I have been pretty quiet lately compared to usual, but no announcement of blog vacation. I’ve been dealing with anxiety again and I’ve got politics fatigue. Every time I try to write a post about something political I just decide it’s too dreadful and can’t do it. Politics, UGH. Maybe I’ve reached “peak politics.”
However, I did finish reading my introduction to Marx book and I was pleased to find out that I already knew lots about Marxist theory, I just didn’t know I knew it because I’ve never studied it officially, I’ve only picked up bits and pieces here and there. I’d say most of what I know about Marxist theory I’ve learned from feminist writing and Facebook memes. Although it seems obvious that one shouldn’t learn a political theory from memes, I have to say the memes I have been reading have actually done a pretty decent job. Thank you, leftist friends! (Don’t worry, I will still read print books, in case the memes get it wrong.)
Ah, the anxiety. After staying up all night having an anxiety attack last week, I thought the best thing to do would be to go for a nature walk. I did, and you know what, it was great. I walked slowly, and tried to breathe in rhythm with the swaying of the leaves. Several adorable woodland animals came to greet me. I watched a chipmunk filling its cheeks, and I saw a baby bunny that came out of a bush and chewed on some leaves. I saw a bird taking a bath in a puddle. The really good thing about taking the time to look at nature is that you learn to slow down. I always think I have to be busy doing something—either working at my day job, doing household chores, reading political theory, writing, etc. And I always think I have to be fast, efficient, and perfect at everything. It’s hard for me to slow down or do nothing. But I need time to slow down, or else I keep spinning right into an anxiety attack.
What I finally decided to write about today was a Pride writing prompt that someone posted on Facebook. The prompt is this: When did you first become aware of the existence of lesbians?
I think the first time I came across the word lesbian was when my parents gave me a puberty book, and there was one chapter on romantic feelings which had one paragraph on homosexuality. Luckily, it dealt with the subject in a neutral tone, just saying that some people are like this and not making any judgments. I would have been either 10 or 11 at the time.
The first time I came across any mention of homosexuality outside of a book was in the schoolyard at recess. Before I had any idea what the word meant, I heard kids call other kids “faggot.” I just knew this was a terrible thing to call somebody, probably the worst thing you could call somebody, and it seemed to be the equivalent of saying “fuck you.” When someone said this, they meant business. (It was usually boys who said it.) I think I was around 10 when I started hearing the word faggot, and then around 13 I started hearing the word dyke, which seemed to be an insult for a girl you didn’t like. I don’t remember when I found out that “faggot” was actually a pejorative word for a gay man nor when I found out that “dyke” was a pejorative word for lesbian. I was probably in my teens when I found this out.
I definitely met gay men before I met any lesbians. I had a distant relative who is a gay man and I heard my family members talk about him—they felt a little awkward but didn’t reject him. In high school I knew two guys who were dating. They were the first gay people to come out at my high school during the time when I was there. I remember going to a party and they were there, sitting together on the couch, one of them had his arm around the other. Everyone was pretty chill about it. I remember feeling a little bit of shock, just because I had never seen a man put his arm around his boyfriend before. (I say man, but I think we were all 15.) After I got over being surprised I was pretty chill.
The first time I met a lesbian I was in high school and I didn’t know she was a lesbian, but everyone called her crazy. I knew her as “Crazy Kim.” Years later I found out she was a lesbian. I also met a bisexual woman in high school. I remember being at her house once, hoping she would hit on me, but I didn’t have the courage to let her know I was interested. Sadly, she didn’t try anything. 😉
One time when I was a teenager I was at a restaurant with some of my extended family members and when we left the restaurant someone said “Did you see that table full of lesbians?” I really wanted to turn around to look, but it was too late, I couldn’t see any of the restaurant customers from outside. I wished I had seen them, I was curious about what lesbians looked like. I didn’t know how my aunt could tell they were lesbians.
The first time I actually sat and talked with someone who identified as a lesbian while actually knowing she was a lesbian was when I went to a lesbian/bi meetup in university. I was probably 20 or 21, and I was pretty nervous. But it didn’t take very long before “nervous” turned into “interested.”
Feel free to answer the same writing prompt! When did you first learn of the existence of lesbians?