On normality, and silence

I don’t want to be told I’m normal. I want to be acknowledged as abnormal, and I want people to make allowances for my abnormality to help me.

M and R have a habit of chiding me when I complain about Those Damned Neurotypicals. No-one is truly neurotypical! they say. All minds are on a spectrum! There is no normal! I’m unsure whether this is intended to make me feel better or whether it is just a passionate defense of their worldview, but I find it incredibly irritating. While it is true that there is no completely normal brain, there are typical brains, average brains that work very like the Normal Brain our society was and is designed for. Mine is not one of those.

I panic when I have to make a phone call. I use a truly egregious amount of energy processing noise and linguistic information. Sometimes I cry when I hear muffled voices or a vacuum cleaner. I don’t understand how to care about other humans, much less how to talk to them. I can’t usually remember what I did or who I was a few hours ago. I have to run out of a room if someone is peeling an orange or chewing spearmint gum. During interviews I stutter, make long awkward pauses, and omit important information. I sometimes want to kill myself because the future looks difficult, terrifying, and bleak. I am not a person who meshes well with American culture, and because of this there are a lot of things I am simply not able to do, like make friends, go to parties, and occasionally absolutely any of my work. I am disabled because of things that should not be disabilities. But because they are, sometimes I hate myself.

This is not a useful post. I am not proposing a solution, except the solution that I always propose (wholesale overhaul of American culture, the abolition of capitalism, speakers to be outlawed in favor of headphones, et c). I suppose I’m trying to articulate what bothers me about M and R’s arguments, which I am not usually able to do while they are making said arguments. There is an insidious cultural whispering that says, you’re faking it. You’re making it up for attention. You should be stronger and get over it. Be quiet. Be quiet. Be quiet.

Usually I am quiet, because people would probably be even more unsettled by the shape of my mind than they are by my words and actions, and might never speak to me again. But by god I am going to complain on my little-used private blog. Neurotypicals are awful and inconsiderate and I wish I felt that asking them to change their behavior to make my life easier would have any result. Down with neurotypicals. They’re just the worst.

in which the author is a confused slug and eschews capitalization for the sake of tone

bewildered, it rereads the suggestion that someone is fond of it. this is not correct, it thinks in its dim slug brain, i have somehow imagined this into reality. it can’t even be happy about this because it is not a real slug. sorry i tricked you the slug was imaginary this whole time. imaginary slug is too confused to be happy.

it considers checking every five minutes for eternity to see if the fondness has abated. then it will be safe again. less confused.

that’s not quite it. i am happy that i have somehow made another person happy but they do need to understand i am not real. (worried & afraid face) (whispers) someone loves me

there is also something wrong with me. maybe many things. i do not know what they are but i am not normal. fig 1: persistent certainty that it does not really exist like other people do. fig 2: identifies with slugs more than humans. fig 3: has thoughts that are not Intrusive Thoughts but nevertheless seem intrusive and bad. brain misreads thoughts as intrusive? neurotypical is a sliding scale and it has no clue where the extremes actually are. fig 4: unwilling to be thought or talked about by humans. fig 5: unable to have a gender because it does not identify with any group of humans enough (looks wistfully at people with genders. feels sick.)

tl? dr? i will summarize: if you love me please don’t tell me about it because it will cause me to have a crisis of identity. caveat: i will attempt to ferret all information relevant to having feelings about anything out of you because i Want To Know because collecting information makes me more of an archive than a slug

In the land of mothballs and clothes hangers

It’s really exhausting being nonbinary, like you’ll go shopping and in the stores the cashiers will say “have a nice day ladies!” But you use up so much energy hating yourself three different ways and the rest of the world at least five, and you get so tired of not saying anything, and of being too scared and polite to say anything. You get tired of forcing yourself not to care.

I realize it could be much worse. That’s where the fear comes from. People say if you want to be out you have to keep coming out day after day, and it’s true. I hide, and berate myself for it, because I don’t have the bravery to invite anything worse. I have a tendency, in my own head at least, toward melodrama; I am a grand tragedy hiding from the presumptive cruelty of the world. In fact I’ve never experienced any of that cruelty because of the circumstances of my birth. I’m uncomfortable in this closet, but I don’t want to leave, and that’s what makes me angry. I’m not fighting at all. I’m tacitly encouraging the status quo because I’m afraid.

This is what occupies my mind in restaurants and clothing stores. It’s a tiring litany, and by now an extremely familiar one, but always I ask myself “is it worth it to correct them?” and always the answer is “no, no, not having to explain is worth more.”

More ruminations on gender

A while ago, I said that I had come to the conclusion that I was a woman. How foolish it seems to me now, but I will not delete the post; gender is a journey (especially my gender) and it seems wise to document its steps. A month or so ago I realized several things: first, that it was possible and acceptable to be agendered but to present as feminine. Second, that since I was perhaps ten years old I have been very uncomfortable being referred to with feminine pronouns.

Why present as feminine, Best Beloved? Well, feminine clothing looks better on me because of the shape of my body, which I rather like. If given the option, I would probably dress like an early 1900s train engineer, but, alas, nobody makes clothes like that for people shaped like me. In any case, most of the time I value looking good over looking gender-neutral. Of course, this probably makes it more difficult for other people to accept that I’m agendered–my family is having some problems with this, ranging from inability to use “they” as a singular pronoun to complete apathy. I hope that once I move to Massachusetts later this year I will be able to make a suitable first impression.

About my pronoun dysphoria: it makes me squirm even to imagine that someone is thinking of me as a woman. It makes me want to put on nitrile gloves and slap them gently about the face. Eugh. Horrid. I think I may also be afraid to be a woman–and can you blame me, Best Beloved? If one pays any attention at all in the right places, one hears horrors inflicted by the patriarchy on the majority gender. You know to what I’m referring. In the same way that men–individually and as a concept–terrify me, the idea of being a woman terrifies me. In the same way, most likely, as it terrifies men; in one tumblr-cited study teenaged boys said that if they woke up one morning as a girl they would kill themselves (and though I have no proper citation, it is too easy to imagine that this is true).

I wish I felt safe as a woman, but for now I shall stay firmly off to one side of the sliding scale. Perhaps in another world–ah, who knows? I’ll conclude, instead of on this rather sour note, by expressing my delight with and approval for the idea of gender as an evolving thing. I like to think of people trying out all the genders they can think of and, perhaps, settling on their favorite. Settling would of course not be remotely necessary. A nice dream, hm?

Dislike is not a crime

A few days ago my friend expressed great frustration to me at their ex’s unwillingness to talk to them, and their inability to do anything to mitigate this. I have been used to express sympathy for this plight, but for whatever reason, in this particular case I was unable to do so. Perhaps it is because I have experienced this from the other side–I have been extremely unwilling to interact with certain others because they make me uncomfortable, or because I do not like them. I have been terse, I have ignored, but I have never let vitriol escape my lips. This is not rudeness, but politeness to myself and others (for would it not be less polite to tell them to piss off?). My friend, however, complained that the object of their continued affections did not talk to them except by outside initiation. To me, this seems an absurdly privileged view, as it assumes that having attention paid to one is a right.

I wonder, Best Beloved, whether you have noticed the recent–or ancient, as it may be–trend of martyrdom as impressive and laudable. Suffering is particularly in fashion right now; we glamorize the mentally ill, the poor, those incapable of helping themselves, and most especially those who put others before themselves to their own detriment. This has become so deeply ingrained that we criticize those people who value their own happiness as paramount instead of making themselves available for use by others. I am one of those people, and it frustrates me endlessly that one is often forced by convention to associate (closely even, at times) with people one dislikes, else risk being labelled ‘toxic,’ ‘bitch,’ or simply bearing the full emotional brunt of someone else’s unhappiness.

Dislike is not a crime. Others’ perception of my dislike of them as a heinous insult is flattering, to be sure (how much they care about my opinions!) but I have no obligation to like anyone, nor to put myself in their way if that will decrease my happiness significantly. As I am somewhat angry, allow me to reiterate: nobody has the right to your time unless you have made a contract to give it to them. Nobody has to right to receive conversation, support, or favor from you. Human interaction is a privilege to be earned, not a natural right.

“Haters Gonna Hate”

As most on the internet know by now, a hater is someone who not only hates something, but does so volubly and often scorns any who disagree–either directly, or by the patronizing implication that others disagree only because they don’t know better. The worst thing is that nearly everyone is a hater under some circumstances, once they are reminded of whatever it is they hate so much; any perfectly reasonable person can become a hater when considering Republicans, or people who leave the toilet seat up, or valley girls, or internet trolls. My father is a hater of the religious, anyone who does things differently than him, and the ninety-five percent of all humanity he considers imbeciles; and thus I have plenty of experience with hate, although I try never to participate in it and often find inexplicable displays from other people.

A common (and here eponymous) reassurance when confronted with this phenomenon is that “haters gonna hate.” It means “I don’t care whether you hate me, and I will not change my behavior because of you.” While this is admirable, it seems to me somewhat problematic to treat haters as a force of nature that can be neither checked nor reasoned with. It can be extremely frustrating to try to persuade those adamant in their moral and logical rectitude that they are incorrect, but perhaps we owe it to the hated–and to ourselves, for everyone must be part of a group hated by someone–to try. My chosen path is the judicious (is this wishful thinking? oh, probably) application of comments intended to foster thought on why exactly my conversational partner hates a group or ideology so much. I have no idea whether this works, and have a suspicion that it almost never does, because of the irrational knee-jerk nature of hatred. I only wish I were gifted with the silver tongue necessary to persuade haters to become wonderers and lovers.

It is the nature of humanity to hate those who are not like us, or who are too much like us. Yet we have conquered some aspects of our nature, as societies in not individually. We have outlawed murder, rape, and theft–surely it is not too much to hope for that we could one day outlaw hate.

On Gender and the Dubious Necessity Thereof

Having thought long and hard on the subject of my own gender identity, I have come to several disparate conclusions, usually (though not always) at different points in time. Approximately thirty percent of my conclusions are that I am or should be agendered, because gender is really much too much trouble for the advantages it allows one. Or is it?

I read a very interesting piece of fiction recently, in which a race of hermaphrodites abandons the concept of gender, despite its members’ possessing common human secondary sexual characteristics. Is this only possible in a species with one sex? Or, in a species with one body type? Humans today have a staggering amount of variety in body type, with weak males and strong females, though the averages do support sexual bias in terms of physical strength. Yet this is completely irrelevant, except culturally.

This leads me to my second, oftener-used conclusion: that I should very much like to be a woman (the “lady” gender). This has less to do with the way society treats women–as objects, with appearance-based favoritism, as deserving extra help–and more with the feminine identity that has struggled through oppression and hatred, and come out stronger ethically and mentally. I do not, I confess, really want to be part of the gender that has committed oppression and hate so systematically, any more than I wish to be part of a race that has done so. For whatever reason, one cannot choose one’s ethnicity, though (it is considered extremely bad form by those whose culture one wishes to borrow, generally, and by those who consider themselves defenders of same), but we do have some freedom to choose gender.

The real reason that caused me to write this post, however, is this thought: that everyone should think carefully before choosing a gender, even if they decide themselves cisgendered. It seems unfair and sad that anyone should have the privilege and the misfortune never to realize that they could be anything other than what Society tells them they are.