Spring has sprung!

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At this point in the new year, I’ve started to feel the gloom of winter lifting. My energy has improved, I feel a spring in my step, I’m more productive in work and daily activities. I feel like socializing more. It’s the time of year when I shed winter’s dreary cloak. Spring has sprung!

spring-15

(PhotoCredit: Nhlifefiles)

Gardening has also been on my mind. Since I have completely moved in with my girlfriend and her kids (yes I pulled a Uhaul), we are now in the process of buying new furniture, gardening, and turning a portion of the house into an art studio. My girlfriend has been gracious in making me feel very welcome and a part of the life of her family. She has told me that I also deserve a spot in their lives to run wild with my creative side. In addition to writing I also love to paint, draw and do photography.

The other week, I planted some flowers into pots outside the front door, some vegetables and lavender in the back yard pots. I love being able to beautify the home and make it feel like home. It’s a beautiful home filled with plants, a lovable cat, energetic and loving kids, a caring, intelligent and beautiful woman – and me! I feel so blessed. I’m a bit late on the Spring Equinox (March 21/22) but Happy Spring!

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Are you two friends? Roommates?

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The other day, I crossed the Canada/US border with my girlfriend. Something I’ve noticed is that the US border agents are pretty serious. I mean they have a serious job of making sure terrorists, traffickers, drug runners and other criminals don’t enter their country. And that makes sense… but I am not trafficking or a terrorist.

When we were speaking with the US border agent, we were asked the usual questions. “Where are you coming from? Where do you live? Where are you headed?  Why are you headed there? How long will you be?” And… “Are you two sisters? How do you two know each other? Just what is your relationship? ” Wait. What??

Is it because I seem close with my girlfriend?  I mean when you’re dating someone of course you seem close to them. You’re best friends. You laugh, cry, love and support one another. How would you not be close?

But these questions and the manner of questioning were said in a malicious and probing manner. I looked to my girlfriend and the border guard.  “We’re friends.” If there’s something I’ve learned upon coming out and being true to yourself is that sometimes you have to lie and sacrifice the truth in order to remain safe. Is it ideal?  No. Does it hurt? Yes. Is it upsetting? Of course. Who wouldn’t want to live a life of just being able to be honest (not just when asked) and tell everyone you meet that the love of your life is the person you’re with no matter what biological sex they are? But it seems to be a problem even in the 21st century even when world countries and states (in the US) slowly pass Same sex marriage laws.

Silent vieled bigotry in the form of questions such as “How are you two related?” Are things we face. Had we answered honestly who knows what the border agent would have done of said.  Would we have been turned around and told to stay in our country and denied entry to the US? It’s possible. As a border agent who has powers of deciding who enters her country, who knows what she could have said to deny us the power of entry simply because she didn’t like the look of us.

Anti-hate laws aren’t exactly formed into the US constitution or laws like they are in Canada. And even if they were, from my experience, I’ve found homophobic or ignorant people find other excuses to use in order to spread ignorance and homophobia. Is it fair? No. It reminds me of the closet door I have come through and tried to keep open. It reminds me that sometimes it’s safer to lie because I am different than the majority. It reminds me that some people will never approve of who I love and I try not to let it reflect on me because I know in my heart that I’m not a bad person. But this is why we continue to fight for human rights and stamp out bigotry and ignorance. We do so one person at a time, educating them about ourselves to show that the only difference is that we love someone of the same sex. Our love is otherwise the same. We still want the same things that other couples want: health, happiness, love, support. Maybe one day ignorance will die off or at least be a distant,  faded memory. I hope I get to see such a day.

Let It Go, Let it Go…

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I watched Frozen with my girlfriend’s youngest daughter today. I had heard good reviews from a few friends, gay and otherwise. I had read reviews online that either praised or dragged the movie through the [metaphorical] mud. It seemed that there are underlying themes that some people find horribly disgusting. Some of the themes I read about made me snort in laughter. After the laugh was over, I shook my head in disbelief because I really didn’t think Disney/Pixar had some of those things in mind when they made the film.

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Photocredit: http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20131103205459/disney/images/6/66/Frozen_castposter.jpg)

So I decided to find out for myself. This is my review/opinion of Frozen. Spoilers included (for those who don’t like to be spoiled, look away).

This movie doesn’t exactly involve the typical Disney story of Princesses where boy meets girl, falls in love, someone disagrees but true love prevails and they go happily ever after riding into a forest/sunset or living in a castle etc. I’ve liked that the past decade or so has shown Disney taking different directions in their most recent films by including people of different races, species (Finding Nemo), toys, heroines, and time periods. It has also started showing people from all walks of life and for that I am grateful. Life doesn’t exist in a set parameter or box. There is one large canvas and it’s a webbed mosiac and we are all a part of it while remaining individual within it.

Frozen starts off in a castle where we are introduced to Elsa and Anna. Elsa is the older sister who has special powers and it’s later asked if she was cursed or born with them (note: the famous question many people ask is if you are born or choose to be LGBT). When an accident happens, Elsa is told by her parents to not associate with her younger sister Anna. Anna grows up wondering why all of a sudden Elsa has lost touch with her. Their parents also shut the closet-I’m sorry, gates to keep anyone from knowing anything about Elsa or her powers.

Later on, when it’s time for Elsa’s coronation as Queen, she ends up exposing her powers to her kingdom of Arendelle due to being unable to control her powers (likely do her fear of them). Due to self hatred, fear and persecution from her subjects, and the neighbouring kingdoms, Elsa isolates herself after plunging her kingdom in eternal winter.

Anna seeks out her sister to put an end to the winter, reunite and attempt to understand her sister. Thus, an adventure ensues.

Themes like unconditional love, infatuation, self hatred, self love, friendship, and forgiveness flow and interweave throughout the story and are conveyed by the various characters.

I’m not saying that the story was meant to be a template for all LGBT people. I think people are allowed to pick and choose what they want to see from the story. To me, it was a story of misunderstanding, conflict of self and love. As a gay woman, I feel I identified mostly with Elsa. Not because I have special powers (but that’d be rad if I did!), but I feel that I know what it’s like to be shunned for who I am by family. I know what it’s like to feel afraid-terrified even-to be myself for fear of being judged by my family and society in general. I know what it’s like to know that there are parts so different about yourself, and feel so alone because you don’t know anyone around you who shares common ground with you. I know what it’s like to feel self hatred and choose to be alone than show your differences for fear of being persecuted. And finally I know what it’s like to be loved unconditionally for all the parts that make me me.  Conceal, don’t feel is something I don’t have to do anymore.

It’s the 21st century. Isn’t it time we Let It Go and just accepted that everyone is different, show some unconditional love and focus what’s really important? Learn tolerance, love yourself (and others), and practice forgiveness.

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Photo Credit: Nocookie net)

Interesting Links:
Official Frozen Trailer here.

Online Reviews:
Sydney Morning Herald
Polymic
AfterEllen

Well Behaved Mormon
Response to Well Behaved Mormon from a Gay Dad

Flirting with women (when you’re a woman)

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Ok ladies, here’s flirting 101.

1, Make eye contact
Show your beautiful eyes to her. Maybe catch her eye from across the room. Who knows, maybe she’ll happen to catch your eye back! Generally while flirting, it’s a good idea to hold her gaze a bit longer than normal, then avert, then back again to let her know you’re flirting.

2. Smile
Flash those teeth! Smiles convey confidence, a happy personality. It also shows that you’re more approachable. <- This is important. Flirting with someone who looks miserable doesn’t work well. If you’re shy, smile. If you’re not shy, smile. Someone might just attracted to that smile.

3. Talk to her
This is a given. If you want to flirt or chat with her, you have to start talking to her. If she doesn’t make the first move, you have to. This can be difficult if you’re a shy, quiet person. (I know). But if you make the first move I can guarantee at least you won’t be wondering “What if”. I learned that I would rather live a life of “Oh well’s” after trying than wondering “what if” and not trying. As an introverted, and at times socially awkward person I’ve found that helps motivate me.

3. Listen
When you’re talking to her, listen to what she’s saying, not what you want to hear. Be polite. Listen to her.

4. Ask her her interests/hobbies
This shows you’re interested in her and her likes. Maybe you’ll find out things that you two have in common to get the conversation rolling.

5. Make sure you’re showered and dressed nicely (good grooming is important too except some ladies like the messy hair look)
Presentation is important. Try to be well groomed and put together. You might just meet your soul mate or next girlfriend running to get groceries for the day.

6. If you’re good at humour, play that card! 
Pull that card out of your sleeve and use it. Most women love to laugh. They will do almost anything to surround themselves with people who make them laugh and feel alive. If you are witty or you have a sense of humour, try it out. She may just be enamoured.

(PhotoCredit: Some e cards)

7. Get a little closer
Stand closer to her and show her that you’re open and receptive to her. Don’t cross your arms, that’s a signal that you’re not interested.

8. Have fun
You win some, you lose some. Through trying you will learn techniques, things that work, things that don’t. And just have fun. Be yourself, and own it.

“My tampon lied!” and other amusing moments in a same sex relationship

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Disclaimer: If you are grossed out by bodily functions, I suggest you stop reading this post now.

I never really gave it much thought to how different a same sex relationship would be  before I began dating women in my early 20s.

Dating a member of the same sex brings new challenges, laughable moments and shared understanding. When you date a woman you can expect to share clothes, share perfumes, makeup, hair products, skincare products and at times bodily functions.

Today was one of those days. My tampon lied! It said my period was over but it was in fact not… as made apparent to my girlfriend and I later. Sometimes tampons can’t be trusted and you have to give mother nature more time but in the heat of a moment who has time to patiently wait to verify that sort of thing?

So that was embarrassing for me, and later amusing. Thankfully my girlfriend isn’t shy or shocked by things like that. It wasn’t like I shared a bloody breakfast similar to the bloody mcMuffin in OITNB. I’m sure that things like that (not the Bloody mcMuffin) happen in same and opposite sex relationships. But at least in same sex relationships, the other partner is more likely to be understanding.

Anyone have any amusing or brave stories you wish to share? Put them in the comments section.

Gifts women love

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What do all women love? Is it chocolates? Whipped cream? Flowery love notes? Or flowers? I would guess flowers and love notes. I haven’t had luck with number two, as one ex girlfriend I surprised with dessert by spraying myself with whipping cream didn’t go well. I did so only to find out that she didn’t like whipping cream. Ouch. Well a girl can try.

Flowers, (provided the woman of your affections isn’t allergic and does not hate them) can be a great gift and way to show your affections for her. Every woman has her preference for which type of flowers she prefers and those that she does not. When you get to know a woman you might want to ask which flowers she loves. Tuck that knowledge away and remember it.

I remember going on a road trip with a friend of my girlfriend’s. She wanted to surprise my girlfriend with flowers and jokingly bought her a carnation. When we picked up my girlfriend from the airport, I found out that she indeed did not like carnations and found it cheap. I suppose I can understand why.

The other day, I was discussing flowers and gardening with my girlfriend when I jokingly said “I should buy some carnations”. Her response: “Do not buy carnations. That is like saying ‘my love is worth $1!’ ” She was genuinely upset and I laughed because I had meant it as a joke. She wasn’t impressed. I reassured her that I was joking.

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Photocredit: Dick Miller Florist)

Personally I like all flowers but everyone has their likes and dislikes. For the record, I don’t see my relationship as being worth $1. Our relationship is priceless in my eyes. Flowers are just a way to convey my affection for her, and a method of brightening her day. And who doesn’t love being reminded that they’re loved?

Coming out of the closet as bisexual

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That is what I originally did.

I originally tried to deny the fact that I was attracted to women altogether for several months after finally piecing together some pieces the summer after I graduated from high school. When I went to university, I could not deny it. I had female crushes on professors, and a few of my classmates and females in my dorm. So I attached the label of bisexual to myself because I thought it would somehow be more acceptable if I did so for when I eventually came out to friends and family. I still dated boys, and crushed on girls. Guys appealed to me because I understood them, their moments of immaturity, their love of things nerdy (not as many females like nerdy things). Guys didn’t appeal to me physically, but their personalities did and that’s why I held onto that label still despite fully feeling my head spin whenever I crushed on a female.

Years later, when I decided to come out, I came out as a bisexual woman because I thought that dipping my toes in the heterosexual and homosexual world at the same time (metaphorically speaking), would somehow be more accepted than being lumped into the homosexual category. It was easier in respects to most of my friends. But it wasn’t as well thought of by my family. My family didn’t take me coming out [of any closet] very well. One of my coworkers called me a fence sitter. Uh… ouch? He was a jerk and just jealous that I wasn’t attracted to him though.

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(Photocredit: Deviant art)

I was called me a slut by a family member. That was lovely. When I told my family I preferred women (still trying to get closer to the truth without giving up the label that I might be slightly straight), I was told “You are disgusting and you would be perfect if you weren’t gay.” I couldn’t win either way. So I finally gave up and came out fully as being a lesbian.

I don’t think some people truly understand what bisexual means. It does not mean whoring around and sleeping with everyone. Anyone can do that whether they are heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, transexual, pansexual, intersex etc. Sexual orientation does not determine if someone will be promiscuous. Unfortunately when some people think of any sexual orientation other than heterosexual they immediately think of sex and somehow think we have wild sex lives. Wouldn’t that be nice? 10 STD’s, a messed up heart and plate of drama for 1 please. *sarcasm*

So I apologize to the bisexuals out there. I did use that sexual orientation label as a metaphorical stepping stone for fully coming to terms with admitting I was gay to myself and to the world. I apologize. I didn’t mean to make it harder for those who are truly bisexual. I know that some people don’t even think that your orientation exists. That is really unfair and I’m sorry that some of you have to face that. I know that you face scrutiny from the heterosexual and homosexual sides of the sexuality spectrum. You may be scrutinized by the heterosexuals because they don’t understand why you enjoy the same sex. And the homosexuals might judge you because they think you can enjoy perks of hetero normative society while batting for the same team. That is not fair. However you love is how you love and you should be allowed that right. I mean don’t go crushing hearts for the manipulative pleasure, that’s just plain mean. But whomever you fall in love with good for you. Don’t let go.

I thought it would somehow be easier to categorize myself as such while denying the fact that I was truly gay all along and this wasn’t right of me. I let homophobia damage my self and that is never a good thing for anyone of any sexual orientation.

LGBT movies on my to watch list

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This year I’ve made up my  mind to try to catch up on more LGBT movies. This isn’t to say I will ignore any films that do not have LGBT characters or story lines, I am simply going to watch more of them. As someone who is part of a minority of the world, it is sometimes comforting to watch story lines and films that depict similar lives to your own while you are consistently surrounded by films that don’t necessarily speak to you and how you love.

Alright. For the list…

1. Blue Is the Warmest Color
I have read mixed reviews of this film. It’s the story of two young women who fall in love.
Trailer here.

2. Reaching For the Moon
A writer goes to Brazil in order to escape and try to find inspiration. She finds more than she bargained for. Let’s hope there’s a happy ending?
Trailer here.

3. The Dallas Buyers Club
This one had several nominations for the Academy Awards the other night. It is set in the 1980’s when the AIDS scare was rampant and an electrician sees the need for AIDS medication after being diagnosed himself.
Trailer here.

4. Boys Don’t Cry.
Born as a woman, Teena Brandon adopts a life as a male and attempts to find himself and love in Nebraska. I haven’t seen this one even though it came out in the late 90’s because I was just a kid back then.
Trailer here.

5. Concussion
Abby, a lesbian who is hit with a baseball thrown by her son, receives a concussion. After her concussion, she becomes a prostitute for other women.
Trailer here.

Use of Pronouns: “I”and “me” to “us”, “we” and “she”

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Somethings that’s been on my mind lately has been the use of pronouns. People use pronouns in the English language without really thinking of them. “I” and “me” signifies singular uses where one flies solo and does something alone. “Us” and “we signifies something more of a partnership, friendship or relationship. When it comes to relationships, pronouns often change and are used on a more regular basis.

When someone is involved in a heterosexual relationship, one rarely has to think about the pronouns that they use with their opposite sex partner. In the case of a woman dating a man, she would say, “My boyfriend and I went___ last weekend.” In same sex relationships pronouns might be used liberally if someone is not closeted or depending on a situation (for instance someone not being “out” at work). “We”, “us”, and “our” becomes a normal part of reference to us and it might be used instead of “My boyfriend” or “my girlfriend” because it might feel awkward or if one isn’t sure of how the other person will respond to the subtle or blatant use of pronouns that differ from the hetero normative end of things.

I remember when I first struggled to come out about my life and live as honestly as possible. I wasn’t sure how people were going to take me when I revealed that I wasn’t exactly like the majority of people. I was rejected by some friends, a couple of them close. That hurt. And as time progressed, I learned to surround myself with supportive people who didn’t see me as any different than them. I was just me.

Before I came to that point of confidence in my life and friends, I would carefully censor myself with use of pronouns. If I was asked about my dating life, or what I was up to, I would censor my speech after thinking about what I was going to say. I used a lot of “we”s, “they” and “our”s instead of “she”, “my girlfriend”, and “partner” in an attempt at feeling out the situations ahead of time or to avoid awkward or stressful situations. I don’t feel ashamed at being gay anymore. That time has long since passed (thankfully). I know it is not an illness, or something I need to be cured of. I am simply attracted to the same sex.

Image(PhotoCredit: CdnUrbanIslandz)

I still find myself doing so at times when I feel self doubt the situation I’m in. But over time it has become less and less and I’m able to say, “she”, “My girlfriend”, “My lady friend”, “my babe” and other terms with endearment devoid of shame.

I’m dating my wonderfully beautiful, caring, intelligent, funny and hardworking girlfriend right now. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m glad I am no longer “me”, but a “me” in a “we” partnership. I’m glad I’m not afraid anymore of having to censor my pronouns. Hearing “us”, “ours” and “we” makes my heart sing a little and I can’t help but smile.