Binding 101: Safety Before Having A Binder

Chest binding IS possible without a binder.

Warning: Talk of breasts because god knows its sooo wrong to talk about those. Also, talk of self hate.

This is for all you out there who want to hide your all too obvious breasts. I have been there. Whether you are a trans man, or a gender neutral, or agender person and you just don’t want them to show because it’s too much of a reminder of what others see you as. Or maybe the mirror hates you as much as it hates me. Maybe it’s an inner struggle you just don’t want to battle all day everyday. This is for you.

When I was starting high school, I started developing breasts. I had been confused my whole life about my gender, and I had been dressing more neutral without even knowing. Being nonbinary, I don’t feel like a girl. And I have struggled with hating my breasts since I was a child and learned they were a huge part of the reason people saw others as a girl. The moment they started to truly form, my confusion and my self hatred grew to a point of almost having a breakdown. I looked for any way I could to hide my breasts.

And that’s when I heard of binding.

However, because I hadn’t come out, and I didn’t even know what to come out as, I didn’t know how to ask for a binder.

See, binding is in short, hiding your breasts.

When I learned of binding, a scene from a movie I had seen as a kid kept playing in my head. Now And Then, the movie I had seen, never really made a huge impression on me. Thinking back, the only scene I recall is the scene where a girl with long black hair was wrapping her chest with duct tape. At the time I didn’t know what she was doing. But even when I was younger I longed to do something like that. It just seemed fitting. I remember relating to the character and wanting to be seen as “one of the guys”, yet not wanting to be “one of the guys” at the same time.

So when my breasts started developing and I learned what binding was, this scene reentered my mind, and I was tempted to do the same. Dear god I am happy that I didn’t.

Later in life I learned that duct tape can actually damage your breasts tissue. It doesn’t move with your body the way that a binder should.

But, I know there are a lot of you out there who don’t know how to bind safely without having to buy a binder because I know a lot you haven’t come out yet. So I want to give you some tips on things you can do that may help you hide a little without hurting your body as well as some safety tips. These are all my personal opinions and what I have had some success with. There will be links to more sources that have great info on binding below. It is always better to buy a binder if you have the resources to.

DOS:

  1. Sports Bras. Here’s the thing, sports bras are designed to keep your breasts from bouncing as much when you run. Therefore they keep them more in place rather than normal bras that push them up more. They also move with your body, unlike duct tape.
  2. Camis. I know it seems basic, but get a cami that fits a bit loose. The extra layer of clothes can help your chest blend with your lower stomach.
  3. Loose fitting t-shirts. Basic again I know. Here is the thing, loose fitting t-shirts lay in a way that blends your body together. I usually get shirts that are a size to two sizes bigger, depending on how it fits. I usually go for longer ones because I can bunch them up over your belt and that adds a little fluff to the lower area and that helps camouflage the top.
  4. Jackets. During the fall and winter, try to stick to the looser fitting jackets and hoodies. Form fitting ones will show your breasts more. However, if you get some that are a bit form fitting, don’t zip them, that they they stay open and loose! Being open, they can also help camouflage your breasts.
  5. Drink lots of water. Wearing extra layers can make you over heat easily so be sure to drink plenty. Especially during the spring and summer.
  6. Always be safe.

DON’TS:

  1. Bind for longer than 8-12 hours. Meaning if you go to school, stop binding when you get home. It can put stress on your breasts to bind too long.
  2. Use ace bandages, that’s not what they were made for and don’t move with the body. They can also stick to the body with sweating.
  3. Use duct tape. They pull and stick to your body. It is also very uncomfortable and does damage to your body. A friend of mine used duct tape and pulled a layer of skin off after getting hot and it sticking. So not worth it.
  4. Buy shirts or bras too small. That puts too much pressure on your breasts they are a sensitive area and you don’t want to hurt them. It will also be uncomfortable all day.

Some resources you may find helpful:

TransGuys
Point5cc

If you are interested in buying a binder and you are capable of doing so, I suggest GC2b. The prices are reasonable, they are actually comfortable, and I was super impressed with my results!

A version of this was previously seen on Courtney’s Voice.

Why I Love Social Media As Someone with Social Anxiety

 

 

Truth is, if you ever meet me in person, I am probably not what you expect. People hear social anxiety and they imagine someone who is reserved. But I am actually the opposite. I tend to say the first thing that comes to mind, simply because I am nervous and feel the need to fill any awkward silence so that people don’t start judging every little thing about me. I guess anxiety manifests it self in different ways for everyone.

When I was in middle school there was a new wave of social interactions that had me rather frightened. With new technology and the dawn of the internet, social media became the future. And all the kids at school were constantly talking about the various sites they were on, which mostly consisted of Myspace.

See, I was right after the AIM or AOL trend but right before Facebook took off. My first years of social media were spent on Myspace, where I meticulously picked out who made it to my top friends, followed tons of people (with few following me back), and ranted about my crushes of the time never seeming to notice me. I spent hours trying to make my profile interesting, and trying to make friends. It was exhausting.

These are my first memories of social media. And for a teen who craved being liked by people, because face it we all want to be liked, this was a stressful place where people could treat me the same way they did in school. I was invisible walking the halls, and invisible scrolling through the internet.

In the beginning, I hated social media. It was just another way for kids in school to bully me.

So what has made me have such a dramatic change of heart about this online world?

I guess when I left public high school to start homeschooling, losing touch with the friends I had and the people I cared about became a reality I never expected. We always say we are going to be friends even after school, but after leaving school, I learned it wasn’t as easy as it seemed.

And being someone with social anxiety, it can be hard for me to reach out to people. I have a hard time keeping in  touch with people when my depression gets the best of me. Over time I start losing touch with everyone, but my feelings for the people doesn’t disappear. I still care so much for so many people, but I hardly talk to them. At the same time, I want to know they are ok, and know of their struggles.

So I am going to take a minute to break down each social media site I love, and why as well as what I hate. 

Facebook is a world of it’s own, and it is a dangerous one. People connect, people stalk, and people can be creepy. We all have our feelings about social media, and especially Facebook. There are so many things I hate about Facebook. I hate the ability to a ton of people in posts, I hate that most of my feed is always about companies trying to sell me things, I hate people finding me using my name. I DON’T THINK KIDS SHOULD BE ON FACEBOOK. It can be a weapon, and there are so many ways to hide posts from parents that they don’t even know of.

But I love it. I spend hours a day scrolling and watching. Because suddenly that kid with social anxiety who has a hard time reaching out to their friends, gets to see what their friends are up to.

I am a nostalgic person. And when memories surface of people who have meant so much to me at some point, I start to wonder what they are up to. A lot of times, I take to my phone and I search them. If I am not already friends with them, I add them. And I spend a few minutes seeing where they are at in their life.

It is calming. I don’t have to get anxious about trying to start a conversation, or fill silence. But I get to know that these people are ok, and happy. And when they need small reminders that people care, I can drop a quick comment.

Twitter is my world away from the world.  I get to say things I would never be able to say in real life, out of fear of the people in my real life community, in 140 characters or less.

Instagram, however, is my jam. Call me conceited if you want but I love to take selfies. They are small reminders of how far I have come. As someone who used to struggle to see themselves as being worth anything more than the space they take up, I love being able to share photos and people like them and comment.

My self worth isn’t based on the number of likes I get. But at the same time, it can be a nice pick me up on a rainy day.

The DM feature is scary to me, because it stays filled with pervs and so many young people are on instagram. But at the same time, it’s nice to connect with people of similar interests. I don’t like being able to share location on any social media platform, because that screams “Here I am” to anyone who may want to hurt me. And I don’t recommend it to children.

But it’s nice to be able to control who sees my posts, to some degree, by having a private profile.

I find social media to be a tool for growing and connecting. 

Many of you probably already see it this way. But as someone with social anxiety, I often wonder what my life would be like if I didn’t have a screen as a mediator of sorts.

How lonely would I be if I didn’t have the chat heads to look forward to?

Would I build up the confidence to meet new people without my vices getting in the way?

Or is it the perfect tool to get to know someone, build a relationship, and be able to avoid some of those anxieties that freeze me up?

 

Sexuality Can Be Fluid

Because attraction isn’t something we truly control.

 

We, as in all the out queers in the world, have heard it. “Oh there was this girl in my college dorms that I seriously thought about trying stuff with, but don’t get me wrong I’m not a lesbian or bi,” or “There was one time when I was really drunk that I made out with a dude, but it was just the alcohol, I’m not gay.”

I hear it all the time. So often so that I have a pretty generic response for when they devalue my sexuality and turn it into nothing more than a drunken night of experimenting, or something that girls do in college because why have a boyfriend when you can just have fun with a girlfriend right? That’s what it feels like they are doing when I come out to them and they respond with stories of experimenting when they were also experimenting with drugs, and they make sure to tell me drugs were involved because you obviously need to be hich to have sex with someone of the same sex *eye roll*.

“Considering how fluid sexuality can be, I am not surprised you have found yourself attracted to someone of the same sex at some point in your life. It’s like telling someone to spend their whole life in this house with generic curtains and furniture, and while they may be happy, they will always wonder what the house next door is like when you see them living a less generic life. In short, being curious is really normal and to be expected to some degree. And your night of experimenting somewhat compares to me experimenting with blonde hair. It was fun at first but just wasn’t who I am or really fit me. But, this purple hair, that is much more fitting. I will continue to change my hair color and find the one that fits me. However, at least now I know that blonde isn’t me.” 

If they aren’t speechless, they usually begin saying that their night of experimenting meant more than changing my hair color because they found out for sure they were straight. Or they begin fighting saying that you are born with your sexuality therefore it can’t be fluid.

Here’s the thing, we truly don’t control who we are attracted to. That’s the truth and I agree there.

But, if we don’t control who we are attracted to, therefore we do not control what our sexuality may be, but we find ourselves rarely attracted to people of a gender that we usually don’t, we can say that sexuality is fluid. Because we are attracted to people we usually aren’t, therefore briefly your sexuality has changed.

I know, it can be a hard concept to accept.

Usually, I think of sexual identity as more of a “this is what I am usually attracted to” rather than a “I am never ever attracted to _______.” It’s definition is more of a guidelines than a permanent thing. Someone who is gay may be attracted more to people of the same sex, and may be more attracted to people of the same sex in a romantic way, but every now and then come across someone of the opposite sex they are attracted to.

That’s not anything like noticing someone is aesthetically pleasing. Majorly different. I know that cats are cute, but that doesn’t mean I want to have sex with them. It is common to see people are cute.

But the moment it’s a little more than thinking someone is cute, and you are getting more turned on (shocker I am talking about sexual attraction and use terms like turned on) by the person, it doesn’t necessarily make you gay or bi. Not that you shouldn’t pursue a relationship if you want to.

It’s more about the fact that no one can define your sexuality for you.

Personally, I identify as panromantic because I find myself often attracted to people of multiple genders. But, I have a friend whom is a girl and dated a girl for a year. She identifies as straight because she has never been attracted to any other girls in her life, other than her ex girlfriend.

Do I, as a queer person, try to make her identity as queer because of her past relationship with a girl? No. Because I understand that attraction is simply attraction and the title of how you define who you are attracted to does not actually determine your attraction.

Sexuality is fluid because attraction is.

However, that doesn’t mean that people’s identities are not valid. They are. It is important to that person and how they want to label themselves. It just means that sexuality isn’t a black and white topic, there are a lot of gray areas. And those shades of gray vary.

 

 

Queerly Beloved We Are Gathered Here Today…

A month ago today, May 13, I got married to my best friend, my soul mate. It was an amazing day, full of amazing memories. But I shocked a lot of people, I made a lot of people question if they really knew me. All because of a complicated decision I made that I want to talk to you all about.

But first, let me explain my absence really quick. Preparing for the wedding was taking over my life and I really didn’t have time to write. While I love writing, it is extremely draining. It takes a lot of energy to pour your emotions out into the world knowing that you most likely will be crapped on by half the world. After the wedding, I have simply needed a break from everything.

So back to this decision I made that made a lot of people question if my existence is fake.


Drum roll please!

I wore a dress instead of a tux to my wedding. While I looked and felt fabulous, I knew I would get a lot of questions, and I did. So I want to take some time to address those questions as well as share with you all some of my favorite moments from the wedding, mostly because I share everything with this world I have built on this little blog of mine.

Are you still trans or nonbinary?

The short answer is, yes. Wearing a dress in no way influences my identity. Clothes are an amazing way to express yourself. For years however, I found them oppressing. Dress this way because you are a “girl”, don’t wear that color because you are a “girl”. For the past year, I have been trying to fight that feeling by wearing what ever the fuck I want to wear.

My identity as a transgender person has nothing to do with what I wear. I’m nonbinary, meaning I don’t stick to the binary rules of gender. Which shall be a talk for another day. But that in itself means I also don’t follow the rules of boys. Just because I feel like a guy most of the time, doesn’t mean that I can’t wear pink, dresses, or wear makeup. For the millionth time, WEAR WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU WANT.

But why didn’t you wear a tux?


It’s complicated. I actually wanted to originally wanted to wear a tux. But I ran into a lot of issues with the tux world. For one, I am small and I don’t fit clothes the way I feel like I should a lot of times. Things are odd. When I shop for clothes inthe mens section, they often times fit weird and I have to shop in the little kids section.

On top of that, I wanted a tailored suit that wouldn’t be show casing my breasts. Suits that put emphasizes on my breasts always make me uncomfortable. However, I was having a hard time finding somewhere to get a suit that would look good on my body without emphasizing my breasts. Honestly, I think the only way I would have really felt good in would have been a suit created by a trans person, so that I wouldn’t feel so alone.

At the end of the day, I wanted to feel comfortable and special on my big day. And I didn’t feel like the options I had with tuxes weren’t going to let me feel that way. Instead I was going to feel like a little kid in their father’s clothes.

Are you still bisexual?

I know, this isn’t related to the fact I wore a dress, but apparently people are wondering. Marrying a seemingly male person in no way invalidates my sexuality. It’s that simple. Being attracted to people of different genders doesn’t change because you found someone you love and you want to spend your life with them. It literally needs no more explanation.

What about your breasts?

Yes, my dress made my breasts be noticeable. But honestly, I was ok with it. When I tried on dresses, one issue I continued to have was that my breasts looked big. Ughhhh. But then, I found my dress. The details drew your eyes away from my breasts and suddenly, I felt gorgeous.

I haven’t been able to bind for awhile. My health has been preventing it. And so I have been working on becoming comfortable with my boobs. It’s scary, it’s an adventure, it’s a journey, and it’s not even close to being finished.

 

I’m still queer, and I’m still here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is to happily ever after, and not letting people tell me how I am supposed to express myself because of my queer identity. I love you Dusty. Always and forever.

Breakdowns Happen

“You know that saying, “Shit happens,” well my version is “Breakdowns happen.”‘

The world was fading away around me, and I couldn’t do anything about it. The voices were screaming but I couldn’t make out what they were saying, because they were all talking at once. I was overwhelmed, I was tired, and the only thing my eyes seemed capable of doing was crying.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t shut out the world around me. But at the same time, I really didn’t know what was going on in the world.

One minute, I was in the hall. Sitting there in my oversized coat, staring blankly at who I think was my father fixing dinner. Honestly, I  am not sure who it was, or what they were doing. I was just watching the movement through the small gap that kept my hood from completely covering me. There really weren’t many thoughts going on in my head, which is strange because I am nearly always playing with 5-8 thought trains at once. No, there were only voices. Voices that really didn’t belong to me.

The next thing I know, I am laying on the bed.

Still, no real thoughts. Only overwhelming feelings as I try to slow down the voices. How did I make it to the bed? My fiancé picked me up and carried me to the bed. They removed my coat, and began covering me in blankets.

Why? Because I once wanted a weighted blanket to help with my anxiety. The weight is supposed to help you feel secure. And in a way, it helped. If only though, it could have drowned out the voices.

My eyes continued to do that weird thing where they leaked water for a reason that was completely out of my control, because I didn’t know why they were leaking. The giant teddy bear on my back seemed to be talking to me. And that, while normally would be scary, was rather comforting. Yet my eyes continued to leak.

How did my day come to this? I really don’t know. It was a normal day. Maybe it was where I was so overwhelmed with wedding planning, or feeling so down on myself because my lack of ability to write, or how I was feeling so tired of everything. Or maybe, and the most likely of reasons, it was because of a little bit of everything mixed with the voices, was simply too much for me. I hit a breaking point.

Though I had been hungry an hour ago, I suddenly wasn’t hungry anymore. All I wanted to do was lay there.

You know that saying, “Shit happens,” well my version is “Break downs happen.” Because they do. That night, I was on the verge of requesting my family take me to a hospital. The voices were too loud, I was too broken, and I would have done anything to make them stop.

Lucky for me, I have a great support system. My fiancé, who never left my side that night, and even let my puppy in so I could cuddle her. My dad, who listened to me rant on and on about everything once I was finally able to slightly the drown the voices out enough to be able to think.

I won’t pretend to know what to do on bad days, because honestly, I take it day by day. Some days are worse than others, sometimes I can control the voices, sometimes I can’t. There are times that I am not nearly as paranoid as I am at other times. Days when I feel like a failure because I haven’t wrote something in awhile, and days when my mind is moving so fast that I have to do something creative to occupy my mind and my body.

But, breakdowns happen. And when they do, you get back up, you climb that self care ladder, and you try to be better. Try to be more prepared, try to be understanding of what might have caused it, and realize that you aren’t a failure just because you had a breakdown.

I take life day by day.

And right now, my road to recovery includes finding answers, getting better diagnoses, and getting help. I am not ashamed of that. Or of my breakdowns. I will just keep taking it day by day. And when I need to, hour by hour.

Be patient with me while I crawl back up, while I be patient with myself.

I Am Not A Girl – Oct. 13, 2015

***In October of 2015, I wrote this piece that a friend of mine then shared on Psychology Today. Writing this was a big part of my road to coming out, my self discovery, and figuring out my gender. I wanted to share this again, to bring it home to Living Queer, because it belongs here too with my story. It helps tell my story. And I am so thankful to Sarah Fader for sharing it on Psychology Today and letting my voice be heard, helping me come out when I felt scared of the world around me.***

I Am NOT A Girl

2015

You look at me and see “girl.” Yet, when I look in the mirror, I see no gender. I only see me.

We, as a society, have gotten into this nasty habit of labeling people’s gender and from there, we pre-judge them and hold them to certain standards based on what gender we perceive them to be. In reality, that label might not fit them.

Is it so difficult to look at someone and simply see them as human?

When you look at me, you see a girl. Before ever saying one word to me, before ever getting to know me as a human being, you begin to hold me to artificial societally imposed beauty standards that I could never (and would never want) to reach. In your mind you already have judged the way I should act, how I should talk, and with whom I should talk to. Because I am a female, you have an idea of how I should dress and the way that I should walk down the street. You think you know what books I should read, what my interests should be, and the music I should listen to. You think you know me.

Yet, you don’t know me at all.

Society imposes the same gender restrictions on men. We look at a man and already have a preconceived notion of how he should act; he should be masculine and be able to carry something heavy so he can display his strength outwardly. We too, hold men to these impossible beauty standards; they must have a six pack, their cheek line needs to be to die for. Men’s hair should be clean cut, or perhaps resemble one of those models with a man bun. Unless the aforementioned man is a lumberjack, he should be clean-shaven at all times. A man’s voice should be deep and his interests should be automotive in nature. Men should talk about manly things. Oh it’s cold outside? Well they should give their jacket to a girl, because that’s what society expects men to do.

I am not a man. I am also not a girl.

What happens when you actually speak to me?  When you get to know me, when you see that I do not act, dress, or hold myself to these unattainable beauty standards? What will you say when you realize I am not interested in the things you believe I should be? Or that I have a passion for cars?

Let me answer that for you. You say I am less of a woman or that I need to learn how to act like a woman. This is something I hear almost everyday. I see those looks that you give me and I hear you tell your kids to stay away from me.

The things we say to those boys with a soft touch, the ones who are more in touch with their feminine side, we would be better cutting their balls off completely. What society tells these young men is enough to castrate them. “Learn how to be a man,” and “You’ll never be a man, you are just a boy.” We teach them, drill it into their heads, that they are less of a man because they are in touch with their feminine side. They are inadequate, no good, and will never amount to anything because they aren’t a “real man.”

What kind of world do we live in where we believe it to be ok to say these things to young boys?

2017

Gender is a social construct. “If you are born with these parts you must act this way.” Where is the handbook for being a girl? I think I lost my copy when I was born.

The moment anyone steps outside of what society deems acceptable for men and women, they are thought to be less of a man or women.

God forbid you actually identify as something other than a man or women, as I do, because then you hear things like, “You must not have been able to make it as a woman,” or “Oh honey, you don’t need to make up a gender in order to feel better about yourself. Just lose the men’s clothes and try wearing a little more makeup.” Let’s not forget, “You must have been raised by your father,” and finally “Tomboys are only cute when they are little kids.”

So tell me this, why is it that we constantly pre-judge someone’s gender and hold them to impossible standards? Who decided how men and women should act? Has there ever been someone who met every single one of the standards we hold each other to?

These standards are outrageous and we as a society have grown out of them.  We need to start respecting each other, and our individuality, without holding each other to impossible standards that no human being can meet.

I hope there will be a point in time when we realize that everyone can be masculine and feminine all at once.

I hope one day, I will get to live in a world where I am not told to get out of the bathroom because my hair is short, I’m wearing an oversized flannel shirt, and people think the part between my legs belongs in the men’s’ bathroom.

One day, I hope to live in a world where people are praised for being individuals, and not held to gender standards they can never reach.

You look at me, and you see a girl. But I look in the mirror and see no gender. I see my reflection smiling back at me, because I don’t hold myself to society’s ridiculous standards.

What My Anxiety Looks Like: Poem

CW: A poem about abuse. Tread with caution

You grab my hand, wanting me to trust you, to take this leap with you.
I’m shaking, the voices screaming from every corner of the room, “He’s a guy, he will lay his hands you the way all the others have.”
Tears start to well up in my eyes, I’m doing everything to fight it, everything to fight for you.
Closer now you come, realizing there is more here at play than someone’s busted pride. No this about a once busted lip.
“I’ll be there for you,” whispers of hope and solace I once hoped I could find in you, but the fear is too much for me to take and I’m slipping away.
A cold hand falls upon my shoulder, pulling me away, and baby I am fighting so hard to stay.
“He’s a guy, he will hurt you just the same,” they scream at me.
The gentle stroke of your hand on my cheek makes me want to believe that gentle hand could never come at me when I speak my mind about something.
Everything in me wants to believe,
Everything in me but my anxiety.
I have been down this road too many times and honey every bone in my body wants to go down this road with you, maybe discover a path new to me, and to you.
“But he’s a guy and all they bring is pain.”

… He’s a guy, and all they bring is pain..
… You’ll lay your hands on me the way all the others have…
… You’re a guy.. You’ll hurt me all the same…

… Please hold me and show me it’s not that way…

 

*Originally posted on Courtney’s Voice, my old blog, on 1/26/2016. I missed seeing it online and thought I would share it here as well. I will be sharing poems here more often.*

A Messy Ride To Sobriety From The Eyes Of The Driver

Content Note/ Trigger Warning: Talk of addiction, self-harm, a messy ride to sobriety, and relapses.

I didn’t know what I was getting into when I stepped behind the wheel. A past filled with pain, starring me down from the rear-view mirror. But I was staring down the future in the windshield and I was hoping to god that it was everything that I ever imagined it would; sobriety that is.

Because that was what this journey was about. Getting sober from an addiction that I had used for so long to cope with life.

The road ahead of me was going to be long, and I knew that. What I was putting behind me though, that was worth however long it took to go forward. Escaping the past was worth whatever it took.

What even is sobriety though?

When I packed my bags, I thought I was packing for a trip to the beach or a walk in the park. To put it simply, I thought it was going to be easy. Don’t get me wrong, I had been on this journey before, but I always turned around and headed home. This time however, it would be a walk in the park because this time I had a passenger sitting beside me.

Or at least that’s what I thought.

I have always been one of those who would religiously say that a relationship will not fix your mental illness. Day after day I have seen teenagers believing this craziness that the person they are dating is suddenly going to make everything about their mental illness disappear. And for years I have fought that. I have advocated for loving yourself, finding help in a professional way, and self-care.

But then it happened, I fell in love. And it was/is so different from any love I had experienced before.

While I knew it wouldn’t fix my mental illnesses, for some reason I was convinced that the journey would be sunshine and rainbows having them beside me. I always believed that a support system is key. Every time I have ever had a major breakdown that has always led to an attempt at my life, my support system kept me going when I didn’t know where to go and wanted to give up.

Now here I am, driving down the curvy road and realizing that this journey is so much messier than I thought it would be.

We took a trip to California over the summer. This journey to sobriety reminds me a lot of driving cross country. Sleeping in the car, falling asleep in uncomfortable positions, fighting because you’ve been in a car for hours and you are cranky, and eating things you don’t want to for the simple fact that you need to. Whereas with my journey to sobriety it has been; sleeping in the car on short rides because you are exhausted, falling sleep in the bathtub because you are crying and trying not to completely break down and relapse, and eating things when you feel sick because you are so upset and don’t know how to cope, but you need to eat.

This trip to sobriety has been a lot like that road trip as well. There are up hill climbs that literally make me feel sick to my stomach. Curvy roads that make you think you are about to fall off the earth. Having to turn around and go back a way because you forgot something.

For the entirety of the trip, I thought sobriety was the end destination. But I am starting to think I was wrong.

I think what sobriety for me looks like, is a journey. And a messy one. It is a broken road needing to be fixed and having to find ways around the broken spots. Sometimes, it is going back because breakdowns are inevitable. Taking a break because you need to work on self-care because other parts of you are suffering.

I’ve had breakdowns, I won’t deny it.

Relapses happen.

Because fuck what people say, it’s not as simple as stopping. There is so much more to it than simply quitting. The addiction for me, self-harm. So, what do relapses look like? Starting a fight with my fiancé simply to feel the pain because I think I have fucked up and deserve the punishment. Pulling my hair out because it gives me some form of relief that, shocker, only makes me more anxious in the end. Digging my fingernails into my skin so that I can feel a little pain in a physical way to help mute the emotional pain.

Taking long baths because crying in a bath tub seems better than crying in bed and messing up the sheets.

It’s messy, and hard work. I have been struggling to keep my head above water.

What people never understand about my addiction is that, I don’t actually like the pain.

It’s not about liking pain for me, it’s about feeling like I deserve it. I deserve the pain because I am a failure, everyone hates me, and it’s because I am horrible person. As unhealthy of a coping mechanism as it is, it’s the only one I have ever really had. Every time I have ever tried to find a new way to cope with things, it fails.

And I always fall back to my old ways.

Maybe that’s why I have had such a messy ride. I swear at times it feels like people are throwing slushies at my windshield, and I am having a hard time driving when I can’t see where I am going. At times I feel like I am driving through a tornado. And let me mention, I don’t even have a drivers license. Let that sink in. Because it perfectly describes this journey. I am sitting behind the wheel with very little experience, people are throwing slushies at me while I try to drive away from a tornado, and I can’t see through the slushies and tears.

Sobriety is where I thought I was heading, but it’s not a place at all I think.

I think it’s a state of mind. It’s excepting it will be a hard road, and trying with everything in you to be “sober”. But also, it’s accepting that there may be relapses, it won’t be easy, and you are going to struggle.

My ride has been filled with bumps that have shaken up everything in my life. Its been messy, and hard, and I have cried more than I think I have ever cried before. Each day seems a little bit harder. At the same time, each day that I can honestly say that I haven’t done something to intentionally hurt myself, I feel accomplished in a way that’s new to me.

 

Teen Pregnancy for the Millionth Time

I am going to lose so many followers and readers for this, and I honestly can’t wait.

I have talked so many times about teen pregnancy in the past that it is probably a topic I have just about worn out. But in a time when men politicians are trying to decide what people with vaginas should be able to do with their bodies, I figure it’s time I jump back to this topic and wear it out some more.

Ironically, a lot of my early followers actually followed me because of a video I posted on one of my earlier channels about teen pregnancy and how ignorant (to put it more bluntly) I find people.

So let’s jump right in shall we.

The first time I talked about this, I put a disclaimer on it saying that I am not advising teenagers to get pregnant or even have sex. However this time, I won’t say that. If they are having protected sex, good for them. One of the big problems that leads to this topic to start with is sex shaming and you will not find that here. Sorry, I am sure you can find a blogger out there who promotes absence only if that’s what you are looking for. I however, promote safe sex and sex education. And this article itself will reek of sex positivity and shaming the way sex education has failed us.

News Flash: Teen pregnancy is your fault. And you aren’t going to stop teens from having sex.

Do I have your attention now?

Ok, so it’s not fully your fault. But let’s take time to talk about what are some of the causes of teen pregnancy. And we are even going to touch on abortions.

High school is such an interesting time. Even middle school for that matter. We are maturing, we are hitting puberty, and we are figuring out who we are. And sexuality is a huge part of figuring out who we are and exploring individuality. Yet, we aren’t learning basic things.

I was doing a YouNow one night and offered to answer teen questions, and a girl actually asked me how long she could wear a tampon and what the dangers were. This blew my mind. Are we not teaching young girls important things about their bodies and hygiene? No, we leave it up to the parents, who I will get to soon, even though they aren’t fully equipped to teach them.

Honestly, I think everyone is aware of how inadequate our sex education is. Some schools might be getting it right, they may be teaching the things we actually NEED to know. Good for them. But most schools are lacking.

There is so much that schools aren’t teaching us (insert the song here). And that includes things about safe sex. There are girls who believe that they can’t get pregnant when they are on their period or that certain positions prevent pregnancies. People believe that the pull out method works perfectly! And there are guys who don’t know anything about how vagina baring people’s reproductive parts work other than if you cum in it a baby comes out, and if you don’t the vagina baring person will bleed once a month.

And then these men grow up to make laws against vagina baring people’s health. Epic face palm and eye roll please.

So what happens when these teens don’t learn these things? They try them. Don’t get me wrong, there is a decent number of articles and resources to help educate teens. How many are reading them though? I remember once, an article came up on my newsfeed about how peeing before sex was not preventative of a UTI. While I wanted to read it, I didn’t because of fear of a parent walking in.

Which brings me to parents.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?

Ok, I got that off my chest. Seriously though, why are you not talking openly about sex with your kids.

We don’t want to ask you questions because we are embarrassed and scared. Deep down, we crave to know. It’s no easier for us to ask than it is for you to start the conversation. However, it is an extremely important conversation. I won’t lecture you on that though.

Instead, let’s talk about you giving your kids access to the things they need to have protected sex. That’s right, get your kids on birth control. Give your kids condoms.

Honestly though, I am going to back off a bit. Some of you are doing a great job at teaching your kids about their bodies, and it should include sex ed and hygiene. Talk to them, teach them, and understand that they need you to for their health and well being.

Last time I talked about teen moms, I talked about how some of the teen moms I know are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. But I have realized, it is completely irrelevant. Whether or not they become amazing people after having kids doesn’t matter. It doesn’t really mean anything other than some teen moms are amazing moms and people. But that has nothing to do with whether or not being educated about their reproductive system and having access to birth-control and condoms would have affected them becoming teen moms.

And I have talked about abortions being something some people choose because they feel it is best for them at the time. Which got me attacked by a lot of pro-life people. Here’s the thing, you aren’t pro-life. If you were, you would support the teen mothers after they have given birth and need it the most. When their world is falling apart, when they are broke, they are needing help so they can finish school. But you don’t. Because you care for that thirty minutes that the person is getting an abortion and then forget them. You only care when that person makes the hard decision they feel they need to make, then you turn your back on them.

What does that have to do with teen pregnancy?

“Pro-lifers need to start handing out condoms and birth control instead of hate if they want me to believe they want to stop abortions.” – Stevie Boebi

Yeah basically that.

Let’s sum up this long rant.

  • Teen pregnancy, while preventable, is going to continue if we continue to neglect teaching our teens about their bodies, reproductive systems, and sex.
  • Parents, talk to your kids and give them access to contraceptives.
  • You aren’t prolife unless you are pro supporting teen moms just trying to get by.
  • MEN ARE MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT WHAT IS OK TO DO WITH OUR PARTS WHEN THEY BARELY KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT OUR REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEMS.

 

 

Safety Pins: How I Feel About Them Now

As things have evolved, or should I really say devolved, some of you may be surprised to know that my thoughts and feelings on the safety pin movement has changed.

 

If you haven’t read my previous post on the subject of the safety pin movement, you may want to. I will be referencing it quite a bit in this update. To give you a very basic summary, I feel like if you are truly an ally then wearing the safety pin may actually help someone. However, if you aren’t willing to get uncomfortable and messy, you should use them to fix your clothes instead of as a statement of your support for people you aren’t really ready to support.

That part of my opinion hasn’t really changed. If you aren’t willing to call out your best friend when they are racists, come to the aid of a trans person being attacked, or in general outwardly help a minority or a person of a marginalized identity, then fuck off.

Don’t outwardly make a statement of solidarity, if your solidarity will only be done through a computer screen or behind closed doors where you are safe from the repercussions of truly caring. Or those of you who feel like you can sign an online petition and your job be done.

Did I push a button? Did I hit you in a way that hurt with that one? Good. That means you are probably guilty of doing just that. Hopefully this is a wake up call. Let it hurt, reevaluate your feminism or liberal views or simply your compassion for others, and work on it.

But let’s get back to the safety pin.

Here’s the thing that has really changed for me; so many people wore them and didn’t mean shit by them. I saw people wear a safety pin and got hope. Until I scrolled through the person’s Facebook or Twitter and saw them sharing racist memes or being “so glad Donald won”.

I talked about that before; don’t wear it for fake reasons. But to watch these people pretending to be something they aren’t (I felt so catfished) made me realize something; wearing a safety won’t make me feel safe with you.

And in my previous article I talked about how not everyone will trust your safety pin because it wasn’t enough. It didn’t show us you’d be there for us, it showed us you would wear a safety pin. That is about it.

At the time though, it gave me hope. Something I quickly lost when there was no action to backup your safety pin. I grew to personally stop trusting it.

Allyship is about learning, and learned that the best way to support someone is with action. Wearing a safety pin isn’t action. It’s simply putting on a pin and feeling “woke”, just to then close your eyes and continue through your day the same you always have.

It became a trend, and I watched that trend fade away as so many do.And as it faded away, so did so many of these fake allies.

We need so much more than people wearing safety pins to show “solidarity” or “support” or to claim they are a “safe place”. All our fears from the election are starting to come true. Now more than ever we need to be fighting. And we need you beside us. IF you are willing to truly be beside us.

Walking beside us in a march doesn’t mean you are beside us, supporting us. But that may be a talk for another day.

What gives me hope these days? Protests at airports when Donald Trump signed the Muslim Ban. Lawyers who volunteered to help these people. The women’s march. The people I follow on Twitter who call out bullshit daily. My friends on Facebook all over the world who are doing REAL things to show support.

Those are things that are giving me hope. I hung up my safety pin, and began to pay more attention to those around me, their actions, and who would really be a safe place for me. I guess if PTSD has taught me anything, it’s the how to watch everyone around me.

But I will still make the same pledge I made before. I will always try to be a safe place for anyone who needs it. And I will show it with my actions, not just some safety pin hanging from my shirt. Can you still make that pledge?