The Travel Companion

We all have a story like this.

When I was 24, I worked at a research company downtown. It wasn’t the most fulfilling of jobs (still waiting for that!) but it paid the bills. Prior to taking this job, I had spent a year working at Scotia Place, a shiny, impressive-looking building that had its own LRT station. This little transit perk had made commuting a treat for my directionally-challenged self.

I had been at my new job for about a week, and as such, I didn’t yet have a feel for my coworkers. Since I wasn’t comfortable spending my lunch break with strangers, I had made a habit of going out. So far, I had spent the week’s noon hours wandering aimlessly around the city, keeping an eye on my watch.

On one particular day, I had made plans to meet my old work crew for lunch. Scotia Place was several blocks away from my new job, so I decided to take the LRT. The ride would be short (only a couple of stations) and direct. Minimal room for error.

I descended the concrete steps and made my way to the middle of the platform. There were lots of people around (though not quite as many as I’d seen during morning and afternoon rush hours). I determined which side of the platform my train would be on, and I turned to face that direction. The schedule indicated that I only had a few minutes to wait, so I didn’t bother sitting down.

A minute or two later, a man came up to me. He appeared to be in his thirties; not much taller than I was, nor much bigger. He was standing a bit too close for comfort; a fact I was just starting to register when he began speaking.

“Hello,” he said. Continue reading “The Travel Companion”

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Independent Woman is Dating a Woman

(Originally posted on January 9, 2014 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

Several weeks ago, I went to my first appointment with my therapist. I’ve done therapy before, but I had a new, pressing topic to discuss. Since coming out, I’ve been feeling guilty about my outward expression; how I dress, how I wear my hair, whether or not I choose to wear make up.

Growing up, I idolized my older brother. I wanted to be as good as he was at everything, wanted to eat my cereal as fast as he did, wanted to grow to be as tall as he was. After we both grew to our close-to adult sizes, I started wearing a lot of his hand-me-downs. I continue to favour baggier clothes than many women do, and continue to purchase men’s pants to this day. When I was fourteen, I stopped dance classes after almost ten years. I was tired of having my hair styled tightly into buns cemented in place with gel and hairspray, and I was tired of the thick stage make up. I withdrew from make up and had no terrible interest in putting great effort into my hair.

When I was about fifteen, a year after I stopped dancing, I started Taekwon-do and archery classes. I wore more men’s clothing, and I enjoyed being good at things that were predominantly ‘guy’ things, like martial arts and science. I actively avoided anything pink, as I didn’t want to be associated with anything that girly. It got more and more intense as I got older. I only wore men’s pants and refused to carry a purse, opting for a man wallet. I took a bow-hunting course and was one of only three or four women in a class of around twenty. I was proud just to be there as a woman, and when I turned out to have more natural talent at certain things, you couldn’t wipe the grin off my face for days. I learned to drive a stick shift. I took welding classes. I was running my life under the motto of anything you can do, I can do better.

My dad has influenced me in this regard, as well. He has always been adamant that I should never need a man for anything – not to pay my bills, not to fix my car. I have done a lot of my own car maintenance, with my dad and brother showing me how to do it for next time. I’ve replaced my own brakes, done all my own oil changes, and I’ve changed a flat tire in a rainstorm. I see my financial and personal independence as a huge part of who I am, and will frequently deny help from others, especially men, with the phrase, ‘I’m an independent woman!’

Continue reading “Independent Woman is Dating a Woman”

The Same-Sex Choice

“Many lesbians and gay men believe that bisexuals have less commitment to “the community”, and that whatever a lesbian or gay man might have to offer to their bisexual partner will not be enough to outweigh the external benefits offered to those who are in heterosexual relationships. […] What gets lost in the fear is the fact that same-sex relationships also offer benefits not available in heterosexual relationships: the absence of scripted gender roles, freedom from unwanted pregnancy, the ease of being with someone with more similar social conditioning, and so on.”

Robyn Ochs, “Biphobia”

From Getting Bi, Second Edition.

I’m sure part of me will always be suspicious of my queerness. Since my wife has been the only woman I’ve been in a relationship with, when I think of dating women vs. men, something makes me pause and wonder if it’s women, or just Mo. But then I remind myself that gender is a huge part of someone’s identity, so it’s impossible to look at it as women or Mo.

Either way, the selection above from Robyn Ochs’ piece really hit me.

While not really an activist in my feminism, I am nonetheless staunchly feminist with regards to my life. In all my dealings with men – family, friends, lovers – I have always felt the need to prove myself as equal. I had to be just as tough, just as strong, just as handy. My father frequently told me as I grew up that he wanted me to be able to get through life not needing a man for anything; not to house me, not to pay my bills, not to fix my car. This became my mantra for life: not needing a man. Anything a man could do, I could do just as well, if not better. My older brother fueled my competitive drive. Dressing more and more masculine as I entered high school, I veered towards sports like Taekwon-do, archery, and cycling. I refused anything pink, wore mostly men’s clothing, and started an almost annual tradition of chopping my long hair off. Continue reading “The Same-Sex Choice”