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Kathy the Semi-Visible

In lieu of a picture of me.

In lieu of a picture of me.

September 23rd is Bi Visibility Day.  Since I identify as bisexual, I thought I’d write a little about what that means to me.

I don’t have both feet out of the closet.  Maybe someday I can finally come all the way out, but right now one foot at least is always stuck in the door. Closets are dark, creepy places meant for clothes.  Humans aren’t supposed to be in there longer than the average game of hide and seek.

And being as out as I am… well, it could obviously be a lot worse.  I don’t fear for my safety, which is a blessing, but it isn’t a bed of roses, either.  Coming out now might pose problems for some relationships that would be inconvenient to drastically change.  And I still deal with microaggressions from the people who already know.  Example… once I casually mentioned in my other life that I am bi.  I immediately got a Facebook message congratulating me on being “not normal” in a way that still “fosters respect.”  Yes, somebody actually told me that.   I’m one of those, but not one of those.  Binormative, maybe?  But biphobia is a topic for another day.

Being engaged to a man also makes my identity a little more ghostly, though he himself is not part of the problem.  He even encourages me to a certain extent.  The problem is other people.  When we first got engaged, the question that irked me most (after people inquiring if I was still a virgin) was, “So you’re straight now?”  No.  I’ll always be attracted to women… like how straight couples don’t stop being attracted to other people, even after they’ve committed to each other.

And yet, it’s not all bad.  I feel a lot more at peace with myself just acknowledging it as much as I have.  It’s not a creeping doubt at the edge of my mind and heart every time I see an attractive female, and tell myself, “It’s just aesthetics.”  Being honest with oneself is a good thing, even if it isn’t inherently painless.  Yet here it was relatively painless.  I know, and even though I’d like it if I could be more out and visible, I still know.  And I like being knowledgeable.  I can live with that.

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My Danish Love, or an Ode to Vodka

So wild and frosty is she thought to be.

And she brings fire to my lips, it is true.

Yet so gently she waits, not far from me,

ready for the days when my soul turns blue.

It may be shameful to covet her kiss,

so sharp and full of the fire of white nights.

Yet I am drawn to that cold, smoky mist,

to ease my pain, and to renew my might.

I take care not to love, need her too much,

but I have no wish to hide in the dark.

The world’s pain she dulls with her burning touch,

and there is no harm, in a one-off lark.

I feel guilty to use her so simply,

still, the Danes have taught me to drink deeply.

 

*****

Like this sonnet? Check out the rest of the book.

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Cinderalla, a Story About a Pumpkin

Pumpkin CoachThe summer I turned three, I was miserable.  My mom was on bed-rest with my brother-to-be, and my dad was in graduate school in Moscow. So I was obsessed with Disney’s Cinderella, a story about an orphan (which I felt like).  I watched the damn movie every day and did things like scrub the kitchen floor and carport floor while singing “Sing Sweet Nightingale.”  That’s a lot of days off my life I’m not getting back.

And I haven’t really watched the movie since then.  I had no intention of seeing the live-action remake.  The only reason I saw it was because my boss was playing it in the video store where I work.  I didn’t like it, but it made me curious enough that a few days later when I was minding the store on my own, I put on the cartoon.

I remembered why I liked it as a kid, and why I don’t like it so much now.  But also why it’s better than the remake (sorry, Dad).  Let’s look at the checks against the original.  Cinderella isn’t very bright.  The mice are in nearly every scene.  It’s sexist.  The Prince doesn’t have much personality.

Now let’s deconstruct.  Cinderella isn’t very bright, but she still behaves like a person.  She gets angry when she’s mistreated, and she fights to get out of her tower when she’s locked in. Basically, she’s been a victim of abuse for years (she looks like she was about 10 when her father died), so that probably has messed with her head some, but she also still has an inkling that she doesn’t really deserve for the stepmother and stepsisters to treat her like garbage.  And she does stand up for herself from time to time.

The mice might be too much.  I don’t know.  I just liked them better than the stuff with the Prince and his father in the remake.  And now for a defense that isn’t my opinion… in the original movie, it’s mentioned hurriedly that Cinderella and the Prince are in love.  But what’s more emphasized is that the King has basically told his son that he was to get married and start producing heirs pronto.  The old King is as much if not more of a driving force behind the search for the maiden with the slipper because of his desire for a dynasty.  It offsets the “they can’t be in love after two hours” argument somewhat.  As well as the Prince not having much personality.  With his father having him under the gun to get married, what Cinderella sees in him isn’t as important.

Finally, the sexism.  I’m not going to defend it per se.  All I’ll do is give the movie a certain amount of credit for being upfront about it (sewing is women’s work, the king sees his future daughter-in-law as a walking uterus, beauty or the lack thereof is a personality trait).  The remake is still sexist, but a ton of its publicity was taken up with assuring the public that it wasn’t, and that this Cinderella was no victim, and all that.  Then they bungled it (and my disappointment comes at a price).  At least with a fairy tale made in the 1950s I know what I’m getting into.

In the end, though, it’s still a familiar story about a girl and a pumpkin.  Or a girl and the holy family.  Or a skeleton.  Or a dog.  Or whatever version you please.  I didn’t like the Disney remake of its classic, but I don’t care enough to rail against it.  Or even the first one.  I have a long history with Cinderella, and even though it’s a little embarrassing now, it was all pretty harmless.  And I’d be interested to see somebody else give the story a try.

Bippity boppity boo.

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