Monday, November 30, 2009

Borderline Personality Disorder

The DSM-IV Criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder:

1) Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

2) A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.

3) Identity disturbance: markedly and persistent unstable self-image or sense of self.

4) Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging.

5) Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.

6) Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood

7) Chronic feelings of emptiness.

8) Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger

9) Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

I'm currently reading and the behavior patterns of both of my parents are so much clearer now. An absent father with at least 5 of these symptoms and a dependent mother with all 9. Their internal struggle has been described very well in this book by people with BPD, paraphrase:

"Without my relationship with X, I don't exist. I must keep X with me at all times, but I can't allow X to know how afraid I am. I have to push away X so that X won't reject me. But I have to keep X in order to exist."

It is a terrible cycle of idolizing and devaluing X (usually someone very close to the person with BPD), needing to keep X as well as to push X away, and relying one's identity on X while hiding one's self from X.

What's scary is that I went through that cycle as a child, preteen and teenager. As I fought for independence and grew during my adolescence, the cycle began to break down. When I moved away to college, I actively chose to stop. My physical distance from the sources made me able to separate my identity from the cycle and, thus, break it. Sometimes I still find shreds and they are getting easier to stop. My parents, though, can't separate the cycle from themselves; they have no distance, so they can't break out of it. And because they can't connect their behavior to reality, they don't think that they need help.

Now that I have complete independence, I will no longer put up with angry outbursts and berating claims. I'm responsible for my health and happiness and nobody else's. I can care about others, but that doesn't mean that I'm to blame when they can't take care of themselves.

My dad and I haven't had contact in 9 years; because of the time that has passed, I can better appreciate the good times we had. I'm currently trying to figure out what to do with my mom. I don't think that it would be possible to make a complete cut like with my dad, but I'm now able to leave when she begins an episode. I know that it's healthy to avoid statements such as, "You are unable to love another human being," and not to expect similar reasoning from someone who is motivated by fear.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for (in no particular order):

- my Ballou Mathers


- my gross girlfriend


- my awesome family


- being Scandinavian

Norway Pictures, Images and Photos

- living in Chicago

chicago Pictures, Images and Photos


Swedish bakery Pictures, Images and Photos

- books and libraries

The Chronicles of Narnia Box Set: Full-Color Collector's Edition (Paperback) Pictures, Images and Photos

- The Art Institute

Chicago Art Institute Pictures, Images and Photos

- my friends


- living in a secular society

Secular Pictures, Images and Photos

- being able to live semi-safely (in Chicago, anyway) as openly queer

queer Pictures, Images and Photos

- having a job

call center Pictures, Images and Photos

- my Fluffy-man


- folk music

judy collins Pictures, Images and Photos

- the internet


Monday, November 23, 2009

Being Scandinavian is Badass

My father's family is 100% German. My mother's mother's family is German/Prussian and a little Scottish. My mother's father was English, Norwegian, Irish (supplied by his mother), and Norman. His last name was Tremain, but he added an "e" on the end when he and his father, both named John Tremain, held positions in the treasury of the town Mauston, WI. For many many generations, the direct line has always carried the name John Tremain. My uncle, his eldest son, and his son all have John in their names. The tradition is being passed on, but with more individual input. The Tremains came here in the 1600's and may have, we think, married a Native American woman. We know that we came from a town in Cornwall named Tremain. Here is our family crest, which I want as a tattoo:


Before coming to England, the Tremain line heralded from Norway. Many now-British areas were invaded/founded (depending on who wrote the history) by Scandinavians, so there could be badassery in the bloodlines of many Celtic/British peoples. That was before the Norwegian-Swedish War of 1814 and obviously before Norway became completely independent of Sweden in 1905, so I guess I could somewhat accurately say that I'm...both?? Norwegians and Danes were unified, so I could also be Danish?

Norway Pictures, Images and Photos
Swedish Flag Pictures, Images and Photos
danish flag Pictures, Images and Photos

In any case, Scandinavians are total bamfs. Norwegians, Swedes, Finns, Faroes, Icelanders and Danes are the Samuel L. Jacksons of nationalities.

Scandinavia Avatar Pictures, Images and Photos

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Beatitudes

I'm currently reading _God is Not Great_ by Christopher Hitchens. It's biased against all theists, but is an accurate historical account of nasty things done in the name of religion. One thing isn't mentioned in the entire 300 pages, the very thing that the majority of Christian organizations ignore, and what Jesus of the book of Matthew taught to the masses: THE BEATITUDES. I suppose Hitchens can be forgiven for excluding them because the very organizations he bemoans tend to forget that they exist as well.

The Beatitudes are only mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew (5:3). Jesus proclaimed them to the masses of Galilee while healing the sick and all that good stuff. According to my copy of the Bible, the "New International Version" originally published in 1973, they are thus:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

When you read these, it makes sense that most Christian organizations ignore that they won't have to follow them. I'm talking about Westboro Baptist Church, Pat Robertson, Billy Graham, Jerry Fallwell, all the Catholic churches that passed out a SECOND collection basket to fund anti-gay marriage commercials, etc.

Obviously, queer people aren't the only mourners, the only people hungry for righteousness and the only ones persecuted. I'd like to say that all queer people are merciful peacemakers who are pure of heart, but that's not the case of any group of people. And we shouldn't have to wait for the pie in the sky when we die. In general, the people who need the Beatitudes the most are those who experience them the least.

Is it really too much to ask for people to actually pay attention to the words allegedly spoken by the person they worship? I don't care what people personally and privately believe and I respect and admire people who practice what they preach (compassion), but it is loathsome to proclaim your faith in something against which you viciously act.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


As you probably know by now, Maine has illegalized same-sex marriage. Every state that has put the issue to a popular vote has failed despite promising polls.

The most recent issue of Chicago's Free Press, one of our LGBTQ newspapers, has an article on this phenomena. They cite the notoriously stupid commercials that claim that, upon legalizing gay marriage, the state will require schools to teach children about gay marriage. Firstly, how is that a bad thing? Gay marriage = gay sex just like how straight marriage = straight sex. Secondly, as long as the students pass standardized tests, the government doesn't give a shit about schools. Thirdly, are people really that naive? The organizations (American Family Insitute, for one) are obviously biased and here I thought it was common knowledge not to believe everything you see on tv. Apparently that rule is suspended when children are allegedly in danger and, apparently, parents are unable to control anything!

Free Press ran a great article on that, but ended by stating that it was fortunate that, in states that have passed domestic partnerships and the like, pro-equality voters won out over rural areas. Alright, it may be true that the rural areas of most states are more conservative than the urban areas. It should not be considered fortunate, though, that "we" beat "them," who usually just aren't exposed to queer people. Education should be the goal, not a battle. A lot of "rural people" will vote for the expansion of rights and the like when they know who they're voting about.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I've been doing a lot of thinking, reading, discussing, journaling, etc. lately. What it all comes down to are a few things:

- as discussed on, one of the most difficult things going on is reconciling a feminine-childhood with a queer-adulthood. This being the case, there has been a definite "womyn-identified-womyn" period in my life.

- that period is over. I might go back to it later in life, but it's not happening now. That does not mean at all that I identify as a man: I definitely don't.

- any labels/categories/etc. feel constricting. "Androgyne," "genderqueer," etc. just don't quite seem to cover what I've got going on. Only the biggest umbrellas of "queer" and "transgender" are big enough to cover me. I used to think that people who claim that they don't like labels were kinda wishy-washy, but now I'm among them. Sorry, guys.

- I feel like I'm not "arrived" yet. I don't know where I'm going, how long I'll stay there, etc. but I know that I'm en route.

Taking in these points, I have the "F" and the "t" and then just a "?". Female-to-? I think that is the most accurate label when I have to use one. I'm not actively transitioning, I'm happy with who I am and change is naturally happening in my life anyway. When I do and what I want are just what I do/want naturally and not toward any specific point.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Yelp Account

I finally caved and created a Yelp account: "Joey M." commented this on a local coffeeshop:

"They also have a fairly ridiculous sign about why they deserve to be tipped, along with another sign informing us to not use pronouns to describe people unless we are certain of what they wish to be perceived as. Interestingly enough, the 'regular' coffee is often not hot enough, not fresh, or both. If they would worry about the coffee as much as they worry about making goofy signs, this would be the busiest coffee shop in the Western Hemisphere."

YAAARRRGGGGHHHH!!!! Transpeople work at this coffeeshop (although now it's closed and getting new ownership in a month), is it really so difficult to understand?!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Queer Lingo 101

I'm the only queer person in my super-awesome family. My relatives are secure in their sexualities, the men in touch with their feminine sides and the women in touch with their masculine sides, but nobody is out of the closet other than me. Coming out to them was a great experience with plenty of bear-hugs and I'm happily accepted. Parts of family have met two of my girlfriends and readily welcomed them, then comforted me when those relationships ended.

There is a clear distinction, though, between my biological family and my queer family (not just because they don't date each other lol). I get the feeling that some relatives want to ask me questions, but either don't know the language to use, are afraid of offending me, or both. I could never say something like this and have it be understood:

"When my boifriend got back from picking up ze's next dosage of T, ze said that ze's company picnic is coming up. Ze wants me to femme it up and be ze's beard."

My BFF4EVER, straight and cisgendered, has suggested that I teach Queer Lingo 101. Before I came out, some of my family places bets on whether my only other unmarried relative of age or I would get married first*. When I came out, I think that marriage became one of those questions nobody knew how/whether to ask. I don't want to get married but I do want to throw a big party for my family - maybe this class could be it lol!!

* Footnote: there are many unmarried people, especially women, in my family. It's considered entirely optional. And I'm aware that I may think differently of marriage years from now.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Men's Space

A lot of things swirl in my head, things related to gender journey. Androgel, binding, packing, pronouns, bathrooms, etc. Things I want to use, things with which I might want to experiment, and things I just can't figure out.

Today I slashed one thing off that list after running uterus-first into it.

I'm bleeding and I really had to pee so I went into some independent coffeeshop on Jackson & Dearborn to use their restroom. And for some hot chocolate. Attempting to make a beeline to the bathrooms from the door, I hit a brick wall of boisterous dick-wagging. All but two of the twentysome customers were masculine, upper-middle class, white, tweed suit-and-tie men between 28 and 55. They were all talking with each other about the stock market, business deals and strategies, sports bets, and the like. Each one of them emphasized their most important points by speaking more loudly; every word uttered, though, was a most important point so only yelling was happening. It didn't seem to matter that nobody could hear anyone but himself.

After the bathroom and getting my hot chocolate, I found a chair in a corner and read _Rubyfruit Jungle_ by Rita Mae Brown. Realizing that I wanted no part of this men's space brought me peace; knowing that I wouldn't be accepted in it anyway only brought me self-pride. As long as a men's space (and there are many different kinds of men's spaces) involves small-dick insecurity, I want no part of it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Capitalism: A Love Story

I'm really glad that I went to the International Socialist Conference in Rosemont in July before seeing this movie. That's the best way to go into this movie: informed.

The biggest issue around "Capitalism: a Love Story" is that it's a Michael Moore movie; considering a lot of people don't know what capitalism and socialism actually are or why they should care, that may be what keeps the movie afloat in the box office.

Don't get me wrong, it is a very good movie - repetitive and scattered at some points, but poignant and honest - and I'm glad that it exists and that I saw it! Moore knows that there is a stigma around him and he uses that to get attention . . . good for him! Were he to attempt a more pleasant association, he would end up on Hollywood Square. "Capitalism: a Love Story," unlike some of his other films, reminds the viewer of the cold-heartedness of execs and CEOs and Chris Dodd rather than using shock value. And instead of one or two sob stories to pull the heartstrings of the viewer, signs of a growing class movement are shown. That is what really gives this movie its strength, it shows what actually is rather than waving a big, attention-grabbing flag.

When I left the theater, though, I couldn't help but wonder, "Now how much money has Moore made off this movie and what does he do with it?" What defeats his message most is the fact that he isn't among the working class or even the middle class (anymore, he did refer to his childhood with relevance) and makes a ton of money off us watching his films.

I do recommend seeing this movie as a mere part of studying political economics and class warfare.