Mrs. Kate

Or, Why I Changed My Mind and Kept My Name

It wasn’t that long ago that I wrote my big spiel on why I was going to change my name after getting married. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly, and I made all the steps towards changing my name I could make before going the legal route – I made a new email, I started a new blog, and I updated my name on Facebook. It all seemed pretty smooth sailing from there. Continue reading “Mrs. Kate”

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Christmas Hang-Over

(Originally Written December 27, 2014)

Christmas is, for me, like how my mother described labour to me all those years ago when I foolishly asked. It hurts like hell, is stressful as all get-out, and in the middle of it you swear you’ll never do it again. But then you see the sparkling tree – er, baby – and all the shitty stuff fades into the background noise.

This is how Christmas is for me, and has been for many years. And I imagine for you or at least someone you know, too. Every year, colourful and warm memories float in my brain of Christmas: bright lights, a beautiful tree, days off from work, tasty meals, delicious baking, the joy of giving and receiving. Even as late as November, I make ambitious lists of gifts to buy or make, holiday cards to send out, the various recipes of baking I want to do, and the packages to assemble to mail out to far-away family.

And every year, by the end of November, it all comes crashing down and my pre-holiday case of stress winds me up. I have this problem where I seem to think I am more efficient and focused than I actually am. I’m not sure where I got this idea from; I have never been strong with time-management or motivating myself. So why I continually, every year, create to-do lists of zillions of things to do, get, make, package, and ship in time for Christmas is beyond me. There is always an inevitable melt-down when I realize one (or several) of my Christmas plans or goals is unrealistic, and yet when it is all said and done, whatever did not get accomplished was never really missed. I always vow never to over-plan again.

Continue reading “Christmas Hang-Over”

Wedding Regrets

Recently I started working as a photographer’s assistant to learn how to do wedding photography. It was late in summer when I started, so the wedding season was almost finished. Nonetheless, I went to and photographed five weddings in the span of about two months. For someone who hasn’t been to a lot of weddings, it was a bit overwhelming.

I thought it would be weird to go to strangers’ weddings. And it was, a bit. But it was also lovely. A wedding is still a beautiful event meant to celebrate a couple’s love, whether the bride is your best friend or someone you met for the first time as they hustled into their wedding dress.

A lot of care, and planning, and love went into the weddings I attended. Two of them were Disney themed. One had a general geek theme. All were painstakingly decorated with handmade decorations and beautiful flowers.

I love weddings. They are fun for me, as a guest and also as a photographer. So going to five weddings after my own just over a year ago brought back some wonderful memories, but also stirred up some regrets. Continue reading “Wedding Regrets”

Why Sexist Comments Sometimes Make Me Smile

In 2007, I was involved in a very minor car accident. I still got whiplash, though. WAD-1, it’s called: Whiplash Associated Disorder, level 1. The doctor who examined me told me to ice my neck, and gave me a short prescription for a muscle relaxant. Cyclobenzaprine. The pain got to be pretty intense, and the drugs made me woozy enough to pass out, so it was a rough few weeks after that.

I was hardcore into Taekwon-do at the time, and had taken a break to recover from my injury. As soon as I started to feel better, I started training again. In the middle of class one night, a move I’d done hundreds of times before went wrong. Something in my back hurt. A lot. I was frozen in pain as the class continued around me, until a friend noticed and helped me off the training floor.

That sharp pain in 2007 formed a muscle knot in my lower back to the left of my spine – a lump which remains in my back to this day. It varies in size, and on good days is pretty hard to find. On bad days, it’s the size of an egg and super painful.

And so began my struggle with myofascial pain syndrome, a chronic pain condition involving the muscles (myo) and muscular connective tissue (fascia). The basis of the pain comes from trigger points – basically “knots” in the muscle – that can spasm painfully, and can even create pain in other areas of the body, known as referred pain.

It started in my back, but it spread. You might have experienced something similar; you’ve got soreness in one part of your body, so you compensate – maybe you limp, or you use your non-dominant hand – which creates a stress on the compensating portion of your body. Or your shoulders hurt, and then your neck gets sore, and then you get a headache. My pain moved. Trigger points spasming in my lower back made my midback develop trigger points, and then my shoulders and neck (already primed by the previous whiplash injury).

Cyclobenzaprine stopped working. I was in a lot of pain, almost all the time. It put my stress levels through the roof. What I didn’t realize at the time was how heavily my stress levels would impact my condition. Continue reading “Why Sexist Comments Sometimes Make Me Smile”

A Woman Works

(Originally written on March 9, 2014.)

I am a bisexual woman engaged to a woman. A wonderful woman who has made me happier than I’ve ever been before. There is that saying that, someday, someone will walk into your life and make you realize why it never worked out with anyone else. This is what I have, and it’s phenomenal. I feel like I’m the luckiest person alive! But of course, all my exes are men, and my fiancée is a woman. So the question always comes:

“Do you think it’s working out so well because of who she is, or because she’s a woman?” Continue reading “A Woman Works”

Book Review: Huntress

Warning: This review may contain small spoilers!

Categories: Lesbian, Queer, Women, Fantasy, YA

I have to admit, I’ve never read queer fantasy before. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but Malinda Lo’s Huntress sure didn’t disappoint!

The basic story is this: The Kingdom is in trouble. Weather patterns have changed, and crops are failing. Food is scarce, people are starving, and things aren’t looking good. Our hero, Kaede, is fruitlessly studying at a magical school, realizing she has little skill. (Think of a Squib trying to study at Hogwarts.) Our other hero, Taisin, is super magical. They go on a quest together to save The Kingdom.

The story is told in third person, but takes on varying perspectives, sometimes changing very quickly. There were a couple spots where that got a little confusing, but otherwise, I prefer third person narratives, so I enjoyed the narration. (Some people on Goodreads were really not okay with it.) Continue reading “Book Review: Huntress”

Finding Church

I’ve been a member of my church for about five years. I started going shortly after I first moved into the neighborhood. I’ve wanted a church to call home for a very long time, but as a youth did not want one that prescribed a belief system I could not get behind. Mostly, I’m talking about Christianity.

When I was in high school, those were still the days before the cross-Canada legalization of same-sex marriage. I was starting to explore organized religion after my studies in individual spiritual systems left me feeling unfulfilled, and an unidentified nagging pushed me onward. I decided to attend a local United Church and loved it. The friendliness, the singing, the shaking hands. It wasn’t overly preachy. I couldn’t wait to dive all the way in.

I had many chats with the church’s youth pastor and eventually the subject of confirmation classes came up. I only had to clear up one thing.

“How important is the belief in the divinity of Jesus?” I asked.

“It’s the core of our belief system,” he told me, slightly bewildered.

I thanked him for his time and never went back. I would find Church elsewhere. Continue reading “Finding Church”

I respectfully disagree with both Simon Pegg & George Takei over Gay Sulu

So I just saw Star Trek Beyond. You know, the one with gay Sulu.

Not to spoil it; it’s super subtle. While on temporary leave on a star base, Sulu is able to meet up with whom we are led to assume is his partner and his daughter. His partner is a man. The only other shot we get is his partner appearing next to him at a party later on.

And so, everyone has been freaking out that Sulu is gay.

George Takei has stated that he is disappointed that the character he played on The Original Series has been changed so fundamentally. He agrees that it’s about time for an LGBT hero to show up in the Trek universe on screen, but feels that a new character should have been developed instead of changing one that Gene Roddenberry created as a heterosexual. He says that the interracial kiss that Star Trek aired in 1968 was about as far as they could push the envelope at the time, so excluding LGBT characters was “not some oversight by [Gene Roddenberry]; it was a conscious decision with which he grappled.”

Simon Pegg has respectfully disagreed. He claimed that in introducing a new character as gay, the character “would have been primarily defined by their sexuality, seen as the ‘gay character’, rather than simply for who they are, and isn’t that tokenism?” He argues that Roddenberry would have made Sulu gay himself, and “[i]f he could have explored Sulu’s sexuality with George, he no doubt would have.”

While I see both points of view, why is nobody considering the option of Sulu just being bi? Continue reading “I respectfully disagree with both Simon Pegg & George Takei over Gay Sulu”

Mrs. Mo

Or, Why I’ve Finally Decided to Change My Last Name

Recently I figured out, with a little effort, how to change my name on Facebook. It’s a move I don’t make lightly. My mother comes from a family of only two daughters. They both made conscious decisions to pass on the family name. My father was easy-going about it, so Mom not only kept her maiden name, but passed it on to my brother and me.

Talk of marriage has come up in relationships for me before, and it never got any further than talk. But the conversations I did have usually got around to my last name, eventually. I was always adamant that I would keep my last name. Partly to keep the name alive, partly for feminism, and partly because I thought it would be really weird to take on a new name. I balked at this expectation that I would just absorb into my husband’s family. If it wasn’t an established cultural expectation – requirement, even, for some men – then I would probably have been more open minded about it.

Like I am now, with my wife. With two women, there is no assumption about last names. There were questions, of course, but most started with the supposition that we were not changing. “So you’ll be keeping your names, or will one of you change it?” We were already bucking tradition by marrying women. Continue reading “Mrs. Mo”

A Bisexual’s Secret: I Am Intimidated By Women.

(Originally posted on March 27, 2013 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

I’m bisexual, and the prospect of dating a woman terrifies me. It’s probably the main reason I took ten years to finally accept myself and come out. I knew I wasn’t just straight-but-not-narrow when I was fourteen. But the few times I hesitantly reached out beyond the fear of rejection in high school, I was shut down – and painfully. It was easier to just focus my attention on boys and pretend I didn’t notice girls.

I also have the worst gaydar ever.

Honestly, I even have trouble sussing out whether straight men are hitting on me or not, so the idea of trying to read signals from a lady gives me serious anxiety. The awkward, hurtful experience of confessing a crush to a straight girl is something I don’t want to repeat at this point in my life.

Getting involved in LGBTQ events in Edmonton has been helpful, since I have met women I can say with certainty are attracted to other women, but not all crushes pop up at lesbian events. Sometimes they show up inconveniently at work, or at school, or at church. Men confuse me as it is. Continue reading “A Bisexual’s Secret: I Am Intimidated By Women.”