pride event. This pride event. Again.

I am planning to go. To help them, to try and catch a glance of someone there, I couldn't tell you which more than the other but you can probably make an educated guess. I was also going to help the transgender student union with an event that night, except it starts before the pride event is over (is it just me or is that just not very clever, considering they didn't have enough people and the people they can go to for help will be busy?). So, no I won't be going. After helping on Monday, though, I was sort of invited to come to the officer meetings. And I'm going. Partly to see someone in their natural environment (yay! it's somehow becoming easier now), partly to try and figure out a way to offer my opinion on what I think I'll witness tomorrow. Well, on that and the general silliness that they are when they're running things. But I've been warned: my words won't really mean much at first and I'll somehow have to earn their trust. Doesn't offer a lot of time, does it?

The opportunity to help an LGBT+ friendly organization had come up but it turns out I'm not legally allowed to do it. I have talked to a professor who might help me find someone to hire me over the summer and he's a very good interviewer: he wants to know about my passions and tells me he sees something in me in class that other students don't have and I'll be damned if I didn't use all those opportunities to fuck things up for myself. What are my passions? First answer, I don't have a fucking clue. Where do I see myself in the future? No clue. What do I want to work on? Whatever gives me money. Better answer about my passions? I have a passion for learning, which is why I wanted to study philosophy but quit and got a degree in literature which is completely useless. Better answer about what I'm interested in? A lie about liking what I've worked on so far, like I somehow chose this to study over other things I'm more passionate about. Why? Because engineers are not good scientists, even though of course they are and where am I going with all this? Well, fuck. He said I was the first person he talked to and that I had something other students didn't, from what he's noticed of me participating in class and e-mailing interesting things I find around the internet. I elaborated: in the last interview I had the interviewer could tell I was smart but couldn't quite figure out what I'm actually good for; what he sees in me must be my initiative (nope) and total nerdiness (#fail). I'm hopeless. I really can't seem to do anything that requires any level of strategy and, unfortunately, getting a job is one such thing. Damn it. 

Oh, and, this conversation about a job? It took place next to Pf2's office and he probably heard the whole thing and I feel bad showing my fucking face around him now because I basically said he didn't need me and wouldn't hire me. And I maybe threw him under a bus mentioning how he pays me for work other than what I'm actually doing. 

If we went on a date and I were asked to describe myself in few words, I'd have to point out I'm brutally honest and completely transparent around people I'm interested in. Which works against me when I'm too aware of it and actually try to hide parts of myself with lies, which fails fantastically because I can't terrible at it. So there you have it, kids. Learn to lie. It's a lesson that will always help you in life. You didn't hear it from me, though.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Over and out

Massive day long break down. Though therapists refuse to let me call it that. They refer to it as "normal/natural human feelings." Right after uncle A was reasonable about letting me make my living situation more comfortable, cousin S was insanely unreasonable. Aunt A crazy levels of unreasonable. And it was suggested I leave. And leave I will. I feel hopeless. And helpless, in the sense where you are so fucking lost you can't even begin to follow instructions on how to move forward when they are given to you. I talked to the group facilitator. She was kind enough to see me and answer my desperate e-mail and help me start making arrangements. I skipped a class today. I walked out of waiting to meet with the nice group theory professor. I told the other group members for a project I couldn't meet them today. I gave up on ever getting anywhere with her them and so she they will remain nameless. I asked if I could pick their brains, they said they were tired and gestured and though they asked if they should hug me goodbye I just waved them, and romance, goodbye. 

I'm moving out. I don't know where, but it's good to know that Tx had a few suggestions and even BCM's husband is helping me find a place. He's the first person I told about moving out. He was worried about me after cousin S called him. I haven't told mum yet. I haven't told cousin S (who asked me to call him when I had news). I'm waiting to run errands tomorrow, figure a few things out and start looking for a summer job a bit more seriously. Turns out my situation warrants help from the victims advocacy office. They're also helping me find a place to stay. I'm hoping what little money I can save is enough to get me settled somewhere and that I can leave the As without too much drama. After crying almost nonstop since yesterday night, I'm quite numb. I feel a bit like Evee in the rain, without the rain or exhilaration. I feel empty. I don't even have a purpose in life other than waiting for aunt MT to get here already. The facilitator said I should consider going to my parents over the summer period, but I don't want to stall the process of getting a damned diploma already. I just want this all to be over with as soon as possible. I just want to get the stupid job and the bloody money and pay the debts and settle somewhere far away where it's nice and cool. 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Curiosity of the passionate philosopher

So, I'm chatting with A and I'm telling her all about tonight's maybe-meeting: a forum about fluidity in gender and sexual orientation. I find it fascinating. I find LGBT culture fascinating. I find cultures other than my own (and by that I mean not just the heteronormativity I was brought up with but cultures from other countries and inherent to different languages) fascinating. I want to learn all the languages. I want to visit all the countries. I want to know all the mythologies. I want to embrace all the peoples of the world. 

For a while there, and by that I mean "until I started talking to A just now and started trying to convince her to look for the local LGBT+ club" I thought I was just fascinated by LGBT+ culture but it makes sense to bring in my love for languages into the mix and make the broader statement. I will start learning some Mandarin sometime in the hopefully-near-future and I think it's exciting. I haven't watched the first of the new set of Bollywood films recommended to me by a classmate but that's exciting too. I had quite an interesting conversation with her about differences between here and there and everywhere and it was a nice conversation because she's well-educated enough to put prejudices aside and make fun of even herself. The same way some people are afraid and willing to discriminate against different, instantly deeming it dangerous, I'm curious to know everything about it.

I think in the end it comes down to just that: curiosity. Granted I'm given a good teacher, I will find interest in biology, philosophy, chemistry, history, psychology, physics, mathematics, anthropology and just about anything (except, perhaps, statistics and economics). I want to know more, I want to learn more. The mindblowing realisations that give people headaches and make them shy away from wanting to hear more, for fear of shattering the foundations of the world as they know it, tickles my brain and makes it eager to push the boundaries of what I know. I hope that never goes away. It's one quality about myself I'm truly proud of. I may not be able to understand or learn everything I would like to, but I at least want to get there. I do look down on those who are content to see the world stay as it is, never questioning its ways or wanting to make it better. Right now, that includes A, who has just admitted to thinking as I think and feeling as I feel but not quite: she doesn't really want to do anything about it. She doesn't really want to learn more, doesn't really want to do more, doesn't really want to get involved. She says she's just not passionate enough.

pas·sion /ˈpaʃ(ə)n/
Strong (and barely controllable) emotion or feeling of enthusiasm about something.

I don't know if I agree with it being uncontrollable or barely controllable, because I frankly don't think that feelings are controllable: people just become good at handling them and we're not all equally good at it. I think it goes without saying that passion has no explanation for it and is more often than not illogical in nature. There's no reason why you're passionate about something. Given the same reasons and even agreeing with them, someone else may not feel passionate about the same thing. I asked EBF and he borrowed the definition given in House of Leaves where the simplest way to put it was "to suffer." I thought for a moment it might have been a bogus definition with a bogus explanation but it turns out to be true: the Latin word pati does mean "to suffer" and it is the root behind both "patience" and "passion." The more you know. Since the word was first used in English in the thirteenth century, I think it is safe to assume that they meant suffering in a very biblical sense (i.e. the Passion of the Christ) where "to be passionate" meant "to be willing to endure hardship out of love."

To be passionately curious, then, would be to become the figure-of-speech cat willing to risk its life to sate its need for knowledge.  To be curious, then, is to be passionate about knowledge and fourteenth century French people seemed to deem that a bad thing, usually. Quite understandably, too, I guess. At least given the context of the Middle Ages. 

Curiosity is not necessarily a bad thing anymore but you do seem to be warned against it. Is it in any way dangerous, then, to be curious? Is it for the bold and brave or the dense and dumb? It may almost sound like a stupid question (and you know what they say about stupid questions: there's no such thing until you ask one) because curiosity is what drives the quest for knowledge and human progress, but it's not encouraged as much as you would think it should be. Also, curiosity is what drives gossip, so draw your own conclusions. I do feel that gossip taints the very idea of curiosity (which I believe to be an innately good thing) and yet I cannot think of a more appropriate word to replace it in such a context so it just adds to the question of how good or bad curiosity really is. Point taken, fourteenth century France.

In the greater scale of things, curiosity is still a good thing. It's what compels us to look outside the bubble we call "the world" to find more things to add to it. 

I'm about to make a very broad generalisation now and I want you to excuse it, but understand where I'm coming from when I make it. I think majorities are most tempted to be ignorant and forget to be curious. Majorities of any kind know all there is to know about most anything because it amounts to knowing all there is to know about themselves, and there's often not all that much to be learned. You will seldom [citation needed] find a minority with the same mindset. To the average person in a majority...

 - Jewish last names just sound like German last names
 - African people cannot possibly be caucasian
 - LGBT+ people are all the same (and not, say, a collection of different minorities)
 - people of "Latino" ethnicity look like Arabs
 - Arabs look like Indians
 - Chinese people look like the Japenese, Korean and Vietnamese
 - different Latinamerican countries are about the same and speak the same language
 - black/"latino" people are all poor

Somewhere along the line, I hope, you realised these generalisations are stupid. All of them. They are made in an attempt to over-simplify a far-too-complicated-for-their-tastes world and it suffices to lump all of the similar categories into a single one: different.

Taking the example of LGBT+ people, which I'll continue to run with for a while because they're the ones who made me realise all this, it's not easy being mistaken for someone you are not. So you end up learning about the distinctions and similarities in a way majorities never bother. How many straight people do you know who can tell the difference between a butch lesbian and a trans man? ...who can tell the difference between a drag queen and a gay man? ...who can tell the difference between bisexual and pansexual? ... who know more than two gender identities? I'm guessing that percentage is lower than its equivalent in the LGBT+ community. And if you think this is a stupid statement, stop to think of how being gay doesn't make you knowledgeable about the troubles associated to being trans or polyamorous, but the average gay person will know much more about them than the average straight one. Just look at the damned acronym: LGBT+ was once just LGBT and that was already a union of different minorities under the same flag. Because they allied, they became more aware of the distinctions between them. The average cisgender straight just knows they are like most everyone else and it suffices them. 

The average white male in the western world will not bother to think of the troubles of a black Muslim woman might face. She's just one of "them," those who are different and overlooked. Women are not just women, they are not-men. Black is not just black, it's not-white. Muslim is not just Muslim, it's not-Christian. It wouldn't make much of a difference if it were a Chinese woman who was also Buddhist. It's all overlooked in favour of simplification. 

I guess what I'm trying to get to is that I feel like a minority, in a way, because I am fascinated by all the ways I'm different from other people and keep wanting to learn more about it. However, it doesn't really take being a minority for this to be true, or we'd be stuck in the eternal damnation that is perpetuated ignorance. I consider them my friends and that's enough reason to care about them.

friend /frend/
A person you know well and enjoy being with, but is usually not in your family.

I would therefore like to encourage curiosity and a passion for knowledge through interest in one's self extended to interest in ohters. I don't mean to say "we are all special" in that awful, trite way so often encouraged among children who will grow up thinking life is unfair when no one gives them special treatment. I mean we are all different or should struggle to be different because, who needs more of what's already there? Nature certainly doesn't (hello, evolution!) and everything that has ever happened has happened through change, which is not possible without some form of conflict, but conflict necessitates two or more different sides. And now I think I've come full circle. 

To embrace being different and to want to learn more about it drives knowledge. Actually wanting to act upon that knowledge is what drives progress. And willingness to act from the side of any minority is exposing oneself to suffering, so it takes passion. But it's hard to be passionate about just anyone, and some form of affection is needed. The lowest level relationship required for that kind of affection is friendship. 

And so I suppose I end with Plato: in an ideal world, we'd all have the heart of a philosopher.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Dreams, films and hope (or lack thereof)

I've been neglecting the dream side of this blog for some time now. There's a few dreams I'd like to catch up on.

Two nights ago, I had a dream where she did accept my friend request and I could see pictures of her next to someone else holding a peacock. I also had a dream where I was fishing with the old man and my sister. At first we just pulled a net out of the water from a boat. Then it turned out we were in as swimming pool, a greenish one with kind of dark water. The net we pulled out of the water didn't have a lot of big fish, so I was to release them back into the pool and fish some more. As I got the fish out I found a couple of big fish, but they were apparently not big enough or not good to eat (the point was to eat them) so I was instead to just release them and keep only the tiny ones as bait. I remember using what few tips I've heard to choose a good spot to go fishing.

Last night I had a few dreams. In one, there was a wedding. My sister and I were helping the bride get ready. After sending her off to the venue, we had to get ready. I was wearing a yellow dress with pearls sown into it. Another dream featured me meeting Sir Elton John. Someone introduced me and he remembered me when we met a second time. Yet another dream included SmTn. I met him, Gb and someone else. SmTn was sitting next to me and we talked about him taking up swimming. He showed me his arms and I squeezed his biceps to test how muscular his arms were. It turned into caressing his arms and us getting a bit lovey dovey, which Gb and the other person were not having. I also remember introducing SmTn as a PhD Dr. Wherever you are, SmTn, I imagine you already have your PhD. Congratulations!

In other news, and also on the oh-shit,-I-fucked-up side of things, it turns out I did call a trans girl a man and I'm so sorry. But I don't dare follow through with my initial plan of going to her and saying as much because reaching out to strangers is working out less stellarly than I should like. Remember that tomboyish girl? She's awesome, but I don't need to tell you that again. I think only the nicest things about her. It should have, but it didn't occur to me to think she was a lesbian. It is not of much relevance, except she was invited to share her coming out story in pride last Thursday and her coming out story had her coming out as more than a lesbian: more importantly to me, she talked about struggling with depression. It means a lot to me, it really does. It's not every day and it's not outside of group that I see people openly say "I struggled with depression and had trouble finding a will to live," the fact that it was her and I think so highly of her sort of added to it because I think she's so strong. I couldn't help myself. I wanted to talk to her after the meeting but she left before it was over and we didn't even get to clap after her story. I e-mailed her. Maybe I shouldn't have expected any response. Maybe I outed her to someone else reading her e-mail. Maybe it was wildly inappropriate to send such an e-mail. I considered sending her a facebook message but maybe that would have crossed some line, and  yet maybe the line was crossed by using the university e-mail address. I don't know. I just know that I wanted to tell her I think very highly of her and I thank her for talking about something that is not often talked about that means a lot to me and I fear it may have somehow been condescending or otherwise wrong and not at all what I intended my message to be. I just... shit. I hate that even what I think are nice thoughts and good intentions come out the wrong way.

Unrelated to all this... I've been watching Bollywood films again. A classmate recommended Shahrukh Khan and four of his films. I have watched three out of those four and I think it is fair to say (now that I've watched more than half the recommended amount) that I don't like him or his films. The ones I saw were Chak de! India, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. The first is about women in sports and is a sad attempt at feminism through so. much. yelling. And sexism. So #fail. The third is supposed to challenge the not-quite-dead-enough notion of arranged marriages. The second is just a lousy soap opera cut down into three hours of video. I think they all featured over-the-top, ridiculous acting. I daresay they shared more than a few of the main actors. There are more films made in India than anywhere else in the world and, do you intend to tell me they are all made by the same people?

That was not my point bringing them up, though. I'm bringing them up because, except for Chak de! India, I cried a lot during the films. It all comes down to the thought of unrequited love and how hard it hits me. Being one to fall a bit too hard for people, to care too much, if only about a few, I too often empathise with loving too much. And by "too much" I mean "more than you are loved." The idea that I'm so mad about her that the thought of her twinkling eyes or the memory of her singing makes my heart warm while she turns down my facebook friend request (meaning she's either avoiding me or is indifferent to my existence) is already a very large contrast. The idea that I should be so fond of her or, more precisely, the idea of who I think she is, drives me crazy. I can't stop my feelings and I can't help liking her as much as I do, yet I have the soundness of mind to realise it's not reasonable to feel this way about someone I haven't had a single conversation with. And it's always like that, I guess. I'll fall head over heels for someone once every couple of years only to get hurt. What worries me is what I think might be the reason why: I put all my bets on love.

I am quite the textbook definition of hopeless romantic. When every other situation in life seems hopeless, I turn to romance and fantasise about the person I've idealised to what I call perfection in some elaborate fantasy available only to me. Reality, however, has a mind of its own and fails to agree with me, so it follows any attempt I have at romance is sort of doomed from the beginning. Isn't that a tale to tell Hollywood about?

Oh, but Hollywood has sort of redeemed itself. Grand Budapest Hotel was actually quite good. I didn't have a mind for the gore, but most everything else was treated very tastefully and even I could appreciate the artistry that went into making every shot beautiful, every dialogue worth quoting. Well done, Ralph Fiennes. Well done. I'd go on from this to say that I like Wes Anderson's work, but I don't remember liking Moonrise Kingdom and I certainly didn't enjoy The Fantastic Mr. Fox last night, so... Well done, Ralph Fiennes.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Note to self: life is not a faery tale

I attended the shabbat last night too. I initially just needed an excuse to be out of the house and didn't mind hanging out with NGBB for a while, but I wanted to see her too and it was on my mind. NGBB and I were quite early. I was extra early and noticed her waiting in her car and busy on her phone, just like me. I got out before her, met NGBB and we had already sat down and started talking when she walked in and hugged us hello. I was happy. I was also happy to have her beside me and with one of her arms wrapped around my waist as I wrapped one of mine around her shoulder during prayer. I could hear her singing the prayer and it was adorable: she has a very sweet voice. 

At the dining table, I sat next to her, as indicated by NGBB. And yet when she called out we were at the cool table, she signalled the person to her right, the person in front of me and not me. I could hear her talk and I eavesdropped quite a bit, which I'm afraid I am not in the least embarrassed of. She's a psychologist, also studying humanities and Italian. She was raised Catholic but grew up next to Jewish neighbours and thus knows their traditions and prayers (not just anyone will learn that much, though) and she even related both to their beginnings (seeing how Christianity evolved from Judaism). 

She's smart. I already knew that. She's adorable. I already knew that. She was avoiding me again. I don't know why I didn't see that would happen. 

After NGBB called it a night and we walked out without saying goodbye to her, I actually circled back in a bit of a crazy fit. I wanted to talk to her and tell her I like her. I wanted to try to ask her out. And it's outrageous because I haven't had a single proper conversation with her ever and all I know about her I've pieced together through careful observation and shameless eavesdropping. However, it sort of makes sense: I want to talk to her and it's hard to talk to her when we're in a social environment because she'll go ahead and talk to everyone but me. 

Nudged on by A, I sent out facebook friend requests to the two officers I've been in contact with (including the club president), to NGBB and to her. I received answers to all but one of the requests within hours. She hasn't accepted it yet. I've tried to rationalise why she wouldn't if she does know me and like me, but it's not looking good. We saw one another last night. And the night before. She has my name and e-mail address. She answered my question about the first shabbat and I actually asked her about the location directly. She's said hello and goodbye to me. If she knows me and facebook friend requests are quite inconsequential (or so I'm assured), why not accept mine? Needless to say, I'm back to the awful feelings of rejection and the black hole of despair capable of negating even the happiness that kept me up and grinning for hours on Thursday night. Worse still, I'm even more motivated to go through with the crazy plan where I come out and say "Hi. I know this is dumber than it is brave, but I like you and I'd like to get to know you better. Would you like to go out with me sometime?" I'm quite sure I know the answer: "Sorry... I'm not interested." And yet I want to push through and do it. *sigh* I don't even know why. If I can go to her and ask her out, I can go to her and talk to her. Or, more accurately, if I can't even talk to her, how the fuck am I going to ask her out? 

A is right. C'est la vie. The fact that I can picture myself with her and imagine it would be wonderful has absolutely no effect on what she thinks of me. I don't deserve her and she doesn't deserve me. The fact that I only fall for someone once every two years, on average, and it doesn't ever work out is nothing other than unfortunate. It is, after all, just a fact. It makes me very sad, though. It feels like a door shutting in front of my face with a sign that reads "Happiness is not here for you either!"

Thursday, 3 April 2014

She hugged me goodbye!


The excitement!!!

So... I attended today's PRIDE meeting. I tried to remember the group's advice when dealing with the anxiety that took over: if I have fun in PRIDE and am just myself I stand a better chance at not being anxious and maybe talking to her. This time I didn't feel she was avoiding my gaze. I didn't see her covering her face or looking away. If anything, I often saw her looking in my general direction, though more likely than not at the person next to me when he was talking. Doesn't matter. I still think I caught a few of her glances my way. 

And maybe it was because I was glancing her way so much it was rather on the verge of staring. But I don't think I caught her shying away uncomfortably. When the meeting was over and the social gathering began, I followed my friend from the shabbat, NGBB, (because he's lovely) and we sat and formed a bit of a circle and more people sat around us, mostly gay men (or rather, more loudly), catty gay men. It got very weird quite fast and even he didn't quite know what to say and how to follow in the conversation. 

I was sorry to see the group of mostly girls next to us, including the girl I talked to the most during the night out bowling, Tx, and her. But Tx eventually sat next to me and we got to talk for a while and I told her about tango and she got excited and now maybe she and Ax will join us (granted I get the green light to ease what I think were doubts on Ax's part, which he's right to have). And she eventually joined our circle too. She just lay over a couple of the guys right in front of me. She laughed heartily at the jokes and her eyes were twinkling and I couldn't stop smiling and sometimes worried that I could be blushing and hoped it could be excused by the laughing even though I wasn't really following any of their conversations or really understanding their jokes. I did, for the first time, find use for the time I spent watching a few too many (not possible) RuPaul's Drag Race episodes and learning the lingo. I also found out I have a long way to go, though. *The more you know* (This one is so appropriate in PRIDE). 

Most excitingly, though, and you can guess this from the title of this post, she hugged me goodbye!

I don't think I'm allowed to feel special, because she was hugging everyone goodbye and she sort of hesitated before it was NGBB's turn and then mine but she hugged me goodbye and said it was nice seeing me and she smelled gorgeous and I have not been able to get this grin off my face ever since. I just hope she's there for tomorrow's meeting and I can maybe try to talk to her a tiny bit and at least guarantee I'll always get a hug because... *shudders* They are awesome! Even if she just sort of wrapped her arm around a side of me from behind and all I could do was lightly touch her arm as she did so... ooohhhh! the warm fuzzy feelings... There's a bit more to it than that, though. I'm also very happy about how nice Tx and Ax were about wanting to take me to the parking lot because it was late and dark and they were worried and I adore them for it. I'm smiling even more because I adore everyone in PRIDE and they're all just so nice and.... her twinkling eyes!

Here. Rest your eyes from that .gif

This is just some empty space now.

And now some music.