I don’t like gossiping.
Or reading fashion magazines.
I like gadgets.
I never confuse right and left.
I barely ever wear dresses.
In fact, my favorite outfit consists of a T-shirt with a funny inscription, jeans and snickers.
I don’t usually like chick flicks.
I like James Bond and Matrix and Tolkien and Tom Clancy’s Ryanverse.
I like looking at boobs. And legs. And beautiful women in general.
Sometimes, I fantasize of having sex with them.
I am not 90-60-90. Very much not.
I have a big nose.
I don’t have menstruation. (Cue the jealous rage of every woman in the world.)
According to the cultural concept of what defines a woman or a man, I am by far NOT a woman.
Yet I was born a woman. (The lack-of-period thingy is due to my PCOS, an illness.)
And I feel like a woman.
And I don’t need to act like the society wants me to to be a woman.
I am a woman.
I am a cisgender monogamous pansexual woman.
And I don’t know how about you, but I feel great about that.
And I don’t need you, or anyone else, to tell me how to behave. I am me. I define myself. You can go back to whatever you fancy in your life. But you have no right to tell me who I am.
I’m pansexual. It should be a non-issue, not up for debate and utterly uninteresting to anyone. Unfortunately, it is not the case.
I’m pansexual and every time I say this out loud I get asked “what’s pansexual”. Sometimes I think it’s a good opportunity to educate people. Most of the time I’m just tired of constantly explaining it and not being understood, so I just say I’m bisexual instead. It’s close enough, I guess.
But I do say it out loud. I believe it’s important to say it out loud. I believe it can inspire people. I believe it can show them they’re not alone. I belive the more we talk about it, the more visible we are, the less discrimination we will have to face. I know, it sounds paradoxical. And in a sense, it is. Sure, you come out, you expose yourself to invectives and bullying and all sorts of nasty treatment. But I strongly believe, in the long run, it pays off. I believe when people know us – either personally or, in the case of celebrities or even fictional characters, from the silver screen or pages of a book or a magazine – they are less inclined to discriminate us. It shows them that we’re human like them. Sure, they struggle a lot, especially at first. But in the long run, it changes hearts and minds. It’s particularly import with young people.
Which doesn’t change the fact that coming out is hard, and scary, and it takes balls to do it. People who never had to admit a thing they were deeply ashamed of, or of which they were sure others wouldn’t approve, will never understand just how hard it is to come out of that warm, fuzzy, stuffy closet. Because when you’re in, it’s nice, nobody’s judging you, nobody’s trying to hurt you, but all the while it feels like a golden cage, it feels like you’re trapped, and you’re slowly suffocating. The society tells us that if we’re different, we have to be ashamed of it, and so we become ashamed, and over the years, we try to suppress it, convince ourselves that we’re just like everybody else.
But guess what, not everybody is like everybody else. That’s the beauty of our imperfect world: we are different. Every person is unique, beautiful, perfect in their own way. It takes time to recognize that, but it’s a point worth making.
I used to be really religious, but I was always very open-minded. I also always expected more of myself than of others.
I was in love. For years. It started when I was only a little girl, and at first I think I was confusing friendship for love. But at some point it must have changed, evolved, because by the time I started high school I was head over hills for my best friend and life anchor, M. He was this nice boy, very intelligent, very funny, very ambitious. He had the cutest red curls and a smile that made my heart flutter like a little bird.
It was in junior high when I met my other best friend, S. She was older and smart, and talented. She had long black hair that I adored and deep brown eyes I couldn’t stop staring in. We met on the Internet, bonded over literature, and finally met in person. We’d meet up a few times a year from now on until I started my studies. (Part of why I wanted to study in Kraków was that it was her city. How ironic that precisely when I came there to live and study, we started losing contact.)
As I said, in high school I knew already very clearly I was in love with M. And that’s when he came out to me as gay. That day I came home, closed myself in the bathroom and cried for hours. And for the next three years I learned to get over it, and I never told M. how I felt about him. But I will be carrying my first love in my heart forever, even though we haven’t spoken for years.
But as life went on I started to realize the same thing I’d felt for M., I was feeling towards S. too. I was very confused. Have I been mistaken about M.? Maybe I did take friendship for love? Or was I imagining it? What was going on? I was deliberating. I couldn’t be in love with S.; she was a girl, and I was straight. Right? Because if I was in love with S., that meant I was gay. And at some level, I was okay with that, in my mind, as long as nobody knew. But what then with M.? If I was gay, I couldn’t have been in love with M. This was so confusing, and I tried to untie the knot to no avail. Looking back, I think that confusion might have been the underlying reason, the unconscious reason, for me to withdraw from that relationship. Maybe that’s why I didn’t pursue the contact more, didn’t try harder. I buried the thought, I buried the feeling, I buried them all within myself, and decided I didn’t care about love. I was just starting a whole new chapter of my life – living on my own, in a new city, studying, meeting all those new people. I had found new friends, people I deeply care about, and I found new way of life. I was happier, I was lighter, I was never so free before. But somewhere there, there’s always been that load on me. I squished every flutter of my heart, I chose to ignore it, and only sometimes it cried.
Like when one of my best friends got a boyfriend. I was so happy for her, so happy… and so jealous. There she was, all in love, and reciprocated one at that, the perfect couple. (They are still together, and they do seem like the perfect couple.) And there I was, sad, alone, with no previous experience or perspectives whatsoever. But, again, looking back I wonder if I wasn’t also a little jealous because he got my friend. She was mine and he took her from me… so maybe there was a little truth to the fluttering heart after all. Thankfully I was always able to get over my unconscious heart’s desires once again. Now I’m just really, honestly, deeply happy for her happiness.
And so I told myself not to ponder, not to obsess over things that lay in past. Meanwhile, I started finding out more about sexuality and gender. I realized it was possible to be in love with people from both genders. I was still refusing to apply that knowledge to my own life. I guess I was scared to even try to think of it, at that point, it cost me too many sleepless nights before, trying to figure it out.
And, as silly as it sounds, then I started watching Glee. And I started to look up to a guy who’s a year younger than me, and yet touched and changed thousands of lives just by being exactly who he is.
And I started to think of it again. I started to think of all the things I’d buried deep down: all my fears, all my complexes, all that I hated about myself, all that I was afraid to admit even to myself.
And then I decided I didn’t want to be afraid anymore. I decided I was strong enough to be myself. And in that realization, I found peace and freedom like never before.
And don’t get me wrong, there are still many issues, important issues I struggle with. I guess the journey never ends in life. But I am okay with that now. I can admit that yes, I do have issues; I might now be willing to talk about all of them (despite what you might think about my Internet exhibitionism, there are things I keep only to myself), but I am willing to deal with them, day by day. Small steps will carry me just as far as a plunge head first would.
It was last year’s summer exam session, not really the best time to have an enlightenment, but oh well, it came to me then. Taking the decision about not being afraid anymore was not easy, and it was followed by some serious personal struggle, but eventually I figured most of it out. Part of it was figuring out my own sexuality.
I finally told myself: yes. I was in love with a boy and then I was in love with a girl, and there’s nothing confusing about that, and it’s perfectly okay. I have Chris Colfer to thank for that. For taking that first big step.
The first time I said it to someone else was, obviously, on the Internet. Tumblr, to be exact. I knew nobody from my usual circle of friends had my tumblr, so I felt safe. And tumblr took it as tumblr usually does: it shrugged and went on to reblog a cute gif. It was weeks until I first mentioned it on Twitter, and Twitter couldn’t care less either. I gained more confidence: I spoke about it more openly, I even started hinting at it on facebook, gently.
And then there was the situation in the hall on my Uni: a few girls from my faculty were talking, and somehow (I can’t remember how!) it came down to me saying that I support the LGBT rights movement. And someone asked if I was just a supporter or was I also a part of that community. And I said I was a member of the community. I didn’t explain anything, it came out like that, simply, no need for further dwelling. It felt natural. The girls were very cool about it and they never gave me any grief about it, maybe a few curious and meaningful looks when subjects of discussion were nearing topics like boyfriends, marriage etc. That was really encouraging.
And then there was the French Oral class when we discussed ups and downs of marriage. And of course it came down to “gay marriage” (that was before I started insisting on using the term “same-sex marriage”), and there was this one girl that made me furious. Among other things, she compared homosexuality to zoophilia. It was a very heated debate, I can tell you that. And after that class me and two of my best friends went to the bathroom (girls always walk in packs, right), and that’s when I figured I owe them the truth. We’re close friends, you see, and I care very deeply about my friends. And so I told them I was bisexual (pansexuality is a concept I discovered later). It was hard, the words didn’t want to form themselves in my mouth, and I felt like my entire face turned red. But you know what my friends said? They said, “we knew”.
I really, really love my friends.
At some point, I came out to my other set of close friends, my roommate included, and later on facebook, and eventually to my mom, and at this point I consider myself out and proud, and open, and I feel free, I feel like I can breathe at last, and I don’t have to hide who I am, before myself or anyone else, and yes, I am also proud of myself to have taken that step and being honest in my life. No amount of negativity from other people could make me regret that: I put up with a lot of crap in my life already. Others’ disapproval, I can tough it out. Coping with myself is harder. Coming out was one of my best decisions ever.
I am pansexual. And I am proud. And I will say it out loud, because if that makes even a small difference, then it’s all worth it.
Happy Coming Out Day.
So some time ago I’ve promised my friend Eleri to write a review of The Hunger Games. I’ve read them over the Easter, in English, because if I can, I always choose the original. (It’s just better.) Today I’ve seen the first movie (went to the theater with my mom, whom I told it would be very bloody and dark, and she was very surprised. Me too, d’ailleurs.)
I started the book with a certain bias. I usually don’t respond well to things that are very popular. I remember when the world went crazy for Dan Brown and his Da Vinci Code. I read it and it was barely mediocre. (I would say the same of Harry Potter if I read it for the first time now, but thank God, I was around 13 when I read it and I was blown away and it changed my life, so.) I read Twilight and deemed it the worst book I ever read and it’s something, because I read a lot of books, and not all of them were good. So I was hesitant about The Hunger Games, when I heard it made such a fuss all over the world. But at last I started it and I have no regrets. I spent the entire free time I’ve had during Easter (that is, when I wasn’t enjoying some quality time with family and I could calmly read) reading those books. I was finishing up Mockingjay in the bus to Kraków. T’was a mistake. Keeping myself from crying was hard.
So yeah, in general, I enjoyed the books. A lot. There were things that I didn’t like, of course. Nothing’s ever perfect. (Well, okay. Terry Pratchett is pretty much my idea of perfection.) (Seriously. Me and my Sabbath, we quote Discworld about the same as any given priest or bigot quotes the Bible.) (It’s just the way it is.)
SPOILER ALERT – plot explained beneath, beware. Don’t read on if you don’t want to be spoiled.
I know much too much about American politics for a Polish girl that’s never even been in America. I blame The West Wing and the fact that I’ve seen it about eight times, maybe more, I lost count. Also the fact that I am generally interested in politics, especially in the LGBT perspective, of course. And the fact that I once wrote a novel whose characters were, among others, American politicians.
I also follow After Elton on Twitter (following them was one of my best following decisions EVER). And they posted President’s Obama speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. It lasts around 17 minutes. It’s 4 am in Poland. I just spent 17 minutes laughing out loud watching that speech. It’s just HILARIOUS. I finally know what is missing in Polish politics – a sense of humour. Seriously, the only person who does seem to have one is Palikot and that’s one of the reasons I like him. Of course, he’s totally crazy, too, but what the hell, he got a transwoman and an out gay to enter the Parliament for the first time in Polish history. I like him. I’m gonna probably vote for him in four years, which four years ago seemed like a total improbability. Like, who’d ever vote for that wacko? He once brandished a silicon penis at a press conference. But I know now he was protesting something important, demanding justice for policemen charged with rape. Peculiar means, I have to admit, but… well. It got the attention of the media, right. And he is the only one representing my social ideals, even though his economic views aren’t necessarily mine.
Anyway. I wanted to talk about Obama and how hilarious his speech was. It was VERY hilarious, if that’s even a possible figure of speech. I congratulate whoever wrote it. But what the hell, why am I telling you this. See for yourself! And enjoy.
I went to the grocery store today. There is this really narrow aisle there, and an elderly couple was ahead of me, so I had to walk really slow behind them. From the opposite direction approached a woman. Good-looking, well dressed, holding a phone to her ear. Talking loudly, which in itself isn’t very nice when you’re in a crowded public space. But okay.
She said “excuse me” to the elderly couple. And then when I was passing, and she had to wait a second longer, I heard her muttering to herself: “kurwa”, eyeing me with an annoyed face.
It’s basically the worst word you can say in Polish, there’s no bigger curse word than that.
I passed, she went on and got lost out of my sight, but it left me shocked. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t even touch her. I was just passing through the aisle, following that elderly couple. How was that deserving such rudeness? How a person can even be rude like that to a perfect stranger?
And I’m not talking about some drunk in a train station, or a drug addict, or something like that. That, I could understand. But she looked really, well, refined. Trim. Really good black coat, high heels, makeup, smartphone.
How appearances can be deceiving. I’ve met drunks and drug addicts who behaved ten times better.
Is it really that much to ask? To be polite to one another when we meet in public spaces? I know everyone is entitled to have a bad day, but hey, I’ve been feeling like crap since Monday, running a fever of 38 degrees Celsius, and I’m still being polite to others. And it’s not like the woman is incapable of being polite – she said “excuse me” to the elderly couple. How am I different in this case? I don’t know the woman, seen her for the first time in my life. I was doing exactly what that couple did. And yet she felt they deserved a polite “excuse me” and I deserve a “bitch”? And let me assure you, she wasn’t saying THAT to her phone. It was clearly meant for me. Like I was in some way worse than her. Or than that couple, for that matter.
And I know our society teaches us to be polite towards the elders, and I think it’s great, and I always give up my place to them in trams and buses, and all. But I think we shouldn’t stop at being polite to elder people.
I think we should be polite to everyone. Or at least not be rude, which isn’t necessarily the same thing.
Like today. I have a class called “Ecrits professionnels”, which I would translate as “professional writing”. The teacher was explaining how the Curriculum Vitae, or your resume, works, and what should we put in there. (I’ve never said this class makes much sense to me; I didn’t find out a lot of new things during the 1h30 it lasted.) And of course there is a place for marital status in the resume, and she was saying that the only two options that are required to be put there is the status unmarried / married. You can, if you want, write “divorced”, but if you are divorced then you are unmarried, so you don’t need to specify.
And then I asked “what about civil unions”? The teacher said it was the same as with “divorced”. Because a person in a civil union is still unmarried, so you’re not required to put it there. What’s more, you shouldn’t, because it’s better to not give details if you’re not specifically asked for them. And while I understand her reasoning, I refuse the premise.
Because being in a civil union is NOT the same as being unmarried. In France, the PACS has been working for years, and it’s true that it’s possible to make the PACS even between, for example, a grandmother and her grandchild. Because the PACS in France is a very wide term and it’s not reserved for romantically involved couples. (Although study shows that by the end of 2012 more people will enter PACS than marry.) The problem is I wasn’t talking about PACS. I made it clear I meant civil unions in Poland, the thing that doesn’t exist yet, but might in the near future (I hope soon). The proposed bills about civil unions or the agreement of civil union (there are three different projects right now) encompass both heterosexual and homosexual couples, but all of them not only give many privileges that till now have been reserved for married couples only (like a right to decide about partner’s health or joint tax declaration, inheritance etc.), but also set some strict obligations similar to those in marriage (caring for one another, providing jointly for the family etc.). they’re obviously meant for couples romantically involved. It’s a step on a path to full marriage equality.
So how is being in a civil union same as being unmarried? It’s not. In fact it would be less of a lie to say that you’re married, if you’re in a civil union, that to say that you’re unmarried. Unmarried means single, and you’re NOT single. You have this person that you’re legally and emotionally tied to, and saying otherwise is lying, and you’re not allowed to lie in an official document. (Ethically speaking, you shan’t lie at any time, but that’s a completely different question.)
I kinda felt frustrated for that, and what even frustrated me more was that there was no room to argue the point. The teacher said her piece and moved on. And maybe I am overreacting, it was a group of what? eight, maybe ten people in the room, not a big deal, right? But the same kind of thinking is all around us. Like it didn’t matter. Guess what, it does matter. The terminology matters. Symbols matter. Because our language, and I mean in the profound structure, is what shapes our views and opinions, not less than the world shapes our language, it’s a two-way thing. The society is built on communication, the communication is what creates the relations between humans and helps us survive as a species, and the way I know it is because that same teacher taught me that last semester during a class called Theory of Communications.
What we say is important, and our words have real world consequences. They can hurt, they can heal, they can make us fall in love or hate. But on a more profound level, they also influence how we view the world. The reason why I always insist on using the word “czarny” (black) instead of “Murzyn” (Negro) is not because I think it sounds better, but because these words have implications. “Black” is the same category as “white” or “yellow”, it’s only one characteristic, color of the skin. “Negro” has some really degrading connotations in Polish, and I imagine in English too; there are certain idioms and expressions with that word that are rather nasty (like, for example, “daleko za Murzynami”, meaning “far away behind the Negros”, which means in some way retarded, e.g. technologically). It points out a group of people as a whole and not a certain specific trait, and is just offensive. The same goes for using the word “gej” (gay) instead of very medically-sounding “homoseksualista” (homosexual). We change our language accordingly to the course of social change, but we also have to go ahead and change our language to introduce the social change.
And that is why I think it’s important to understand that the moment the civil unions are introduced in Poland (and if they are, they’re gonna stay for a long time, because I don’t believe our conservative, oh-so-Catholic society will allow full marriage equality anytime soon, unfortunately), we’ll have THREE required categories to put in “marital status” field on our resume: unmarried, married, in a civil union.
PS. If you are a Polish speaker I really recommend you read the interview with dr Jerzy Krzyszpień in Replika, number 35 (it should be available as .pdf on this site after the new issue comes out). He discusses the question of language in lgbt context more closely. (Also, the entire magazine is worth reading, if you are interesting in LGBT issues.)
I was reading this powerful story, written by a soldier who for the first time could tell it without hiding his name and face (thank God DADT ended, good job, America), and comparing it to what happened to me just this weekend. And I’ve come to a conclusion that it’s a terrible society we live in.
Society that forces us to live in fear and shame even though our parents always taught us to be proud of ourselves and be strong, and be who we are. Me and the mentioned soldier have that it common: we’ve had this awesome role model in our life, someone to measure up to. And everything that person ever did was love us no matter what. My mom is my best friend, my biggest support, my lifeline. She’s the best person I met. All my life my main fear was to fail her – not because she would punish me or something. It was ME who didn’t want to cause her any pain, any worry.
And we both were for some reason afraid to tell that person who we were. Why? All my mom ever did was love me. Unconditionally. I screwed up more than once, and she was always forgiving and understanding. And I was still afraid to tell her. I knew in my heart she wouldn’t do anything dramatic, like you hear some people do to their children confessing they’re not straight, like throw out of the house or tell them they have a disease or something. But I was afraid. Why?
I blame the society. This society that shapes us all, and tells me I am wrong to be different, even though I can’t help it and I didn’t choose this. This society that only views the world in black and white and refuses the existence of anything that is gray, or colorful. This society that only ever sets the limits and punishes those who breach the frontier. This society that lives in extrema, and condemns everything that is in between, or God forbids outside of the scale. This society that calls me sick, abnormal, a sinner, an abomination, because I dare to love differently. This society that makes me fear the reaction of the closest person I have when I admit the truth about myself. This society that forces their opinion on me so much that I start to assign it to everyone else, even those I love and who I know love me. This society that makes me presume everyone will be against me, even those who have been there for me my entire life. Who have never let me down. Who have been my greatest support throughout all the crap I’ve experienced.
I blame the society for the pressure. And I never want my close ones – my children, perhaps, in the future? – to feel that pressure. I blame the society and I’m going to do something about this. I’m not going to stand and watch the world go by. I am going to act and I am going to change the world. One person a time, if needs be.
This past few weeks have been really crazy for me. Starting with Christmas that hasn’t been as bad as I thought it might be, all the way through New Year’s party we had in the mountains, in my friend’s parents’ house, and “Saltimbanco”, the Cirque Du Soleil show we attended in Gdansk, northern Poland, to an exam that I blew and had to retake. There have been meetings with friends, emotions, much tv shows watching, learning, revising, nervousness, drinking, sheesha smoking, working, translating… Stuff happening. You know, living.
But nothing compares to what happened this weekend. You know, I bought a dress – first one since my prom, and that was some four years ago – and went to church, just to please my mom. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I talked to my mom and came out of the closet.
Recently I’ve been involved in creating a group of volunteers, a group that strives to work for the good of the lgbt community. This is happening quickly, we’re in the middle of creating a foundation, because we need to be legally registered to be able to try out for grants from the state, the EU and some NGOs. And I am to be a member of the board of said foundation. This means my name will be officially displayed in the court legal register. I am also to be the treasurer of the foundation. So I could really use my mom’s expertise when it comes to taxes, bookkeeping and stuff, since my mom is an accountant.
The problem was that she didn’t know I am bisexual. She does now.
We went to a shopping centre yesterday, me and my mom. I needed new jeans (I ended up buying a jeans, a top end a dress). I knew I needed to tell my mom, but I didn’t want my dad to be around for this. If I ever get a girlfriend and want to present her to my family, that’s when my dad and my brother will know. I don’t feel the same internal urge to be absolutely honest with them as I do with my mom. They were never really interested in my social life anyway.
So I told my mom I needed to talk to her alone. We went to a coffee shop, got a tea (I know, taking tea in a coffee shop must be some kind of a blasphemy) and talked.
It was one of the hardest things in my life, to just start speaking about this. If not the hardest. I love my mom so much, she’s been my major and sometimes only support throughout all the crap I’ve been through. I would never want to hurt her. And even though I knew my mom is tolerant, I also knew she’s Catholic. It made me unsure of how she might react. I was afraid she wouldn’t take me seriously, she would say it’s just a phase, that I couldn’t possibly know what I want in life. I was partly right.
I don’t remember what words exactly I used. I know I started with the foundation and that I really wanted her to know this. I said I was identifying myself as a bisexual, that is, that I like both boys and girls. And that I might create a relationship with a boy, someday, but it might happen that it will be a girl. I told her I used to be in love with a boy and with a girl, and that if she thought carefully, she’d know with whom. I said that it wasn’t long since I’ve admitted that to myself. She didn’t say a word, and when I stopped talking, she remained silent. She haven’t said anything for so long that the stress almost ate me up from the inside. But I felt like I had to give her time to process this. “Say something, please”, I said at last, when I couldn’t take it anymore. I’ve never been so tense in my life. Finally she started talking; her words were slow and careful, I saw her struggle to shape them just right. She didn’t want to hurt me. I was dropping a bomb on her, and she didn’t want to hurt me. I feel like crying when I think about that.
But she said she felt like I didn’t know what I was saying. How could I know what I liked if I had no experience? (She was spot on, I don’t have any; does it make me lame?) I asked how straight kids know they’re straight? They don’t need to experiment to be sure. And I was in love in someone of the opposite sex, but I was in live with a person of the same sex as well. I know who I am. She said she just didn’t want me to close any doors for myself. Our world is so not prepared for this. It would take years before people could accept this. But I insisted this is the time to act. Now. It’s a historic moment, and I don’t like learning history, I want to make it. That is why I am getting involved, I believe we can change the world. It starts small. It starts now.
And then something incredible happened. She said she didn’t care. She just wants me to be happy, no matter with whom. I could barely contain myself, I told her how much I loved her and hugged her closely. She said she still didn’t believe I am inclined towards both girls and boys (she avoided the word “bisexual”), but she thought I just wanted to stay open. I agreed. The important thing is that if I ever do come home with a girlfriend, she won’t mind. She told me she would prefer me being with a man, but whatever makes me happy. Also she wants grandchildren. I reminded her I’m sick, so there’s a possibility I won’t be ever able to have children of my own, or that I will have to use In Vitro. But adoption seems like the most probable solution. If ever. But I would want to have children one day; adopted or mine, that’s secondary.
So now my mom knows. She knows I think of myself as a bisexual, even if she doesn’t exactly believe that it’s true. She knows I’m in that lgbt group, and that we’re getting involved, and that we’re creating a foundation. She knows, and I feel three times lighter. Like I’ve been liberated. It felt similar when I told my friends.
I also feel like I don’t deserve all this. All this… acceptance. People liking me the way I am. I never believed it could be possible, not for me. I was such a lonely, sad child. I missed out on a lot, but it’s only now that I realize that in order to get others to accept you, you have to first accept yourself. For me, the process of being freed has been long – started in high school already, but it picked up speed only when I moved to Kraków and started my studies. I have now three sets of friends I love insanely, and they like me and support me even though I am far from flawless. But who is? Before I talked to my mom, I knew I would have to do it, and I was nervous, and though my decision was already taken, I needed an emotional support. And I got it. I got it from Ola and her boyfriend when I went to visit them, I got it from my Sabbath when they came over, I got it from my friends from far away through Twitter. It calmed me and made me stronger. And I am infinitely grateful for this.
And I want to be a support to them too. To other people. I want to give back the good I’ve received.
I am so blessed.
I’m in a very bad place right now and it seems to me that it’s gonna be the saddest Christmas since the one we spent in total silence, because my father chose to give us the silent treatment. For a year. That was when I was in primary school.
My kitty is very, very sick. We don’t know if she’s gonna make it. And I know that you think, it’s just a cat, but she’s so much more to us. She’s been with us for almost ten years and she is a member of the family. I almost lost her once, when she got lost when we were in the mountains, in our friends’ house. But this is so much worse. To see her slowly passing, getting weaker and weaker and having all those lashes of hope that arise only to be shut down by bigger uncertainties… She’s not doing well. I don’t want to loose a friend, and my kitty is just as much a friend and a part of the family as any human would be. I don’t want to loose her and she’s not doing well.
My mom was taken into the ER yesterday. She has pancreatic problems, she has had an operation some time ago and she’s better now than before, but still there are times when it attacks and yesterday was one of those days. She told me only today. She doesn’t want to worry me, but it only makes things worse. I love her beyond reason, more than anything or anyone else, we have the connection that not many mothers and daughters have. We have our differences and I can’t exactly tell her everything – not yet, anyway, but someday I will – but she’s been always my biggest support in life and my best friend. We have never had an argument. We disagree sometimes, we don’t have the same priorities, we upset each other sometimes, but we have never ever had a real fight, even when I was a teenager. Teenage girls are supposed to have fight with their mothers. I didn’t have even one.
Of course I worry. She does all the time too. It’s probably genetic, my grandma is a worrying-too-much type too. And yet with all the worrying my mom never banned me from doing what I wanted, to reasonable extent, of course. She always had faith in me and my sense of responsibility. Sometimes I didn’t deserve that.
My uncle lost a suit against his old co-worker who cheated on him for millions of zlotys. Apparently she bribed every judge on her way. My unlce is gonna be forced to sell his beautiful house and his awesome car and he already has alimony to pay for his two previous wives and three kids from those marriages. He has his third wife, who is a PE teacher in high school (or maybe it’s a middle school? Anyway, her salary is minuscule) and two children, boys of 7 and 9 years, from that third marriage, to provide for. So we made a general consensus that there will be no presents this year, except for the boys. Kids deserve to have some kind of normal Christmas, they don’t need to understand how bad things are.
And we won’t have presents either. I couldn’t care less. We payed around 600 zlotys for my kitty’s treatment and we’re gonna pay more if it’s necessary. I just want my kitty to be okay.
But all in all, it’s gonna be a very sad Christmas. And right now I’m in such mindset that I can’t look past that. I know I’m set for awesome New Year’s party and then to go to Gdańsk to see Cirque du Soleil’s Saltimbanco, and to go to Glee Live in London in June, and to get a traineeship in European Parliament for July and August, if I can. But it all seems so distant now. Like how can I ever be happy again if my kitty’s not gonna be here? I still hope she’ll get better, but it’s starting to be very difficult to stay positive. And I know it doesn’t work like that, grief is not perpetual. But I know this with my mind, my heart says otherwise. And I just can’t get over what my heart is saying right now, no matter how I try.
My mother and I are best friends. But we do have our issues too. I am writing this on my phone, to publish it as soon as I get back home. Right now I am on the train (it’s already half an hour late and we haven’t moved from the station in Katowice yet, welcome to National Railways of Poland)(*EDIT after getting home: It was an hour late when we departed…). I left home with a nail stuck in my heart, because I know my mom is mad at me and worried. We had a talk about my not going to church anymore.
I told her I didn’t like the Church anymore as an institution. I am not saying I don’t believe in God, because I do. I just can’t pretend like I am a good Catholic if I disagree with the Church on some very important – at least to me – issues. And if I don’t trust it anymore. I used to think that all those years of history made the Church somehow more right. Now I know they don’t mean anything. On the contrary, what happened in the past only proves they were wrong before. What makes them think they aren’t now?
How can the Church assume moral superiority over anyone and anything if they were the ones making so munch evil in the world? I’m not just talking about the most obvious Crusades and Inquisition, but also keeping the science development back for ages. How can they claim there is no doubt as to the righteousness of their teachings if they themselves changed it over the course of the years? How can they justify that they came from basing their dogmas on St. Augustin to basing then on St. Thomas? How would they explain the celibacy? It was introduced as a canonic law in XI century. 1000 years, there was no priest celibacy in Catholic Church! How can they expect me to believe that the pope is infallible if the history tells the story of their promiscuity, cruelty, luxury and sins all over? How am I supposed to have faith if I witness the Church, led by the pope, covering up their priests’ pedophilia?
And most of all, how am I supposed to be a good Catholic and not be a hypocrite if I disagree with the Church on things like contraception and in vitro and homosexuality? I can’t tell that to my mom just yet, but I am bisexual (or more like pansexual, if we really want all those etiquettes), so how can I adhere to the religion that says I’m against nature and I shouldn’t love my way and that my love is wrong, that it’s a sin and I am ‘called’ to a life of chastity. God created me like that. And now He doesn’t want me to act on it? He doesn’t want me to love and be loved? I just can’t agree with that. I just can’t accept that. And I never will.
But the truth is, I am scared. I am scared because I was brought up to believe that going to the Mass on Sunday is important. Because it’s a direct link with God. Because it’s a sacrament and it should be observed. And I really want to belong. I have this longing in me, longing for a community of people. Putting the institutional side of the Church aside, it’s also a community of people who believe. And I want to be a part of that community. But I can’t. Because I don’t want to be a hypocrite.
I am not saying here that the Church it’s necessarily wrong. Maybe it’s not. But I doubt, and that doubt is what keeps me from saying “I am a Catholic”. I am not. With religion you have to go va banque. All or nothing. And I can’t just decide “from now on I believe in everything the Church says”. It doesn’t work that way. I can’t just chose to change my opinions, my views. They have to convince me. And they’re not doing a great job at that right now…
I’m lost. But I won’t lie or pretend like I am someone I’m not. Even for my mom, whom I love dearly. She will just have to accept that. I don’t like worrying her, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m sorry, mom. I love you. But I can’t just get unlost with a flick of a wand. I wish I could. But I can’t.