GingerSass

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GingerSass - adding ginger to your sass

Shame

Today I felt more shame than I have ever felt before in my life. I felt like a failure to my lesbian and educator identities.

While on last period bathroom duty today, I was drained, sick, and ready to go home. (Bathroom duty involves collecting bathroom passes, being wary of students cutting class, and making sure students don’t try to go in the other gender’s bathroom to get into trouble.) My colleague and I had just finished dealing with rambunctious students, and I was looking down at an assignment a student had handed me. A student came up to me, gave me their bathroom pass, and started to walk towards the women’s room. I had barely glanced at the student, and I pointed in the direction of the men’s room.

“I’m a she.”

I looked up and took a second look at the student, apologizing profusely. She continued into the bathroom, and I felt a wave of shame wash over me.

I regularly defend and comfort my own fiancée when she is mistreated in the women’s room when we go out in public. I spent my years of undergrad and grad school purposefully using unisex bathrooms and educating myself on trans* issues. I’ve gotten into arguments with complete strangers over people going into the “right” bathroom, and what that means.

So what the heck caused me to become as ignorant as those I have argued against so many times? Was it the fact that my activist roots have remained closeted in my sometimes closed-minded work setting? Was it my femme lesbian privilege? Was it my place of power as a teacher in a school setting?

While the student used the bathroom, I questioned these things, as well as tried to gather my thoughts on how I could sufficiently apologize– or assuage my guilt– for doing the exact opposite of what I stand for.

When the student came out of the restroom, I called her over and said, “I’m really, truly sorry. I always get upset when people give my fiancée problems in the bathroom and mistake her for a guy, and I feel awful. I’ve been trying to think of how I could possibly apologize to you for the past 5 minutes, and nothing is sufficient. I feel like an asshole. I’m so sorry.”

The student’s entire demeanor changed, and she said, “It’s okay. Wait, your fiancée…? You’re gay…?” I pulled up a pic of V & I at her sorority formal, her in her tux and I in my gown, and the student started telling me her life story. I learned how she had been disowned by her family after coming out, and how she couldn’t get over how others at our school couldn’t express their true selves or be out.

I will never be mistaken for a man going into the women's bathroom. I wish I could say the same for V.

I will never be mistaken for a man going into the women’s bathroom. I wish I could say the same for V.

“I don’t get upset or angry when people start to yell at me I’m going to the wrong bathroom. I choose to dress this way. I cut my hair. I wear boy clothes. But I can’t choose who I am. All that matters is I know who I am,” she told me.

She then started asking me questions, trying to dispel rumors from the truth.

“Is it true girls can’t go to prom with a girl? And that girls have to dress like girls, in dresses? My friend said that (somebody with power) said so.”

I felt an inexplicable anger flowing through me, and I gave the girl my name, email address, and the day and classroom I stay after in. “I don’t know you, but if ANYONE gives you trouble, I will stand up for you and fight for you. None of what you’re saying is legal. You stay in touch with me.”

The girl thanked me, and said she was going to email me after school today. I wrote her a pass back to class, and we went our separate ways. I’m sure we were both thinking about our conversation when we said goodbye, a conversation that would not have had happened if I hadn’t made an ignorant, shameful mistake.

I am a white, middle-class, feminine woman. I have received a college and graduate school education. I have a lot of privileges that I am aware of, and I have some, like my gender-identity, that I sometimes take for granted. Compared to society as a whole, my lesbianism makes me a minority. Yet, I am able to hide my differences. I put on makeup. I wear feminine clothing and jewelry. If you saw me on the street, you would probably assume that I am an average, heterosexual white girl. Unlike my “butch” counterparts, nobody would assume that I am gay and “different.” I have faced little discrimination in my life. I cannot imagine being judged for my sexuality solely based on my appearance, and I cannot even fathom how the intersection of race and gender-identity would come into play if I were a African-American teenage butch-or-androgynous-appearing lesbian.

I am so incredibly grateful for reality checks that remind me of how fortunate I am, and reality checks that make me feel shame for making assumptions or taking things for granted. I am so continuously amazed and in awe of all of the gender non-conforming, atypical, defying-the-stereotypes individuals in my life, particularly my more masculine, “butch” fiancée, friends, and loved ones. Thank you for always being strong, and thank you for being unafraid to be who you are. You show me what it means to be a better person and woman.

So I went to a sorority formal…

As you might have gathered from the PAD Challenge poem I wrote the other day, V is a sorority girl.

 

I haven’t exactly had the best opinion of sorority girls before. In fact, I kind of viewed them as stereotypical blonde bitches with lots and lots of pink attached to their lives.

 

V definitely doesn’t fit that stereotype.

 

She asked me to be her date to her sorority’s formal, and I agreed, with a lot of stereotypes being muttered at the back of my head.

 

The formal itself turned out to be very different from what I expected, and we left early because (surprise!) it was at a hookah lounge and our allergies were bothering us.

 

brownstone

We ended up going to a diner that had been on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, which was pretty cool. V had a peanut butter chocolate chip pancake mountain, which was pretty incredible, and I had a loaded baked potato omelet, which was also  delicious. We had a lovely night out, and although my idea of sororities wasn’t exactly improved, I’m definitely trying to be more open-minded about sorority chicks.

 

Plus, I like dressing up.

 

vme

 

Don’t we look snazzy? V’s face shared with her permission. <3

 

Did you ever belong to a sorority or fraternity? Were you like the ones on tv?

Retail therapy is the best cure to a sleep-deprived hangover.

Retail therapy is the best cure to a sleep-deprived hangover.

Seriously.

Last night, I got together with some old friends and we drank, ate cheesepuffs, and relived the olden golden days of yesteryear.

When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t necessarily hung over per se. I had a slight headache, was hungry, but I was tired as a result of this entire week. (It’s been a long, tedious last week of classes.) I had a sleep-deprived hangover.

So, after eating some lunch, I decided to combat it the best way I knew possible: fulfilling my femme tendencies and engaging in retail therapy.

I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular, but I decided to go to Macy’s because a) it was close by, b) I have a Macy’s credit card from when I worked there during the holiday season, and c) I have a few banquets/ dinners/ events that allow me to splurge for new dresses coming up in the next few weeks.

Basically… I had an excuse to go dress shopping.

Now, if I were something other than a broke college student, I would definitely shop elsewhere. Macy’s tends to remind me of church clothes, my grandma, and over priced ugly clothing. However, I am REALLY talented at finding amazing treasures there. For example, last week I found a beautiful dress 78% off. I got it for $32. I looked phenomenal.

Today, I found another awesome dress. Its cut reminds me of the 1940s, and it’s very summer. It was $35. I rock at clearance shopping.

After dress shopping, I decided to go to Payless and look for some Spring shoes. I wear a size 11, so I’m never too picky with what goes on my feet. It’s quite rare for me to find shoes that are cute, have low heels (I’m 5’10”– what do I need more height for??), and are comfortable. Usually, I find shoes that look like this.

Now, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the pattern of these shoes. I just wonder…who the hell thinks a woman with size 11 feet will be wearing 5 inch heels?! If you have big feet, you’re typically tall. The mindset of fashion designers boggles me.

So, instead, I bought these two shoes. I can’t remember the last time I bought such girly shoes… I’m so excited!! They aren’t the cutest shoes ever, but, for a size 11, they’re adorable!

I’d say today was a success. All of myshopping gave me a shot of adrenaline, which completely counteracted my over-exhaustion. Retail therapy really is such a wonderful cure to over-tiredness.