Men Die Young

I was actually excited about this “date” (thanks, Tinder…) but sitting in the passenger side of this stranger’s car, listening to the Deftones, has me totally unenthused. Maybe this person’s lack of simple manners stems from the fact they went to Rush-Henrietta and don’t trim their beard enough. Beards are fine, but there’s a limit. I haven’t made eye contact with him once, nor has he tried to make eye contact with me. He inhales his cigarette really sharply and exaggerated and I expect him to say something each time. He’s boring. Or maybe I’m boring.

Sitting in the passenger seat, I know why men die younger: because they drive like lunatics. I keep thinking, I don’t want my parents to see my mangled corpse in the wreckage of this strange man’s car. On sharp turns it takes all of my muscles working together to keep myself in the seat. He changed the music and turned it up even louder. As if I’m not deaf enough as it is.

His lack of manners come even more into play when we reach the reservation. He doesn’t wait for me to get my cartons, or wait for me to pay, or even wait to head back to his shit-mobile. Again, no eye contact. On the drive back he plays some terrible punk-metal-teen-angst-sounding band that I hate. Commercials via Spotify keep coming on, either advertising beer or sex or both. I watch the sphere of the sun in the reflection of the window. It’s silent. My mind wanders.

I think about how getting an 8.5 out of 10 on a poem isn’t good enough. I think about how I need to participate in my classes more, and that project that’s coming up that I need to email my professor about. And that paper on Orlando which I really need to start writing. I think about the possibility of being raped, and I think about how I’ve never thought of that before. I think about how I need to buy booze but I have so little money and I really hope my paycheck is decent this week but I know it will be mere pennies. I think about how dry my mouth is and how cold the inside of the car is.

I have nothing to ask this person.

There’s not even a handshake on parting, which would have been weirdly formal but I’d take anything over him scuttling back into his apartment, which, only God knows what that looks like. It takes me a minute to back out of the small, snow-choked driveway and I head back toward 490, toward home, with a cigarette between my fingers. I took a chance. I took a chance, and I only wasted two hours of my life. But at least I got a free ride to the reservation. There is that.

–Zara

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Restoration of Faith in the Arts

A while back, while I was still in community college, I wrote an art history paper on a piece by the artist Hal Hefner, which you can read here. Today he commented on that post, saying “Thank you for thinking enough of me and my art to do a paper on. What an awesome thing to find. And yes, you are correct, my message is to get people to think. Best of luck to you and your future!” I was ecstatic when I saw his response (and that he had posted a link to my blog post on his personal Facebook), feeling overwhelmed by flattery and joy.

Knowing that this great artist took even a minute out of his day to read and respond to my small paper is a fantastic feeling. I feel like my faith in the world of art is restored, and I am including the art of writing, since that is my personal talent and desired profession. To be recognized by the artist himself is quite an honor. My friend told me, “If that didn’t confirm you’re doing the right thing, I don’t know what would.” I think she’s right. I am doing the right thing.

While this blog may not always be the most pristine, professional area for writing, it’s still my blog. And aside from that, I have dozens of academic papers I could post on here–I chose the paper on Hal Hefner’s piece because I was proud of it, but also because it pertains to some things I discuss on here, such as technology, the current generation, and consumerism.

So again, thank you, Hal Hefner, for the recognition and the comment. It gives me faith that I am doing the right thing with my writing, and it gives me hope that other writers and visual artists will also be recognized, even for small efforts.

–Zara

Current Jams IX

  1. “Winter Kills” – DevilDriver. In the spirit of this winter madness my area of the state is experiencing, this song does it justice. DevilDriver has been a longtime favorite band of mine. For metal, their sound is clean and well-crafted. Favorite lyric: “Split your skull just for fun / Not run, but stay there till the job is done.”
  2. “Africa” – Toto. I don’t know why I love this song so much, but it just makes me happy. What a throwback (that I wasn’t alive to experience in its prime). Favorite lyric: “I seek to cure what’s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I’ve become.”
  3. “One More Cup of Coffee” – The White Stripes (cover). I’m not a huge White Stripes fan but I do like this cover, and it reminds me of one of my good friends, who is in an unending love affair with caffeine. Favorite lyric: “Your daddy he’s an outlaw and a wanderer by trade / He’ll teach you how to pick and choose and how to throw the blade.”
  4. “Firebirds” – Clutch. As I’ve said before, Clutch just makes me feel invincible and brings me back to a solitary time of my life when I was in my senior year of high school and smoking more pot than even the biggest stoners. Favorite lyric: “Yeah, things went sour / And the girl, she got to packing / When I asked her why she said ‘There are two things you are lacking.'”
  5. “Dopamine” – BORNS. I’m still on a BORNS kick. He’s simply addicting. Favorite lyric: “Keep the forbidden fruit coming my way / I wanna feel your sugar in my veins.”
  6. “Ocean of Tears” – Soko. I need to listen to Soko more. This song may be my favorite off the album aside from “Lovetrap”. The title reminds me of Alice in Wonderland. I wonder if she had that in mind. Favorite lyric: “Trying to forgive myself for the wrong I’ve done / Oh, God has a plan to kill us all.”
  7. “Loverboy” – Ariel Pink. I’m pretty much always listening to Ariel Pink in some capacity. There’s this book on Amazon that’s a collection of some of his indiscernible lyrics that I want to read. Favorite lyric: “Lovergirl, I love you like an animal
    I love you like a dog or snake or a mouse or a bird.”
  8. “Black Burning Heart” – Keane. Although I haven’t really mentioned Keane, they are my all-time favorite band and have held a very special place in my heart for about 9 years now. I wish them all the best. This song is a nostalgic classic. Favorite lyric: “I realise I’ve forgotten my way home / Forgotten everything that I know / Every day a false start / And it burns my heart.”

What have you been listening to lately?

–Zara

Being Single on Valentine’s Day (Again)

Forget-Mordor-Lord-Rings-lesson-brutally-honest

I’ve never not been single on Valentine’s Day, so I suppose I should be used to it by now. But my bitterness about being single comes through full-force on this day, knowing my friends and family members will all be cuddling and fucking their mates and I’ll be drinking beer by myself on my bare mattress while watching Bob’s Burgers.

I’m always bitter about being single to some degree. Lately I’ve been really bitter. Online dating is worn out–it has no purpose for me anymore. I know I’m not going to meet anyone in the near (or far) future, so I’d like for my mind to just give up on the idea, but I’m a romantic at heart, and crave companionship.

This is just a dumb holiday anyway.

–Zara

The Fate of the Student is to Be Forever On Edge, Rigid, and Frightened

I’ve been in a bit of a panic-mode all evening, with it being Monday but feeling like Sunday, and scrambling to finish up homework and remember to take care of financial woes. My panic escalated when I saw that for my young adult literature class I have an intro, outline, and thesis due on the 18th and one due on March 1st for my children’s literature class. I also have three projects due in March, all of which I am clueless as to what to do about.

I’m reading three different books right now, but I suppose I should get a jump start for my YA literature class and start reading the book I have to do a paper on. I hope I have the right edition. I don’t have the right edition of Alice in Wonderland, but that’s what I’m going to do my children’s lit. paper on because it’s the one book from the list I actually like and have read more than once.

I was on the verge of tears as I tried to submit a poem for my poetry workshop. My professor demanded it be in .doc form, not .docx or RTF or anything else, and it took an email, two different computers, and a Google search to figure out how to do that.

Right now I feel as though I will never be relaxed again. Death is welcome. Anything to release me from the crippling anxiety of academia. I can’t do poorly. I MUST maintain my GPA. I must write only A papers. I must maintain this level of excellence and I am so worried I won’t be able to.

I need to pay my parents and my credit card bill. I don’t want to wake up at 6:30am tomorrow. I don’t want to go to work on Wednesday. I wish I could still see my psychiatrist. I wish I still had health insurance. I wish I was naturally a good student and didn’t have to nearly kill myself trying. I wish I was done with undergrad work.

-Zara

“Settle Down, Wikipedia.”

My best friend said this to me last night after I told her I think she has chronic bronchitis. It’s like a compliment wrapped up in a slight insult, but regardless, sometimes I feel like the “Wikipedia” in the friendship. I have an array, not a wide one but an array nonetheless, of information about psychology, drugs, literature, art, biology, and a few other things, including information pertaining to the LGBT+ community, since, well, I’m a part of this community.

My best friend is transgender, yet she’s always been adamant about not being a part of her own community. She doesn’t care about any of the LGBT+ issues. What worries me the most though, is that as a transgender person, she doesn’t care about the issues that pertain directly to her.

I was just watching an estrogen update video by a MTF (male-to-female) YouTuber I watch. She talked about the emotional swings caused by the hormonal changes, weight gain, the beginning growth of breasts, and also her intent to get SRS (sex reassignment surgery). She lives in Canada, but in order to not be on an extremely long wait list, the cost out of pocket for her is about $80,000. That’s a lot of money to come from one person so she did something many trans people have to do, which was to set up a GoFundMe page.

The point of this retelling is, I don’t think, in fact, I know, that my best friend doesn’t have a grasp on reality. Despite presenting herself as a woman since middle school, she didn’t even make an appointment for a consultation (the very first baby step) for hormones until this past November, at the ripe old age of 20. And this wasn’t until after meeting the only other transgender person she’s ever met, my friend Lauren.

I don’t know why my best friend has waited so long to even make the first step. Her body and facial hair are some of her biggest confidence issues, as well as her broad shoulders. The longer she waits, the more “manly” she will become, which is why I’ve been slowly urging her more and more to make these steps. I’m glad she finally made the call for the consultation, but I also worry she thinks hormones will fix everything, when they won’t. She’ll probably need to get laser treatment if she ever wants to completely get rid of her body and facial hair. And I don’t know if she’s ready for all the other effects of estrogen, like the YouTuber mentioned, such as mood swings.

Another thing I’m worried about is her not grasping how much of all of this will cost her. We live in the United States, so she’ll be paying out of pocket, to some degree, for almost everything. I know she wants to just wake up with a vagina one day, but that’s not reality. First there’s hormones. You’re on hormones for a while. Then there’s expensive top surgery. Perhaps laser hair removal sometime in between. Then complete SRS surgery, which will be extremely expensive. Then the management of the surgery, including dilation of the newly formed vagina.

I’m not transgender and yet I know all of this and she knows none of it. That’s what scares me. My best friend has distanced herself from our city’s large and friendly LGBT+ community and therefore distanced herself from friends and resources and knowledge.

This isn’t meant to be a rant about my best friend’s ignorance, although I think, undoubtedly, that’s what I’ll call her attitude. It’s a post about my concerns, which I have expressed to her to some degree.

I may be her Wikipedia, but unless you utilize the information you get from me, I’m useless.

-Zara

Questions Bisexual People Get Asked

which I will answer based on my own identification and experience. These are not all necessarily “annoying” questions, but questions that are common. I think questions are welcome, however, often times our answers are not satisfactory.

As anyone who identifies as bi/pan knows, there is a hell of a lot of stigma around our sexual orientation, especially from our own LGBT community. Anyway, here are some questions I’ve been asked or questions I’ve heard asked:

“Why can’t you just pick one?”

I don’t understand. That’s like me telling you to pick just one flavor of ice cream to eat for the rest of your life when you like all kinds of flavors. Except people are a little more complex than ice cream. I can’t “just pick one”.

“So you’re actually gay/straight?”

No. I could be in a relationship with a man for the rest of my life but that doesn’t mean I don’t still like women, and vice versa. My sexual orientation is independent of who I’m sleeping with.

“How do you know if you’ve never been with a man/woman?”

How did you know you liked the opposite sex? You felt an attraction toward them. Same deal. I know because I’m attracted to more than one gender.

“So which gender are you going to end up with?”

I don’t know. I’m not in control of who I become attracted to and I’m not in control of who is attracted to me. However it works out is a mystery to me.

“But bisexuality isn’t real, isn’t it just one or the other?”

No, absolutely not. Life isn’t that simple. Please start acknowledging the possibility of being attracted to multiple genders. It makes more sense than only being attracted to one.

“So are you polyamorous?”

Personally I am not. Bisexuality does not equate multiple romantic partners. I’m personally strictly monogamous.

“Aren’t you just being greedy?”

It’s actually harder to find people okay with bisexuality so our dating pool is smaller, so…

“Do you like men or women more?”

It varies, honestly. I personally like genders in very different and specific ways and feel connections differently with each one.

“Would you date a trans person?”

Absolutely.

“So doesn’t that make you pansexual?”

I suppose. Pansexuality is a much newer term than bisexuality, and I use them interchangeably. I’ve never met a bisexual person who wouldn’t date a trans person.

Again, questions are welcome, but they are often posed in a judgmental way and the answers given are not taken seriously. There are plenty of other questions bisexual people get asked, some more thoughtless than others. But the more visible we can become, the better we’ll be.

–Zara