Monthly Archives: March 2012

A reminder: Submissions Policy

Hi everyone,

Expect a new post VERY SOON – hopefully tonight, from a great guest author. (EDIT: DONE! Check out the post above – AMAZING).

In the meantime, I want to make sure that everyone is aware of the submission policy. The whole thing is located in the ABOUT section, including the Privacy Policy, and before you submit, I encourage you to read the whole thing. However, I want to do a brief recap here.

To submit to We Exist:

1) Please be bisexual, pansexual, not-straight-not-gay, I-like-everyone, or something like that, identified. If the shoe fits, write me.

2) PLEASE WRITE ME AT: silenceendshere@gmail.com.

Some readers are my personal friends, and know my personal e-mail address. PLEASE DO NOT USE IT TO SEND SUBMISSIONS. I get roughly a billion personal e-mails a day, and if you use that address, your submission may get lost. So again, PLEASE use silenceendshere@gmail.com.

Only I ever see the blog e-mail, and your privacy is safe with me, according to my policy. (See the “Privacy” section under “About” for details on this).

3) WHAT TO SUBMIT

Submissions can include the following:

– Stories / essays / bloggy-type posts
– Poems
– Plays / theater scenes
– One liners
– A photo or visual work that “says it all”
– An audio sample, but be prepared to provide tech help for me to actually get it up on the blog. Please provide a transcript for the hearing impaired.
– Interviews, but if they are audio / video, please provide a transcript for the hearing impaired.
– Did you write a good related post somewhere else? Send me the link.
– Did I forget something cool? Send me a proposal

ALL SUBMISSIONS MUST BE ORIGINAL. NO EXCEPTIONS. If you saw something cool that you think I should link to, feel free to send me an e-mail with the authors contact info, at silenceendshere@gmail.com, and I will be in touch with them. Thanks!

Translation: Please feel free to submit posts you have written, which were originally written in a language other than english. I ask that you translate your submission to english for this blog, and I am happy to link to the original.

Thanks everyone! Now – back to rad pan/bi/I-like-everyone/queer-without-borders et al politics and experiences!

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Invalidations

Here’s one from my own life. – Cha-Cha

This is how it happens:

Sitting at lunch with two pals of the lady persuasion. One of them’s never been with a man, the other has been with more than I and for longer. We’re chilling. They want to talk about the girl I’m sexting. I have no idea where that’s going – but I did something fun the other day, with my boyfriend.

And they don’t want to hear about him – just the girl, thank you. I make stuff up. It feels good to bat for the the team. Afterwards, I feel shitty, and shortly after that stop texting her for good.

————————————

I come out to my parents.

So… pretty much, I think I am, and I don’t think it’s going to change.

My dad doesn’t look at me while he answers. Three words suffice:

No you’re not.

My mother looks at the wall. I look at the floor. We never talk about it again, the three of us.

————————————

We’re out on a date, and it’s a beautiful day. She must have spent serious money on this. I’m intimidated – what happens when she finds out that, as a musician, I make roughly $2 an hour? – But also fascinated – she’s a whip smart tough-ass lady, who can kick my butt both physically and intellectually. Hot.

I’m watching the ocean waves come in with the tide and trying to find out more about her family back in the southwest, when all of a sudden, she brings is up: “So. I heard you’re still fucking one of them.”  The world spins, and falls, and sucks. I feel dizzy. Why’d you have to do that,  I’m thinking. Now I have to protect him from you. Now I can’t see you anymore.  When she texts months later to ask if this is ever going anywhere, I make some excuse about not having enough time in my life to be serious. She texts, okay, and I feel like I’m a liar to him and her both.

————————————

I’m SO drunk, and we’re all having a good time, and I barely know her but I like her and her boyfriend – they’re cool. When I fall down and so does she and she kisses me, I’m like, awesome. And I’m a little worried – is her boyfriend going to get mad? Hell, is mine? But they’re both there, laughing, and it seems good. I mean, it is. She just wants to touch my boobs, nothing else, and I’m having a good time, and it’s so awesome.

For months afterwards, I feel confused. It was a good time, and I’m glad no one got mad. On the other hand, were the guys okay just because it couldn’t have been serious? Was I only worrying about their anger so much because I could have been?

————————————

We’re drunker than I’ve been in years, I literally can’t see where I begin and end, and we’re in his buddy’s shower fucking each others brains out. Part of me is like oh what the hell? THIS is really gonna uncomplicated a friendship, but most of me is totally in the moment and loving it, a sweet couple hours of forgetting myself. As we use each others bodies for sex, I find that somewhere in my stack of emotions is a vague, malicious satisfaction at using him as he uses me. A man, I’m thinking, I’m using a man this way. This must really prove how queer I am, the fact that I’m fucking him without any love.

————————————

She misses me. That one time was really great, wasn’t it? Didn’t you have a good time? I have to agree: that one night was really great, but I’m still not feeling a repeat, and don’t know how to tell her. You can’t be satisfied with him, she’s saying. Be real. The guilt crashes down in fucking waves. It’s true: something is missing, something my relationship with him isn’t taking care of. Something, I sense, that I need to take care of outside of that relationship. Come on, she says. I’ll take care of you. But I don’t go for it, and as I walk away, I sense in her last look not just a disappointment that we’re not going back to bed, but a deeper disappointment, in me. A betrayal, almost.

That night, I don’t feel like I turned down someone I just wasn’t into. I feel like a fake queer, who just proved what a fake I am. Otherwise, I would have gone with her, right? Right? 

————————————

Stop looking at her!  he snaps.

I look over at him in the drivers seat, sort of dazed – I really hadn’t been paying attention to anything much, just leaning on the passenger side window, daydreaming. You’re always looking. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the girl turn the corner. I hadn’t even realized she existed, before he got all pissed.

I want to give him a piece of my mind, but I don’t. This time, he’s wrong. But how many other times have I stared longingly at a woman, while we’re together, while he’s being so kind, and he hasn’t caught me?

————————————

I get the mail off the front porch. A skin mag has arrived, with my name on it. He’s gotten me a subscription: to be understanding, to be supportive. To help with my urges?

I’m not attracted to the girls in the pictures really, but I read the mag anyway, mostly out of anthropological interest. It’s a sweet gesture, I think, but something in my stomach is clenching up quietly, and all I see is blood gushing past a bandaid.

————————————

I stop wanting to have sex. I don’t know why. He doesn’t either. He doesn’t ask any questions. I feel guilty, and the weirdest part is, I still think he’s awesome and attractive, and I want to want to do it. But I don’t. And now, neither of us knows what to do.

The silence fills up the space, and the things we do talk about don’t make it go away.

Every night after he’s been kind to me, I go to bed, as I have so many nights before in so many situations and relationships, thinking basically that I’m bad. If I wasn’t, this wouldn’t be happening. 

————————————

I’m curled up leaning against the foot of the stove and I’m sobbing. It’s all falling apart. It’s all my fault. And the worst part is, he thinks it’s because of what I did, but I know it’s because of what I am.

It isn’t your fault. None of this is your fault. God I love him so much, and it doesn’t matter. Love isn’t enough. Maybe if I just say it enough times, it isn’t your fault, maybe someday he’ll believe me enough to heal. After all, it isn’t. And love isn’t enough to last, but it’s enough to hurt. God it hurts it hurts.

Somewhere in my psyche, I’m adult enough now to know that it really isn’t my fault either. I can’t help what I am – I know that now. I can’t help what I want. I thought, for him, I could. I tried. And I can’t. I feel so weak, so stupid, so unable. I didn’t know myself, I’m sobbing. I wish I’d known myself. If I had known myself, I wouldn’t have gotten you into this, wouldn’t have hurt you. I love what we’ve had, and it wasn’t worth hurting you. God I never wanted to hurt you.

I know that this isn’t my fault, but my heart is breaking. I truly thought that my love for him would change me, that through the power of his love I could drop the mask, could actually become in fact the straight girl everyone always suspected I am, the confused straight girl queer chicks always told me I must be. He’s not buying it – after all, I’m falling for another dude, right? But that’s not it. I’m just being me, what I wish I wasn’t, again – falling for a person who offers a relationship in which I can be all of me, even the parts I deny, and it is too much to resist, those beginnings of a sustainable and completing love…

This is killing him. He loved me the best that he could. I did my best for you, too. It doesn’t matter. Love isn’t enough. You can offer someone your heart, but not your soul, and I tried to promise something that wasn’t mine to give.

I leave, and I know it’s the right thing to do. But something is shattered, and it never grows back.

————————————

I have actually made it out to the gay club. Good for you: you’re not at work! I’m proud of myself. Well… you’re visiting a friend at work. Here to help and all that! But, not at work! Let’s get wild: I’m gonna have a beer. Awesome! Progress for the work-a-hol.

I’m getting THE LOOK again. I’ve come to recognize it at these establishments: (a) what is a woman doing here at the boyz club, and (b) WHY did he bring that annoying fag-hag straight girl, I so wish she wasn’t in our place. Sure it’s infuriating, but I’ve gotten used to it – in fact, I’ve never been to a club where it hasn’t happened, even when my head was shaved, minus my blond mane I wear these days.

My buddy and I both have to pee at the same time. He heads to the guys room and I to the ladies… past the pool table, where a crowd of guys shoots me some unfriendly looks. I hold my head high even though my cheeks are burning. It’s a free fucking country, right? And I’m as queer as they are, even if they don’t believe it. Fuck them. It doesn’t matter.

I come out of the bathroom first. They see me. And then, in what seems like no time at all, they are there… three of them, tight shirts, blue and black, crew cuts, muscles, chiseled faces, so close, on me, grabbing my breasts, my waist, my butt, my crotch… grabbing everything, laughing, playing “straight” with each other, oh I just LOVE to get me some girl for the evening…

I can’t do anything. I think, maybe, some part of me remembers to protect my face. All I hear is my stunned brain: Here? This is happening HERE? But… but this is MY place! They just don’t know who I am! You don’t understand, I BELONG here! This is MY place – somebody tell them, oh God, soon, now, somebody tell them to stop because I BELONG here…” 

No one says anything. And they don’t stop. Not until my friend bursts out of the bathroom with his fly unzipped, throws them off me, pulls me out back, and holds me while I shake. I don’t cry. Eventually, the shaking stops.

For years after that, I go back to that club, passing out condoms. Half the guys are nice, half treat me like shit for being the “straight” condom girl at “their” place. I never, ever mention what happened to me. Neither does anyone else.

For the rest of my life, any time some queer says “community,” I repeat it back and smile, but I feel like reaching for a gun.

————————————

Invalidations… the big and dramatic ones are accents like cuts, and the blooms spread like bruises over the years. But it’s the small stuff, mostly, that does the damage.

Endless, in my own life:

“What is your deal?”

“Why do you confuse everyone?”

“What about being honest, huh? Ever try that?”

“How can you live with yourself, hurting your partner like that?”

“Yeah, people like you give the community a bad name.”


Endless, like the unspoken borders of a painful conversation:

“Well, what do you expect?”

“At least you weren’t jumped.”

“At least they didn’t scream ‘dyke’ at you.”

“Stop bitching. You pass. Why don’t you go put on some lipstick.”


Endless, I stop protesting, I stop correcting, I learn to accept it, I take it as a given, I take it as something people like me deserve:

“Stop trying to get attention.”

“Yeah well it’s all part of being a rock star I guess…”

“I bet your boyfriend loves it three ways.”

What is your deal?”


It has been endless.

It has to end.

WHEN? 


WHEN will it stop?

Guest Post by Lauren: In the Club…

Lauren is a case manager at a social service agency. She wants “to find places that will allow me to express the “B” in “LGBT” without being subsumed in either straight or lesbian spaces.  I wish to hold on to my queer identity even if I’m going out with a man, who also happens to be bi. (Are we a straight couple? Far from it!)”

 The following scene reflects one of Lauren’s experiences as a bi identified woman. 

 In a lesbian club:

 Woman: God, men are such pigs!  Don’t you hate them?

 Me: Umm, not all of them, there are a few nice ones around.  I’m bi, you know.

Woman: (rolls eyes) Oh, you bi girls are a heartbreak waiting to happen!

(maybe I should have kept my mouth shut?  or maybe not?)

Guest Post by Michael: Identities

Michael Maldonado, a Brooklyn Nuyorican poet, believes that “Poetry is an interpretation of the visions the mind sees, imagines, or both. It cuts through the permeation of falseness implanted in our minds by the ignorant who wish to perpetuate the state of meaningless pseudo-living.” More of his large body of work can be found at The Latin Poet: www.maldonado.ws

 

Identities …

It’s difficult enough to find our own

And yet it’s the people who don’t know themselves

That jump to define others and label their actions

 

Is there any “best” way to be?

Whom do we ask?

Certainly not the ones who are so full of confusion

they bring delusions of their own agenda

 

I don’t want to be this or that, or fit into some box,

or in a nicely wrapped package for someone to sell.

But there are still those who are hell-bent on

spending their time on such non-divine spells

 

Instead of defending who I am from people

who accuse me of being what they wrongly believe,

I’ll retrieve a weapon … a device … a catalyst

to unhinge even the most stalwart adversary

 

It’s not the people who know themselves

who point fingers away from what perturbs them most …

And to these I hold up a mirror and say STOP!

Before you say a single word about another … tell me what you see …

 

In their apprehension they are silenced by their unknowing.

Sometimes they cannot even see their own reflections

because what they always believed they were, was

only conjecture molded from ignorance and hate.

 

Where is the Love when Wisdom is imprisoned?

We can’t have one be viable without the other!

It’s time we begin to look at more than physical

and ask if there is a spirit which drives our mentality

 

Are we defined in our individuality by some soul who’s goal

is beyond our transient comprehension of daily unrest?

We test our limits with drugs, alcohol, and insanity

and our vanity leads us to believe we are invincible.

 

There are no answers entwined about these lines

And any such claims would be suspect and false;

A true searcher finds the answers deep within themselves

In moments of pain … of torment … and …

 

 

… in moments of LOVE !

 

 

Guest Post by Sarah-Marie: Today, I Finally Got Fed Up

Sarah-Marie is a business owner and community volunteer. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the harp, reading, hiking and photography. She loves using science to improve people’s lives and is working towards becoming a doctor of naturopathic medicine.

This post is cross-posted from a public forum, and was originally addressed to Sarah-Marie’s friends. She was generous enough to share it here as well! 

Hi. Guess what, I’m bisexual.

I know some of you are wondering why I would even post this. The reason is because you all know me- you know how I am, how I behave and what I stand for. I don’t look or behave like many of you expect a bisexual person to. I want you all to see me as an example of what a bisexual person can look like. Boring, isn’t it?

Why today? Today I finally got fed up with the following:

•Being told that my sexual orientation is not real

•Being told that I’m not bisexual because I’m with a man

•The assumption that that I can not be loyal, honest or respectful to my partner

•People making assumptions about what my private life must be like

•People making assumptions about my political views

•People believing that I am sexually interested in every male and every female, and therefore have no standards beyond genitalia.

•Being told that my sexual orientation is “sexy” or a ploy for attention

•Being told “well at least you LOOK straight, not like those dykes/flamers”

•Fear of being discredited when I stand up for gay rights or the rights of any other marginalized class

•Fear of losing friends and loved ones who think something has suddenly changed

•Feeling like there’s something wrong with me

•Not standing up for myself

This all has to stop, and it has to stop right now. Bisexual people exist and I am one of them. I am not a repressed lesbian or a curious straight woman. My sexual orientation is not a trend. I am attracted to both men and women, and I always have been. I am also the exact same person you knew before you read this post. Nothing has changed, except I’m a little braver.

I know I’m supposed to keep this to myself to not make anyone uncomfortable, but that seems unfair. It’s making me uncomfortable to keep my mouth shut. I shouldn’t have to be afraid being honest, but I am afraid because of things that some of you have said (and no, I’m not just talking about my heteronormative friends and family) which have made me at best feel uncomfortable and at worst shut up and cry later. I know that none of you meant any malice, and I’m sorry for not speaking up.

The Post That Started It All

Here’s my original post that started this thing, on my life, so-called “bisexual privilege” and the fact that we exist. – Cha-Cha

I am done apologizing for being bisexual. I am done accepting my place as “not a real queer, but a good ally!” I am not an ally – allies are great, and without them we are lost, but I am a card carrying member of the LGBT community, and most assumptions about what I do in my personal life, because my primary partner is a cis man, are wrong. I am done being told that being assumed straight, my whole life history erased, and being unable to be truthful about who I really am because “duuuuude why’d you bring that up” in straight spaces (or else “oh maaaaan! That’s HAWT!”) is some kind of ‘privilege’ – yeah, I haven’t been queer bashed in the street as often as others (although it’s happened!), instead I spent most of my life in agonizing self doubt and an endless feeling that I was living a lie. (Not unlike the experience of many lesbian and gay people before they came out, but this is somehow never recognized.) This has resulted in learning experiences in life, for which I am grateful, BUT they were not fun, they were mostly very painful, AND I am 27 freaking years old and I have only come to this place very recently, AND the undermining message of “You are not real” never stops, from any corner, straight or gay or supposedly “safe.”

I am done with being told that gay spaces are safe for me – they aren’t, the end. I don’t go to clubs anymore because I have not ONCE walked in to a new place without being asked “what a straight girl is doing here,” and in one instance was violently attacked for being “an intruder”. Also what’s the point – I never get anywhere with anyone because I’m assumed “fag-hag,” or else it’s assumed that I’m “experimenting”, whatever that means, as tho everyone immediately knows who / what they want in terms of sexuality / love and just goes for it, gets married right away, and that’s it, as tho MOST OF US, regardless of sexuality, don’t experiment in the realms of love…

I am not saying that being “visibly queer” is easy by any means. I am not saying that violence does not happen to visibly queer people – oh dear lord, it does, and it is beyond horrible and needs to stop RIGHT NOW. What I am saying is that the violence also happens to us – the ones who supposedly “pass”, which really means “are silenced, are erased”, in all spaces: straight as well as queer. And, this violence may be immediate, resulting in bodily harm… but more often, it is done over a lifetime, as the messages of “you are not real” and “there is no place for you” and “you are a liar and a fake” sink in and wreck havoc on one’s psyche. I am DONE apologizing to the so-called community for my “hetero privilege”, when I am not hetero. I want to CELEBRATE working through all this, and have a space where it is celebrated, both with people who have been through it, and with those who have not. I want my life experience to be valued, as I see the experiences of other queers valued by the community. But I don’t see bi experiences of life (not just sex!) being valued. I see them being ridiculed, silenced, endlessly questioned for “veracity”, feared. For a bi girl who never wanted to hurt anybody, it’s a shitty feeling to be so feared by the community I was told would be safe for me – after all, us treacherous bi chicks, we’ll break your heart, right, or betray you in some other way, or… god, I don’t even know anymore, but I know that conversation makes it really hard to bother.

But I’m going to keep bothering. I think the whole conversation about bisexuality and “passing” is really effed, and belies a deep, internalized shame that we even exist. Well, I exist. And I have grown to be happy with who I am. And I am done apologizing for it. And I really, really wish that the next time somebody talked about the so-called “community”, it felt like something I belong to. And I know a lot of bi / pan / poly people who feel like this, for basically these reasons, but have no outlet, because there is no bi Autostraddle, no bi Effing Dykes, hardly any bi blogs period that aren’t dating sites in disguise, hardly any visible bi culture. But we are here. And we have a lot to teach, having been taught a lot by life as bi people. And I’m not going to apologize or act like I’m “less” in the community, or be a sideshow, or a token. No, not anymore.

The Beginning of This Blog, and Some Why’s, Who’s, and How To Submit

Hi everyone,

This information is just copied from my profile, but since I am asking for submissions, I want to make sure everyone sees it! Sorry the formatting is so boring – that’s gonna change as I figure this wordpress thing out!

CONTENTS:

1) Why

2) Who I am and some notes about what I think

3) Who should submit posts and who should not at this time

4) WHAT to submit

5) HOW to submit and PRIVACY policy

ONE: Why

I’m bisexual and I’m sick to death of having my experiences erased in straight and gay communities.

One day, I got fed up and wrote a facebook post about my experiences.

Within minutes, the public and private outpouring of support, as a result of said post, exploded into much, MUCH more than I expected. I had long realized that there wasn’t really a “bi / pan / not-straight-not-gay” community, at least where I am, but prior to writing publicly, I was just frustrated, and felt as though I couldn’t be helpful to anyone, much less myself, in this situation.

But the letters, gchats, private messages, and comments that flooded in changed that perception. I realized: we may not have many safe spaces to come together, but we exist. Many of us are still stuck in the closet and do not wish to be. Many of us feel trapped. Many of us are in pain. Many of us long for each other. This isn’t a community – yet – but it IS the building blocks of one.

Literally because of all the messages from bi/pan/queer people, in the closet and out of it, I decided to launch this blog. It’s an attempt to use our stories in order to create community, solidarity, support, and the knowledge, for each other, that we in fact exist.

I started the day just wanting to get some shit off my chest. What I got was a sense of something much larger. This blog isn’t everything, but it’s something, and after not feeling that I had anything to contribute in this realm for so long, it is a wonderful something given to me, by a community which was silenced where I live, and all of a sudden reared it’s head and BELLOWED.

TWO: Me + some notes

I’m cis, female bodied and gendered, and I really id sexuality-wise more as “I don’t care” but I still claim the “bi” label because I think it’s still useful, and people tend to understand what it is.

My use of the term “bi” should NOT be taken to mean that I am some kind of pro-gender binary person – I think binarism is crap, AND I want to be easily understood. This is the balance that I, personally, have found – NOT a reflection that I believe in only two genders, or that everyone HAS a gender.

Also, because of who I am, my posts and probably this blog will reflect who I am – ie, probably, at times, it will lean toward female, cis experiences, which are NOT AT ALL the only experiences that represent bi people, or that I value. ALL that I am posting about is my experience. If you have a different experience, I don’t want to write about yours – I want YOU to write about it, and send me a post, or a link to your post! You will do it better than I would, promise. And I NEED you to write about your life, because I can’t do it, and I need to learn from you and your words, and so does the world.

THREE: Who should submit

This blog is open to post submissions by ALL people, regardless of gender or gender identity, who id as: bisexual, pansexual, queer of a variety that does not only like one gender of person, “not-straight-not-gay”, “in between,” “I like everybody,” etc. If I have forgotten your label, but the shoe fits, write in. If you haven’t seen a story that sounds like you, WRITE IN! Please!

There will probably be a time when I accept submissions from allies. But at this time, I am not accepting submissions from allies, because people who are not attracted to only one gender have so little space in straight or gay spaces, that I want to take some time and claim what space I / we can for ourselves, to breathe. Occasionally I may solicit posts from allies, but I’m not accepting those kinds of submissions at this time.

FOUR: What to submit

Submissions can include the following:

– Stories / essays / bloggy-type posts
– Poems
– One liners
– A photo or visual work that “says it all”
– An audio sample, but be prepared to provide tech help for me to actually get it up on the blog. Please provide a transcript for the hearing impaired.
– Interviews, but if they are audio / video, please provide a transcript for the hearing impaired.
– Did you write a good related post somewhere else? Send me the link.
– Did I forget something cool? Send me a proposal

ALL SUBMISSIONS MUST BE ORIGINAL. NO EXCEPTIONS. If you saw something cool that you think I should link to, feel free to end me an e-mail with the authors contact info, and I will be in touch with them. Thanks!

Translation: Please feel free to submit posts you have written, which were originally written in a language other than english. I ask that you translate your submission to english for this blog, and I am happy to link to the original.

In general, I do not edit posts much, except for spelling.

FIVE: How to submit, and privacy policy

Please send submissions via e-mail to:

silenceendshere@gmail.com

Subject Line: WE EXIST submission

INCLUDE HOW YOU WANT TO BE CREDITED.
Write: “Use my name: XXX XXXX”
OR: “Use my pseudonym: XXXXX”
OR: “I want my post to be anonymous”

If you also have a blog you wish me to link to, please include that link also.

YOUR PRIVACY:

I will never, ever, ever reveal your private information. If you want to be anonymous or use a pseudonym, that’s how you will be credited on your submission.

Please do not include information you do not want to be made public with your submission. Submit what you want the world to read. This is the internet – people read it.

I will always put “anonymous” where people want to be anonymous. However, I can’t be responsible if someone identifies you based on the contents of your post. Please consider what you write carefully.

I will never confirm or deny someone’s identity.

Final Chapter: THE BEGINNING

What began out of frustration, anger, and silence has become a journey, for me, to help create what I see now can become a community in which we are safer. Where we exist. Where we are seen, and included, and counted, and valued. Where there is a place for me, for us.

I don’t know any more than anyone else. I hope I help someone. You all help me more than you know.

I am excited to see where this goes.

Let’s get to it, shall we?