On the way to celebrate Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house on Thursday, my mom told me that she and my dad had had a conversation recently about me. She told me that she told him that I would be happier and easier to get along with if I was on mood stabilizers. I was horrified.

My first response was, “what?” That was followed by my pointing out that I had tried every mood stabilizer and that I had adverse reactions to a large chunk of them (lithium, antipsychotics, and several anticonvulsants) and a zombie on most of them. My mom told me that I hadn’t. (I have taken all but two FDA-approved and off-label mood stabilizers.)

I’m actually much happier and feel relatively stable off of them. Being happier is why I’m not at home as much. In fact, the goal of my mental health care over the last decade or so has been to increase my ability to leave the house with the hope that one day I could actually live separately from my parents. And my treatment plans have had to accommodate my inability to use mood stabilizers.

When I told him what she’d said, Chris said it sounded like she wanted me to be compliant and stay home all the time. Unfortunately that was what I thought too. I haven’t told him all of the times she has said she wants to be my representative payee or have me placed in a program through Social Security that would eliminate my access to a bank account & remove my ability to run my shop. It would keep me without true resources.

It makes all of her talk through the years about my lack of control & my inability to live without continued assistance of my parents seem all the more sinister. Not to mention how it colors my view on her wanting access to my accident settlement (she wants it in her bank account) and how she wants to raid my cash box for the festivals I’ve sold art & jewelry at. I’m fairly certain she’s been repaid most of the change she thinks I owe her on that. Then again, this is a woman who has threatened to sell or throw out my belongings before, so who knows what she thinks about that money?

It makes me want to make sure I definitely get a studio out of this house so that I can definitely gain independence. It also makes me want to stay out of my house all the time. I don’t feel like she views me as a person.

In the before times, there was one sentiment I grew to hate whenever I was at a festival or something selling my stuff. Customers would ooh and ahh over things, then they’d say they had other booths to check out but they’d definitely come back & buy something. 9 out of 10 times, I never saw them again.

So I don’t know why it surprised me when a few of my friends would promise to buy books but never did or would come to those festivals but never did. Not only would it surprise me, it was hurtful. I understand when other things came up, but promising to buy something to someone who is barely able to rent a space or can’t buy an author’s copy for themselves and failing to follow through is extremely hard on them.

You shouldn’t buy something if you don’t want to spend the money on something, can’t afford it, or don’t want it, but you shouldn’t promise you’ll do something you won’t be doing. If you do want it, but can’t afford it now, say that you’ll buy it when you can afford it. If you think you may forget to make the purchase, ask that the person should remind you personally when it is in stores or the day before a festival. If you want to support a friend’s endeavors in a non-financial way, be their hype person. I have friends who just share links and that helps quite a bit. I do occasionally get sales that way. I have other friends who just cheer me on, but make no promises and that’s cool too.

Just please remember that friends who are writers, artists, and artisans asking you to support them need more than a couple of white lies. They need your support and they need sales.

Some of the gifts for O arrived today, which has me kind of worried because I don’t remember how to properly wrap presents. Also, I have no wrapping paper, bows, tape, or tags for O’s gifts.

I bought special paper for Chris’s presents that I could use on O’s, but I don’t know if I should. I may just get O his own paper too. I know blue is his favorite color, so I may run with that.

Or I could do gift bags.

Again.

I don’t get why wrapping gifts has to be so difficult for me, besides my clumsiness amplifying my issues with cutting and folding in straight lines. Also, tape hates me. Oh, wait. I’m starting to figure out why it’s difficult.

Chris and I were sitting at Waffle House this afternoon waiting for food. I was showing him some of the Facebook posts that were a tad fucked up—mostly science-denying, anti-mask, anti-vaxx stuff—before reporting them for spreading false information about Covid, as one does. I found a post by a “friend” about what they called: lifestyle choices.

Oh you know what they meant by that. In the year of our Lord 2021, motherfuckers are still calling being LGBTQ+a lifestyle choice. So what we’re going to is talk about some lifestyle choices.

Being a science-denying nincompoop is a lifestyle choice. It may not be a long lasting one, but it’s still one. Although one could argue that the consequences of that decision last for-fucking-ever.

It’s the one and only D-O-double G.

Getting your Thanksgiving recipes from Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg instead of Rachael Ray is a lifestyle choice. It’s also obviously the only correct choice. No, really. If you’ve never watched Martha and Snoop, you’ve missed out.

Drinking water vs. drinking soda is a lifestyle choice. Reading more vs. watching television is a lifestyle choice. Going to church vs. not is a lifestyle choice. Wearing dresses vs. pants is a lifestyle choice. Recycling vs. not recycling is a lifestyle choice. (And I judge people who choose not to recycle.)

A lifestyle choice is something where you actually have a choice to make. Sexuality and gender identity are not choices. I’ll say it louder for the people in the back:

SEXUALITY AND GENDER IDENTITY ARE NOT CHOICES.

They are part of who you are.

Assuming you’re cisgender, did you wake up one day and decide you were going to identify most with the gender that you were assigned at birth? Or did you always feel that gender fit you?

Assuming you’re heterosexual, did you wake up one day and decide you were going to date or fall in love with people of a different gender? Or have you always been attracted to that gender?

It was the latter on both, wasn’t it?

Because. It’s. Not. A. Choice.

Common myths about being LGBTQ from edcan.ca

And it never has been a choice.

The individual who called it a choice in their post also suggested that J.K. Rowling never said anything transphobic. I’m gonna spell this out for them and anyone else who doesn’t get it, yes, she fucking did. She’s been transphobic repeatedly. She has promoted transphobia. She has denied transphobia is real. So you can fuck all the way off with that bullshit!

I’m okay. I promise. I’m calm. I’m centered. I may need to prune my friend list of transphobic, homophobic, antisemitic science-deniers. Sometimes you have to let the toxic people in your life go.

Last night, I accidentally stumbled upon a thread of trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) making assumptions about the cause of asexuality. In their opinions, it was a result of the puberty blockers given to trans and non-binary kids, of teenage girls and women in their early twenties deciding to avoid men because of things the men have learned from porn, and because people take antidepressants because they’re sad. And all of this was prefaced by an argument that accepting asexuality is some kind of conspiracy by the transgender community.

Oh. My. God.

No!

First of all, asexuality is not a result of those puberty blockers. If it was, then there would be no asexuals over the age of 18 and trans and non-binary kids would mostly be asexuals. Most aces that I know are well past 18, cisgender, and have never used puberty blockers. Most trans and non-binary folks I know aren’t asexual.

Secondly, what is the logic in saying girls are choosing asexuality because of porn & not wanting to date? That makes no sense to me. And why only girls? The first asexual person to come out to me was a man.

Their third and final “point” was just flat out mental health stigma and ableism. It’s not surprising to see a TERF say something ableist or that stigmatizes mentally ill people. In fact, it’s pretty normal for them to be bigoted on multiple fronts.

Exclusionary feminism relies on hate and misunderstanding of marginalized groups. It isn’t uncommon for a TERF or a SWERF, the sex work equivalent, to be racist, ableist, homophobic, biphobic, classist, xenophobic, fatphobic, intolerant of various religions, or sexist. Yes, they are often sexist, and they seek to uphold patriarchal values or side with groups that seek to keep cisgender women and those assigned female at birth (AFAB) stuck in gender roles that they claim to abhor. These groups even try to limit access to basic human rights for cis women and AFAB people.

TERFs will proclaim that men cannot speak for or over women and do not belong in women’s spaces, but they will encourage pile-ons and harassment campaigns by so-called radical feminists who happen to be men. These men will harass, demean, defame, and talk over cis women and trans & non-binary folks. The hypocrisy, like everything else, is based in hatred.

These individuals say that bisexual women who have dated men are heterosexual and have been tainted. It’s the same kind of bullshit that incels say about women who have had sex. The sex work exclusionary feminists push for legislation and policies that limit the ability for people who have been or currently are sex workers to have PayPal, Venmo, or bank accounts. They claim that those who seek out sex work and pornography are exploiting women and girls, but fail to understand their actions are a form of exploitation. Their outright hatred of sex positivity is yet another way that they uphold the patriarchy.

I used to say that there was nothing radical about this type of feminism, but the reality is that it’s extremely radical; what it isn’t is feminism. Exclusionary feminists are not feminists. That’s not me gate-keeping; they just aren’t feminists. They stand for absolutely nothing but hate. They do not seek liberation. They do not seek empowerment. They do not seek a better world. They only seek a more fearful world for those who they do not like. They are no different from any group that seeks to limit the rights and safety of any marginalized group.

So it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I haven’t added my old posts back yet, but I do plan to do that. I guess I should mention what’s been going on in my life.

I am an exhibiting artist at Huntsville Art League, and have been since last year. For a while I was the Education VP there, but now I’m the President. I was also teaching there and at Michael’s, but then a little thing called COVID interrupted that.

I have published two books of poetry—The Dark Lady and Ambition. I have sold precisely two copies of those books, which was honestly more than I expected to sell. Publishing them also led to my creation of my Goodreads Author page.

I finally had to get another iron infusion last week. My hematologist had told me last year that this would definitely be the year for it, and he was right. My ferritin had been steadily dropping since 2013—when I had my last infusion. This year it actually slowed down on that descent and only got to 21, but my iron saturation went from 35% to 16.7% and my platelets had already started going up. With my risk of clots, that last part was a bit more concerning. So I got an INFeD infusion to help get that under control.

Oh, and I have the most amazing boyfriend ever. His name is Chris. He’s my age and has a 13-year-old son. Chris is funny, sweet, smart, and I am so in love with him. We have been together since May 17, 2020. We didn’t meet in person until September 2020 though because of COVID. I met his son in May 2021.

Photo of a couple with the words “Date Idea: COVID-19 Boosters”
Chris and I took this selfie when we got our third COVID shot last month.

He and I are actually going on our first trip together this weekend. We’ll be going to California for his best friend’s wedding. I haven’t been on a plane since 1999 and I’m a tad nervous, but I’m sure he’ll find a way to calm me or get my mind off of the anxiety.