20 votes

what’s the most drastic choice you’ve ever made in your life? how’d it turn out?

gotta have a body here, but i don’t want to run into that former askreddit problem, so here are some of my favorite bodies instead:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bog_of_Allen

https://open.spotify.com/artist/3xYXYzm9H3RzyQgBrYwIcx?nd=1

http://classics.mit.edu/Antoninus/meditations.html

https://www.wikipedia.org

21 comments

  1. [8]
    kfwyre
    Link
    cw: oversharing, homophobia, suicide To answer your question: I came out to my conservative Christian parents. To better understand how this was a "drastic" decision, you need some background....

    cw: oversharing, homophobia, suicide

    To answer your question: I came out to my conservative Christian parents.

    To better understand how this was a "drastic" decision, you need some background.

    This was a decision that was over a decade in the making. I'd known from an early age that I had a thing for guys instead of girls, and I spent the following years silently suffering.

    I hated myself. I was convinced God hated me. I was certain everyone else would hate me if they found out about me. So, I plastered on a smile and learned how to get really, really good at repression and lying.

    When I think of my childhood, I liken it to a spy thriller, where the protagonist is behind enemy lines and could be caught at any moment. I lived in fear of being "found out" every single moment of every single day. It never left me. I was constantly aware of it. At church. At school. At home. There was no "safe space" for me. Even in my own head I was tormented by the fact that I was a sinful abomination.

    Everything I did in life felt calculated. I constantly felt like I was under the microscope. Judged. One wrong move and everyone would know, and if they knew, it meant my life would be over. There were no gay people where I lived. There were no gay people anywhere. I legitimately thought I was the only one like this -- all alone in the world. I thought I was a cosmic misprint -- a bug in production code.

    I didn't even know the word "gay," and once I did it was simply a synonym for "fag" -- not something that yielded any relief.

    I learned how to put on a good face, lie, and give the right answers. For all the hell it gave me, in some ways my Christian background actually made it easier to hide. Because dating and sexuality were so restricted even when they were hetero, I could be seen as noble and Godly for foregoing girls. I didn't date not because I wasn't interested in women but because I was "focused on God." And focused I was. I begged him to change me. Fix me. Make me anything other than what I was: a fucked up error of life.

    The most vivid memories I have of my childhood were me crying in my bed in the middle of the night, long after everyone went to sleep. I shared a bedroom with my brother until I was 15, so even my sobs had to be hidden. Absolutely silent. Crying was unmanly, but doing it in the presence of my older brother? That would have been too much shame for even me to handle. I cried about the things I was hiding, but because even crying was queer, I had to hide that too. When I got my own room at 15 I was excited that I could actually let my tears freely out for the first time in life. I could breathe instead of choking back all air in an attempt to shut it down.

    By high school I was starting to realize that my feelings weren't going to change. Guys blipped on my radar more than ever, and girls were still invisible. This kicked my resolve into overdrive. I wasn't going to be like this anymore. I was going to make myself change. As such, I tried to notice girls. I tried hard. Focus, kfwyre, and you can figure this out. You're smart. You're clever. You've been fooling everyone for years already. You can solve this problem!

    Of course, I couldn't. My failure just led to more shame. I hated myself more than ever. I was sure God hated me more than ever. And exhaustion was starting to set in. We're not wired to exist like that, perpetually denying who we are. Happiness was an emotion I knew how to convey to others, but it was not something I knew how to genuinely experience. I had fleeting moments but never anything sustained. My happiest moments as a child were when I was alone and doing something that so fully absorbed my mind that I could forget about myself for a moment and be someone else or somewhere else. Preferably both. I read a lot of books. Played videogames. Turned music up on my walkman really, really loud. Overworked a lot of school assignments.

    At some point shortly before high school graduation I came to the conclusion that I wasn't going to change. I was cursed and irreparable. Things weren't going to get fixed. My life plan became simple: go to college, graduate, become financially stable, and then tell my parents. They would obviously disown me if they knew, so if I waited to tell them until I didn't need to live off their money, I could minimize the fallout.

    So I went to college and continued hiding. It was second nature at this point. I started my freshman year as a good Christian. I attended church every weekend, found a bible study, and attended various religious events from campus groups.

    It can sound weird in light of what I shared, but at this point I still believed in God. I was still devout. That's what made it so hard. It wasn't just that I was living in a society that hated sinners like me, it's that I was living with a theology that was ripping me in half from the inside. I felt that the God I loved and who was love Himself outright hated me.

    This schism grew, as did my doubts, and I ended up losing my faith my freshman year. I stopped going to church. I stopped going to Bible study. I stopped going to events. I wasn't honest about why I did so. "I'm falling behind in some classes and really need to focus on my studies." / "I have some theological differences with the pastor and am looking for a new church right now." / "I got the flu from my roommate. Can't make it this week."

    It's not that I believed God were any less real, it's that I no longer felt I could live a life in support of Him. I was a broken, beleaguered soul. Christianity teaches that we are all that, but for everyone else, there is relief. Salvation. God is Love, and Light, and Life, but for people like me He was only darkness.

    For many people, coming out is an incredible moment. It is an act of stunning courage where they decide to affirm their own understanding of themselves over the fear and hatred of so many others. It is where they declare to the world that they are going to choose to live on their own terms, rather than the ones set out for them. Though it's a difficult moment, it's often a celebratory one. A relief. A new beginning.

    I didn't have that moment. Mine was the result of attrition. I was dying under this heavy, immovable weight. It was suffocating me. Coming out to my parents wasn't a proud opening of the closet doors but a rasping, breathless plea for help. All my life they told me they loved me, and I needed that love more than anything in that moment. This was my most drastic act. A desperate cry for help, at my very lowest point, to the people who meant the most to me.

    It hurts to type this, but I didn't get what I was looking for. It wasn't the horrible disowning of many others, where I was locked out of the house or beaten. Instead it was a sort of soft disownment. I was told to enroll in an ex-gay ministry. Told to not tell anyone else until things were "fixed." I was given ultimatums. Their disownment wasn't immediate but it was still there -- a contingency should things fail to proceed as they "should."

    All my life I'd grown up thinking love wore two faces. God was love, but he hated people like me. My parents loved me, genuinely loved me, but they would hate me if they knew. Coming out to my parents was my last ditch effort to prove that theory wrong. Surely they would love their own son, when that was what he needed more than anything else?

    I learned a difficult lesson that day. Hatred is powerful enough that it can infect love. It can seep into compassion and pollute empathy. It is a parasite that destroys the ground in which it takes hold. My parents are not bad people, but that night I spoke to hatred, not them.

    And hatred was already deeply rooted in me, a constricting vine coiling around my innermost self. It wasn't aimed at my parents, but at me. Myself. My parents failed to see past the hatred that had rooted in them to notice the hatred, for myself, rooted in me. Had they seen it, they certainly would have ripped it out. Saved me from it. Instead, they unknowingly watered it. Fertilized it. Encouraged it to grow.

    My memory from this point on is spotty. I am my own unreliable narrator. Deep depression and chronic insomnia do that to a person. I know that the hatred in me tried to take me over. If it had won, I would no longer be here. I know that what followed from that were psychiatric appointments, medication, and an intense surreality I cannot describe in words.

    What also followed from here was healing. Restoration. My story is a heavy, sad one, but it's one that has a happy ending. I talk with my parents now. I actually legitimately enjoy it now. I think they're good people. They have come a long way. It has taken me a long time to forgive them, but the clarity of hindsight lets me know that they were never my enemy -- it was the belief they adopted that turned them against me. Like a foreign invader, homophobia worked its way into their worldview and turned them against their own son. Given the culture of the time, how could it not? This wasn't just them, this was everyone. Everyone in the whole community. It was their normal. Carbon monoxide is invisible but potentially fatal. Homophobia shared that trait. It nearly killed me, and I hold it accountable, not my parents.

    Forgiveness is a powerful thing. Understanding is a powerful thing. Time is a powerful thing. All of these have slowly killed the vine of hatred inside of me. For a while it tried to cling to life, changing its focus from me to others. Didn't I hate the Church for what it did to me? My parents? The friends who deserted me?

    Hatred, a parasite, relies on its host for reproduction. Without us it cannot thrive. That is why the very thing that tried to kill me was now trying to seduce me into keeping it alive. I can't deny that its charms were powerful to a broken shell of a person like me, and I gave into them for a while.

    It wasn't until I realized that I was planting vines in others that I had the clarity to stop. I was spreading the very thing that nearly destroyed me. I was giving the parasite more life.

    The one and only thing I will ever tell to fuck off is hatred. It is a careless, destructive force. I have compassion for everyone else. Everyone. Though I am no longer religious, I believe there is a "soul" inside of all of us that is beautiful when unconstrained by hate. I believe that hatred can make it hard to see that light in others, but I live my life knowing that it's there. Humans are humans not because we're bipedal mammals with language but because there's a fundamentally inexpressible, irreducible something inside of us that makes us who we are. I believe we are here to cultivate that, not extinguish it.

    I share what I did because I like to try to help people understand the depth of my emotional pain. I had my childhood, even some of my adulthood, stolen from me. I do not look back on it with fondness but hurt. When people talk about childhood innocence, I have to understand what that is through the context of other people's stories. I don't remember such a thing in my life. Fear and hatred destroyed that ground.

    But damage is not irreparable. People are resilient. We can make it through almost anything. Those little lights inside of us fight hard to keep shining. My woe feels to me like it's the most powerful woe in the world because it's mine and I lived it, but there are people who make it through far worse. I had food every day and a house to live in. I had a bed to cry in. Nobody used my body in ways they shouldn't. I didn't have to flee in fear of harm.

    Harm is not comparative. Each of us has been the one to live through our own worst moments. Everyone has been hurt. Everyone has lived through their own individual hell. Hatred uses these for fuel. We combat it through kindness. Understanding. Love. Hatred cannot root when it is continually dug up. This is the power of good. Of giving it and receiving it.

    My story has a happy ending. I married the love of my life. My parents attended our wedding and stood by us as we said our vows. I'm now a teacher. I'm known among my colleagues for being "infinitely kind." Patient and supportive. I'm known among students for being "someone who cares."

    Whether my students are gay like me or not, each of them knows how it feels to be different. Each of them knows how it feels to be isolated. Misunderstood. Some more than others. I do what I do knowing that every single day I get to be a source of support for someone who needs it. It's what keeps me in this shitty job in the first place. The pay and workload are awful. Every year I want to leave.

    But I haven't yet because there's always more work to be done. More opportunities. I get to be a role model. How many people can say that about themselves? I'm humbled to think that people look up to me, yet year after year so many do. I've helped so many students understand that who they are is not an error or a mistake or a typo of life. I've helped them not give in to the hatred they've experienced and the scars it has left. I try to help them see that who they are is valuable and wonderful and that they have gifts that they need to share with the world and that the world has hope that it can share with them. I try to help them see that they have kindness to offer and goodness to give. Everyone has that. They can never run out, and we can always use more of it.

    My story has a happy ending because I'm able to live the life I almost lost the chance to have. I almost died to hatred. I live, every beautiful day, to spite it. Kindness is king, and it is through kindness we thrive. Be kind. Always.

    37 votes
    1. [4]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      I've gone through a similar situation to you, but with very different timing and circumstances. I came out in my Junior year of High School, but I softened the truth and told my father that I was...

      I've gone through a similar situation to you, but with very different timing and circumstances. I came out in my Junior year of High School, but I softened the truth and told my father that I was bisexual. He told me that he didn't care about it, but he really was not. When I told him about whatever boy trouble I was going through his first reaction was always to tell me that it wouldn't happen if it were a relationship with a woman.

      My answer to the question at hand is not from the decision to come out, it was from the decision to leave home. My father is quite literally a psychopath. Home was an extremely bad place to grow up; it was full of emotional abuse. I'm not going to go into too many details for a couple of reasons, but let me just say that the biggest difference between me and you is that I lost my faith praying for God to help my father to be less cruel. You remember your childhood with the time you spent crying, but the most vivid thing in my memories is suffocation. Most often it was because my sadness and anger would come in these paroxysms; muffled screaming and crying often left me breathless. But then there were also times when I was having my screams being muffled by his hands.

      So this decision happened sometime around 2008, during the recession. I had graduated high school and failed to even go to a single class of the university I had made it into simply because I had no support to help me actually get to classes. I guess I was too stupid to talk to a counselor to get help, or maybe after so many ineffective public school counselors I didn't have any faith in them. I couldn't get a job simply because there were no jobs, and because my father refused to see that, he would use my unemployment and depression as reasons to make my life worse. He constantly invaded my privacy - I had the door to my room removed, and he literally set up a string of mirrors so that he could constantly spy on me. If that weren't enough, he would also remove power and internet, removing me from my only support network.

      So I had decided to become homeless. As much as I was giving up, it was still vast improvement to me. But then the police picked me up and convinced me to go back home. I forget exactly what he said to me; something about the disconnections being illegal or something. So I made the stupidest decision I have ever made and went back. Why was this stupid? Because this went on to a fight that escalated so far that I almost killed one of us. It ended up with me being hospitalized.

      I'm actually skipping a lot of details because I don't want to overshadow your story. But this story does have a happy ending. Because of the hospitalization, my grandparents heard about it and my grandfather invited me to live with them. And because of that, I've managed to live the life of my choosing.

      The part where you talk about having your childhood stolen from you really speaks to me. I kept crying for weeks after I moved because I was mourning the life I had dreamed of building. Today I still find myself occasionally becoming angry with jealousy when people talk about how great their childhood was.

      The biggest difference between you and me is that I don't really have the same ability to forgive and forget. That is the problem when your damage comes from mental illness, and he is worse now than he was back then. He will never understand the depths of his sins. His "I love you" will always be hollow and meaningless.

      A few months ago, I talked to my uncle, his brother, and he gave me the only external source of closure I will ever get. He told me he understood. He knew this couldn't ever be a healthy relationship. And I could hear him crying in the background as he sympathized to me. And that's one of the great powerful lessons I have learned in my life; Family is not determined by blood, but by tears.

      15 votes
      1. [3]
        kfwyre
        Link Parent
        Wow. I'm floored. Thank you for your honesty. Do not worry about overshadowing my story. I believe queer stories are best heard together anyway. The isolation so many of us live through is broken...

        Wow. I'm floored.

        Thank you for your honesty. Do not worry about overshadowing my story. I believe queer stories are best heard together anyway. The isolation so many of us live through is broken by making our experiences communal. For those whose lives have been defined by silence, there's strength and healing in hearing our own voices alongside one another.

        I am glad that you are out of that situation. Forgiveness is powerful, but it is also something that should not be given freely. I have been able to forgive my parents only because they have put in the work and made changes for the better. I also don't want you to get the impression that it was easy. We fought. For years. There was further hurt too. My suicide attempt should have been the turning point of our story, but it was really the beginning of a sharp decline that only recently reversed course. Forgiveness is something your father would have to earn, and if he is not able to do so, it is not his to have.

        I'm glad you survived, and I'm glad you are here. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I know it's not easy to do, but it can be absolutely worth it when it makes a difference. Know that it made a difference for me. Thank you.

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          Akir
          Link Parent
          Honestly, I don't like to think of my story as one of being queer. It's just what happened, and being queer was just a small part of it. Me being gay wasn't the cause of the conflict, it was just...

          Honestly, I don't like to think of my story as one of being queer. It's just what happened, and being queer was just a small part of it. Me being gay wasn't the cause of the conflict, it was just an extra element.

          In all honesty, coming out may have also been one of my best decisions. Though in reality it wasn't a decision. I was so miserable (I had very, very bad depression) that I thought if I didn't, I would end up killing myself.

          But like I said, it helped me out tremendously. In school, people started to actually take me seriously for some reason. I hope the real reason was just because high school was ending and people were realizing they just needed to be more mature. And most importantly, it got me to go to the LGBT community center, which was a great deal of help even though I was never able to communicate how bad my household really was to any of them. The simple gestures of inclusivity made a huge difference to me.

          4 votes
          1. kfwyre
            Link Parent
            While I can't define for you how you should see your story, I will say that I think it's vitally important that we have stories of all types. Stories like mine were the queer monoculture for the...

            While I can't define for you how you should see your story, I will say that I think it's vitally important that we have stories of all types. Stories like mine were the queer monoculture for the longest time, where being gay in a bad way was the. biggest. part. of. it. Period. Full stop.

            Certainly those stories are important, but there is so much more to being queer -- so many other textures and experiences. I want to hear from people who came out effortlessly just as much as I want to hear from those who struggled. I want to hear from people whose queer identities are central to their personhood, and I want to hear from people for whom it's but a small part of who they are.

            To me, your story is still a queer narrative even though that wasn't the primary focus. The fact that it was positive for you is awesome! That doesn't make it any less queer! It just helps us expand our understanding of the queer experience to include your story, which is just as valid and true as mine.

            That said, more than anything, I support self-determination, so if you tell me you're not comfortable with your story being framed like this, then I'll gladly respect that. Everybody has the right to their own story, and it's not my place to tell you how to conceptualize yours. I just think the beauty of the queer umbrella isn't that I myself can stand underneath it but that it can fit over so many of us together, all at once.

            2 votes
    2. [3]
      Douglas
      Link Parent
      Thank you so much for sharing this story. Were there any movies, books, or other media that really connected with you or helped you in your darkest times? I ask because it feels to me like-- aside...

      Thank you so much for sharing this story.

      Were there any movies, books, or other media that really connected with you or helped you in your darkest times? I ask because it feels to me like-- aside from maybe a few television episodes/shows and metaphor superhero comics, which usually turn out OK-- we're really lacking a poignant coming-out story that goes wrong for the world to see and connect with. Most of the ones I've seen involve an immediate acceptance, or at most a glossed-over rejection that's not really dwelled on. I also ask because you were very good at writing about your painful experience, and I think if someone going through something similar were to read your words and connect with it, it would feel like a hand has reached out and touched them in the most comforting manner.

      5 votes
      1. kfwyre
        Link Parent
        Thank you for the kind words. Your last sentence made me cry! Media in general helped me in my darkest times, but it was never a salve for my identity or a source of positive representation....

        Thank you for the kind words. Your last sentence made me cry!

        Media in general helped me in my darkest times, but it was never a salve for my identity or a source of positive representation. Instead, I used it to get away from things. I played through videogames over and over again to get my mind off of things. On nights where I couldn't sleep I would stack up discs next to my bedside and chain listen to them, back to back. Napster was an incredible resource for me, as I no longer had to buy specific CDs or tape songs off the radio. I could download whatever I wanted and make my own mixes. I've spent thousands of hours of my life living inside of music when I should have been sleeping.

        Unfortunately, even with my myriad media consumption, all the way up until college I had no real exposure to any sort of queer media or representation. Not only was it rarely available at the time, but had I been able to access it I would have been too afraid to engage with it. I remember reading the newspaper and seeing an article about gay people and quickly turning the page. Some of it was self-preservation: if a family member saw me reading an article about the gays, what might that say about me? The fear of guilt by association was huge. The other part was that I was legitimately afraid to read it because I didn't want to feed this part of me that I hated. I wasn't confident and assured in my identity. I didn't know that it was the world that was wrong, not me. So, even if I'd had access to media that featured someone like me, I can't even say that I would have connected with it. I was that far gone. The homophobia was that pervasive.

        The closest I came to a queer story was probably John Knowles's A Separate Peace. The author has disavowed a gay interpretation of it, but there's enough there that you can easily find that subtext should you look for it. I know it pinged for me. The entire novel is about an intimate male relationship, and it felt like the text outright confirmed one character's queerness at the end. I can't remember the exact wording, but the character gazes fondly at some military men in their underwear. We read it for one of my literature classes in high school, and I remember one of the students asked the teacher if the two main characters were gay. The teacher shut down the conversation immediately, stating that it was "a novel about friendship" and entertained no further comments. To this day I don't know if that's because it's what she legitimately believed or because she was afraid to allow the topic to come up. She no doubt would have faced controversy in the community had kids gone home and let their parents know that they'd talked about gay characters in class.

        After I came out in college, I started reading every queer book I could get my hands on. By the end of my stay I was pretty fearless and no doubt notorious for what I would get via interlibrary loan. Of these many of the details and entire plotlines have faded to time, but they still hold fond places in my heart for being the first queer media I really dove into. What follows isn't necessarily what you're looking for (a parallel coming out story to my own) but some resonant media that has stuck with me to this day.

        The most prominent book is Leroy Aaron's Prayers for Bobby. It hits very close to home. It's about a Christian mother whose gay son, Bobby Griffith, was driven to suicide. So much of their story overlaps with mine. Bobby and I lived in different places and different times, yet we faced the same hatred and both decided to end our lives rather than continue existing. When I talk about the nature of hatred in my first post, this is what I mean. There is no reason we should have the same story, yet you can see our experiences, copied and pasted verbatim, all across America and the world. How sad is it that the great unifying experience for queer people was hatred? It is our common thread, and it acted upon our lives in the same way, across state lines. Countries. Continents.

        Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower was also a favorite of mine. It's a beloved YA novel with queer characters and a sensitive male protagonist. The identity aspects alone were unheard of at the time, but I also found the writing and story beautiful and haunting. I hadn't ever read anything like it. Despite being outside its target age group, reading it allowed me to feel like the teenager I never was.

        Outside of books, Vienna Teng's "City Hall" was a torch that I carried for a long time. It's a song about San Francisco issuing same-sex marriage licenses in 2004, which caused gay couples from across the country to flock there in order to get legal marriages (which were later annulled). It was a wonderful, beautiful source of hope for a long time when it was uncertain whether I would ever be able to have my love recognized by the law. It stayed with me for years, like a close friend. I've cried to it many a time. When my husband and I got married in our local city hall, I quoted from the song in my vows.

        There was also an increasing amount of support online. I don't remember when it started up but the blog I'm From Driftwood started sharing everyday queer people's stories. It was great to read about queer people who weren't fictional or famous, but just people living their lives. It was like a queer Humans of New York -- powerful in just how down to earth it was. Similarly, there was the "It Gets Better" campaign. Even though it was aimed more at kids, it still meant a ton to me and every other queer adult I knew.

        As @Akir brought up, tragic gay stories are pretty common. Some people are deeply bothered by this, and I guess if I really analyze it I could come to the same conclusion, but to me this is simply reflective of the lives so many of us have had to live. Until recently, tragedy was largely our identifier, and these stories reflected that. Though we are certainly more than our tragedy, I can't deny that many of these stories were instrumental to me. They helped me see that I am not the only one who went through what I did, and, correspondingly, they helped me see how important it is for people like me to share my story.

        I got to speak to a mostly queer audience once about depression and my suicide attempt. It was in the community I grew up with, which of course was marked by rampant homophobia. After I finished, people lined up to talk to me. Over and over, I heard the message "your story is mine too." From so many of them. Some people thanked me for speaking for friends they'd lost. I share my story not only because it's mine, but because there are many like me who didn't make it -- like Bobby Griffith. If I can use my voice to help call attention to and combat the hatred that took their lives from them, then that's an opportunity I'm humbled to have. I share my story not because it's exceptional but because it's frighteningly, devastatingly common.

        8 votes
      2. Akir
        Link Parent
        There are actually quite a lot of movies featuring people coming out and not being accepted by their family. Some of them are entirely about it. Frankly, most of them are very depressing and I...

        There are actually quite a lot of movies featuring people coming out and not being accepted by their family. Some of them are entirely about it.

        Frankly, most of them are very depressing and I don't like to remember these kinds of depressing movies. So instead I will recommend watching Pose. The first episode has one of the characters being kicked out of their house after his father discovers that he is gay. But that's actually a really short story arch, because he is welcomed into a ballroom 'family' soon afterwards. The entire show basically takes the idea of acceptance as it's central theme, so I'd recommend watching the whole thing.

        7 votes
  2. [3]
    tindall
    Link
    I decided to live full time as a woman before doing any medical transition things, like hormones or laser hair removal. It wasn't much of a "decision" at the time, but rather a series of decisions...

    I decided to live full time as a woman before doing any medical transition things, like hormones or laser hair removal.

    It wasn't much of a "decision" at the time, but rather a series of decisions that basically looked like having to choose between taking a locally easier path or being more authentic to myself and my identity - things like introducing myself as my chosen name, wearing obviously gender-mismatched clothes (before I was able to pass at all), and shaving... a lot.

    And, well, it's been great! It's been hard, sometimes, because introducing yourself with a female name while you don't pass gets you a lot of bad looks.

    But at the same time, it means I was able to get my name changed before graduation (so it will be on my diploma) and build more of a reputation under my new name and identity, and also really helped me weed out transphobes from my friend group. Nothing marks a bigot faster than asking them to call someone with unconquerable shadow "Nora".

    All in all, a good decision, but hugely consequential!

    11 votes
    1. [2]
      Bishop
      Link Parent
      oh ,y fixing g god say more words. please continue speaking

      oh ,y fixing g god say more words. please continue speaking

      2 votes
      1. tindall
        Link Parent
        I'm happy to give more info, though it might be easier if I know what specifically you're interested in. I'd always been pretty critical of the whole "male"/"masculinity" thing, but my upbringing...

        I'm happy to give more info, though it might be easier if I know what specifically you're interested in.

        I'd always been pretty critical of the whole "male"/"masculinity" thing, but my upbringing had made me pretty sure that "becoming a woman" was something only weirdos did and was something to be talked about in only hushed tones or as a side note about someone creepy.

        Eventually, though, I met several very nice trans people who educated me on the concept, and I sought out more information, like what medical transition options are available for trans women, and how people actually determine gender when they see people (turns out it's mostly about a few specific visual cues, clothing, voice, and mannerisms). I started acting more feminine and working on my voice, and eventually, it became pretty clear that what I was experiencing was very much binary gender dysphoria, so I just... went for it.

        It hasn't been all roses; I got "doxed" by KiwiFarms a while back (they only got my old name, which is literally Googlable, so, whatever), and some professors at my school are... pretty terrible about it. I feel pretty unsafe in some places, too, and the process of legally changing one's name and gender is a huge hassle.

        But overall, it's been absolutely lifechanging. HRT (oral estradiol and spironolactone) has been great, and laser hair removal saves me a lot of money on razors, but neither one was really necessary. Plus, as we all know, all trans girls get cat ears, so that's been great!

        5 votes
  3. [2]
    gergir
    Link
    Coming to Europe. Wasn't really my choice, am honouring a promise. But holy moly the culture shock is like bumper cars 24/7 with an occasional freight trein collision to keep things interesting, I...

    Coming to Europe. Wasn't really my choice, am honouring a promise. But holy moly the culture shock is like bumper cars 24/7 with an occasional freight trein collision to keep things interesting, I suppose.

    8 votes
    1. Enoch
      Link Parent
      You should write about that. There used to be articles and I think at least one book by an Englishwoman living in France who wrote from the point of view of a stodgy major visiting France. Very...

      You should write about that. There used to be articles and I think at least one book by an Englishwoman living in France who wrote from the point of view of a stodgy major visiting France. Very funny stuff cause spot on observations. Not saying turn it into comedy but you know, hold up a mirror?

      6 votes
  4. [6]
    Douglas
    (edited )
    Link
    I went vegetarian back in 2003. It went pretty good. I keep dipping in and out of veganism but keep coming back to cheese, no thanks to pizza. My wife and I are trying to ebb it out as best we...

    I went vegetarian back in 2003. It went pretty good.

    I keep dipping in and out of veganism but keep coming back to cheese, no thanks to pizza. My wife and I are trying to ebb it out as best we can. Only vegan foodstuffs are allowed in the house.

    Nobody in my family cared anymore than an eye roll. My parents are super accommodating and make us vegetarian stuff for Thanksgiving. I'm fortunate enough that my aunt is a nutritionist (? or is it dietician? I'm a bad nephew) and an incredible cook, and makes something that accommodates everyone every year through some magic in the kitchen. I'm going to steal her cookbook someday.

    It should also be noted the city I live in super progressive and has a lot of vegan options. It's a rarity that I go to a restaurant and there's nothing vegan on the menu. Even in rural areas, the only place I can think of off the top of my head that had zero vegetarian options whatsoever (without heavy modifications) was Denny's.

    If anyone else wants to try it, the thing that worked for me was to just look into where your meat/animal byproducts come from, and the effects they have on the environment and in some cases your health. I read The China Study (which some say is heavily skewed/biased) and Eating Animals. I should probably re-read Eating Animals to help keep me in check on my wanting to go vegan. Anyways, once I learned more about the meat industry, my mind just kind of played a tape of things that go in in there anytime I'd smell or think of meat, which helped disgust me into avoiding it.

    The worst I have to deal with is just meat-eaters interrogating me every now and again, and vegans asking why I haven't gone all the way. I have no excuses for the vegans other than I have poor self-control, especially during stressful times in my life, and things got pretty stressful for a while. I'm trying to come back around as best I can.

    Edit: A word

    7 votes
    1. Bishop
      Link Parent
      If she’s a nutritionist, she sells Herbalife. If she’s a dietician, she went to school for it. Eating Animals fucking the Foer brothers are some of my favorite authors. I highly recommend....

      If she’s a nutritionist, she sells Herbalife. If she’s a dietician, she went to school for it.

      Eating Animals fucking the Foer brothers are some of my favorite authors. I highly recommend. “Moonwalking with zEinstein” by the other one. (No z but I can’t be fucked to delete(

      poor self control the vegan in me wants to recommend the documentaries Food Inc. or (better yet) Earthlings. The goth drunken bastard in me understands.

      Hope you’re doing well, pal

      4 votes
    2. [4]
      tindall
      Link Parent
      That sounds like a huge change! Do you cook a lot? I love cooking and I love cooking meat, which is a big part of what's keeping me from going vegetarian.

      That sounds like a huge change! Do you cook a lot? I love cooking and I love cooking meat, which is a big part of what's keeping me from going vegetarian.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        Douglas
        Link Parent
        When I was single I rarely cooked and mostly ate either at work (our break rooms had kitchens full of food/snacks and I was working 60 hour work weeks), ate out on weekends, or something I could...

        When I was single I rarely cooked and mostly ate either at work (our break rooms had kitchens full of food/snacks and I was working 60 hour work weeks), ate out on weekends, or something I could wolf down over the sink.

        It wasn't until my wife and I started living together and I had someone to cook for that I got into cooking a lot through food blogs and cookbooks, and the variety of fun stuff to explore with veggie alternatives is pretty neat.

        1. [2]
          tindall
          Link Parent
          Awesome! I'll try to get some more veggie-based cookbooks. Do you have any recommendations?

          Awesome! I'll try to get some more veggie-based cookbooks. Do you have any recommendations?

          1. Douglas
            Link Parent
            Veganomicon was my go-to, but then I started getting lazy so I'd gotten into The Vegan Stoner, followed by its food blog and others like Budget Bytes or Ohsheglows. I think I have a big enough...

            Veganomicon was my go-to, but then I started getting lazy so I'd gotten into The Vegan Stoner, followed by its food blog and others like Budget Bytes or Ohsheglows. I think I have a big enough rotation now that I haven't checked out new ones for quite a while.

            2 votes
  5. ChuckS
    Link
    I decided to study abroad in Germany my senior year of mechanical engineering. My wife agreed that it'd be fun, probably the last grand adventure we could take until we retired. I was a transfer...

    I decided to study abroad in Germany my senior year of mechanical engineering. My wife agreed that it'd be fun, probably the last grand adventure we could take until we retired.

    I was a transfer student from the local community college, so my course sequence was all out of whack, and I needed to take the German language classes, so I wound up looking at 21 credits per semester for my junior year of mechanical engineering. This is when all the really hard classes hit, so I decided it would be better to split my junior year into two years. This worked out nicer, too, because my wife would then graduate with a master's in English education the spring before we were to leave. We were hoping she could get a job teaching English while I was finishing the degree.

    Well, 21 credits per semester split into two years is 12 credits one year and 9 the next, so I had the chance to truly pick whatever I wanted as a free elective. Took a mechatronics sequence that was really amazing. Started talking to some of the students from the German university (our would-be counterparts) and they told us how employment in Germany worked: first, the employer had to show no qualified Germans could fill the position, then they had to show no EU citizens could fill the position, then they could hire someone from the US.

    So hiring prospects for my wife were sounding pretty grim, and then she got an offer letter to be a teacher at a local school. We then had to decide if it was worth the financial risk to turn down the guaranteed money on the chance to get a job in Germany, decided it wasn't worth the risk, and bailed on the study abroad program. We had literally already purchased the plane tickets and everything.

    She winds up teaching in that school system until our first child was born, and I enjoyed mechatronics so much that I sought out a relationship with the professor over the class, who gave me a research assistanceship that paid fully for my graduate degree.

    It would have been a blast, but I think I'm in a much better situation now than I would have been if I had gone, especially if my wife would not have been able to find work there.

    4 votes
  6. mike10010100
    Link
    My girlfriend and I (at the time, now my wife!) quit our jobs and went on a 5-month-long road trip around the United States. We just felt so trapped in a continuous loop at our jobs, it was right...

    My girlfriend and I (at the time, now my wife!) quit our jobs and went on a 5-month-long road trip around the United States. We just felt so trapped in a continuous loop at our jobs, it was right after Trump was elected, and we saw the shit pipeline that was coming, so we figured, hey, why not go out and experience all that America is and has to offer while all of it is still relatively unchanged by Trump's bullshit?

    What followed were some of the most amazing months of my entire existence. We worked through a lot of issues on both ends, she with her depression/anxiety, as well as with communication and understanding, and me with learning to become a unique person and coming into myself/away from the upbringing I'd been subjected to under a narcissist. My wife taught me so much about myself, and I her.

    Nothing like being locked in a car together for 5 months to really shake out any lingering personality and ideological differences.

    But even more than that, I will always remember, and wistfully long for the literal trip of a lifetime to return. We started in Hoboken, NJ, worked our way down through Pennsylvania/Virginia to Nashville, then Memphis, down to New Orleans, over to Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, Santa Fe, then a whole mess of a month where we jogged back and forth between the four corners states because we loved them so much (and basically uncovered the fact that we wanted to make the next phase of our life in Colorado), saw the Grand Canyon, then Las Vegas, the east coast of California, then the west coast of Oregon/Washington, then a mad dash back across through Montana, North Dakota/South Dakota, then straight on through Madison Wisconsin and back through Pittsburgh on our way home.

    We tried to hit every last national park we could on our way through, and holy fucking shit you guys America is absolutely gorgeous. Like mind-blowingly, soul-strikingly beautiful.

    We stayed mostly at camp grounds to save on money, but every once in a while splurged for a hotel, motel, or Airbnb when the rates were good.

    I cannot recommend it enough. Seriously. It's one of those trips where, multiple times during it, we met up with people who were significantly older than we were (we were around 26 then, most people we met were in their 50s or 60s), and they were both surprised and overjoyed that we had decided to do this trip when we were young enough to be able to scramble up rocks in Moab or hike all the way down the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

    As for how it worked out? Well about halfway through the trip, I got a call from a company who had passed me over for a DevOps role, saying that they had another DevOps role that seems far more suited to my experience. A few phone calls later, and I had a job all lined up for when I returned. Even got a decent pay bump as well, which is allowing my wife to finally make the change in career that she so desperately needed. I honestly felt so ridiculously lucky.

    If it were up to me, I'd make traveling like that my full time job. There is so much in this world to experience, and so often we get wrapped up in our own daily grind that we completely miss out on what is most important about our time here on earth.

    It was genuinely a trip of a lifetime...which is why we will absolutely be doing it again.

    2 votes