My parents claim they have an honest relationship with me. I hesitate to say they think so because the claim is so bizarrely impossible that them “thinking” their way into it seems like the real stretch.
Do you think I’ve been honest with you about me, Mom and Dad? Do you really think me knowing I was trans for almost two years before I told you is the aberration, the break from our pattern that signaled a loss of trust? I don’t believe that for a second. I think you twisted and turned your way into this narrative because it let you harp on how I handled my disclosures for a while, instead of having only your own bigotry to lean on as a reason why my being Alyssa instead of [deadname] is a crime against family honor. I think you built this skein in your minds because it was important to you to feel a certain way about your children, and that it has less than nothing to do with me.
Continue reading “An Honest Fantasy, a Useful Lie”
The pair of Team Rocket agents Jessie and James (Musashi and Kojiro in the original Japanese) are fixtures of the Pokémon animated series. The series subjects them to endless misfortune, and they never achieve their stated goals. They spend much of each episode in various states of explosion, and the warmest welcome they manage among the protagonists is occasional deep mistrust rather than overt hostility. They have earned the love of fans for their insistent theatrics, incompetence as thieves, and impressive fashion sense, but the show itself is much less consistent.
They deserve better.
Continue reading “Jessie and James Deserve Better”
Autistic Person: I’m here for the job doing THING.
HR: Ah, good, good. How much experience do you have doing THING?
Autistic Person: Experience?
Continue reading “Autistic Job Searching: A Play in One Scene”
This week, I expanded my blogging horizons by giving my readers the option to ask me questions they’ve been curious about. The result was a mix of questions about me and things they hope I write about at greater length in the future, and it’s been fun to read and to contemplate.
Continue reading “Ask Alyssa Anything”
This year will most likely be the last year that I attend the Ottawa-Carleton Institute of Biology’s yearly symposium. This small-scale conference is advertised internally, and draws its attendees almost exclusively from the two university biology departments that comprise the OCIB. As a graduating Ph.D., I’m unlikely to either get those advertisements or have the open schedule required to be present on subsequent occasions. It has served as a way for biology students at the two departments to meet and get to know one another, for people to become familiar with the research going on elsewhere at the Institute, to practice for higher-stakes presentations at larger conferences, and to attend curated talks from well-credentialed and diverse researchers in various related fields. I have never found attendance at the OCIB Symposium to be wasted, not even the year where they got that weirdo suggesting we start using Aristotelian teleological models to better understand parts of biology.
(For those not in the know, those models also underlie much Christian philosophy and therefore Intelligent Design.)
This year, though, was marred by two instances of tone-deaf, science-illiterate microaggression that only get to keep the “micro-” qualifier because I’m not prepared to accuse these two speakers of deliberately attacking the autistic and transgender communities. Yet.
Continue reading “Some Thoughts for the Ottawa-Carleton Institute of Biology”
One might expect a silly dichotomy like “cat person vs. dog person” to be uselessly hazy, but I have found great utility in it. There are a whole series of patterns I have come to appreciate that follow that distinction, and some interesting social things happening that enforce them all.
Continue reading “Cat Lady”
There’s an alarmingly easy trick for figuring out which of your friends have been mocked about the things they enjoy. There’s hardly any effort involved, and they might even accidentally insult your taste in the process.
Continue reading “Hedging Taste”
CN: Allusion to past emotional abuse and suicidal ideation
I rarely tell my partners that I love them.
Well, that’s not true. I rarely tell them uninitiated. It’s easy for me to say “I love you, too,” sincere yet mechanical, in response to “I love you.” Once a relationship reaches the point where “I love you” is a thing we’re saying to each other, that exchange becomes commonplace: the affirming background hum of two people who care deeply for one another. It’s easy enough that just having my love for a person on my mind when a totally different person, jokingly or accidentally, tells me they love me is sometimes enough to bring it out. The mortification that follows is rarely worth the laugh.
But starting that trade is much harder.
Continue reading “Those Three Words”
I have lived long years of endurance.
Long, long years of loud rooms full of people I never learned to like, who couldn’t be bothered to learn to like me either. Long years of being at parties but not part of them, dreading the part of the night where the group splits into smaller groups that head to different places, not having enough of a link to any moiety to make any path make sense, too determined to have “life experience” to give up right then.
Long, long years of being only minimally able to care what I was wearing, because none of it seemed worth excitement. Long years of burying myself in oversized Hawaiian shirts and their kin with East-Asian-inspired prints and jeans that just barely fit into the rough, unkempt aesthetic of the 1990s. Long years of intensive patterns and cycles maintained because as long as I maintained them, I never had to think of what might replace them, never had to face the yawning, perfumed void over which they stretched, never had to know why.
Long, long years of holding a beloved pet behind a locked door and weeping softly, without knowing why.
Continue reading “Small Rock”
A few years ago, I attended an art museum with Ania and one of her friends from her hometown. There was friction between the three of us. Ania hadn’t been in much contact with this friend for years at this time, and importantly, had come into her atheism and become involved with me in that gap. Her friend, in turn, was still religious. I earned some of her friend’s future antipathy to me by being a little too insistently flirtatious, which is not a good thing for a perceived cis straight man in a relationship to be toward a woman who is clearly uninterested, but most of it preceded that unfortunate buildup. A lot of it coalesced into a rather unfortunate turn of phrase she used during that art museum trip:
“[S]he’s not one of those atheists, is [s]he?”
Continue reading “Art and the Robot”