No I Don’t Care That You Know Other Queer People

“By the way my coworker’s best friend’s sister is gay.”

“… oh, um that’s cool.”

This is a conversation that takes place constantly. If someone knows I’m gay, they always love to tell me when they meet other queer people; as if we’re unicorns. Don’t get me wrong, there are nothing but good intentions behind it, it’s just a little weird. Would you tell me if you met another woman, or some else who had blue eyes? Probably not.

This is different from the typical, “oh you’re gay, do you know my friend Sam, he’s gay too?” situation. People don’t think you know them, they just want to let you know they know other queer people. My older sister is the main culprit of this in my life. She lives in a major city, so of course she knows/is friends with/ runs into a lot of queer people, and she lets me know. Every. Single. Time. Maybe I’m a huge jerk for not caring, but honestly it’s just not that interesting to me. I consume a lot of queer media, so I constantly see other LGBTQIA+ people. Plus, I’m in college, so I see a decent amount of visibly queer people in my day to day life.

Being able to see visibly queer people is so so important, and I do get excited when I see other people people just living their normal lives. I feel a sense of familiarity and kinship with other people in the LGBTQIA+ community. Someone telling me about how their barista is gay though, isn’t really something I care to know. What is the correct response to “Oh! I was meaning to tell you my waiter the other day is gay.” ? Do you want me to jump up and down and beg you for more details? I usually go with, “that’s cool” or “oh wow” which both come out sounding incredibly unenthusiastic, no matter how much I try and pretend to care.

I never confront anyone about this, because I know they are just trying to be nice. It in no way makes me mad, or even annoyed, I just find it incredibly odd and kinda funny. Does this happen to you? If so, how do you respond? I feel like this definitely isn’t just something I deal with!

 

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It’s Been a Minute: Life Update

It’s been a little while since I talked about what’s going on in my life, so I thought I would catch you all up!

First, I got the results back from my endoscopy and they were inconclusive. I had elevated mast cells in my biopsies, but they weren’t nearly high enough to diagnose mastocytosis. I had a serum tryptase test done to see if I had any elevated levels there, and it came back normal. It looks like I probably don’t have systemic mastocytosis, but my gastroenterologist is referring me to a new allergist/immunologist, who I have an appointment with on the 16th. Having negative results for tests is a good thing, because you don’t want anything to be wrong with your body, but it is also incredibly discouraging when it was the only new idea a doctor had in a long time. Since, I looks like I don’t have any mast cell issues, the gastroenterologist diagnosed me with post-infectious IBS.

I continued to have trouble with exhaustion due to my IST, so the electrophysiologist upped by digoxin dose. It had been working really well, but the past couple of days I’ve been exhausted and have felt my heart racing. It’s hard to know if the medication is no longer working or if I’m just having a rough few days.  I have an appointment on the 22nd with him, so we’ll see what he says. The gastroenterologist put me on Linzess for my IBS, and it hasn’t worked. It’s supposed to help with chronic constipation, but instead it’s making me have no bowel movement for two to three days, and then diarrhea. I stopped taking it, and became incredibly constipated immediately. Luckily, I see him on the 8th so hopefully he has some ideas on how we can get my digestion under control.

With school starting back on the 16th, and three doctors appointments in January, this is going to be a pretty busy month for me. I’m also starting to volunteer at a nursing home this Friday, which I am excited about. I feel ready to go back to school, mainly because I’ve been bored. I really hate feeling unproductive, but having the time to relax is nice, and something I try to take advantage of. I hope you all are doing well, and enjoying the new year so far!

Goals for 2018

Last year I made some goals for 2017, and I thought I would do it again this year! I have gone back to that post many times though out this year, and it has motivated me to continue to keep on track with my goals. Here are five goals I have for 2018:

  1. Keep My Grades Up

This past semester was my first semester in college, and I’ve been working incredibly hard. Luckily, that hard work has payed off and I finished the semester strong. My goal for the spring semester is to maintain my GPA. Being able to do well in school, after having so much trouble with school due to my health for the past five-ish years feels amazing. I’m definitely an overachiever and so getting good grades feels incredibly rewarding!

2. Transfer Colleges

I’m currently living at home and going to community college, but I’m hoping to transfer to a University in the Fall 2018 semester. This goal kinda ties in with goal #1. I need to get good grades and work on my application in order to get into my dream school. I have good back-up options, since the University I want to go to is pretty hard to get into (my older sister was rejected), but I’m hoping my grades will be good enough for me to get accepted!

3. Get my Pharmacy Tech License

Currently I’m planning on going into the medical field, and I want to obtain a Pharmacy Tech license in order to get some experience in the field. I also think this will look good on my college applications. I’ve never had a job (due to my age and health), so I think it’d be super rewarding if I was able to get my license while working. I’m hoping to do on the job training at a local pharmacy that lets you work while you train.

4. Be more involved in my community

I think activism and volunteering are so so important, especially right now. I’m applying to volunteer for a political  campaign, and to volunteer at my local hospital. Between both of these things, and opportunities at church, I’m hoping to be more involved in my community.

5. Continue Blogging!

I’ve been blogging for a year now, and I can’t wait to blog more. It’s been difficult to keep up the blogging with school, but I’ve still been able to post some. I’m going to try and make time to read more of the blogs I follow on a regular basis, and post more.

 

What are your goals for 2018? What do you hope happens for you in 2018? I hope everyone is enjoying celebrating the Holidays, and reflecting on the past year!

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

How did you know you were gay?

Even though I’ve been out for a few years now, I’ve never really had anyone ask me “How did you know you were gay?” until a few weeks ago. One of my lab partners (who’s also gay) asked me this kind of out of the blue while we were working on our lab report after class. Honestly, I didn’t have a great answer prepared.

I told her about an experience I had sophomore year of high school, where I randomly had a huge crush on this girl I didn’t really know in my Chemistry class. I wrote about that crush a long time ago, but I’ve since come to some other realizations. I think she could have been replaced with a thousand different people and it wouldn’t have made a difference. It’s not that I don’t have standards, or that I’m attracted to every girl I come in contact with – that’s far from the truth. It was just a period of time where I was questioning and figuring everything out, and she just so happened to be in the same class as me.

Now, my lab partner wasn’t exactly satisfied with this story. “But how do you know it wasn’t just her?” That question threw me for a loop a little bit. There’s no good answer, I just do. It’s a feeling that, I don’t feel the need to question anymore. For me, sexuality isn’t a complicated part of my life. I know how I feel, and who I like. It’s just that simple. It wasn’t that easy in the beginning, but over time the doubts left and I feel perfectly content with the conclusion. I don’t have some great story about being swept off my feet by the love of my life, and I don’t think having that kind of story is necessary. I wanted the experience to be casual and simple, and it was.

Her questions came from a place of curiosity, but they definitely made me think about a few things. Why are people so obsessed with knowing every thought that goes through queer people’s minds when questioning their sexuality or gender? Also, why do they feel the need to question it’s authenticity? One of my favorite qutoes from Denice Frohman’s poem “Dear Straight People” is:

” Dear Straight People, I’m tired of proving my love is authentic, so I’m calling the reparations on your ass. When did you realize you were straight? Who taught you?Did it happen because your parents are divorced? Did it happen because your parents are not divorced? Did it happen because you sniffed too much glue in fifth grade? Dear Straight People, why do I have to prove my love is authentic? Why do I have to prove my love is authentic? Why do I have to prove my love is authentic?”

I get a whole lot of “I would have never known” and “Really???” This has to do with the fact that I don’t look queer enough in straight people’s eyes. I wear makeup, have shoulder length hair, and generally act feminine enough to be shoved (forcefully) into the straight box. I can look in the mirror and think, “wow I look really gay today” (in a proud way) and still no one suspects a damn thing. The authenticity of my gayness is questioned because I don’t look the part or fit perfectly into the tiny box created for the stereotypical lesbian.

I don’t mind answering these questions, or most questions for that matter. However, I am tired of both people in my day to day life as well as society as a whole questioning who I am because I don’t fit the mold. So, how did I know I was gay? I trusted myself, and through lots of introspection discovered the answer to this aspect of my life. Maybe it’s not the best answer, or the answer people want to hear, but it’s the most honest one.

November Health Update

Quite a bit has changed since my last health update!

I’ve now seen my electrophysiologist two more times, even though he originally wanted to refer me on. I went on flecainide acetate for a few weeks, but it made me incredibly hypotensive and I couldn’t properly function on it, so we decided to discontinue it. I’m currently on Digoxin, and my symptoms have improved. A major part of the improvement is due to coming off the flecainide acetate, but I do think the Digoxin may be helping some. I saw him on Monday, and we are going to continue to digoxin and possibly increase it, depending on the results of my endoscopy.

At my last appointment, he brought up the possibility of having another electrophysiology study, but this time actually ablating my sinus node. I didn’t have an ablation last time, because I don’t have SVT so technically nothing is structurally wrong with my heart. The complete ablation of the sinus node for people like me who have IST, a form of dysautonomia, results in a pacemaker over 50% of the time. To me, this would be a last case resort. I’m technically on the last medication that is prescribed for IST, so if it doesn’t continue to work I’m kinda screwed. However, I’ve read all of the research papers I can get my hands on and this procedure is often contra-indicated for people with dysautonomia. As of right now I don’t really view it as an option, but if things get worse it may have to be a possibility.

On Wednesday, I had an endoscopy mainly to test for systemic mastocytosis. I had no visible abnormalities, which we expected. This was my third endoscopy, so we were basically only doing it for the biopsies, which they did a ton of. The procedure went really smoothly and quickly. I had felt absolutely terrible on Tuesday, but even with the anesthesia I felt okay Wednesday. Thursday and Friday however were a whole other story. I felt like I was being stabbed in the stomach for most of Thanksgiving, and Friday I had a migraine most of the day. I tried by best to celebrate and push through, even though I felt quite terrible.  I’m moderately nervous for the results, since having systemic mastocytosis is kind of a big deal, but on the other hand having yet another false test is going to be frustrating. You really can’t win for losing with chronic illness.

I keep having really bad days/weeks and then really good days/weeks, so it’s been hard to judge the pattern of my health. I’m incredibly grateful for the good days, especially when they’re proceeded with a terrible day. I think I’m doing a pretty good job of handling it all, but I am pushing myself pretty hard. Having a few days off of school for Thanksgiving has been nice, and before we know it, it will be Christmas break. I still feel like I’m slowly declining, but I also feel hopeful due to the new doctors I’ve added to my arsenal.

How’s your health been?

I hope you’ve all been having a good November!

 

Thanksgiving 2017

Happy Thanksgiving ya’ll!

This year I have a lot to be thankful for. I’m doing well in school, I have better doctors, and a great family. Thanksgiving last year I was feeling terrible, and had just dropped out of high school, now I’m going to college full time. My health issues are still present- I even had an endoscopy yesterday, but I feel like I’m beginning to get the help I need. Mental health wise I feel so much better. Last holiday season I was just going through the motions, and wasn’t truly enjoying any of it. I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to enjoy life and want to celebrate this year. I’m also thankful for the blogging community, especially since Queerly Texan is about to turn one year old!

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! Holidays can be incredibly hard when your struggling with chronic illness, mental health problems, or an unaccepting family. Be kind to yourself today. It’s okay to excuse yourself if you need a moment to recharge. Try not to stress out too much – the holidays are supposed to be a joyous time!

I hope ya’ll are all having a great Thanksgiving or just a great Thursday if you aren’t celebrating!

With love,

Alyssa

Turning 18

Today, November 17th is my 18th birthday!

I have so many mixed emotions about turning 18, but overall I’m excited about it! To me it feels weird that I’m only going to be eighteen, since I’ve felt like an adult for a long time now. My family always jokes that I’m “17 going on 37” since I often act much older than I am. Even as a child I wasn’t really interested in being a child, as weird as that sounds. Immediately not much is going to change. I’m not going to buy cigarettes or have to be financially responsible for myself. The only “new” thing I get to do is sign all of the forms at the doctor’s office lol.

I feel grateful to be eighteen, and grateful to be in the place I am in now. Although this past month and a half have been more rough than the Summer was, I’ve still been able to keep up with school and have a generally functional life.  This time last year I had just gotten out of the hospital and dropped out of high school, now I’m going to college full-time and getting better help with my health. It’s amazing what a year can do. I look forward to seeing how my life changes within this next year!