Look, all I can really say is that this day could have been a lot worse. On this day, I drove to Iowa City to watch Iowa play Michigan State and attend Megan Gustafson’s jersey retirement ceremony. (I wrote a really cool article about it, too.) When I got there, I learned that a sports figure, his daughter, and seven others died in a horrific accident. The sports figure had a past such that I felt massively conflicted about his death. Outside the arena, I spoke on the phone with a friend, willing them to not bring it up, but they found out what happened while we were talking. I went inside, expecting this tragedy to take precedence, if not leave a dark shadow over the day. But the more people I was near, the more conversations I overheard, it was clear: everyone was here for the game. For the ceremony. The only sports figure anyone talked about in any detail was Megan Gustafson.
I could have spiraled. If I hadn’t been at this game, for this event, I would have spiraled. But I was, and so I didn’t. I took this picture to remember my happiness — and my relief. (And then, less than two months later, the world shut down. But still.)
(Today’s prompt is the first of five throughout the challenge called “Something random.”)
I woke up too early this morning, around 5:45 a.m. Too early even if I had work, but since I’m off today, it was extra too early.
The strangest things keep me up at night. I’ll wake up at three in the morning and be consumed by the thought of doing laundry. It’s been on my to-do list for a few days, I should really do it, I’m too tired to descend two flights of stairs to load the washer and come back up and down to switch to the dryer and up and down the collect it all again, I should really do it, I lived in an existence dominated by laundromats for a decade, I should do my damn laundry. The commitment to my well-being, I think, is my main source of stress. That I would put hours — well, a few three-minute chunks spread across two hours — into myself.
After I put my laundry in the washing machine, I checked to see when the next SCOTUS opinion day was. I knew when I read they’d added an extra Friday opinion day, rather than waiting until next week, that today was the day.
An hour and a half later, as my almost-forgotten clothes finished spinning dry, I got the push notification on my phone. My Twitter feed exploded with reactions and analysis and helpful links (which I’ve shared below). And I pulled out my laptop to write this entry, because I realized I had front-loaded my Roe v. Wade anxiety back in May, when the decision — this decision — was first leaked, when I first knew, and in this moment, I felt only the haze of that knowing so deeply that when it finally arrived, my body couldn’t decide how to react except to get up and move my laundry to the dryer, I fucking guess, because I already wasted all of today’s anxiety on that so I might as well finish it.
First, a preface about my fashion choices growing up: I did not like wearing “girl clothes.” Girl jeans, girl shirts, girl shoes, anything “for girls” or that the girls at school typically wore were out. Which meant my wardrobe mostly consisted of “unisex” sneakers (look, probably “for women,” but they weren’t pink, which was For Girls), t-shirts from soccer tournaments, and a whole bunch of zip-off pants. See, I couldn’t find those “boy shorts” (the kind that fall just below the knee) in a style that would fit me, but what fits a lot more people? Zip-off pants. My go-to zip-off pants zipped into both short shorts (no) and that longer style I preferred.
Years after my zip-off pants phase, when I was a freshman at Gonzaga, I was heading to the student center when I heard a guy say the above quote to his friends. I looked. They were zip-off sweatpants that fell just below the knee. And he was swiftly rejecting that they were “for men”! (But also that they were capris. I don’t know. Maybe there’s some stuff to unpack there, too.)
In conclusion, gender is a cesspool and everyone should feel comfortable in their sweat shorts.
Part of me is like, “You should re-read the book before posting this. You know, so it can be like a real review.” Another part of me replies, “But I know how to write a real review. I have literally written real reviews before. I don’t want it to be a review. I just want to talk about it.” But then I’m reminded by that nagging third part of me that, for whatever reason, I do not remember books very well, and that will have to be okay.
Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe is the good book, and the reason I’m talking about it is not because it’s being mega-challenged across the country, but because I attended a Zoom author chat last week (through Bluestockings) where Kobabe and Kori Michele chatted about the upcoming Gender Queer deluxe edition.
A few things I like about Kobabe: E is from the North Bay Area, just like me. E seems like an incredibly nice person. And eir work is at once meditative, thoughtful, and deeply personal, but in ways that make it even more welcoming for an audience? I know that memoirs don’t just spring out of nothing, that they’re meticulously planned and proofed and edited and rearranged until the final product emerges, but Gender Queer is so brilliant in how straightforward it can be: This happened; this is why it is important; here is some beautiful art to match.
On a personal level, of course, I can relate to Gender Queer in such a way that I underwent some deep introspection after finishing. (I read it in 2021, one year after I told the internet I was nonbinary and asexual, but it’s been out since 2019.) Again, I would love to be able to point to a specific passage, but the memory part of my brain simply doesn’t work that way. (I got a degree in psychology ten years ago and here I am saying “the memory part of my brain” as if it doesn’t have a name. Anyway.) I do remember reading Gender Queer and going, “Excuse me! E just put something into words and images that my brain had never clarified for me in this way!” and that just happening over and over again. I remember feeling jealous not just that e was out, but that e grew up in a community where e was far from the first queer person e knew. But to me, overall, eir journey felt relatable, even in the parts where it didn’t.
Fuck, I have to read this book again ASAP. I feel silly talking about it based on how it made me feel and not based on like, content or substance. If you don’t own it, or there’s a wait for it at your library, then you can find it on Hoopla, which your library card might give you access to.
Speaking of Kori Michele, the moderator of the talk I attended last week, they and Kobabe wrote a mini-zine together about their experiences of being nonbinary. You can read it here, or maybe buy it from Kobabe’s Etsy when it’s back online next month. I also really like Kobabe’s comic about breaking down the gender binary through the means of folk dancing, and eir zine Kpop in the Time of Covid. (These are just a few of the ones I’ve purchased for myself — e makes them accessible to everyone online, but the hard copies really are worth more than what e charges for them.)
So, yeah. A good book. A good author and illustrator. A good person to listen to speak for an hour and a half over Zoom. Five stars, strong recommend, etc. Gender Queer changed my life.
As a person who, when I catch up on a TV show (or watch one for the first time), sees no problem going back to season 1, episode 1 and experiencing the show all over again from the beginning with the added context that future episodes and seasons have provided, I’d like to introduce you to several shows I have watched multiple times in a row in 2022 alone (maybe light spoilers?):
Not from the beginning, obviously. Grey’s, which starts its 19th season this fall, has been on the air for 54 percent of my life. I have never done a complete rewatch of this show. What I have done, though, is identify which story arcs make me feel the way I want to feel, then I watch those, then realize I want to see the aftermath of that drama, so I keep watching until, inevitably, I’ve reached the present day. (I have rewatched the COVID storyline three times. I know. I am not okay.)
I worried when the Season 4 premiere date was announced that I would need to rewatch Seasons 1–3 to reorient myself (get it? the upside down?). I remembered the basics of each season: kid gets abducted to weird alternate world; same kid deals with ramifications of coming back from weird alternate world (feat. Sean Astin, who comes a little too close to eliminating Sean Astin’s 1980s existence); communists in the mall. Naturally, after I watched what has been released of Season 4 (and was taken in by the story enough to not realize what references and characters I’d forgotten), I backtracked to Season 1 and watched the entire show. And then again. This is my most recent curse. I know. I am not okay.
It is difficult to express how I feel when I connect with another person who has seen The 100. Like, yes! Please! Let’s talk about this! But I’m also someone who is very much a fan of teen dystopian fiction, and I think it speaks to a lot of my own idiosyncrasies. When the adults come down to Earth for the first time in Season 2, for example, and they’re just making it up as they go, totally unaware (and not super caring) that their kids know how to navigate the world, that they’ve attempted to establish diplomacy, that dozens of their own are currently trapped in the place the adults thought they might be living right now — anyway, as someone who is very much into Things Being a Certain Way and who is often anxious about change, that storyline very much spoke to me, that of Knowing the World versus being totally new to the world. I also am just really happy that Eliza Taylor and Bob Morley are an IRL couple. I have not watched the last season of The 100 because I know how it goes and I do not like it. Not to the level of refusing to acknowledge Season 4 of Veronica Mars, as I do (related: I didn’t hate Season 3, but I understand those who do not acknowledge it either), but I just feel like I’m going to get mega-depressed. Sometimes I ask to be mega-depressed. Most of the time, I do not.
Never Have I Ever
Random Never Have I Ever memory: Ordering GoPuff while watching Season 1 in 2020 and having a soda from my order explode all over myself and my bed. Thinking about how the third season of Never Have I Ever drops in August: What a fun excuse to watch this show multiple times in its entirety in preparation! (Again!)