Don’t Let Anyone Define You

Last Spring on a whim, I decided to finally pursue something I had been thinking about since learning it existed when I had first started my leadership class and my fellow students talking about it. Although my major is criminology, I decided to pursue a certificate in LGBT Studies. I didn’t exactly want to minor in another social science class and wondered what else I could pursue based on my interests.

For my whole entire life, I have been involved in the LGBT community. My mother was the biggest LGBT ally I knew until I moved to Las Vegas and met my best friends. She had tons of friends who were active members and sought to it that she was involved in every cookout, gay bar and gathering she knew of. In our small town, she made it her business to hang out at the gay bar where her friends felt more socially accepted ( almost 20 years ago) and supported them in anyway they could. They were never “gay” or “lesbian”, they were just themselves. My mother’s ally impression became even bigger on me when I found out a close family member also associated with the LGBT community, yet she had kept it to herself and now that I’m older, they feel comfortable in letting me know on their own. After my mother’s death, I have went on to follow her footsteps in numerous ways, right down to the gay pride parades and drag queens.

Around the time I started learning more about the LGBT community, Caitlyn Jenner started her transition. Not necessarily being a Kardashian fan ( they have wicked business sense though!), I tuned in to watch her interview with Diane Sawyer to see her viewpoint and what made her finally come out. And, I got it. Sex, gender identity and gender expression are all different things we are born with and realize about ourselves as life goes on. As Alfred Kinsey discovered, the majority of the population falls all over the scaled and very rarely is someone completely heterosexual or homosexual. And if you happen to be cisgender, you are lucky you have never questioned who you are in light of someone telling you you’re wrong.

Jenner recently started having a reality show ( true to Kardashian form!) to document her transition and the journey in finding out who she is. I haven’t watched an episode ( I don’t own a TV!) but I did catch a clip on Facebook and immediately had to share.

Jenner recently started dating someone new and along with all the anxieties and excitement that come along with plain ole dating, she was now dating as a woman, which is a whole different level if you are used to being a man who could just throw on a t-shirt and smile. I mean, who hasn’t gone all out with beauty treatments or a new outfit to impress someone? And now Caitlyn was worried her new beau wouldn’t see her as a “real” woman, knowing about her past. She wouldn’t be enough.

A really annoying Facebook meme has been going around recently and it makes me angry every time I see it. It’s women bashing, wait for it, another woman. And it’s not because she’s something perceived as negative such as promiscuous or a child abuser. It’s because she’s “not real”. She didn’t give birth like them. Or have a period. Or get cat called at a bus stop. Or have certain characteristics or whatever else in people’s ignorant brains makes them more real over another person. I just get so angry when people insists you have to go through certain things in life to be considered “real” when in fact, gender is a man made concept.

And this, this is women telling other women they aren’t enough. It’s bad enough when you’re in a relationship and scared but now other women, people who are suppose to be real and go through the things you do are now telling you that you aren’t enough. For years, I went through a relationship and even was engaged to someone who didn’t think I was enough. Sure, he loved me, but there was always something wrong with me. My teeth were too crooked ( okay they were really bad but you only have to tell me once). I had no degree. My job sucked. I needed to lose 50 lbs. I needed a boob job. And I was too needy. Once I had “fixed” everything “wrong” with me, sans boob job, we broke up. I was devastated even though it was originally my idea and only tried to work things out because I had a bad experience with another man and had myself convinced that I wasn’t going to find anything better.

And after years of therapy, moving away for a boy again and starting over when that didn’t work out, dating new men and finally living by myself with a cat, I realized something. I was enough. I am enough. Sure, I may have anxiety attacks and be the hottest mess at times. I may want too much attention and snore. And yeah, I do make it all about me sometimes. But you know what? I like who I am, at 30. I have a cute apartment in a cute neighborhood. I’m finishing my senior year at a university I had wanted originally wanted to attend before getting in that relationship. My job is great and so are my friends. And although I may feel the penny pinch, I am doing okay. I would be even better if my car will stay healthy and my teeth needed less fillings ( Please God?).

Ladies, listen to me. You are enough. No matter what reproductive organs you’re born with, what you wear, how you do your hair, you’re enough and don’t let someone else define you. Caitlyn, your enough. You are real. Nothing makes you less real than someone else. Remember that.

August Goals

July was a whirlwind that I still haven’t quite caught up from. In July, I was on summer vacation ( teacher life!) which allowed me to spend some time with friends and get my apartment before I headed to Israel for almost three weeks. My boyfriend came out for a week to spend time with me and celebrate my birthday early. The school where I teach full-time also went back into session so I resumed my 40-45 hour work weeks. Annnnnd, ASU starts in three weeks and I’ll be attending classes full-time so I’ll be back to my usual jam packed schedule in no time. I took a break from goals in July but I’d like to start up again because it helps keep me accountable! ­čÖé

Chill & Simplify 
I am totally stealing this from Tonya because I so can relate to her lately. Between not being home much during July, going on an international trip and and returning to teaching, I so need to find some balance. Reflecting abroad made me realize how much I love my routine when I’m able to stick to one and how much I have come to love and appreciate my own place. If you would have told me last year I’d love living alone, I’d say maybe, but it definitely does come with all of it’s perks.

My goal is to declutter my space and purge of unnecessary objects I’ve collected since moving in. I also hope to relax at home as often as possible, catch up on my library stack and play with my cat. I may or may not be also be watching X Files. I try to limit my tv consumption to less than an hour per day, even on the weekends, so Netflix binging is a little bit harder for me but I am addicted to the X Files lately.

Continue Making My House A Home
I already had a head start on this goal this weekend. I dragged my bf to Ikea and he helped me pick out some furniture and items I had been lacking since moving in six months ago. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown to hate stuff that’s useless and spending money on said stuff but even I can admit how much easier life has been in the less than 24 hour span I’ve owned a coffee table. I’d like to put pictures and prints in frames and hanging them on my wall along with reorganizing my bookshelves. My goal above should also help with this.

Stay Organized With My Time 
Since I will be returning to work and school both full-time, plus freelancing, it’s important to stay organized and on task with assignments, both educationally and professionally. I am known for taking too much on, procrastinating because I feel so overwhelmed and then scrambling to catch up before the deadline. I hate feeling frazzled all the time so I’ve been taking a more active approach to being actually done with projects. I’ve been waking up early ever since ┬áreturning to Israel and coming to work earlier because of carpooling with early birds. I’m still definitely not a morning person but getting to work earlier has helped.

Enjoy My Birthday 
My birthday is this month and it’s a big one! I will be doing a sit down dinner and then bar hopping downtown. My plan was something low key and fun for everyone. I know not everyone likes bar hopping but I wanted to include everyone I know and love, which is so many. Hopefully everyone can make it for one or the other!

I also need to think more about graduate school and purchase my FinCon ticket for next month. So much going on, such little time, as usual.

What do you have on the docket for August?