Hello, sea otters! You all look so amazing today! You’re radiating! I’m so excited to be back at it again, just like Damn Daniel, with this week’s Friday Open Thread. As I have told you all many many times before, I’m obsessed with you and your plants and your dogs and your cool pictures. You just live life to the fullest, and I think that’s so rad!

My cats "helping" me move

My cats “helping” me move

Maybe it’s because I just came off a mountain of queers where I was told every day how good I looked, but I have been totally feeling myself lately! Like, I’m currently dealing with a moving situation from hell where I had to just leave my luggage at LAX in order to fly across the country and move out within 18 hours of landing.

But! Even though the majority of my cute clothes are sitting all alone in airport lost and found, I feel really good about myself. I’m feeling super affirmed about my body and my gender and like… so what if all I had that was clean and wasn’t packed away was a Tomboy Femme tee and some biker shorts?! At least everyone can tell that my ass looks good!! Having sandwiches for lunch every day for a week will really help you look on the bright side of life.

feeling my feeling my

feeling my feeling my

Let’s get honest, though, I’m really here because I want to know all about you!! What’s going on in your life? Are you getting geared up for Pride? Are you hosting a meetup?! You should host a meetup!! Or you should go to one near you! I’m going to be lounging around using up free air conditioning and eating my parents’ food this summer in Connecticut, so I’m totally going to make my way to NYC for the Everyone is Gay + Autostraddle All Ages Pride Party!! Have you seen the musician lineup?? *swoon*


musical babes bell’s roar, Mal Blum, and Allison Weiss will be there and you should too!

Also, how are you adjusting back to the real world if you were on the mountain? I came back with a serious cold that is getting more manageable but still leaves me with perpetually dry lips. Emotionally…I’m dealing. I am like, the world’s hugest introvert and going to Camp is like my big stint at not giving a shit about how I look for just a little bit. Coming down the mountain is like coming off of a high… I always feel like my best self there, or at least like I’m really, really working towards being my best self. This year, I feel like I’m keeping a little of that magic with me, and I hope you’re keeping that magic with you too.

Haüs boi: call me to clean your house in super cute undies

Haüs boi: call me to clean your house in super cute undies

Okay, now it’s time for you to tell me everything about everything. Dog and cat pictures are always encouraged. Stories about you and your pals being big old gaymos are also some of my absolute favorites. I just wanna hear everything about you!! You know the way that Alfalfa stares into Darla’s eyes when they’re on that little boat? That’s how I feel about you. I’m staring and waiting and just in wonder of how beautiful and perfect and self-assured you all are!! I’m gushing!! I’ll stop now. But seriously: tell me everything.

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Ari is a 20-something artist and educator. They are a mom to two cats, they love domesticity, ritual, and porch time. They have studied, loved, and learned in CT, Greensboro, NC, and ATX.

Ari has written 330 articles for us.


  1. I’m feeling ~super pumped~ for this weekend because all week I’ve been bummed about being stuck in my house with no plans, but I’m going to see THREE PLAYS this weekend! I’m in theater major nerd heaven. A moveable production of Romeo and Juliet tonight, Godspell tomorrow, and an adaptation of Neverwhere with my mom on Sunday! :D Soooo exciting. So excited. Yay!

    Also feeling optimistic about hopefully/maybe figuring out my personal style goals/aspirations at some point in the near-ish future? Idk. I recently discovered (like, yesterday) that hard femme does not mean what I thought it did (for some reason I thought it meant, like, having to be super femme all the time, which is so wrong, I don’t know why I didn’t just actually look it up before this), but now that I know what it actually means, I’m soooo excited about the possibilities. Unfortunately my summer job requires I wear a staff t-shirt so that will be my look for the next seven weeks, but after that, the world is my oyster :)

    • three plays! in one weekend!! plus figuring out your own personal femme style! what a weekend!

  2. Omg look how cute we are in that feature photo! Life back in the real world has been rough! And my boss told me to smile today. Can I go back to the mountain where my RBF is appreciated??

  3. Happy FOT, all you perfect pats of butter!

    I had a dream last night that A-Camp culminated in a weightloss competition filmed and branded by The Biggest Loser, and I was running around saying “but doesn’t anyone else realize how triggering and harmful this is,” and my cabinmates were like (shrug) “well you can just put on your swimsuit and watch…” and then I got a bloody nose and also fast-food take-out, so there’s THAT.

    I am definitely having issues with real life reentry, post-camp. I steeped in a queer space where I didn’t have to prove or explain myself to anybody for a week,* and coming out of that and back into normal life where I am half-closeted has been damn hard. Also, feeding myself, lol. And working. Why do we work, again?

    Really quickly, thank you, thank you, thank you to every camp organizer and staff person. Camp was a freaking awesome space for me, one that I can’t even really describe to other people, and I feel like by the end my heart was pried open enough that next year I will be more truly open to meeting and connecting with more amazing people. Also (related) I will bring more alcohol and more outfits for Klub Deer. And fewer snacks. I went into camp carrying a lot of the baggage we all have from shitty school social type situations when we were younger, and I left with a lot of that feeling somewhat healed, so that’s rad. <3

    *I realize that A-camp wasn't that space for everybody, and I look forward to AS community discussions about how we can all work harder on behalf of trans women and others who had a different kind of experience than the one I had, despite the best intentions of all organizers.

    • more klub deer outfits is always a neccessity. i averaged 3 outfit changes a day and i’m aiming for 4 next year

    • Being described as a pat of butter gives me such a pleasant little thrill and I’m not sure why but I’m not going to think about it too hard. I AM a perfect pat of butter!

    • 1. YES thank you x10000 to all the awesome camp staff. <3

      2. I keep having camp dreams too!! Thankfully none about the biggest loser. I'm so glad that camp was such a body positive space!

  4. HI ALL!! YAY! FRIDAY!! So…how is everyone!? Were you on the mountain with me last week!? Did we fist bump. If you weren’t on the mountain how is your hair and life! =) I missed doing this last week mainly because service is super spotty on the mountain.

    Anyway!!YOU GUYS THIS IS IT! Christine is finally here!!!!!!!!!!! She got here on Wednesday. Things have been well! We’ve been waiting to share this on here! #RIPLDR

    With baby monkeys

    Met her at the airport looking like this. I got lots of thumbs up for holding flowers and being nice and dapper for picking someone up. I just feel like special and important occasions should be dressed up you know.

    Made this lasagna. Weighs about 7lbs or a small baby.

    Post camp, my lesbro @glavinder and I went to Universal Studios in Hollywood and we got to see Hogwarts! And we had butterbeer which was effing delicious!!

    Also went to WeHo to The Abbey and found campers/straddlers!!! =) Heyyyyyyyyy

  5. hey alaina just want you to know that you’re my hero and yes accurate you DO look great in those bike shorts, despite whatever the hellacious living purgatory situation you’re in right now is telling you

  6. Hi Alaina! I have the worst camp plague and simultaneous camp drop in the world. Why am I in an office and not dancing in minimal clothing with one million cute queers? Why can’t I stop coughing? Who created straight people?

    big questions. send queers. and cough drops.

    • i wanna start a little post camp courier service where a cute queer delivers cough drops, glitter, and a klub deer temporary tattoo to sad/sick queers off the mountain.

    • I can relate to all of this 100%. Except I need tissues instead of cough drops because the plague infected my nose.

      …I feel like the whole camp got sick. But still, totally worth it.

    • IS THIS AN ORPHAN BLACK SPOILER? what is going on with delphine?!?! wait don’t tell me. i’ll catch up this weekend and simultaneously die

  7. It’s humid today but it’s okay. It’s very good grilling weather. My parents are letting me borrow the Mustang *aka* the Lesbian-moblie until I can get my own car. I am getting my hours back at work with some possible over time. Sex with the fiancee has changed. I am having a lot trouble finding a new apartment for us but it’s all good in my hood. This salad I am eating is horrible but at least I am not starving.

    Happy Friday.

  8. Hello Straddlers, I have an update for you!

    Remember like two weeks ago when I was asking for help coming up with a derby name for a queer derby bout at Toronto Pride, and you guys gave me some really awesome options, because you’re all super hilarious and creative, and I promised I’d update you with the name I’d chosen!?

    Well, as much as I loved all your suggestions, a friend on my team came up with “Solicit-Her” as a play on the legal theme, and I decided to go with that. But thank you guys for your suggestions! If anyone is going to Toronto Pride, look for me at the Thursday night derby bout!

    • That name is wonderful. And I’m going to be in Toronto for Pride! Haven’t planned out my whole itinerary, but now I think it might have to include cheering you on!

    • Solicit-her is the most perfect and I’m only a tiny bit sad I didn’t come up with it myself. Go your friend!!!

    • As a pun loving solicitor, your roller derby name makes me very happy! Kudos to your friend for its brilliance.

    • I have thought a lot about derby names after seeing “whip it” and my personal faces that I’ve come up wvth -and am willing to share- are Farrah Toss-it (shoutout to Charlie’s Angels) and Bill of Fights.

      • As a constitutional law geek, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Bill of Fights! So great! Please join roller derby just so I can have the pleasure of hearing an announcer say that name!

        • Funny you should mention it because I picked up some old rollerskates from goodwill last week so that I can learn and am in the process of reading some “Roller derby for dummies” literature.

          I just might.

  9. Hi, Alaina! I’m glad things are going well for you, rough moving situations and forlorn luggage aside. I guess your “coming down” from Camp isn’t the sort of “coming down” you need orange juice or something to help you with, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt, maybe? =)

    No Pride for me right now. They have it in October here for some reason. Maybe because it tends to be not quite so hot and humid outside in October, compared to June? I don’t really know, to be honest. The party you mentioned sounds fun, but New York is pretty far away from where I am. But hey, there was a new Atelier game released this week (Well, it actually came out in November, but wasn’t released outside of Japan until this week), so I know what I’ll playing this weekend!

    • oh! we have october pride in NC too!! because southern queers say fuck conforming for our pride, june is TOO HOT to be outside for long periods of time. i will miss October Pride…

      have fun with your new game! sounds like a fun weekend!

    • God, that sounds awesome. I shrivel up and wilt in high heat. I’m more likely to pass out than have fun at outdoor summer events. I’d love October Pride.

  10. While you’re all coming down from A-Camp highs, I’m still recovering from Utah Pride highs. Utah pride is super early because its hot here. It was my first Pride where I ran in the 5k, was in the parade, saw Kate Bornstein speak, and was a temporary tattoo artist at a booth all weekend. So yeah, I’m a bit bummed that I won’t have another weekend like that for at least another year.

  11. Grey skies are gonna clear up… I’m not quite ready for my happy face, but I’m gonna have a good weekend, dammit. =P

  12. Alaina, your picture is fantastic and I’m so happy you’re hosting FOT this week!

    Since I couldn’t go to camp I was gonna go to Capturing Fire, and I bought my tickets like three weeks early and didn’t go cause I fell asleep after work and like just gave up since I didn’t really have money for the Lyft but it’s okay, like I wish I had the experience (and I definitely need more gay friends near me) but it’s okay.

    I was accepted into this workshop hosted by Jacqueline Woodson and Kwame Davis this Monday and I’m so nervous but excited. And I started working with Voicemail Poems (and our submissions close soon if you want to get something in!) and doing a little section for another magazine and I’m like overwhelmed cause I’m doing stuff but I’m also feeling pretty good about it. But I punked out on getting one of my shifts back because I hate confrontation and so that means less money for me which is just not acceptable and like after thinking about it, I’m probably going to get in trouble for it too which isn’t good.

    I’m like in a pretty bad mood but I think that has more to do with flashbacks and whatnot cause I was doing pretty well so I’m just trying to shake myself out of it.

    I hope everyone had a good time at camp/has a great weekend!

  13. I really like your glasses! They make me miss my old wire frames.

    My week has been… rough. I don’t feel at liberty to say more in a semi-public space, but there was an event on Tuesday that left me feeling both emotionally ragged and just… so angry. So angry. Someone made a demand of me and my fiancee that was incredibly personal and so out of line it was mind-boggling.

    I’m not an angry person. I am a stolid person who experiences flashes of joy. My even-keeled nature is what (I think) makes me a Hufflepuff and not a Ravenclaw. But I… I don’t even have words for how angry I was. This demand was invasive, it was uncalled for, and it was a threat, not only to me but to the person I love most in the world.

    I don’t handle anger well. I’m not used to it, and when I experience it, it’s overwhelming. Writing about it here, even in circumspect terms, is me trying to work through it. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever get over it, and I don’t think I should. I think it’s going to linger and I want it to linger. I don’t want to forget. But I do need to cool off and bring the bonfire down to smoldering embers before I burn myself out.

    Looking forward to sleep and video games this weekend.

  14. I’m home and I’m very stressed about life and my own self loathing and I cry every day!! It’s Great

    I have to go to Quebec and I don’t wannnnt toooooo anymoooorrrreeee

    I haven’t studied French in months because I got depressed As Is My Winter Hobby and have forgotten everything! Everything

    I’m Zero fun to be around In Virginia because I get stuck in this hole of angry anxious sadness whenever I’m here. It’s Really Pleasant!! Hahaha HA HA HA

      • Listen to queer girl, @m1ch0u! <3 I'm sorry things have been so rough for you. I wish we could live on the mountain forever (with better cell service)

      • Thanks guys!!

        I’m trying to be one of those Carefree Travel Queers but, like, y’all

        I get so fucking stressed about travel

        I don’t even like going to new *coffee shops*

        I find my places that I like and fall into patterns and become a Creature Of Habit

        Like?? I’m gonna have to call a cab… In French

        I cried last time I had to call a cab (because phones) and that was in English

        I’m glad I’m doing this but I’m really looking forward to being a homebody hermit (who doesn’t live in Virginia) again

    • also, depression as a winter hobby is something i GET.
      but! sunshine! summer! campy camp memories!! you can do it.

    • There’s no need to worry about forgetting your French. If you’re in an all-French environment, you kinda pick it back up again out of necessity. Plus just hearing it all around you is really helpful.

      Also: {{HUGS}}

  15. I made it through the week!!! I struggled through the last of my finals with the plague. Thankfully I got a lot of my work done before going to camp so there wasn’t much left. I’m still coughing a lot but feeling better mostly.
    I just really really really miss being on the mountain. I miss all the queer babes! I miss the affirming support so much.
    i’m trying to continue the camp magic into my real life, by trying to live my best life. Its just really hard when no one else around me gets it.

    • here, let me affirm you: you look greeeaaaaaattt!!! your hair your outfit your personality; it’s all great!

    • It was nice to meet you on the mtn! I hope I didn’t weird you out when I told you I recognized your patterned jeans from FOT :-D

  16. I’ve been watching peoples reaction videos to “Wynonna Earp”, and everyone of them says something to the effect of, “Why does Haught have her shirt unbuttoned?” It’s hilarious.
    PS – I also found out who Louise Brooks is.

  17. YOU GUYS, camp has stolen my heart. It was my first time. I was nervous. But I can honestly say I have never been in a place where it was so easy to make friends. I really felt like I got lucky with my cabin (ghost cats!). We really seemed to form a bond, even though most of us were complete strangers thrown together in a cabin for a week.

    Unfortunately, I contracted the camp plague after leaving. But thankfully it didn’t come until after I was back. And now it’s almost gone.

    I haven’t been spending too much time in the autostraddle comments lately because I’ve been spending so much time on the camp FB page with all my new camp friends.

    So I’m missing camp and wishing I was still on the mountain. But on Monday in meeting up with some local Tacoma camp friends. :)

    Anyway, instead of rambling on about camp, I’ll just post a bunch of photos.

    The music hike with Mal Blum, Jenny Owen-Youngs, and Julia Nunes.

    (also. Jenny looked adorable in her onesie)


    I won a haircut from Kip! (I’m the one on the left in the YES CATS tee)

    Ropes course!

    Hike to the river

    Lupines in the morning


  18. The re-entry blues have been really starting to hit lately. Last night someone in our cabin group chat said, “I wish we could all be on the cabin floor right now,” and I was like, ow. </3 Adjusting from a week of constant connection and recreation with good people to regular old life is proving to be harder than expected.
    Also I'm taking two intensive grad classes while working full-time this summer and those started on Monday, so aaaaah, but trying to remain positive and take care of myself. Yesterday that meant extra wine and face masks.

  19. So, basically this week Person of Interest drove me to start writing fix it fic, and I have to take another driver’s test. Life is a joy.

  20. HELLO fine people!

    -In maybe three years I will be on your magical Camp. Until then I am *Living My Life, (Marginally) Saving My Money (for your Camp) and Trying Not To Get a Full Time Teaching Job Too Soon After Uni So That I Can Actually Manage To Get Leave At The Time That Camp Is On*.

    -My sister is about to get her driver’s licence! My housemate is about to get her driver’s licence! Everyone is in their late 20s! I am also this, but about 50 hours from my licence *womp womp womp*. Luckily my housemate is super lovely and is lending her car for this hour-acquiring mission. Wish me luck! It has seemed like a struggle and I’m not good at asking people to help me or scheduling time to do this. But we’ll get there.

    I wanna drive so I can go camping and go on a roadtrip like you’re supposed to do when you’re Young or something.

    -My friend sent me a podcast of an economist discussing how statistically tricky it is to find ‘the one’ and basically said that my chances of finding a Christian gf that I also think is cute in my city are statistically basically fucking zero and I better be prepared to internet-date and then move to be with them! I’m genuinely not sure if I should be thanking her for sharing this or not.

    -There’s this great site queer grace dot com which is a growing ‘encyclopaedia for LGBTQ and Christian life’ which I emailed the creator about and I’m going to be helping with, after already making a growing spreadsheet of all the different queer Christian sites and resources I could find. We’re going to combine forces, it’s gonna be rad!

    -I’ve got an interesting growing tension of being a drum teacher in a Catholic school and being increasingly in the position to share as a queer Christian at conferences or panels etc in situations to foster understanding and aid tolerance etc. I’m feeling torn between activism (my life’s passion!) and trying to work out how ‘out’ I can be before shit gets awkward at school (I don’t *think* I’d be fired?)

    -I’ve been feeling more purposeful lately than I used to, leading to less feeing depressed. Which is SO rad. Part of this is about being back at uni studying to do Primary teaching. Kids are the fucking best, by the way.

    -I’m in a cover band which is doing more and more gigs and is filled with great people but I feel torn and challenged by because I did tertiary level music study and my standards I wanna reach are *so* high but this band is like ‘oh that gig was good enough!’ and I’m going ‘was it though? We did NOT nail that ending etc’. I like that they’re not agonising over it because when everyone’s super tense in a band environment that can be toxic- how now though can we reach the next level? Does it matter if we reach my level- it’s a (contracted!) job after all and our singer is the (actual) boss so she makes the calls? How do I feel promo-ing gigs on Facey to my friends whose opinions I value and who might come to gigs when sometimes this band could play better and I’m not truly proud of our sound yet? Aaaah complicated!

    – I’m trying to decide whether torrenting Game of Thrones (here Fox has the stranglehold til season end and spoilers are aplenty) is some super entitled shit and I should get over myself and stop watching and get it all legally later. I worry that the super sincere, tremendously moral child I once was has died a slow death and now I make compromises like this, you know?

    – I *finally* went on Pottermore and was sorted into Ravenclaw which was the BEST and aligns perfectly with the house of my childhood alias ‘Jess Lupin’ who wrote ‘Harry Potter letters’ to my childhood best friend in Melbourne when we were like 12-15?

    And that’s that for now! Hope you’re all killer. x

  21. I got time off approved before camp a little too late to have the car as long as I wanted, so I’m at loose ends for bit, which is good, because just like everytime I take actual time off work, I get sick while I’m at it(I’m very efficient and/or a workaholic like that). But I have another week to decompress without my straight co-workers, for which I am eternally grateful.

  22. I’m beginning to be a human being again and the girl I like totally made this little ‘you’re cute and I’m excited to see you’ smile when I ran into her yesterday (and I looked really cute! my friend even commented on it later!). And I think I might have found a way that I can afford to stay alone in the apartment I was living in with my ex (or at least justify that it would be months before the savings in rent make up for the moving costs), which is maybe all I really wanted from life right now?

    I don’t get to go to any Pride this year because Pride in my city is late July and I’m out of town but Pride is over everywhere else by then, so give me some non-Pride queer events.

    Anyway I’m super happy that for the first time in more than two months I have something to post here that’s not totally negative and hi-this-is-the-only-interaction-I’ve-had-with-possibly-sympathetic-humans-all-week. I hope the weekend weather forecast is better in all of your cities than in mine!

  23. Well I already went to Long Beach Pride last month, so I will probably skip LA pride this weekend. Though I am trying to get a friend, who really needs to be outside, to come with me to a bar that every Saturday is LBT night(this week is cow girls theme).

    So, last night I had first date(?) with an adorable queer Jewish lady. I’m 97% sure it went well. We each had a fopaux or two, but it went well as it could go for first date. We had cider, Irish whiskey, and good convo(I also ate a vegan pizza by myself). The night ended with me asking if I could kiss her & that worked for my favor. Only thing is she’s moving to Cleveland at the end of the summer to help a friend(I don’t know if she will ever come back). I have a goofy(and hopefully queer) smile on my face. Is that normal after a positive date? Is it also normal to want think about cuddling(she said she a big spoon).

    As for coping, I think watching lbtq positive media(were no lbtq lady dies), and eating cookies. Though, I’m personally still not over Dinah Shore with lbtq women everywhere and gender neutral bathrooms.

    Spent last Saturday city and star gazing with a friend, and MJ.


    And I saw this billboard yesterday in West Hollywood.

    • honestly one of my favorite things is when someone ASKS if they can kiss me before they do and i bet she loved that and it sounds like you’re living your best life right now!!! i’ so happy for you!

      • Thank you. My concern was I get a weird look, cause some people you just go for the kiss and not think about it. Like take a risk and kiss me type thing. But, I can’t do that, cause I dunno what they are thinking if I did go for the kiss.

    • I love how you always post pictures every FOT, and such pretty ones too!! Thank you for sharing!!!!!!!! And congrats on the good date!

      • Thank you!

        I didn’t realize the last image didn’t come out as clear as I wanted to on here. It says Orange is The New Black and has #pride on the top right.

  24. Happy Friday, folks. I am going to use this FOT to rant sadly and angrily! Because I love you all and you are sweethearts.

    I started at my new job today! It went very well. This makes me happy, because my old job (which I have to keep doing until august) just turned from awful to “so bad I can’t sleep right now with anxiety even though I gotta wake up in six hours.”

    One of my superiors asked if she could ask something of me. I said yes. She said you don’t wear a bra, right? I said that’s true. Then she asked me if I could please start wearing a bra, because I’m distracting my male coworkers. I asked if they had said anything. She said not to her, but she’d heard them talking.

    Not only do I have to hear from some random woman I’ve worked for a few times that coworkers -who I stupidly trusted to respect me- have been talking about my boobs, but it also turns out that when this happens I’m the one getting shit for it. And nobody is telling them off about it.

    I did tell her I would wear a bra, but I don’t actually have any? I could wear my binder, but it’s so hot there, and my job involves a lot of heavy lifting. “It distracts them”… Pshh. I have fucking ADHD, and I gotta concentrate now knowing that people surrounding me have been discussing my underwear. I can do it. Assholes.

    Thanks for reading lovelies.

    • woah. that sounds…like illegal maybe? like sexual harrassment?? i don’t know i think everything mean is illegal (IT SHOULD BE), but maybe also if you have the emotional energy, bring it up to HR? because yeah, it’s real hot for a binder if you don’t want to wear one and your coworkers should fucking keep their eyes on their own cubicle or whatever! SO MUCH RAGE. they are assholes.

      • If I wanted to I could probably make a fuss about it on SOME legal or company policy grounds, but I’m kind of stuck in a catch-22 (is this how you use that word?) because now if I go without a bra, I will feel self conscious and afraid, and if I go binding, I will feel self conscious and afraid. Because they will notice the change and then talk about that too… I can’t win! Whether I’m legally allowed to complain or not, she got what she wanted :(

        • Whether it’s legal for them to do or not, it’s misogynistic and judgmental and gross and wrong on 1000 levels. Men should not be policing our bodies as “distracting.”

        • Also, I forgot to say in my first comment to you, but I am terribly sorry that happened to you and very glad you’ve gotten a new job that is hopefully a more safe space for you. Practice your favourite form of self care this weekend, and forget about those fuckwits.

          • Thank you so much for the validation ;_; ♡♡♡ My new work is cleaning for a super nice businesswoman in her house, and I’m so happy to work for her. Just clean the house, drink some tea, do some chores, all in the company of an awesome and kind person. Hell. Yes. It really does feel like a safer environment

    • I am so sorry that is happening to you and those guys and supervisor are total fuckers. Raging on your behalf because that is total bullshit.

    • ndspunsdifia! I can’t even properly muster a word of frustration to express my irritation over this! It so upsetting that because THEY are upset that YOU have to make the change! You’re equally uncomfortable with a) them invading your privacy over how you physically and mentally feel comfortable dressing and b) knowing that everyone has that many eyes on you! (All the exclamation points because if I were actually verbalizing this to everyone I’d be using my assertive attorney voice). Such bullshit. I can say with firm belief that such a request and response from your workplace smells legally suspicious but I’m in the U.S. and I’m not sure how your laws work in the Netherlands :/ I’m so so sorry that you have to put up with this. I hope your employer either sees the light on this matter. Sending you all the positive vibes to help you cope and manage this rather unfair circumstance.

      • I love the assertive attorney voice :D Thank you <3 having the kind kind peeps of Autostraddle to back me up is already helping matters significantly. I do think this is a legally fishy request in the Netherlands too, but I don't really have anyone to report it to. My workplace is a very fishy place in general, and I'm SO happy to be leaving.

    • I know you shouldn’t have to do this and probably don’t want to fight fire with fire, especially when ‘fire’ is sexual harassment, but I just wonder what your coworkers would do if you stared at their junk all day and then asked them to switch from boxers to briefs because their crotch areas were distracting.

      • Hahahahaha oh man if I knew who the coworkers in question were exactly I would totally do this!!!??? It’s a good idea.

  25. I went to my first Pride at the weekend! I stayed with my best friend and I got to meet their girlfriend and we had an awesome time at was was also their first Pride! AND NOW I HAVE RAINBOW BOOTLACES IN MY DOCS.

    And yesterday I played my first ever open mic night! It was terrifying but also pretty fun – even though the last time I willingly sang in public was in primary school, and I’ve only been playing guitar less than a year – but it was awesome!

    I’ve now only got a week (2 exams) left of my first year at uni and so I’m excited to have a long summer too, even if I will be working shifts a lot of it…

  26. I gotta say that life is pretty awesome right now. I just moved into a new apt which has central air and in-unit washer and dryer. And I just transferred to a different library branch where my co-workers are awesome, in a neighborhood full of Lady-Queers, and my boss is totally pro me doing tons of programming specifically for said lady queers and basically turning it into The Lesbian Branch.
    Also I got this tattoo of a phoenix which I’ve been wanting forever and finally got and it was totally a coincidence that it happened exactly as my life was literally burning down and being reborn from the ashes.
    Also it’s about to be PRIDE and I’m totally pumped to do DykeMarch again.

    • i definitely thought you transferring to a new library branch meant that you just switched your local library because you were FED UP and i was really dedicated to your local library commitment…but switching for a job makes more sense! and sounds exciting! also that tatt is beautiful!!

    • I’m so happy for you ♡♡♡ I love your tattoo, and that it came at such a fitting moment!!!! Enjoy the serendipity!!

  27. This past weekend, I adopted three rats! They’re female and from the same litter. They’re still super nervous and won’t let me do more than give them scratches and feed them, trying to pick them up ends up in being scratched.
    Also, I’m planning on going to Boston pride tomorrow, but don’t have anyone to hang out with. Are there any groups of Straddlers that are going who wouldn’t mind a tag along from Maine?

    • i know nothing about rats, but like…sounds amazing! congrats on your new pet parenthood.

    • I’ve never had a rat pet (I have a cat, so bad idea), but I’ve heard that they’re actually very affectionate. Hope they warm up to their new home!

  28. I am watching the Euro before sitting back to read the novel my sister JUST finished writing!

    I’m also finally getting some work done on my thesis, which is desperately needed. Since dog pictures are welcome, here is my study buddy. He got to chew on/chase his ball while I read about affect theory in the sunshine.

    Have a great weekend

  29. I keep trying to comment/reply to last week’s comments on my laptop and the site freezes up my browser every time so im doot dooting away on my phone, so I can’t show ridiculous pictures from the one good time I’ve had this past week when I discovered the dual camera feature on my phone. Of course, this spares you all from having to look at my face, so in a way you’re truly blessed

    But like literally, I had like a few good hours hanging out w a friend on Wednesday; other than that, things are still very bad. I started a YouCaring page bc I keep having my job applications turned down, and people rarely buy off my etsy, and I don’t have a lot of money left in savings and yeah I’m panicking :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

    Job searching is a billion times worse when you’re severely depressed, too. And I feel like people are ignoring me on purpose, to the point that im about to purge my Facebook bc why bother trying to stay in contact with ppl who never reply to me? But they have time to interact with literally anyone else. Maybe it’s the bpd talking, but I doubt it. I know the vast majority of people don’t like me lmao, so I’ll give them an easy out.

    It just hurts when a lot of the ppl were those you thought were your friends and who claimed they cared about you and would be there for you and would support you. And now I can’t even get a text back when I say, “hey how are you, I miss you, let’s talk/hang out.” But they’ll hang out with anybody else, and talk to anybody else. It really, really hurts.

    Trying to find a therapist is also soul-sucking and frustrating and im so over everything haha. There’s no dbt therapists who accept medicaid, so im pretty sol.

    Sorry im always feeling shitty; I guess I should stop commenting here. I keep thinking it really would be better for everyone if I just disappeared; I really don’t think anyone would care. That’s not being dramatic, that’s being matter of fact, tbh.

    • whenever i’m feeling down, this clip of tony award winning adorable critter of my heart audra mcdonald singing in the disney made for tv version of annie always makes me feel better:

      here’s to you feeling better. and to annie mudge.

      • @alarae aw thank you. She has a gorgeous voice & she’s really really pretty, too. (That sounds kind of juvenile i guess ahah)

    • I care. Seriously. I’m more of a lurker so I don’t say much, but… I care. And the world would be a much sadder place without you in it.

    • hey caitlyn! i definitely look for your posts every friday. i hope you keep posting and that you’re able to hang in there! <3

    • I just had a look at your Etsy and I love the art work! Bookmarked it for when my own job situation stabilizes.

      Job hunting is the worst even in the best of conditions, and with depression it can definitely feel impossible. But it only takes one good match to change everything. Sending good thoughts your way!

    • I don’t post much, but I look forward to your posts on the FOT because I relate to you. I really doubt all your friends hate you and are ignoring you, though i know how easily people not replying to a text can be triggering (i felt hte same way this week with a friend, and i keep telling myself that we’ve been friends WAY too long and been through way too much for her to suddenly hate me and not reply to my texts. The other answer is: she’s busy)

      Depression is a big fat liar! I’m sure you know that. Its had its claws in me a bit deeper this week, and its a bitch. I feel ya. Don’t give up on your friends…and don’t stop commenting here.

    • Caitlin, I don’t even know you but I have read your posts on here a few times and for what it’s worth, I get the sense that you are a lovely human and someone I would like to interact with more! <3

  30. hi sweetie sweet peas!

    I did not go to A-Camp, I forget why. I was in Sacramento visiting my old friends and their baby, and I was so so sad to leave. A-Camp actually sounds really fun and actually potentially emotionally overwhelming with all the validation and friend-making stuff and like full stop I’m a therapist and I worry I might get overloaded with all the feelings because my queer feelings meter runs pretty high most the time anyway. But who knows. It sounds really fun.

    Alaina did you for real get those knuckle tattooes or were you playing with Sharpies. Because if you did I am very impressed by your commitment.

    There was a long time when I was threatening to get ‘book club’ tattooed on my knuckles because that’s what I’m like. I actually hate talking about books and really want them to remain a private experience but it would be weirdly great to have that tattoo.

    I wrote a thing, mostly for femmes:

    I am pretty good, babe gets home from traveling for work so I am throwing myself into cleaning the damn house, (I’m gonna vacuum under the bed because I LOVE her and also she’s been having problems with her asthma lately) and yeah.

    I decided this week that I need to stop trying to be so productive and busy all the time and get better at being okay with watching stupidass tv at the end of the day so that my brain can take a damn break.

    hope everyone is solid and has good weekend plans. It’s my birthday soon so I have a couple of festivities going on and I have to go buy all the grillables and lacroix before Sunday. 32!

    • THEY ARE REAL LIFE FOR REAL KNUCKLE TATTOOS AND THANK YOU FOR NOTICING! I felt so so so good about my gender, as weird and in flux as it typically is to get them, and i am so so proud of them. i told my tattoo artist (who was super cautious to give them to me because she said it would probably change my life in ways i didn’t expect; which i appreciated!) as she was finishing that no matter what, i’ll always look back and realize that there was one day i felt so so so good about myself, that i wanted to get it on my body. still not regretting it!

      I vote yes for BOOK CLUB tattoo and wish you all the domestic goddess’ powers on your cleaning adventure for your sweet! happy almost birthday!

  31. I have NOT been feeling myself this week, but I’m turning that all around by taking some time for my favorite kind of domestic witchery this weekend: Braising a beautiful cut of local pork that Julia Child would weep tears of angel broth for. From a mirepoix to my mouth–it’s #babysfirstbraise, and it’s gonna be amazing.

  32. I miss a-camp so much it’s insane.
    Btw you were absolutely fab on the mountain and I should’ve complimented you more! (I did once and I was so nervous lol)
    Awesome outfit changes + performances and wow okay I can’t wait til next year!

    • next year, we will compliment each other at every outfit change possible on the mountain!

  33. Hey all!

    So I survived my wisdom tooth surgery, albeit not very happily. They managed to strain/sprain something in my jaw so I *still* can’t eat anything more solid than mac n’ cheese. Also I’ve spent the past week looking like the matchmaker from Mulan:

    Fortunately, I had the surgery at my parents’ place so I had this goof watching over me as I recovered.

    Such a glorious creature.

    No other real news here – I just got back from the Prairies this morning, so I’m trying to piece my life back together. Also I apparently have to do Adult Things like grocery shopping (which is so much less exciting when you’re stuck eating stuff with the consistency of baby food), so boo to that. Least I can start marathoning OITNB without having my parents look over during the sex scenes.

      • That’s his “I am 100% unimpressed that you woke me up and started laughing at me” face. #Iwokeuplikethis

        And @rachelwashere we think he’s part Dachshund, part Terminator. He’s 18 and still going strong!

        • wow! I wondered how old he was with that little with that precious grey face, but I didn’t expect 18. glad he is still going strong and has so much love.

          we adopted our little guy when he was 10, worried we wouldn’t have him for too long. He’s 14 now and a bit arthritic, but has the heart of a puppy. senior dogs are just the best.

          • Go you for adopting a senior! That’s how we ended up with Oscar – we fostered him last year (at age ~17) and ended up adopting him last Christmas. He’s a little bit beat up and worn around the edges, but mention the word “food” and he’ll move fast as any puppy. And the tail still wags like crazy when he sees us, which is a good sign :)

            I know we won’t get a ton of time with him, but every moment we do get is pretty special. You can’t help but smile with that ridiculous face looking back at you!

    • That dog’s face is magnificent! I feel like he is doing an impression of how my face felt immediately post wisdom tooth removal… Not sure if that’s how you felt? The sprained jaw sitch sounds bad. Hope you find a way to eat tasty goop of some variety, rather than tasteless goop.

    • “Fortunately, I had the surgery at my parents’ place”……Kate, don’t you think you should have had your surgery at a dentist office???? ?

      But your super cutie dog Nurse looks well qualified to take your mind off of the achey healing and goop eating. Btw, is your dog imitating what your face looks like?

      Get well fast!!

      • … I caught that about 10 seconds after I posted it. I meant to say “while I was visiting my parents.” (>.<)

        And yes, Oscar was more or less imitating my face. Although I'm proud to say that my tongue never hung out like his – I only had 4 teeth removed, and he's lost all but 1. The slightly stupefied expression was more accurate than I care to admit, though :D

        • I am sure that is your tongue was sticking out like Oscar’s, it would look just as cute!! ?
          I love dogs! So full of love for us. And Oscar…..18, wow!… be there to cuddle and take your mind off your teeth.
          My spirit animal would be a dog!!❤️

        • Omg, I did it too …… “is “should be “if”….must proofread before pushing “submit”….. embarrassed face?

  34. I don’t usually post, but feeling a little lost so I thought i would share my thoughts with complete strangers. I’m moving with my partner and applied to different phd programs which I did not get in but I am thinking of doing a Phd program online. What are your thoughts? I feel a little bit like I’m taking “the easy way out.” does that make sense?

    I don’t know. I am really excited about moving to a new place, I have been in the place I am living for most of my life, but I’m a bit nervous about doing this program online, when I wonder, will people take this program seriously? I don’t know. thoughts?

    • I don’t think doing it online is necessarily a bad thing for it being taken seriously, so long as the uni offering it is all accredited and has a decent reputation.

      I am student at a French university, where PhDs work differently. I’m not technically “on-line”, it’s just that a PhD here is almost entirely doing your research and not classes. But I don’t live in the same city my uni is in because of my job. And I do think it is more of a challenge being outside of the university environment. Exchanging with my director by email or skype is just not the same as regularly seeing colleagues and attending more seminars and the sort. It’s honestly a bit isolating and every time I do make it to campus or attend a conference or the sort I feel like a different person just after.

      Which isn’t to say don’t do it. Just evaluate whether you’re okay with working so independently and maybe see if there is a school close to where you’ll be where you might still be able to meet other students and attend seminars and the sort.

    • There’s no way a PhD program will be easy, online or not
      Whether or not people will take an online program serious depends of the reputation of the the provider and the subject.
      There will always be some people who’d never take ANY online higher education seriously, even an Associates Degree.
      But the important person here is you and important thing is what you want to do with your PhD, what’s it for and how would it be used.

    • Part of the value of a PhD can be the time/networking/interaction with others. You can do that via conferences and web interactions, but there’s still a lot of value to going to seminars and hallway meetings and going to (a few of) the lunches with visiting lecturers and such. There can be quite a bit of informal learning, depending on the program and field. I know this varies by institution, though, but in some cases, you may be able to spend some time on campus to have those interactions but do some of your time away from campus.

      And I second the it will not be easy. If anything, it will be more isolating.

  35. Since returning from camp I have been having lots of platonic queer girl sleepovers and cooking food for my friends, so it has not been too difficult to adjust back to the real world. That being said, I am constantly EXHAUSTED. But I guess not sleeping for a week will do that to you…

  36. This week at work has been a virtual nightmare. I’ve been running a 1,200 person conference for a religious organization that takes over the entire campus and includes the use of housing. Custodial services did a poor job of cleaning the dorms after student move out so there were a number of complaints from guests on arrival. The first night I got an anonymous call from a lady that she thought someone was smoking in thire room, and had to send security to investigate (spoiler alert: they were definitely smoking). Whiners abound regarding the quality of rooming accommodations (what did you expect for a $25/night dorm room?) and the distance they have to walk for everything (the whole campus is less than one square mile, and we have shuttles that run constantly). Luckily they check out tomorrow and my favourite camp moves in next weekend – children with the same medical condition and their families are sponsored to come together to learn more about treatment options for the kids and allow the kids to just have fun and not have to be “the sick kid” at camp. They can just be kids. Everyone is so sweet and so grateful to be there, and I love them.

    Aside from the conference, things are actually pretty grand. My giant dog has been his usual, adorable, mentally-challenged self. He is the sweetest creature on gods green earth and has never met a stranger. Here is Haywood in all his glory.

    I also got a new tattoo recently. My friend does a lot of pop culture inspired work, and was really interested in doing a sacred geometry / Star Wars combo work. He drew up this stormtrooper samurai and asked if I would be willing to let him do it on me. I already have one Star Wars piece from him (a Day of the Dead inspired Boba Fett helmet), so I was totally down. Here is the stencil. I’ll post the actual tattoo next time, once it heals up more. The stippling still looks kind of dark and weird right now, and it’s kind of scabby.

    This is my Boba Fett helmet. They are on the back of my upper arms, and make me feel like the RADDEST motherfucker on the planet.

    I hope you all have a wonderful weekend full of rest, relaxation, and all the things you love most!

  37. Hello, all! I hope you have a glorious, glorious weekend!

    Not gonna lie, I need a few hugs. I write for a feminist news site, and lately I’ve been getting trolled like crazy. The tweets/e-mails I sent are either anti-Semitic (one guy called me a “Jewess,” among other things, which prompted me to ask aloud, “…am I getting tweets from someone in 19th century Russia?”), homophobic, misogynist, or a lovely combination of all three. Usually I’m fine with it–I’ve been writing on the interwebz and dealing with trolls for a long time at this point–but the sheer volume (and cartoons? Did I mention people waste time drawing mean cartoons?) are getting me down. Any advice out there, people?

    Happy Pride month to you all!

    • I’m wondering right now what Regina Mills, ca, Season 1 or 2 of Once Upon a Time would do.
      Or Xena.
      We know what Xena would do:Timehop and kick these guys’ lazy and cowardly asses.
      Carol Aird would probably just chuckle and keep smoking.

      • Thanks, everyone!

        My biggest solace is that some of the cartoons are funny, in the sense that “Why yes, the fact that I write a lot in my underwear is, in fact, accurate.” So at least there’s that?

        And maybe “be Carol Aird” should just be my new mantra. Which would mean it would replace “I’m Katie FUCKING Fitch, who the fuck are you?”–but then again, it’s always nice to switch it up once in awhile.

        Anyway, thanks for the hugs, all! You’re awesome.

  38. You guys, so tired, just meant to drop in and say Hi!
    I’ve been thinking about getting back into dating, but am really clueless.
    So now, I’ve signed up for this App, “Once”, which is exactly like Tinder just that it shows you only one person/day?
    Any advice?
    I would really like to just be reminded that I’m a gay lady and that that’s a good thing, occasionally, preferably over coffee, once in a while.

    • relish in the power of your ‘no’ on online dating. it feels so good to feel in charge because dating is so wild and crazy and there’s so much you can’t control, you know?

    • but also, get out there and be your perfect charming self once you do say yes. a friend also suggested suggesting active dates, because then you actually get to know if you do wanna spend time with that person!

    • When I was single, had I been in the correct geographic area, I would have been happy to remind you over a hot beverage.

      I think it’s slightly awkward and easy with good choices and just awkward with those you should match up with other people. My advice is, oddly, the opposite. Do coffee with everyone who seems like a remote possibility. After that, exercise no freely but take joy in the unexpected.

  39. Connecticut?! I’m from Connecticut. And I’m eternally defending it and Hartford from all the haters. so I hope you love Connecticut! Because Connecticut needs love.

    I have been dealing with depression lately, and I think maybe I have been for a long time, but didn’t realize it was depression.. I just thought I was messed up.. which I guess I am, but at least now I know I can call it depression instead of just thinking I’m broken and alone.. but I guess having depression is like feeling broken and alone so who knows.. I guess I’m just sad most days and feel like I can’t handle life. But I know friday open space is a good place to talk about that kind of thing, so here I am!

    Hope you all have wonderful weekends!

    • I also realize that I just wrote friday open space instead of friday open thread (because i’m losing it y’all!) and I tried to change it as I pressed submit and… ugh :(

      • fun fact: I have to edit this by reading it out loud every time I host because i ALWAYS write Friday Open Threat. you are not alone

    • also i will rep the 860 until the day i dieeee!!! if/when i host an “I’m lonely and need queer friends” meetup this summer, hopefully I see you there!

    • Yay Connecticut! I’m a new transplant to Connecticut and have been loving it a little more every day. I’m originally from Massachusetts, so it wasn’t a HUGE change, but a pretty sizable change considering I moved toward New Haven, a part of Connecticut with which I’m not particularly familiar.

      Sending you positive thoughts in discovering and managing your depression <3 I know where you've been; it's a long, hard process but you get to know yourself better than ever and that will be valuable in the long run as you come to understand your depression and how you live with it.

  40. I am heading off today to pick up my girlfriend and bring her back to my city for the next two months. Also taking the opportunity to get a long overdue haircut. And Monday is a holiday. All good things.

  41. Conversation of the week:

    Specialist vet: “Wow, her brain could use some drugs.”

    Me: “This is her brain on drugs.”

    The dog would not leave me with enough distance to clear the waiting room. The dog-reactive dog and vet were then blocking the entrance to the tertiary care hospital while I paid. She had Xanax and benadryl on board (because the silly dog ate a bee shortly after I gave her the Xanax) and was actually quite chill, for her.

    • Dude that’s like several conversation I overheard as kid in special education.
      Gave me a giggle fit, not that the over medication of still developing small humans (aka children) is funny. Just really brought me back and then contrasted to the anti-vaxx “natural” is best approach of now…well.

  42. Sea otters eh?
    Now I feel the need to inform the FOT of giant river otters (pteronura brasiliensis). They are ROUSes that eat young caimans,anacondas, piranha and steal food from gators because they are the honey badgers of the Amazon and hunt in packs.
    And my favorite part they crave iron and get it from watermelons which they fucking hate the taste of.

    Look at that faaaace “fuck this fucking watermelon ugggggggggh but needs iron” *hatechomps*

    Just now there’s an effort to get me to cosplay

    Vampire Hunter D and it will involve no wig because my hairs can do that already, but will involve football pants and possibly shoulder pads.
    Beautiful beautiful shiny black football pads.

    I’m not gearing up for Pride at all tbh and I am too chicken/over thinker to host anything by myself.
    Time, place, space and activity makes me nix anything I think of. I just want hide in the oaks of City Park and eat a snoball at 2 in the afternoon, but that is boring and not Pride related at all.

    • That otter’s face reminds me of how I was feeling a few hours ago submitting an assignment that I was so delusional and uncertain about. Thank you for sharing that lovely animal <3

      I looove Vampire Hunter D. I've been itching to watch Bloodlust again, but my fiancee is not a fan of creepyish dark films so I gotta take the opportunity when I have the apartment to myself.

      • They are indeed lovely in a fearless ass-kicking sort of way.
        You’re welcome, some assignments are just terrible. _>

      • Bergh it ate the second half of my comment:

        That’s very considerate of you.
        Judas Priest got me into Vampire Hunter D and I have read the graphic novel arc that the 2000 Bloodlust film is based off of which is trigger warning worthy. So sometimes I forget what is light entertainment to me might not be so light and fun to somebody else.

    • omg, if you do cosplay as D, you have have have to share pictures :)

      Also hatechomping ROUSes = a+++++

      • I’d have to get picture hosting platform first. :P
        Yass a quintuple A plus is perfect as they’re 5 to 6 feet in length, giant river otters are.

    I’m still hanging out in LA post-camp.

    Earlier I got to go to the beach with two previous A-Campers and an adorable 5 year old who drove an hour to see me. We ate breakfast burritos and the 5 year old was incredibly respectful of my pronouns (brb crying).

    Currently I’m laughing my ass off at my 18 year old American cousin because I’ve just made her her first proper cup of tea and she thinks it’s the weirdest thing ever :P Apparently the idea of milk in tea is not one she’s used to.


    I hope this holiday never ends…

  44. Oh goodness, what a week. I’m so exhausted and I didn’t even go to A-Camp. It has been an emotionally heavy and work heavy kind of week. My office is downsizing considerably because, as it goes working for the government, the budget for our branch still hasn’t been cleared for us to hire. As a result, my caseload is growing rapidly. This summer is going to be a doozy.

    Then, at the beginning of the week, my mom dropped a horrible bomb on me that I wish never happened. Just about a year ago, I came out to my mom who did not take it so fondly. She has come around in an exceptional way to the point that we can talk openly about my relationship and she treats my fiancee like family and me still as her daughter. I recently told her when our wedding date would be, which she congratulated me on. Then she asked me a series of pretty standard questions about my fiancee like how she treats me, if she supports me, and whether she feels there is mutual respect in our relationship. Although I am out to my mom, I am not out to my dad. Coming out was a bit of a compromise. My mom essentially concluded that my dad, under no circumstances, could know because he would never be able to handle it. He would take it so poorly to the point that he might actually just give up on everything. Sounds a bit dramatic, but after a lot of thought, I realized my mom was right (a long explanation comes with that so I’m going to skip it). After her standard questions, she told me, rather implored me, not to have children with my finacee (at least until my dad passed away) because that would be a dead give away about me and my dad just couldn’t handle that. What really had me reeling was how good my mom had been the last few days talking about my wedding and my relationship then she dropped this awful request on me because I have always wanted to raise my own family with the woman I love. And the woman I love also wants the same; one of her life goals is to have children.

    This pattern of raising me up and taking me down has been a constant between me and my mom. I am hard-pressed to admit that it is manipulative even though my gut warns me that it is every time she does this to me. When she asked me not to have children, I felt like I was being torn apart and my heart was being choked. I was so stuck between “Why can’t I give her just this? She has given up literally everything to raise me to this point and even more to put aside her biases and misgivings to accept me as I am. What’s giving her this request?” and “I know this is going to kill my relationship. The one relationship that truly anchors me to this world and makes me believe in a future. The relationship that has taught me to embrace who I am and the things I want, including having children and being a mother.” I ended having to break this terrible event to my fiancee and it nearly tore us apart. I couldn’t breathe half the time we were trying to work out what this could mean for us and how we wanted to proceed. I was 90% sure she’d walk out and I would be lost forever. In the end, we worked it through and came to the conclusion that it is my mom being manipulative, trying to channel her anxieties or concerns through other people or other means. Trying to create leverage to mold circumstances her way. This is a battle I have to pick with her and draw a line where she can take my love for her and use it against me. Again, there is a much longer, complicated, and winded history behind all this that would take more words and time to explain, more than would probably be appropriate for Friday Open Thread. But getting it out is important so I can continue processing and affirm my stance on this matter.

    Thank you all for sharing this space to put it all out <3

    On a lighter note, my craziness continues this weekend as I am going dress shopping! Then having a sibling night in Boston with all you can eat sushi. I am pumped to just let the emotional turmoil and residue of work stress roll off my back and indulge myself in looking the prettiest I can for myself and my lovely soulmate and in stuffing my face with sushi (and hopefully some sort of strong liquor).

    Happy weekend everyone and take care <3

    • Oh gosh, what a situation. I wish I had something more useful to say, but I’m happy you managed to talk stuff through with your fiancee. It seems you know very well how important this stuff is for your life quality and happiness. Keep listening to your heart <3

    • dealing with parents is so hard. i’m sure you’ll figure something out! and have fun dress shopping!!

    • Best of luck with your family situation, that sounds heavy duty. I’m glad your fiancé and you could discuss it all out. Processing is so important. Have fun dress finding, and sib partying!

  45. I temporarily conquered my anxiety and made three (THREE!!) phone calls to various healthcare providers scheduling appointments for things I’ve been avoiding. I also wrote back to/initiated conversations with people I should talk to, filled out a ton of paperwork for my internship this summer, and did a lot of bureaucratic BS for a fellowship nomination. Wooo!!

    Re: Pride – I’m not going, but I AM going to a roller derby bout with a queer friend during Pride weekend here. So I’m counting that!

    • Three!!! You deserve a celebratory cake. I know how difficult anxiety can make a phone call, and three in one day! Awesome.

  46. I was going to go to the opening night of the Chicago Blues Fest, but it’s 95˚ out and I opted instead to eat a burrito in bed and re-watch Leverage. I have a roller derby bout tomorrow night (just got cleared to skate again after dislocating my shoulder in the last bout!) so a night without other humans is probably in order if I’m to go be social and active all day tomorrow.

    2 more weeks of school! Then Pride (my first!), then a week of packing and last-minute doctor/dentist appointments and other adulting, then moving, then a solid month with my girlfriend before my new job starts in August. It’s scary to be moving someplace completely new where I know exactly 1 person, but I’m sure I’ll find a community in derby and work.

    • I totally hear the night alone in prep for social and active day… Good luck with the derby, and move, and job, and things.

    • i was gonna say, honestly, chilling inside and watching tv on a 95 degree night actually sounds perfect.

  47. I just got over my camp plague! During my red-eye I felt so crappy I remember getting a cup of ice water and even though I had the tray down I fell asleep with it in my hands anyways because I was just so into it, thus spilling it all over myself and waking up the dude next to me. Although I would much rather be on the mountain it feels good to be home. Camp gave me the needed extra strength to get shit done and getting shit done is also a great way to avoid being sad about not being on the mountain.

    My cat totally gave me the cold shoulder for a while after I got home but she eventually realized she still loves me and that I’m worthy (thank god, I was starting to worry).

    I watched a lot of Steven Universe while recovering from my cold in hopes of keeping my “queer bubble” intact. I still feel very much in my queer bubble. Pride is tomorrow for me! Which is mostly a beerfest but I’ve decided to go anyways in hopes of socializing. WHO IS THIS NEW POST-CAMP PERSON?

  48. I’m feeling pretty relieved now that my exams are over. I still have a few final assessments due but I’m working my way through them.
    I’m going to a tea party at my friends’ place tomorrow so I’m super pumped about that :) I haven’t seen them in about two months so it’ll be good to catch up.
    And tonight I have an 18th so that should be fun too! I’m going as fairy/pixie.
    Unfortunately our pride here in Melbourne isn’t until January but I can’t wait. There is a marriage equality rally though in two weeks which I’m going to with all my pals so that will be exciting ?

  49. Erg. I’m in the midst of adjusting my meds which always leaves me groggy and not entirely sure that I’m actually a person. But also, I’m adjusting my meds! So hopefully I can get some more effective pain relief and that all I need to do is adjust them and it’ll be fine.

    But just in case I get to call up some specialists on Monday to try to get in and seen. Both a GI specialist and a neurologist are the next on the list. Yay chronic pain that nobody knows what the deal is. At least I’m feeling slightly better than I was so even though working is still out of the cards, I can probably start back with physical therapy for my ankle next week.

    On the positive side, all my health problems might mean that I actually will get to go to Pride this year because normally there’s a 3000% chance that I’ll be working because weekends but that’s pretty likely to not be the case this year. Silver linings on the chronic illness front?

    Oh ALSO–folks who know about insurance and laws and stuff. I just got a denial letter from my insurance company for top surgery because it’s “excluded” from my plan. I can’t get a straight answer from people because nobody’s sure but the general consensus of people has been “I don’t think that’s legal for them to do…” so if anyone knows legal stuff regarding trans exclusions in NY for insurance companies hit me up.

    • Hollis,
      if you wouldn’t live half a world away, I’d tell you to come on over, bring a week or two and get checked into my clinic, and we’d figure out what the hell the deal is with that pain.
      I hope you find a doctor with a bit of passion and creativity who’ll figure it out.
      It may take a while, especially in an outpatient setting, but you’ll get there, I’m sure of it.

  50. I usually comment on here logged in but I can’t. It’s because I met so many great friends but I have been falling for one in particular and I don’t want her to read this. I think about her all the time and want nothing more than to be there for her.The thing is I am married and love my wife. My wife is my rock and the reason I always strive to be a better woman. I don’t want to be without my wife but I don’t know what to do about these feelings other than bury them. I have been feeling so guilty and ashamed that I just hold my wife while she sleeps, as if I am going to lose her. I asked my wife if she was open to me being poly and she doesn’t like the idea. I guess I will just value my friendship. I just hate lying to myself and to my wife. I hate not being able to tell my friend that I want more than just friendship. Then again she probably doesn’t feel the same way ?

    I hope no one else is going something like this. Have a good night everyone.

  51. I’m late folks… Blame it on the Britishness and the dayjob which is breaking me this week. So I’ve been hitting the double denim pretty hard this week, pretty sure that is as on fleek as I get. I realised I was dressed more 90s than I did in the 90s yesterday and I gave 0 fucks.
    So some of you may know, from a previous FOT, that Missus and I got married in Toronto while we were there. We eloped like the sneaky Slytherpuff pair we are and told everyone when we got back. Well last weekend we had the shotgun receptions we hoped to avoid. Friendception was cool, Famception was an ordeal as predicted. My weirdo bigot uncle mansplained to me that Canada was one of the first places “you” (GAYS) could get married… My look of WTAF as I said “yeah I know, that’s MY cultural history…” Must have said it all. FML. He then proceeded to tell everyone including my inlaws, who were meeting my family for the first time, about his bowel disorder…When they were asking me about the wedding. Weirdly G-Ma was well behaved. Honestly you couldn’t make it up. Anyhoo that madness is over and I’m halfway into dayjob hell fortnight. Also trying to fathom if what I thought was toxic friendship, between a couple of students, is actually toxic crush on straight girl… God I hope not. I fear being made to deal with the fallout. Might play boyfriend by Tegan and Sara loud in the office and see what happens. Have great weekends folks :)

      • If you have to ception…you have to keep that stuff separate! Or at least I do. Not sure how certain folks in the family would’ve handled the friends diversity. Yikes!

  52. I had friends who work at our university library over after work to have snacks and cold drinks. It is already hot down here, so I rigged up a misting system and fans to stay cool……and it turned out good, but also …..*damp*!? But they are tough, and the party was fun. I have been busy in my yard and flowers… much rain this year, everything is growing and blooming like crazy. I am a happy camper…..and wish-I-could- A Camper!

  53. Guys I’ve seen the news about Orlando. I’m lost for words. I’m so sorry this has happened.

    • I just read about this tragedy too. So many innocent people dead or hurt ! Imagine the terror of having been there!

      How can a human be filled with such hate , to do this??

      • I think about it being my friends. I think about it being any of us, just because we were queer. It’s terrible.

        • Some of those people wouldn’t have been out either. This phone call will be their parents finding out, and their parents finding out their queer child is also dead.

          Others don’t even know if their child is alive.

          It’s so, so awful.

          • There are so many ways that this will affect others……the family, the friends.. of the dead and injured……the whole lgbtq group …..and really all Americans, as well… think this might happen in any group gathering……and there is no real way to protect against this type of hate crime.

            Carpe diem, everyone.

          • I thought of that too. People who weren’t out yet. People who were estranged from their families. So terrible.

        • All of us will probably know someone who knew someone who was killed or injured there. So heartbreaking and tragic. If anyone knows of a good charity or is willing to start a good charity to help the survivors and families, they should post it…

    • I came here after I saw the news. I’m so numb. It’s so terrible. And somehow having it happen during Pride makes it worse.

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