I’m beginning this post much sooner than I normally manage. That’s because it’s Spring Break! It’s so exciting to be out of classes for a week and travelling and not working. And it means I’m halfway through the semester to graduation. So I’m still stressed, but in a manageable, determined to have fun kind of way.
But you know the exciting thing about traveling? No one knows you. You can be whoever you want to be. It gives me a chance to see who I am comfortable being without anyone asking questions. And I can just be. I can just do. I don’t have to think or worry or anything like that. I can just wake up and do whatever I want that day. Well, whatever I have money for anyway.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking a lot about myself, my personality, and my relationships. Generally, I tend to live for other people. I place my happiness in theirs. I try to make things better when they go wrong. I try to make sure everyone can pay their bills, has a place to live, and that no one is worried about me. I tend to place everyone else’s happiness before my own. And I don’t think I can do that anymore.
I don’t think I can because if I don’t live for me, I will never live. I am about to graduate from college, and I have to make sure I have a job. It isn’t realistic for me only to apply to jobs in my current town, even if that means leaving all of these people and places that are so important to me. There are only so many private, non-denominational schools in the US, most of them either being in big cities or in the North. I can’t limit myself geographically or I might not be able to take care of myself, let alone anyone else.
Let’s just get this out there: I am an English nerd. I love grammar, poetry, literature, letters, words in general, and I spend most of my days, whether in class or elsewhere, thinking about the nature of words and communication. I find it fascinating that a single word can mean so many things, yet each word means something only because we give it that significance. My personal definition for pretty could actually be ugly or some other antithesis, but what gives words their power is the meaning we all, as a united English-speaking (or any other language) entity, entrust to them.
Over time, words change: in meaning, spelling, some even are dropped from the language, or added. According to TIME.COM, the words bromance and frenemy were added to the Oxford Dictionary of English in 2010, words I had never heard until a few years ago (TIME.COM). Language is constantly evolving. So how has the word gender evolved?
Last night I got out of the shower and realized how hot it was in my apartment. I put on some boxers, a pair of shorts, but then I paused. I thought of how nice it would be not to care about putting on a shirt. I thought about what it would mean not to have to worry about my breasts, about being modest or proper.
So last night, I closed my door and left the shirt off, just let myself wonder what it would be like if I really didn’t have all those worries.
My mom asked me to write a post for her about how to cope with the fear she feels for me every day. She is afraid I will be hurt because of who I am, and that is a valid fear as hate crimes prevail across the country against every minority.
President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA) in October of 2009 after ten years of advocacy by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). According to the HRC, “The HCPA gives the Department of Justice (DOJ) the power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence by providing the DOJ with jurisdiction over crimes of violence where a perpetrator has selected a victim because of the person's actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability” (“Matthew…”). Before the passage of this act, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability were not included in the federal protections provided by different incarnations of the HCPA.