I think my next project for this site over the weekend will be organizing it more thoroughly and possibly adding my own style elements to the CSS?? I would also like to separate out these long, journal-like posts from content like ferment "recipes" or Linux experiences--I guess I already started that process by adding a Books Recommendation page, and a Resources page. I'm just going to add to those as I think of things. This site is becoming a bit of a personal brain dump, progress tracker, and references container.
I started growing out the nails on my left hand (my strumming hand) in order to play my guitar with more percussivity (is that a word???). I thought it would bother me more, but so far it's only been a mild incovenience for hygiene because I have to clean under my nails. Normally I keep them as short as possible without causing myself injury so I don't have to think about it. My guitar teacher let me learn to play guitar left-handed. He was born left-handed, but his family and school forced him to learn to become right-handed. I learned violin right-handed from a violin teacher who was also forced to learn to become right-handed as a child.
How many people have gone through that experience? I know that a lot of people say it's out of necessity--for the lefty's benefit--that everyone should learn to be right-handed because everything is designed for right-handed people. The implication being that somehow someone who favors their left cannot possibly learn to use their right in certain situations, or design things around their handed-ness as right-dominant folks do. At most, it's a minor inconvenience I think about and encounter sometimes. In some lecture halls--depending on their size--there are desks that swing up from the left, rather than the right. I'm not in college anymore, so I barely think about that. There are two spots at a booth that lefties can sit where they won't knock elbows with their rightie friends--that's an easy conversation with the party to make sure everyone is seated in the "right" place. Scissors, ink pens that don't dry quickly, using spiral notebooks from back cover to front cover (professors and their TAs don't like this), finding appropriately-priced instruments and sports equipment...
I played softball in middle school, and then briefly baseball. I was the primary pitcher on the softball team. It threw some players off that I pitched left-handed. I was proud of my position and enjoyed spending time with my peers in a way that I finally seemed to fit in. It was called an "all-girls" team. Too many players had to quit one year: someone had a baby, and unrelatedly, a friend group had a massive falling out. In order to let the remaining members continue participating in sports, we were "allowed" to join in the practices of the baseball team and quietly sit on the bench during formal games in our uniforms. I wasn't allowed to pitch at practice: they were afraid I would hurt myself and that I wasn't able to throw the baseball fast enough. I gave it my all no matter what position I was assigned, but it was always made clear that my efforts were in vain. I wanted and needed to be recognized as an equal, but I didn't understand why. I didn't have the words or framework for what I understand about myself now. I felt...deprived of a mutual recognition of and bonding over expressed "masculinity".
A note to my lovely partner: you may not want to read this next part as it pertains to someone in an earlier period of my life. I have told you this story before, just not with this degree of detail and emotion. If that doesn't bother you, feel free to proceed.
I loved my childhood best friend. She often told me she wished I was a boy so that she could marry me. I didn't understand why she said it, or why it made me feel confused, prideful, and hurt to hear it. I would call her on my family's large, forest green, corded landline phone at least once a week, even though we spent a lot of time together at school. I had to ask her family if I could speak with her every time I called. I usually got her oldest sister because she was a stay at home parent and general caretaker of the home. I asked my friend to go to every party I was invited to. We sat together for every student council meeting we attended.
I grew jealous when she got a boyfriend who went to another school and she spent her free time emailing him--
but I never told her so.
She would often complain about him, and I did the cringey thing where I thought about how I wouldn't treat her that way--
but I never told her so.
I just listened. I have repeated this pattern with many other people in the closet throughout my closeted life, and I've learned that one way to combat it is by speaking my truth and/or making peace with the situation and moving on when it's time to move on. I didn't expect her to date me or reciprocate in any way. I didn't know anything about queerness at the time. I didn't understand why I wanted to still hold her hand and listen to her thoughts and touch her hair and watch her laugh and protect her for the rest of my life in that cheesy, dramatized way that kids do. I just felt wrong.
I don't know where she went. We stopped talking when we went to different high schools, and her online presence disappeared. I think of her every now and again and wonder what happened.
I'm very happy with where I am now: I love my partner and I don't wish for anything to have gone differently. Memories of my childhood friend now serve as evidence to me that I have always been "this way": queer. That even though it feels like I keep realizing this about myself over and over again, that even though sometimes I have to convince myself that I am not "faking it" because of all the baggage and messages I've accumulated throughout my life about people like me; the feeling of "relearning" that I'm queer each time has more to do with the way people see me and interact with me than anything intrinsic about me.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you've gotten to do something you enjoy today. See you again soon.