Leelah: A Little Too Close to Home

Last night I stayed up until 4:40 a.m. because wind was beating incessantly at my window. I think I only fell asleep at that point out of sheer physical desperation. All day I’ve been off my groove, eating at weird times and avoiding social contact. (Well, that’s actually normal for me, but it felt more weird than usual.) And I read recently that by using the word “I” a lot in writing, you put yourself at a lower status than your readers.

So be it.

Oh, and let me just say, folks… Leelah Alcorn. Her suicide breaks my heart. I don’t even have words for this tragedy, because I feel like this could have been me just a number of weeks ago.

Something I noticed while reading about this was her ability to write poignantly. Solid grammar. Easy to follow. Concise, but long enough to get the point across. I have respect for people who can express themselves with the written word, and I’m glad she could immortalize herself is such beautiful writing.

I hope you all love and take care of yourselves. (I’m currently working on that myself.) This is a video with Laci Green and Rob discussing some basics about being transgender. I have zero experience in this area but I love how supportive and knowledgeable Laci Green is, so I keep pointing to her as a source. Do good things!

This is a news story about Leelah Alcorn posted at cincinatti.com:

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2014/12/30/transgender-teen-death-needs-mean-something/21044407/

Although it feels a bit morbid to share the link to someone’s suicide note on this blog, her words are heart-wrenching and beautiful and I want them to be heard:

[Edited–I guess Leelah’s parents deleted her Tumblr account? Here’s the archived website: http://web.archive.org/web/20150101040547/http://lazerprincess.tumblr.com/ ]

“…The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something…”

(Leelah) Josh Alcorn

What Santa Taught Me This Year

Every year my parents instruct us to write a note to Santa to put with the milk and cookies. This year I was the only child who conceded, but only because I had the ulterior motive of pointing the finger of blame at a certain jolly old man. I wrote a letter to him asking questions like, “Does it ever bother you that people sometimes compare you to Jesus Christ?” “Why do you keep buzzing around the world ever year in 2014? Don’t you feel like kids lose their innocence way before they can even enjoy your existence?” These questions were followed by a call to action to use his resources to stop feeding consumerism and actually help better the world. Ho ho ho.

This was Santa’s response, though the writing style is very similar to my father’s.

Dear [Maney],

You ask hard questions, and they have troubled me too for many years. Before I offer you an answer, I think I should clear up a misapprehension about my nature. I am a legend, a myth, a magical being, and a one-trick pony.

I am what humans have made me, and I cannot change myself unless the stories about me change. I do one thing and I do it with power and craft. I cannot take upon myself the lofty goals you suggest, as I have no free will. That is left for the humans, and it is the source of their power and tragedy.

That said, I do what I can when I’m not wearing the red suit. I read to kids in cancer wards. I serve soup to lost men and women. I am a ferocious knitter and I whip up warm hats and hand them out in snowstorms. I know about “think globally act locally,” [Maney], and I take very seriously any comparisons to the Prince of Peace. I strive to live up to the image.

But I cannot change the world. I have no power there. You humans have all the power, [Maney], and I hear you shouting “Cop out!” but it’s not. It’s the design. Stories are not actions. Actions create stories. Because of good saints and long-ago acts of good will, I am who I am. But you can be anything, and all of you can be naughty or nice at will, at your whim. I envy you.

I also stole some eggnog. Mmm. Thanks for the cookie. My best to the others and see you next year.

PS. I do watch, you know. Keep up the good work. You and each of you are of inestimable worth.

* * *

So, dear Readers, I hope your Christmas (or other assorted holidays and celebrations) was merry and bright. Here’s a music video I whipped together this year. It’s super high quality. 😉

Poetry Friday: Nighttime

Nighttime

You’re wrapped in me,
in the quilt,
in snowflakes.

Steady breaths disrupt the stillness
of my chest.

I study your untroubled eyelids.

Past the window,
snow glitters in streetlight.

Warm breaths cover my lips,
and I close my eyes.

* * *

If you read this poem, whom did you picture? Mother and child? Owner and pet? Partners? What else? Think about it.

(I pictured either a mother and baby or elderly partners.)

At Times, I Am Impatient

It’s true. The fight for trans* rights won’t be won by smiling and being patient. Go, Sam.
“Smiling won’t change the man who comments on my article and says, ‘Miss Finch, do you pretend to be a man because you think you’ll get more readers that way? Miss Finch, why do you lie?'”

Let's Queer Things Up!

beniceIllustration by Jessica Krcmarik

[The image features an illustration of the author, an androgynous white person, holding up a sign that reads: “Trans* rights NOW.” Surrounding the author are other indistinct and faceless people, ignoring the author as he protests. The text above the author reads, “BE LESS AGGRESSIVE! BE KINDER! PEOPLE WOULD LISTEN IF…”]

I have been told that if I were just kinder, if I were less aggressive, if I were less loud, if I were gentler, people would finally respect me.

If I weren’t so impatient, they tell me, transgender and non-binary people would find the acceptance that they are looking for. Slowly but surely, from the mere power of our kindness, people would come around.

It is true – at times, I am impatient.

But to ask me to be patient in face of oppression, invisibilization, and violence is laughable. To ask me to swallow…

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What We Need

(Obviously many of you are spending December in different ways. I wish I could be more politically correct with this blog, but I’ve celebrated Christmas my entire life, and I can only write about what I know. I’m sorry.)

I feel a constant pressure to be better. It’s partly my mental illnesses and partly my environment. Wanting to be better is good in healthy degrees; however, it must be kept within a realistic perspective. Mental illness can mess with that. My mission these last few years has been to love myself with all the flaws and strengths that make me unique.

During the holidays, there seems to be an increase in the mood of those around me, while symptoms of my depression and anxiety cause me to appear Grinch- and Scrooge-like in comparison. Everyone seems to run around in a blur of candy canes and sparkling ribbon–it makes me want to decrease the surplus population, if you know what I mean.

It becomes too much. The normal buzz of inadequacy is enhanced to torturous noise noise noise noise. Where is the heavenly peace the songs talk about? How do we average and lonely and anguished folks find the promised joy?

I try to focus on what uplifts me. I tune out the laughter and chatter if it becomes too much to bear. I watch the twinkling lights and think of somewhere safe. I tell myself the red and white wrapping isn’t just a mark of consumerism, but a symbol of something deeper. It’s possible that this holiday still centers around Jesus Christ, my Savior. Even if none of what I tell myself is true, and I believe it is true, it gives me peace. He gives me hope. So I choose the better story.

However you’re celebrating (or not celebrating) this time of year, I hope you get from it what you need.

And it’s possible that you need Him.

Love you all and merry Christmas! If you don’t celebrate Christmas, and I know many don’t, I wish you a wonderful and magical and happy time of year anyway. 🙂 Be kind to yourselves.

Poetry Friday: Enough

Enough

 

I will shake with sobs

on the couch

in the office,

cover my face and

wish it were over.

 

I will build a pyramid

of used tissues in my lap

as my tears stream;

slowly working through

the questions, and,

even harder,

the answers.

 

I will leave thinking I am

through—too broken,

too late— but you will call

asking for advice,

and I will pay this mercy

forward.

 

I will do what I can,

because I love you.

 

It’s all I have left,

but enough.