Two Pictures worth a Decade

It was another one of those Facebook games: paste your first profile picture and your most recent one. The idea being to compare how much you have changed in that time.

My first picture, although not uploaded till 2007, is from my first year of university. It was taken in 2005/2006, with an old Motorola flip phone in the Second Cup on the Ottawa U Campus. I was 18.

Ania in 2005

The second picture is just from a week ago, just before Alyssa’s graduation ceremony. I am 28, turning 29 in just over a month.

Ania 2016

It’s an interesting feeling looking at a decade pass.

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Two Pictures worth a Decade
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Bigotriage

There are people my parents refuse to tell about me.

Technically, that’s pretty much everyone. They couldn’t use my name to my face, so there’s no way they’re getting it right around other people. They’re not much better about my pronouns yet, mostly switching to gender-neutral nouns like “child” instead of “son” and changing who they’re addressing mid-sentence to use “you” instead of “she.”

They handled my aggressively femme presentation with far more politeness and warmth than I anticipated. They said a bunch of things that tell me that they’re trying to position themselves, wrongly, as understanding and accepting parents whom I should have told about my transition much earlier, when it was still new, to honor the (also incorrect) closeness and openness of our relationship. But they still can’t say my name, not even to me.

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Bigotriage

Did You Hear the One About the Dumb Polack

CN: Ableist Slur, Xenophobia,

Did you hear the one about the dumb Polack?

  • He thought his wife was trying to kill him because he found Polish Remover.
  • He tried to ask out a Lesbian by asking where in Lesbos she was from.
  • When a plane crashed into a cemetery, he recovered over 4000 bodies.
  • He locked his keys in the car and had to use a coat hanger to get his family out.
  • He crashed his helicopter when he got too cold and turned off the fan.

I’ve been hearing them as long as I can remember. It seems whenever someone finds out I’m Polish I get to hear a new one, or another variation of an old one.

Why don’t they make Ice in Poland? They lost the recipe.

If it’s not jokes about cognitive disability, it’s jokes about alcoholism. When I was staying in France on exchange, my host family couldn’t help themselves but to mention the famous French expression “drunk as a Polack” as soon as they found out my heritage. My father comforted me by telling me that it originated from Napoleonic times, when Polish foot soldiers would drink before battle to take away inhibitions. It made them terrifying in battle he said.

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Did You Hear the One About the Dumb Polack

The Strange Potential of Sharktopus

Something peculiar happens with film budgets. Films that spend more on their cast than small countries spend on food make decisions premised on that kind of money. In a culture that places whiteness, maleness, and similar statuses on pedestals and holds others down, that often means that seeking the biggest names—the people most often recognized for their talent and expertise—means finding people who have had every advantage up to that point. Big-budget films are incredibly white and distressingly male, by and large, regardless of where they are set, and it’s only recently that films could give top billing to members of ethnic minorities without immediately becoming “niche.”

That’s what makes lower-budget films especially interesting.

One of the first things I noticed when I started watching classmates’ film projects, amateur movies on YouTube, and other low-budget cinema was the overwhelmingly greater diversity in the cast. Women and non-white people, disappeared from sight in mainstream films, appeared in profusion, matching the reality of the diverse places I have lived.

And that’s what brings us to Sharktopus (2010).

Spoilers for all three Sharktopus films below the fold.

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The Strange Potential of Sharktopus

No More Unicorn Blood

It’s weird. Usually when I leave the hospital, I feel weak but I feel… better than I did?

I’m not feeling as bad as I did when I went in, but I’m not feeling as much better as I usually do. I’m wishing they left me on the IV steroids longer than they had, instead of switching me straight to oral so quick.

A lot of the “feeling better” in hospitals is artificial. It’s not hard to feel better when they make an immediate medical response to every symptom. Feel nauseated – BAM – IV anti-emetics, feel pain _BAM- sub Q dilaudid.

They bring you food at regular intervals, they keep you to a regular pill schedule, hell, you don’t have to get out of bed to get the medicine you need. There is no effort greater than pushing a button to get from feeling bad to feeling better. The nurses even bring you blankets from a heater if you are feeling cold.

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No More Unicorn Blood

Vino Para Mí

Hay una banda sonora especial para la matanza moderna. La mayoría no son envenenando a la gente en un sueño permanente. Cuando un asesino moderno con un arma moderna asesina a 50 personas y hiere a 53 más, hay un sonido que sigue el carillón del último casquillo cuando cae al piso. Mucho tiempo después de los gritos y llantos y sirenas se colocan por otro lado, hay otro sonido, nos dicen.

Teléfonos móviles.

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Vino Para Mí

The Decadence of Memory

I’ve been on several Caribbean cruises. I’m also terrified of next month’s automatic bill payments. The juxtaposition of those two facts, both as true as they are incongruous next to one another, is something I’ve had to learn to understand, live with, and acknowledge as part of myself.

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The Decadence of Memory

Am I Queer Enough to Grieve?

I denied being bisexual for a long time. There was always an excuse.

  • I didn’t like women that way, I just appreciated their aesthetic beauty.
  • I wasn’t sexually attracted to boobs, they were just fun. Bouncy and Jiggly all at once.
  • I dismissed the crushes I had on certain friends as just being a particular kind of closeness between two female friends. I appreciated the intimacy we shared, that was all.
  • I made up excuses that the reason reading sex scenes between two women turned me on was because they focused more on the type of pleasure I wanted to experience.

When I finally accepted that there was something more to my attractions and yearnings, I identified as hetero-flexible: still straight, just occasionally intrigued by certain women. I made the cis-sexist observation that for me, it just wasn’t fun without also having a penis involved.

All of these messed up ideas finally dripped away over time and I accepted that I really was bi and that I was attracted to all sorts of genders and bodies and people. It wasn’t about specific genitals, it was about the person, and I was just as likely to love women as I was men.

Looking back, I think even then I saw women as more romantic partners and men as sex partners. My pursuit of men had more to do with what was socially expected of me, but my interest in, my connection with women and non-binary people seemed deeper somehow. Continue reading “Am I Queer Enough to Grieve?”

Am I Queer Enough to Grieve?

He Came For Me

CN: 11 June 2016 Orlando murders.

There’s a special soundtrack to a modern massacre. Most of them aren’t poisoning people into too-long sleep. When a modern killer with a modern gun murders 50 people and injures 53 more, there’s a sound that follows the last shell casing’s floor-bound chime. Long after the shrieking and crying and sirens are diverted elsewhere, there’s another sound, they say.

Mobile phones.

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He Came For Me