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.

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Supporting Marginalized Artists and Activists

For some reason it seems our culture frowns against becoming a fan of someone (ie. an actor/actress or singer, or celebrity of any form) simply for their LGBT+ identity, their race, their nationality, their views, or their activism. Weird huh?

I guess by now you are probably expecting me to say something about Meryl Streep‘s speech at the

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JANUARY 08: Actress Meryl Streep, recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award, poses in the press room during the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Golden Globes? Well you were right, though that’s only a portion of what this is about. But to get it out the way, GO ON WITH YOUR BAD SELF MERYL! Her speech put me in tears. I’ve never once watched the Golden Globes to be honest. I didn’t even watch it last night (1/8/17). But my Twitter feed was filled with tweets about it, so when I found a video of her speech, I couldn’t help but watch in awe.

I’ll be honest again, I have seen a lot of works she was in. It’s Complicated immediately comes to mind, as well as Sophie’s Choice. But I was never a huge fan. She’s talented don’t get me wrong. I have loved her in everything I have seen her in. However, she’s never been one of those people I just had to go to the movie theaters to see despite whether or not I had genuine interest in the movie.

Even now, I am not her biggest fan and won’t pretend to be. But my respect for her and her work has grown as I have watched her be a voice. Her abortion activism being one of the things I have admired her for.

But, and back to the real reason for writing this today, I have noticed a trend.

People seem genuinely butt hurt when a celebrity gains fans due to their activism, race, nationality, or identity as an LGBTQIA person.

It absolutely blows my mind that people are shocked that being an activist or LGBT could be a reason for someone to gain fans. It’s as if supporting an actress, actor, singer, ect. for speaking out on a cause we support or being brave enough to be out as LGBTQIA in some way, means that we don’t value them as a person. So let’s start with activism.

If an artist is an activist for something I believe in, they have my attention.

Honestly, it is so much easier for me to support someone as an artist if I can support their views. I am 10x more likely to watch their movie, their music video, or whatever it is they do. There are times when I watch a movie and point out to my partner, “Hey that’s soandso they are an activist for soandso” or “That’s the actor that stood up to soandso.” For example, we were watching The Percy Jackson movies the other night and I mentioned the author of the books, Rick Riordan, had “turned down an invite to be honored by TX state legislature as a Texas author” because of transphobic nonsense.

Why do I care?

Because, as for anyone, it is so much easier for me to get behind someone who is like minded.

I feel guilty watching, listening, or some how supporting someone who spews hate and ignorance. For instance, Jennifer Lawrence lost so much of my respect for her with her rubbing her butt on sacred rocks story.

As for someone being LGBTQIA or any marginalized group, we have our reasons.

Seeing someone being out in today’s world earns my respect a lot. Even more so when it is someone who is famous. Why? The backlash they put up with to be happy. The fight.

But most importantly, seeing famous LGBTQIA people gives us hope.

Any marginalized group is going to be happy to see people like them represented in the media.

I find it ridiculous to see people criticizing others for being a fan of someone because they are gay or bi, or trans. Why does it even matter why we are a fan? That’s like me saying you are only a fan of a certain sports team because you went to that school? Why does it matter?!

Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

For instance, I have always loved Holland Taylor. But I had no ever clue who Sarah Paulson was (sorry AHS fans). And as I talked to some friends last night and earlier today, they gushed over how cute her girlfriend (Holland) was because she always talks so sweetly about Sarah on Twitter. As the conversation continued they admitted they were only a fan of Holland because she was dating a girl.

It got me to thinking about the number of people I am a fan of for similar reasons. Some of my favorite YouTubers are gay, and I only knew of their existence because of a relationship with another Youtuber.

That being said, I am very proud of the fact that I support LGBTQ+ artists. Why shouldn’t I?

Especially artists who wear their intersectionality with pride, because it’s inspiring to so many people.

Oh that’s right, because it is biased. At least according to people who think being of a marginalized identity or group is bullshit. “It’s not fair you only like ___ because they are gay.” And you only like ____ because they are pretty? What is your point please?

Artists who are marginalized and activist? Hell yeah they get even more of my support. You inspire me and so many others on a day to day basis. Wanda Sykes was a huge part of the reason I ever came out as bi. Her “that’s so gay” commercials gave me hope that world is changing and people like me will be safe one day.

In conclusion, fuck what people say. If you want to support someone because of their activism or because they are of a marginalized group, do it! We have to support each other.   

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Dear 2016 Me,

For years, writing letters both to others and myself, has been a way for me to cope. Most of the time in the recent years, I share them for one reason or another. And this one is the same. Be gentle and kind please. 

Dear 2016 Me,

Warning, it is going to be a rough year. Donald Trump is going to win the presidency in November and it’s going to shake your world. Not nearly as much as a shooting in a LGBT club in Orlando, where 49 were killed. That date, June 12, will forever stay in your mind I am sure because it shook your inner feeling of safety that was already so rocky.

You will go through a breakup and it will hurt, but you’ll feel a sense of freedom you never knew before.

You’re going to have breakdowns that will make you completely question how anyone could ever love you. On the edge of a relapse, you’ll wonder if rehab can help you with a self harm addiction. And at times, you’ll consider hospitalization. At the break of the new year, you’ll decide that therapy and a new psychiatrists are where you are going to start.

It will be a full year for sure.

People around you will start posting things on Facebook that make you question how you could ever be friends with them. Donald Trump’s hate mongering helps encourage these people to speak their mind, only you never knew how dark their thoughts were. But that’s ok, now you know exactly what they really about you.

Friendships’ loyalty will be tested, and you’ll learn who you can really rely on.

But, you’ll fall in love, the storybook kind. And your partner will ask you to marry them, and you’ll say yes. 

You’ll travel across country in a Cadillac because your doctor will suggest you not fly. And as your dreams of going to BlogHer16 comes crashing down, your fiance will offer to drive you across country. Spoiler alert, you’ll have a blast. You can check California off your list of places you want to go.

You will go to New York for the second year in a row and stay with your really good friend Sarah. And get to speak in Albany again.

You will start a blog that will become your main place of writing and get away from Courtney’s Voice. Living Queer will be your new way of expressing yourself. You may lose some of your followers, but who cares?!

It’s going to be a long year Courtney.

But you survive. So don’t give up.

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How My Mental Illness Framed My Queer Identity

Trigger warning/Content Note: Talk of being suicidal, queer identity, struggles with depression, and self harm.

 

“Everyone will hate you, more than they already do.
You’ll be an outcast in a world you never fit in to, there’s nothing worse, it’s true.

But, I think I love her…

You are better off dead.
If you don’t do it, they’ll fill you with lead.

But what if she’s the one…

You’d be better off becoming a nun.
Being alone is better than being hated by everyone. 

But what if I am trans…

Find the gun. 
You’ll need to pull the trigger before you tell someone.”

10th Grade Courtney (2013) 

When I was in high school, my depression and anxiety ran rampant. Like so many other young teenagers, I was struggling to figure out who I was and where I was supposed to fit in society. And this battle for me centered around a few things; my love for a girl, my dysphoria, and my lack of self worth.

Suicide was regularly on my mind.

Therapy seemed like a distant idea for a long time, considering my depression and anxiety started when I was a kid. But as the years went by, and the list of my attempts grew longer, I began to warm up to the idea of getting help. It became clear to me that I couldn’t do this alone.

Yet, when I started therapy, I avoided talk of being queer. Clearly my identity as a queer person was a huge factor of my mental illness; it was repeatedly stated in my suicide letters that I wrote but no one ever received. But I couldn’t bring myself to seek help for it. Why?

Because my mental illness framed my queer identity as being the worse thing in the world.

My mind repeatedly told me no one would love me. And it showed true as I watched loved ones bash gay people for no reason other than the fact they were gay. I watched bisexual girls at my school, and I wondered how they did it. Don’t get me wrong, there weren’t many that I was aware of. But I craved being like them so bad. Those girls who were out and didn’t get teased about it everyday, the ones who walked the halls with a confidence I admired so much.

Later on, as I befriend a few, I learned that confidence wasn’t everything I thought it was. They were scared too, they had their own self image issues, and they weren’t loved by everyone.

But golly I would have done anything to fake that confidence.

The first time I physically quivered in fear at the sound of the word “gay” was in the locker room. It was freshman year and some girls were talking about their underwear being cute. Having toned out of the conversation, I’m not sure how it escalated. But I clearly remembered hearing “It’s not like there are any gay people in here to worry about.”

Something so simple led to me crying in my bathroom floor, knife beside me already covered in a crimson I recognized all too well.

That same year I met someone who would later become my best friend. They have no clue how much their simple existence as an out lesbian made accepting myself an actual possibility.

But I still thought being bisexual or transgender was the worst thing in the world.

I could sit here and tell you about the time I was changing with the soccer team and a girl made a remark about gays. How I quit the team afterwards because I was afraid. I could tell you about the things that made me cringe everyday, or the times I was knocked down after someone outed me.

However, I won’t waste your time. We’ve all read those stories. And today, I don’t want to talk about the bullying side of things.

I want to talk about how I wanted to die because I felt no one would ever love me. Wow, that was easier to say than I thought it would be. Being bisexual and transgender made me want to kill myself. There’s a long list of reasons I suppose, but they were near the top.

For about 3 or 4 years now, I have been out as a bisexual.

Not publicly, I think I have only publicly been out for 2. But to some friends, family, and some strangers online; I have been out.

It’s been a struggle reframing my queer identity when I spent most of my life listening to the voices in my head, damning me for being anything other than a cisgender heterosexual girl. There are days, especially this past year, that those voices ease back into my mind.

But I have been working so hard on telling myself it’s not true, I am worth something, and people do love me.

My trans identity has been a harder pill to swallow.

While it feels like a ton of bricks have finally been lifted from my back, I still can’t catch my breath when people begin talking about trans people.

The anxiety around my queerness is still very much so there.

When I have lived my whole life thinking, hearing, and feeling like my existence is an abomination, it’s hard to turn it off. At one point I thought I could learn to be straight, I could let go of my dysphoria and gender struggles, and I could be “normal”. But I have had a hard time defining normal, stopping myself from having feelings for someone, and letting go of something that defines so much of who I am.

I have been out as a nonbinary trans person for a little over a year.

And yet, I still wonder how long I can live this way before the entire world and everyone I care about turns against me. How long can I truly be myself before everyone begins to hate me?

How long can I be me, before someone decides to end me?

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What You Don’t See: A Thank You To My Fiancé

The other day I posted this picture on my Facebook page as a part of my project of talking about my daily struggles. It had been a long Saturday and I was in a lot of pain, mostly in my back and my knees.

“Today’s reality (Dec. 10) is having to eat my dinner while laying in a bathtub that isn’t but so comfortable because my back hurts so much I can’t stand or sit comfortably.

Not to mention the pain in my stomach being so bad I couldn’t finish my dinner.

Last night I tweeted “My depression had been eating me alive the past few weeks. Today I’m feeling hopeful. However it is only 3am.”

Not long after tweeting that a migraine began to come on. But I didn’t think much of it and went to bed. Usually if one starts at night I can sleep it off. However I have been battling a migraine all day to day as well. Surprisingly though, my depression hasn’t been talking to me today and I’m feeling hopeful and driven. Small victories I guess.”

And as the outpouring of love and support came flowing in, I couldn’t help but look over beside me. As I laid in a bath tub with my back fully submerged in the hot water, my fiancé sat there beside me on the cold tile floor in a cramped bathroom. We both ate our dinner in the bathroom, talking and relaxing to what degree we could.

In the photo I posted, you couldn’t see them. You couldn’t see how uncomfortable it can get for them when it takes two hours, sometimes, of laying in this hot water just so I can sit up in a chair somewhat comfortably.

Often times we forget those who are helping us through our struggles.

When my knees are so bad I can’t go to the bathroom alone, my fiancé is there. They help me stand up, pull up my pants, and never make me feel weird about it. We actually got so used to the routine that we often follow each other into the bathroom at home without even second guessing it.

When I don’t feel good, they don’t hesitate to get me whatever it is I need, even if it is past 12 am and I am hungry. They grab those truck keys quicker than I can blink and ask what I want from McDonalds.

Even when their back is hurting, they don’t hesitate to help me out of the bath tub.

Today, I have been thinking a lot about all the things they do for me. I couldn’t ask for a better caregiver. But I wanted to talk to all of you about it. Because as I continue to share my struggles this month and next, I want everyone to know what my caregiver is going through too.

I love you sweetheart. Thank you for all that you do for me. Not only taking care of me when I am sick,
but helping me when I simply need a little help. Thank you for the time you sacrifice working on something for yourself to help my father get my office done. Thank you for sitting with me in the bathroom so I don’t have to be alone with my pain. Thank you for running my bath every night that I need one and sometimes, running it before you even have a chance to eat. Never complaining about your food getting cold or having to help me get off the toilet. Never complaining when I ask you to get me a drink and a pill. Sitting with me in the bathroom when a migraine hits and I can’t handle light or sound. Or when I feel so sick I have to sit in the floor of the shower and let the water just run over me.

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You Deserved It: A Bullying Story

“A few abusive relationships and  a guy becoming overly attached to me, but somehow I was still standing. But I completely faded away when she said “Ha you deserved it.”‘

 

Her eyes stare right into mine, I know she sees the way they plead for her not to, but she just laughs as her words spew out of her mouth like hot lava. Kids around me point and stare. And I can’t say a word. Mortified by the hatred that began to build in me. Hatred of myself.

Everyday brings new pains, as I continue to be the outlet of their childhood troubles. As if I didn’t have my own. And with every passing day, more and more of my self confidence melts away. I begin to believe the words that they always say. Ugly. Nerd. Dork. An outcast. But if only they knew what those words were doing to me inside. They never see the tears I cry as I sit alone on the floor, writing in my journal just how much I wish I could change to fit their needs. How much I hate myself.

Adults around me admire my beauty and all I can think, is how I wish they’d stop lying to me. The girls at school had told me the truth and the lies these adults sling at me only damage me more as I begin to lose touch with them at a time I need them the most. ‘Cause how can I trust someone who would lie to me.

Friends forever? Ha yeah right. I lost all my friends over night. Those who stuck around, didn’t seem to really care. They never said anything when the others tore me down. And I began losing trust in every one I loved.

Sixth grade comes and I start to have hope. New year and a new me.

But, that’s not what they see. They call me a baby, cause I don’t dress like them. How was I supposed to know that Areo was in? I watch back in silence as they judge the innocent. What could I say to possibly make a difference?

When I do stand up for the people like me, I take brutal beatings to the dignity with the words they throw at me.

Seventh grade comes, eighth and ninth.

But nothing changes. And the hatred continues to build. I’d rather kill myself then continuing on living this way. I’m too skinny, nothing but sticks and bones they say. I see them whisper to each other, point and stare, saying “Look it’s a walking skeleton.” But it’s not my fault, I just don’t have an appetite. Too scared of having a little meat on my bones, because I’ve seen what they do to the girls who do.

Every attempt I make to fit in, only seems to make them hate me more. But I can’t blame them. How could they like me when I don’t even like myself.

I smother myself in makeup, the way I see so many of the “popular” girls do. Yet, they call me fake, just for trying to fit in. I just want to be like them, so maybe they won’t hate me. Maybe, just maybe, I won’t hate myself.

Tenth grade comes. And I think for the last time, maybe it will be different this year.

But, her eyes stare straight into mine, I know she sees how they plead for her to stop, and she laughs as her words spew out like hot lava out of a volcano. Just as she is about to walk away, puts her hand against my face, pushes my head back into the locker door; whatever hope left in me broke that day.

My sexuality becomes another reason for them to hate me, because “fags are so disgusting.” An abomination, that’s what I am to them. And they waste no opportunity to tell me so.

What was left of me, slowly deteriorated. A few abusive relationships and  a guy becoming overly attached to me, but somehow I was still standing. But I completely faded away when she said “Ha you deserved it.”


First off, I would like to say please no hateful comments. Because this story is very personal to me, since it is my own bullying story.

Secondly, I did not share this for sympathy. I shared it in hopes people would think about the things they say next time before they say it. I want this story to inspire others to speak up about bullying. And I hope this story will inspire at least one person to think about what they say before saying it, because even the smallest difference is still a difference.

So many more had it worse than me, and I know that. But every story counts, and all bullying matters. Never feel like you shouldn’t speak up because its not that bad. You matter and what you are going through matters.

This story was first shared a year ago today on my blog Courtney’s Voice. I was scrolling through Facebook early this morning and saw the memory for it pop up. And I felt the need to update it a little. Because this story continued in a way I have yet to share.


I stood face to face to with her, years after that moment. Emotions building up inside, but everything screams for me to run and hide.

She looks at me, as if maybe she remembers who I am.

I want to ask if she still thinks I deserved what that boy those years ago did to me, I want to ask if she still thinks of me as a tool to climb the ladder of popularity. Months before happening to run into her, I had gotten up the courage to add her as a friend on Facebook. More than anything, I was curious if she still treated people that way.

Her life looked the same really, and even though only 2 1/2 or 3 years had passed, I had only expected to see some change.

But that day, she looked at me, smirked to a friend, and continued on with her life.

One day I hope to tell her the impact she had on my life. That all that bullying, so much of it still not documented here because I simply can’t put it into words, and all that taunting only made me stronger. She broke me, but only for a few years.

Everything she and her friends did, helped me find my voice.

Now I know how to roar.

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Deleting People Off Facebook And Why I Don’t

As I am sure you can all imagine, because I feel our Facebook feeds are probably all filled with it in one way or another, every time I click on to Facebook I am greeted by messages of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism, and Islamophobia.

Often I will post about various posts I see on my Facebook feed and I will rant with friends. Even commenting on people’s post, I am often met with messages of “just delete me then” or “why the fuck we friends then bitch”. Nearly daily I see people posting about deleting long term friends over these things. Since the election, my feed is nearly always filled with posts that anger me and make me anxious at the same time.

But, I never delete the people posting these infuriating things. And I have a lot of reasons why.

Firstly, I would like to note that I am not at all against the delete button. A lot of my marginalized friends have become best friends with the delete button because it is what they need for their mental health, and I find it admirable that they make the decision to love themselves and realize they need to take care of themselves.

Even I have nearly deleted people because they caused my anxiety to grow so deeply it nearly took roots in my day to day life online. 

“There are no safe spaces for us. I can’t unfollow people who don’t like black people in real life.”- Jasmine Banks at BlogHer 16

This one statement had such a huge impact on me and why I started avoiding the delete button and actually addressing the issue. Because deleting people doesn’t mean that the hate doesn’t exist, it only gives you the advantage of pretending it isn’t real. You can pretend that it doesn’t happen or that the people you know would never be that way.

 

And I think especially for cishet white people it can be the easy solution because you get the ease of deleting people and continuing on with your life. But we don’t have the privilege of walking away every time those post become real people harassing us.

Having people who post homophobic, transphobic, racist, and sexist things lets me be aware of what these people think.

I know that it may seem pointless, but over the past two months as the election really heated up, I have become so much more aware of who my true friends. Some people that I deeply valued in my life have posted about LGBTQ rights in such disgusting ways, that I realized they could never have true respect for me. And it was something I would never have known if it wasn’t for social media being an outlet for people to express their opinions. I guess that is both a good and bad thing.

But even more so, not deleting people who are posting these things has helped warn me of who in my area has malicious feelings towards people like me. It is like they are taping a “I am an asshole” sign to their foreheads. That statement is fully about the people who are downright and deeply homophobic, sexist, racist, and so forth. Those people who find every opportunity to tell marginalized people that they are scum.

It’s like a beacon.

The best outcome from avoiding the delete button, has been the conversations on these posts. Because of some of these conversations, I have created a little group of people I feel safe with in my area. It allows me to see the people who will speak up and against the assholes.

I am learning tolerance.

While I have always considered myself a rather tolerant person, and I encourage opinions to be shared; I get extremely heated if those opinions hurt a group of people. And my top will fly right off. I am outspoken, and the world around me has truly made me scared for being this way.

But keeping these people as friends on facebook and engaging in peaceful (at least on my side) conversation has truly helped me find the middle ground between attacking the attacker and working to educate in a productive way that doesn’t include wasting my time. I am finding conversations on topics I am passionate on aren’t as one sided as they were when I was simply having them with my fiance and best friend. Now, these conversations are happening in a place they need to; a place I have a chance to make a difference.

I don’t post often on my personal account. I leave the SWJ stuff for my Facebook Page. But even so, I have had young friends reach out that something I posted changed their view slightly. And in that, I feel successful as an activist and advocate.

Now that being said, I don’t give trolls my time of day. People who are repeatedly ignorant and unwilling to learn, I simply ignore while understanding that I won’t reach everyone. Sometimes I will comment, not to interact with them, but with someone else who is advocating for the side on which my opinion and feelings lay. To help them with their argument, show them I support them, or to even just comment on them pointing something out I hadn’t thought of.

Building community in a time like this, I feel is super important. And I feel that showing support to those expressing their feelings is really important. Especially when they are trying to fight for rights and respect. 

“Shout out to everyone in my local area that I grew up with not giving a shit about LGBT rights. I now know exactly how you feel about my existence and couldn’t careless. 🖕🏼” – Me

To sum it up, if you can delete someone from Facebook and completely forget their racism, homophobia, ect., you have privilege. And it’s one not all of us have. So in a time when you could possibly make just a small impact whether it’s changing someone’s opinion or supporting someone who is trying to fight for rights and respect; do it.

However, I am not saying that you in any way need to keep people on Facebook who are harassing you, harming you in any way (emotionally being the big one I can think of), or in general is raising your anxiety. Especially if you are a person of color, trans, LGB, or any other marginalized identities. Because safety and self care are really important.

Just think about it next time you scroll over the delete person. And keep in mind that it is a privilege to delete someone and not deal with the hate and discrimination in person. Not all of us can avoid it that way.

You do what you feel you need to. But for me, and my activism, staying friends on Facebook with people who are complete asshats is a way to acknowledge my privilege and know who some of the people who are likely to harass me in my face to face life are.

 

 

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Thoughts and Fears of A Queer Teen in 2016

*Note: These are my raw feelings about this year and what I have learned and it is largely based on my perspective as a queer teen still working on stepping out into the world. I have debated with myself for weeks about writing this, but I feel at least today I need to. Because I want people to understand what queer people in their lives are thinking and feeling, or at least may be thinking and feeling. My age is part of the reason I have withheld from writing about this, but at the same time the decisions made today will directly affect me and others my age thus my voice has a right to be heard.* 

Dear who ever is willing to listen,

I would really like to address something that some of you may consider to be a personal issue, as I have been told on Facebook before, but I think is an issue of our country. People of marginalized identities are scared.

Now I know that so many of you really don’t care. You are voting for Trump because you feel like him constantly speaking whatever is on his mind is amazing. “Wow, we will finally have a president who has a spine,” are some of the things currently going through your mind as you stand in line to vote today. And while I may be writing this too late, I still want you to know what your vote has done.

When you vote for Donald Trump and Mike Pence, you are declaring you support them.

Basic enough right? So how about telling that every teenage girl who gets sexually harassed at a young age because people look at women like an object. After all, Trump did say his status as a celebrity gives him the right to do just that; sexually harass women. Let alone the fact that he is being accused of rape.

I want you to know, you terrify me.

Everyone who supports Donald Trump and Mike Pence, utterly terrify me.

Mike Pence, someone who wanted to move funding from HIV/AIDS to conversion therapy, which is something that results in suicide 50% of the time. He has very openly disagreed with LGBTQ+ rights and thinks people should be able to deny service to someone based on their sexuality. He even claims that LGBTQ+ people in the military will hinder the military and it’s performance.

Donald Trump tries hard to win over the queer vote, yet says he would overturn same sex marriage.  But most importantly he supports the First Amendment Defense Act, which gives people the right to discriminate against LGBTQ+ for religious reasons.

And while the thought of his presidency scares me, nothing scares me more than the hatred his running has truly brought to light.

I don’t blame Donald Trump for the hate, not fully at least. That hatred existed already. But he fueled it, he made people think it was ok to outwardly express it, and he made the masses come together to form a big group of racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic people who are more than willing to abuse others.

My screen is constantly filled with white cishet people constantly talking about rights that in no way affect them, and how others shouldn’t be allowed to have them. I am constantly seeing slurs coming across my computer screen, and I fear leaving the house. I fear how fear these people will take their borderline threats.

And all around me I see privileged people who aren’t afraid of a Trump presidency, and an envy grows inside of me. Envy for privileges I don’t have. Because while I am white, I have a home and am trying to build my own business, I have family support (to a degree), and I can somewhat pass for a woman; I am marginalized in other ways.

I am trans, I am queer, I am disabled to degrees, and I live with multiple mental illnesses. I am a survivor of abuse, I am a sexual assault survivor, and I am so scared.

Because I am watching people, so many people, in this world tell me that I don’t matter or deserve to exist in this world. That I am unimportant and below them.

I am so afraid of everyone around me..

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When Your “Identity” Changes and You Feel Lost

I have tried to write about this so many times, but the words never seem to truly describe this journey in figuring out who I am.

For months now, I have been struggling with something that I thought I wouldn’t have to struggle with anymore;
my gender.

 

When I was in middle school, I learned what transgender was for the first time… It blew up in my face when I told my friend at the time that I thought I was transgender and the friend completely rejected me and pretended we had never met.

At the time, I felt like the term didn’t fully fit me. While, I didn’t feel 100% like a guy, I did feel like a guy in so many ways.

After being rejected in that way, I closed off those feelings and vowed never to tell anyone again that I was transgender. Because I was so scared of what it meant, and everyone else in the world would reject me the way my friend had.

Somehow, a few years later I got up the nerve to come out as genderfluid. I thought I could finally relax and just be myself. But at the time, I was in a relationship with someone whom I felt like I couldn’t be myself with. And while I struggled with finally accepting myself, I couldn’t help but feel like my boyfriend of the time wasn’t attracted to me any longer. And I started avoiding being myself around him.

After the relationship ended, I started exploring who I was again, and I felt lost.

Genderfluid never seemed to fit me, at least not in a way I felt truly described who I was. Sure, my gender seemed to move, and by move I mean I seem to fall somewhere between gender neutral and a guy.

But after months of calling myself a genderfluid person, I felt completely distanced from myself.  Even using the term nonbinary, I felt like I still wasn’t properly representing myself.

I was lost and so scared of the outcome that I deep down knew was coming.

I am transgender and nonbinary.

While deep down I have known this for years, I couldn’t tell myself. Even when I came out to my fiancé and through so many conversations about gender, I always described myself as a feminine guy. Yet, I still felt so uncomfortable calling myself a transgender guy or even really using the term transgender without explaining that I mean I fall under the umbrella of being trans because I am nonbinary.

But the lost feeling became overwhelming.

For a while, I questioned if I was just a confused cisgender girl. I even thought about selling my website because I thought it wasn’t fair that I write about queer life when my life isn’t all that queer at all. A staple in my identity as a queer person has always been more about my gender and less about my sexuality. And I felt like I was lying to everyone who even glances at the website.

And as I continued to talk to my fiancé about all of my feelings, I realized that it was time for me to accept who I really was.

When I was in middle school, I learned what transgender was. And after facing heart breaking rejection, I got scared of being transgender. No longer am I afraid of the world rejecting me. Because at the end of the day, I have someone who will never reject me. I have my family, my fiancé, and most importantly I have myself. Because I finally believe in myself and trust myself. And I am comfortable with who I am.

My existence is simply a feminine guy.
And that is fine.

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To The Father Who Was Superman For His Transgender Suicidal Teen

 

I wrote you letters a million times. Usually it was in the back of a notebook, in the middle of class when the taunting had gotten to be too much for me. And the ending was always the same, even if the words changed. I love you, and you never did anything wrong, it’s not your fault, and I hope you don’t blame yourself. Tears always blurred a few of the words, and at the end of the day before it was time to go home, I would rip it up and throw it away.

Once, when I had already started homeschooling, but I was dating an emotionally abusive guy who tried in every way that he possibly could to control me, I wrote you one of those letters. And when I finished writing it, tear stained and ink on my hands as well as the paper, I folded it and put it on your bed.

To this day, I remember the fear of you coming home and finding me. Would you hate me? Would you be disappointed? Or would I break your heart to a point of no return? Would I break your heart to a point of your own death? Guilt consumed me, and I ran down the stairs so fast I actually slipped on the next to last step. I jumped up from the floor as if it didn’t hurt, and rushed into your room to grab the letter. You could never see it, because I couldn’t allow myself to break your heart that way.

I wrote you letters a million times. But today, this letter, is different from any I have wrote to you before.
Because this time, I just want to thank you. For all the times you found me crying and pulled me into your lap so I could cry with your arms around me; so that I could know I wasn’t alone. And all the times I have told you about hating myself because I found my three best friends so attractive and they were females.

I want to thank you for being that father who cried for the hardships I would face, but never shame of who I was. For being that father who told me that he didn’t care if I married a man, woman, or trans person, as long as they loved me and treated me right because that’s what truly mattered. And as I cried while attempting to tell you that I was bisexual, you stayed strong and let me tell you everything. When I had finished, my breakdown of fear nearly over but my shaking still strong, you simply smiled and told me you knew.

You were and are the father who let me wear boys clothes, and let me pick them out when we went shopping. Anytime you were in the shop, I wasn’t far behind you. To this day we joke about that one time we were at your friend’s house and your friend asked me, who was 4-5 at the time, how I had gotten the pocket full of change I had. I, being the spunky and confident little kid I was around you, grabbed the pocket full of changed, puffed my chest out, giggled the change and said, “From all these years of working down back with dad.” Everyone around us laughed. Yet I was ever so proud of that pocket full of change from helping my dad work on cars.

And I can’t thank you enough, for the support the first time I cut my hair really short. You gave my compliment after compliment on the color and cut and how I overall looked. While I pretended to be so confident, I was terrified. But you reassured me that everything was going to be ok.

When I finally came out, first as a genderfluid genderqueer person, you hugged me, told me I was beautiful as I am. You accepted me and loved me.

Later, when I came out as a nonbinary trans person, you again hugged me and helped me through the self hate. You even helped me measure my chest so that I could order a chest binder. Every couple of weeks, when I asked, you would pull out your clippers and help me keep my hair cut short the way I liked it. And when I needed help with dying my hair crazy colors, we had a blast making a mess and cleaning it up.

Never once did you make me feel uncomfortable or question my safety around you. Never once did you make me feel like I wasn’t loved or that something was wrong with me.

Through my battles with depression, PTSD, anorexia, and struggles accepting my gender and sexuality; you stayed my rock and my support. You sheltered me from the rain when I needed it, and put me in the sunlight when I needed warmth. All in all, you took care of me, no matter how hard of a job that was.

And I love you so much for that.

Thank you dad, for being the father I needed in every way you could. Thank you for supporting me and loving me. Thank you for being my anchor and encouraging my dreams.

To the father who was a superhero for his kid,

Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do for me.

 

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