Yearly Archives: 2015

84 posts

College isn’t For Girls (AKA: Backstory)

It occurred to me that while I’ve mentioned how my sex determined what I learned in school I haven’t really mentioned how that translated into college.


This is actually a little complicated because my parents waffled quite a bit before settling on their decision. When we first started homeschooling my mother’s plan (with no input from me) was for me to go to the local vocational school and double major in cosmetology and culinary arts. Neither of these were things I was interested in and actively tried to make that known, not that anyone cared.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned about my family it’s that my preferences don’t matter unless they line up with exactly what they want from me, their idea of who I should be trumps the truth of my existence every time – but that’s besides the point.


This was solidly the plan until I was about 8 or so (give or take because the concept of time is a blur). I think part of what they learned in the cult (or maybe it was the one ATI seminar they went to) was that it’s not appropriate for women to go to college. Some people think this but still send their daughters to college to get, I kid you not, an M.R.S. degree. The thought being, college will turn women into evil feminists who aren’t submissive and tell them things that are directly contrary to god’s plan (get married, have babies, homeschool)!


This goes right along with courtship, staying under the father’s head/umbrella/authority until married, and using the in-between highschool and marriage time to learn how to take care of your family. I’m not entirely sure where they got all this, but they did. Anyway, at some point they came to me and said that I wouldn’t be doing college, because god said it’s not good for girls to go to college – and college isn’t going to prepare you to be a helpmeet and mother anyway. This didn’t bother me because my cosmetology and culinary arts future looked bleak to my very young self who was neither into adding more cooking into their life or painting other people’s nails.


I think my family was surprised at how well I took it because they’d been building it up in their head. But anyway. College was out of the question for several years and I kept living my life free of the worry of having to cook and do makeup for college.


Then I discovered politics, speech and debate, and Patrick Henry College. I wanted more than anything in the world to go to PHC, and since it was a homeschool college and very much daughters-under-their-father’s-authority operating school…I probably wouldn’t have to worry about turning into an evil feminist.


Whether or not I could go to PHC seemed like it changed by the day, but I was several years out so I figured they’d come around.


They almost did – after they decided to break Alex and I up (because courtship = parents control all the things) they encouraged me to apply to PHC, sort of as a bribe – like the money and car they offered. I jumped at the opportunity to go to the college I dreamed of and get out of my parents house. I filled out the application and went through all the steps, got my pastor to write a letter of recommendation and all I needed to do was have my parents sign the waiver.
They refused.


They said they changed their mind, they couldn’t support it, they didn’t want to be responsible for me financially (and my living at home not allowed or able to get a job was what? or right, indentured servitude), and most importantly, college isn’t for girls. I’m going to be a wife and mother after all, I don’t need any further education. My consumer math and ability to read, write, and recite their interpretation of scripture back to them was all I would need and college wasn’t going to help me be a better submissive wife.


And like that, it was over.


After we got married I started applying to a school that did distance learning and was marginally less conservative. It involved re-writing my transcript (which is still a mess) and being a private school hot for Dave Ramsey, financially it wasn’t feasible. I was accepted but it just didn’t happen. I was still trying to navigate what being a Wife looked like and panicking that having a summer job meant I would have an affair (because women in the workforce have affairs, that’s why they have to be keepers at home) – the lies my parents ingrained into me were still so very very strong.

This is why getting accepted to a community college and taking the catch-up/pre-college course is so huge to me. I’m finally at a place where I can break that jar and decide what I want to do.

On College and Clothes that Fit

I took the placement test for adult basic education at my community college. I have an ID that says student and not “weird strange haired person who doesn’t belong: immediately escort out” on it, and an orientation on the 15th where I’ll find out where I placed and can sign up for classes to start taking in January.
The cards said go for it. My friend sent crows. I was at a place where I felt like I was ready and I shook off the wave of panic telling me to run and that I’m an imposter and I started it. I started a new thing. I started sort of almost college and as an educationally neglected kid who was told college was out of the question because I was born with a uterus….this is huge. I don’t have enough words to describe it, but it’s big and healing on many levels because I’m showing myself I can actually do the thing – or at least try the thing and see if I like it and having a uterus doesn’t mean I don’t get to!
 
Later that day I was jeans shopping and trying them on. I was not one, but two sizes bigger than I thought I was and I was having a moment as I watched the numbers on the jeans gradually increase. When I tried them on I tried not to dwell on what size I wanted them to be, but how I felt in them, if they fit, if I wasn’t trying to force myself to be smaller because I somehow thought that was better. The moment ended the minute I put on the pair that fit, that embraced my curves and didn’t squish my abdomen, that didn’t require a pants dance, and looks damn good.
 
I figured out that smaller sized jeans? don’t look better on you if you’re denying your body the right to take up space. You are matter, and oh my god, clothes that fit are so much more of a confidence boost than convincing yourself you could totally fit into this smaller pair really soon.


 

Fairy Dust and Awesomeness

IMG_0516My body is changing. I’ve talked about it before.
It’s confusing, disorienting…scary.
I can’t hide my boobs anymore, because they’ve grown too much.
I have massive cleavage in a sports bra.
My hips and thighs are bigger, rounder, more curvy.
My body is growing into more of a “woman” shape than I would like it to, personally.
And sometimes it’s really easy to feel betrayed by it, as I move fluidly between genderless/genderneutral and somewhat demigirl?
The confusing path of my gender identity that I wrap in the titles of femme-presenting non-binary and genderqueer.
Feeling like my body is betraying who I really am isn’t unusual for me. It’s been doing that since I started having periods.
It’s easy to hate myself right now – to hate my shape, my weight….
To hate it in the night when I can’t get to sleep because my boobs are in the way, and my bones and muscles are unsure of how to hold all the sudden…extra that occurred, leaving bright stretch marks and dull aches in it’s wake.
It’s easy to hate it when I have to re-learn how to use my body, because my belly is softer and rounder, my skin rolls, my thighs are bigger, and I generally take up more space than I’m used to.
 
More space than I ever have.
 
It’s easy to hate it when I feel like I have to be small, invisible, and take no room because I’m not worth having space.
It’s easy to hate because I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t know how to be growing, physically, changing sizes. Even as a child my growth spurts were few and far between. I was 3’6″ until I was nearly 10. I was always underweight, and my mom made a point to note how even at barely 100 pounds and age 16, I was bigger than she was at my age.
I don’t know how to be okay with letting my body be.
And I don’t think many other people do either.
We’re socialized to hate it. To hate it because we take up space, and people who were assigned female at birth are also trained from birth not to take up space.
I went to the doctor the other day, because having a period means I need Women’s Wellness Exams.
Anything related to periods and uteri and….general having the ability to reproduce tends to trigger a beautiful dysphoria fun time.
Easiest time to hate myself…easiest time to hate my body.
I was weighed for the first time since before I moved, and they didn’t tell me my weight when I told them I wasn’t looking, and they didn’t judge.
But my weight was on the take-home paper, along with proof that I have a heartbeat and blood pressure.
I’m 162 pounds.IMG_0527
I weigh more than I was told (lied to) that my father weighs, more than my mom thinks she weighs when she’s pregnant….
And for the first time that knowledge didn’t bother me.
For a moment I had the realization….
 
I’m 162 pounds of awesome, and that’s perfect.
 
Hillary Rain started Lush Folk and is doing 7 Days of Tenderness and the timing is good, because moments pass and it’s easy to hate myself. But it’s beautiful to be reminded that I’m allowed space, I require space, and I don’t need to feel guilty for taking it up. I should own it, and so should you.
 
Right now I’m in a good place.
I am 162 pounds of star stuff and magic and fairy dust and awesome. I take up space and that’s actually good. I’m worth space, I’m worth taking care of myself, I’m worth having clothes that fit and not trying to squish my changing body into clothes that are the size I think I should be.
I’m healthy and alive and perfect.
And so are you.

health log/update 2015

Second pap smear ever today. New doctor is really nice and good at listening, was ready to stop at any time and actually knew what she was doing and had the tiny speculum. No crying or death levels of pain, and we got a good sample, so yay. No one judged me for my weight/gain, and my doctor actually listened when I talked to her about medications, preferences, and the no-libido-at-all problems I’ve been having while on lexapro.
She lowered my dose of lexapro to 10mg, and put me back on bupropion at 150mg. Meeting a month from now to re-evaluate. I’m so happy to be back on the thing I know works for my depression – though it’s the XL version which looks a little different than the other one I was one which wasn’t XL. I don’t know if there’s actually much of a difference. Apparently it might also help with the libido and I remember from last time there was a possibility of it helping with weight, though while I’m still taking lexapro I’m not really holding my breath.
No one acted like my current weight was an issue though – and I explained how I gained a lot from zoloft and even more from lexapro. She didn’t tell me how much I weighed today when I told her I hadn’t been looking, either, which was really lovely.
I got it on the little handout though, and it’s a bit, but not as much as I feared so that’s good.
I felt really cared for and listened to and not judged by anyone here, which was so nice. I was so scared, but now I’m so relieved I could almost happy cry.
I DIDN’T FEEL LIKE I WAS GONNA DIE THIS TIME, AHHH. so good. And when I told her the story she was like, yeah no wonder you would be super anxious about it.
 
Then I came home ate some stuff and slept because I was up all night with anxiety. 😛

It's okay 

 

Having tried is still worth something. Don’t let the lack of immediate success get you down. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Having done, having tried, having made…is valuable in itself. Don’t judge it harshly, you’re still growing and progress only comes with time and effort. 
You are a magical creature of wonder and more power than you know. You are good and perfect, love yourself a little. 


Because sometimes I need to remind myself of things, and as loud as the mean voices are, when I write down my own truths in my own voice, I feel stronger. 

let downs

Sometimes it feels like the universe just really wants me to not get in to any of the communities that would help me grow faster and it’s really frustrating. I instantly hear the words of my parents when they ripped away my only social outlet and community as a teenager (competitive speech and debate) “you’re not going anywhere, so obviously this isn’t for you” and were one step closer to securing my life’s focus to be entirely on raising their children, cleaning their house, and cooking their food. My parents weren’t much with the keep trying thing, they were more with the, if you do it twice and don’t succeed to our standards, give the fuck up and go be invisible, doing what we want you to do.
 
I know it’s not personal, but years of living with people who make any “failure” out to be because you specifically suck is a hard mental cycle to break, even though I’ve been away for 6 years now. And when I try to apply to places where learning and community happen – whether it’s Ada or Geek and Sundry or cool jobs – and I don’t make it, it feels like it is because I specifically suck, and I specifically don’t deserve to have a community or group or boost to learning, because I specifically am horrible and have to do it the hard way.
 
Come to think of it, another piece of this feels onion is the about 18 years my parents spent saying that never having good things happen to you is the most holy thing, and working to improve and make things better is pointless because if it’s going to happen god will just plop it on your lap with no effort from you.
 
A theory I strongly believe to be bullshit (aided by my general agnosticism: I don’t have any celestial being to drop something good in my lap), but that comes up when I try really really hard to improve myself only to have that avenue not be open to me at the moment.
 
Basically all I learned from my parents is: why bother? don’t even try, and live in that miserable pit because it’s holy.
 
And I know it’s a lie, and abusive, and unhealthy – but then when I do try, and I put my heart and soul into a thing and it doesn’t pan out…guess what’s the first thing I hear?
 
So I’m going to cry today.
And then I’ll come back next week and do the things. I can teach myself, I did it all of my education. I’ll keep doing that and looking for opportunities. But right now I need to just be sad.

tangent

I didn’t do any WordPress videos on Tuesday, because a work project came up which meant I got to play with MySQL databases and mess around on the server side, so learning was still a thing. Had this huge problem that was created by my browser deciding to insert my email address in the whitelist space…so, just a day in the life.
Monday was the one year anniversary of Kiery’s Fairy Porn and I drew a fairy, obviously.
While averting minor crises today I also managed to get out a full E.R.A. comic. I moved my Wacom tablet to my laptop, which means the way I usually export and upload is different so the compression is weird but all the tools worked while drawing, so. It’s weird how much an OS change can really fuck you over if one of your incredibly commonly used pieces of hardware didn’t make a driver for it. 😛
Anyway. I had a lot of really great thoughts while I was taking a shower, but now they’re rescinding.

It really feels like autumn here. The weather is lovely and finally starting to be the drizzly Seattle I was promised. Night is heavy and dark and magical. We have a planter with a grow light which helps – it’s basically a sun light, but it’s currently over three pods of basil. I love how the colors outside are more vibrant when it’s overcast. Happy to be somewhere it can be chilly and grey but not monochromatic and snow covered.

I’m helping a friend out by testing a product for her (called It Works) that’s basically a vitamin complex to make your hair/skin/nails grow and be all nice and stuff. “But Kiery, you just cut your hair! Why do you want to grow it again?” Because I can cut it again, my dear! Also my hair could use some nourishment after being mostly bleached and colored for the last couple years, so it can’t hurt, right?
I also grabbed some scalp happiness/damage repair shampoo because my hair has been angry with me; right now my hair is super soft.
This is something I know all of you wanted to know, YOU’RE WELCOME. (The shampoo/conditioner I got is Clear, from Target, if yeah, anyway). I just want my head to be less itchy and dandruff-y 😛

I’m having feelings and thoughts about lip hairs, so maybe there’ll be a comic on that on Friday.

untitled

When you have a lot of silent thoughts but not the words to say them.
So you decide to just start somewhere in hopes of matching words to the feeling on the tip of your tongue.
 
Having my week split into days to focus on things worked pretty well. It works for me because then I end up making a little bit of progress on everything and not feeling overwhelmed by options or running myself ragged because I’m trying to do 5 things in one day. There’s also the room of it being a wide swath of time so I can just do the thing when I feel like it, stop when I feel like it, and go from there. Enough of a blank canvas that I don’t feel stifled or bogged down by routine, but focused enough that I’m not paralyzed by indecision — with the ability to stop and reevaluate at my whim.
 
I made some progress on the WordPress theme project, decided Ruby is my true love, and caught up on the Drawlloween prompts.
Tomorrow I’m going to go to the Short Run comix and art festival dressed as a fairy, and the rest of today is convincing myself to chill out after a couple of very very long weeks.

IMG_0297
Fairy prototype.

Ruby Thursdays

I’ve already done a little bit with Ruby. But I figured it’d be a good idea to start at the beginning. So I switched program trees and started Ruby Basics.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much I like Ruby better than PHP, but anyway.
I made some strings and learned about whitespace and gets.
And then a work project came up so I went back into WordPress mode, because that’s what I do. 🙂