On Smoking or “I’m So Sorry Mom.”

On Smoking or “I’m So Sorry Mom.”

TW: smoking, cigarettes, drug and alcohol use, heroin, overdose

I started smoking cigarettes when I was 16. I smoked until I was 19. I quit in 2013 after I had a really bad case of the flu. I was in bed for 4 days and when I finally woke up I realized I had beaten all of the physical craving symptoms. For years afterwards I said that quitting smoking was both the hardest and the coolest thing I’d ever done.

I started smoking again about a month (or two?) ago.

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On Trigger Warnings

On Trigger Warnings

TW: mentions of rape, sexual violence, ptsd, police brutality.

I love trigger warnings. This is a controversial topic and I have trouble understanding why.

For those who don’t know, a trigger warning is “a statement at the start of a piece of writing, video, etc., alerting the reader or viewer to the fact that it contains potentially distressing material (often used to introduce a description of such content).”

But a quick search on urban dictionary has some pretty nasty things to say about people that need trigger warnings. Like…

  • Its purpose is to warn weak minded people who are easily offended that they might find what is being posted offensive in some way due to its content, causing them to overreact or otherwise start acting like a dipshit. Popular on reddit SRS or other places that social justice warriors like to hang out.
  • Trigger Warning is a disclaimer for [redacted cuz it’s too offensive] emotionally unstable people who cannot read certain words without having a self diagnosed ‘panic attack’ due to their self-diagnosed PTSD.

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On Freedom

On Freedom

When I was in college at UMBC one of my favorite professors was Dr. Kate Drabinski. In my first course with her, Studies in Feminist Activism, one of our term paper options was to write about “freedom.” While reviewing the list of final topics Dr. Kate said , “and freedom, because why not?”

I was in that class in 2013. Nearly 4 years later as I write this in 2017 I still find her questioning of that topic deeply meaningful as I think through my life, my politics, and especially the current political situation.

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A Toast

A Toast

This past Saturday my best friends, Reese and Chelsea got married. In the sad and hard times we find ourselves in, Saturday night will be a flame and a light in my heart and in my mind. I saw a room full of people bless a love and a relationship. I saw a room full of people uplift themselves and each others. In dark times, those moments of joy are what we live for. Those moments are why we keep living, they are what we are fighting for.

What follows is the toast I gave to two of my favorite people in the world….

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If You’re Reading This I’m Too Gay

If You’re Reading This I’m Too Gay

TW: sexual and emotional abuse mention

I’ve always known the way I felt about girls was different from a lot of people. When I was in the 9th grade I read a book, Keeping You a Secret by Julie Ann Peters. It gave me words for what I felt, I was a lesbian. I even came out to my Mom. But for another decade I only dated men. I can’t really answer this question to myself satisfactorily. I try not to let it, but it haunts me. How many less times would I have been assaulted? How many less horrifying and terrible emotional and sexual encounters could I have avoided?

Why didn’t date women? I guess on the one hand I didn’t think I was cool or good enough. I’d never dated women so I didn’t know where to start. It didn’t help that being gay was not something you did in Fallston, Maryland, where I grew up. The very few out classmates I had suffered extreme harassment, alienation, and abuse. Maybe I was too scared to subject myself to that.

On top of that I was socialized to date men. Society showed me one way to live and one way to love, from every TV show I watched to the adults I was surrounded with to the toys I played with. We call this compulsory heterosexuality. I was socialized to prioritize the needs of men over literally everything else. Theoretically I can understand how this played out in my life – choosing to accept the advances of men, choosing to commit my time, energy and resources to them, etc.

But theory only takes you so far in life. It certainly doesn’t take you very far in understanding your own life.

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On Grief

On Grief

TW: Death, grief, suicide mention.

I have found out that two people passed away while watching Winnie the Pooh.

I remember exactly when during the movie the news came both times. I remember the first time, in 2014, how the movie played in the background while I stared into my ex-partner’s eyes. I will never know whose face was whiter, or who cried first. All I know is that Pooh did get his honey, but I still feel pretty bad for the bees.

In 2015 I remember I was sleeping on the floor in my apartment in Lancaster. My father texted me to tell me my grandfather was dead. It is remarkable how quickly your body can go completely numb.

I don’t watch Winnie the Pooh anymore. I know where the naloxone is in my house. I am always the DD. I send people texts before I call so they know everyone is still alive. I keep a list of suicide hotline numbers saved in my bookmarks. I move through the world expecting death. What I don’t understand is how anyone else doesn’t. 

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On Guilt

On Guilt

What does guilt look like to you? To me, guilt looks like a pile of dirty laundry. It looks like a wall half-painted. It looks like an unfinished letter, or a mistake at work. What does it feel like to you? For me it sits in my chest, deep within my core, pulling my shoulders taut and my stomach tense. It makes me want to bury my face and hide from everything and especially, everyone.

Guilt used to be a feeling I experienced all of the time. A year and a half ago I was in the depths of a codependent relationship, and in the midst of a self-esteem spiral. As my relationship ended I put myself in therapy and began putting my mental health and emotional well-being first.

When I started focusing inwards I was surprised by so much of what I found. I felt sick, I felt sad, I felt tired. I hated myself. And for some reason I felt guilty, about everything. As I worked through a lot of those emotions, learned coping mechanisms, and started to re-learn the language I use to talk about my body and mental health, I got really, REALLY tried of feeling guilty.

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