The Truth About Texas

Texas is the butt of many jokes, specifically about how conservative it is.

While it may be a red state, Texas isn’t always the hell it’s been made out to be.

I’ve lived half my life in South Texas – San Antonio, and the other half in North Texas – Dallas. I’ve always lived in the suburbs so my experience stems from that. Cities like Dallas, Austin, and Houston are all incredibly progressive and you’ll find more democrats than republicans there. San Antonio is a little different. There’s a heavy catholic influence so people tend to lean more conservative, but there re still more progressive people in the city than other places in Texas.

The high school I went to was predominately white, but also had a sizable asian population. While there was the occasional super republican kid who spit out all the bigoted phases they heard at home, most people were pretty chill. I came out to a few of my friends at the time, and while they were shocked, it wasn’t a big deal. There were LGBTQ+ kids who were out and dating and most people didn’t care or at least didn’t care enough to say anything.

You will see protesters outside planned parenthood or standing on an overpass with their open carried guns, but those kind of people are everywhere. Even in the most liberal areas in the US there are still conservative people. I think most people would be surprised how many progressive and moderate people live here.

My narrative may be different from someone who grew up in a small town. The small town conservative mentality reaches much farther than the South though. Being LGBTQ+ in Texas isn’t always the death sentence its made out to be. While I would never want to erase the struggles of people who have experienced abuse for being LGBT in Texas, I think it’s important for people to know that isn’t everyones narrative. There are happy LGBTQ+ people who live in the South and people who come from religious families who have positive coming out stories.

Do I daydream about living in San Fransisco where most people identify with being LGBTQIA+in some way or another? Yes of course, but for now i’m pretty happy right where I am. I want to see the Texas legislature be reformed and more sane people go into power. These past few weeks a lot of bigoted laws have been put into place, and that has to change. I don’t think running to leave Texas the first chance I get is going to help anyone, and for now I want to stick around and do my part to make Texas a place where everyone is respected and receives the equity they deserve.

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

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Texas Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws

Texas is trying to put a series of anti-LGBTQ+ laws in place that are detrimental to the queer community.

The first one is a “bathroom bill” similar to one passed in  North Carolina. We fought North Carolina, and unfortunately have yet to win that battle. These so called “bathroom bills” are absolutely ridiculous and aren’t protecting anyone. They’re transphobic and only cause more problems. How do you tell someone who presents femininely and identifies as a woman to use the men’s restroom because she was assigned male at birth? That only puts her in danger, and criminalizes her gender. It doesn’t matter if the trans person “passes” or not, they have the right to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender.

Other legislation is being reviewed that lets teachers out students to their parents. This is so harmful! Suicide rates of LGBTQ+ are much higher than those of non-lgbt youth, and students who have unsupportive families only have an even high chance of self-harm and suicide. Many students don’t come out at home because they know it isn’t safe, but they are out as school and see it as a safe haven. Parents don’t get to know every piece of information about their children just because they are the parents. Some people are terrible parents and we should be protecting our  LGBTQ youth.

If you thought those were bad, just wait there’s more! They’re looking into making it legal to refuse service to someone based off their sexual orientation or gender identity and making it legal to refuse marriage licenses based off “religious beliefs.” That is complete and utter bullshit. You can’t break federal law because of religious beliefs. They already did this with Kim Davis and she ended up getting arrested, but with our mess of a government who knows what will happen.  I don’t believe being homophobic is a religious belief, but thats another topic for another time.

I’m hoping and praying that these things don’t pass, but I wouldn’t be surprised if at least a few of them did. Lots of celebrities are standing up against these laws, and I suspect if they pass they will pull their concerts and shows like they did in NC. South by South West is coming up and if people pull out, Texas could potentially lose millions of dollars.  Not only are these laws discriminatory and unconstitutional, but they are also bad for our economy.

Here’s a simple way you can help whether you’re a texan or not!

Go Here and Read the article

Scroll down to the bottom of my page and click on this to send an email to the Texas legislators to oppose these horrible, homophobic and transphobic laws!

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

Six Days

We are six days into the nightmare that is a Tr*mp presidency.

Here’s some of what has happened:

  1. He began to repeal the ACA which will lead to an estimated 43,000 deaths annually
  2. He overturned the progress Obama made with the Standing Rock pipeline – in other words he doesn’t care about indigenous people or the basic human right of access to clean water
  3. Stated he is not going to release his tax returns
  4. Attacked the National Parks for their tweets and told them to stop tweeting – or censoring what he doesn’t want to hear
  5. Moved forward with his plan to build a wall between the US and Mexico

 

Unfortunately there’s been more and probably will be more before I even post this. My go-to emotion isn’t sadness, but I am sad, so very sad. I’m sad for myself, I’m sad for my family and neighbors, I’m sad for America. Currently I am not proud to be an American, and the terrible thing is, that statement offends more people than anything he has done so far as President or has said/done in the past.

I’m horrified at what our government has done in the days since the inauguration. On the other hand, I am extremely happy to see the response from some of our fellow Americans. The Women’s march was amazing to say the least, and so inspiring. So many celebrities are taking a stance and encouraging others to do the same. I wanted to go so bad, but I had a doctors appointment that took over a month to schedule so I couldn’t miss it. Even here in conservative Texas we had some large marches, which made me so happy. The march obviously wasn’t enough, but it was a good start. It’s okay to be upset, I know I am, but doing nothing is not okay.

You can go here to let your senators know that the secretary of education pick isn’t okay, because someone who has never been to public school and didn’t send her kids to public school, shouldn’t be in charge of our education system. You can call your senators and let them know on the phone or show up in person, which here in Texas, that is making Senator Ted Cruz very angry.

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If you’re scared, angry, or upset, so am I. He’s gonna do some bad things, I mean he’s already done some bad things, but the only response you can control is your own. Be kind and loving to other people. Stand up for not only your rights, but also those who’s voice isn’t as loud as yours. Giving up is not an option; stand strong!

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

P.S. Here are some places you can donate to if you feel so inclined

Planned Parenthood

The Trevor Project

GLSEN

Standing Rock

ACLU

 

Yes I’m in the Room: Chronically Misunderstood

For a while now I’ve been trying to come up with some sort of title for a series of stories that have to do with misunderstandings, awkward moments, and chronic illness. This is the best title my brain can come up with for now: Chronically Misunderstood

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Yes I’m in the Room:

First off you’re gonna need to know a bit of the back-story. In the seventh grade (2012) I had my gallbladder and appendix removed. The healing process was long and my pain only got worse from there. I had some complications and vomited bile, all day, everyday or over a week. It was the beginning of missing a lot of school and church, because I felt awful.

This incident happened at a church I used to attend but left a little over a year ago. We spent a total of around six years there and I’ve mentioned before that it had a lot of problems. At this point we had been there for around three years and were pretty engaged. It was a huge church, and it became very easy to slip through the cracks.

One day at the end of Sunday school the main teacher makes an announcement. She tells the class that I had been sick, had surgery, and had been in the hospital. She then proceeds to ask the class to donate items for a care package for me. Now this was a nice gesture and the woman who had the idea was very kind, but there was just one problem. I was in the room.

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She obviously didn’t know what I looked like or who I was, because I was there. Mortified and wishing I wasn’t, but I was there. Someone told her afterwords that I was in the room and she came up to me and told me how happy she was that I was doing better. She completely ignored how awkward the situation was.

The room was full of around 5o kids who were in my grade, plus all the other teachers. Everyone who knew me or at least knew who I was turned and looked at me as she spoke about “how sad” my situation was. My friends couldn’t stop laughing and I was just siting there unsure of how to respond. AHHHHH!

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Now I think it’s hilarious, and I hope you found it funny too. The funniest part to me is that they never “took up items” for me. All that and nothing came from it. I definitely didn’t want anything and didn’t expect anything, but I found it kinda odd to make such a scene and then do nothing. Oh well, all you can do is laugh!

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

 

 

Snowing in Texas!?

Ahh it’s snowing here in TEXAS!

This hasn’t happened in a long time and I’m so excited! It started out as just a few flurries, but it’s starting to stick a little bit.

 

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The front yard
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The loungers!

We probably won’t get very much, and it most likely won’t stay around for long, but it’s still fun! Little unexpected positive things mean a lot when you’re stuck at home all day. Is it snowing where you live? Does it snow every year? Let me know!

Lots of Love,

A very excited Alyssa

Reflections

This has been a wild year.

A really wild year.

Between my personal life, health issues, school, and the current state of  US politics, things are definitely  different from this time last year. Last New Year’s Day I was on vacation in Seattle and Vancouver, now I’m in my pajamas, ringing in the new year eating cereal.

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As I navigate this weird transitional period from being a child into being an adult, I have learned more about myself, and the world as a whole than I ever have before. I’ve realized my love of social justice and politics, I have become more passionate and outspoken about causes I care about, and  I am more open and comfortable with my sexuality. Things are definitely different.

This year has brought on more doctors visits, more testing, and even a trip to Cincinnati to visit the Children’s hospital there. Cincinnati was one of the worst experiences of my life, but I learned so much from it. I had thought my whole life I would go into medicine, but this experience really made me re-evaluate what I want. I also feel the need to self-advocate for my health more than ever before; I’m not a child anymore, I need to stop relying on my mom to speak for me.

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I’ve also learned that my biggest nightmares can come true, and I’ll still be okay. I was always afraid my health would force me to drop out of school, and it finally did. It was scary, and my future is unknown, but I know I’m going to be fine. It may not feel that way now, but things will change. My “biggest fears” don’t seem as scary now that I’m facing something I feared for so long.

With the election I learned some not so fun lessons. Sure, I knew racist, homophobic, and just generally bigoted people still existed (I live in Texas, hello!), but I never realized how much America was filled with so much hatred for one another. Being gay, this new government makes me scared for my future. Will I still be able to get married? Will I still be able to adopt kids? Will I be a victim of hate crime, like the people in the pulse shooting?  I hope 2017 is a rebuilding year for the states, and that Donald Trump doesn’t do any damage in these years to come. I sincerely hope he does a good job as president, but I’m expecting the worst. This year more than ever I’ve been vocal about my political opinions. I supported Hillary Clinton from the very beginning of her campaign. I got a Hillary shirt in November 2015, wore it on Election Day, and still continue to wear it, despite the ridicule I got at school from both students and teachers. She may not be perfect, but she taught me so much about being a strong woman and perseverance.

My January is filled with more doctors appointments and tests, but hopefully these will lead to the answers I’ve been looking for. I may be starting out my New Year in the same spot medically, but my oh my have I learned so much this year. I hope this time next year I’m healthier, happier, and have learned even more about life. What have you learned/ accomplished in 2016? What do you plan to accomplish in this new year?

Lots of Love and Happy New Year,

Alyssa

Dear High School,

2016 is coming to a close, so I thought I would write a letter to “high school” as some sort of closure to my high school experience . I wrote about why I dropped out of school here.

 

Dear High School,

I wanted so much more from you. I wanted to learn, and make friends, and have picture perfect memories. I thought junior year would be “my year.” I thought I would finally get the high school experience I always dreamed of, but now I know that will never happen.

I will never wear a prom dress, or a graduation cap. I will never walk across a stage to accept a diploma, and I will never have a year book to look back on. I’m not angry, just incredibly disappointed. I never thought I would drop out – I never thought I would have to.

It’s painful to watch the people I once knew getting everything I ever wanted. I try not to envy them, but who am I kidding, I want their lives more than I could ever voice. This life I’m living isn’t ideal, but it’s mine. I didn’t want these chapters in my story, and I wish I could omit them so bad.

They tell me “college is better than high school anyway,” but I’m not so sure my life will be different when I make it to college. I may very well have the same issues a year or two years from now that I have today. How can things change if I never get better?

I don’t cry. I pinch my leg to hold back tears and pretend everything is fine, but every time someone asks “what grade are you in?” or “how’s high school going?” it stings even deeper. I’m sad far more often than I ever let people know, but I’m tired of being a downer. I’m tired of saying I’m in pain, and I’m tired of complaining. Although most of the time all I can do is complain, because nothing else helps.

I feel cheated. Cheated from a quality education and cheated of a positive high school experience. Teachers and administrators could have tried harder; they could have helped more. I pushed myself through four and half years of hell, only to walk way in November. I feel like it was all for nothing, and a huge waste of my time. I did it all by myself, and wish I could have gotten help when I begged my school to give me more.

I have hope through God, and through that hope I believe there are better days ahead. The only thing I can do now is move on and move forward. Being bitter, or sad isn’t going to help my situation, but at times it’s all I can do. I want to let go, and be happy, but it’s complicated.

Hopes for a Bigger & Brighter Future,

Alyssa