Swimming through honey veins
A. C. Charles
Your words drip over me
the sound makes like honey in my veins
and I slowly drift down a river of contentment
happy to float away through your blood stream
your fingers tangle in my hair
I feel a tug towards you, your blue eyes meet mine
and quickly look away.
I feel confused by my happiness
and suspicion seeps into my core
Why do we live such lives?
I make plans too soon.
I just want to feel your arms around me
as I will cry for something that never was
Everything I think I write down
so that I can maybe one day tell you
but you might be better off with them
because there is not enough space to make me stay
Find a breath, take one in
can't breathe back out, there's no room here
I can't move on, you are the bearer of bad news
your touch shouldn't make me feel this way.
You are going to send me off the deep end
I'm going to swim under the surface
so that you can't find me anywhere
the water will swallow me back up
I'm a selkie, darling and I'm shedding you.
- Current Location:Cutter 225
- Current Mood: confused
- Current Music:Allison Weiss
And the fox grinned as it ran through the moonlight
barking as it passed
with the wind whistling a soft tune through the tall grass
and the moon seemed to chuckle at the antics
of the belligerent fox
The little girl cried at the sight of the hound
with its old wrinkled head
asleep upon the floorboards, not yet dead
but seeming to wheeze out its very last breaths
until she whispers a soft secret to the floppy ear
and the petal of the bright flower turned towards the sun
as its petals fell silently unnoticed to the floor
as the light that came through the cracks in the door
nourished its beauty as it softly died
with no one to watch, with no one to care
Rain falls down from the pearl gray sky
the sky weeps with [joy] and [pain]
and the little fox barks with nothing to gain
as the drops of water dampen his skin
and he shivers and shakes with anticipation
By A.C. Charles
Baby, they took you in.
They took you into that room that I am not allowed to go.
I had to stand here and watch you sail away
Away on the sea of change
And all I had was the anchor to haul you in
I tried to call after you: you need this to come back
But you left and sailed away to your destiny
And I was left holding this heavy chain
And my heart wept, for I knew that this journey would not be without its hurts
Its scares, but I let the wind puff out your sails and carry you out to sea
My love, it has been two hours and fifty-five minutes,
And for two hours and forty of those minutes I slept
But as the time grows near for you to return, I stand at the ready.
To catch you as you come into port
because baby, you can’t stop for land without that anchor
and I have to help catch your foolish anchorless ship as you come sweeping into the dock
because no matter what, I’ll always be here to catch you;
no matter how many times you forget that damn anchor (or your hat in the middle of the hallway)
- Current Location:Emerson Hospital
- Current Mood: numb
- Current Music:N/A
I spin in a circle
twirling round and round
not unlike a merry-go-round
I start out slow
but the spins become quicker
and my heart beats faster
The drums pound through my body
I can feel the beat
through my feet
I slow down
then speed up
dancing almost, gracefully
The music is gone
yet I still spin
to dance again
- Current Location:Cutter 225
- Current Mood: exhausted
- Current Music:Mumford & Sons
Je verrai l'eau brille, et je penserai sur toi
Je penserai avec tes yeux bleus en face de mon imagination
Je rêvasserai sur te peau délicat
Je marcherai la berge de la riviére
Je penserai sur mes doigts dans tes cheveux longs
Mes pensées sont chauds, parce qu'ils sont sur tu
Je me promènerai avec ma tête dans les nuages, parce que je serai chaud avec ton amour
Je marcherai vite, à ma maison
Je courrai à toi
avec de belles fleurs et mes pensées
Je courrai à ma maison, et à notre amour
A poem that I had to write for French. It roughly translates as follows:
Tomorrow I'm going to the river
I see the water shining, and I'll think about you
I think about your blue eyes in the front of my imagination
I will daydream about your delicate skin
I will walk the bank of the river
I'll think about my fingers through your long hair
My thoughts are warm, because they are on you
I will walk with my head in the clouds, because I will be warm with your love
I walk quickly to my house
I will run to you
with beautiful flowers and my thoughts
I will run to my house, and to our love
- Current Location:Cutter 225
- Current Mood: accomplished
- Current Music:SHY'M
Breaking out of the Gender Box: Leaving Behind the Broken System
Everywhere one turns in this world that we inhabit, we are presented with what is “normal” for our biological gender. Society gives us boxes that they expect us to fit into, either as a man or as a woman. If a person presents with features from each of the two generic lists (man and woman) that person is normally ostracized by society. People fear things that they do not know or what they do not understand. People take what others have fought for with blood and tears (namely women’s rights) and spit on them. History shows us that people knew that women were just as strong as men even with their feminine characteristics. People take things for granted; they turn their backs on the progress that has been made. Within society we must change the pattern that has been made, rewrite the system that is flawed and broken. We must analyze the gender “norms” that have been placed into society through the Media, our society as a whole, and our collective history.
The media plays a huge role in how people view their gender and other’s gender. We are constantly barraged by television, ads, the Internet; the source of where people see media could go on for days. The point of the matter is that these mediums brainwash society into thinking a certain way and not questioning the way things are or what we could do to change this flawed system. An observation that I made while watching a silly Television show,1 which is shown across America, was the over the top gender ideas that were presented. I was shocked at how they portrayed what a woman wanted when she was sick. While I understand that they were portraying men as not knowing how to shop for people, (again another gender marker that the media pursues) what he brings to her are magazines and makeup. As shown in the Woman Identified Woman article, “sex roles dehumanize.”2 We place others into boxes we are stepping away from our humanity, what makes each of us unique. In order to change the way society thinks one must not be brainwashed with what the system was and instead should instate a new gender ideas.
Along the same vein as the media shaping our views on gender, society also coincides with this. Everyday interactions are what shape us as human beings, and when we are surrounded by a certain ideal of what is “normal” that is what one begins to internalize as correct. I have a friend who is Female to Male, and when he puts on makeup because he wants to and it makes him feel good, he sometimes gets the reaction of “Well, you are a boy (or presenting as one) so why are you wearing make-up?3” This comment made me step back and look at the person that said this, but not as their character but as someone who our culture has corrupted. The reading about Baby X4 exemplifies this ideal. The point behind the story of Baby X is that no one knows the biological sex of the child so the child is not bound by the normal restrictions of the bigender system. This idea that the general public lets one part of the binary system do one thing and not the other half is ridiculous and outdated. As a society we must allow people the freedom of gender expression in order to let society move forward.
Finally, as a society, we must look to History to help shape and revise our community’s idea concerning gender expression. As we look to the past, Frederick Douglass in the 19th century knew that women were just as capable as men5, showing that gender was being questioned in History. What is terrifying to me as a historian is the fact that gender worth has been questioned as early as the 19th century (and I am sure before then as well) and while we have made strides towards equal rights I am scared of what our culture will become if we do not act in a decisive way towards making a change for the gender binary. In the beginning of February of 2011, I was browsing the Internet when I stumbled across a person that I had gone to high school with facebook. I curiously glanced over the page, but when I got to her biography down near the bottom it made me pause. “My life goal? Find an amazing man, fall in love, get married and have his babies and be a stay-at-home mom, if I can, for the rest of my life lol. I'm not the kind of girl who feels restrained by that kind of home life... I want to live out my femininity in a traditional way.”6 This statement scares me because even thought I believe that everyone should have the right to choose what they wish to become, in my eyes she is giving back the rights that people have fought for for over a century. The part of the statement that was most disturbing to me was the fact that she stated that she wanted to have, “his babies.” She did not claim ownership to the children, merely that they would be ‘his’. As a feminist and a human rights activist in general, I find that this statement is outdated and not true. This is why we have to look at the collective history and not just shrug and pass off what others have fought for but to continue to change and modify our culture to keep making the society of which we inhabit better with each passing day.
As a community we must change the way we approach gender. We perpetuate the myth through the media that there are only two genders and within those two genders ideals that we must stick to even if the ideals are antiquated and not healthy. Femininity should not be classified as being the slave to ones home and the broodmare to ones husband. Just because one presents as a certain gender, cooking or wanting to wear make up does not make one any less of a man just as playing with power tools make a person any less of a woman. The binary system is broken and it is our responsibility to step up to the plate to change society for the better.
1 Daniels, Greg. "Parks and Recreation/Flu Season." Parks and Recreation. Prod. Amy Poehler. NBC. Http://www.hulu.com. NBC, Jan. 2011. Web. 01 Feb. 2011. <http://www.hulu.com/watch/210440/park
2Radical Lesbians. “Women Identified Women” Pittsburgh: Know, Inc., c. 1970. <http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/wlm/wom
3 This is an opinion that is not my own, I feel like whatever gender a person presents they should be allowed to do whatever with their body that they feel is comfortable/ makes them feel beautiful
4 Gould, Lois, “X: A Fabulous Child’s Story” (1972) in Women Images and Realities, eds. Amy Kesselman et al., second edition, Mayfield, 1995, 100-105.
5 Frederick Douglass, “Why I Became a Woman’s Rights Man,’” in Rayford W. Logan, ed., Life and times of Frederick Douglass, Written by Himself (New York: Macmillan, 1962; reprinted from the revised edition of 1892), pp. 469, 472-74.
6 Pitt-Payne, Catherine. Welcome to Facebook - Log In, Sign Up or Learn More. Web. 01 Feb. 2011. <http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.ph
- Current Location:Cutter 225
- Current Mood: exhausted
- Current Music:The Big Bang Theory
Rocking the Boat: A Personal Revolt Against the Gender Binary
Everywhere one turns in this world that we inhabit, we are presented with what is “normal” for our biological gender. From the time that we are born we are presented with certain things that we are supposed to become: girls are supposed to become homemakers while men are supposed to become the providers for women. While this trend has become better (slightly) in the past decade, we are still presented with gender norms and are expected to operate within them. In my own life, I have experienced outside forces that did not allow me to operate outside of the gender norm without “rocking the boat”[i]. The three experiences in which I have lived being disallowed to do the things that I wanted to do in my life namely, when I wanted to play with boys rather than other girls when I was younger, when I wanted to play baseball in high school, or when I presented as anything other than ultra femme in a catholic environment; all of these actions had ramifications because of the gender binary that we as a society have placed upon ourselves.
In the current society in which we find ourselves, we have made steps forward to remove at least some of the gender stereotypes that have existed for over a millennia. We have taken some steps to breaking the “glass ceiling” in the work place, although as we had seen in the New York times article[ii], it is still predominantly there, and women still receive less money than men in the workforce. What I have come to realize throughout my own experiences with being stuck into a box and expected to stay there is that it is unnatural to be placed into something. Society, not nature, created the idea of genders acting in a specific way.
. When I was younger, around the second or third grade, all I wanted to do was run around slaying dragons with the boys. While I thought that this was great fun, and while the boys grudgingly accepted me into the group, most of the adults thought that it was strange and attempted to steer me back towards the group of girls playing quietly on the swing set. By telling me that I wasn’t supposed to be getting dirty and play quietly, the grown ups began to reinforce from an early age an idea that wasn’t natural for me. The process of adults teaching children how to act only serves to perpetuate the problem of forcing people to be something they are not, a process similar to the concept of fitting a square peg into a round hole (which is just as futile and equally as frustrating for all parties involved).
Another problem with the gender binary as we grow up is that people begin to take on the lessons that we learned in our childhood. We are told that certain activities, such as certain sports are reserved for one gender. Football and baseball are the quintessential "male" sports. Women are usually strictly confined to sports that require far less physical strength and power. When I was a freshman in high school all I wanted was to play baseball. However, when I proposed this idea to my mother, she shot it down. She said that if I was to continue on this path, that I would be ostracized at school and that it wasn’t even certain that I would be able to make the team. I was hurt and confused that my own mother was not supporting me with my wish to play a sport. When I had been younger, it had not been a problem and I had been allowed to play baseball on an all male team with no questions and I never even questioned my gender or my right to be on the team. As a person who is comfortable with their gender, this is concerning to me, that because I present very comfortably as female I am then restricted in what I am allowed to do. The gender binary system binds us to a strict code of social ethics that in turn forces us to conform to certain standards which, in the long run, limits the potential of our species.
Lastly, the gender binary not only limits people to what they can do comfortably within society, but also binds them to actions that they must do within their own boxes. After I left the public school (where I wished to play on the baseball team[iii]) I transferred to an All-Girls Catholic School. When I arrived, the box became smaller and came with a padlock. If I tried to escape the box even a little bit, I would be ostracized from the other girls. For women, they had an ideal of what they should be: quiet, obedient, and faithful to the patriarchal God. When I didn’t fill their idea of “woman” I was mocked by other students, called “Butch” and “Lesbian” behind my back. While in my mind there is nothing wrong with being either, being mocked and reviled by other students because of my gender/sexual presentation is a facet of the gender-binary system that society has come to use. By marking what is “normal” for certain genders to do, society has set up a system that drives people to feel strange or “weird” and this will eventually cause a revolution against the two-gender system.
The bi-gendered system that society has come to use over time is constricting and unfair. According to Anne Fausto-Sterling’s[iv] article, even in biological sexes, the gender binary far misses the mark. The key to a successfully functioning society is the recognition of the flaws in the gender binary sequence that is outdated and simply not applicable to modern times. We as a society must change the gender menu, that all walks of life should be considered “normal” and that we can’t put qualifiers on what each of the genders must do to be able to walk comfortably within society. The binary system is broken and it is our responsibility to step up to the plate and “rock the boat” to change society for the better.
[i] The terminology of “rock the boat” came along when I was a junior in an All-Girls Catholic High school. My principal had come to talk to our class about some of our behaviors that she didn’t agree with, and had proceeded to use the analogy that the school was a boat and that our class was “skateboarding on the edge” and that she was going to come along and “kick us overboard if we didn’t stop rocking the boat”. It became a class joke for our Junior and Senior years of high school; and I think that it is very fitting to use here in this paper now.
[ii] Rivers, Daniel, Ambreen Hai, and Lisa Armstrong. "SWG 150 First Lecture." SWG 150 First Lecture. Stoddard Auditorium, Northampton. 24 Jan. 2011. Lecture.
[iii] Which I never did at the urging of my mother
[iv] Anne Fausto-Sterling “The Five Sexes: Why Male and Female Are Not Enough”
- Current Location:Cutter 225
- Current Mood: awake
- Current Music:Ingrid Michaelson
I start to believe things about myself. I know that I am a strong person, I know that I can do what I need to do to survive. Because of the trials that I have had to endure within my life I know that I will be a stronger person because of this. This quote above exemplifies what I believe that I can do with my life. Even though the trials that I have to face are difficult, because of them I become a better person each and every day. I will be strong and I will get through my trials because I AM STRONG. I CAN DO IT. I WILL DO IT.
Every day I become:
HARDER. BETTER. FASTER. STRONGER.
and I will continue to do this every single day.
- Current Location:Religion Class
- Current Mood: content
- Current Music:N/A
“Please, regale me with tales of your pencil dick boyfriend,” she murmured in her soft sweet voice. He felt sweat begin to trickle down his forehead. ‘How did she know’ He wondered quietly inside his own head. He had been discreet and she should have never found out unless, unless, had she followed him? How could she have known if she hadn’t followed him to the house of his lover. The bed seemed to shift under him and he was well on his way to losing his mind with all of the scenarios that were floating through his inebriated brain. He couldn’t process what she was asking him, so he just didn’t answer her.
She merely smiled at him; her brain clear, for none of the sickeningly sweet alcohol had passed her lips that night. She curled around him as if offering him shelter when in reality only thoughts of destruction went running through her blank brain. ‘He isn’t denying it’ her brain screamed at her, as if the thoughts could be come her mother. Her bitter mother, one that she could never hold a candle to, who would never treat her with the respect that she deserved. The words that floated through her suspended mind hurt, and all she wanted to do in her destructive vein was to destroy herself, from the inside out. Why was this happening to her? She wondered quietly now, her thoughts flowing into one another, forming long intelligible words in her mind. Her head felt like it was floating on clouds.
His mind, although inebriated and formless felt jumbled and crowded as if he was part of a crowd yet alone in a room by itself. He shook his head slightly. Nothing was being processed and yet he felt as if he was being tested slightly. How to respond? His tongue felt heavy and immobile. Nothing seemed to make sense and nothing should ever be all right again. His mind felt like an explosion of light and sound and he groaned and held his head in his hands like a child and wept.
Her heart stopped while he bowed his head into his hands and wept like a child. He wasn’t going to deny it, and because of that nothing seemed to matter anymore. Nothing seemed true, none of the words that were said, and nothing that he had ever said to her seemed to be the truth. She disentangled herself from him and went to sit across the room from him, sliding slowly into the corner, melancholy setting into her bones. She couldn’t deal with the emotions that came with a battering ram into her heart. She felt like a successful failure. Everything seemed to be dying around her. Her heart, her love, her very existence were disintegrating before her very eyes. She couldn’t process the amount of sensory overload that was happening and she softly whimpered into her fist and shut her eyes. Her chest began to make the familiar ache that was present in her life more and more often these days.
He glanced at her as she began to disentangle herself from him and tried to have his brain request that his hand go to catch hers and she slid away, but his brain refused to cooperate and his eyes followed her as she walked to the edge of the room and slid into her corner. He watched the myriad of emotions cross her face and finally settle on the particular emotion of blankness, emotionless, death. In a portion of his brain, this was cause for concern, but the overload of emotions on his own part, blocked out any sort of caring that he could have had for what she was feeling and he shifted his eyes slowly to the ceiling and stared at the cracks that seemed to become bigger as the minutes slowly began to pass faster and faster and the shadows in the room began to become longer. After what seemed to be only seconds he looked over at the alarm clock on the bedside table and apathetically realized that several hours had passed he looked over into the corner and saw her still sitting there, with her head on her knees. He slowly made his muscles move in a direction towards her, and stretched slowly. Red dots swam across his vision and he smelled the metallic smell of dried blood.
His brain was slow to process the information, and the subconscious part of his brain almost refused to inform the cognitive part that something was terribly wrong. He looked into the corner once again, but only could see the mere shape of her figure with an odd stain on the floor. He shrugged and flipped on the bedside lamp, and picked his glasses off of the table next to the alarm clock, and slowly looked into the corner once more. She wasn’t moving and the stain around her was burgundy. ‘Did she spill the good wine?’ He wondered rather lazily. He didn’t want to have to wipe up the wine because she decided to get drunk and make a mess of the apartment. He shrugged and stood up and slowly crossed to the doorway towards the kitchen. He grabbed his cell phone off of the bed where it lay next to him, and saw one new text message. He shrugged and walked down the hallway towards the refrigerator, and opened the white door that would provide him with sustenance. He reached in and grabbed the orange juice and looking back at the door to the bedroom shrugged and proceeded to act like an animal and drink out of the carton. ‘She’ll never know, how could she? She doesn’t have super detection powers’ He mentally shrugged the thought of the fight that would accompany his detection and defection from civilization.
As he finished his pompous thoughts towards the rules of the household, he wandered towards the living room, his bare chest cold and his boxers providing no shield from the cold of the room. He crossed to the window and closed it, and made the return trip to the bedroom, to put her into the bed and to get warmer clothes. As he walked back into the bedroom his nostrils were again attacked with the scent of metal. He walked to her and the lamp cast a cold glow on the scene that his brain had refused to acknowledge before. The burgundy stain on the carpet was not sourced by a wine glass or even a wine bottle the stain was much sinister. The stain was sourced by the veins on her arm and the cut that was cut up her arm. He fell to the ground onto his knees, his heart stopping for a few beats, his mind refusing to process the images that his eyes were sending to his brain. He gathered her into his arms as red and blue lights began to flash through his vision and he realized that gutteral screams were coming from his throat and the entirety of his vision became black.
- Current Mood: listless