Freak of Nature

I remember the first time I came out as bi-sexual, it was to my sister while we were walking home from school one hot Florida day. I remember telling her how I felt, how I liked both boys and girls, and how I’ve felt that way ever since I was a kid. What she said to me next I’ll never forget because, now at least, its funny. She said to me, “Don’t be a freak. You’ll grow out of it eventually.” I tried to argue with her that I wouldn’t grow out of it and she promptly told me to shut up and talk about something else.

To this day my sister still doesn’t really accept my bi-sexual nature and will (lovingly) tell me to ‘quit being a freak’. What’s so funny is, until I brought my first boyfriend home she honestly thought I was a lesbian. What’s even funnier- she was more accepting of the idea of me being a lesbian than me being bi-sexual. It was almost as if me being a lesbian would’ve been more tolerable and preferable to her.

The sad thing is, that’s the mentality of many people when you tell them you’re bi-sexual. 

When you tell people you’re straight, no one bats an eye.

When you tell people you’re gay/lesbian/trans, you’re congratulated on being so brave or how wonderful it is (in the right crowd and setting of course).

When you tell people you’re bi-sexual however you get that look. Its a hard to describe look. Its a mixture of confusion, revulsion, and judgement. Then you get the, ‘Oh…’ No parties or pats on the back for being brave about coming out, nothing like that at all. You get the ‘Oh…’

There seems to be a big misconception about bi-sexuality in general (thank you porn industry). People judge you more harshly when you’re bi-sexual. For example I am married to a man. I’ve had people tell me ‘You can’t be bi-sexual because you married a man.’ and the ‘You’re not really bi-sexual because if you were, you wouldn’t have gotten married.’ In the gay community many lesbians won’t even consider a bi-sexual lover because of (insert a thousand reasons here), but mainly because even in the gay community bi-sexuals are viewed as freaks. They’re seen as posers, wanna-be gays, hipsters, people trying to be ‘trendy’ because its the ‘IT’ thing of the season. When in a majority of cases, like mine, its none of the above.

I am still bi-sexual despite my married status. I will still always feel an attraction to women just as equally as I feel attracted to men. At the same time though I am a devoted and loving wife. That’s the other thing I hear a lot, ‘You can’t possibly love your husband if you’re still attracted to other people.’ Yeah…yeah I can. My husband knows I am bi-sexual and accepts me for it. He knows I am faithful to him because it is my nature. I would never betray his love and trust for me in a million years. It would be the same thing if I had fallen in love and married a woman. 

You see for me there is no difference between being aroused physically, mentally, and/or emotionally by either a woman or a man. I view them both equally. I laugh at women who ridicule me for being so ‘mentally and emotionally unfaithful’ to my husband and then they turn around to read the newest smut novel, all the while imagining themselves as the lead female. I ignore men who, when they find out I’m bi-sexual, immediately jump to porn scenarios and become creepy lechers.

Other times people question me, ‘Well what if you find a woman and you fall in love with her? Are you going to leave your husband for her?’ I tell them the same thing I told my husband right after we were married, ‘No. I will never leave him unless he tells me to or he does something so horribly unforgivable he leaves me no choice but to go.’

Its not that hard of a concept to grasp, and yet it befuddles people so much. Its almost as if its impossible to imagine a life where you can be happy with who you are, what you are, and not question it because it works for you. My only wish is, instead of people automatically jumping into the judgmental phase right after I tell them of my bi-sexuality, I would want them to be more open and accepting of it. Asking honest questions instead of being critical.

I can’t help who I am or why I prefer what I do. It’s always been that way for me, for as long as I can remember. Society is changing now, we’re evolving as a species. I can only hope our views on sexuality can evolve to the point where we no longer judge what consenting adults do in their personal lives. 

Until then, I will proudly be a freak of nature. 

Don’t Fear The Beard

My husband is a wonderful man. Not only is he kind and gentle, but he’s funny too. He’s musically talented, having played guitar for 20 years, was in 2 bands and now teaches guitar lessons to those young and old. He’s the type of person that once you get to know, you’ll have a friend for life.

The only problem is people getting past his appearance. This is my darling husband:

Billy

No he is not a member of ZZ Top or Duck Dynasty. He is a bearded gentleman. He gets a lot of attention for it, both good and bad.

Which is why I’m writing this article today.  I find it sad that something as natural (and fun) as a beard can get so much hate…it boggles my mind. Many people have told him that he needs to ‘shave that mess off of his face’ or else he’ll never get ahead in life. We’ve been walking around town before and people will actually cross the street to avoid having to go near him. Companies give him the ultimatum to either lose the beard or lose the job. Why? Because there is, for some reason, a stigma about having facial hair. It is seen as unclean, unkempt, and only worn by members low on the societal totem pole. People also tend to think that only lazy hippies, dirty hobos, criminals, evil biker gangs and creepers keep the facial hair look. Some people are even scared or intimidated by him, not realizing he wouldn’t so much as hurt a fly (unless it bit him and then all bets are off).

In reality, none of those stereotypes are true. For example, my husband spends more time in front of the mirror meticulously grooming his beard than I spend doing my hair and make-up. To him, a beard is a badge of honor. A sign of manhood and prowess. The fact that he’s maintained such a nice looking and healthy beard shows dedication, not laziness. He even has special shampoo and conditioner for it!

He is proud of his follicled face, as am I. He’s so proud of it , he’s even joined up with the Bull City Beardsman to help promote awareness and to compete in contests for charities. These are good, honest, hard-working men looking to better the world with their fabulous facial hair.

So these stereotypes need to stop once and for all.   Ladies, give bearded men a chance. It takes some getting used to at first, but trust me when I say from experience you will learn to love it in ALL of its uses and aspects. Men, don’t hate. If you can’t grow a beard its OK. You can still show support for those who do. Employers, give these bearded fellows a chance. If they can put years of dedication into their facial hair, imagine what they can do for your company!

Don’t fear the beard! Embrace it, love it, snuggle with it if you can! You won’t regret it!

Us

Life is Funny

This year has been an emotional roller coaster for me. Much of it I have shared publicly to the point my sister complains that I share too much of my life on social media.

She’s right though, I do share a lot of my life out into the World Wide Web because I believe that is what social media was designed for. Its a chance to share our story with the world in hopes that something from our life can make a difference in another’s or we can find support and strength in our times of need. Its a large scale anthropological experiment on mankind to be able to truly see what kind of species we are and maybe find some meaning in all the craziness and chaos.

In all honesty though, I’ve left out a lot of things that have happened this year and a majority of what I’ve shared has been down-played a lot. Why? Because there’s that fear of exposing a part of oneself to mockery, ridicule, or criticism. The fear we all feel anytime we talk about ourselves or post something about our life to people we both do and do not know.

So what I’m about to share is something very few people know about and that I’ve been told I should keep it to myself. I don’t feel keeping it to myself is the right thing to do though. I feel sharing my story could also help someone else, whether its with the same problem I have or with something completely unrelated. Just seeing that someone is brave enough to share that personal part of their life could encourage someone to get help for theirs.

So here it goes:

I was diagnosed in July 2013 with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. Its a rare autoimmune disease that can best be described as an ‘overlapping disease’. What this means is, my body looks at itself as a foreign entity and attacks all the connective tissue, on top of giving me symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), scleroderma, and polymyositis, (and can sometimes include rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren’s syndrome).

This document has so far been the most informative about the disease, so instead of going into long, drawn out details you can read more about it here on your own time.

Why am I sharing this?

I want this blog to be my outlet for dealing with it. Here I feel there is more freedom to discuss such topics rather than on Facebook and I feel there is a greater chance of my being able to reach out to those with a similar problem. Whether its to help them or learn from them, this is the place I choose to do it.

Also, because I want people to understand.

For a long time I was judged by others saying that ‘You’re too young to feel that way’ or ‘If you do this and this all that pain will go away’ and even the occasional ‘Its all in your head, stop trying to get attention.’ And for a long time I battled depression because no matter how hard I tried to do what others told me or stay positive I still always felt sick, always in pain, and people kept calling me ‘lazy’ or ‘hypochodriac’. I honestly felt like I was stuck in Hell.

Now I know what is wrong with me and I am finally able to give what has plagued me for years a name and a way to get it under control (not cure, because unfortunately there is none). I’m not saying I will use my illness as an excuse not to do things, because trust me I am still trying to keep an active lifestyle. I’m trying to stay one step ahead of this illness as much as possible and so far I’ve been doing a good job, however I do still have bad days.

I don’t want pity from anyone. That wasn’t my intention when I posted this. I don’t want people to read this and say they ‘feel sorry’ for me because I am not sorry. Yes it sucks I got stuck with something I’ll have for the rest of my life, but if my history has proven anything its that I’m a fighter. I won’t go down without a fight and I will use every breath I have to come back up and do it all over again.

What I want from people is encouragement, support, and understanding.

If you have a question ask me about it. I will answer any questions as best as I can. I want to be able to help others who may be going through a similar situation and show that no matter how terrible something seems you have the power within you to reach out to the world and find love and support from the most unlikely of places.

So to those of you fighting the same battle I am, I say to you keep fighting. Don’t pay the Devil his due as my stepfather once told me. Don’t give in to it. Keep your head up and stay strong. Know that even though you’re suffering now there’s always the hope of a better tomorrow.

For those of you who are not fighting it and who have no idea about it, or know someone who is I ask you to be understanding. This disease doesn’t always manifest itself outside a person. That doesn’t mean they’re not sick though. Just because they look like they can run a mile with no problem, don’t ask them to. Don’t try to give them advice such as ‘Well if you do this…’ or ‘Can’t you just…’ and definitely avoid the ‘Stop making a big deal…’ ones. You have no idea the amount of pain a person is going through on the inside – physically, emotionally, or mentally- nor would you want to. So please, if someone is telling you they’re not feeling well or they’re not up to it, don’t ask them a million questions or try to give them advice. Just say, ‘OK, let me know if you need my help with anything.’ and be done with it. Chances are, they will need help and will ask you when they are ready to.

Stay strong my friends.

Thank you all for your understanding and support.

MCTD

Quiet, Still, and Constant

In real life I work at a school. Not in the capacity of a teacher, but administrative work.  I still interact daily with students and one student out of all of them surprised me with this essay she wrote for her college entrance essay. She told me how I gave her a piece of advice one day that just resonated with her and so she wrote about it for college entrance essay. I wanted to share it with you because I thought it was absolutely wonderful.

Here it is:

Since attending (school name withheld for privacy reasons) , I have learned many valuable lessons, in regards to both academics and life. I have learned how to put my best foot forward after pulling an all-nighter to finish a physics lab report. I have learned how to effectively resolve conflict, which is not all that uncommon on a hall with thirty some other girls. I have learned that no good can come from holding the GoLink! Gas Pressure Sensor down tightly on a flask containing beef liver and H2O2. Thinking of the lessons I have learned and still have yet to learn, one in particular stands out. After a long day, my advisor offered me this tidbit of insight: No matter how hectic your day may become, take comfort in knowing there is always some place where everything is quiet, still, and constant.

 I remember watching my older brother play on our small town’s community baseball team quite some time ago. I remember watching as dozens of ten-year-old boys would swing, miss, and then throw a tantrum. The coach’s advice to, “Take a walk,” seemed harsh then, but now I realize that there is some logic to that saying. After a stressful day of running to and from classes and fretting over countless assignments, the most effective method of stress relief is to indeed, take a walk.

With the first few steps you take as you leave the door, a rush of freedom swells through your body as you, literally and metaphorically, step away from the stressors of your busy life. The warmth from the rays of the sun lightens your soul. The kiss of the cool breeze sends chills of refreshment down your arms. You are met with the excited waves of leaves, like those of old friends finally reunited after years of separation. The ground beneath your feet holds steady as if to say it will never let you down, and the grass and flowers reassure you that even if you fall, you will be caught. The trees lean towards you as they eagerly wait to hear how your life has been going. You take a deep breath and sigh as you finally release all the tensions you have been holding in for days. Unlike your other friends back inside, nature has no snide comment to make nor does it try to undermine your problems. Instead, the clouds begin to weep for you. Nature will always be there for you, always ready to listen to and hold you.

 I have never felt more content than when I am outside on a walk. In nature, I am able to reach a state of serenity unobtainable anywhere else. Even when faced with the most troublesome of days, I am able to take comfort in knowing that there is always some place where everything is quiet, still, and constant.

Thanks for the read!

Quiet

My First Valentine Gift

In response to The Daily Post’s challenge about Valentine’s Day I decided to share the very first gift I ever got from someone on Valentine’s Day. Its a short, sweet, and funny story.

It was a gift from my husband, about a year before we were married. We were walking around Books a Million just browsing and seeing what was new. I wanted to head out and he said to give him a few minutes, he wanted to look at a few more books.

So I said OK, went back to the car, got out a book, and waited for him. When he came out he had a bag in his hand and I thought Oh he must’ve found something after all. He got in the car and grinned at me the entire time. I thought that was odd and asked him what he was so happy about.

He handed me the bag and said, “Happy Valentine’s Day!” I looked inside the bag and I smiled but puzzled because it wasn’t your normal Valentine’s Day gift. I took out the book, and flipped through the pages then looked at the cover- it read ‘The Zombie Survival Guide’.  I looked at him and asked him what prompted him to buy me this?

Then he said the most sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me. He said, “Well I know you had your eye on that book for a while. Plus, I want to make sure you survived the zombie apocalypse because I couldn’t without you.”

And that my friends is how I knew I found my soulmate :-D.

A Five Legged Pony In A Crowded Room

I started this blog on a whim. I’ve seen people over the years write blogs about themselves and their lives and today I thought ‘I can do that! I have an interesting life, why not share it with the world?’

And then it came time to write this….my first blog post. What do I write about? How do I introduce myself to millions of people I have never seen or met? What if they don’t like me? What if I’m actually a lot more boring than I think I am? What if I say the wrong thing and start an internet war? What if I start getting trolled by those crazy people?

What if…?

What if…?

What if…?

Then I stopped myself.

None of that matters, I though to myself.  This is about me. I created this blog because I want some part of me to exist beyond my life when the fat lady sings my final song and the curtain calls. I want to share my story with the world. Make people laugh, make people cry, make people see the world in a whole new way. I have an interesting story to tell and despite whatever criticism may come from sharing that story, it is my right to do so.

So here I am world! All my imperfections and quirks. All my happiness, sadness, anger, stupid jokes, funny quotes, and anecdotes.

I hope you’re ready for me.