Free to Be You and Me…Until You’re Uncomfortable?


I’ve noticed that people tend to be all aboard the gay rights train until their kid or friend or coworker comes out to them. For whatever reason, we can theoretically accept strangers for who they are but are unwilling to tell loved ones that they’re still important to us and that we love every bit of them, even the gay bits. I can guarantee there are several sociological studies on this phenomenon, and I’d be interested in seeing WHY we do this to each other.

It’s fucked up, y’all. Sorry, but I have to say it. Also, I’m definitely not sorry. Nope.

Denying people the right to come out to you is not-so-subtly implying that you disapprove of who they really are. It means you’re scared of the truth, that you’re unwilling to let them live a happy and full life, that you’re being willfully ignorant.

People also tend to be very accepting of gays until you tell them you’re bi. At that point, they tend to act like you simply like to slut it up with both genders, or they ask you if maybe you’re just going through a phase.

Yes…I’m going through a phase that has lasted my entire life. Look, I knew I was bi before I knew that being bi was a real thing. I knew I liked both women and men when I was five years old. If five-year-old Cappy knew, then 22-year-old Cappy knows, and 99-year-old Cappy will still definitely be on that bi train screaming “choo choo” at the top of her lungs. You know, to carry on with this weird train metaphor that I started at the beginning of this post.

I don’t have a whole lot of openly bi role models. Bi people tend to be pushed to the wayside because we’re not “fully straight” but often aren’t classified as gay either, so it puts us in this weird limbo where nobody wants to accept us as part of their group. The governor of Oregon is an openly bi woman, which means a lot to me. It’s nice to see bi people doing amazing things with their lives regardless of the fact that they’re majorly discriminated against by several large groups. I remember she got criticized about being openly bi, though, because people said that wasn’t an important factor in her identity so they didn’t feel she should be open about it.

While I understand that people say these things in an attempt to be accepting (“I’m so accepting that I don’t even want to know if you’re gay or straight”), they are actually being discriminatory. Nobody says that to straight people. If we can’t be out as gay or bi or trans or whatever we really are, then we likely cannot date openly or share this big part of ourselves with friends and family. It encourages people to stay closeted, feeling like they’re living a lie and experiencing huge mental stress. Saying there’s no reason for people to come out is like saying you don’t care about them, because you would extinguish a huge part of their identity. It’s selfish and wrong to expect sexual minorities to just shut up, put their head down, and go about life as if they were straight or cis het.

Basically, the rule of thumb should be this: are people letting the straight people do it? Marriage, dating openly, having sex, talking about their sexuality…we’re letting the straight people do it, so we should let gay and bi and pan and trans and all the people do it. And for goodness sake…when someone comes out to you, don’t push your insecurities onto them. Tell them you love them. Tell them they should be open and wild and free with their gayness. And if you’re feeling uncomfortable with all of it, talk to someone! There are like…500000000 online forums and information centers for you. We want you to be comfortable, too. Just not at our expense.

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Happy Happy


I just wanted to sit down and write something in the middle of the night because…I’m happy.

I’m happy because I’m warm in my bed and it’s absolutely frigid outside. I’m happy because I’m going home this weekend to visit my family and exist outside of this college town for a few days. I’m reading Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please, and every page I read reminds me of who I’m going to become — spirited and wise and silly. I played so much guitar yesterday that my fingers are still sore today. I’m listening to The Doors, Peter Paul and Mary, The Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young…and realizing how much beautiful music has made my life worth living. I spent the day with my roommate studying at a coffee shop and actually got a lot of work done. I’m happy because I’ve got two exams this week and feel enormously unprepared for both of them but…when has that ever stopped me? There’s always time.

I’ve found people I love and I spend time with them. I tell them how I feel about them. They feel the same way back.

I smell like incense almost every day because I bought champa flower oil and haven’t been able to stop sniffing myself for the past year. I worked out and ate cookies today.

I’m happy because…I’m me. And I’m a happy person. Even the word “happy” looks happy and that makes me happy, too.

Porches Are For Brownie


I’m all for smiling
but that woman is baring her teeth at me.
Why, Giada? Why? They…sparkle…
And Ina, I know that France
with its shops and street corners, berets and baguettes
is enchanting
but why must you tease me like that?
Hey, you. Sandra Lee
What’s in a name? You might as well be called
Sandra Dee, with your spiffy cooking ideas and
adorable cocktails.
Why does your outfit match your kitchen?
And who told you to put moss on that table?
As a “centerpiece”– more like
centipedes are gonna crawl outta that moss.
Paula! I love you, boo!
Needs more butter.
Rachael Ray, with your EVOO, you do realize that
fine dining establishments have
adopted that
on
their
menus
right?
Bobby Flay, I don’t wanna barbecue with you.
And Masaharu Morimoto, you iron chef you,
that’s some scary seafood, bro.
But I watch you all
and love you all
if only to pass beautiful afternoons
on the porch
playing cards with my grandmother
with sizzling steaks and — “I wish you could smell this”
existing quietly in the background.
Porches are for Brownie, my grandmother.
Porches and The Food Network.

 

So concludes part three of my childhood poetry series. Cheers, and all my love to my grandma, Brownie, whose delightful ring of “Cappy, darling!” brightens my day every time I call. xoxox.

Brownie


Is she not the loveliest woman you've ever seen? The picture came out blue for some reason...but the beauty's still there.

Is she not the loveliest woman you’ve ever seen? The picture came out blue for some reason…but the beauty’s still there.

My grandmother turned 93 years old on Friday. 93 years old. Can you imagine? The wonderful and terrible things she’s seen…

She was born in 1920 in Delaware. Her mother died giving birth to her, and she was raised by her aunt and uncle (who she thought were her real parents until apparently she overheard that they weren’t but kept it a secret for a long time, poor darling). I’m named after her uncle, Charles Brown, who she called Cappy because “he was the captain of their ship” meaning their house, as he was not a sea captain but in fact a fruit farmer. She’s told me stories about the Depression, when times were especially tough since he didn’t have a set salary. Once, he brought a cart of apples into town to sell, and she watched as he brought the whole cart, still full, back that evening. No sale.

We can’t imagine what people went through back then. They saw the worst of times, and they bucked up and worked harder. My grandma got a job at Woolworths on Saturdays for 20 cents an hour in Dover. “Wasn’t that generous?” she laughed to me today, in her beautiful, high movie star voice. That’s one thing I’ve always loved about her — she was raised in Delaware in a time when everyone spoke like it was Hollywood. At least, that’s what I think. She has that beautiful, eloquent East Coast way of speaking, but it’s something I’ve never heard in anyone else; her accent is unique, even apart from my grandfather’s. He was from New York, son of Germans, and I’ve never heard anyone talk like he did either.

Pops and Brownie, we call them. Pops passed about 4 years ago, into his 90s, and Brownie carries on in her blue Keds, jeans and light long sleeve shirts, her lovely slender fingers worn with age but still as soft as they were when I was a toddler. Edna Brown, you darling woman. My sister has her nose, her fingers. I have her height, I suppose — she was 5’9″ at her peak, though I don’t know how much age has affected that. She played basketball in high school when very few girls ever did, went to nursing school and had a career when that was probably pretty rare, and voted for the first female Episcopal priest. My grandmother paved the way for so many women, in her small way.

She met my grandfather — I forget where or how — when she was in nursing school (I think…the stories run together sometimes, and I heard them when I was so little) and they went to a movie together. Apparently, Pops had fallen and bumped his knee quite badly a while before, and in the dark movie theatre, he told her to feel it. Her hand on his knee, inspecting his wound, she realized her friends were walking by and thinking she was being rather bold in the movie theatre, touching the knee of this handsome young man on their first date. She’d laugh whenever she told that story, and it might be my favorite one ever. How my grandparents got together…seconded only by how my parents met (in an elevator, where my father, gregarious and friendly as ever, thought my mom was cute and asked her which floor she worked on. He returned later to ask her on a date. They went sailing and then to a movie with a group of friends, and in typical idiot-boy fashion, my dad sat on the other end of the group, all the way across the row from my mom).

She taught me to play Rummy. She and I sewed a yellow fleece poncho together — I still have it, though it makes me look a bit like a duckling, especially when I put the hood on. She taught me to knit, and we’d eat Cheetos and drink ice water on the back porch in the summertime. Chee-toes, she calls them. We went to the flower nursery together; she’d look at potted plants, and I’d stare into the pond at the koi fish and name the pretty ones (original names like Goldie and Chocolate). We’d watch Paula Deen together and cringe over the pounds of butter she’d add to her food. Giada De Laurentiis (granddaughter of Dino De Laurentiis, movie producer and my father’s old boss) and her huge, scary smile usually made us click to the next channel almost immediately. We made red velvet cake together in 7th grade, and I’ve never been able to make one that good since.

All my favorite presents are from her. They’re little, random ones: a recipe keeping book that I cried in happiness over; a book of Emily Dickinson poems that I devoured in a few days. I nannied this past week and the little boy asked me what the best present I ever got was…I could barely explain. He wouldn’t understand. No one would understand. My grandmother understood. Cooking and reading…Brownie definitely understood.

I forget how deeply I love my grandma sometimes, because I don’t see her often anymore. But then I remember all these amazing times we had. I have my name because of her adoptive father. I have my height because of her (and my father and grandfather). I definitely got my fingers from someone else, cuz these babies are not slender. My nose is my mother’s. I am a combination of everyone who came before me, but I am ambitious and I am strong, just like Brownie was. I wish I had twenty more years with her, but I wouldn’t trade these last twenty for fifty more.

Happy Birthday, Brownie. You’re sweet and lovely and you make me smile, and I’ll always be your “precious child” even if I am a bit of a ding dong sometimes.

This will be mailed out to her, as computer literacy did not grace my grandmother as it did me — ha just kidding, I can’t do anything but type on this thing anyway. I might accidentally be as old a soul as she. I did get my love of Emily Dickinson from her, after all.

I Have Learned


What I’ve learned since the year 2000:

1. When my dad says he took the bar exam, that does not mean he was training to be a really awesome bar tender.

2. People will come and go, but sour candy…that stuff’s forever. Literally. I think it’s radioactive, and I mean that in the best possible way.

3. I do not want to be a marine biologist, because it requires you to actually understand biology. I just really wanted to play with whales, but apparently that’s too much to ask.

4. I tan less than redheads.

5. eHarmony has nothing to do with musical talent.

6. The Watergate scandal did not involve a dam that cheated on its wife.

7. Even when you put boards over your snake’s cage to hold the lid on, your older (and supposedly smarter) sister will take the lid off and let the snake escape. You will never find said snake.

8. Do not say, “Dad, dear God, we’re all gonna die.” Dad is a good driver. Dad will not get us in an accident. If Dad does get us in an accident, it will not inevitably result in death.

9. 90’s TV is really awesome and is sometimes more theraputic (and less guilt-inducing) than chocolate.

10. If the vegetable oil smells like fish, that cake (which took an hour to make) will taste disgusting. Always smell the vegetable oil first.

11. I probably don’t have as convincing of a British accent as I once thought.

12. No matter how cool you think you’ll be once you have braces….well, you won’t. You’ll just look silly. Exibit A: Me in 7th grade.

13. Light blue eyeshadow is not a good look on anyone. Same goes for those weird sweater wraps that only cover your boobs, purple lipstick, and 80% of earrings from Claire’s.

14. Whatever you do, don’t step in the quicksand. Even when it’d be a really great way to hide from your parents.

15. If you wear a one-piece swimsuit outside and get a sunburn, you will most likely look like you have the flag of Japan tattooed on your back. And it’ll hurt really bad.

16. Don’t step on the Mome Raths.

Single and Satisfied


Single. That’s me. Call me up sometime.
Kidding!

In fact, I’m doing okay being alone. I think it’s hilarious that we say that – I’m alone just because I’m single. That seems to imply that I have no friends (ok, you got me…I don’t) or family. I’m just happily boyfriendless.

That’s not to say that if Enrique Iglesias wanted a kiss I’d deny him. I’m not completely crazy, and if someone nice was interested I wouldn’t pretend to be lesbian or tell him to hit the road. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want a boyfriend, but I guess right now I’m just not searching, and I’m happily “alone.” I think it’s something that everyone strives for and I’m glad I’ve gotten to that point (at least momentarily).

Here’s the deal. When I “like” someone and attempt to go after them, I have to watch what I say and do. I can’t be me because being fully  me is a little too much for people sometimes. I’d like to think that my perfect man/soulmate would take me just as I am (extremely witty and attractive), but I highly doubt that I’ll find him at my age. There’s no point in stifling who I am so that I can get someone (who is very likely an idiot) to like me. I’ve just seen too many of my friends rearranging themselves for men. I am not a rubik’s cube.
Recently I’ve started really loving who I am. I can say whatever I want to say and not worry about how people react. I can giggle out loud (alone) in public and not care that people might think I’m delusional. I can crack crude jokes and not worry that a boyfriend would get embarassed. I don’t have to feel responsible for an extra person. I’m getting more comfortable in my own skin and don’t want to have to adjust for anyone. Relationships are about give and take, but right now I’d like to be selfish.

I think it’s strange that most people expect everyone else to be constantly searching for someone. I remember always feeling bad for people who were old and had never been married. Society has always seemed to scream at me, “SINGLE? THERE MUST BE SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU!” But now I think I get it: being single (and contentedly so) means being comfortable with who you are and where you’re at. I think a huge part of being in a relationship (and having it be a success) is knowing that you could be fine alone but that you’d rather be with that other person. I’m just not at that stage yet.

The only slight fly in the ointment is, now that I’m okay with being “alone,” I forget that I’m not completely a-sexual and that guys might think I’m hitting on them (when really I just think I’m being hilarious…which I’m probably not). I’m strangely okay with that; since I’m not interested, I don’t have anything to worry about. I’m not about to monitor my actions if I don’t actually care how people take them.
How very grown-up of me.

Why I Love Airport Terminals at Night


No, this is not me. I wish it were. But it's not.

Because that’s when people love each other the most.

1. Darkness.
It’s usually dark out at night, unless you live in The Land of Sarah Palin (Alaska…I’m sorry that I draw that connection) or The North Pole (SANTA!). Darkness makes people more loving…maybe it’s the fact that everything feels softer at night or that it cools down and gets all starry. I don’t totally know, but whatever it is, I just want to hug people at night.

2. The nighttime flights tend to come in from far away places.
At least where I live. It’s smaller here.
So when people are coming in from Germany and New York and Spain, you know there’s gonna be some serious hugging.

3. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
I also really wanna say that with a lisp and say “Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder” because that’s true too…but it’s not really in keeping with the rest of the post, so I’ll refrain. Anyway, when you haven’t seen someone in a month, you tend to get all emotional and teary eyed when you finally see them again.

4. Everyone else is getting all teary eyed.
Nothing makes me cry more than watching other people cry. And sometimes that sort of crying is good. It makes you feel full of sun and goodness and fairies…
And people smile nicely when they see you reuniting with people. They always look like, “Yeah, I just felt that way five seconds ago when my daughter came home.” And I really like feeling like I connect with people, even if I don’t really.

I hate flying, but I never mind being on the other end of the…plane…and greeting people in the terminals.

Long Time Ago When We Was Fab


Once upon a time, there was me. I was pretty cute, little, and very (shockingly) blonde, in a 4-year-old model sort of way. I still look like that. Incredibly attractive, blonde…did I mention incredibly attractive? I don’t look 4 anymore though…

Anyway, I had this great friend, Jenny. We were pretty tight until she got married to Mark (it was customary in ImaginaryLand for people to get married at the age of 6). She had to move away, but I became President of ImaginaryLand in her absence. My new best friend (sent by the palace to replace Jenny) was named Annie and was my second in command.

We were on top of the world. Literally, as ImaginaryLand exists in the troposphere. I would make my daily speech (broadcast from my driveway), then Annie and I would go out into the wilderness and search for criminals to defeat. One day, on a family trip to California, the evil Cup Hand (so named because he had a cup on one of his hands – it had been placed there by Jenny years earlier when he’d tried to kill her with his bare hands) surfaced. Literally. We met him in a pool.

The point is, Cup Hand surfaced and Annie and I tried to defeat him, employing our mermaid army. But Cup Hand escaped in the crowd of small children wading through the water and wasn’t seen for a few weeks. Finally, he found my fortress (house/palace) and challenged Annie and I to a duel (he was pretty cocky and thought he could take both of us on at once). A battle ensued, ending in the death of Cup Hand (I shot him with a soda bottle) as Annie and I emerged with minor injuries that were quickly healed with root potion.

That was, in the words of George Harrison, a “long time ago when we was fab.” I like to think we still are.

Annie and I went on many more adventures. Boys tried to infiltrate our ranks, but we never let them lest we become weak with love. Jenny and Mark visited a few times, but the bond Jenny and I once had could never compare to the one Annie and I still do. And you’ll be pleased to know that the ImaginaryLand government defeated Sadam Hussein long, long ago with love and compassion (and maybe a few mermaids) and there is still peace throughout the land.

How to be a Champ (Part 2)


Step 1: Enter the elevator of a medical building with your dog.

Step 2: Let your dog poop on the carpeted floor of that elevator.

Step 3: Make sure you let your dog do it right next to my mother’s foot.

Step 4: Don’t apologize or warn my nice smelling, sweet mother that she’s about to step in it. She can figure that out herself (and its a good thing she did before she stepped).

Step 5: Clean it up with your little grocery bag, get out of the elevator, and don’t even have the decency to spray a little Febreeze in there before you go, let alone sanitize the floor.

Congrats. I’ll be watching for you, dog lady.

Dancing in the Rain in Spain


When my sister left at 3 this morning to board her flight for Spain, I thought of how much she means to me (yes, I was awake – the noise of her hairdryer woke me). We argue all the time (mostly because I am obnoxious and seven years younger), but I am constantly reminded of how much I need her.
I’ve become used to her going away; she was at college and then in Spain working. So this time should have felt easier than the last…but it didn’t. 13 hours later, I miss her as I look out my window at the yard we used to play in as kids, the flowers we used to plant and pick, and the garden that needs to be watered and that she can’t help me with this summer :). I get a bit nostalgic as I notice that she didn’t take as many of her things as I expected: the bathroom is practically as full of her stuff as always. And her hair is still in the sink.
But I know this is all part of life. Not the hair in the sink – I still refuse to deal with that – but the traveling, moving, shifting aspect. She’ll be back in August (to stay a few weeks and move yet again for school) and we’ll spend time together fighting and subsequently hugging as always. And this time next year, I’ll be thinking about my own plans to move away and do what I want to do.
I’ve always admired my sister’s ability to do what makes her happy. It always involves hard work (a long distance relationship with a very attractive Spanish fellow and extra classes to fulfill nursing school requirements) and sometimes tears (of frustration toward said extra classes) but that’s what’s always made me so proud of her. And even when she calls me missy or shouts my full three names over the phone or on a webcam (that I still don’t totally understand how to use) I’ll always be satisfyingly jealous of how cute she is when she does it.