Oh wait, I might have feelings for you. Coming Out – Part One.

We were sitting side by side on her small dorm bed watching Netflix. We had just gotten back from a house party where we knew no one and had left just as the cops showed up, a typical Saturday night for us. We were drunk and giggly and at some point had started holding hands. You know it wasn’t entirely unusual thing for us, we were both touchy affectionate drunks, always cuddling up with whoever was near and yet this time was different. I can’t remember what we were saying or even watching but I can see her face and feel her hand in mine when I lifted it up and rested it on my leg and thought, “Oh. Oh no.”

It was this moment that I finally admitted to myself that I had feelings for one of my best friends, and that maybe, I wasn’t as straight as I always claimed to be.

Claimed… but didn’t always believe but okay let’s rewind.

Before I was there, a freshman in college with a huge crush on her new best friend, I was a teen who buried any thought of liking girls. The knowing and the feelings would often hit me out of nowhere. A friend brushes her hands through my hair and I like it a little too much, or I learn of someone’s aunt or cousin that had come out and I think “Oh, I wish that were me.” Before I’d shake myself out of it and tell myself, “come on you don’t like girls stop thinking you do” as if I could somehow control it.

I remember a time in middle school when I was at a friends house with a bunch of girls for a sleepover, we were playing truth or dare when one girl turned to our friend and said, “Sara*, I dare you to kiss Raye.” The feeling that went through me can only be called gay panic. Why were they choosing ME, could they tell? Could they see it on me, did I say or do anything that may have hinted it? Luckily, Sara mumbled something about not knowing me well enough and everyone laughed and moved on while I sat there in panicked silence.

Looking back at all the times I realized I was gay* and immediately shut it down makes me sad for young me. I wasn’t raised in a homophobic household, I had friends and family who had come out and yet the fear of liking girls was so strong that it took me until I was in college to finally take the first steps to accepting who I was.

So back to the dorm room. I had realized I had feelings for my friend but was in no way prepared to deal with those feelings. She was straight, as far as I knew, and I hadn’t even uttered the word “gay or bi” to myself yet. So I did what I had always done, bury the feelings and try to not let them show. The rest of my friendship with this girl was amazing at times, and extremely hurtful and confusing at others. I never admitted my feelings for her, instead was content for drunk hand holding or kisses until the time came for us to grow a part.

I wish I could say that after I realized my feelings for her that I happily came out of the closet but in reality that’s not what happened. I still had to have certain experiences and relationships before I could be comfortable with who I was but this crush? This crush was a step, and I’m thankful for it.

Happy Pride Month friends, I’ve been wanting to write about coming out for awhile now but haven’t figured out how so I decided to start here. This might be part one in a series or I might chicken out and never write about coming out again but I doubt that. 

*Name changed because who knows what people from middle school may be reading this

*I use gay, queer, and bi interchangeably some people may not agree but all three identities feel right and comfortable to me 

 

 

Hey remember those Russian lesbian singers? Well now you will.

I wish I could go back and tell baby closeted me that hey it’s okay for you to watch that one music video of the girls kissing in the rain. You don’t have to run away embarrassed every time you see it. (This goes the same for that one scene in the movie thirteen when Nicki Reed and Evan Rachel Wood kiss. I’ve watched that scene through fingers covered eyes so many times.) Yet at the the time I wasn’t ready to admit I liked girls so seeing women be affectionate with each other always embarrassed and scandalized me.

WELL TIMES HAVE CHANGED MY FRIEND.

That one music video with the girls in the rain? You might know what I’m talking about if you were raised in the 2000s  but that video was the Russian girl duo t.a.T.u. and man did I miss out on this wonderfully gay music when I was a kid. Luckily, I had a friend bring the band back in to my life and the past couple of days I’ve had a crash course in t.a.T.u.’s discography and there are some AMAZING bops in there.

Such as my current favorite song Stars.

This song is insane. The first time I heard it I texted my friend freaking out.

And then there’s Loves Me Not, a BI ANTHEM. There are so little songs that refer to loving both a guy and a girl so when I first heard this one I almost jumped out of my chair. The lyrics “he loves me, she loves me not” continued to play in my head the rest of the day and wow am I just thankful for this song coming into my life.

My last recommendation is Malchik Gay which is SUCH a catchy song, like seriously be warned if you listen to this it will get stuck in your head the rest of the day. The lyrics are basically about a girl falling for a gay boy. Something I’ve never heard in a pop song before. Of course, I love it.

t.a.T.u. really does not shy away from embracing the music’s queerness. Their music videos follow the plot line of their lyrics with the singers, Lena and Julia, in a relationship, showing them together kissing, holding hands, fighting to be together and also murdering people?. Their music videos are a RIDE please go watch them if you haven’t already. This story line crossed over to their live performances as well. If it’s an older show, they most likely kiss at some point on stage and act very affectionate towards each other, but later in their career together they end up only holding hands occasionally.

So I’ll be the first to say that I love them. The songs, the videos, the performances, they’re great to watch and make my little bisexual heart sing and yet…Lena and Julia were never actually together in real life. The whole lesbian act was just that, an act. Which not going to lie, bothers me. It’s common for men to see two women kissing and think oh that’s hot and that they’re doing it for them and not for themselves. It misrepresents queer women and instead of being great lesbian representation t.a.t.u.’s dynamic becomes a shock performance for people to ogle at, and that….really sucks.

And yet maybe that’s why it’s a good thing I’m rediscovering them now when they are long done performing together and putting on an act that they are lovers. I can suspend my knowledge of them as singers and focus on the character of them and the lyrics of the songs. With queer women still being widely unrepresented in pop music I’ll continue to bop along to All the things she said and be thankful that I no longer have to run away from watching a music video of two girls kissing in the rain, and look out for real queer representation along the way.

SPEAKING OF I’d like to give a special shout out to Hayley Kiyoko, or lesbian jesus as the internet is calling her, who is an out and loud girl lover making unapologeticly gay pop music. I’m glad representation has taken a huge step forward from pretend lesbians to real ones and her debut album is out now and its filled with pop songs about girls loving girls.

Thanks for the gift A Wrinkle in Time

I took my sibling to see A Wrinkle in Time the other weekend and it was a gorgeous, funny, inspiring movie. (Spoiler alert) By far my favorite quote is from Reese Witherspoon’s character Mrs. What’s It when she tells Meg (played by Storm Reid) “To you, I give you the gift of your faults.”

That quote has been bouncing around in my head since we left the theater.

I just love the use of the word “faults” we often see lessons like what makes you different makes you beautiful! But we don’t talk about the things in you that might not be seen as beautiful or nice or pretty or whatever, we rarely get told to embrace the uglier sides of us.

Meg is smart, she’s sarcastic, she’s insecure and she’s angry. Even when everyone else around her tries to get her to give up on her father, give in to conforming, and squash her anger, she doesn’t let it go. And in the end she learns that she doesn’t have to. It’s that anger and the refusal to give up on her family that has her defeating evil and reuniting with her dad and brother in the end. She uses her faults and is better for it.

I feel like this movie gave me the gift of my faults as well. It made me look inside and try to figure out what my faults actually are and how I should lean into them instead of pushing them down hoping they’d go away.

I’m an over sharer, loud at times, withdrawn in others (a classic Gemini) I’m stubborn and argumentative, and quick to have my feelings hurt and yet I don’t hate these things about myself. I’ve learned to recognize them, use them and not turn away from who I am.

What about you?

Make sure to go see A Wrinkle in Time in theaters and support a wonderful heartfelt movie and if anything else go just to see Oprah amazing jewel eyebrows and glitter lipstick as Mrs. Which.

Listen just leave my resting bitch face alone

I was waiting in line to go through airport security when the TSA agent held my drivers license up to my face and said “Now the girl in this picture is smiling you’re not going to smile for me? I’m sure I’m better than the DMV.”

If you know me at all, you know my reaction to that statement. I stared back at him with the blankest look on my face until he awkwardly laughed while handing my ID and boarding pass back. Some people, especially my mother, would say I was being rude. He was just telling you to smile what’s the big deal?

Another day, I was getting in the elevator at my office building. I was reading a book on my phone when an older dude gets on the elevator and loudly proclaims, “Everyone’s on the phone these days, there’s no communication!” I could feel his eyes on me as I brought my phone directly to my face and continued reading.

Years ago, sitting on hot bleachers saving seats before a college football game. A guy turns to me, “Hey why don’t you smile?” I put on my sunglasses and give him the finger.

Years before that, I’m twelve walking home from school. A truck drives by and honks, I don’t turn. They roll down their window and yell “HEY GIRL!” I walk faster.

Around the same time, my mom and I are in the car. A car full of guys pulls up next to us and starts honking and yelling. We speed away hoping they don’t follow us.

My entire life men have been demanding my attention. Demanding I smile, look nice and docile so they can use me for a minute of entertainment. It doesn’t matter where you are, or who you are with, or even how old you are. Men constantly demand women’s attention as if they are owed it and I refuse to play. There are so many stories of women getting cat called, followed, killed all because men think they own women’s attention. We are taught to say no, taught to politely decline unwanted attention and yet it still happens over and over and over again.

And you know I refuse to be polite, I refuse to participate in a broader culture of placating men who think they’re entitled to my time and attention.

So stop telling me to smile because I promise you I won’t.

Fan art and Korean music – Too Much Media #2

Happy Friday!

I just got back from my Seattle vacation and am sick as a dog. I’m holed up in my room with a box of tissues and water bottles trying to get better. So instead of a well thought out blog post this week, here are some various things that have made me happy the past couple of weeks.

1. Fanart Zines!

Okay so what is a zine? WELL a zine is basically a self made magazine, or in this case art book. They can center on a specific topic, or fandom, or whatever really, zines don’t have specific rules. There are a lot of zines out in the world, and I wish I could buy them all up but in the past week I have purchased two.

rise+bundle

The first is a studio ghibli fanart zine called Spirit. I follow A LOT of artists on twitter and one of them contributed to this art book and I when I looked at the previews I knew I had to get it. I mean come ON studio ghibli art in general is BEAUTIFUL but then when artists put their own twist on it? LOVE. Plus some of the proceeds are going towards environmental charities so getting beautiful art and contributing to a good cause? SOLD.

Order the Spirit, a ghibli zine: HERE or follow their TWITTER

loveandyouthzine

The other zine I bought was a BTS fan art zine. If you are not aware, BTS is a korean boy group with a HUGE fanbase named ARMY. Honestly, go educate yourself on BTS because they are about to take over the American music scene. You’re welcome. Anyways some fans got together to make this Love & Youth zine where the proceeds are going towards the UNICEF Love Yourself campaign, a campaign that UNICEF and BTS collaborated on to #endviolence.

Order the Love & Youth zine: HERE or follow their TWITTER

2. Dead by Daylight

deadbydaylight

Let me tell you right now, I DO NOT like scary things. I hate horror movies, scary games, haunted houses. Just nope nope nope AND YET I’ve been playing this horror survival games with my friends the past couple of weeks and it is SO much fun.

It’s a multiplayer survival game where you can play as the killer or survivor. The goal as the survivor is to fix enough generators to unlock a gate in order to escape while evading the killer. It’s basically like all of the good things from Call of Duty Zombies but without the nonsense. It’s a game that definitely gets my heart racing but the teamwork aspect and simplicity of the concept makes for a great game to play with my friends.

3. Instagram by Dean

Dean is a Korean R&B artist and he recently came out with this song instagram.  The song has a super mellow vibe and I’ve had it on repeat the past couple of days. I LOVE Dean’s voice and if you put English captions on the video you’ll be able to see the English translation for the lyrics.

My favorite line is “There’s a hole in my heart nothing can fill it up, I’m sinking right now inside a square ocean”

I know listening to music in another language isn’t for everyone but before you shrug it off you should give it a try. You’ll open up a whole new world when you realize that music can transcend language.

Don’t call her mama, call her Cass

Have you ever watched Lost? If your answer is no then what’s wrong with you, why haven’t you watched that ICONIC TV show? If your answer is yes then you’ll be familiar with the song “Make Your Own Kind of Music” if you need a refresher that’s the song that was always playing around Desmond, the “see you on the other side brother” guy.  Anyways, now that you know what song I’m talking about let me tell you about the iconic singer of that song, Cass Elliott.

So the other day I was browsing Spotify trying to find something to listen to and happened to stumble upon a folk band called The Big Three. The music was dramatic, and SUPER folky at times but the female singers voice was so beautiful and haunting and I LOVED It.  After listening to “Come Away Melinda” (an antiwar song) “Young Girls Lament” (a song about a girl drinking and then dying??) and “Wild Women” (a super bluesy folk song with so much female swagger) on repeat I branched out and looked up the band’s female singer, Cass Elliott.

And okay WOW the thing about Cass Elliott is that she has such a huge range as a performer. My favorite songs from her with The Big Three are very folk and dramatic but then when I went into to her solo stuff it was so upbeat and almost Broadway. Songs like “Dont Call Me Mama Anymore” (a song referring to her departure from the band Mamas and Papas,) “Don’t Make Me a Memory” (a song that reminds me of Disney for some reason) and then her rendition of “Dream a Little Dream of Me” (with bonus rain sound effects) sounds as if it’s straight out of a musical. The duality between the songs through me for a loop at first but I’m just completely hooked by this woman’s voice.

And since I can never like anything casually I had to look her up and know who this voice belonged to. I was surprised to learn she died SO young, she was only 32 when she was found dead in a London hotel room. There’s a really gross and fat-phobic rumor surrounding her death, since Cass Elliott was a bigger woman a coroner saw a (uneaten) sandwich in her hotel room and told reporters that she had died from choking on it. The truth eventually came out that no, asshole coroner, she didn’t die from choking on food, she had died from a heart attack. There were other stories surrounding her weight, such as almost being denied from the band the Mamas and Papas because she didn’t fit in with the “image” of the group but you just can’t quiet her amazing voice and luckily for music listeners everywhere she made it into the band.

And yet despite all the fat-phobic rumors and various situations in which people judged her for her weight, from listening to her I don’t feel like she let the world’s opinions on her body keep her down. In her album of her CBS television special she jokes with the audience that it’s so hot on stage that the other night she put yeast on her stomach and when she was done with her set she had made Toulouse cookies. She then goes on to sing “I Like What I Like” in the wake of laughter and thunderous applause like the queen she is.

All songs mentioned can be found here:

 

A hairy situation, or not, up to you.

Hold on to you pearls ladies because I have news for you. I haven’t shaved my legs …in years. YEARS PEOPLE! YEARS!

Actually that’s a lie. I’ve probably shaved my legs four times in the past three years. And every time I have I’ve forced every member of my family to feel them. I’ve just put my leg right in my grandmothers face until she tells me I did a good job. Then of course I run around my office showing them off to my coworkers. Look! I shout at them, look at the smoothness of these legs do you know how long this took me? AN HOUR. It’s an event when I shave my legs. After all the work it takes I feel the need to strut around as if I’m a new woman.

Then the hair grows back and my mother sighs when I walk around the house in shorts and she’s made aware again of my long leg hair.

Anyways.

Since I’ve been living the hair life for a couple of years now I just wanted to share with you all a couple of things I am tired of hearing about my legs.

“Ohemgee you have so much leg hair!”

I never know how to respond to this. Sometimes I say thank you, sometimes I say why yes I do have leg hair. But mostly I just want to scream YES I KNOW! DO YOU REALLY THINK IM NOT AWARE OF A THIRD OF MY BODY ITS JUST HAIR ITS NOT THAT SHOCKING!

“So what is this like a feminist thing?”

To that I’ve said um…I don’t think so? I don’t think my leg hair is tearing down the patriarchy or anything, it’s just hair that’s on my legs. Then again maybe it is a feminist thing and I’m rebelling against a society that teaches women they need to be baby smooth and hairless to be considered feminine. Or maybe I’m just lazy and extending my shower by an hour seems like a lot of work.

It’s probably both.

“What happens when you start dating?”

Usually I’d just laugh and be like lolz I’m not dating anytime soon. Which is true BUT I would also never date anyone who had an issue with leg hair. Once again, it’s just hair. Like I’d understand if you thought I was too into Big Brother and Kpop or that I ramble about books with no concern if I’m even being listened to or not but LEG HAIR? If that makes or breaks a relationship well then I’m better off without them.

“lol I’d never let my hair get that long”

GOOD. FOR. YOU. It’s your body. Do what you want with it. I do not give a flying fuck if you shave or not. I mean I get it, I still shave every now and then I’m just not chained down to the idea that anyone HAS to shave.

I mean that’s what it boils down to for me. You shouldn’t be forced to shave your legs to uphold to anyone else’s standards. If not shaving feels right to you then hey join the club. If you must shave and have baby smooth legs then great, I’ll gladly feel your shaved legs if you ask me to. At the end of the day it’s your body, you’re the only person who will ever live in it and the only opinion that matters is your own.

So please let me and my leg hair live in peace. Unless your my mom, I’ll allow you to still sigh at me since you went through the trouble of birthing me. But everyone else? Get over it. It’s just hair.