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.



In Disassembly

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It’s nighttime here, yet night has not entirely fallen. It’s this kind of eerie twilight where day desperately tries to linger.

Here’s a graph from showing the daylight times for my hometown here in Alaska. As you can see, we’re getting ready to receive the most amount of daylight we will get all year on 21 June. I think it’s safe to say that this extreme influx of daylight has been messing with my sleep schedule. For example, it’s 11:35 PM and every damn human in this house is awake and alive. My husband and I live with two roommates who are basically family to us.

My husband is a few feet away from me playing some kind of first person shooter game. I have Lana Del Rey in my ears and so I can’t hear what he or his friends in his ears are saying. I’m caffeinated up and ready to rumble on my own projects.

My cousin said that she admired how I could set my mind on things and just do them. I released the first full length Candy For Trees album and shared with the news with her. I would argue that I’m the opposite of what she said. Everything creative just happens to me and the hardest work I do is assemble the miscellany I have created, sometimes from over the course of years. I lack discipline, and I’m not fond of that about myself. This blog is one of my greatest feats of consistency I have ever accomplished, and even then I am not perfect at it.

My biggest feat of consistency is the time I wrote 365 poems in a year. I wrote every day for the act of writing, and my work SUCKED. But because I put myself through those paces, my work got so much better. I was able to look back on the project and see that I honestly didn’t like the schmaltzy rhyming poetry I had written and that breaking free of the rhyme was essential to progressing in my craft. This honesty with myself allowed me to continue and get better, honing my own style rather than imitating the Romantic poets I so admired. In disassembling what I had made simply for the act of doing it, I was able to get farther than I would have otherwise.

I also think that Byzantines and Button Downs has made me a better writer, and being semi-consistent with it has been beneficial beyond measure, both with regards to practicing my craft and in terms of self discovery. I try to write something – anything – every day, whether it is poetry, one of my many stories, or blog posts.

Why don’t I write every day consistently, you may ask?

I think it’s because I’m afraid of failing, writing something that -gasp- sucks. I forget so easily how writing just for the act of doing it improved my skills and how I can always revisit the crappy writing later and build on it.

Here is an example of one such reconstruction:

The original.
The rework, 2015.

The theme remains the same, but they are quite different stylistically. There are pros and cons to each, but in the end it’s up to personal preference.

In the end, it comes down to self improvement, dedication, and perseverance. I don’t have those down yet and I was a lot better at them when I was younger, but that doesn’t mean that I am a failure. I just have stuff to work on.

So if you feel like you are stuck in the first assembly phase, you aren’t alone. I think we all should take it one day at a time (seriously, that’s some of the best advice I have ever heard) and do what we can today, in this time. In my limited experience, I’ve found that it’s about making time for consistency, not necessarily having it already on hand.

What are you working on? Let me know in the comments!