I have been absent again. It's possible that I've just got too much other stuff going on to be successful at blogging the way I used to be. Lately, I've got a good excuse, which is that a flare-up in my shoulder has made it generally difficult to sit and id irritated especially by computer use, so I've been limiting my computer use to activities that are easily performed when flat on my back with my computer on my belly. Reading, and playing Puzzle Loop, mainly.

One place I've been reading is Making Space, and I wanted to draw attention to a recent post of hers by quoting the part that feels particularly relevant to me right now.

I thought that life was about struggle and hardship. I thought that the more I focused on the struggle, the more honest I was as a person. I thought that the more I endured and discussed and processed the hardships the more authentic I’d be. But, you see, there was always that part inside me that I couldn’t find, that I had hidden even from myself.

So when I found it, and the weight of not knowing myself was gone, I started to realize, ever so slowly, that virtue is not a function of self-induced suffering; and goodness is not a feature of following external dictates that bring psychic pain.

But still, I thought, well, when I come out farther and farther, the struggle will just be greater and greater and I just need to know that. Well, there have been some seriously scary explosions along the way. I’ve had to learn where to wall up and where to be open. And it turns out I had it exactly backwards before – the people with whom I feel most open are the ones I would not have sought out before; and the people to whom I felt I owed openness, it turns out I owe them exactly nothing.

I called my mother to tell her that Astasia and I are now engaged, and it did not go well. It was basically a trainwreck. Coming out has been, in my life, mainly a series of battles with my family. No one else is surprised, and no one else cares all that much. But my family, they are the ones who are supposedly deserving of my honesty and love. Over and over again they show me that they deserve only a pretend version of me. Well behaved but closed off, smiling but cold. They liked me better when I was miserable and they only want happiness for me if it can be on their terms, if it means I will change and be more like them. They've always wanted this, even when my gayness wasn't the issue.

Maybe my gayness was always the issue. I just didn't know it.

My mom says her love for me hasn't changed, and maybe that's true. She always treated me like this, whether the issue was wardrobe, hair, grammar, she was always so convinced that I could never be happy unless I conformed, and she certainly wouldn't support any happiness I experienced unless I experienced it through that conformity.

I keep telling myself that if they really loved me, they'd at least want to consider that they're wrong. They'd just try to see things from my perspective. Maybe I'm giving them too much credit. Maybe I'm expecting them to be someone they're not, the same way they're expecting that of me. Maybe I'm wishing they'd change into rational, thinking, self aware people. They've never been those things, why start now?

Maybe I just need to think of them as people with a certain handicap, to relate to them as such. The openness I keep begging them for is something they are not capable of.

In just a few days I have to visit them for christmas, and I am dreading it. Sometime before then I have to send my sisters a message telling them that I am engaged. I resent them all for introducing this stress into a very happy time in my life. I keep telling Astasia how much I hate them all, and she smiles and pats my head and says she knows.

My family forces me to compartmentalize my feelings about them in order to enjoy the sheer wonderfulness of my life. But I refuse to take responsibility for, as my mother fears, ruining christmas. If her christmas is ruined, that is all her.


Why the Bible matters to me

A few years ago, as I was slowly recovering from my life as an evangelical, it came to me that the bible cannot possibly be the infallible word of god. This quickened my recovery and opened up a whole new world of freedom from dogma, shame, and fear. Possibly the most significant effect of this transition was that I finally felt free to ask myself the really hard questions about my sexual orientation and give myself the freedom to chase what I really wanted.

I am now deeply happy, living a whole new life with Astasia, pursuing a future I had never thought possible. Yet I keep returning to the bible and what it says, investigating its meanings, and reading what others have to say on the matter. Astasia would probably describe my preoccupation with the intersection of christianity and homosexuality to be borderline obsessive. I am thoroughly convinced that there is nothing in the bible condemning homosexual orientation, and I am deeply interested in how others might discover this perspective.

Why, you may ask (others have asked), if you don't believe in god or the authority of scripture, do you care whether it addresses the issue of homosexual orientation? It's a valid question. What the bible has to say about me will not affect my behavior or inform the way I think about myself, at least not anymore. Do the words in the bible really affect my life at all?

Yes, they do.

Which is to say, the words in the bible affect people who affect my life. My family, for example. But parental disapproval aside, you can't tell me that the resistance we've had to gay marriage in this country is not related to religion. Even those who don't consider themselves religious will cite the bible as evidence that homosexuality is wrong. Hate crimes committed against gay victims are done in the name christianity's moral authority.

Conversations I've had with christians on the subject usually end with the christian saying that we should assume the most obvious interpretation. The problem I have with this is not surprising - it's completely selective. I remember discussions in my family's church regarding the role of women in the church. The plain language of Paul in the New Testament is that women should not be permitted to speak in church, however, there was much made of original language and cultural context, so that those teaching the matter to me concluded that while Paul's plain language implied that he didn't think women ought to be permitted to speak in church, the true meaning of the text was not an attempt to subjugate women.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I suggest that original language and cultural context ought to play a part in biblical interpretation of supposedly anti-gay texts, and am told to just accept the plain language of scripture and stop trying to rationalize and justify my immoral lifestyle.

I was thrilled when I finally came across an exhaustive scholarly treatment of the history of homosexuality as it relates to christianity that is highly regarded in academic circles. The book is "Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century" by John Boswell. While it is primarily a historical study, Boswell does delve into the realm of Greek language and biblical text as it relates to the culture of the time. It was, overall, a dense and difficult but immensely rewarding read.

Thus, I've decided to read it again, and respond to it here on this blog. As I have loads of homework for the next two weeks, I can't promise much immediately, but that doesn't really matter, as I can't possibly post less frequently than I have been, and I'm mostly just talking to myself here anyway.

I'd like to be better at posting regularly, so I'll probably post about other things too. But that's my intention for now.



Time flies when you're working your ass off on an unreasonable deadline, thus my absence. Last week I posted on Coming Out day, and now I am posting on "Wear Purple" day.... is this an actual day? I hadn't heard of it before, but then I didn't pay much attention to issues of gay rights when I was still focused on being straight. Is this a newly instituted day to call attention to the teen suicides? Or is it a coincidence that the two things are close, chronologically?

Either way, it's a day when I'm supposed to wear purple, but I'm trapped in Boston without a change of clothes and even if I wasn't, I don't own anything purple. Maybe that makes me a bad gay. I don't know. I'm wearing my pride bracelet.

It is Wednesday which means my project ought to be done and is officially off limits to me, though I don't present till Friday, which means I have nothing to do. Hence the post. Hence hence, I am sitting in Starbucks clicking around on Uno's wireless wifi (because starbucks hates the internets) investigating symbols of gay pride/power/identification. I am doing this because a) I can, and b)I thought I should change my facebook avatar at least, since I can't change my clothes.

I have settled on the purple hand.

I like the story behind it, and it appeals to my fascination with turning tables. If you don't know about the purple hand, here is the story. In 1969 a bunch of gay rights activists held a protest in front of the San Francisco Examiner in response to a series of anti-gay articles being published. Employees of the Examiner dumped purple ink on the protesters from the third story, and the protesters proceeded to use the ink to stamp purple handprints on the building and other places in the city. The protesters were subsequently set upon by police.

Gay rights have really come a long way since 1969. At times like this, when gay teens (or perceived to be gay teens) are killing themselves, it's hard to really know where we stand. For some people, death seems like a better alternative to life as a gay person. I can't even imagine what life must be like for those people, and I know that there are all kinds of factors that play into that. For others, life as a gay person is happy, something we almost take for granted. Living in the northeast, there are almost no circumstances where I experience difficulty due to being gay. I know that it's far different in the midwest, or the south.

It's easy to forget, living here, how hard it is for others, living elsewhere. It's easy to forget how hard it used to be to hear my family uttering ignorant statements about gays, hearing my condemnation from the pulpit, keeping my secret and feeling separated from everyone I loved because of it. There are people right now contemplating suicide and I don't know who they are. If I did, I'd do my damnedest to tell them that they can live a happy healthy life surrounded by people they love. I'd do everything I could to convince them that god doesn't hate them. Since I don't know who they are, I hope they can get a glimpse of the "It gets better" campaign, and that it'll seep into their consciousness and keep them alive long enough for them to find whatever they need to be happy.

It's also easy to forget the people who fought so hard so that I can walk down the street hand in hand with my girlfriend. The people who got ink dumped on them, their teeth knocked out by police officers, people who've been arrested and beaten because they weren't content to keep their secret and toe the line. I owe my freedom to those who have suffered and sometimes died in an attempt to change the world into one where it is safe for everyone to love who they love.

So I guess today is bittersweet for me. My project is done, but not done. And gay rights are good, but not good. And I am happy for my freedom and sad for the pain of those who haven't found it yet.


Coming Out

I suppose the appropriate thing to do on Coming Out Day is write a blog post about how you came out.... yes? Either that, or actually come out to someone who doesn't already know, but I don't want to do that.

My story is not spectacular, but that one moment continues to affect me and my relationships with my family in ways that are sometimes painful. I haven't lived near my family for a very long time. At the time I came out, I was living in a different province and only saw my family maybe twice a year, generally Christmas and some time in summer, possibly an additional visit if circumstances allowed. So I had a hard time figuring out what would be the right thing to do. I couldn't "ruin christmas," but really I visited so seldom that I didn't want to "ruin" any visit. I say ruin because my family are evangelical christians. That's not entirely true. My parents are divorced and both remarried. So my father and his wife are not evangelical christians, but my mom, her husband, my three sisters and all their husbands are.

What I didn't want was to find myself in a room with eight adults jumping down my throat and making demands that I somehow explain, repent, and change my ways. I didn't want to be put on the defensive, I didn't want to fight, and I didn't want to be exorcised. Some people say it's the sort of thing you need to say in person, out of consideration for the people you're telling. I decided to try to be considerate of them, but to protect myself first, and so I wrote them a letter. I wrote the gentlest letter I could write, and I tried to explain that I had always known or suspected that I might be gay. I tried not to apologize for being gay. I wrote a little about what it had been like to be so afraid of what they would think, and how lonely it had been growing up.

They respected my wishes and waited a week or so after receiving the letter to call me. Initially, things seemed to have turned out okay. My mom cried, of course, they wanted to know about the boys I'd dated. They wanted me to know that they still loved me. It seemed like a best case scenario.

Until they started suggesting reparative therapy. They wanted me to talk to someone who was ex-gay. They wanted to know.... do I WANT to be gay? They sent me CD's about how I'm gay because of my home life, and if my psyche was only healed, I could move towards a healthy hetero life again.

This began to drive a wedge between us. Their doctrine tells them that our relationship has to have a disclaimer. "We love you..... even though you're gay." Love the sinner, hate the sin. It's an incredibly condescending and divisive tagline, and they don't seem to realize it.

When I finally told my stepmother the Christmas after I'd moved in with Astasia, she stated that she knew, her and my dad had discussed their suspicions about me, and it wasn't a big deal. She said she wanted me to be happy and she was glad I found someone, and that she'd tell my dad. He and I haven't discussed it since then, but then we haven't been speaking at all. That's a different story.

These days I enjoy being a part of Astasia's family. They include and accept me without disclaimers. Being with my own family feels strained and exhausting, but luckily I'm far away enough now that I only see them once a year.

So that's my story. I hope that one day my family can let go of their prejudice, accept that Astasia's an integral part of my life. I hope that when we get married they can be happy for me. I hope it gets better, with them.

Since then I've been trying to tell people as though it was no big deal. I've mentioned it to a few cousins, in the hopes that the gossip would spread. I've decided not to tell my grandparents at all. Partially because they're not my actually grandparents, but my stepsister's grandparents, but also because they're on the brink of death and I was thinking of waiting them out.

It shouldn't be a big deal. I shouldn't have to worry about how anyone's going to react. I should have to plan how I'm going to tell them. I shouldn't worry that they'll cry when I tell them I'm engaged. It's completely unfair, but I try not to dwell on it. Their religious prejudice may make them miserable, but it doesn't have to make me miserable. After all, gay means happy.


Weekend De-brief

Sometimes, it helps to write things out. Sometimes if I write something on a blog, I can finally stop thinking about it and move on to other, more cheerful things.

So I'm gonna try to write about this. I'm not sure yet if it'll work, as I'm not really in a writing frame of mind, but I'm gonna try anyway, because architorture school doesn't give you time to stay in a funk.

On Saturday morning I took the dogs for a walk in the woods. My two dogs, Abu and Puja, and Astasia's family's dog, Forest. It was a beautiful morning and a pleasant walk. We walked along the river bank and everyone was behaving themselves, and I was feeling upbeat and happy. I gave Forest a stick, and he excitedly ran through the woods with it. As I was watching him run, he yelped suddenly and limped back to the trail.

I assumed he'd landed funny on his paw, or tripped, and that he'd just need a couple minutes to favor it and then he'd be fine. He is old, and sometimes he hurts himself a little but recovers. When I arrived to check his paw however, I saw that it was bleeding. Profusely.

As I have done in the past when Puja sprung a leak, I grabbed some large leaves and tried to apply pressure until the bleeding stopped. For a minor wound, this would have worked. Instead, blood continued to flow. Blood was all over my hands. It was dripping off of them. I tried to wipe them off on the grass, but there was little grass and it was no longer wet with dew. I took off my sweater and then my tank top, then replaced my sweater. I wrapped my tank top around his paw as tightly as I could, to no avail. It was soaked with blood and continued to drip within minutes.

Holding the fabric to his paw, I somehow managed to get my phone and one-handedly dialed Astasia's sister, asking her to come with first aid supplies. I pulled the string out of my hood and used it to tie the tank top around his paw, then demanded he lay down so we could wait.

When the first aid supplies arrived, I tried to dress him. I would no sooner get him wrapped up than the dressing was soaked through. I wrapped him again, and again it was soaked through. I decided that the only thing to do was get him out of the woods as quickly as possible, and hoped he could limp his way out, but this only exacerbated the bleeding.

With no options left, I lifted him on my shoulders to carry him out. It wasn't long before his 70-ish pounds had me ready to collapse. Astasia's sister helped me by propping up his front end. Together we marched as quickly as we could, with Forest dripping blood all the way to the road. It was probably between a quarter and half mile.

In the end, we got him to a vet, and he is now bandaged and miserable with a plastic cone around his head, but he will be fine.

I, on the other hand, am getting frequent flashes of bright red dripping blood. I can see it pooling in my tank top, black drops of it on the grass, smeared and dark all over my hands, and finally, pale and diluted as it runs into the drain at the vet's bathroom. I am not a queasy person, I don't get ill at the sight of blood, but the memory of having so much of it on me, being scared for Forest, not knowing how I was gonna get him safe. Being alone and helpless, being angry with Abu and Puja for being playful and impatient.....

People go through worse trauma. I feel guilty for being as affected as I am by this. As though dog blood is somehow less scary than people blood. I feel sometimes that bad luck follows me, that freak accidents always happen when I'm around. My rational mind knows that I don't cause these things to happen. Still. My feelings are all over the place. I'm cranky and my muscles hurt and every time I think I've put it behind me I see blood.

So that was my weekend. How was yours?



I just realized that there is another Shinobi-Wan Kenobi who writes fanfiction based on Final Fantasy. That's super nerdy. I'm annoyed that they have the same name as me, but probably at some point I'll sneak over to fanfiction.net and see if it's anything worth reading. Some good Tifa Lockhart erotica would really make my day.

........ Nope, nothing worth reading. As you were.



Ugh. I miss my girl. School has kept me so busy I had to crash at a friend's place on campus. To borrow my hostess's word, Architecture has swallowed me. After going to sleep at 2, I'll be heading back to studio by 8. These are the details of my life by which I prompt myself to begin writing, so that I may promptly launch into my actual post, which may or may not take all day to complete.

Intro to Sociology is taught by an adorable, witty, and slightly befuddled old lady with the appropriate and delightful appellation of Professor Tuck. Professor Tuck does everything she can to make the material interesting and keep us entertained, and one of those ways is to prompt discussion on a range of topics. The other day homosexuality popped up, and she asked if we thought people were born that way, or if they choose to be.

A couple of guys near the back piped up that they thought it was a choice, and it's worth mentioning that one of them was Connecticut Redneck. For the record, I hated that kid before this class.

Professor Tuck asks him why he thinks the way he does and he replies that he thinks homosexuality is something people choose because lots of gay people have been with people of the opposite gender, which leads to him thinking that since they're perfectly capable of acting straight, they must be actively choosing to be gay.

Now, while I hate this kid, I can see where he's coming from. He doesn't understand how a person can apparently swing both ways, and then claim they have no choice when they "pick" one gender over the other. He's probably one of the millions of people who've been tricked into thinking that homosexuality is only defined by how and with whom you have sex. And since I've been wanting to talk about this issue of choice, I am using him as a springboard to do so.

Homosexuality, as a word, like heterosexuality, is defined by which gender you prefer to have sex with, but it is an incomplete and, in my opinion, slightly irresponsible definition. Being gay may, at some point, involve having sex with someone of the same gender. But a heterosexual person does not become heterosexual upon becoming sexually active. Prior to the popping of that cherry, they will have crushes on, obsess about, pursue relationships with certain members of the opposite gender, not necessarily (though, sometimes) with the intention of having sex with that individual. They are attracted to, desire the company of, develop emotional bonds with opposite gendered people. Everyone understands this about heterosexual people. I am stating the obvious and you are wondering why.

The reason why is that it is the same way with gay kids. We do not wake up one morning and say to ourselves "By what method can I ostracize myself from society, disappoint my parents, and deprive myself of constitutional rights taken for granted by most people today? Shall I fail at my school work? Get arrested for vandalism, perhaps? I know, I'll have dirty gay sex! That'll work!" and then proceed to engage in purely sexual encounters just for the dirty fun of it.

The argument that gay people choose to be gay has a bunch of problems but there are two that are glaringly obvious. The first is that the people who say we choose do not believe that they could choose themselves. They cannot choose to be gay, which is to say that they could not make themselves suddenly want to be in a relationship with someone of the same gender. But they think you can. There is something about them that makes them not choose to be gay, but there is something about you that makes you choose to be gay. Something intrinsic, perhaps? Like actually being gay prior to and irrespective of the choice you make? Hmmm?

There's also the issue of why on god's green earth someone would choose to identify as a stigmatized and sometimes violently hated demographic if they had the choice. Yes, some people are masochists. And yes, the situation in North America is a lot better than it used to be. However, not long ago you put your life on the line in order to engage in hot gay sex, and in some countries you still do. So why does someone need that so badly that they will risk all manner of horrible death or mutilation in order to acquire it? They put that need in their own heart? Because it seemed like a good idea?

All that aside, there remains the fact that I did not choose. You can tell me I did, but I didn't. On the contrary, there was a time when I "chose" to be straight, and I did my very best to follow through, but the choice was not whether to be straight or gay, the choice was whether to behave straight or gay. It seems like a small distinction, but it is a huge one. An enormous motherfucker of a distinction.

Which leads me to the role of choice in sexual orientation.

Gay people are really not different from straight people. We want what we want, but we choose whether we will pursue it. Straight people want happy fulfilling relationships with people of the opposite gender, and they make decisions about how best to make that happen. Some of them get drunk in bars and have sex with people until they find one they like more than all the others. Some of them spot someone they like and pursue a relationship that may or may not include sex. They choose if they will be promiscuous or not, and they decide how to treat the people they're interested in. They make all kinds of decisions about their behavior in the pursuit of romantic or sexual interests.

But they don't choose who they're attracted to. It just happens. A girl doesn't look at a guy and decide "I'm going to find that guy attractive." He's hot or he isn't, and she reacts to her attraction to his hotness or lack thereof.

The girl who has seldom, if ever, looked at a guy and thought he was hot finds her eyes drifting to another girl. She wants to know her name, she wants to get to know her. She hasn't even noticed the hot guy. She did not decide to not notice him, she just didn't. She is not deciding to be curious about the girl, she just can't stop wondering.

You can tell a person they chose to be gay till you're blue in the face. They know better than you do whether they've make a decision or not, and odds are pretty good that the only decisions they've made are in regards to their behavior, not who to be attracted to.

We can always choose our behavior. It's really the only thing we have control of. We can choose to suppress our most basic needs and submit them to some other goal. We can even subject ourselves to sex with people we don't want to have sex with in order to hide a part of ourselves we are afraid to confront or expose. But we can't choose to have that need any more than we can choose to breathe.

So. There is, apparently, scientific data regarding the inherent nature of homosexual attraction, but I'm not a science nerd. If you are a science nerd, please direct me to some good, readable material on the subject, because I like to have plenty of weapons in my arsenal, in case I need to make the argument while choosing to conceal my identity as a dirty dirty lesbian ho.

I'm done now. Goodbye.



Everyone has needs, and they're all different.

I am an introvert. I need a certain number of hours in my day when I am alone, or very nearly so. Under normal circumstances, I spend my evenings with Astasia, which is like being alone because she feels like a part of me, and she doesn't suck out my life force like some kind of vampire. If anything, she contributes to my energy levels.

Left to my own devices I am a solitary, stoic, sarcastic individual who has a hard time expressing things like affection, and being nice to people on a regular basis is the sort of thing I can do provided I have enough time in my day to take care of myself. I am not a social butterfly, I am not gregarious.

Astasia, on the other hand, is soft, and warm, and expresses her feelings, and when I'm around her, I become more like that. I experience joy and excitement, or maybe peace, perhaps an overwhelming sense of any emotion at all. Her influence on me is to put me in touch with how I feel, and make me comfortable to allow those feelings to be apparent.

Lately, I leave the house before Astasia wakes up and arrive home after she's gone to bed. This is necessary due to a combination of my course load and hellish commute. The immediate consequence is that I am cranky, have a headache, have lost productivity, and I don't feel like being nice to people. I feel like being an asshole.

Did I used to be an asshole, before I met Astasia? Maybe I did. I never thought of myself that way, but I guess assholes generally don't.

The longer I'm away from my girl, the more I feel like smirking at all the kids I have to be in school with, blowing off my homework, and ignoring my professors. I feel like sitting in the back of class and carving my name in the desk. I feel like telling the connecticut redneck just what an irritating fuck he really is.

Tonight I go home a little bit early. My soul needs some patching up, and there's only one person who can do it.

My studio will have to wait.



Today was my first day back at school. I had so much anxiety about it that I hardly slept last night, and woke up at 4 instead of the required 5. I do this every time. I don't know why the first day of classes stresses me out like this, but it does.

That said, today went off without a hitch. I found all my classes, on time, got all my books, took notes, chuckled politely at icebreaker jokes made by professors, the usual. The hardest thing today was sitting still. When I got home I found Astasia waiting for me with a rose and a piece of cheesecake. I really am a very lucky girl.

Everyone's so much nicer this year. Last year, I thought it might be my imagination, but now I know it's true. Everyone really does hate freshmen. It's just so irritating to be a 29 year old freshman, because people don't know they can treat you like an adult (if, like me, you pass for a little punk). Now I'm a 29 year old sophomore, and it's so much better.

For now, the homework is practically nil. I'm enjoying it while it lasts.


Counting the days

This is officially my last weekend of freedom, before school starts. In three days I'll dive back into my 2 hour commute, constant homework, and perpetual stress. This time I hope to do better at taking care of myself, but it's so hard when they keep you in such a state of panic. This time I'll be taking a clean, quiet bus with an on board restroom into a station with plenty of opportunities for parkour, and I hope that I can make the time, even if it's just a few minutes, to get myself moving.

For those wondering, parkour is a.... well it depends who you ask. Discipline, sport, method of training that focuses on the overcoming of obstacles in a fluid and efficient manner. It includes a lot of different things. Here's a delightful video if you're curious.

Last year I was plagued with back pain due to endlessly standing hunched over my drawings, laboring over straight lines, and even though there's a gym at school, I always felt like I simply didn't have the time to utilize it. The architecture program assigns a pretty healthy amount of homework, and all of it is intensely time consuming. Before school, I did a physically demanding job, and between that and knowing where the spots were to do a quick little bit of training, I kept in pretty good shape and had managed to banish all of the aches and pains that had been plaguing me for years. Last year, I spent my life sitting on trains, sitting in classes, and sitting or standing while doing homework, and never training because I was either on my way to a train or class, too tired, or didn't know where I could go to find obstacles at my level. As a result, my back pain returned, along with the tightness in my shoulders and neck, and occasional knee pain.

People who aren't familiar with Parkour and all the work and conditioning that goes into it think that it's just crazy kids doing crazy stunts that will more than likely get them seriously hurt. I have found that it's exactly to opposite, for all kinds of reasons. Training your body to deal with all kinds of physical situations mitigates the risk of being in those situations, but more importantly for me, the training itself makes all my aches and pains go away.

It's really counter-intuitive. How could a high impact activity like parkour make you hurt less? Shouldn't it make your muscles sore? Shouldn't your knees and ankles hurt from all that jumping? Before I started training, and shortly after, I would have answered yes. In the beginning my body was so horribly unaccustomed to this sort of activity that I was constantly nurturing some strained body part, even though I'd spent the winter previous conditioning and building all the muscles I could think of. Getting over this hump, however, revealed a world to me in which I felt capable and agile, and more importantly, the constant pain I had been learning to live with was absent.

I am not a physical therapist or any kind of scientist, so I can only hypothesize in the uninformed, anecdotal kind of way, but I am guessing it has something to do with the whole-body movements involved. When I'm lifting weights, I'm working biceps, or triceps, or hamstrings, or whatever. When I'm performing a simple broad jump, however, I'm using muscles from my feet all the way up to my neck. When I'm performing movements that require me to twist, leap, and balance, every muscle I possess is involved and getting necessary exercise, exercise they don't get in a life of sitting and standing, walking and bending.

Every body is different, but my body needs this sort of activity to function. I know this, because after just a couple sessions of reintroducing myself to Parkour, my back pain has disappeared. Oh yes, muscles have screamed out in rage at being neglected and then suddenly called upon, but not in the way where they're injured. They've been woken and are angry that they were neglected. Two days is all they need calm down.

Today I hope to train again. I have been easing into it, and I hope I can keep it up. I like feeling good, and not having pain. I missed that lightness on my feet, that confidence in my environment.


I don't know if it's just a coincidence, but it seems like all of the blogs I've been finding lately have been christian-come-atheist blogs. I guess once you start clicking around in one corner of the blogosphere, you discover a world of people who feel the same.

As a result, I've spent a fair bit of time today reading about other people's experiences and comparing them to my own. It's interesting to me because even while I was blogging through my gradual descent from grace, I didn't seem to meet many bloggers that were having a parallel experience. Now it seems everywhere I look, people are telling stories that are strikingly similar to mine.

It's been a long time since I left the church. Coming out to my parents as a non-christian was almost as bad as coming out as gay. To this day, I'm not sure which they're more upset about. They tell me all the time about how much they love me even though I be so gay. It would be easy to blame my gayness or my non-christian-ness, or even the thousand miles of highway between me and them, for the distance I feel from my family, but if I was going to be really honest, I always felt like I didn't belong. I was always the odd one out.

I could say we're not close because our values are so different, but I think that's just the thing that gave me the excuse to.... excuse myself. Sometimes I feel like I must be a bad person because I don't have a harder time being separate from them.

My stepsister has a blog which I check in on from time to time to see pictures of my niece and nephews. From there I can spy on her friends, who used to be my friends, people I used to go to church with. I can also follow a link to her church, which used to be my church, and read the statement of faith. It is fifteen-fold, comprised mostly of the jargon you're used to seeing in an evangelical theological document. Jesus, blah blah.... Trinity and so forth, sin and redemption. All the minutia that makes this particular evangelical church separate from the one down the street.

Number fifteen, however, is not a theological description. It's merely a social stance.

"We believe in Christian marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others."

Personally, I don't think this sentence belongs in a statement of faith. It's a perfect example of how sidetracked the church in general has become. More importantly, however, it is a wedge. A wedge between a girl and her family. It is the strange tone of a sister's voice on the telephone. It's just one of the many ways a dogmatic religion robs from its followers.

On the upside, next time I visit and my mom tries to drag me to church with her, I have a valid excuse not to go. After all, it says "the exclusion of all others." They don't want me there.


I'll be looking this guy up

I'm gonna try not post all kinds of youtubery every day unless it's truly worth viewing. That said, this video is worth viewing if you are at all interested in the intersection of religion and gay marriage.

This guy has some amazing brass balls and I think it's a terrible pity that he'll probably only manage to pull off this stunt a couple times before word gets around. He's the son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. If you don't know who the Bakkers are, click this. I'd love to be a fly on the wall at Denny's or wherever these particular church-goers head for sunday lunch.

Thanks to Cutting Through the Crap for showing it to me.


By way of identification

Being new in the blogosphere... again... I've been poking around at various blogs, some that I used to read and some that are all shiny and new. I came across this super old post regarding atheism, agnosticism, and self identification, and thought it might make a good start.

It used to be really important to me to know where I stood, theologically speaking. As a youngun I was what Astasia likes to call a "superchristian" and even my memories of myself back then are annoying, so I can only imagine how I seemed to people who weren't me. My adherence to strict doctrine provided me with a sense of purpose and belonging which I so desperately needed. When faith couldn't keep up with questions, in my mid twenties, I made good use of the intrawebs to track down a new religion that made sense to me.

Universal Reconciliation, Gnosticism, Taoism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, some weird Atlantis religion, anything was subject to my perusal. I spent every day blogging my deconstruction of some aspect of my childhood faith until all that was left was nothing. I had a vague sense that I believed in a God of some sort or another, but I had no idea what that might look like. The resulting vacuum left me desperate to figure out what I believed and where I might find more who believed the same. I tried on various philosophies. I liked the Gnostics best but I wondered if I was smart enough to read their blogs. The Universal Reconciliation guys were super nice but too much of their doctrine was too close to what I'd grown up with. I was gun shy. The Taoists hardly ever updated. The Children of Atlantis were just fucking crazy.

I say all this because while reading Greta Christina's blog it occurred to me that I wasn't really sure what I identified as, and more startling, that I hadn't even given the matter any thought in a good long while. At some point I got involved in Ninjutsu and Parkour, and that seemed to be enough. Now I feel that the categories of believer, agnostic and atheist are insufficient.

For example, do these categories deal only with an individual's belief in a god, or does the definition of god play any importance? If you asked me if I believe in a conscious creator who interferes with the world, I would say no. But that doesn't mean that don't believe in a Something. Something that maybe animates the living? Something like a soul, or a collective soul, or a Tao..... a good vibration perhaps? Maybe. Will scientific evidence one day come out in defense of Reiki or therapy crystals? Is there a soul inside me that will somehow continue after I die? These are all things that I refuse to take a stance on.

So maybe a 5, where 7 is atheist?

I agree that people should be allowed to identify themselves as they please, though it helps to pay some attention to what a word means. When kids at college tell me "You're a lesbian? That's great, I'm a lesbian too!" I really want to smack them. I know they're making a joke, but a man who likes women is just a straight guy. Meanwhile, there are actually men out there who identify as women who are lesbians, but will certainly have a long road ahead of them. I don't think it's a laughing matter. Try to tell freshmen that. I personally am probably just mostly gay. Sometimes I wonder if I don't just identify as a straight man. I'm happy to leave it ambiguous in my mind, but people like labels, nice and tidy simple labels. The whole idea of identifying as one thing or another is really just about categorizing yourself in a way people can understand.

When it comes to self identity, I think it would be so nice if we could all just accept one another's intricacies at face value.

This is my first post....

on my new blog.

I am returning from a somewhat long hiatus from blogging. In the time I've been gone, I have come to terms with being a closeted lesbian, found the love of my life, started college (10 years late) and discovered, then became disillusioned with, the world of online forums. It's been a busy time in my life.

I've returned to blogging with a bit of ambivalence. I feel a lack of focus and I'm not convinced I'll find the time to update regularly once school starts up again. I'm afraid that I'll never find a blogging community like the one I used to inhabit. I hope that I can. I seem to remember the discourse that happened in the blogosphere being so much more civil than that which occurs in forums.

Regardless, here I am. Back, like some kind of addict. The internets, they consume me.