Studs/dykes/butches/bois/masculine-presenting women and the like: Throw down your PlayStation controllers and raise your picket signs because enough is enough! How many more cookouts, conversation parties, kickbacks, baby showers, and other events must we attend where the conversation quickly and unnecessarily shifts focus to our very private business? Business that in no way involves the stranger asking and likely isn’t even relevant to the vibe? Soon as we walk in, it’s like game night to these people and I will no longer be played with. I cannot tell you the number of times I have been minding my own business enjoying very casual conversation before being asked some of the following foolishness at the function:
“How does strapping work?”
“Do you strap or do you get strapped?”
“So, why not just be with a guy?”
“YOU want to carry a baby??”
“So. Question about strap-ons…”
“Do you like head?” (And proceeding to not offer any)
“Excuse me sir…oh my bad yo. HAHAHAHA”
Can I eat my honey BBQ wings in peace? Is the sex life you imagine I have more popping than what you should currently be doing on a handstand, sis? This is a party! There is a time and place for people to ask queer women these questions, I’m certain. However, I would appreciate the opportunity to finish my Prosecco and two-step with my friends without being interviewed by a bunch of bored, tipsy, nosey individuals. Please do not ask me about my bedroom activities in front of the potato salad! Please respect that I am uninterested in disclosing my plan to conceive children with a stranger I just met in the club. Please understand that you are NOT low when you use a tipsy game of Never Have I Ever to ask if I also enjoy dick. This is what happens when there isn’t enough food at parties. Mouths find less productive ways to keep busy.
I came here to get lit, and these recycled questions are not it y’all. Please consult YouTube for any questions you have for the community because the information is plentiful. The site is booming with women willing to explain themselves to anyone watching. I know masculine women are quite interesting and very fine, but I also know that people (women, men, etc.) can make conversation with us that does not include sexual harassment and other invasive inquiries. Especially in environments that offer free or discounted liquor! So with that said, if she didn’t volunteer this kind of information, please refrain from harassing that gay lady at the Rona cookouts I know you’re having. Find a snack and keep it pushing.
I don’t know about y’all but I was a timid kid. I was agreeable and I didn’t cause much trouble in school. I was labeled as a “good kid.” I got great remarks on my report card and praise from teachers. At home, I was either quiet or had spurts of talking too much. For as long as I can remember, maybe around age 7, I had spurts of sadness that lasted days or fits of irritability that lasted for days. Of course, growing up in my household, “there was no reason to be sad.” I was a child and children were supposed to have one emotion- happiness. I did my best to keep up with that, although I had my first thought of suicide when I was 8 years old. I thought about shoving a knife into my stomach- childish, I know but I didn’t tell anyone. I learned pretty quickly to not speak of those things; I learned to mask what I was feeling. I used to play with Barbie dolls, and oddly enough every time I played with them, I ended up mentioning something related to sadness or suicide. That was unintentional.
In school, I was labeled “weird” and “smart.” I was also accused of having an attitude problem because needless to say at times I was moody. Something was always wrong but I didn’t know what and I wasn’t sincerely being asked either. I just thought I was weird, like everyone said. As I grew into being a preteen and teen, my “weirdness” grew with me. In middle school, I was rather shy and hid myself. In high school, my 10th grade year in particular, I noticed something was way off. There were days when I felt extremely upset. I didn’t want to get out of bed and I just felt like I just couldn’t that day, whatever that was. I had teachers who were obnoxious, peers who were annoying, friends who I didn’t want to bogged down, and I’m sure there was some boy that was on my kind. My school work made me incredibly tense. I stressed everyday about something. I was asked, “how and why could someone your age could be stressed?” But by this time, I thought I as just going through teenage girl mood swings. I was pushing my “weirdness” and “sadness” to the back of my mind to pursue other things that made me feel happy for the moment. I graduated. I started college. The beginning of college was one of the hardest times in my life. I felt so miserable. I felt so drained before my classes even started. I was not enthused or anticipating this newfound journey. I watched as the girls bounced happily around the campus and there I was, watching them bounce around me. This was the second phase in my life when I started to randomly cry. The first time I ever cried randomly was when I was 6 years old.
Bouts of tears has become normal by the time I was in college and it was here that I became addicted to working. It was here that I realized something was off and it was here that I discovered therapy. After that moment, my spiral into therapy started but so did the spiral of my life. I learned after 2 therapists and 2.5 years that I was depressed. I have major depressive disorder and of course, it invited its friends: anxiety and a form of PTSD. I was surprised slightly. I had small glimpse of my life leading up to that moment, starting with childhood. That was in 2014-2015. Here I am now, on the brink of 25, still battling and still hoping. Hoping that when I have my highs, they last forever. A high is when I don’t have to nestle the sheets and cocoon myself in the morning. A high is making plans with my friends and following through with them. It’s making jokes, waking up on time, being somewhere in time. It’s going to the gym. It’s looking the mirror and smiling. It’s planning my outfits. It’s planning effective lessons- yes, I’m a teacher. It’s saying, “hey, my days wasn’t so bad after all.” It’s not feeling life the world and life is just happening around me. It’s a lot of things that don’t always happen.
So what does depression look like for me? It’s:
Not reading anything
Wanting to stay in, all the time
Not doing my usual things
Waking up late
Waking up but not getting out of bed
Getting to work 15-20 minutes late
Wanting to sleep all day
Not meal prepping
Not putting effort into my work or assignments
Not seeing my friends
Crying after almost every conversation
Depression and the lows I have look like a lot for me. They can last for days, up to a week. Then comes the high. I envision myself as a scale. I’m trying to find balance but it’s very delicate. A lot of things throw off the balance. A lot of things are triggering.
I think about my battle with depression because a new decade is starting soon and I’m turning 25 next month. Depression has been kicking my ass for over a decade and I am tired. I don’t want to see myself as the confused, sad 7 year old I was. I want to move forward optimistically but also realistically. Living with depression is not easy. Living with anxiety or PTSD is not easy. It is not something that you can ignore- I did that all my life and it got worse. (I have stories about that. I’ll tell y’all that later. Whew). It’s not something that you can just “pray” away. (I am a Christian and understand the complexities of being a Black Christian. However, I am a realistic Christian.) It’s not something that you can smoke away- didn’t try that and I really don’t want to. You can’t drink it away- fell down that rabbit hole. And you can definitely not sex it away- no comment here.
So the question becomes, what’s am I going to go after being beat up for over a decade?
I have to remember to ground myself. But I also have to remember that in a way, I just started confronting these things. 2013 until now seems like a long time but it really isn’t when you’ve ignored the issues and the root causes for so many years.
Yes, depression and it’s friends have acted like lunch money bullies for most of my entire life. Yes, I have been stifled and made regretful but there are some lessons that came from this. So, I’ll be a work in progress for some time but that’s okay too. I’d like to apologize to my friends everyday, but I’m sure they would get tired of hearing , “I’m sorry for…”.
With a couple months left in the year and a birthday on the way, I am going to make strides try to alleviate stresses, triggers, and whatever else I can. I am going to work hard to focus on what make me happy and what makes me smile. It’ll be hard work but not as hard as living with depression for about 18 years.
As I stared in the mirror in that stale-stenched bathroom, I knew I had fucked up. How had I gotten myself into this? I was just spending a casual night with my best friend/former roommate, and now I was hiding in her boyfriend’s bathroom. How quickly a favor asked can spiral into hours of reluctant participation in this awkward sitcom-esque scene. I was sick. To be honest though, the bathroom was slightly cleaner than I would have expected two or three college boys to keep it. I was grateful for the lack of shit stains around me, but I was more concerned with the amount of time I had before my friend returned to the apartment. Hiding in other people’s homes rarely goes well. As I stood waiting in silence, I became increasingly convinced of my imminent capture. Each second was more stressful than the last, and I just wanted to go home.
I’m pretty sure the night had begun under normal circumstances. I’d probably gone to my English and business classes. I may have eaten lunch at home because Chipotle hadn’t yet figured out its E. coli situation. I had gas in the car. I remember feeling really good about the way my fro had formed that day, so I was probably excited to be out and about with my friend, Tam. I didn’t live on campus anymore, so I would usually drive us to hang out somewhere after class before I went home. Tam had been fighting with her boyfriend the past few days, but they fought all the time so I thought little of it. I just listened to her current story of how he’d hurt her feelings this time. Most women with guy troubles have the same story every week, but hers were more and more dramatic every time. I chalked it up to them just being extra and angsty like every other young person in love. I did not think my proximity to this relationship would affect me in any way. I just continued to listen to her story.
By what I’d thought was the end of the night, we were parked outside her dorm building so we could rap for a little bit. Since I’d left campus, we hadn’t been seeing each other as often and always wanted to catch up.This usually meant sitting in the car for hours just talking about things on the minds of 20-year-old women. I’m guessing this is when she started talking about her man again. I think I remember her saying they’d broken up “for good this time,” and that she was fine and going to move on. But she could not believe that he wasn’t texting her back after a full day. It didn’t sit well with her spirit. She was clearly concerned and hinting that she wanted to see him. I must have been in a particularly positive mood that night, because I offered to drive her to his apartment. I didn’t want to let my friend walk to his place alone if I could help and, I have to admit, I was a little amused by the whole thing.My curiosity tends to lead me into some real shit.
While I’m driving up the block, Tam calls the boy at least twice with no answer. I believe he also sent her some long, cryptic text about his life and their relationship. If you haven’t caught on by now, this story has gotten a little hazy over the years. I was not high. Anyway, I pull up to the building expecting him to answer her call and let her in so I can go home. Lesson #795423 about depending on a man for anything. She proceeds to call this man dozens of times with no answer. I’m confident that she called him at least 40 times in less than an hour before she got blocked. Now the whole thing just seemed kind of cruel. At this point I’m still a little intrigued but, while I want to support my friend, I’m not as hesitant to go home.
Now that we know calling him isn’t going to work, Tam comes up with a plan. You usually need a fob to get into the building but you really just need to be at the door the moment someone walks out. So she tells me she’s going to wait in the less-than-optimal night weather for someone to open the door and head upstairs. I agree to wait for her outside in case he doesn’t answer his door to let her in. I guess it wouldn’t have been a good story if he had let her in. Shortly after she leaves the car, we both end up inside the building. I don’t know if I was asked to come inside or if I volunteered, but we were marching like soldiers and Tam was now on plan B. Mind you, her boyfriend is still not answering the phone so, of course, he doesn’t answer the apartment door. We are now on Mission: Trespassing. Tam thinks to call one of her boyfriend’s roommates and ask him when he’s coming back. Apparently, of all four roommates, this one is the least shitty and only one who would help. He says he’s coming back from the cafeteria in ten or fifteen minutes, and he’ll let her in. I’m only slightly worried that something will go wrong, and only slightly less amused. As multiple residents walk past, we talk about which ones we recognize and how much of their business we know. Finally, the traitor roommate shows up and he does not look at all worried or confused about why his roommate’s girlfriend is calling HIM to get into the apartment they share! I figure he must be crazy and used to dealing with crazy women. No shade to Tam. She tells him what’s going on and he says he’ll let us in, but he’s leaving out afterward so he can only do it once. I’m thinking I can finally make it out of here! No. Commencing: Tam’s plan C.
There’s no one in the living room or kitchen and her boyfriend’s bedroom door is locked with the lights out. She knocks on the door asking if he’s in there and to be let in. Now this is the haziest part of the story because I have do not understand how I agreed to be in this bathroom. I remember Tam laughing and smiling at the absurdity of her request: I was to hide in the bathroom so that I could let her back into the apartment when she got back from God knows where because I have NO idea why she needed to leave! WTF, Tam?! But she did. And there I was, standing in this dingy bathroom shaking my head at my reflection. I hit the dougie real quick because why not? At this point in my life, this was the wildest thing that had ever happened to me. I have no idea how long I stayed in there. Maybe it was ten minutes, or maybe it was thirty-five. My phone probably died. Every time I heard a bump or scrape, I knew it was my time. I just KNEW I was going to get caught, so I prepared myself for what I would say to the first boy who saw me and asked what the hell my stranger ass was doing in his bathroom. Just when I’d decided not to throw Tam under the bus and to just take my simple ass home, I finally heard what I’d been dreading. The door knob turned, and I was ready to fight! The door swung open, and it was Tam. Apparently she made it back into the apartment just fine. I don’t remember her explanation, but I was now ready to say my good-byes and find my exit. I’d had enough excitement for the night. That’s when I saw that at least one of the other roommates was home, and our attempts to remain inconspicuous fell to shit. Then there was a second boy. This was not good. I couldn’t leave Tam in there with these raggedy boys and her possibly absent boyfriend. One of them started taunting her asking her why and how she got in his “house”. He was acting how ugly men typically act when witnessing a beautiful woman get dogged by a relatively more attractive guy: gleeful. It was so ugly. Of course, her boyfriend continued to ignore her knocking and pleas for him to answer the door. The tension was getting too thick and the night was getting too late. I was so embarrassed and angry for her that I eventually convinced her to just leave with me. It was a whole mess, up and down.
The night didn’t end well and Tam’s boyfriend continued to be a fuck boy until they made up again by the end of the week. The point is this all happened and I was not drunk or under any kind of influence whatsoever. I was just 20 and bored. Please check on your younger siblings and friends and tell them to go home because they’re probably out doing something stupid.