Friday, December 30, 2011

I. Am. So. Tired.

I'm not even sure how much caffeine I've had in the last five (including today) days.  I'm sorry for any horrible grammar/spelling/etc errors I've made while blogging.  I managed to spend $25 on coffee in four days.

Starting on Boxing Day, the fewest amount of hours I've worked per day has been nine.  I worked ten on Monday, nine on Tuesday, twelve on Wednesday, and eleven yesterday.  I think today I'm working ten.  We're in the space doing intensive spacing and with high schoolers, and that's not easy.

On top of my work schedule, it's the last week that most my closest friends (not to mention Boyfriend) are in town because of college's Christmas break and I'm trying really hard to hang out with them as much as possible.  I have slept a total of twenty hours in five days and only been home for maybe...twelve (?) of those.

Tomorrow I have Christmas with my friends (which has been my favorite tradition for five years now) and while I have all my gifts sewn, I realized I haven't even wrapped them because I've been home so rarely.

So...I have really lost track of this post.  I have no idea what my point was.  I was spinning around in circles at Will's house yesterday because I was so high from lack of sleep.  Basically, I'm fucking exhausted.  I'm going to go home and sleep tonight so I can actually be awake for second Christmas tomorrow.  Next week however, I have so much time to sleep and hang out.  Timing was just about the worst ever.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo- My Thoughts

Yesterday night I went to A Girl with a Dragon Tattoo with Lana (the theatre was incredibly crowded (ie completely full) on a 9p on a Tuesday night).  I have been meaning to read the book for ages, but just have never quite gotten around to it, which means I have no idea how the book reads.  I want to talk about the women in the story for a moment and I think I can do it without spoiling you anymore than a summary would, but be warned spoilers and very very possible triggers (I was ahoy.

The movie itself played out like a book, which I didn't know was possible for a movie to do.  It was one of the best movies I've seen in a long time (though I don't actually watch many movies), but it also was the most triggering and difficult to get through that I have ever seen.  The movie features two scenes where a women is forced into sexual situations and is raped and one seen where the woman takes vengeance against her attacker in the form of both rape and violence.  And all three of the scenes made my grit my teeth, tense up, squeeze Lana's hand and just try to get through it.  I'm not sure I ever

The movie features one of the most independent and strong woman I have ever seen depicted in literature, television, or film.  The audience is made aware that she has been abused multiple times throughout her life if they can do a little reading between the lines.  And she certainly is traumatized by this, but she is shown, despite being quite young, as being completely able to handle herself.

Though the movie is primarily populated with men, it does pass the Bechdel Test (a movie passes if it has two named female characters who have a conversation which is not about a man).  And the women who are not the protagonists are also frequently portrayed as strong.  It is movie about the victimization and assault of women, so the strong contrast between women in vulnerable positions and women rescuing themselves from those situations is a strong and unusual one.

Always in movies the women are rescued by men or, very very occasionally, but other women.  I'm not sure I have ever seen a woman who was able to deal with a situation by herself.  Now, I want to be very very clear, many women in situations like the ones in this movie do need help.  Situations can easily get beyond one person's ability to handle the, and so they should be encouraged to ask for help.  What just struck md most was movies always portray men as the knight in shining armor and this time is was the women, both for themselves and others, who were the "knight in shining armor"

A Review: The Ethical Slut

One of the very first things I did when I realized I was poly was locate good books on the subject. Will recommended The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy to me and I also bought Opening Up by Tristan Taormino, which I will review when I finish.

I started The Ethical Slut right away and I liked the tone Janet and Dossie took immediately: accepting, personal, open. And I want to cover what I disliked now because I liked a lot more than I disliked. My three problems with book were that it was so general that I didn’t feel it ever related directly to my situation, I felt like I already knew the vast majority of the information, and the authors spend great length on defining an ethical slut and I’m pretty sure I don’t fit the definition of slut.

In regard to the first problem, I fully admit, the book is intended as a general overview, which is very very accepting of everyone. It does its best to assure  us that as long as everyone is equal in the relationship that you’re doing just fine. And these are wonderful messages, but I just wanted more specific information. In relation to the second issue, I have done a lot of reading online about polyamory already, so the repeat of information is not particularly surprising. Finally, I don’t think being a slut is a bad thing. I think it’s a fairly awesome lifestyle but I have spent most of my latest years being monogamous and so have slept with very very few people. Dossie and Janet’s point is that being a slut is more a lifestyle than an action, but I’m just not entirely sure I agree. I am sex-positive, I think people should be allowed to have whatever and however much sex they would like as long as everyone is consenting, I just didn’t identify as a slut and thus every time the word was used I felt a weird dichotomy.

Really quickly, while I’m on the topic of disagreeing with the authors, their views on cheating were strange to me. While they did acknowledge that cheating in a closed, monogamous relationship was a major breach of trust, they professed that the partner who was cheated on should forgive their partner and that the relationship should be open. They stated that they believed this would be the best solution to solving the cheating problem. However they did not address that maybe the cheated on partner didn’t want to be nonmonogamous. They never really acknowledged that perhaps breaking up would be the best solution to this size of breach of trust and betrayal. And while I’m not positive that breaking up is warranted every single time a person is cheated on I think it certainly should at least be a very possible option (I can think of a few friends who may disagree with this statement).

Moving on: I have no intention of reviewing the book in order or chapter by chapter (mainly because I let someone else borrow the book and I don’t have it with me right now). I will however talk about things as the occur to me.

I greatly appreciate that the book addresses problems that happen in both “traditional” and “nontraditional” relationships. Janet and Dossie discuss jealousy, communication, break ups, and several other types of issues. The advice they give is solid (though I felt like skipping the chapter on jealous since it has never really been a big issue for me).

They also spend in depth time discussing terminology and defining what sex is (uggh hanging preposition again…I should fix that…). “What do you mean?” You say, “Sex is intercourse between a man and a woman” (penis-in-vagina sex). But that is an incredibly heteronormative point of view. Most of my friends, the authors of this book, and myself would say that sex can be considered any sexual act that you feel like qualifies.

In the beginning of the book, the authors talk about how and why monogamy is so common and valued in our society. They talk a great deal about Puritanical values and everything they say agrees with every history class I’ve ever taken. Apparently many other reviews of this book disagree with their statements about Puritans? Or something? I personally didn’t have problems with this section, nor did I believe they require citations.

As you might have noticed by now, I haven’t talked much about nonmonogamy/polyamory. It’s interesting, but the sections of these topics didn’t stick in my mind as much as the other parts. Again, I think this is because the book was so general; more of an overview of polyamory than a how to guide.

Overall, it’s a great book. I keep meaning to try the writing exercises they include throughout the book. Many of them seem like they could be extremely helpful. Even if know a fair amount about polyamory, I do recommend it, I just didn’t connect with it quite as much as I could have.


It amazing when I'm speaking to people how much I edit out details I don’t want them to know. Lana becomes my best friend instead of my girlfriend (this is the most common edit I’ve made of late). I was “hanging out with my boyfriend and girlfriend” becomes “I was hanging out with my friends.”

It’s not that either of those statements are untrue when phrased either way. One statement is certainly more true (to me) however. It’s not even that I’m uncomfortable with the full truth. I’m becoming more and more comfortable with myself every day. My biggest reason? Because as soon as I say something about being poly or queer, even just in passing, it means I have to explain and explaining is a) hard and involved and b) occasionally risky.

Is censoring my speech supposed to be so easy? Maybe I’m just used to it. My job requires it. The actors cannot know much of what the directors know, so I naturally change what I say to them. I’ve gotten good at it and it’s bled into my normal life. I’m honestly not sure if it’s necessary or if it’s something I want to change. I suspect that it’s a bit of both.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Thus far in my blog, I haven't mentioned the area I live in aside from Pacific Northwest.  I do this for obvious reasons and I'm not about to give out my address.  However, I do live close enough to Seattle to take a day trip into the city on the occasion and my family has done a trip into Seattle on Christmas Eve since I was born.

It's a funny little tradition but generally one I have a lot of fun with. For the past several years it's been my mom, dad, sisters, mom's parents, and Boyfriend.  We do a lot of window shopping and have some delicious food.  Here are some pictures I took (with my phone (I should have thought to bring my actual camera)) from Pike Place Market (mostly).  No people or faces, just some of the gorgeous views.

Despite my phone's delay, I actually did manage to get the bird in the picture too.  The picture doesn't really do the day justice, it was gorgeous.  Sunny and clear (which I'm sure as you all know is a rarity).

Another view from the same area but in the a different direction.

If you've ever done the tourist thing and gone on the underground tour, some of the guides make a joke about someone on the thirtieth floor of a building tossing paper airplanes out of a window, so every time I see a plane with a building foreground I think of that joke.

A different view of the public market sign that you normally get.

I'm entitling this picture: Not Sex Toys

Friday, December 23, 2011


Fucking cramps. Fuck. God dammit.  They've been so bad in the mornings the past two days.  Doubled over, hard to move, pain almost to the point of tears (or this morning, pain to the point of tears).  I am so exceedingly jealous of people who have never experienced cramps.

The first time I missed a day of school for cramps was really the first time I had really really bad cramps.  My period started in fourth grade but in seventh, in science class, I remember having to limp to the nurses' office, white as a sheet.  I could barely walk and the nurse took one look at me and called my mother.  My parents immediately picked me up, but had to make a stop on the way home.  I ended up throwing up in the parking lot because the pain was so bad.

Freshmen and sophomore years of high school I missed a volleyball open gym one time and had to call my mom to go home early one day, but the summer before junior year I had the worst cramps I had yet to experience.  They woke me up, which is something that has only happened that one time (normally sleeping helps my cramps).  I was in San Diego and staying in a hotel room by myself.  I literally crawled to the bathroom, turned the shower up all the way to hot and crawled in.  I must have stayed there for over an hour, wishing for some release of the pain.  Finally the cramps let up and I was able to go back to bed.

The summer after junior year I was on one of the longest trips I've ever taken: a full month.  We did Boise to Reno to Boise (there may have been another city or two in there, I forget).  The first time we were in Boise, I was on the hide-a-bed (my sisters always made me sleep on them).  I couldn't move for two days.  My cramps had never lasted more than a day, at least at that horrible stomach turning, tear causing intensity.  I spent two full days curled up in a ball in my bed or around the toilet, throwing up, unable to keep any food down.  I had a fever and I honestly can't remember what happened during those two days.  I know people came and went from my family's room, but I have no idea who.  I couldn't walk.  I couldn't move.  My parents gave me pain meds that did nothing for the pain.  I have never been in so much pain in my entire life.  It felt like my uterus was trying to rip it's way out of my body and destroying everything in it's wake.

When senior year I got cramps bad enough that I didn't go to school two days in a row, I finally went on birth control and my cramps have been infinitely more manageable since then.  It's only when I go off birth control for a month and then go back on it that my body decides to flip out.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Some Things I've Learned

  • I hate -absolutely HATE- the butterfly nervous people I get before asking someone out.  I have never liked it.  I have plenty of friends who enjoy it sorta, but it makes me feel sick and the anticipation kills me.
  • When you're dating two people, weird complications pop up that you wouldn't expect.  Who do you sit next to in the car if one of you is driving? Who do you sit next to in the car when a friend is driving? You could all sit in the back but then the poor driver gets nervous.
  • I dislike the idea of being judged more than actually being judged
  • My mom still has a lot of influence over my life.  She mentioned being nervous about me liking a girl because of other people's reactions once and now I just can't forget.
  • I really (still) don't like being the absolute center of attention.  It makes me nervous.
  • I can split my attention less well than I thought I could.
  • I feel compelled to tell everyone around me about the changes in my life, even though it is nervous-making, because if I feel like I'm lying if I don't tell them.
  • I am more prone to panic attacks than I've ever realized.  Hopefully they'll settle down soon.
  • It really bothers me to say that I'm bisexual to people as a simplification for my sexuality, because I really am not bisexual.
  • I have the best friends and family I could really ask for.  They've been really accepting and have made this transition a lot easier for me.
  • I have a moirail (spoilers for Homestuck, examine at your own peril (you may become addicted))
  • I am really, really happy right now.

New and Different

So. Part of the reason I haven't been blogging much lately was because I've been busy with friends.  But the other part is because I have had information I couldn't share yet.

I've been interested in one of my best friends, Lana, romantically for awhile now and I finally asked her out recently.  It was something I haven't done in a very long time.  Boyfriend was actually my first and before that I had asked people out but they had said no.  So I was fairly nervous, but she said yes and I am exceedingly excited.

And now, I'm going through the process of telling my friends and family (which is the daunting part, though my sisters were awesome about it).  I'm not sure if I've ever been so sick of fucking talking to people.  Not because people have been mean or bad or judgmental about it, but because every time I talk to someone I psych myself up so much that it becomes really hard to even handle.

There are so many changes in my life right now.  So many changes.  Changes I never ever ever thought would be happening.  And unfortunately, I just occasionally have times where I just freak out and shut down because everything is so hard to handle.  But I'm happy.  I'm so happy.  Boyfriend is wonderful.  Lana is wonderful. And I have great friends, which is always what's drives the panic attacks away.

The most frequent question I've had to answer?

Yes, Boyfriend really is okay with this.  As much as I can ever be sure about other people's thoughts and feelings.  It seems like he wants an open relationship too, so I honestly don't think I'm pushing him.  We're partners together and I honestly believe we will tell each other if we're feeling uncomfortable.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


It's been awhile, so hi to everyone.  I did warn you that December would be sparse and I have a lot going on in my life right now that I really want to blog about but can't yet because I need to talk to people before I do.  But here is something I've been thinking about lately.

As I've gotten older more words became more offensive and more hurtful.  I'm not saying this is a bad thing at all, because really it's not.  The word I'm thinking of in particular as an example is the word retarded.  I have a sister who is quite intelligent but has severe, severe learning and personality disorders, so I feel like I should be more sensitive to it because I've met some of her friends who are legally defined as retarded and they are wonderful people.

Lately, my friend Will, has been particularly on top of pointing out when me (and other friends) are saying the word because a lot of people say it so often that they don't even realize.  It's never been a word I've used a ton, but I have friends who do use it more than me.

But Will reminding has helped me think about other words I use: stupid, insane, crazy.  And generally, I use these words to describe myself, which is a problem in and of itself.  As my music director pointed out to the kids the other day: those words mean something.  I don't consider myself stupid and I'm not crazy or insane.  So why do I use those words?

I do consider myself silly, ridiculous, a spaz, or mistaken sometimes though.  And those are the words I've really started to use more and more often.  I had a friend (who I should also ask for a pseudonym) who was mentioning how the girls in her psychology class were always insulting themselves because they were "too stupid" to get it and it drove her crazy.  And it is something I've noticed more with my female friends and acquaintances, and I do believe it's because women are still not expected to be intelligent and worse show that they're intelligent (that would just be awful </sarcasm>).

In short, I really need to think about what words I'm using, because it's easy to use words without even realizing I'm really doing it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Out of the Closet?

"Kaylee, do you like girls?"

There's the question my mother has been dancing around for weeks.  I think about the phrasing for a second.  I don't like women.  I don't like most women.  I don't like some women.  I like the very occasional woman.

"Umm...not really."

She's not happy with that answer at all.

"I don't like women very often, but I'm attracted to women very occasionally."

She's happier with this answer.

"Are you bi then?"

Again, a tricky question.

"I don't identify that way, no."

She's not going to be satisfied with that answer so I explained what being queer means.

"And Boyfriend is okay with this?"

This question is easy.

"Yes, he's completely okay with this.  Why wouldn't he be?"

"I don't know, most people wouldn't be okay with this.  So, he'd be okay with you asking out a girl?"

"Completely okay with it."

She just doesn't seem to understand that concept.

"So he's just not the jealous type."

As she completely misses the point.

"Not really I guess."

"Is he attracted to men then?"

"Not really."

I'm barely comfortable discussing my sexuality with her, let alone Boyfriend's.  I shift uncomfortably, try to keep sewing, but have pretty much no success.

"Are you okay with this then?"

I have to ask her.  If I didn't I would have just wondered forever.

"Well.  It's not my favorite..."

Oh great.

"I just don't understand.  I could never be attracted to another woman, so I just don't understand completely...It's just. Your life is going to be so difficult."

Sigh.  Mother.

"I already have so many friends who are gay or bi.  I stand up for them already.  I get in the middle of people gay bashing already.  I can handle myself."

I realize personal discrimination is a lot different than just defending your friends or people you know, but...I don't know.

"But what about your schools.  Weren't people mean and abusive?"

"No, not really."

I don't know why.  My schools were always, if not accepting, then extremely indifferent.

"Did you think that we were going to kick you out or something?"


"Well, why didn't you tell us sooner?"

Sooner? I'm still barely in the process of understanding this myself.  I was going to tell them in a couple weeks.  When I was ready and prepped to do so.  I wasn't ready for this conversation.

"This is a really recent thing, so I'm not sure what you mean."

"Well, we always knew that you'd done things with girls?"

"You mean beyond a kiss in a game like Truth or Dare?  No, not really."

In retrospect this isn't strictly this complete and utter truth, but at the time I wasn't really thinking.

"Well, we thought you'd gone on a date or something."



Parents.  I've told you everything.  I don't know why you think I'm haven't told you things.  My mom walked away after this, went in the kitchen and did the dishes.  

Glad we had this little talk Mom.  Not really at all.  It wasn't something I wanted to do.  It mostly ruined my entire day.  I wasn't prepped.  I wasn't in a mental space where I was ready to do that talk.  At least I didn't get kicked out or something I guess.

I can't even imagine poor people whose parents yell and scream and actually kick them out.  I have it lucky. Really lucky.  But that doesn't mean that conversation was one I really wanted to have.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Dark

Let's see if I can get so more blog posts written in the time I have before work (I should probably actually be sewing).

I drive in the dark a lot, particularly since it's winter now.  But even in summer, I frequently end up driving at 2 or 3 or 4 oclock in the morning,  I'm a night owl (I've done a post about it and everything) so going to bed much earlier than 2a generally doesn't happen to me.  As such, I'm accustomed to the dark.  One of my biggest pet peeves about driving is people not turning off their high beams when other cars are around.  I understand that they forget, but you shouldn't be using your high beams at all if you're going to forget.  It's extremely dangerous to blind the other drivers around you and more importantly, high beams are almost never necessary for proper sight (at least they certainly aren't for me).  I can see just fine without my brights on except on rainy and moonless nights.

As a small child, I was desperately afraid, not of the dark so much, more afraid of what could be lurking in the dark (maybe that is what being afraid of the dark actually means).  A night light wasn't enough for me, I actually slept with a set of my room lights on.  Eventually I remember realizing that the dark wasn't scary, the dark was just comforting and suddenly it became very difficult for me to sleep with any source of light in the room on at all (ask Boyfriend, I drive him crazy, I cover over lighted light switches and small LEDs).

I also work a lot in the dark.  Backstage, you only set up one or two lights per side of the stage.  Generally if you err on the side of not enough light and too much, people generally err on the side of not enough. (Now, this can get dangerous with many actors or young actors or when there are endless cables running across the ground, in which case, more light is important).  The dark has become comfortable backstage for me though.  There have been a couple times when I've been calling the show from the booth and I've forgotten to turn on my light and my board ops have had to remind me that the reason I'm having trouble reading my lighting is because I don't have a light on.  When I'm not in the booth but instead I'm backstage, I tend to read a lot.  I situate myself somewhere where there is just enough light to see and sit down and read a book.  As a child on car trips I used to read by the light of other car's headlights so I have always been used to reading in the dark.  I have had countless people come up to me and ask: "Aren't you going to ruin eyes this way?" or "Your eyes are better than mine if you can read in this dark", etc etc.

Tip: Reading in the dark doesn't actually damage your eyes in any permanent manner, though it may temporarily strain them (though apparently it may have been linked to nearsightedness, maybe? And that seems like damaging to me?)

Regardless of all my tangents though, I find the dark comfortable and inviting.


I've basically been all but ignoring my blog and I feel bad, but I've a) been pretty sick and b) just picked up another job and auditions start today for it.  I wish I had something more exciting to write about, but I've also basically been completely out of ideas.

I guess the first thing that comes to mind is how small the theatre world is (I apologize for the hanging preposition).  The past two days, I've had two people look at my resume and say: "Oh, I know one of your references".  This just seems funny to me because both of those references don't live in this area.  They are actually working at least fifty miles away.  And yet, people seem to be more connected than I ever expect.

All my professors told me that your first year out of college is about networking: meeting new people and making connections.  I guess I just didn't realize how very true that statement was.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I can already tell that December is going to have a lot less posts than November.  With my job picking up in regard to hours, and good friends in town who I haven't (mostly) seen in months, and sewing Christmas presents, and then the holidays themselves, I'm fairly busy.  However, here is the post about casting which I mentioned yesterday:

As a stage manager, I've sat in on a lot of auditions.  I've sat in on auditions for my shows, shows that I thought I was working but didn't, and shows that I knew that I wasn't working but was helping out with as a favor to a friend.  The thing that always struck me was how horribly horribly shallow the process was.

Certainly there was discussion of: "Oh, he's really talented" and "She just commands the room" but for all of those comments, there were a lot more: "He's just too fat", "She's just too tall", "I wish she was a brunette", "He just doesn't fit the vision in my head".

And the thing is, to some extent, directors are justified in many cases.  A character whose supposed to be a starving orphan just wouldn't make as much sense played by a chubby actor. A character who is specifically said to have red hair in the dialogue of the script, couldn't really be played by a blonde (unless hair was dyed).  Casting is a horribly superficial process, but I'm not sure there is a way to make it better.

You can talk about color blind casting, but really that only works in plays that aren't about gender issues or about racial issues or etc etc.  It would just be horribly offensive if you cast a white man to play a black slave. Not to mention blackface is ILLEGAL, for quite good reasons.

My choreographer was talking to some of the actors the other day and she had worked at Disney Land as Wendy.  And she was just listing off the height requirements for the "face characters" (the ones not in masks like Mickey or Goofy).  *Note: these are rough guesses of what she said, I'm just ball-parking.  Wendy and Alice need to be 5'-5'2"; Belle and Cinderella need to be 5'3"-5"6"; Tinkerbell needs to be 4'8"-5'; any Disney prince needs to be 5'11-6'3"; on and on and on.

She said that the audition process was just brutal because the people picking would just look at you and kick 90% of the people out based on nothing more than looks.  And apparently the mask characters are treated poorly because they are viewed as expendable.  It was just astounding how much actual people were treated like nothing more than a piece of meat.  And this isn't even discussing the fact the the princes are expected to be (at very minimum) 5" taller than the princesses.  Because apparently the magic would just be ruined if they were about the same height or (oh no) if the woman were actually taller.

I talk all the time about how nice and non-judgmental theatre is, but in this one area, theatre is behind nearly every other field in existence.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

That Day

Over the summer, my grandma (my dad's side) died from a stroke.  Over the past few days I've just been reliving it over and over again.  I really don't know why it's happening now, but I think I need to do a thought dump.  Trigger warnings probably.  She was the first person I've known whose has died.


The phone rang.  It was 9:30 in the morning and I was in between jobs.  It's so cliche, but I knew it was my dad and I knew it wasn't good news even before I woke up, despite the fact that I was asleep when my phone started playing the Game of Thrones theme at top volume.

Dad: Kaylee. I'm sorry.  I know you're probably asleep.  But.  Grandma had a massive stroke.  You need to grab Carla and come to the hospital.
Me: Okay Dad.
Dad: I'm so sorry.
Me: It's okay Dad.  I'll see you soon.

I throw on clothes as quickly as possible, grabbing a coat despite it being summer.  Hospitals are always cold.

Me: Carla, we need to go. Now.  Grandma's had a stroke and we need to get to the hospital.

I'm not sure my sister said anything in response.  But I grabbed a granola bar for myself while she put on clothes and then handed her one as we headed out the door.  My sister who has never done anything quickly in her life got out the door in under five minutes.  Something was so wrong.

I got in the car and convinced my sister to text Boyfriend for me.  I remember speeding 10+ mph over the speed limit.  If I had been pulled over, the only possible thing I could have said was: "I'm sorry officer.  My grandma is dying and in the hospital and if we don't get there soon, there's a good chance we won't be able to say goodbye."

Carla called Shea and talked to her briefly.  My mom and Shea were both at work, but both were allowed to go early, so my mom was going to pick Shea up and meet us at the hospital.

I knew that too.  That my grandma wouldn't recover.  I knew it from my Dad's broken tone.  I knew it even if I had no reason why I knew it.  I knew that if my Dad called me or Carla when we were in the car, there was a fairly good chance my grandma would already be dead.  The phone rang when we were five minutes from the hospital.  I couldn't hear my dad on the other end of the phone as he talked to Carla.

Carla: Dad says that grandma's on life support.  Grandpa doesn't want to prolong things though so as soon as the whole family's there he'll pull the plug.  Mom's picking up Shea now.
Me: Okay.

My sister was sobbing, but I couldn't speak.  I had to be able to drive.  I couldn't cry yet. I couldn't.  I had to drive.

The hospital had recently been remodeled, so I parked in the parking garage that I knew, before realizing that there was a parking garage closer to the ER.  Carla and I parked hurried towards the ER.  As we passed the toll station I realized I didn't have my wallet, it was in a different pair of pants, and I wouldn't be able to pay on my way out.

We got into the main waiting room and saw my dad.  He ushered us to the main desk where we got our visitor's pass.  I then hugged my cousins and my dad.  The cousin who was older than me by two months, his brother who was Carla's age, and my other cousin who was Shea's age.  Her twin was attending his first week of college classes and my uncle and aunt hadn't been able to reach him yet.

My dad's oldest brother and his wife (who is a nurse) were back with my grandpa.  My dad informed us that they were moving my grandma to the ICU and so we couldn't see her yet.  He said that she was on life support and there wasn't any chance of recovery.  They had seen my grandma's scans and the burst blood vessels had covered an area larger than a half dollar coin.

My sister joined my cousins and I sat next to my dad.  We didn't talk.  I didn't cry.  He didn't cry.  My dad's other older brother was in absolute tears and his wife was (very awkwardly) trying to comfort him.  My cousins and sister just sat in silence, teary eyed.

My aunt and uncle returned and informed us that my grandma had been move to the ICU and we should go to the waiting room there.  The rest of my extended family went up, but my dad, my sister, and I waited for my mom and Shea to arrive.

I remember calling Shea twice because they were taking so long and then, finally, they showed up.  We went up to join the rest of my family and a nurse informed us that three people could go in to see my grandma.  My sisters and I, who hadn't been back yet went.

I memorized the twists and turns the nurse took us through.  I remember the nurse being friendly and supportive and saying she was glad my grandma has such a big family.  I also remember pitying the nurses of the ICU who see grieving families every day.  Seeing people at their worst constantly and just having to deal with it.

My grandpa was quiet.  We all hugged him and then hugged my grandma, who lay quietly in her bed, covered in blankets with a horrible breathing tube in her chest.  I remember the awful sounds of the automated breathing.  I remember looking at the equipment and medicine.  I remember not being able to look at my grandma for long because she just didn't look like herself.

She had always been small, but now she looked tiny.  And broken.  Her skin wasn't cold though.  It was warm to the touch.  I can't remember a single time in my entire life that my grandma had been warm to the touch.  Except that day.

I hugged my grandpa, but I just couldn't stay for long.  I could have stayed.  I could have forced myself.  It wouldn't have been torture, but I just didn't want to.  I knew at the time (or at least hoped fervently) that I wouldn't regret my decision(s) and I still don't.  My sisters stayed and I got my mom so she could say goodbye.

I sat over by my cousins and they talked quietly.  I had nothing to say.  My uncle (the younger of the two) still cried and my aunt was starting to get annoyed.  My older uncle and his wife. talked with the doctors/nurses.  My dad sat over coffee at a table.  Eventually I joined him at the table.  Being near my cousins was making me tear up and I just couldn't be that vulnerable around people I barely knew anymore.

I remember us all cycling through visiting my grandma and being back their to support my grandpa.  I remember the nurses finally giving up on the three person room and letting us have as many people as we wanted in the room.  I remember grabbing tissues, for myself...later, and then giving them away to other people.  I remember sitting with my mom in the lobby, hardly being able to stand being in the room for long. 

I talked with her.  I looked up the wiki articles for aneurysms and strokes to figure out the difference.  I talked via a chat program on my phone (the phone I had gotten only a few days previously) with a good friend.  I texted back and forth with Boyfriend (who was at work).  I texted another friend (the only one who hadn't yet left for college) and asked for his support when I left the hospital later.

My cousin finally got their and we all went back to the room.  My final goodbye to my grandma was brief; everyone else's was not.  My mom and I went back to the lobby; we were just more comfortable there.  My family returned (much later) and the four of us (but not my dad) decided to go home.

There was nothing else we could do.

I got money from my parents to pay for parking and for food.  I took Carla in my car.  She wanted a frozen pizza, but I needed food sooner.  It was now mid afternoon and I had only had that granola bar to eat.  When everyone (minus my dad) got home we all found our own space and Boyfriend came over.  And when he got there, I cried on his shoulder.

I sobbed.  I hiccuped.  All those tears I had yet to shed fell and I couldn't stop them.  My house was stifling. I couldn't be near my family.  We left. I told my mom I'd be back eventually.  I didn't know when.  My friend (who I mention often enough that I really should get permission to use a pseudonym) finally texted me back and we went over to his house (we accidentally went to his mom's house first before realizing that he had meant his dad's).

We got there and I cried on my friend's shoulder.  His entire family was there though, so I wrapped up in a blanket and just sat on the couch.  Boyfriend and he talked and I mainly listened.  Eventually (after a very lovely dinner, which I am still very thankful for) we did go over to his mom's house.  I think we watched Game of Thrones, but I'm not totally sure.

My mom texted me saying that my dad had left the hospital and despite being off life support for many hours, my grandma was still technically alive (I say technically because I'm not sure at that point, there was anything left in her body.  Which is a horrible thing to say.  But it was a horrible day).

We watched more Game of Thrones.  I just couldn't think about anything.  I had to keep my mind busy/distracted/preoccupied.  Eventually Boyfriend had to leave for the night, because he had work in the morning.  I was going to sleep over though.  My house was just an intolerable thought.  About ten minutes after Boyfriend left, my mom called and said that my grandma had passed.  I hugged my friend and cried for the third time that day.  Then we watched more Game of Thrones and later slept.

The next several days I remember sobbing in Boyfriend's arms a lot.  I was rarely home because facing my family was too hard.  I distracted myself nearly constantly.  Eventually things started to get better.  Her memorial service wasn't remarkable in my mind.  I had already said goodbye, but the night before it, which I had spent with my family in a sort of vigil, was really important.


I look back and think I seemed kind of heartless.  But that's apparently just how I grieve.  I feel bad, because I had this lovely post about casting for theatre (and film) all prepared, but this is what decided to come out instead.  It's quite the downer.  If you read it, thanks.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sister Time

On Sunday I told my parents about being poly, okay, I used the term open relationship, so they would both know what I was talking about.  As far as it goes, it good have gone much worse.  They weren't horribly judgmental (at least to my face or anywhere I've been able to hear them) and I wasn't disowned or something, so good news in general.

Today I went shopping with Shea, the younger of my two little sisters (she's about to turn 18 and is a senior in high school).  I needed more fabric for Christmas gifts and then we both ran some various other Christmas related errands.  As far as my sisters go, generally Shea is the one I actually tell much about my life.  Carla's mind tends to explode at disruptions to patterns in my normal life.  I've been meaning to talk to her about my open relationship with Boyfriend for awhile, but this is the first chance I've gotten.

Below is the conversation I had with my sister.  I tend to get a little teach-y in situations like that and my sister is still new in her education about sexuality and gender, so pardon us both. 

Me: Do you know what an open relationship is?
Shea: Umm. No. Wait, maybe.
Me: What do you think it is?
Shea: Isn't that where you're seeing one person but you can also mess around with other you're not really dating?
Me: Sorta.  An open relationship does mean that you can see other people, but it doesn't mean that you aren't dating.  Do you know what polyamory is?
Shea: No.
Me: Polyamory is essentially a non-monogamous relationship.  It means that you are dating or fucking multiple people.  It's similar to what you know as the Mormon practice of polygamy, but in a healthy polyamorous relationship everyone has equal power.  Open relationships and polyamory have a lot in common, but open relationships tend to be the better known, more socially acceptable term.
Shea: Oh. So you can date more than one person at once?
Me: Yes.  Polyamory and open relationships operate on the principal that love is not a finite quality.  When you love one person romantically, all of your love isn't used up, like popular culture would have us believe. That's why you can have a crush on more than one person at once.  Love isn't a feeling that can all be used up.
Shea: Oh. That actually makes sense.
Me: I think so......Boyfriend and I are actually in an open relationship.
Shea: You are?
Me: Yeah.  We decided to try it.  There are other people besides Boyfriend I'm interested in and likewise for Boyfriend.
Shea: Oh, okay.  And you guys are both fine with this?
Me: We're both completely okay with this.  I'm really happy with my relationship right now, but sometimes your partner just can't fulfill absolutely everything you need.  Society would tell you to break up, but expecting a person to fulfill your every possible need is just unrealistic.  
Shea: So if you and boyfriend both wanted to date the same person?
Me: Then we would talk to that third person and see if they were interested and we could have a three person relationship, which is generally more difficult than having two separate, two people relationships because it has more complicated, less predictable dynamics.  I'm sorry if this is weirding you out.
Shea: I'm not weirded out, I'm interested.
Me: I'm glad.  But just imagine what it would be like so that if you liked someone else you could just tell your partner and ask them if it was okay you pursued a relationship with them.  Cheating wouldn't be as much of an issue.
Shea: I was actually just thinking about that this morning.
Me: That's awesome.  But you can have cheating in an open or polyamorous relationships.
Shea: You can?
Me: Yep.  In a monogamous relationship, you have the unspoken boundary of if you decide to date or fuck someone else, that's cheating.  But in an open relationship, you set the boundaries by talking about them.  So you talk to your partner and say: "It's okay if you see anyone else, but you just have to tell me about it." Or, "I'm okay with casual hookups, but I don't want you actually dating anyone else."  Then if either of you break the boundaries you set up in your relationship, that's cheating.
Shea: Oh, so cheating is more open ended sorta?
Me: Exactly.  Cheating is a betrayal of trust (sorry, I know I just wrote about this last post, but my sister doesn't read this blog, thank god) in regard to the boundaries of your relationship.  Poly people need to set up boundaries in every single relationship they have.  But, a polyamorous relationship is not necessarily an open relationship, which is where polyamory and open relationships differ. Six people who are dating each other...
Shea: That's a lot of people.
Me: It is a lot of people, I don't think I could handle that many relationships at once.  But six people who are dating each other and agree not to see anyone other than their five partners are in a closed relationship and trying to date or fuck- sorry, I'm not sure you're comfortable with that word, but it's just part of my vocabulary- someone else would be cheating.
Shea: No, I use that word sometimes.  When I'm really angry at you ever ask out a girl?
Me:  Yes, I would. 
Shea:'re bisexual?
Me: I don't really identify that way.
Shea:'re lesbian?
Me: No, otherwise I wouldn't be seeing Boyfriend.  I identify as queer.  Do you know what queer means?
Shea: Isn't that offensive like using the word "faggot"***?
Me: It used to be, but it's largely been successfully reclaimed.
Shea: Then what does it mean now?
Me: Queer is an umbrella term for non-heterosexual.
Shea: But what does that mean?
Me: When you say that you're queer, that generally comes with some sort of explanation. So: I'm queer but like semi-masculine presenting men and beyond that it's a case by case basis.
Shea:  What does that mean?
Me: Semi-masculine?
Shea: Yeah.
Me: So, you know that Boyfriend likes to tinker with thinks and fix broken things and that's generally considered a masculine trait?
Shea: Yeah.
Me: But he's not heavily into sports or aggressive, etc, etc.  That's what I mean when I say semi-masculine presenting.  And every guy I've ever been attracted to has had that type of gender presentation. But move beyond that and it various what I'm specifically attracted to, particularly in women.
Shea: Oh, did you tell Mom and Dad this?
Me: Not yet, I figured telling them I was poly was a good enough first step.
Shea: This kinda makes my head whirl.  It's so much to take in.
Me: If it helps, I felt like that when I was first learning too.
Shea: I'm glad we had this talk though.  It's cool.  Thanks for telling me.
*We promptly got out of the car and proceeded to Victoria Secret's for a free pair of underwear*

***I apologize for possibly triggering or offensive language, I'm just trying to be faithful to the conversation we had.

Why have I told my family you ask (or maybe you don't, but I've gotten this question enough that I would like to answer it).  I've told them for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, I thought that they could handle it without judging me too harshly, which I appreciated.  Secondly, if I do start dating/fucking/etc someone besides Boyfriend, I don't want to have to hide it from my family.  And thirdly, they're my family and I still like to try to keep them updated on things that are relevant to my life.

Note: Imaging Shea calling Boyfriend by my silly pseudonyms as opposed to his actual name is actually incredibly amusing for me.


I keep wanting to write posts about my personal life and things that have happened to me.  But I looked back over the past few weeks of posts and realized that I've shared some things I never thought I would ever be comfortable sharing (I did do so in a semi-anonymous, pseudonym way, but I definitely have friends who know who I am who read the blog).  Part of the reason for all the extremely personal posts is because I love figuring out how my mind works and remembering things that once (or still do) caused me a lot of pain is a good exercise in this for me because I can look at how I react to things.  This all being said, I wanted to give myself permission to look at an issue I have not personally experienced.

As I said, I have not personally been cheated on.  I know several people who have been cheated on and I know several people who have done the cheating.  And when I first found out that a person I knew in college had been cheated on (as always names and pronouns mixed or changed for anonymity), I'm sad to say that my first reaction was: "No, there's no way, he cheated on him.  He's such a nice guy."  I didn't go as far as victim blaming (small favors), I didn't think the person who had been cheated on was at fault, but I was also didn't quite believe that his partner had cheated on him in the first place (because he was just such a "nice guy" #sarcasm).

But Kaylee, you say, "You're in an open relationship, isn't cheating irrelevant to you?"  And the immediate answer to that would be that: No, cheating is definitely not irrelevant to people (not just me) in open relationships.  Cheating is all about boundaries.  In a monogamous relationship, the (generally unspoken) boundary is that you cannot initiate any form of intimate relationship outside your current one.  To do so would be cheating.

With open relationships the boundaries should be just a firm, but much more explicit because you actually have to talk about and set your boundaries.  What are your stipulations? Do you need to tell your partner about any relationship or potential relationship you are going to/might enter into before you do it?  This is a fairly common stipulation.  Is cuddling with other people okay?  Is cuddling with other people without your partner okay, even if you have no intention of getting into a relationship?  Would you actually prefer not knowing about the other relationships besides that they are happening?  Would you like specifics from your partner?  All of these are very real boundaries to set with any partner you have.

With Boyfriend, if I were to ask someone out or fuck someone without telling him, that would be cheating.  That would be a betrayal of his trust and it would go outside our agreed upon boundaries.  So you see, cheating is very very possible (perhaps even easier in some respects) in an open relationship.

Before I move on, I also wanted to mention, that cheating is also possible in a six person closed group relationship.  If anyone of those six people decides to fuck someone other than their five partners and not tell them about it, that is still cheating.  You would think that would be obvious, but I have found obvious things often need saying.  The number of people in a relationship does not make cheating less real.

To be completely honest, cheating is just something I've never understood.  Even before I was in an open relationship, I think if Boyfriend had come to me and said: I really like _____ and would like to fuck/date/etc them, I'm fairly certain I instantly would have agreed (to be fair, this just would have meant opening our relationship earlier than we did).  But I feel like if you have a comfortable, trusting relationship and you're interested in someone else, then just tell your partner.  Maybe they will agree.  But if they do say: "No, I'm uncomfortable with this" you need to accept that.

Cheating, in essence, is one of the worst forms of breaking the trust of your partner.  And what people who have been cheated on need to know is that you didn't drive your partner to do this.  Even if they said they did it in revenge because you acted in ____ way, it was still your partner who chose.  Because you got cheated on doesn't make you any less of a good lover or partner.  It just means that your partner isn't as good of a lover or partner as you expected.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Social Beliefs Over Time

I had the idea when I got up this morning to track my different beliefs on social issues throughout the course of my life and below is the table I came up with.  I'm having a hard time finding a readable size in blogger (and inserting actual tables into blogger is a pain in the ass), so here is a google docs link.

It's interesting to look because after elementary I began to have a more clear view of the issues, and thus a more coherent statement of my beliefs.  Then I had several large belief changes throughout the course of high school.  College however stayed largely the same, with the exception of my views on the legality of drugs.  And then post college (which honestly has been only half a year) I have some fairly large changes to my thinking.

It was a fun exercise for me and I learned quite a few things about myself.

Note: I promised Boyfriend I would add this as a note.  He wanted to add: "Church and State, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G" to my views about separation of church and state.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Personal Boundaries

In most situations, I am not a person who generally enjoys being touched.  I hugged my family only when necessary growing up.  I rarely put a friendly hand of a friend's shoulder.  I certainly would never think of touching a stranger.  It just seemed weird to me for a long time and I didn't really crave the physical contact.

Then I met friends senior year of high school and realized I liked hugs and a friendly touch on the arm or cuddling.  I'm not quite sure what changed.  It might have been when I started dating Boyfriend and just realized that I didn't like being so isolated.  But I think it more likely that I just have less personal boundaries with these friends.  It wasn't something that happened instantly and when I haven't seen my friends for quite awhile, the touch barrier exists far more than when we've been hanging out for awhile.

When I went to college I had a few friends who really liked hugging, which was fun and good, but I also was never totally comfortable.  I suppose what I'm getting at is that for me personal boundaries change a lot, particularly depending on the group of people I'm with.

Our culture really doesn't encourage physical contact.  Casual touching (that sounds far dirtier than I intended) is reserved only for flirting or people you know very intimately.  And as time passes, touch becomes more and more taboo.  At this point, someone you don't know touching your shoulder could be considered assault.  Quite frankly, I don't really want a stranger touching me, but I also think calling a simple tap on my shoulder to get my attention (something that I don't mind) assault is taking matters too hard.

Certainly it's important to protect people and I am glad we have laws that take assault more seriously than they once did.  However, I do think that these laws have an interesting consequence of isolating everyone physically from one another.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


This will probably be my last post for today (considering this is my third, plus the one I wrote late last night).  I had an interesting, though short (we were both exhausted), conversation with a friend yesterday.  As a beginning, here's the definition of racism.

1. A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among thevarious human races determine cultural or individualachievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
2. A policy, system of government, etc., based upon orfostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
3. Hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

My friend's argument centered around the first definition listed above.  It is racism/sexism/etc if one group has power and discriminates against those in the minority, with out power.  It is discrimination if an oppressed, minority says or does hateful, intolerant things in regard to the group in power.  It was an interesting distinction, one that I had not really considered before (Note: my summary does very little justice to my friend's argument which was but well structured and compelling.  I just did my best to summarize it as accurately as possible).

My definition of ~ism words (sexism, racism, etc) had not generally included the idea of people being in power and more reflected the third point of the definition listed above.  Thus, generally I believed that something like  "reverse sexism" (women discriminating against men) could exist.  And my friend's point wasn't that women discriminating against men would exist, it just meant that it didn't make it sexism.  I do agree in some respects, by calling a situation like that listed above sexism, we over-value an action that is less common, thus equalizing men's more prevalent oppression of women with women's less prevalent oppression of men.

I'm afraid I'm not summarizing this very well.  I think it might be a point of semantics primarily.  But I will admit that for some reason my friend's argument hadn't occurred to me previously and I found it really interesting.  I love hearing other people's points of view.  I don't generally hold my beliefs because I think they are inherently right, I believe what I do only because I have yet to encounter a better point of view.

Facing Myself

I don't want this to be the last post I write today, so I guess I'll just write it now.  I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately and I'm finally to the point of owning up to it.

Awhile ago, I read this post about abuse over at the Pervocracy.  It's a great post, albeit one that's a bit hard to  read and face up to.  When I read the post I had a hard time because my dad was pretty emotionally abusive.  But my biggest and worst realization was that I was emotionally abusive to Boyfriend and had been for a long time.

I've always had anger management issues.  I have a short temper and my constant fighting with my dad never helped.  I didn't think it would ever really affect anyone other than my dad, but after I had been dating Boyfriend for awhile, my temper started to slip more and more.  I was picking stupid fights for no reason and saying horrible things.  More horrible than I feel comfortable repeating ever.

Reading Holly's article forced me to face this.  I had already been working on my anger issues at this point and talking to Boyfriend about the things that I had said were sort of the natural next extension.  I haven't blogged about this yet because every time I think about many of the things I've said, I can barely stand it.  I make a point in my life about owning up to the things I've done, but this is by far the hardest.  I don't want it to ever happen again and for awhile I was definitely of the opinion that it would be better if Boyfriend and I broke up.  I didn't want to risk hurting him again and there was no way to adequately atone for the things I'd said.  I talked to Boyfriend a lot about it though and we decided to stay together and see how things went.

I still struggle with facing up to this.  I don't like what I did when I got angry in the past.  I hate it.  I still sometimes feel like breaking up would have been better because I honestly don't deserve his forgiveness.  Things feel really good between us right now.  I'm happy and I'm able to catch myself when my temper starts to slip.  But I still have a long way to go and I just don't want to hurt people again.  It's something where I think I will always be worried about it in the future, but hopefully that will serve as a reminder.

Stage Management as Gendered

I meant to post more yesterday, but I was exhausted, so I will post a few times today instead.

A friend asked me when I mentioned it in an earlier post how stage management is gendered and what I meant by that.  Now when people of the general populace think of stage management, they aren't going to think: Oh that's a female job.  More likely, they aren't going to know what a stage manager is.  However throughout the course of my time in theatre I have met five male stage managers.  I am currently working under a male stage manager, I trained a young asm as a stage manager, I met two male stage managers at a conference, and I met one male stage manager at my internship.  And I will just say that I have met probably close to a hundred female stage managers.

For a long time I just couldn't figure out what it was that drew mainly women into my field.  It's not like professors or people were out there encouraging women to join.  Generally students at my college were discouraged to stage manage because of the amount of time commitment involved.  But somehow, women tended to be more drawn to the profession.

I have been thinking about it for awhile and my thoughts were leaning towards: there are more female stage managers because there are more female actors and a lot of female actors decide that they would rather have more steady work stage managing instead.  But beyond that, I couldn't come up with many reasons why stage management was gendered.  Then I talked to a friend yesterday and she pointed out that stage management involves extreme organization and people skills, which are two traits that society thinks women are inherently good at.  When she said that, things clicked into place for me.

This revelation revealed something else that hadn't occurred to me: having a majority of women stage managing is in fact a problem.  It's just as much of a problem as having the vast majority of computer science people be male.  I hadn't thought of it as a problem because women are under-represented in most fields and so, in my head, the reverse of the normal situation shouldn't be a problem.  But that's the thing, if I truly believe that women and men are much more similar than different (and I do), then there shouldn't be a gender disparity in any job to begin with.  Women are channeled, sometimes incredibly subtly towards some jobs and men are channeled towards others.  Even in a profession like mine, where general society doesn't have much sway, women tend towards stage management more than men because it involves skills that are "feminine" and "for women".

Note: There are obviously many more male stage managers out there than I've noted.  I am simply saying that I have met very few personally and while my experience easily could be disproportionate, I don't think it's so disproportionate that there actually isn't a gender disparity.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


As a warning, this will be one of at least two posts tonight.  I have been out with friends the past few days and they've given me a lot to think about.

I didn't learn how to sew until college.  Before then I had done a few straight seams that my grandmother made me do, but basically it just involved pushing the presser foot down.  I took a costume design/construction freshman year of college and actually learned a fair amount about sewing: different types of seams, different methods of hand sewing, etc.  I am so so far from an expert, but I realized that it was something I enjoyed a lot.  I don't present ultra-femininely, so sometimes finding things that are considered "feminine" is a bit of a surprise for me.

The summer after my second year of college, I did some cosplay for a local anime convention which involved some fairly complex (for me) sewing.  It was quite the challenge, but again, so worth the struggle.  This year I'm running a bit low on cash, and I made a plushie for a friend (with a good deal of help with the pattern from another friend) and realized that I wanted to make all my friends/family plushies for Christmas.

Now, there are a few reasons that I never learned how to sew before college, especially since both my mother and my grandmother offered to teach me.  Firstly, it seemed obsolete and boring to me.  I could just buy my clothes, I didn't need to make them out of scratch.  Secondly, sewing was feminine and for women, so I didn't want to be caught doing it.

As I ripped through many pairs of pants growing up, I realized that I really needed some basic hand sewing skills.  Repairing clothes that I could afford to just replace was important, and certainly not obsolete.  When I met Boyfriend, who could sew circles around me, I realized the sewing wasn't only for domestic women.  I realize I should have come to this revelation earlier, but for some reason it just never occurred to me that men might enjoy sewing or find it relevant to their ripped clothing.

As with anything designated "female" or "feminine" sewing can be for anyone and I just wished I'd realized that sooner.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friends are the Family you Choose

I admit, the title is cliched and overused, but that really doesn't mean it's not true.

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving to those Americans out there.  Like almost everyone else I know, I spent the entire day yesterday with my family, an occurrence that very rarely occurs anymore. And what I was struck most by was how horribly sexist, racist, and intolerant my family is.  I heard some absolutely awful things said about gay people and fat people and women and non-white people.  I should have expected it, and to some extent I did, but the amount of crap my uncles (in particular, though they were not the only ones) heaped on people that were different than them.

With my immediate family (my sisters and parents) I would speak up and say: You realize that's racist? or Your realize that's sexist/judgmental/intolerant? And I will give them credit, throughout the day, they did start getting better (whenever they're around my uncles, they slide down into intolerance pretty quickly).  But my uncles don't respect me, I'm still a kid in their eyes, and if I had said anything, they just would have a) ignored me or b) ridiculed me and called me over-sensitive.

It was just such a rude awakening.  I spend my time at my job where people who are different are excepted without question.  And lately, several of my closest friends (including Boyfriend) have been home and I've been hanging out with them, and when I'm with them not only is everyone accepted, we even talk about intolerance.  In these circumstances, it's easy to forget that the entire world isn't like the people I interact with on a regular basis.  Thus interacting with the "real world" is frequently a rude awakening.  But, it's such an important awakening for me, because it does reaffirm that there are important rights to still be fighting for.  Things are better than they used to be for a lot of groups, but they still are not nearly equal.  I'm not sure I would necessarily classify myself as an activist, but it's times like these that make me want to be more of an activist.

Again, it's cliched, but I am grateful for a fairly large group of people who are accepting and allow me to be myself, and I wish everyone who feels that they're different from mainstream culture had similar support in their life.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Flirting has never been something I'm good at, so, out of curiosity, I looked up the dictionary definition.

verb (used without object)
1. To court triflingly or act amorously without seriousintentions; play at love; coquet.
2. To trifle or toy, as with an idea: She flirted with the notion ofbuying a sports car.
3. To move with a jerk or jerks; dart about.

I found that distinctly unhelpful, so I moved on to my trusty friend, Wikipedia.  

Flirting (or coquetry) is a playful, romantic or sexual overture by one person to another subtly indicating an interest in a deeper relationship with the other person, and can involve verbal communication as well as body language.

Okay, this matches more with what my idea of flirting is, but it got me even more curious so I decided to do a quick google search: How to flirt.

The variety of answers I got was fairly impressive, but my the first result was some typical pick up artist bullshit.  It suggests that instead of compliments, that you should tease girls (this article is strictly directed at men looking to pick up women).  It suggests the following as some tried and true teasing pick up lines.
  • If a girl says something nerdy I will say “You usually hang out at the library don’t you?”
  • If a girl spills her drink I will say “Bartender, I think you need to cut her off”
  • If a girl is acting a little spoiled say “Looks like someone put their cranky pants on this morning
Is there a single one of those lines that isn't offensive? Are there women who actually like some creep insulting her? This seems like a beyond foreign concept to me. Whatever happened to a friendly, "Hello, my name is..."?

It also suggests that you can tease a girl when she gets up to go to the bathroom by blocking her path a couple times. And, no, just no. Maybe the bathroom is her escape from you, or maybe she just needs the bathroom. But that is creepy and overly possessive of a person you don't even know. It also gives off vibes of stalker and aggression.

This tip was unique to the first several top results of my google search. However, many of the sites did have advice like: "Break the touch barrier by touching her arm" or "Maintain eye contact at all times, it projects confidence." And I would just like to say that if were aren't friends, or at the very least, acquaintances, you damn well better not be touching me. That very well could be considered assault, if you decide to take a picky definition of the word. Also, I really don't want to be stared at all evening, at all. Eye contact is good, staring is just creepy.

There were some sites that had a lot of things I agreed with. Be friendly, be confident enough to at least introduce yourself, and most importantly, listen to the other person. But two things I did notice both about the bad and the good advice:

1. The advice was strictly aimed at men looking up to pick up women.
2. The advice was strictly aimed at men picking up women in a bar setting.

Can't people who are already friends flirt? Can't women flirt with men? Or women flirt with women? Or men flirt with me? I'm not horribly surprised by these two things, but I am disappointed.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I'm currently working with kids whose ages range from 12 to 17 (which translates to grades 7 through 12).  And just looking at the kids in a casual glance, I'm realizing that the vast majority of them have not yet gone through puberty?

The reason for the question mark is a) sometimes it's hard to tell and b) I'm not actively staring at the actors pondering this (which would be horribly creepy), it was more an idle observation.

But, the majority of the actors are 16 and 17 but it looks like only two of the guys shave.  One of the boy's (14) voice hasn't broken.  Most of the girls still haven't really started to develop.  The seniors in high school generally have, but the juniors in high school definitely haven't, which just seems interesting to me.

This was just really surprising to me.  I started puberty stupidly early (needing a bra by third grade) and my sisters didn't start at that much of a later age (around fifth grade).  Most of my friends were in similar situations.

If you do a quick google search about the age puberty starts you'll find numbers like: 9-13 for girls and 10-14 for boys.  So why are these actors so different when there's a plethora of research saying that the age of puberty is starting earlier and earlier.

Maybe it's just my own experience skewing my opinion? That's certainly possible.  I don't know, anyone have any thoughts?

Also, I apologize if this post seems creepy, it really really wasn't intended that way.  And anticipate Saturday posts to be about my observations of junior high and high school students since I work with them for 6+ hours those days.

I Find this Funny

Talking with some of my friends yesterday and my favorite quote to come out of our conversation:

In regard to sexist jokes: "I'm not humorless, some things just aren't funny."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Good Rehearsal

Rather recently, one of the actors in the show I'm currently working had to quit the main cast.  The actor had some rather serious and difficult issues to address and began to feel like doing the show would just not be in their best interest.

Today (with at the urging of the actor), we informed the rest of the cast what was going on and why  this actor was quitting the show.  They'd still be around occasionally, whenever they could manage, but they would be gone more than they would be present.  The reaction of the cast was fairly amazing.  They sat there, completely silent (a group of middle schoolers and high schoolers is rarely completely silent), just taking in what their close friend was going through.  The few actors who had known about the situation beforehand had not told anyone else out of respect and when we told the whole cast you could just tell that they were honored to be trusted with the sensitive and intimate information.

The rest of the rehearsal was subdued.  There were laughs and a lot of good work put in, but there were obvious undertones oh sadness.  We were learning exclusively ballads today, which fit the mood of everyone in the room perfectly.  Towards the end of rehearsals, we reviewed songs we had learned previously, and the songs the cast asked to reviewed stuck with the theme of rehearsals.  The last song of the day we ran had been the actor who quit's song.  The replacement did a fantastic job and rehearsals ended on a really nice note.

Afterwards, the directing and stage management team hung around and talked to the actors more in depth about the situation.  There were some tears and a great deal of hugging going on within the cast.

 But what most astounded me about today's rehearsal was the incredible feeling of support and empathy the rest of the cast felt for their friend.  Teenagers can be harsh and hard to deal with sometimes, but they can also be overwhelmingly supportive.


So, I've posted about my family, about going to try an open relationship, and about coming to terms with my sexuality, so I might as well finish the last of my secrets off and put it out on the internet (this is clearly the logical choice...clearly).  I would say trigger warning, but it's really not a trigger warning, it's more a possibly offensive warning, but all sorts of the things a say are possibly offensive. So. I guess this just might be more offensive than usual?

Anyway, I discovered masturbation when I was very young.  I remember knowing what it was (though not the name of it, I wouldn't learn that till much later) at the age of five, so I must have discovered earlier than that.  When I was six, I made a male friend in my grade and we hung out all the time together. It was fun, he didn't talk about frilly "girly" things, which at that time in my life, I despised.  We were friends from the first grade through about third grade (when I changed schools to get more of a challenge out of my education).

We were kids and we played.  We played all sorts of things: knights, we played dragons, we played various board games and video games, but we also played "torture".  We had both discovered the tickling sensation that masturbation caused and we shared that with each other and we played around with that.  It wasn't all the time, but it did happen occasionally.  We didn't come close to anything even remotely resembling penis-in-vagina sex, but we did sorta touch on oral sex.  It's all very strange to look back on frankly, and when I got into  junior high and high school, I looked back and realized that we had discovered on our own, what we were later to be taught (of course we didn't know anything remotely resembling safe practices, etc >.< ).

I don't think of it as exploitative or abusive, we were both the same age and had a fun time together.  I do recall all the shame I've felt over the years, but I was a kid, I hadn't been taught anything and I was just having fun.  I'm not sure it possibly could have gone any differently.  I don't know how normal this is, but if you look at the internet, at least some people (they can't possibly all be trolls) have had similar experiences.  I'm not really sure how it's affected my life today.

It's also fascinating because it was purely platonic, if that can even be possible.  We tried the whole, cutesy, elementary "dating" thing (a few years later) for a few days and it was just awkward.

Anyway, that's my story.  Sorry for offending anyone (possibly) and bearing my skeletons to the entire internet, which I still feel kinda weird about.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What is it I Don't Even?

I had an interesting conversation yesterday, which mainly started with both of us being unable to articulate what we wanted to say (I will admit I was the worse of the two of us about it).  I had a question I wanted to ask, but  could just not get it to translate from my head to my mouth.  What we ultimately decided it boiled down to is: What is gender and how do you know you are the gender you are?

Now, before everyone jumps on me (I have very few readers, no one is actually going to care, but I still feel like this disclaimer is necessary), I want you to actually honestly think about the question.  I'm a woman, a semi-feminine woman.  But why?  Gender roles (ie women take care of the children and men are the bread winners, men like football, women like ballet) and gender presentation (ie women wear dresses, men wear suits and ties) are societal constructs.  Thus, this very deep seated feeling I have of: I am a woman seems unlikely strictly to be based on society.

I guess, even if the feeling is based strictly on societal norms, that doesn't invalidate the feeling.  But, at the same time, I don't identify as a woman because I like ballet or wear dresses.  I like ballet and wear dresses, yet those aren't defining features of my existence.  Defining features of my existence?  An open-mind, commitment to projects, a good work ethic, loyalty to my friends, willingness to help.  These are all things I define myself as and those things aren't gendered.  Tangible things that I define myself with? Stage management, writing, books, theatre in general.  And largely, I don't think of those things as gendered either (with the possible exception of stage management, which is sort of fascinating and I will discuss at a later date).

So why do I feel like a woman then?  Because I do have that strong feeling, which I know not everyone does.  I want society to view me as a woman, even though there is still blatant sexism in the world.  I like the pronoun she, though I could also be convinced to go by a gender neutral one probably.  I believe that people are equal. Woman, man, genderqueer.  I think that different and opposite but equal is bull shit.  So why then do I want to be seen and accepted as a woman?

So if I don't know the specific indicators of how I determined I am a woman, other than simply a gut feeling, what is gender?  Is it just that gut feeling?  I know it's supposed to have to do with societal concepts and your feelings about yourself but where do those feelings come from if they don't come from the societal constructs?

This post has had an enormous amount of questions, and the thing is, I just don't have any answers to them.  I really wish I did, but I just don't know.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Scan Tailor

I wasn't planning on this being my next post, but I just had to scan in a part of my score and turn it into a pdf, so I thought I would talk about another handy tool for stage managers.

A few years ago, while I was scanning my script in, Boyfriend suggested I use a free program called Scan Tailor to clean up the scanned copies before I put them into a pdf.  Scan Tailor specializes in cleaning up scans to make them readable and usable.  And I would like provide a step by step guide of how to scan in a script and create a nice, neat, professional looking pdf from it.

Note: I've used Scan Tailor for more than just scripts, it's an excellent all around program, so I suggest checking it out whether you're a stage manager or not.

1. Scan the Script
Most stage managers I know either physically cut up and paste their script to create the type of script they need (such as combining a script or score or such) or some actually type up the entire script.  I honestly can't imagine this and you can get programs/drivers that will scan text straight into a document, but in my experience those don't work horribly well.  So I just stick with images at first.  Images can be cropped and spliced and if there are major script changes, then I will just type up only the script changes.  While scanning, if you have an unbound copy of the script, document feeds can be a great time saver.  I also tend to try to name the images sequentially, so that they will be in the correct order and you don't have to do any renaming.

2. Download Scan Tailor
You can download the program for free here.

3. Put the Script in Scan Tailor
All you need to do is open Scan Tailor and go File > Create New Project.  You will get a box that looks like this:
You need to select your input director (the file where the scans are) and then Scan Tailor will automatically put the finished product in a folder called Out in the original folder.  This can be changed if you so wish.  You can also select which files you want to be included.

4. Fix Orientation
You can do this in pretty much any program nowadays, but since you're already putting the script in Scan Tailor, you might as well do it here.  Just change the orientation how you want and then press the play button next to Fix Orientation and Scan Tailor will reorient all of your images.  Here is a picture of the original page without any changes made to it:

5. Split Pages
As you can see from my example about, this play came from an actual book (and is not in loose leaf form), so there are two pages per image.  Scan Tailor can detect that there are two pages (it did this selection for me automatically) and then you can hit the play button and apply the split all of your script pages.  If you do have a loose leaf form of script then you can basically just skip this step.  Below is an example:

6. Deskew
Unless you are magic (and I certainly am not), it is likely that in your scanning your images got slightly rotated or skewed.  Scan Tailor will straighten the images out for you.  Like always, you have the option of Scan Tailor doing it automatically or doing it manually.  Sometimes Scan Tailor does make mistakes, so I tend to let the program do it automatically and then browse back through for any errors.  Press the play button to apply the deskew to all the images.

7. Select Content
Many times when you're scanning you end up with the lovely black boarder around much of your image (pictured above).  Select Content allows you to completely get rid of it.  Be careful though, like the image below, Scan Tailor frequently does not automatically select page numbers (which you probably need) or headers (which you might not need).
Note: Since this was just an example and I didn't notice that it didn't select the page number until recently, it will not be in the following images.

8. Margins
This is really nice, because you can choose the type of margins you want for your image.  I tend to like a large right margin and a small left margin when making a calling script.  In order to do this, you need to unlikely the right and left margins and then you can change them independently of each other.  In the image, you can hopefully see that the left and right margins are not linked by the broken chain next to the left and right boxes.

9. Final Touches
The last step in Scan Tailor is when the image gets really cleaned up. As you can see in the image you have several options in this step.  You can change the output resolution (600 tends to be plenty for me, so I don't touch that generally).  You can also flip through black and white, greyscale, and color options.  One of my favorite features is the thinner/thicker slider.  If your text scanned in blocky then you can make it thinner and easier to read (like I did in the example).  If your text scanned in faint and thin, then the thicker slider can salvage it.  The final option on this screen is to despeckle.  This will get rid of dots and artifacts of scanning.  In the example I've been using, the scan had managed to pick up some of the text on the other side of the page and despeckling removed a lot of that problem (though not all, it can only do so much with a bad scan).  When you are satisfied with your result for your first page, you can press the play button and Scan Tailor will automatically send the files to your output directory (mentioned above) as it completes them.

10. Putting it in a PDF
You can do this with several programs.  Once Scan Tailor is done outputting, you can highlight the entire folder and (assuming that your files are named well) it will put the entire script into a word document in order.  You may need to adjust the size of the images within Word, which can be a pain (since Word doesn't handle images very quickly).  I also tend to minimize my margins in Word as much as possible.  This is the step when you can add score in or delete certain parts that were cut from the script.  Just be careful with page numbers so that you can always be on the same page as the actors and director.

Boyfriend also suggests using Adobe Acrobat (which I don't actually have) to make images into pdfs.  I would give some brief instructions, but since I've never used Acrobat (I should ask Boyfriend to teach me) I can't, so sorry about that.

Why bother with a pdf?  Pdf's print much faster than a Word doc full of images and they are easier to scroll through.


On an unrelated note, this post is going to make my post on pronouns (which I also posted today) jump down the page, so if you're interested, I encourage you to go read it.