Mourning a Rando’s Dick

CN: t-slur

A man messaged me on a dating site to let me know how much my feminism was a “dick killer”. How as soon as he saw my picture he lost interest and would rather “fuck a hole in the wall”. How he thought I was interesting until he saw “feminist”, how he thought I was a “tr*nny”. And again reminded me how much of a “dick killer” I am.

Oh how will I ever go on? I have hurt this man. He was so confused. How dare my uninteresting face made him look at my interesting profile until he saw that dreaded F word.

I know this man’s pain. Many times I have walked into baseball stadiums to loudly tell every one how much I hate that game.

I once bought a cheeseburger and then angrily demanded my money back because of how much I hate them.

This poor man.

How will I ever go on knowing the hurt I caused this man? How will I ever go on knowing he won’t fuck me?

Tis truly a sad day him.

Let us all mourn this man’s dick’s death. RIP, dick. RIP.

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Mourning a Rando’s Dick
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I’m not beautiful and that is OK.

I’ve started therapy at a new clinic. My therapist is a WOC who identifies as a feminist so she gets points for that. We’ve talked about growing as girl children in machista families. She understands where I’m coming from with certain things.

However, every time I mention the word ugly she stops to ask if I really think I’m ugly.

No, I don’t. By conventional standards, I am ugly and not very feminine looking. I’m fat, I have stretch marks and cellulite. I have jiggly and flabby skin. I have scars from self injury. I’m tall. I have short hair dyed an unnatural color. I have piercings and I’m hairy.

But I really don’t give a fuck if I’m ugly or not. Not anymore.
When I was little all I heard from my family was how fat and ugly I was. So, as I got older and the other girls were trying on make up and exploring their femininity I decided that those things were vain and frivolous. They were weak and I wouldn’t be.

I had internalized the misogyny hurled at me all my life. I would be one of the guys, not like those other silly girls. I shunned anything that could be called feminine while simultaneously adhered to other rigid gender norms like shaving. And why did I shave? Because hairy women are “ugly”. Men don’t like hairy women. So while I shunned certain aspects of femininity to protect myself I also chose to follow some to also protect myself. I was a mess. A chill girl mess.

As I’ve matured into my feminism, I’ve learned that femininity isn’t weakness. Once I learned to let go of that internalized misogyny, I realized femininity is powerful. I wear make up and dresses now because it makes me feel good about myself. It makes me feel pretty. Not pretty for other people. Pretty for me. I don’t shave because it’s too much hassle and I was only doing it for other people.

I’m going to have to explain that being ugly isn’t the worst thing. I’ll have to explain what I mean when I use the word ugly. I’ll have to spend part of my therapy session explaining 101 feminism/social justice stuff. And that’s exhausting. My thinking I’m “ugly” isn’t more important than treating my PTSD.

On a typical summer day, you’ll find me wearing a pretty dress, make up on my face all while my pits and legs are hairy. I’m not beautiful by conventional standards and that’s OK. I never will fit into the white ideal and I don’t want to. I’m beautiful for me.

I’m not beautiful and that is OK.

“Just be positive”

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been told to “stay positive” I would have been able to leave the shelter a long time ago. I always get this when I express any feeling other than absolute fucking joy. Do people not understand that after being kicked so long it’s hard to just believe things will work?

When I went into the shelter almost five years ago, I was optimistic. I was on my own with a baby and scared. However, I just knew things would work out. I just had to believe and I was positive things would go well. After going back and forth from a hotel to the main office while they found a domestic violence shelter that would accept me, I was positive. Every day, several phone calls to different shelters, and I was there positively positive.

I’m placed in a domestic violence shelter but told it’s only a 4 month stay. If I’m not accepted into low-income housing, then I have to go back to the office and start over this time in a regular shelter. But I was positive. I would be placed somewhere.

I wasn’t. And so I had to take a two-hour train ride in the middle of Winter during a particularly cold day with a baby back to the office. Then wait and wait and wait for a new shelter. But it was OK. Things would work out. I was positive they would.

But then TJ got food poisoning from the lunches they served at the office. Things would be OK though. I just needed to remain positive. Hadn’t things worked out so far, albeit with a few hiccups?

I was finally placed, but I had to get there myself. The drivers were out and they didn’t know when they’d be back. If I wasn’t in the shelter in four hours I’d lose my placement. That was OK though. I was a little worried having to carry a suitcase, a stroller and a sleeping baby to the train which had no elevator at 11pm in NYC but I’d be OK. I was positive I would be.

The stroller got stuck on the platform. No one helped me. The train was coming. I missed it. I was still stuck, wanting to cry. But I wouldn’t. I would be OK. I just needed to remain positive.

I got lost on my way to the shelter in a strange neighborhood in NYC. But I would be OK.
I was in that shelter for two years. But I didn’t worry. I was tired and the word “positive” made my eye twitch but I still clung to it. If I lose this, I’ll lose everything. I was always hearing how hope is the last thing you lose. I didn’t want to lose hope. I had already lost so much.
I get an opportunity to leave the shelter. I was ecstatic. TJ could start kindergarten as a non-homeless kid. I could have peace of mind and go back to school. My mental health would improve drastically. I was excited! I rarely ever got excited about anything anymore. Positivity had worked.

Two months later we were back in the shelter.

More misery. More tears, more failure. But why? I had been so positive.

I realize this all may sound a lot like faith and isn’t that weird because I’m an atheist? But no, not really. I wasn’t praying to a god. I was just hoping that I’d finally catch a break. I was just hoping that once, just once, the system would help me. But the system isn’t there to help you. The system isn’t broken but it does break you. I had been broken.

So, I kept living and surviving like I always did. I had no other choice. But I no longer had any dreams about my career or schooling. I wasn’t fooling myself into thinking I’d get out of here soon.

So it’s more misery and suffering and failures.

Along the way though I’ve met some wonderful people in online spaces. They care about me and TJ. They’re affirming and gentle and loving. If I’m in a tough spot they rally around me and help. But I was hesitant to accept that at first. I didn’t believe I deserved it. Hadn’t I been suffering alone all this time? Why were these people here trying to help?

I’ve recently found an apartment and my friends helped me share my fundraiser for moving expenses. We reached our goal within a day. But the idea of my having an apartment; of finally leaving the shelter is scary beyond hell.

The apartment has been on my mind nonstop since I found out I was accepted. I go through feelings of happiness, to anxiety that it’s happening, to disbelieving it will. Then I remember that I just need to give them the money. I signed the paperwork already. Then I get this really calm feeling and think “what if this is the break you’ve been waiting for? What if this is it?”

Then I panic because I don’t how to live other than being scared and panicked. I don’t know how to live without feeling like I’m constantly on the edge of disaster. If it isn’t one crisis, it’s another. I don’t know how to relax.

I go on these emotional roller coasters and my friends let me vent and validate me. Then the well-meaning but misguided “positivity preachers” show up. They tell me to relax and calm down. I just need to be positive.

But positivity won’t make the anxiety go away. Positivity didn’t get me the apartment. Positivity didn’t get the money raised. Sometimes “be positive” just sounds like, “Shut up. You’re making me uncomfortable thinking about the hardships people face”. It feels like a silencing tactic.
I’ve found that the people who go on about positivity are either privileged people who’ve never experienced much oppression, or people who are like I once was. People who haven’t been kicked enough times. This is completely cynical on my part, but I do believe that they’ll eventually come to my realization that positivity is bullshit. Whatever good things I have haven’t happened because I was positive. They happened because the friends I have are kind people, and because I’m slowly learning to accept people’s affection and help. Positivity, in the sense that’s it’s some wish granter, hasn’t helped with that. That has been a lot of work on my part.

I’ll tell you though, one thing I am positive about is that I’m lucky to have these wonderful people in my life. I’ve survived this long and that’s a positive thing. TJ is thriving and that’s positive.

I am OK. I do worry. Sometimes the worry is justified, others it’s just my anxiety getting the best of me, but I need to be able to vent these feelings.

Whether things go smoothly or not has nothing to do with my thoughts. If I could so easily control outcomes just by being positive, I would have left the shelter long ago. Unfortunately platitudes don’t put bread on the table.

“Just be positive”

Depression vs Art

I’d like to consider myself a bit of a visual artist but these past ten years with depression have almost completely sapped whatever ability I had. I think I’ve made about five drawings in ten years. When I do create something I’m told I’m talented. But I just cannot seem to keep the inspiration or even the motivation going.

You hear a lot about how mental illness contributed in some way to an artist’s work; that they channeled their pain into their art. Whether that art be music, painting, writing etc, the point is they channeled it to mean something. My depression just spirals and loops back into itself and all I ever get out of it is more pain.

Which then makes me feel even shittier for not “depression-ing” right. Which I know is ridiculous, I know it’s just depression shenanigans and troll brain talking. I know it all rationally, but I still cannot shake the feeling that I’m a failure at depression. Isn’t that sad?

Lately, I’ve had a few ideas for a drawing and I can see it in my mind’s eye, but when I try to actually make it happen I draw a blank. (At least I’m punny?)

That’s what hurts the most sometimes. I know I have some talent at least. I know that I can make something beautiful but depression is always there just waiting to tell me, that no actually I can’t.

I remember having a pastel charcoals set when I was little. I used up the sketch pad rather quickly. I loved just sitting on the porch and drawing whatever came to mind, blending colors and getting my fingers covered in multi-colored dust. Sometimes I think maybe I can do that again, sit somewhere quiet, armed with a sketch pad and pencil and just draw what comes to me. But the fear is there; taunting me. Waiting for the first pencil stroke to land on the page, so the depression can start its bullying: why bother?, nobody will like it. You aren’t any good.

Why can’t I just ignore that, especially when I know that what my depression is saying isn’t true? It’s a never ending battle.

Depression vs Art