Saturday, October 31, 2015

Finding Me

It's difficult to fully trust yourself when, on some level, you know you aren't being fully honest with yourself about some basic facts. I think I've known this subconsciously for some time, and I guess it's in the past year that the dialogue in my head started really making progress towards me figuring things out. Here's an abbreviated version of what went on in my head space.

What makes someone a man or a woman?

Wait...if I don't know the answer to that, then how do I know I'm a woman? But I obviously am. I know that I am.

 And why does "cisgender" feel weird when I apply it to myself?

I feel...like multiple genders? Like I'm not just a woman? No, that's weird...

I'm seriously asking, is there a word for someone who's a woman but also sort of a guy?

Oh, yeah...bigender.

Bigender = a person with two genders

Maybe I'm still sorting out my gender on some level, but bigender is the best word I've found for how I feel. I am a woman. I also have a masculine gender, which I'm calling demiguy for lack of finding a better word.

Finally acknowledging this to myself is a huge relief. I'm also laughing to myself, since there are some things that make sense in this light. Things that made me think some time ago that my gender might be a tad bit complicated, though I never said anything about it. How am I supposed say something when the words I need haven't really sunk into my consciousness yet?

The best thing is that I've become more sure of myself since this realization. More confident in myself. And I've seen other positive changes in me. For one thing, I'm now finding that I'm able to get myself places, alone, without freaking out about it. Given the agoraphobia I've dealt with for over a year, this is quite an accomplishment. And proving how calmly I can handle taking the bus by myself again, I went alone to get a tattoo that I've been wanting for a while. The tattoo is a topic for another post, though. :)

But aside from getting back to how I was before my big anxiety meltdown last year, I'm also becoming a person I've wanted to be for years. I'm learning to not constantly think that if something isn't going right, then it must be my fault. And I'm finally learning to not beat myself up so much over my failings, to just make mental notes about how I can do better next time.

It's good to finally be honest with myself, and it's a relief to finally be getting back to who I am. Perhaps the best bit is just being more comfortable with myself.

Halloween cat on textbooks

And, because I'm a student who ought to be studying on Samhain, here's a Halloween cat sitting on textbooks! And yes, I did use that Jane Austen novel for the ethics class, so those two books do actually go together.

I hope everyone has had a good Halloween and/or Samhain, or whatever else you might celebrate when the veil is thin. My Samhain has mostly been a mixture of getting the tattoo and sleeping, and I went to a Halloween party last night with my boyfriend. Before the night is out I also ought to do something creative, I've found that I always have the urge to make something on Samhain. I don't know why. Maybe as a sort of reminder that even though this is a day to remember those who have passed before, life goes on.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What is Paganism?

So...new post about minority stuff. In particular paganism, but first a note about minorities in general.

It's a fact of life that this is a very diverse planet, and that it's impossible to know about all the minorities out there. The fact is that we're all going to make blunders on occasion, and it's easy to find that we're spreading false info about someone because of our ignorance. However, we can listen when someone of that minority speaks up to say "Um...no, that isn't exactly right." So long as you do that, I figure you're probably ok.

This is coming up as a result of a friend (who's also an activist for other minorities, which is how I met her) sharing something on Facebook. It was the following text beneath a pentacle:

pentacle, found at clker.com
"Contrary to what you may have been told, this religious symbol is used by a large number of people who share a common belief in the sanctity of life. They don't sacrifice living things for any reason. They do not worship the Christian Satan, nor do they revere any similar figure; most do not even recognize the existence of Satan. They do not cast spells to cause evil to befall others, for they believe that causing evil will bring back evil to the one who causes it. Their religion is based on nature, and is founded on the belief that the whole world is interrelated, that everyone is responsible for their own actions, and that peace, love, and tolerance should be encouraged by everyone, everywhere.

"And yes, I am one of them."

When some of my fellow pagans tout all the above as absolute fact I can hardly blame others, such as this friend in question, for believing it. But that doesn't change that it's misleading of paganism as a whole.

Are there pagans and witches who follow and believe all of the above? Yes, but we need to remember that many don't. It's like saying that all Christians adore the Pope. Catholics generally do, but some Protestants say he's going straight to hell. It's something that some, but not all believe, but if you're only around certain Christians you might think that all of them revere the Pope.

As to what pagans as a whole look like...I'm laughing because we're impossible to sum up in a single post. There are so many diverse beliefs that it's impossible to say anything without making generalizations, which of course won't apply to everyone.

Some pagans are vegan because they don't want to harm another living creature. Some pagans sacrifice pigs. Some pagans would never intentionally hurt another person. Some pagans join the military in honor of their gods. Some pagans dance around bonfires naked. And some pagans can't imagine getting naked in front of others, even for a ritual.

One last tidbit, for anyone who's still feeling lost...which is totally understandable. "Pagan" is an umbrella word that encompasses many different religions, hence the wide variety of often contradictory beliefs and practices.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Raine

The name "Sarita" hasn't quite felt like it fully fit me for some time. I don't know exactly how long I've felt like this, but I think I first said something to my boyfriend a couple years ago. That said, I wasn't in a hurry to change my name. I figured the right name would come along in time, no need to rush things.

I finally stumbled across it when I was looking up gender neutral names.

Raine.

In a way I'm still feeling it out. I'm not in a rush to legally change it, and for now I have both Sarita and Raine alongside each other on my various online profiles. But I have to say, it does feel so good to be called Raine.

rain

Thursday, October 15, 2015

On Medication

I wrote this post sometime last month, but then decided against publishing it as is. Why? I may have been a bit angry when writing it.

There's this weird idea I've had that I have no right to anger, so of course I didn't want to post anything that  may have been written when I was angry. Hurt and depression, or anxiety I can do. Anger, that I try to deny to myself.

But I'm human, I feel a wide range of emotions, and denying that just hurts me further. So I decided to go ahead and hit the "publish" button on this, rather than trying to rewrite it in a calmer tone. Which I did try to rewrite it, but didn't get very far.

... ... ...

I've finally realized one of the things that really bothers and upsets me: people being unable to accept facts or hear out other viewpoints because they're too busy living in their own little world and thinking that their experiences must be true for everyone.

Finally realizing this has helped me understand why some things bother me so much. Such as, something that I had to hear multiple times over the summer, and which I kept telling myself not to write about. But I came across someone else with the same attitude again, so I gave in and decided to address it.

One of my classes this summer was on how to write a research paper, and we got to choose our topics. A classmates decided that her argument would be that therapy animals need to be used much more often than they are in treatment for medical conditions, which is an something I won't disagree with. However, she went on to say (and I'm paraphrasing here) "When I was on meds they changed me and didn't help, so I went off them without telling the doctor. And I improved. They mess up everyone, and change people even if they don't realize that they've changed."

Cue silent screaming from me.

Given that I'm on meds for an anxiety disorder and depression, this is a subject that I inevitably get personal about, and which I wish everyone could understand.

A few quick points...

Can meds zombify people? Yes.

Have I been on meds that zombified me? Yes.

Have there sometimes been other unfortunate side effects for me? Yes.

Have I been on meds that were a huge mistake for me? Yes.

Have I also found that the correct meds at the right dosage can help me without messing me up? YES.

I lost track of how many medications I've been on some years ago. I can't even remember what all I've been on, just that most of them have been for ADHD. As I said above many were really not great for me, but when I find the right medication plus the right dosage (an important detail) it is a really good thing.

Does this mean I'm advocating for everyone with problems to medicate themselves? No. Meds are a useful tool, but that doesn't mean that they're the right tool for everyone. Nor would I say that meds should be the only tool used for those who turn to them. It's generally best to use meds in addition to another treatment, such as therapy.

...of course, now that I've written this, I wonder what the point of this post is. Just like the classmate who continued to insist that meds are the devil (ok, I'm exaggerating now) even when I explained my own experiences on two different occasions to her, this probably won't get through to anyone who agrees with her.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Comfy at Horror Conventions

I've pondered the odd fact that I feel like I fit in at horror conventions, despite the fact that I have an anxiety disorder. Why in the world would someone with an anxiety disorder watch horror movies?

(Note: I can't handle some of the recent supernatural horror with very realistic special effects, but most of the others horror movies are fine for me.)

I may have finally stumbled across a key to why I'm generally ok with the horror genre.

Thing is, my anxiety is all in my head and it's something that isn't actually a danger to me. The kind of thing that happens in horror stories on the other hand, there is actual danger in them. Visiting your home town that you haven't seen since childhood, only to realize that a vampire has also moved in recently? And then finding that the new love of your life has been turned? Not only does that involve actual danger, but it's also a situation that I'm highly unlikely to ever find myself in.

Maybe I like the reminder of that fact that I'm unlikely to find myself in such situations.

horror silhouette: a knife held in front of a bloody moon