Jan 302013

     Sometime you’re the windshield
     Sometime you’re the bug
     Sometime it all comes together baby
     Sometime you’re a fool in love
     Sometime you’re the louisville slugger
     Sometime you’re the ball
     Sometime it all come together baby
     Sometime you’re gonna lose it all.
– Mark Knopfler, “The Bug”

I’d be willing to bet that when Mark Knopfler wrote this song, it was in the midst of a “bug” kind of day.  (I mean, really – who, when having a great day thinks, “Gosh – life is great right now!! I feel like. . .  I feel like a WINDSHIELD!  Bugs in my teeth, cracked by a flyaway pebble on the highway.  Life is good!!”)  Only in those times when I feel like the bug in this idiom does the idea of being a windshield sound attractive.

These lyrics have been going through my head quite a bit over the last few months.  Which is to say that the recent past has been particularly “buggy” for me.  Without going into a whole lot of unnecessary details, I’ve had several moments where I’ve wondered if any notions I’ve had about life or my sense of call, have been misguided.  My partner and friends have heard me say, numerous times, that perhaps I should have gone into another line of work – that any ideas I’d had about feeling called to the church, or toward doing a PhD, had been illusory – figments of my overactive imagination.  I have this idea about how my life should look, and even though I can be pretty patient with how things unfold, there are times when I just get tired.  I want some momentum, to see some progress – to get a “yes” in a world that only seems to say “no.”

My friends are, on the whole, pretty patient with me, but there have been a couple of times lately when I’ve been struck by their replies to my flashes of self-pity.  One just gave me a stare.  Another told me that her unconditional care for me only comes into question when I seem determined to refuse it, or to give myself any slack in the process of it (and then gracefully continued to offer care even as I wrestled with pervasive questions of self-doubt).  All told me, in very kind words, that I need to get used to checking my expectations at the door.  To them I say now, “touché, my friends. And thank you. Your kindness and the grace you’ve continued to show have helped in more ways than I can say.”

The thing is, there are just some days when life is . . . well, hard – when people seem cruel, or rejections seem to come one after another, when loneliness is the only rhythm my feet can find.  Rationality has no place in such times as these – I can see and know that my feelings are irrational, but it doesn’t make them any less potent.

I’m posting this video, by “Kid President” in large part as a reminder to myself in the future – a sort of pep talk that I can go back to when it’s made its way off of my Facebook timeline, and I am feeling glum and overwhelmed by the world.  I hope it does the same for you.




Jan 092013


At some point last spring, I wrote a brief post about the Genderbread Person, an illustration of the differences between gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, and sexual orientation.  I was thinking about the Genderbread Person today, an thought it would be worth re-visiting and unpacking a bit for a second installment of Queer Terminology!!  (I’m taking the definitions right off the handout, btw, which can be found at www.ItsPronouncedMetrosexual.com, and adding a bit about my own self-identification as a way of clarifying each category.)

  • Gender Identity: Gender identity is how you, in your head, think about yourself.  It’s the chemistry that composes you (e.g., hormonal levels), and how you interpret what that means.  So, for me, the fact that I identify as a woman would put me more to the left side of the gender-identity spectrum.
  • Gender expression: Gender expression is how you demonstrate your gender (based on traditional gender roles) through the ways you act, dress, behave, and interact.  The fact that I prefer to wear ties instead of dresses, and have short hair puts me more in the middle of the “feminine – androgynous – masculine” spectrum.
  • Biological sex: Biological sex refers to the objectively measurable organs, hormones, and chromosomes.  Female = vagina, ovaries, XX chromosomes; male = penis, testes, XY chromosomes; intersex = a combination of the two.  I am biologically female; and, as far as I know, I have XX chromosomes. However, as I am not aware of ever having had a karyotype, which is a chromosome analysis, I do not know of any chromosomal variations I may have.
  • Sexual orientation: Sexual orientation is who you are physically, spiritually, and emotionally attracted to, based on their sex/gender in relation to your own.  This is often the spectrum people typically identify when talking about attraction.  Though the line runs from heterosexual – bisexual – homosexual, there are a variety of other sexual orientations, including pansexual (the attraction to people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions) and asexual (which is a lack of sexual attraction).

One of the key factors in each of these categories is that a person needn’t be on one side or the other.  Each category is non-binary – and fluid.  Just as we change and evolve over our lives, so do the ways we understand and express ourselves.

One of the most enlightening experiences I had about my own gender expression, identity, and sexual orientation was when I was training to work with LGBTQ youth.  The other trainees and I each plotted ourselves in all four categories, and it was amazing to see how much variation there was – not one of our graphs looked the same!  Various life experiences, background, race, class, etc, will all play into the way we understand ourselves.  (For instance, what may be seen as “masculine” in one culture may be “feminine” in another.)