Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Adequately adorned

This passage from Tertullian (an early church writer) was taped to our fridge growing up, to remind us every day what women should really be concerned with:

"Obtain your whiteness from simplicity.
Get your ruddy hue from the blush of modesty.
Paint your eyes with meekness and your mouth with silence.
Implant the word of God in your ears.
Array your neck with the yoke of Christ.
Submit your head to your husband, and you will be adequately adorned."

It had a little fancy border around it, and hung on the fridge so long that the paper turned murky yellow and the edges were tattered and torn.  Even though I hated every word, it was literally in my face each day, and I was able to type the words into google to double-check accuracy without hesitating.

Apparently being as invisible and de-humanized as possible was/is an adequate substitute for make-up and jewelry.  But you know what?  Being silent is never easy or fun when you're always full of opinions, and jewelry will never stop sparkling. 

I LOVE make-up and jewelry.  Love love love.

I'm too distracted by family stuff and worry and general craziness at work to break this passage apart or to give an academic discourse on how attitudes haven't changed between the year 150 and now... so I'll just say this.  Fuck Tertullian.  Fuck him, and the horse he rode in on. And fuck everyone who still thinks he's got it going.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Saved by the grace of Fanfiction

There are two large back-stories to the wonderfully positive influence of fanfiction in my life, both of which will require long, future posts of their own.  For now let’s suffice to say that,

A.    My parents were, and are, extremely homophobic, and did their utmost to pass that attitude on to their children.
B.   Reading the Harry Potter series was the height of my Great Teenage Rebellion.  Perhaps due in part to its forbidden nature I fell head over heels in love with the series.

I first got hooked on fanfiction shortly after the 5th Harry Potter book had been released and I simply could NOT wait for the 6th book to find out what would happen next.  I’d stumbled across the fanfiction section on my favorite HP website, and swiftly became enraptured with the imaginings of other fans equally desperate for a fix while they waited.

Once the 6th book came out, I found that fanfiction still had a strong draw, and started to branch out a little in the sorts of stories I read.  I knew that slash existed ( 'slash' is a term which refers to same sex pairings within a story... due to the standard facfic practice of listing pairings as two names with a slash between.  "Harry/Draco" or "Sherlock/John" for example. All parings, het and otherwise are listed this way, but the word "slash" only refers to same sex couples.) but had no interest in reading any sort of homosexual romance.

And then, the summer after my sophomore year at college, I stumbled across The Shoebox Project.
What started out as an incredibly funny and well-written story about the Marauders’ (Harry’s father and his friends) time at Hogwarts, slipped into slash territory.  It did it softly and cunningly, without warning… two boys stumbling into love with each other wasn’t the main point of the story, and nor was it treated in any remarkable manner.  It just was.  Since I was already hooked by the characters and the aforementioned wonderful writing style, I decided to keep on reading even though Sirius and Remus were now snogging.

After reading The Shoebox Project I figured that other slash stories might be just as entertaining, and could be worth a try.  Eventually, I was reading almost nothing BUT slash, and try as I might, I couldn’t find anything that was wrong with it.

These characters were gay, but still normal.  They had the same struggles and triumphs as any other characters might, and fell in love the exact same way.

I’d never been around any openly gay people in real life, and these literary versions were my first introduction to the notion that being homosexual didn’t mean anything other than that a person would fall in love with someone of their own gender.  Just that simple.  It didn’t take long for me to start to wonder why if it wasn’t at all wrong for fictional people to be gay, why was it wrong for people to be gay in reality.

Suddenly, it didn’t make any sense to condemn someone for who they fell in love with…
And slowly, very slowly, I started to wonder if just maybe the draw I felt to other girls might actually mean something.

Monday, July 16, 2012


It’s hard to know where to begin.

Blogging is nothing new for me, as I’ve maintained several over the years, mostly devoted to my costuming, art and fashion.  I’m no huge name in the blogosphere, but I have a decent number of followers and friends online and am part of a fairly large costume community. 
The average reader of my costume/art blog has no idea whatsoever of the sort of background I come from, and I’ve only just recently started talking about it a little bit on my more private livejournal.  Going on about my past doesn’t really fit with the tone or theme of my main blog though, not to mention my mother knows about and reads my current blog and the public posts on my livejournal, and I have NO desire for her to read this.
In many ways, I’m still not ready to have the very difficult conversations with my parents that talking about the past would involve.  And things get even more depressing when I think about the worst conversation of all which I’ll probably have to have with them at some point.  Namely, coming out to my very fundamental, puritanical parents.
I don’t use the word “puritan” lightly here.  My parents viewed the Puritans as heroes, and held their doctrines and writings on nearly the same level of infallibility as the bible itself.  My sister described their religious point of view in her blog here, which sums it up pretty well.  Looking at things broadly, the sole word “crazy” works equally well.
So.  Before I delve into introspection and religion and fundamentalism and homeschooling and patriarchy and family and… everything, I should probably set the stage a bit.
 Female.  Twenty-six years old.  Living on my own in Virginia where I work in the costume shop of a major living history museum.   Currently single, though not looking for romance as I plan/hope to move abroad next year and don’t want to be tied to anything here.  Have my BFA degree (majored in Illustration) and am applying to grad schools in the UK and Germany.  Am hoping to end up in Germany.  Homeschooled K-12.  Four siblings, an older sister and two younger brothers.  Very much the middle child.  Not exactly an atheist, I’d consider myself a “tooth-fairy agnostic” (google it).  Reincarnation makes sense to me, as does karma on a cosmic scale.
Okay then.  That done, it’s time to get cracking on actual content.  There’ll be a lot of looking back as I deal with the effects of my upbringing… though I imagine a fair amount of current struggles and hopes for the future will creep in.  Hopefully this blog will be a good thing, and will help me move on and gain perspective.  Guess we’ll see!