Monday, November 15, 2010

Bullying, Spirit-Day, etc...

Now that the festivities, and solemnities are over, and I'm stuck with 20lbs of candy that my extended family couldn't give out, and still doesn't want, I turn to the somber notes of The Dark Night, which have altogether passed, sort of.

At the local Unitarian pagan circle (I went back, and I'll probably keep going back) we adapted a ritual from Michelle Belanger's "Vampire Ritual Book". The ritual compared themes of death and transition to self-sacrifice and betterment. Committed to flames was the word "dispassion". Wrapped up in it was "keeping silent", "hiding" and "feeling shamed". So expect some interesting blog posts about how foolish it is to divide ourselves in the coming days.

I'll say that though I might be comparable in age to most of my fellow bloggers (inching up on thirty while slamming the breaks and screaming "Sweet mother of GOD, not YET!") I lived more like their grandparents, or great-grandparents. I grew up on a farm, raising and killing my own food, wild-foraging, hunting and fishing. And yes, I was home-schooled. After Kindergarten I was never in the sort of social schooling situations other people are. The idea of "peer pressure" was, and I mean this sincerely, completely alien to me. To this day, those ideas are still exceptionally foreign. This has caused me an unmeasurable amount of bullshit.

But I'm not exactly an alien, here.

I've had people shout things, or behave strangely because of the way I look, or the persons I associate with. I can remember having things shouted in the mid-90's. I remember that after Columbine shit got "real" and I got into a few close calls. A couple of years ago a botanica owner near to my then-residence sent a student to come fetch me, having assumed I had knowledge about some rather dark dealings. I've endured precious-less bullying than others because I was home-schooled, but I did endure 'my share' in the halls of Church.

The Last Gasp... and the last straw.

When I was in my tweens I parted violently with the Christianity-lite that my family sort of gently wafted the air with during my childhood. My grandmother was a Minister, and tried to instill a strong sense of faith in me. Unfortunately, through various dark matters (losing a friend to drugs) I had a falling out with Christianity-lite, or any other form.

But, because of my Grandmother (after a few years of trying and failing to remain an Athiest), I decided to go to Church with my then-best-friend, where I experienced bullying (of the type not doled out by older siblings) for the fist time. It began with taunts. It progressed to threats. It progressed to following through on those threats. During a touch-football game one of the teenaged boys kicked me in the lower back. Something went twinge, and I rounded on him. That may have been what's brought on a lifetime of lower back problems. I was attacked like that, on and off, any time I visited.

These incidents were all reported to people of "authority" in the Church, and no one did a damned thing. I was, conversely, lectured for my manner of dress, attitude, the evils of witchcraft, the evils of homosexuality, and my general evilness. Despite my being there, in a gorram church.

Then, one night many moons down the line, there was a Church lock-in, and the Pastor's son decided that simply taunting me wasn't enough. He backed me into the woman's bathroom and attempted to sexually assault me. He came out worse for it. I got lectured for my attitude and manner of dress. Essentially that I had "asked for it". I, according to them, was the source and cause of all of my own problems because I was different. I stopped attending that Church. I stopped attending -all- churches.

Troubling Revelations.

While I may have a female body (I say "may", because I'm not altogether certain what it's up to sometimes) - I am not a "woman" in my heart. I live between male and female, and while it would be quite nice to be done of this body (or rather rid of the absolutely crippling "female complaints"), I am happy with who I am and what I am. I have no need to draw an artificial line in the sand, and declare that I exist solely on one side of it.

I can recall being about 9-ish years old and watching a female sacker pack groceries. I recall being, yes, rather enamored of her bosom and catching myself suddenly with the curious question "Does this mean I'm gay?" and the old standby "that means I'm going to hell."
I struggled with this issue, through loss and regaining of religious faith. I met a girl... and I fell in love. And then I struggled harder. She moved on, I got my heart broken, and I met someone else (male this time) and I fell in love. And I got even MORE confused.

It took me until a couple of years ago, to realize that there is no "default" setting. It's not a switch that is toggled on or off, it is a free-floating dial with no stop-point. It is a fluid, circular spectrum, this sexuality thing. And for me gender, sex - they don't matter one whit, because my own sex and gender are not on the more common factory-settings.

Raymond Chase, Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Billy Lucas, Seth Walsh.

It was because of this disconnect, that people had poor reactions. It wasn't me that caused the trouble, it was their issues (fear, and hatred). I didn't see it then, but hindsight is 20-20. I was a kid for fuck's sake! I didn't have the constant impression of girls being "girly" or boys being "boyish". I only had myself, and the honesty of my developing feelings. It is the reason that my "attitude" and "manner of dress" were always "the problem". It is the reason a teenaged boy felt the only way to 'deal' with me was to dominate me via a sexual medium - turn the queer strait, so to speak. I see that now.

Had I lived a more "normative" life, I would still have struggled. But my struggle would've been a public display, open to that public feedback of broken bones and soured worldviews. I've often told my mother that I am thankful for my homeschooling, because had I been subjected to that I would not be me - and I like me. More than likely I would have made good on the various dark thoughts I had, and ended my own life.

"It gets better"

It will never get better if you subjugate yourself to others.  Shame and guilt are -their- weapons, don't actively use them on yourself. Realize that there are evils in this world, and consenting love is not one of them.

1 comment:

  1. As a girl that's somewhere between boy-girl, too, I can relate to so much of what you write here. It comforts me to know that you're out there, too.