It’s me! [gender post]

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It’s been a bit since I wrote about gender.

I have been thinking about this quite a lot, especially since June is Pride Month. I have spoken a bit about it before, but while we are on the subject of gender and the like, I am mentally aligned with no gender that I know of and I am attracted to people based on who they are, not what kind of bodies they have. I am happily married to the love of my life, a man. I would not trade him or our relationship for anything. One more thing:

This is new! I have been calling myself Mago in my head for some time, and it fits. Most people who already know me will continue calling me Meg, and that’s fine with me. But if we’re meeting for the first time online, please call me Mago. It’s taking a lot of courage to go about doing this and there are a lot of inner critics screaming at me right now, but it is my hope that I will inspire someone on this journey.

I was once told that this form of self exploration goes against “who I truly am” and that I am “not being myself” when I come out and say that I am anything but what people expect me to be. I would like to pose a question to the critics, both internal and external:

How can you dictate who I am when first, you are not me, and second, I myself am still figuring that out?

The simple answer is that no, you can’t say a damn thing. You don’t have the right to since you aren’t me. Keep that in mind, friends, as you think about yourselves. Are you letting someone else tell you who you are?

I grew tired of people telling me who to be some time ago and I am just now putting it into words. I went through my teens hearing two things either through word or action: “Your emotions are inconvenient, so therefore you must have bipolar disorder and be crazy because you feel more strongly than I can handle”, and “Being anything but how you’re expected to be is madness and must mean you’re at risk of going crazy. See #1.” These expectations were unrealistic at best, cruel at worst, and they ended up having a deep effect on me. Ask yourself this: if you’re feeling more strongly than someone else can handle and you’re doing your best to live correctly, whose problem is that? I’d say that’s a them problem. Not a problem with you. Those who demand explanations as to why you are being yourself are often those who least deserve them.

Since getting out of where I grew up, I have flourished. I’m not read as a person who is crazy or at risk of it anymore. I am able to think how I want without having my ideas shot down. No longer do I have to weigh whether or not a certain feeling would cause me to be viewed as insane were it to be expressed.

This environment has fostered much thought. Some people may genuinely want to know about what my identity is, but are thrown by more modern terminology. So while it’s important to be proud of who I am, it’s also important to be able to inform people who want to know what’s going on, but may be thrown by labels that are fairly new. Some may say differently, but think about it this way – if you are teaching someone a new language, you don’t expect them to know everything already. You take them from the very beginning to more advanced concepts slowly. I have people like this in my life who are genuinely curious, but they need to hear it in their language, not ours. This doesn’t make us less of who we are, we’re seeing it from another angle. This is important if we want people to learn about us.

This is why I said what I said in the opening paragraphs instead of the newer terms agender and pansexual. If you don’t expect to educate others who want or need to know, don’t expect to be understood. People are more likely to listen if they can what I’m saying!

So what does all of this mean for me? This means that I don’t like to be referred to as “she” or “he”, but rather with the singular they, like this:

“Mago is going to the store, can you ask them if they want anything?”

Essentially, when in doubt, refer to me and people who prefer the singular they as though you don’t know our gender or are trying to keep it a secret.

I also like to wear a lot of button downs, hence the name of this blog! But that’s not horribly important, because even if you wear dresses and makeup all the time, you can still be agender within and that’s what counts.

If you fall somewhere on the glorious LGBTQ dartboard, you DO NOT HAVE TO COME OUT this Pride Month. I see a ton of “I’m [insert identity here]” posts on social media, and I so badly want to come out to the world, but I don’t yet feel safe expressing myself in that forum. I still get people who worry themselves sick on social media anytime I post anything sad! Please use your best judgment and stay safe.

I love all y’all. God and the universe love you, too.

Mago

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A Seat At the Table

I don’t know if I have exhausted the topic of happiness. I was doing some reading on writer’s block and the author thought it came down to fear – being afraid to write something and pushing through the fear, breaking it down.

I know I’m afraid of a few things. But in that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a dream I had last night.

In this dream, I knew myself and knew how much I was worth as a human being. It was simple and profound as I saw all of the roads that opened up to me because of it. I was worth more than to just be a memory. I was worthy to be given a chance, to be heard, to be cherished and loved. In that dream, I didn’t see myself as a burden. I didn’t see myself as unlovable, I didn’t see myself as unworthy of…anything. I had a shot equal to anyone else to get what I wanted. I was not guaranteed what I desired, but the universe dealt me a fair hand. I was not worth more than other human beings, but I was not worth less. I was given a seat at the table, and I made my voice heard.

I had power. I wrote a few lines this morning:


I still do have this power. I am not made less because of how I see myself. I have an equal opportunity to receive happiness. It was an incredibly enlightening dream.

Fear holds me back a lot. All of this got started because I don’t often believe I have a chance to win any contests or be heard by anyone with a large social reach. I don’t quite see myself as likely or able to get that chance. Then something clicked
in my brain and I had the thought of, and pardon my French, “fuck it, I have a chance, as good as anyone’s. Let’s do it” as I was contemplating writing to someone about my music. So I did it, then had that dream.

I have heard a phrase over and over again that’s just now getting stuck in my head –

“What you seek is also seeking you.”
I’m not sure who said that, but I know it is real based off of what I have been seeing in my life as of late. I know nothing can come from nothing, so there must be something good about what I’m doing and I should honor that.


I wrote this a few nights ago as I was falling asleep. We are made of starstuff, as I believe Carl Sagan put it.  I believe it.

So it seems that the spot at the table is still open. It is up to me – and to you – to take it.

And to the person wondering what they are worth –

You, too are offered a seat at the table. Your worth is infinite. You have a voice. You have a heart that is special and your desires are valid. Speak up. You are loved. I want to hear what you have to say. Who knows who else you can touch with your words and your actions! You are also a star.

And to you, dear star, I say – shine.


Love,

Meg

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Live in Color

I might start just writing in verse every Thursday. Verse Thursday.

I.

Starting new is the strangest

thing –

double spaced becomes something

different to me

“we won’t have to be scared”

is that really a quote, or

something closer to something

everyone screams in their lifetime?

everything revolved around college

for a time –

how’s it going?

people would ask and i would frown

wishing they would be quiet and

leave me be for once


but now things are different

i wish i had read more about

attrition rates before even going

all of my friends are graduating

and while i don’t feel left behind,

it’s something like that.

II.

here comes the rain –

it’s something we expect but aren’t

hoping for

I trust the sky a bit too much

I don’t trust the ground

I’m too afraid of it falling out from

underneath me

why am i living in the same color

green as Alaska in spring?

why is everything blooming?


if there’s spring in a place that most

would deem unfit to have one

why can’t there be spring in me?

am i forbidden from blooming?

must i understand the happiness

within me?

I wish I could help the people who

need to bloom.

my husband is in his jail of an office

doing far too much tech support work

than any human should.

he’s a bud who has been in the dark

for too long

and he needs to come into the light.



III.

I am neon pink

coming from black and white

I don’t deserve to be shot in grays

I need to live aloud,

live in color

Your Empire

Hey, all! I’m double dipping today. I’d like to talk about a poem that is very special to me. It’s called “Your Empire”. I wrote it two years ago. It opens like so:

you are more than a princess, darling girl -you are a queen – an empress

and you are loved more than you know

there will be times when you’ll be 

punched in the gut

kicked in the ribs

tossed aside

but your true wisdom comes in

knowing whether to form a fist or

extend your hand…

First lines of “Your Empire”, written 3/6/17

I love this poem because it’s what I wish I could have believed about myself at that time and what I don’t want anyone to forget, no matter their gender or age.

I owe the empire theme to my obsession with the Byzantine Empire, which is still an obsession of mine, hence my blog title. My favorite historical character of all time is the Byzantine Empress Theodora. Someone once said I was like her, and that was probably the biggest compliment I have ever received. This poem is me telling anyone who needs it that they are noble and deserving of that title. That includes myself. It continues:

…because some battles that need to be fought

are ignored

and some battles that are fought

need to be ignored

and a true empress – like you – knows which is which

and what to do. 

“where is my empire?”

you may ask.

I will place my hand over my heart

and say, “darling, every time you are knocked

over and you stand up again, think of that as a conquest.”

“Your Empire”

At this time in my life, I was in Idaho college and I needed some encouragement. The environment was becoming toxic to me and I wanted to feel okay again. This was one of the ways I helped myself. I also sent this and other poems to friends who seemed to be in need of them. This one is by far my favorite of the bunch.

I definitely need to listen to myself in the lines about conquest. I don’t take my own advice well enough. It’s true, I am conquering. I am ruling. I am becoming more and more involved in my own life. That’s important. A ruler wouldn’t let things just…happen to them, would they? No, they wouldn’t.

Planning is hard for me, though. It’s hard for me to get up and say, “I’m gonna do XYZ today”, even when I am happy. I tend to let the day just pass without making plans. It’s important to remember that part of owning my life and empire is to plan for the future.

With my tutoring, I don’t schedule very far in advance since I’m a hired gun that gets requests usually only a few hours before the student wants to meet. I’m surprised nobody has wanted to meet in the middle of the night yet! As a result, my days are fairly open. I have my to do lists, but I need to make an actual schedule.

Part of me thinks, “Oh, but it’s a struggle to get out of bed early!” Then there’s another part that’s like, “Fortify yourself, dammit. You won’t get anywhere with that attitude. Do you want to build your empire, or not?”

Okay, okay. I’m gonna fortify myself. Let’s continue with the poem.

every good thing you do, every struggle that you

overcome, every person you make smile –

oh, my dear, those are conquests. and in the end,

the biggest conquest you can make

is learning to love yourself

and others even though they –

and their empires – are imperfect.

I am learning that hard things are essential for growth and that I can’t quit if I want to make it in life, in anything. I can’t quit on myself, either. Like the last lines of the poem say, “the biggest conquest you can make is learning to love yourself and others even though they – and their empires – are imperfect.” Self sabotage gets me nowhere. Learning to love myself is important. It’s an important step towards progress. It will require much self-fortification. It takes strength to love oneself, I am finding. Also, I feel so much happier after being off social media all day. 10/10 so far, will continue.

Update: I have actually composed music today! Yes!

Would you like for me to write YOU a song, poem, or even an album? Got a special occasion coming up? I’m on WhatsApp, so if you shoot me a message there, we can start a conversation!

Love,

Meg

Heavy

Hey, gentle readers.

I confess that I’m not doing very well today. I’ve been fighting off the depression side of my mental friend bipolar, and add anxiety and slight dysphoria to that, and you have my current headspace. I’m at the point where I am just waiting for my mind to finish throwing its fit and trying to get on with my day. Work is scaring me even though I know to give myself a break. I don’t want to do anything, you know? Even though there’s stuff to be done. Coffee is brewing, which might wake me up. We’ll see. If this post is pretty short, that’s why.

(I am safe. I’m not at risk of hurting anyone, myself or anyone else. Brain is just being its glitchy self.)

My depression right now feels like everything is heavy. My arms, my heart, my environment. I’m fatigued. I’ve been meaning to make a psych intake appointment for about a month now and the thought of doing so seems more difficult than usual. I don’t want to say “I’ll do it tomorrow”, but everything feels too heavy to want to move. I’ll ask if we can do a phone intake. I hope they say yes.

For once, I want to truly claw my way out of it. I want to actually be happy, and I don’t understand why this depression is happening. But I also know that if I try to do too much, it would be like trying to run on a sprained ankle. I should be putting my “ankle” up and being kind to myself, but instead my inner bully is being hyperactive and I’m criticizing everything I do.

I was given a new idea by a friend who in turn heard it from a friend of theirs. I am going to adapt it to my own imagination. They told me about an exercise wherein they would picture an orb and manipulate it with their imagination and in time with their breathing and the mood they wanted. I want mine to be a crystal spinning. Call me weird, but I think it might work.

I’ve also found that I get sad around a certain time of night both at the house and at work, so I might ask to take my break then. I hope my managers will listen.

Something I’m proud of is that I’ve been blogging for almost three weeks straight, never missing a day, no matter how hard life gets or how stressed I am. It’s refreshing to sit back and just write for an hour or so. I’m taking it one day at a time and consciously making time for it, and I’m applauding myself for it.

About dysphoria, I still want to lop all of my hair off. That’s still here. -sigh-. So I want to grow my hair out and put it in a low ponytail Founding Fathers style, or get rid of it all and go for a Halsey look. I also put on an actual bra on after wearing my binder for a bit and it felt like waking up from one of those really good, really detailed dreams and being disappointed that that wasn’t real life. It sucked, but it was good to take a break. I’ll give it that.

If someone says “you look like a guy” at work if I cut my hair, I will elbow-bump them. Elbow bumping is not a bad thing. It’s our equivalent of a fist bump.

I’ll do better about taking care of my ankle today. May all of your ankles be okay.

Until next post,

Meg

My Body is a Weapon?

Hello, fine readers!

I love the feeling where I look in the mirror and I look great. It’s such a confidence boost. My favorite times are when I feel at home in my own skin.

It’s taken a very long time to get here. I dressed how I thought suited me best for most of my life. This involved lots of dresses and skirts and makeup. Some women in my life steered me towards makeup and told me that I looked best with it, but it was rarely a consistent thing in my life because it took too much time and I largely saw applying it as a chore rather than an art. I felt confident when I wore it, but it seemed false. I constantly had to check in the mirror to see if something was out of place, and if anything was, my mood was wrecked until I could fix or remove it.

It soon seemed like if I presented myself in this way consistently, I could get what I wanted. People would like me. Boys would like me. This paired with “toning down” my personality won me a bit of attention in high school, but it wasn’t me. I realized that it was false then, and it remains as false as trying to appear more masculine to this day. I’m not quiet, I’m not meek, I’m not normal, and no possibility of embarrassment can change that. To strip me of those is to take away parts of me. So I ditched this plan. As much as the prospect of finding a mate in high school or even college was at least in hindsight appealing, it was never worth cutting out parts of myself.

It took me awhile to learn that, but it really happened in the second semester of my sophomore year of college. I had found friends who accepted me and helped rid me of most of my inhibitions. I thought deeply about who I was and began to question my gender and my body as a result. I came to the possibly skewed conclusion that I hated my body because I could use it as a weapon, and therefore it should be minimized.

By “weapon”, I meant that I could use my body to get what I want. The people who courted me later in the year were quite taken with it, much to my surprise and semi-disgust. I felt that they only liked me for my body at times. I could get what I wanted with them, and that repulsed me. So I joined a Facebook group for people identifying as nonbinary and learned. I started identifying as nonbinary myself. But it still didn’t feel like me. Something crucial was missing, and I didn’t know what it was. I started wearing vests and pants to our Mormon church services, but in hindsight it felt more like rebellion than self-expression. I was lost and depressed.

It wasn’t until I got back on regular meds that I felt okay again. I still felt like a weapon until I was reunited with my husband, who didn’t even mention admiring my physical form except in passing until a few months after we started dating. It was a breath of fresh air, and I loved him for it.He was on a different level. He wasn’t a boy, I had found a man. I felt naturally loved for the first time. By naturally loved, I mean that I didn’t have to force my way into his life, I was myself. He was himself. We fell in love without playing games or holding ourselves back to keep each other around. He encouraged me to be myself. He didn’t like makeup, which was a relief. I didn’t have to put on airs, I was beautiful as I was and he let me know that.

Still I was not comfortable in my own skin. I felt ugly for being fat and hated my large chest. It wasn’t until I dressed in a button down, dress slacks, and boots that I got a glimpse into what it felt to dress like myself. It wasn’t flashy, it was simple. Most importantly, I think, it was neutral while still looking good, and that was what I had been looking for that long while ago. It was on that day that I like to say that my gender identity walked away. I became unattached to being labelled as any gender. I was simultaneously everything and nothing. It was one of the most freeing experiences of my life to date.

I didn’t attempt to dress like myself for another few months and told no one of my epiphany. The free feeling began to grow once I got to Alaska, and I told my best friend first. Then I told others.

One night, my husband and I were talking about what it meant to dress like ourselves and we started tossing around ideas. The conclusion we came to was that I should wear ball gowns. We couldn’t be further from the truth.

Dysphoria struck yet again, and it proved everyone wrong. While trying to assess the situation and do damage control, I put on the same button down and slacks as I had worn so many months ago. I felt like myself again. One thing was missing, however. A bolo tie.

I ordered one and started making others for myself in the meantime. They completed my look. I embraced it, and after a few days I started posting selfies like mad on Facebook. I call it Western business casual.

As for identity, I wrote in my very first post on this blog that I closely identify as agender, and I’m proud of that.

Don’t worry if you aren’t there yet! Keep experimenting and going through life. Let the events of your life shape your style.

Much love,

Meg