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Fetch the Label Maker! A Discussion on Sexuality Terminology

It has been one year since the last time I posted on here and it’s been something of a whirlwind year for me. Last year, in observance of National Coming Out Day, I talked about my struggles to come to terms with my sexuality. At that time I was still embracing the concept and I knew that there was a chance that things would evolve from that point. I was quite new to the community and there were still a great many things that I didn’t know and this year has been a wonderful experience in learning and expanding my understanding.

I’ve since learnt that there is a whole other layer of terminology for sexuality types beyond the simple 0-6 Kinsey scale. Pansexual, demisexual, polysexual, asexual. And it doesn’t end there; there are even more specifications from that point. In the last year, I’ve been introduced to a whole new vocabulary and found a new label that fits me so much better than what I’d known before. (Biromantic demisexual, in case anyone is curious).

The most common question that I’ve gotten since my last post is why having a label matters? I admitted that I knew that I wasn’t heteronormal. The people closest to me already knew that I wasn’t heteronormal. Why did it matter that I have an appropriate label for my sexuality?

The thing that people doesn’t understand is that it was never about putting a label on myself. It wasn’t that I needed something to call myself or that I needed to have some absolute definition to attach to my sexuality. For me, the magic in finding a correct term was purely in knowing that I was not alone. If that term existed, it meant that there were other people out there who were the same as me. That was the single most monumental thing that came from this whole process.

That was the single most monumental thing that came from this whole process. It wasn’t in embracing myself for who I was or knowing that the people in my life would still accept me while knowing the truth. It was the realisation that I was not alone in this world. I haven’t actually met anyone with the same sexuality as me – at least not that I know of – but the simple fact that they are out there somewhere is comfort enough. Much in the same way that discovering communities for people suffering from depression provided hope and reassurances, knowing that there are enough other people out there who feel the same as I do eases the fears and uncertainty of reinventing my self-image.

So today, on National Coming Out Day, when so many people are opening up and learning to embrace and identify their sexuality, I simply want to let them all know this one crucial detail: Whether you are ready to shout your sexuality from the rooftops or if you’re still playing things close to the vest, it doesn’t matter. In the grand scheme of things, it isn’t about the labels we attach to ourselves. It isn’t in being able to tell the world that “yes, I am ____.” It is about belonging.  It is about knowing that there are other people out there that are like you.

You are not alone.

 

Daily Prompt: BYOB(ookworm)

I’ve just finished drafting up the new cover and blurb for my (hopeful) début novel.

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Blurb:

“Because in real life, there is so much more to a fairy tale ending than imagined.

“Aspiring teen writer Jacob Barnes has always been fascinated by the world of fairy tales. All of his life, his secret ambition was to find a happily ever after of his own. He was already halfway through the mandatory checklist – he was the step-child, with a wicked step-father and two abusive step-brothers; he was the underdog with the big dreams; he even had something of his own personal fairy godmother, although she was in fact his best friend who just happened to be rather clever. The only thing he needed, really, was his princess.

“With high school graduation and the real world looming closer every day, Jacob finally decided to pursue his secret admirer, an anonymous fan of his online blog. Yet as he journeyed deeper into the world of fairy tale romance, those carefully cultivated expectations that a childhood of Disney films had built in his mind began to crumble and Jacob was left to navigate the harsh realities of first love.

“Once upon a time, a boy undertook an epic quest, duelled vicious monsters, and sought the heart of his princess – and redefined “happily ever afters” for the real world.”

 

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facts and falsehoods

Daily Prompt | Truth or Dare

Is it possible to be too honest, or is honesty always the best policy?

As a general rule, I try to always be an honest person. When asked a question, I always give my genuine opinion. But I will be the first to admit that there are definitely some questions where giving an honest answer can get you in trouble.

The thing is, a lot of those times, the people who ask aren’t looking for the truth. They are looking for comfort and reassurance. Like when a woman asks if her jeans make her look fat. She doesn’t actually care whether you think she looks fat, she’s just fishing for compliments.

So if we want a more honest world, shouldn’t we go back to the source. It’s not the answers that are the real problem. It’s the questions.

Stop asking questions if you don’t want to hear the answers!

(Can you tell this is a pet peeve of mine?)

Really though, I am one of those people who tries to be completely honest in every situation I can. I may be a bit prone to exaggeration, but I try to never outright lie. That being said, I’m a fiction writer. I lie for a living, so sometimes I slip up.

I would really always rather people be honest with me as well. I’m anti-social so if I am making the effort to actually ask a question, I want a real answer. Be honest with me and I will afford you the same courtesy.

So feel free to ask me anything in the comments and I will answer – Honestly!

 

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Growing Up Disney

I am a Disney whore.

For those of you who don’t know what that means:

Really though, I belong to that generation that grew up with at least one new Disney film every year and an endless supply of happily ever afters floating in the air. Even when I was living with my then-single mother and single grandmother, we made a trip every year to Disneyland Anaheim. As a kid I watched The Little Mermaid so many times I’ve no idea how that tape didn’t just implode (because this was back in that so-far-ago time of VHS cassettes and the constant fear that the tape may just one day break.) Even as a straight-up tomboy, I always kind of wanted to be a Disney princess – Belle, because she gets that kick-ass library – and I was an avid follower of the ritual of wishing on stars. Although I never did master that whole “paint with the wind” thing; I could never figure how to get the wind to stick on my paintbrush.

To make a long story short – too late – Disney has always been a crucial part of my life.

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For the most part this has been a good thing for me. Disney films, and fairy tales in general, give us all that one commodity that is so precious in life: hope. They teach us to believe in good, that bad will always be beaten, that there’s nothing wrong with being different, and that in the end, no matter how difficult the journey, we will all find a happily ever after. That optimism and faith got me through more than one dark time and even now, when things get tough I always fall back on my favorite Disney flicks for comfort and reassurance.

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The Disney franchise as a whole also teaches the importance and power of imagination, which is obviously a lesson that resonated with me since I grew up – I use the term “grew up” loosely, mind – with the aim of being a fiction writer. Imagination is my favorite trait about myself, and it would not be a stretch to say that my imagination, and by extension my writing, has saved my life. I genuinely would not be here today otherwise. Imagination gave me a safe place to retreat when things became difficult, and there I was able to cope with the things that I could not make sense of in reality. Life problems became dragons and wicked witches, and in my mind I found the sword that helped me to slay them even if it didn’t exist in the real world, which helped me to put those troubles to rest at the back of my mind. It helped me find peace and work through the harshness of life.

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Disney as a whole has been such an influential part of my growth that I can’t differentiate between what I believed before and what has been touched by the world of Disney’s magic. I grew up in a world of mystery and adventure and magic, and that mentality has never really left me. Deep down, beneath the cynicism and weariness that adulthood has brought upon me, I still unequivocally want to believe in happy endings.

And there, in and of itself, is the one crucial defect that Disney has left implanted in my mind. I believe too much. I see the good in everyone, whether they deserve it or not. I want to believe that there is a prince hidden beneath the coarse exterior of every man, and that he only needs my love to break the curse. I want to believe that just fearlessly jumping into a new world in search of my dreams will somehow always work itself out. And every time that I am proven wrong, it hurts. Not just on a basic, “I failed and that’s upsetting” level, but on a deep, spiritual level. It puts a scar on my soul. It’s like having someone give me definitive proof that my God isn’t real.

Because in the end, I think that’s what fairy tales have become for me. They aren’t just charming tales for children, or musical films to cheer me up. They are my mythology, my faith, my religion. I am a Disney-ian. Disney-ist? Something like that.

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When the chips are down though, I wouldn’t trade my mentality for anything. I have something that so few people get to have anymore. I have innocence and naivety. I can still look around at the world through the eyes of a child and find the magic and beauty hidden behind everything. I can look into the darkness and see hope and a future. I believe.

Disney has taught me so many valuable lessons. That a person is who they are inside, not what they look like or the circumstances they were born into. That love can be found in the most unexpected places. That nothing is more important than chasing your dreams and finding a way to enjoy the life you live. That growing up doesn’t mean having to get old. That you can do anything, if you’ve got faith, trust, and a little pixie dust.

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So when the rest of the world is caving into depression and hopelessness, I will still be there, wishing on my stars and chasing my dreams and having faith that, at the end of the road, there will always be a happy ending waiting for me. Because I can do it. Because I can keep moving forward. Because every good, great thing that’s ever happened in this world has been started by one, singular person. And I can be that person.

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I make my own happy ever after.

I Believe In…

There are a lot of reasons to be cynical in this world. Bad things happen all the time and good people get hurt. All of those fairy tales we hear as a child promise us that good will always win, but in the end it doesn’t always work out that way. We lose. We fail. The bad guys win and we can’t make sense of the whole world could possibly be so unfair. We start to lose faith in the good things of the world.

I’m as cynical as they come but here are ten things that I believe in unequivocally.

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1. Love – It may not be the fantastic, happily ever after sort that we see in all of the stories but it’s out there. It’s real and powerful and if we’re patient and look for long enough then we can all find it. It starts with loving yourself and grows to include others.

2. Knowledge & Curiosity – There is nothing more powerful in improving a person than gaining knowledge. Never stop asking questions, never worry that your questions will make you look stupid, and never stop learning new things.

e8e78-rainbowgif3. Miracles – Sometimes things just happen. There is no rationalising it. It might have been a coincidence. But sometimes good things don’t need to be “made sense of,” they’re simply wonderful things. Don’t question it, just embrace the magic.

4. The Power of Self – Nothing in the world is more powerful than you. Encourage it, embrace it, and use it. It makes everything attainable with a little nerve and persistence. There is no more important relationship than the one you make with yourself.

21424-equalgif5. Equality – It doesn’t matter who you are: man, woman, gay, straight, religious, atheist, white, brown, purple. In the end, beneath everything, we are all the same. We can all accomplish the same things if we’re just given the chance to try. There is no winning argument for discrimination.

6. The Soul – Science can explain so many  things about a person, from appearance to certain personality traits, but there’s always that one piece that can’t be explained. The Why. Why do they do the things they do? That is the soul, and we all have an unique one.

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7. Creativity – That drive to build new things, to dip into the mind and indulge in pure creation. To write, to paint, to dance, to make. Creativity is what inspires us to delve into new worlds. It’s what’s brought around every great innovation  and should never be dissuaded.

8. Beauty – Whether it’s in art or in nature or even just in simple everyday things, beauty is all around us. It’s in the things that make your heart swell and cause a feeling of peace and adoration and divinity. It makes us better.

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9. Empathy – This one’s pretty common sense, really. Wouldn’t the whole world be a better place if we just empathise with each other more? Tried to understand and not be so quick to judge? I think so.

10. Respect – The ability to appreciate others for the good things they’ve done and the greatness that they have inside of them. It’s not putting people down, it’s lifting them up. It’s called respecting one another, and it’s a thing, people. Use it.

What do you  believe in?