Gender and Sexuality Update

Gender and Sexuality Update

I wasn’t going to make this into a blog post because I thought this was something I talked about only recently. Then when I looked back, I found that my previous gender and sexuality post was back in August 2020, so yeah, update time! 🙌🙌

If you haven’t read my last post, you don’t need to but it goes into more detail about my self identity. Essentially, I decided that I was gender fluid and bisexual. Since then, I’ve done more soul searching, more research (do you even know how many different genders and sexualities there are out there?) and, SURPRISE! I am officially coming out as a bi-gendered omnisexual who goes by the pronouns she/her, he/him, or they/them.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, you can find definition of terms here. Honestly, I am not familiar with all of the labels myself, because there are so many and some of them are really specific, but I feel like bi-gendered omnisexual describes me perfectly, so I’m sticking with that.

I have identified as bisexual since I first discovered it was a thing. Back in the day, the only commonly known sexualities were; straight, gay, or bi, but these terms assume there are only two genders. In todays world of “your gender is more than what your genitals look like”, I’ve discovered that sexual attraction is also far more than just what genitals a person has. When transsexuals started becoming more commonplace, I realised that I could be attracted to them too, but still considered myself bi because I figured they were either male to female, or female to male, remaining in the binary. Now, of course, I’m far more aware of the spectrum of genders out there and it feels ridiculous to restrict your attraction to binary people only. I can’t imagine a scenario in which I would reject a sexual partner because their gender was “wrong”, that just seems arbitrary and weird. I am physically attracted to humans. So I’m pansexual, right? Not quite. Pansexual people are typically ‘gender-blind’. They either don’t see gender or gender has no influence over their attraction to a person. My attraction feels different to me depending on an individual’s gender or, more specifically, their presentation of their gender (masculinity vs femininity). I’m going to oversimplify things now to help readers understand, but obviously it’s far more complicated than this: Essentially, I prefer feminine women and masculine men. Again, this is a massive oversimplification, but this is the thing that makes me omnisexual rather than pan.

I have identified as non-binary for a while, simply because I knew I didn’t fully identify with the female gender I was assigned at birth, but I also wasn’t trans. Non-binary is a nice umbrella term for “I’m not a man, and I’m not a woman either.” However, this never really sat right with me because it sounds a lot like agender. I definitely have gender, and binary gender at that, my problem was that it was always switching. I took a couple of online quizzes and spoke to a few trans and non binary people online and, more often than not, was given the label “gender fluid”. This is closer, but still makes it sound as if I’m in between male and female, like my gender is on a sliding scale and I could be 65% female and 35% male (for example) at any given point. Again, this is inaccurate, I am 100% male or 100% female depending on my state of mind. My dysphoria goes along with that, I either love my body or totally hate it, I never like some parts but would change others. So I had a little read of some gender terms and found bi-gendered. Perfect. I have two binary genders. Some bi-gendered people can be both genders at the same time, but that’s not true for all. Maybe one day I’ll discover a gender term that exactly describes me, but this one is pretty damn close.

And on that note, let me tell you about Kai. Kai is my male counterpart. That’s right, my male gender is so different and separate from my female gender that he gave himself his own name. He’s not only different from me in terms of gender and sexual preferences, but in personality too. We have similarities but he’s more like a twin brother than my own self. Maybe one day I’ll do a full post about him, or by him, but for now I would briefly describe him as outgoing, cheeky, charming (or at least he likes to think so), and carefree. He’s much more “do now and think later” whereas I’m all “think so much that you never get around to the doing part”, and together we form a functioning human being.

So there you have it, the latest epiphany in the never ending search for labels that can accurately describe my personality so that I feel less weird about how unique I am. Any questions, feel free to ask, I am an open book.

Being Bullied into Being a Better Person

Being Bullied into Being a Better Person

The hot (and seemingly unavoidable) topic right now, is that another White American Cop has killed another Black American Citizen by ‘restraining’ him with a knee to the neck until he suffocated.

The ‘Black Lives Matter’ hashtag has resurfaced after the last attack, and there have been protests, riots, speeches, viral videos, and instagram black outs, to name a few, in response.

I don’t want to address the initial event, nor am I going to dispute how people wish to show their outrage or support. That is not my place and I don’t have the authority. What I do wish to talk about today is social pressure and how that has been made exponentially worse by social media.

I, personally, have chosen to abstain (until now) from commenting on this event on any of my social platforms. One reason for this is that so many things in the world upset me today that I have to pick and choose what I get emotionally invested in, or else I’d be unable to function. The other reason is that the topic is far too inflammatory. No matter what I say on the subject, I will offend someone. Even not saying anything can be seen as ‘choosing the side of the oppressor’. It’s a lose-lose situation, and that’s not how social media should be, but it is what it has become.

Social media is supposed to be a platform for us to express ourselves, join complementary communities, and to connect with people all around the world, but it is being used as another form of bullying. This isn’t new, it’s been the case basically since the internet found its way into peoples homes. The thing that I find to be most despicable about this is that, when a major tragedy or event that effects millions of people happens, social media could be an immeasurable force for good.

No doubt, that is what some people are intending with the hashtags, the clap for the NHS, and the do-a-thing-and-then-nominate-other-people-to-do-the-thing challenges, but what it actually causes is a social pressure to conform, with the threat of ostracism, confrontation or worse, abuse if you don’t contribute in the ‘correct’ way. Therefor, what was originally intended to cause a positive influence in the world, has actually become toxic. The general consensus being that if your opinion differs from the majority then you are part of the problem and should be extinguished.

In order for a society to grow (spiritually and intellectually), we must be able to express and discuss opinions with open minds and open hearts. You must always be open to the idea that you may be wrong and allow your opinions to bend and change. You must be willing to accept that, even if you believe your opinion is right, that doesn’t make the opposing opinion wrong. Everybody is entitled to their own thoughts and has the right to express them publicly if they choose.

The irony of the Black Lives Matter movement is that it is ultimately a fight for equality, but the methods employed are actually alienating some people, dividing communities, and redirecting hatred. And that is generally the order of business. Somebody is mistreated and the public, in their outrage, overcompensates by hyper-focussing on everybody who shares their race, gender, sexual identity, occupation, or other attribute, and everybody must agree with the public opinion or else they are bigots.

“On the sixth day of Hate Week, after the processions, the speeches, the shouting, … and the general hatred of Eurasia had boiled up into such delirium that if the crowd could have got their hands on the 2,000 Eurasian war-criminals … they would unquestionably have torn them to pieces—at just this moment it had been announced that Oceania was not after all at war with Eurasia. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Eurasia was an ally.”

“One minute more, and the feral roars of rage were again bursting from the crowd. The Hate continued exactly as before, except that the target had been changed.”

– Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell. Part 2, Section 9

As always, my blog posts are intended to trigger thought and self reflection. However, if you would like to open a discord then the comments section below is open. Or if you would like to discuss this topic privately with me, you can use the form on the ‘Contact Me’ page.

I am a know-it-all

I am a know-it-all

I am a know-it-all and no-one likes a know-it-all. I am the one who says “Actually” and “Technically” and “I think you’ll find that” and I know that people don’t want to hear it and hate being corrected, I see their eyes roll and their mocking tones and jeering points but I can’t help myself. I have to be right, I have to know and I need people to know that I know. I hate to fail, to be wrong, to make a mistake, and it does happen because I am human. What makes it worse is that the people who are there to see me fail, to prove me wrong, to witness my mistakes, they take such glee in it and point it out and rub it in, because I am a know-it-all and no-one likes a know-it-all.

What and Why?

What and Why?

Last night I felt a rush of very strong emotions. My partner was away for the night and I was alone in the house overnight (apart from the cat) for the first time since we started living together.

When I think about the chain of events, I guess it really started that afternoon when I abandoned my plans to get some work done that evening. Then on the way home I decided to order in junk food in stead of making myself a good dinner. Then I wouldn’t make myself a drink even though I was thirsty. I put on a film but divided my attention with games on my phone so I wasn’t fully enjoying either activity. I put off doing chores that I said I would do, claiming I was too tired and I’d do it later. When the film had finished and I didn’t know what to do next, that’s when the wave hit me.

It began with a tight anxiety in my chest, then I started to cry and I held the cat on my lap, even though he clearly didn’t want to be there, and began begging him not to leave me. I let him go after a couple of minutes because he wasn’t happy being held, but that made me cry harder. I felt desperately lonely. My partner wasn’t easily contacted and I’d also been hoping to hear from someone that I haven’t in a long time but they never responded to my message. I was chatting to one friend online but that contact wasn’t filling the need I had. I remember having the thought “I wish I was somebodies everything.”

My practice when I get uncontrollable feelings like this is to ask myself what exactly it is I’m feeling and why I am feeling it. More specifically, where are those feelings coming from? What triggered them in that moment and what is the underlying psychology that caused this response to that trigger. In the moment I tried to ask these questions but the feeling was too overwhelming and all I could come up with is “I’m just a depressed person. This is my default setting.” This is an old habitual response, something I told myself for years to excuse my behaviour and avoid dealing with my issues. I recognised that then and told myself that it probably wasn’t true but my mind refused to entertain any other idea, so I employed distraction techniques until I was tired enough to sleep reasoning that it could be stress related.

This morning I still feel the residue of last night’s experience but I have a clearer head so I can analyse it more carefully.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a strong fear of abandonment. This is a learned behaviour. As I eluded to in my earlier posts, I have always been a vulnerable person and as such I would cling to others for support. I have had a number of people in my life whom I loved and trusted and who promised that they would always be there for me. However, when I became difficult, needy or combative, I discovered that those promises were conditional and more often than not those people would disappear without a trace. This inevitably left me feeling unwanted, lied to, betrayed, vulnerable, created ideas about my own lack of value and triggered unhealthy behaviours such as pushing people away when they are present and clinging to them when they are distant. I also formed unhealthy relationships with people who were emotionally unavailable and then tried to manipulate them into fulfilling my needs. Then, of course, when those relationships don’t work out it feeds into the ideas about my self worth and how no one can be trusted.

I also felt and feel extremely unloved and unwanted by my family who were also emotionally reserved. My family dynamics are complicated and not something that I will delve into here but suffice it to say that I was a child who needed a lot of attention and desired clear and obvious affection, but those needs were never met. My memories of my childhood are almost exclusively negative. This is not to say that there were no good times, only that the mind clings to memories that have the most emotional impact and for me very few of the good times were good enough to leave lasting impressions. I also wish to mention that I no longer harbour any ill will towards my parents for their failings. I have held a grudge for a very long time, even entering adulthood and being able to reflect and understand that they did the best they could in a difficult situation, I couldn’t let go of the anger and grief of never feeling loved. It is only since starting this journey that I have been able to look at my parents as people who were also conditioned by the world and their experiences and who were ignorant to the harm they were doing. I can’t be angry at them anymore than I could be angry at a child for doing or saying something hurtful, they don’t mean to, they just don’t know any better. But, nevertheless, trauma and conditioning from your childhood is some of the hardest to overcome so those feelings of being unloved and unwanted are like thin scars on my soul and it doesn’t take much to open them up again, and when they do I bleed heavily.

Understanding my psychological history makes it easier for me to forgive myself for having moments like this one. I don’t remember a precise trigger, it could have been building for a while with stress, lack of sleep, the moon phase, stories I tell myself about how the world should be, but it definitely wasn’t just because ‘this is how I am’. It happens, I recognise why it has happened, I forgive myself for reacting that way and I try to spot the signs before it happens next time. I know that the best way for me to keep my mental health on track is to make plans and stick with them, and yet on this occasion I abandoned one plan after another. I also know that waiting to hear from people can trigger my fear on abandonment, so I should send a message then make myself busy so I’m not consumed by the waiting. I didn’t do that either. I know that I gain more pleasure and distraction from games than film and yet I chose to not fully engage in either. All of these things are tools that I could have implemented to get me back on track but sometimes, in these moments, you can think of nothing but what you are feeling.

Sometimes all you can do is ride it out. And that’s okay. Wait for the storm to pass then reflect, forgive, and try again.