Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice…

I was talking with some women a few days ago about the expectations of their gender that bothered them most, the unanimous answer seemed to be having their anger belittled. “It’s your time of the month isn’t it?” “Calm down, it’s just PMS.” And other such jokes are the most overt ways that women and girls are told that it’s not ACCEPTABLE for them to be angry, that their anger or annoyance isn’t as IMPORTANT as someone else’s.  It gets subtler and more damaging too; if a little boy hits someone out of anger in play I’ve seen them scolded for violence and told to find better ways to deal with anger, but if a little girl does the same thing she is informed that “it isn’t ladylike to hit” and that she “shouldn’t get so upset about thing.” What is the message there? To me the message is simply that anger is for boys.

The double standard is perpetuated through nursery rhymes such as “ What are little boys made of? Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails. That’s what little boys are made of ! What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and all things nice. That’s what little girls are made of!” and the toys given to children, when older kids are roughhousing and misbehaving girls are called “trouble makers” while boys are just “being boys,” and when teens go through angry stages girls are always just hormonal while boys are rebelling and growing up.

Yours in queerness,
Duo Spiritus

“My Little Tomboy”

I haven’t written in a while because I haven’t had much to write about but recently I was at a sleepover and we got to talking about the pros and cons of being our gender, one of the males in the group said that one of the downsides of being male was that it’s less acceptable for you to express feminine interests or mannerisms while if your female it’s more acceptable to express masculine interests and mannerisms. That conversation stayed in my mind as I slept that night (or from three in the morning when we went to sleep until six when I woke up) and until now as I write about it, as I thought about it I realized something that was new to me although I’m sure many others have determined this already; I finally understood WHY what my friend (We’ll call him Jim) said was true, Jim’s point was accurate because in our culture masculinity is associated with power and strength while femininity is linked with submission and weakness. A female bodied person who embraces all or some aspects of stereotypical masculinity is viewed as wanting power, and wanting power is socially acceptable, while a male bodied person who embraces conventional aspects of femininity is impossible to understand because it feels like someone trading strength for weakness.

That epiphany got me wondering how, in what we call “western” culture, masculinity became synonymous with strength and power when in so many older societies the people who bore the children were considered the powerful and the strong. What causes a society to be matriarchal or patriarchal in the first place? What might cause a shift of power? Why is it that in a communities that deny sexism a little girl can be called a “tomboy” affectionately while the term “sissy boy” is still derogatory? What do you think?

Yours in queerness,
Duo Spiritus

Growing Up is Hard To Do

I am coming into a place in my life where I no longer long for the responsibilities and privileges of adulthood, a place from which I can see just how scary growing up truly is. And although I cannot wait for new experiences I would gladly give up some of my privileges for just a few more years of near adulthood.

The same responsibilities and privileges I savored just a few years ago sit heavy on my chest and the same rites of passage I yearned for four years ago seem like demons lying in wait just beyond the light of my dying torch… I opened a time capsule from my six year old self a few months ago, the dreams I had for myself by age sixteen are nowhere near accomplished and the things I wanted then seem both silly and sensible.

Heh, my thoughts are all over the place as I write this… I wonder if such thoughts are normal, if these thoughts are mine alone or if these thoughts are reserved for those who grew up at an accelerated pace. I wonder if my fear of adulthood is really just the basic fear of the unknown or a more personal fear. And most importantly I wonder how these fears and ponderings affect my every day doings.

I suppose my main points can be summarized in an open letter to the adults who admire me for my ______. Select one or more of the following to fill in the blank;
Ambition, Intelligence, Manners, Maturity, Perfection, Self Knowledge. Or simply use any other word you feel fits in with the ones I’ve listed.

To whom it may concern,
I am sixteen years old, I am not thirty-two or sixty-four or even just eighteen. I am a TEENAGER, not an adult and I am still learning. I make mistakes, I curse, I tell naughty jokes and I make mistakes.

Yes, I do often act in ways beyond my years. And yes, I can speak with vocabulary and phrasing that is both arcane and archaic. But I am still in my youth, I am still creating a whole person out of mistakes and choices, successes and failure. Nobody should expect anybody to be successful all the time, to never make mistakes, let alone a person in the stage of life dedicated to mistakes and growth.

I AM NOT AN ADULT AND I AM NOT PERFECT.

I am Duo Spiritus, I am a growing, learning, and loving individual who curses, fucks up, thinks and talks about sex, and has imperfections. Expect my best from me, not perfection and PLEASE be understanding when I make mistakes.

Sincerely and with love,
Duo Spiritus

On a lighter note, I was just referred to in the masculine sense on my personal facebook, and that made me feel great.

Your in Queerness,
Duo Spiritus

Fear

**This post may contain spoilers regarding the book Divergent by Veronica Roth, if that bothers you, skip to the conclusion.**

So I’ve been listening to the audio book of Divergent, and I’ve reached a few conclusions and even more questions, mostly about myself. I’ve concluded that, most likely, the aptitude test would place me in Amity, Erudite or Dauntless (or I’d be Divergent) and that I would choose Dauntless with very little hesitation. I also realized that if I were to be forced to face my innermost fears rather then the fears I allow myself to think about I would most likely be surprised.

**At this point if you want to avoid spoilers you can read again**

I have spent many years of my life finding, facing and/or controlling my fears, the physical ones at least. I once feared heights and so, like Keladry, (Protector of the Small quartet by Tamora Pierce) I forced myself to face heights whenever I could, I rode roller coasters and thrill rides that forced me onto high places and then dropped me from them, I climbed things and jumped down, I went up tall buildings and looked down until the fact my brain told me to be afraid had no effect on my body or my clarity of thought. There was a time I feared fire, I learned everything I could about fire, I played with fire and in time I learned to understand fire until when I saw fire I felt both fear and attraction.

**Spoilers, but mild ones that shouldn’t really spoil anything at all unless you’ve already guessed what will happen next**

Other then Heights and Fire I have not suffered from many fears, not counting those that came from lack of worldly experience, but I knew there had to be things I fear besides those two obvious choices. And then Divergent reminded me of fears outside the physical. I realized how much I fear vulnerability, how much I fear intimacy, how much I fear a lack of intimacy and how much I fear removing the armor I have constructed around my emotions and affections.

**Spoilers are all gone, go ahead and read.**

When I realized those fears I realized that those fears may just be why I have never opened up to someone in a romantic way. Not only did I fear rejection I feared the vulnerability and the weakness that comes with it. But like all my other fears I know that by acknowledging this one I can face it and control it. Well, I hope I can…

I now have an internal debate about how to deal with these fears; one side argues that both physical and emotional intimacy will get easier if I just practice, just get it over with, while the other says that I should ease into it starting emotionally and, eventually, ending physically when the moment is right. Over the weekend at a party the “get it over with like a band-aid” part of me won out for a while and I had my first “kiss,” although I hesitate to call the small collection of three second pecks actual kisses. This was of course while playing two different silly party games; Suck and blow, a game in which you move a card of some sort around a circle of people by first holding it to your mouth by sucking in air and then pass it to your neighbor by them sucking in air while you blow out air, and if you or your neighbor drops the card you have to kiss and then spin the bottle. The unromantic, three second kisses while somebody counts the seconds were awkward to say the least and most of me doesn’t even count any of them as a “first kiss.” But another part of me is glad I didn’t make it to seventeen and never been kissed.

But I’m off topic, and as you can clearly see, the topic is fear. What do you fear? Have you faced it? Controlled it? If not, why? Let me know in the comments below!

Yours in Queerness,
Duo Spiritus

Hipster? Goth? Punk? Nerd?

When I talk about music with people, or they catch me listening to music in some way they can enjoy with me it is not uncommon for them to try to fit a label to my most… eclectic taste in music, and often tie it in to my dress and mannerisms and shove me into some subculture.  Lately I’m hearing Hipster and Goth more often then any others; Hipster would be because of how little apparent effort I put into my dress and appearance and the fact that the people who label me with hipster never bother to listen to the artists I enjoy and decide it must be hipster music because they, in all their varied cultural experience, (Justin Bieber AND Paramore) have never heard of.  I get Goth from people who know me better who actually try the music I like, this is because they know that I see beauty in dark places and they find the lyrics to the music I enjoy slightly depressing.  I have no idea where punk came from and Nerd is clearly because of the fact I enjoy Broadway of ALL generations,  jazz and classical music as much as the more “modern” tunes.

What I never understood was the NEED to put any label on anyone.  But labels seem to be an inescapable social more,  so I’ll label myself; I’m a Knightly hipster-goth with BAMFy tendencies and a flair for the dramatic.

And here is the music in question, or a small taste of it. While your listening why don’t you figure out how you define yourself and tell it to the world in the comment section below.

This one needs a warning; it’s lyrics, subject matter and video are on the “mature” side of things.

If you watched it and are now upset, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Yours in Queerness,
Duo Spiritus

On A Lighter Note…

I’ve loved this song for as long as I can remember, even though for several years I stopped listening to it in an attempt to be  “cool” I still have the whole song memorized.

Yours in Queerness,

Duo Spiritus

The Friend Zone: Yet Another Maudlin Musing

The friend zone is a dry, lonesome place in the land of relationships.  I see it in my mind as a small desolate country between the lands of blissful friendship and romance, with just a corner touching the even darker land of hatred.

This zone seems to be my new home, and I despair at ever leaving it.  Between the gentleman I have written about before and the lady I find myself courting now it seems I am destined to forever dwell in this lonely zone full of requests to move heavy boxes, opinions about their newest squeeze and secret wishes that the aforementioned squeeze will move to Iceland or some other equally distant place.

Is it that my flirtations are too subtle?  Or perhaps that none of the people with whom I flirt see me as I see myself?  And then there is the cruel voice in my head that says this is really because I am undesirable, and always will be.  It is that last voice I try so very hard to drown out, but in the silent darkness of my room at night or the noisy solitude of public transportation that voice gains volume and power.  I find myself near tears at times, and other times so embittered at the world I can only laugh at my own pain.  And when those moments are over I feel nothing but anger at how elf pitying I’ve been.

Feelings suck and junk, but what sucks even more is how I feel about those feeling, and how I feel about my feelings on my feelings…  (Feelingception?)  I feel sad, and that makes me anger, then I feel guilty about my anger.  And that guilt makes me sad.

On a lighter note, I have so much ice cream…

 

Yours in Queerness, (from the friend zone)

Duo Spiritus

A Good Series Is Hard To Find.

Mere moments ago I finished Inheritance, the fourth and final book of the Inheritance Cycle, and although the feeling for me was not as intense as when I underwent the same process with first the Harry Potter books and then the films it was the same feeling.

In the past 1,626 Days (232 Weeks and 2 Days or roughly 3 1/2 years) I have experienced the conclusion of an important part of my childhood. Starting with finishing the reading of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, then watching the final film of the same name and just now finishing Inheritance, and while I am not yet an adult with each of the conclusions I feel I have shed a layer of my childhood.  With the completion of this series I complete all the books with which I grew as a person and learned about myself, I no longer will await the next installment eagerly despite the years between books and although I’ll never stop re-reading I say goodbye to all the charterers I loved because I will no longer watch them grow without knowing the outcome.  Although I shall read more books, and no doubt many will touch me deeply, none will mean as much to me as those that helped me grow into myself.

With Eragon I dealt with my anger; anger at being trapped in a body that never did all I asked of it.  With Eragon I learned to protect my mind and myself while still being able to love and trust.

With Saphira I learned that love is not a weakness, I learned to be strong with the iron in my bones and brave with the fire in my belly.  And with Saphira I learned to let go and soar.

With Eragon, Brom, Saphira, Glaidr, Arya, Murtagh, Thorn and even Gallbatorix I learned the importance of names, and began the internal quest for my own true name.

With Harry I learned the importance and strength that lies in love for others, I learned that sacfriface for those you love is no sacrifice at all.

With Ron and Hermione I learned that one can find love in the most unexpected place.

With Hermione I learned “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things — friendship and bravery.”

With Draco I learned that it is never too late to change.

With Snape I learned that bravery comes in all colors, even green.

And with Tom Riddle I learned that Life without human connection, friendhip and love, is no life at all.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Eragon

Eldest

Brisingr

Inheritance

These 11 books have changed my life and made me the person I am today.  A Slytherin and a Dragon Rider.

Yours in Queerness,

Duo Spiritus

On Jokes, Stereotypeing and Gender “Differences.”

Today I spent time with family members I don’t often spend time with, one in particular, and I was reminded of the reasons for the separation during our visit today.

For the most part I ignore cruel and sexist comments such as “you through like a girl.” But when one is surrounded by such comments, even if they aren’t directed at you or are meant as a joke, it hurts.  Between the sexist jokes of my grandfather, the gender based discrimination at the hands of my own uncle and the silent acceptance of everyone around me except my mother I find my spirit nearing it’s breaking point.

The pain I felt with every assumption made about me based on the presence of breasts on my chest and with every family member that just let it slide…  On a less personal note I must remind all of my readers to avoid making generalizations about anyone based on anything they cannot change.

It’s fine to assume someone is part of a sub-culture if they dress like they are, it’s fine to assume someone is buying books if they are in a book store and it’s fine to assume someone wears a bra if they have boobs.  But other gross generalizations based on BIOLOGICAL FACTS THAT CANNOT BE CHANGED are inappropriate, unfair and rude.

My rant is done, I’ll be back with a more logical and less emotional post some time next year.  Until then, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Yours in Queerness,

Duo Spiritus

Bellatora of Valens

Bellatora of Valens whirled and slashed at her foes with her sword, Sagax, her face hard but calm even as sweat dripped off the tip of her nose.  Sagax cut through her foes as soon as they dared face her, the heat of battle giving Bellatora the strength to continue the fight for her own life and that of her child.

As she fought, Bellatora thought back to the events of the past ten months. In such a small window of time she had fallen in love, wed, become pregnant and given birth to a beautiful baby boy…  It all started when she returned from the border war, when she spent a good deal of her time off in taverns and pubs blowing off steam.  While she was spending time at one of the local taverns, she met a man with whom she shared an evenings entertainment, despite her plans for him to be gone come morning, when she awoke, he was still there.  A week later she found that she had forgotten the fact she didn’t want a real relationship.  Soon she found she was in a solid relationship–spending all of her time with her new love–they sparred together and dined together, they rode together and whiled away their nights.

Bellatora was in love with this man, and the man loved her in return, they decided to wed.

After weeks of the bliss of a new relationship, Bellatora was needed back at the border–she said her goodbyes and departed as soon as she could.  Within a few days of her return to battle, Bellatora realized she was pregnant.

Bellatora continued to fight until she couldn’t hide the bump of motherhood, and by then she was too far along to take the trip home for birth.  When her time came she gave birth alone, hoping nothing would go wrong. Her only concession was her good friend, a male healer, waited outside of her tent, in the event there was a problem.

A mere week after she gave birth, the Perduellisi attacked and Bellatora armed herself and hid her child in the hope the fight would end before any enemy got near her tent.  Her hopes were soon proven wrong.

Bellatora began to fight for her life, and that of her child, when the first enemy soldier cut his way into her tent.  He was quickly followed five more Perduellisi men and women at arms.  Bellatora braced her feet against the solid ground, smoothed her face into the stone mask she wore in battle and began her fight.

An endless hour later Bellatora had slain four enemy fighters and held the last three at bay with the strength and ferocity of a mother bear protecting her young.  Reinforcements arrived and the three remaining soldiers were slain, Bellatora and her baby boy, Fictilius, were safe.

****************

This is the penultimate installment in my short story series featuring elements.  This one was inspired by the strength and stability of earth.

Yours in Queerness,

Duo Spiritus