FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Running Toward My Degree Like AHHHHHHHH!

It’s been A Week. And that week is finally over. Welcome to the Friday Open Thread, where we all talk to each other in the comments and I talk to you and you talk to me and maybe, just maybe I feel a little less like attending graduate school is akin to lighting my hair on fire and sprinting toward May.

This week I handed my advisor 133 pages of a novel (when you’re in an MFA program, your thesis is your novel) and managed not to turn into a puddle of insecurity. And that was just on Tuesday! While I had insomnia that very same night — maybe related to turning in 133 pages of my novel? Nawww, couldn’t be — I also managed to finish Jessica Jones! I’d been lingering for a while on the fifth episode, unable to marathon it, because you guys: Jessica Jones is SO STRESSFUL and I feel like somehow I did not know that before I started it. Is there anyone more terrifying than Kilgrave? I submit to you that no, there is not. And David Tennant was so good and slimy and awful as Kilgrave; he was the perfect casting choice, methinks. I was also pretty convinced that Jessica and Trish were secretly In Love with each other, but that is because whenever I am confronted with any fictional characters at all, I read them as gay women. I figure this is fine, since everyone defaults to thinking characters are straight; I am simply balancing the scales. Have any of you had issues trying to watch Jessica Jones? The thing is, I’m really glad I finished this season, even though it was hard to watch at times. They left just enough untied to carry on with another season, but wrapped up enough that I felt rewarded for watching it through my open fingers.


I highly recommend you give it a go, but be warned in a way that I was not — it is SO STRESSFUL and might be especially stressful to survivors of rape and abuse.

The other thing I did this week was get fitted for my wedding suit. My very gay younger brother talked me into going custom, especially since I’ll be able to wear a suit after the wedding in a way my fiancée really won’t be able to recycle her dress. He says it’s worth spending a little extra, and he found a place that’s not totally outrageous on the price. It’s a weird experience, getting fitted for a suit that they’re going to build for you! Especially since they don’t usually get a lot of queer women in there. But the dude that helped me stumbled through the fact that I was a woman quite admirably! Needed to tell him a few times that there was no need to make the suit more feminine, but after a couple hints, he started picking up what I was putting down. Highly recommend! What if I get addicted to having jackets that actually fit? Has anyone else done this, masculine wedding wear? Please do chat to me about it!

And chat to me about all the other things too! How was your week? Did you do anything out of the ordinary? Did you binge watch Netflix? TELL ME EVERYTHING!

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A.E. Osworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 542 articles for us.


  1. I am so all about the custom suit idea! I want to do something similar when I get married, but instead of a suit, I want a jumpsuit. I’m kind of in the middle when it comes to how I dress, so I figured this would be a good compromise, and I want to get a custom made one. Keep up posted on how it goes, how exciting!

    Also GF and I have been binge-watching Worst Cooks in America, and y’all, I cry at some of the episodes. It’s really sweet. Like, these people absolutely suck at making food, and they get emotional when the chef’s tell them they like their food for the first time. It’s really really sweet.

    I have wanted to watch Jessica Jones – this might be the push I needed. Gonna start it soon!

    • Wait, explain more. What is this Worst Cooks in America you speak of? Is it at all as soothing as The Great British Bake Off?

      • It’s fantastic!! Basically people’s families nominate them to be on the show, and the food they bring to the casting is so…so….sad. There are two chefs, right now I think season 3-5 is on Netflix, and it’s Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay. They split off into two teams; the “recruits” start off not knowing how to cook ANYTHING, and by the end of “bootcamp” they are making a three course meal for some of the best chefs in America. I absolutely love it! Plus I wanna try some of the dishes they make!

        • Oh man, I am actively surprised that none of my loved ones have nominated me for this show, now that I know what it is. I am THE WORST cook.

          • Ha! You should get them to nominate you, you get to learn how to cook and if you win, you get $25,000! Not a bad deal

    • Jessica Jones was so good! Watch it! We’re binging the Great British Bake Off tonight. I need all the pie! And cake!

  2. I told myself if Kilgrave showed up 1st or 2nd episode, I’d have to quit. I just wasn’t gonna be able to handle empathizing with Jessica Jones while she had no weapons to fight with. They did that threat level progression very well, I thought.

      • For sure, the payoff was worth the stress, in the end

        I’m also with you assuming they were gay, spesh with the scenes with the young versions of them,very us vs. the world.

  3. Well, congratulations on your thesis. I didn’t have to do a thesis for my degree (Accounting), and I have a ton of respect for those who do, since I realize that’s a lot of hard work. =)

    I binge-watched The Golden Girls last weekend! I feel as though I should do something more “productive” this weekend, but that’s reasonably productive, right?

    • It’s a two year program. Which I think is why it feels so much like a sprint. A sprint during which I have lit my own hair on fire.

  4. From one grad student to another, huzzah for turning in theses! Congratulations!

    I’ve had a fairly uneventful week, for the most part- coursework, lab meetings, and the like. Though, speaking of wedding preparations, I’m hoping to get our Save the Date cards printed out this weekend :-)

    Oh, and I also wrote a thing! It’s about my transition. Enjoy!

    • Hey, cool piece! Thank you so much for sharing! Nerd girls forever!

      Also HOLY FUCK I NEED TO GET OUR SAVE THE DATES PRINTED. The same person who illustrated the banner for the Friday Open Thread is the person who illustrated our Save The Dates (Rory Midhani, super amazing illustrator person). I’m so glad we’re having a wedding, but I have a memory like a whiffle ball and keeping track of all the tiny details is so hard!

  5. I had a (to me) inspired thought about “Jessica Jones”, I think that Malcolm is Jessica’s conscience.
    – He used to be a normal person with high aspirations, and he’s beaten up, bruised, and bleeding when Jessica first meets Kilgrave.
    – In the beginning of the series he’s a messed up person that’s just stumbling along because of Kilgrave.
    – After Jessica makes an active decision to free him, she tells him that he has to choose to get better.
    – He attempts to help Jessica in a variety of ways. Often screwing up, but still trying.
    – He’s the one that tries to get Jessica to tell Robyn about Ruben.
    – He tries to help out the support group even as he is one of them.
    – At the end, when Jessica is still trying to be cut off, he picks up the phone to help people on her behalf.

    • OH MY LESBIAN JESUS THIS IS BRILLIANT. Four for you, what an amazing analysis of their relation to each other and this sort of storytelling on the whole!

  6. Please do post pictures of the fitted suit! I’m already overly ecstatic about socks that fit my exact size, I can’t even imagine what a suit would feel like!
    Now, as for JJ, that was one show I could absolutely not binge watch, just because I needed time and space in time to actually process each episode.
    What a powerful, emotional statement for a silly old superhero show, eh?
    And yes: Trish and Jessica: I really did think they were exes after the first episode! If I’m supposed to ship Iris West and Barry Allen in the Flash, this is certainly less weird. Also, Rachel Taylor is my new imaginary girlfriend.
    Speaking of The Flash. I’m on my way to a friend’s after work, to watch The Flash and The 100. It’s like a Friday Night thing now, and I’m happy that I’m managing the new job and some kind of social life! So there’s a win!
    Also, half of my co-workers were sick today so I suddenly got saddled with more than double the amount of patients, all of whom turned out to have super weird and complicated, but very, very interesting stuff, all of which got juggled and taken care of. So, I’m two hours late, but still riding a happy Adrenaline high, after having been SO bored the last few weeks.
    I’m very aware, that with that kind of mindset I’ll be forever doomed to a world of imaginary girlfriends only.
    Oh, well.

    • I am so happy to hear that someone else also thought they were a couple early on in the series, it makes me feel less like a pesky “meaning maker” and more like maybe the subtext or chemistry was off or too much or something.

      • I feel that with the gays being able to marry and somewhat stepping out of the shadows, we don’t need to “make meaning” anymore.
        If they write a meaningful relationship between two women onto a show, it’s not automatically assumed that it’s of a non romanic nature anymore.
        Writers, directors, TV people, they need to be more specific these days.
        For Trish and Jess, it makes little differeence whether they’re former lovers or foster sisters, they’re each other’s chosen family and important to one another, and I do hope,that they explore their dynamic further next season.
        Whether all of the exes vibe was or is intentional, I can’t even tell.
        Now,to illustrate my point, if you watch “Supergirl”, they hired a hunky sweet guy with a velvety voice and an adorkable nerd as Kara’s love interests, whom she had zero chemistry with.
        On the other hand, they tried to establish her female boss as some sort of mother figure/mentor, which would have been a nice idea, because Kara does have issues in that regard, with a hologram looking exactly like her deceased mom giving her life advice and the such.
        However, Cat and Kara have a ton more chemistry than the guys they’re throwing at her(with the exception of Adam), so the whole mentor/mother figure set up is failing pretty miserably these days, in favor of a May/December/workplace romance vibe.
        So, yeah, the chemistry and the subtext was pinging too severely;-)

  7. I’m still in undergrad and it turns out one of the courses I’m taking next fall basically blocks me from doing a senior research project (which is optional anyway so like. do I want to do that? no.) (I might just do a casual no-commitment research thing with one of my professors anyway because I’m just curious about something…)
    (I’m an econ/math major, it’s hard to get a thesis out of a bunch of numbers so instead of a thesis we just have a research project)

    Also !!!!! yes the custom wedding suit is an excellent idea that is what I’m planning for my hypothetical gay wedding.

    Also today I have had way too much caffeine and now my body is an exclamation mark. How do I fix this?

    • My plan for making the best of my own current caffeine overload is tackling some cleaning and errands, so you could try that! But I love your exclamation point metaphor, very apt! Good luck with your studies and non-thesis!

  8. I spent about two weeks telling people that Jessica was bisexual because her relationship with Trish read so much like they were exes that I did not realize it was only subtext. I’m in the middle of the sixth episode now and wow this is intense.

    I also finally got started on House of Cards and finished season 1. Who wears the power haircut better, Claire Underwood or Jeri Hogarth?

  9. I have many thoughts about Masters’ programs! I barely survived my M.Arch, due to getting seriously ill less than a quarter of the way through it. It took me months of pain and grief to get my symptoms under control (intestinal infection -> C.Diff -> PI-IBS -> mental breakdown). And then I had to bust my ass to push through and finish well enough to meet the GPA cut-off for graduation. That’s a long way of saying: I’m cheering you on, Ali!

    This week has been insane for me. I had an interview with an architecture firm in Portland, OR on Monday. Less than an hour after the phone interview ended, I had an offer waiting for me in my inbox. By yesterday, I had signed a lease on an apartment near my new job, bought a one-way ticket to PDX, and started to pack. I’ll be totally moved by the first week of March. I’m excited, but also terrified of such profound change all at once! I used to feel that coming out and living authentically would be the biggest jump into the unknown and unpredictable that I’d ever do, but clearly I was mistaken.

    • Oh goodness, congratulations! And also omg, that’s so much!

      I hear from my Portland Queers that the Portland Queer Community is amazing! You’ll be taking a big jump, but I’m thinking good thoughts in your direction that you’ll find the welcoming arms of Family once you get there!

      • Thank you for the kind words! As for the Portland local Straddlers and LGBT population, I can only hope they’re as trans-friendly and inclusive as this site!

    • Wow!!! Congratulations! That’s super exciting. Portland sounds like such a great city, I’m sure you’ll do so well and have many fun times and interesting experiences!

    • HI u literally just moved to Portland yesterday except I don’t have a job and am crashing with friends and just PANICKING A LOT A LOT but maybe one day we will MEET at some type of MEET UP for Portland Straddlers so like, deep breaths

  10. I hope all you wonderful people are having a fantastic week! It was my birthday on Wednesday and I planned on being a responsible adult and have low-key amounts of responsible fun. Instead, it turned out to be Wine Wednesday at my neighborhood pub and how could I turn down 9 ounce glasses at 6 ounce prices!? Needless to say, yesterday was rough. Thanks, Wine Wednesday.

    YOU’RE RIGHT. Jessica Jones is SO stressful! My partner and I watched it a few months ago and it was physically difficult to watch more than one episode at a time, yet it was so compelling that we couldn’t stop. The entire experience basically had us full-on palm sweating, rocking back and forth, cowering in fetal cuddles. I highly recommend it!

    I also really enjoy your custom suit idea. I’m getting married at the end of August and I have no idea what to wear. Some days I wish I could just wear sweat pants and a t-shirt and not bother with buying an expensive dress that I’ll never wear again…which is the practical reason for why I’m drawn towards a suit. Maybe I’ll have reasons to wear it more than once!

  11. You guys! The first (and best) 50 episodes of Roseanne are on Netflix. Coolest fucking show ever. Or is it just nerdy me who thinks so???

    • If you like Roseanne, my BFF introduced me to this show called “Getting On”, with the lady who plays Roseanne’s sister starring. Dark but funny. Only 3 seasons of 6 episodes, so a good binge, but not a huge commitment.

  12. My part-time grad school is quite painful, mainly because the instructors are fixated on group projects. Which is fine if we were full-time students, but that whole “full-time job” thing makes it hard for 5 people working different shifts to come together.
    I am happy that you are closing in on your thesis! Sounds like a big challenge, but the rewarding kind. :)

    • Group projects in grad school are the absolute worst! One of my classes this quarter has a multi part project that is the only thing our grade is based on. I hate being in the position of chosing between doing someone else’s work and getting a bad grade because they weren’t responsible. I hope your group members do their share of the work.

      • Ours is also a multi-part project, and it’s the majority (but thankfully not the entirety) of our grade. My classmates seem to be proactive, so it’s thankfully not a potential issue where I’d be saddled with all the work. Hopefully both of our semesters go quickly!

  13. Congrats on handing over all those pages, Ali! That’s a super scary thing, I know. I struggle with letting people read my stuff, but critiques are soooo helpful that I make myself do it.

    I got a lovely card in the mail from a friend this week – the friend I’ve most officially come out to – so I got a good dose of warm fuzzies, which I’ve been needing. Also, I’ve been watching TED talks on happiness and making changes, and actually did what the speaker “dared” the audience to do. She told them to approach someone they thought looked cool and interesting – not in a hopeful dating/smooching sense, but just to connect with people. Well, I did the internet version and emailed someone I had read about. They replied, and it could turn into a nice email correspondence about philosophy and language and gender and stuff. I’m feeling pretty cool about it.

    I also bought some more pants from the men’s side of another store. Never has pantless-ness been so un-tempting!

  14. Congratulations on the novel turning-in! I did not know that your thesis is a novel in an mfa, but that makes sense and it’s cool you get to leave school with that kind of finished project (if I’m understanding the concept correctly). And yes I feel you with the “you don’t actually have to feminize it….” No, I don’t want a pixie cut, thank you.

    My week! Was pretty great! Productivity-wise. Scheduled some interviews, /had/ one of those interviews not even an hour ago (It went really well, thanks for asking). Feeling a little anxiety about leaving my current job when they are already understaffed, but also a lot of justification for doing so. So I think I’ll be all right.

    Excited to see what comes of these interviews!! Wishes of good luck are always appreciated, but I actually think I’ve got this!

    Have a good weekend everybody! It’s supposed to warm up a bit by Sunday!! Yay!

  15. Congratulations on submitting your novel! That does sound nerve-wracking. Novel writing seems so *personal* no matter the topic; maybe yours is even semi-autobiographical, idk. Are you going to publish it? On this very site, maybe? AS should do a serialized novel; that would be cool.

    Hey we’re graduation twins; I’m defending on April 12th. Which means I have 4 short weeks to write my thesis ahahahahaAHAHAH *breathe* AAAAAAAAH I’m fine it’s fine. While working a part-time job and doing experiments. Evertything will bE JUST FINE.
    The bonus is that when I’m this sleep-deprived, I’m actually pretty funny which is a quality I normally don’t have. This morning I was making buffers and pretended I was the Swedish chef and called them ‘zee boofers.’ So at least I’m entertained.

    I feel like your custom suit adventure is a sign that I should go through with my custom shirt plan for my defense. Also holy cats you’re graduating and planning a wedding? Wow. Such organized. And double congratulations!

    So I hope my attempt to be a Men’s Wearhouse customer and get a shirt tailored so it actually fits me for my defense goes as well as your suit fitting experience. Men’s Wearhouse in my conservative state is likely going to be awkward af at first, but all I need is one understanding / professional sales clerk and it will be just fine. The bonus is I have an *amazing* necktie thanks to AS’s own Laura Mandanas; it has diatoms on it and it arrived yesterday and it is so perfect, I want to wear it every day. So even if the shirt adventure is a disaster, my tie still totally rules.

    Good luck with rest of your semester! And wedding planning! Big year for you! HUGE!

    • I have gotten a few things from men’s warehouse and both times I had really great experiences. I hope that it works out that way for you too!

      • thanks Katie that is encouraging! now I’m curious what you bought and if you had it tailored and did you have to / choose to say something like what Ali did with ‘no need to make it feminine’ or did it just go pretty smoothly without an explanation?

    • Hello hello!

      I am planning to publish said novel, not sure where or how! As for autobiographical, my fiction is very rarely autobiographical. My life is just not that interesting. :0) That’s why I don’t do many personal essays.

  16. Ooh, congratulations on both submitting the novel and the suit!
    I’m still not entirely decided on what I prefer to wear for formal occasions, but a custom suit does sound pretty great!

    I’m not entirely sure where my week has gone, to be honest? Somewhere down the abyss of extreme tiredness (for no real reason??) and stressing about deadlines. But I’m so close to the end of my course!
    I honestly cannot wait until graduation, hahaha. Just need to make sure I pass these last few things!!

    This weekend, my older brother and little sister are coming to visit, which I’m SUPER excited about (some people may remember I mentioned a couple months ago that I recently re-met my little sister after losing contact for something like eight years?)
    So this is the first time all three of us will be together since then!!
    And she’s also queer, so it’s like the best gift I’ve ever been given, basically.

  17. Congrats on your thesis.

    It’s been pretty good week for me. I’ve been avoiding people for a while and just came out of hiding this week I had Diner with a friend who I haven’t seen since October and hung out with my best friend which has been so hard to schedule lately. I had an Essay rejected for publication but they were really nice about it and really I’ve just been getting out of my own way which has been hard. related to that I’ve also Made a big decision I never thought I’d make and decided to be out as Trans in my stand up after not disclosing for a long time. I’m still figuring out how I’m going about this but it’s happening and I feel good about it. I made gluten free vegan mac and cheese this week too which really is the biggest highlight.

    also It took me so long to get through Jessica Jones because I need a few days between episodes to recover but the show was so good.

    That’s me. how is everyone?

  18. hello babes & barberellas,

    Things have been good, though I have a sudden case of the definitely-allergies-maybe-cold, and the last 24 hours I have been dosing myself with allergy meds, which make my head feel SUPER weird. I took two benadryl last night and slept for a whole 9 hours, which for me is a lot. I don’t love feeling like a floating head, but I like itchy eyes even less. BLARGH.

    Otherwise, my friends had a baby named Eliora! And I made calzones and two kinds of soup yesterday. I’m gonna leave stealth food on their porch today maybe.

    And my week has been sort of pokey and handling-business-slowly, been sort of low energy, but it’s been sort of good to muddle through, and not PUSH THROUGH, but be like, okay, gonna get this done, it’s just gonna take longer than I would hope.

    But I’m listening to Lianne la Havas cover Aretha Franklin, and it’s perfect.

    • That is a really nice cover–but I stopped it halfway through because that song makes me sad apparently?? Maybe it was just the slowed-down version she was doing, but oh, my heart.

      Feel better, mk?

      • I know that feel- sometimes I like to listen to covers of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” just because I like to see how sad I can get.

        yes thanks! I bought some flonaze and am hoping I will be less of a balloon-head in a couple hours.

  19. I am off work next week, and I just know that rather than do the million productive things I want to do, I’m going to end up bingeing a load of TV, and Jessica Jones in next on my hitlist! I am looking forward to the stress already.

    In other news, today is my birthday and my irrepressibly creative partnerwife screenprinted me this for one of my presents:

    I know AS do their own version, but the lettering on this one is SILVER FOIL! So shiny!

    Congrats on your thesis hand-in Ali, and good luck on the suit hunt!

    • yessss. And you know what? I went to buy the AS version the other day–it’s sold out! At least from what I can tell; if someone has different information, I am very ready to be corrected.

      Happy birthday!! Enjoy your week (a whole week!?) off!

  20. I think I stopped at episode 5 as well. I found Jessica Jones really heavy and hard to watch but it’s a really good show.

    I got a new camera last weekend and of course I went out and took some photos with it to share.

    Here’s one of some mountains and Vancouver a cross the ocean.

    Here’s another of the mountains

    and one more……

    I am still getting use to all of the settings on my new camera so all of my pictures turned out a little on the dark side.

        • I’m a X-E1 shooter, I knew the colors looked familiar. If you have any questions feel free to ask. But for brightness you can use the exposure comp dial to adjut brightness in real time as you know. Also, you can edit exposure in camera after the fact if you are also shooting raw.

          • Thanks I will if I have any. I was shooting with a low ISO and a high F when I probably should have even it out. I shoot in fine and raw just in case if I want to edit after.

    • These photos are great! I like them on the darker side, gives them a little angst. Feels a bit like Broadchurch, actually, speaking of David Tenant?

  21. Jessica Jones was okay for me, but much harder for my fiancee. We started only watching it on Fridays and Saturdays so she would have time to process it over the weekend before going back to work. For her, Kilgrave was more than just Kilgrave: he was her depression. The way he made his victims act against their will and the way he pervaded their lives after, that cut her to the bone. From what I gather, watching the show was a cathartic experience for her, but it required a good deal of bravery on her part.

    Wedding suit! I just bought a job interview suit. It may double as a wedding suit. I might talk it over with my fiancee, since the suit was not custom and it feels kind of… I don’t know, it makes me feel short which isn’t something I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I think it’s the jacket. I feel much better with a shirt and tie and vest, sans jacket. I think I can pull that off. Especially since we’re getting married on top of a little local mountain and I already told my brother he could wear hiking boots and flannel if he wants to hike up the mountain (my brother has never met a mountain he doesn’t want to hike).

    As far as life things: my fiancee just took the bar exam and is now done with studying at least until June! Hoorah! This was her second attempt, and I really, really hope it’s the last because losing her to studying for the past three months has been HARD. I haven’t even been able to distract myself with roller derby because I am all sorts of injured and just learned today I need to go back on frickin’ crutches for a month. Boo. But now she’s back and she has free time and we’re going to watch ALL OF THE TV. It’s gonna be great.

  22. You guys.

    My advisor just approved my creative thesis literally while I was reading all your comments.

    I still have more work to do—we all have a short critical paper that is also required. But the creative work is enough for my thesis. That is a thing that just happened.

  23. Ali! You’re gonna make grad school your bitch. GO GO GO.

    This week was definitely better than the last one. On Saturday I went to a pub with friend. The waitress was beautiful and I told them “before we leave I’m gonna go up there and tell her she’s cute”. 5 minutes after I said that she actually shows up with her email address and asks me to contact her so we can have a drink WHAAAT. Then mentions her boyfriend. I turned into that lesbian “maybe she’s bisexual AND poly! You never know!”. My friends did have their mouth hanging wide saying the chemistry between us was OFF. THE. CHARTS.

    I message her and two days later we’re in the same pub having pints. We talk for 5 hours and I find out she’ identifies as straight but has had sex with girls and enjoyed it, is in a long term relationship but looking to open it. And then she gets really drunk, we start talking about kink and I realise we’re incompatible in that sense and she’s looking to open her relationship with other men. Too bad, the chemistry was unreal and I spent the whole night thinking I wanted to kiss her and have wild sex with her. Something that hasn’t happened to me in like a year.

    SO THIS IS GOOD NEWS GUYS. I’ve been going on OKcupid and Tinder and HER first dates and never feeling nothing more than “oh she’s cool”, wondering if I should take it further, maybe it takes me a while to feel that wild attraction? But no! I was right to listen to my instincts. Next time I feel this way for a girl she might be into women and available! She might want to sleep with me!!!

    Tonight is Netflix + Whisky and the weekend will be spent preparing a lecture on Foucault and Marx and Power, and also meeting a girl I’ve been talking to on several dating sites/app for a while. I’m getting out there you guys !

    (Also I’m doing so much better than last week and the stress is gone and although I still need to fix a lot of things at work it’s gonna be ok.)

  24. Congrats on your thesis! And wedding suit! How exciting!

    Speaking of grad school… I got officially accepted into the oceanography program in Florida that I visited a couple weeks ago! I don’t know for sure which school I’ll attend yet, but so far, this one seems like the best fit. I’m so excited! And nervous. But really optimistic. My brain is hungry.

    So that’s the good news this week. Not sure when I’ll move. It’ll be a long move from Washington state… Though I’ve done long moves before. The semester begins in late August, but I might start research in the summer.

    Yesterday was awkward. I ended up coming out to a coworker, and not in a great way. I hadn’t planned on it, but we got into this discussion about the history of the gay rights movement and some of his views were kinda judgmental/homophobic. I don’t think he meant to be hurtful, it’s just a generational thing. He’s older, and things have changed a LOT in the past 60 years. Anyway I ended up just spilling out because I got flustered and emotional and I guess I thought it would help my argument? But it just made everything awkward. And afterwards I just felt embarrassed and gross. It’s hearing stuff like that that brings up all my internal self-doubt and disgust.

    And then I realized I was overreacting to his comment, and that he really hadn’t had any hurtful intentions. I have no idea what the things were like when he was growing up. I should give him credit for adapting to change as much as he has. I may pride myself in being an open minded liberal young person, but I realized I was being overly reactive and not even considering his background. Which isn’t to say he was right, but i shouldn’t get so easily offended either. Everyone has a unique story, and he grew up in a completely different culture than I did, with deeply engrained views.

    • I’m so sorry you had that experience and that we live in a world in which you coming out to a coworker ends up with you feeling embarrassed and gross :(.
      On a lighter note I’m looking forward to all the pics you’ll post of Florida every Friday nights if you still have time to take walks in grad school. Congrats on getting in :)

      • Thanks- I think it was just uncomfortable because it arose out of an argument, and it’s kinda my own fault for bringing up personal things in the middle of a debate. I kind of spoke without thinking because I started getting ruffled. It really wasn’t the best setting.

        thanks for the encouragement about grad school, I’ll try to post pics of manatees if I see them!!

  25. I completely agree about Jessica Jones: Kikgrave is worse than Voldemort, and David Tennant did such a good acting job and literally no one else could have been Kilgrave. I loved the show, but it was so hard to watch at times and I did cry and have to calm down and process. But I did finish it in a weekend, because I HAD to watch it, even though it was hard.
    My girlfriend and best friend both have PTSD from sexual abuse. I told my best friend not to watch it because I know (and she knows) that it would be too triggering for her, but she loves that Jessica Jones exists. I was watching it with my girlfriend (it was her first time watching it) and she said that the way they showed Jessica’s PTSD was so accurate. I hope I can be the Trish to her Jessica.

    Also, Ali, I hope you let us read your novel when you publish it! Sign me up!

  26. I saw The Color Purple on Broadway on Wednesday, and I can’t stop thinking and talking about it. It was one of the most powerful theatrical experiences I’ve had – and I see a LOT of theatre. The last show that affected me like this was Fun Home. There have only been a handful of shows with this impact on me, and most of them have subject matter that I directly relate to (Fun Home = I’m a queer woman, Next to Normal = I have mental illness, etc.). As a white, Jewish girl from Westchester, I don’t relate to being a poor, abused, black girl, BUT on a human level, I relate so much to Celie. We’ve both been through hell and are fucking survivors. We’re also both queer ladies (I always forget Celie is queer for some reason). Cynthia Erivo, who plays Celie, gives one of the best performances I’ve seen on stage. She’s a star. Wow, I can’t even describe it. If you can’t get tickets to Hamilton, try seeing The Color Purple (which is selling very well, but still possible to get tickets to). How inspirational. I’ve been listening to the music all day at work. Not only am I in awe, I’m inspired to write. I kept imagining my musical when watching The Color Purple. I’m here, and I’m going to tell my story.

  27. I watched Jessica Jones by wandering in and out of the room as my girlfriend watched it based on my anxiety level, then asking her to fill in the pertinent plot details I missed.

    And I’m not a student right now, but I will likely be starting grad school in about six months, which is an exciting but also nerve-wracking prospect. I don’t 100% know what the thesis format of my degree program will look like, but I’m grateful that my undergrad did require me to do a thesis so that I have at least a little relevant prior experience.

  28. Congrats on your thesis and your wedding suit, that’s a great idea.

    This week has been pretty good. I had an informal job interview that went really well, and brought lunch to work 4/5days (mostly bc it was so hot outside but still, savings). I’ve been drawing mire and today I’m going to a sketch club for the first Tim. I’m pretty excited.

    Oh, and I finished the second princess diaries movie and started season 1 of the l word last night.

    Have a good weekend everyone!

  29. This week I binge watched The Mindy Project and did quite a lot of yoga so all in all it was pretty successful I’d say. I’m getting ready to move across Canada (for the second time) which is A LOT but I feel like Netflix + yoga is a pretty good way to deal with it.

  30. Hoo boy have I had an exciting (also terrible) two days this week. Hold on to your hats, Straddlers, because this is an adventure.

    So ok Wednesday with the warm weather and rain, some creeks were guaranteed to have enough water to kayak down. Our first choice creek was still iced over, the second choice creek ended up flash-flooding, so we had a last minute change to a third creek. We should have seen that the world did not want us kayaking and just gone home, but we didn’t.

    Because the water was moderately high, we figured that we could put on further upstream (a section i have never personally been on) for a slightly longer run with bigger rapids. This section doesn’t have a gauge on it, so you’re never sure how much water is coming from that branch of the river and how much water is coming in from the other branch, since the gauge is after the two meet. In this case, far, far more water was coming in from the branch we were on.

    This wasn’t problematic in the beginning (it was actually really fun). But our troubles started when we reached the falls. We got out on the right to look at the falls and see if we could get out on the left (the typical spot to get out to scout and/or portage the falls). The move to make it across the river was incredibly sketchy, with a large hydraulic at the edge and a minuscule eddy. We looked at the side of the falls we could see and they were essentially a lowhead dam (what I would consider the most dangerous “feature” on a river because if you didn’t get through it you would recirculate in there from somewhere between “until the river drops down significantly” and “forever”). The left side had a tree in it the last time we knew, and while the high water definitely COULD move it, there was no guarantee it did move or that another tree hadn’t taken its place. One person felt very confident about making it into the eddy on the left above the falls; I and the other person did not, and did not like the consequences of missing. So we climbed up the gorge walls, roped the boats up, during which we snapped one paddle. By this time it was getting dark. We briefly debated hiking out from that spot because we were on a logging road and wouldn’t need to bushwhacked, but figured that it would be considerably faster to go down the river. And it would have been if it hadn’t been getting so dark.

    After 3-4 bends of the river we could not see anything. My buddy with the snapped paddle was trying to use the single remaining blade, but didn’t have good control over his boat, which made things even more sketchy. And had I known remotely where do go, I would not have been as sketched out because it’s not the first time I’ve been caught on the river as its getting dark, but previously it had been on rivers I know pretty well and knew where to go. So we made the decision to walk out. In the dark. Up 300+ foot gorge walls.

    I am incredibly grateful that one of the guys I was with is an experienced climber and felt comfortable setting up anchors and lead climbing because I would not have been able to make it out without the ropes. By the time we reached the top, it was completely pitch black you couldn’t see the ground (which was honestly a blessing because it meant you couldn’t see the large drop off to either side) and the rope was the only way to know where to go.

    Once up, there was no trail or logging road or anything. We had to wander around bushwhacking in the dark. Eventually we found a more open area that was an old overgrown logging road, which meant we were closer to civilization, but we’re also covered in brambles and everyone’s hands are really torn up because that’s what happens when you can’t see where the briars are. We followed that to a less overgrown logging road, which led out to a field. We walked through the field until we found power lines, and followed those for a bit until deciding that they seemed like they were parallel to the road. We found the road it was parallel to and started walking along it until we saw lights that might indicate a house. Because of course none of us had brought our phones on the river with us. The first house we found, the person did not answer the door (which, fair, I too would be hesitant to answer the door to three strangers who are on foot at night in the middle of nowhere). At the second house, the owner was willing to let us borrow the phone so we could contact someone to 1.) let everyone know we were okay and off the river so don’t call the rescue crews and 2.) find someone to give us a ride because the nearest of lur cars was 20ish miles away walking because we were on the wrong side of the river. We were incredibly lucky that my buddy’s wife knew the phone number of a local whitewater friend and that friend was home and could come pick us up. After waiting 15 minutes and a 30 minute car ride we were back at the cars.

    Lessons learned: bring your emergency gear even on love runs because if you do not have it and you need it, you will be VERY SORRY; your emergency kit should include at least one waterproof or resistant head lamp; rope skills are vital in an emergency and I should learn them (so if any Rochester area Straddlers are climbers and wanna help a noob out/go to a climbing gym with me so I don’t feel absurdly out of place hit me up)

    The next day we hiked (aka rappelled) in and kayaked out in wind and snow/sleet. It was slippery and cold and sucked, especially carrying the emergency gear we all wished we had had the previous night.

    • OMG I’m getting flashbacks to this time on a sailing boat off the coast of southern Italy when freakish winds nobody predicted hit us on the first day out. I’m a sailing instructor, I’ve been trained to handle crisis on a boat, and I was SHITTING MY PANTS. I too was v. greatfull to have an experienced person with me who was totally managing the situation! That was the only way I could hold onto sanity for a whole night of madness.

      So glad you made it out alright <3.

    • “OUR TROUBLES STARTED WHEN [OUR KAYAK] REACHED THE FALLS” i’m not sure i wanna keep reading except clearly you survived to tell the tale in this thread so that’s good.

  31. Yesterday I got in a car with Dog Family whose dog I’ve been watching since September and moved to Portland

    And now I need to find a job and a hovel I mean “apartment” like, ASAP

    Dog Family would like me to feel at home here while I find a job and a place but Mr Dog is home from school now and is v sorry he didn’t explain back in September what his Cleanliness Expectations Are and basically they got rid of two chairs because they were too dirty post me, ADHD Human Disaster, living in their house and not knowing that they vacuum their chairs on a regular basis (???) (I FEEL V BAD ABOUT THIS)

    (but also sort of balanced, because the first time we dog sat for this dog, she ate a hole in our sofa when my dad was supposed to be watching her. We never told them about this because it would have made them sad) (Do two chairs = One Sofa? If so, the Furniture Gods are probably pleased)

    So I’m feeling like I need to not live here ASAP because it feels weird

    They’re lovely people but also both 100% Type A+ whereas I am a solid Type C-

    But my job prospects thus far are part time minimum wage retail type BS and apparently you need to have a car to be a dog Walker thru the local dog walking companies, RUDE, the whole point of moving to a city is that I’m a loser who can’t drive

    BASICALLY I NEED A JOB LIKE RIGHT NOW and then a roommate who won’t mind living with My Dog, Who Is An African Grey Parrot


    • I /love/ the idea of the Furniture Gods smiling down on your destruction of those chairs.

      That does sound like an awkward/stressful situation, but I’m glad you have a safe place from which to job- and apartment-hunt.

      Regarding the “must have car” thing: Probably too late to try this with that particular company, but in the future, I would maybe just assure your potential employer that you have “reliable transportation.” They don’t need to know if you mean a car, a bus, or your own two feet, as long as you can get there on time. Good luck!

      • I Mean

        the job description literally had “has a clean license and an insured vehicle” under the requirements section

        For Some Reason

        I feel so weird about the chairs because one of them I didn’t even use? Like it’s where my guitar sat for months?

        He says they couldn’t get the dog hair out? And the other one was, like, just straight up dirty

        And I’m not saying this isn’t TRUE

        But rather than I feel like they are the people putting Too Dirty furniture on the curb, whereas I am the person taking that curb furniture home like KA-CHING FREE CHAIRS

        so clearly we are coming at this from different ends of the What Acceptable Living Conditions Look Like Spectrum

        Also idk, maybe people get cleaner when they are in their thirties and have grown-up jobs

        I mean I highly doubt that I will, but maybe Some People Do

        • Ha! You’re right, it may be a generational/financial stability thing. I know I had some of that divide when I was in a relationship with a Significant Age Difference. I also find it hard to imagine I will ever find the cleanliness of furniture /that/ important, but that experience made me realize my standards will probably change at least a little once I’m in a more comfortable financial position–and that’s maybe not a bad thing!

          Hmm yeah that might be trickier then, if an “insured vehicle” is actually in the requirements…but sometimes it pays to apply anyway–I just had an interview for a job with a requirement I didn’t quite meet, so you never know. Or maybe you do know because you already spoke with them or that requirement is in big bold letters. Either way, I hope you find something soon!

    • Ok so, chairs can be professionally cleaned to a level that makes them appear new. We have to do this at my day job in reception once a year…I feel like these dog family people may have some level of cleanliness issues which go beyond what could be considered “normal” feel no guilt fellow straddler. Feel no guilt. The furniture gods are with you.
      Also as someone who is allegedly an adult my cleanliness expectations are no higher now than when I was in my 20s, I believe it’s a personality type issue. I say this as someone with a hefty dust allergy, like my house isn’t dirty as a result of said allergy, but it’s definitely organised chaos. Also (point 3), getting leather furniture has prevented dog hair massing in it. Would recommend. Plus it wipes clean.
      Best of luck job hunting, I don’t get why dog walkers need a car, the clue is in the job title!

      • THANK YOU and yes I agree he has conceded to having like

        Particular Cleanliness Needs that I personally would describe as “hospital corners”

        Like they’ve lived in this house for one week and he’s like “it’s going to stay THIS CLEAN”

        “this” being the level of a clean a house has when people don’t actually, you know

        Live In It

        Like a model home! We’re all just Guests Here

        IDK. I’m gonna slink around and job hunt some more today.

  32. I think you will get addicted to fit, or at the very least clothing adjusted to fit you better. Also, congrats on getting married, and getting a suit that is custom made. I’m sure your wife will be putty when she see you in your dapper suit.

    I am still dealing with being my parents still seeing me as my assigned gender. It’s getting frustrating, but thankfully for Autostraddle, tumblr, and entertainment I can just remember how trans queer I am.

    Also, I saw Gaycation last night when on the treadmill at the gym and there were a few times I nearly wanted to run into the restroom and cry. It’s great, but I wish they’d focus a tad more on queer people who happened to be trans. Like are there terf there or are they more respectful to the trans community, specially trans women.

    Had a nice drive and hike in Malibu on Sunday. Just really enjoying the summer right now. I could spend hours just watching the view and driving hard on those roads. I almost forget I am trans in that moment and just focus on the beauty of nature and/or the road. If you just want to have fun, off pch there is a long winding stretch of road Latigo Canyon. Drive it, enjoy the view, and enjoy curves.

    Saw this bird as I was getting into my car.

    Floating in the clouds.

  33. Sorry to be the most annoying person in the “room” but I just feel great today! I signed up for a LBGT sport club that hopefully I’ll be joining, which instantly makes me feel in shape and healthy (and really, I’m not). I also got paid today so I’ll be booking tickets to go on holiday soon and I made all my deadlines at work. What a day. The rest of the week was pretty average and a lot of “why do I have to wake up/why do I have to go do this job I am not really passionate about”, so I am glad I made it through. Now it’s time for some wine, hope everyone else is having a great day too!

    • That sounds like just the very best day. Go you! Also, LGBT sports club?? Totally jealous (in a, ya know, supportive way).

      • I know! I wasn’t aware of this either until someone told me I should join. One of the perks of living in a capital city I guess.

  34. Ali, that is so awesome! Congratulations on getting your thesis out there/being vulnerable/receiving positive feedback on your creativity :D I know that has to be rewarding. Go you!!

    Also, would becoming addicted to well fitting jackets really be a problem? Play like Tom and Donna and TREAT YOURSELF.

    This week was a meh, but I’m looking forward to the weekend and the opportunity to feed my soul by hanging out with friends, ample time in the sunshine, eating locally. A few weeks ago I went on a hike with a friend and recognized that I felt significantly better after ending my weekend with a healthy amount outdoor activity, so I have really been trying to incorporate this into my Sunday ritual!

    Here is myself and my GF last Sunday:

    Stay cool friends!

  35. I really want to know how you manage to stay on top of your writing for school and still contribute regularly to Autostraddle (all while planning a wedding??? madness).

    I’m going to paint my bathroom this weekend! I think if I tell enough people I’m going to do it, maybe it will actually happen. I have a super tiny apartment and I’m tired of all the paint supplies taking up space. I’m also installing more storage space in there soon, and I can’t do that until the walls are nice and teal.

        • I feel like there are two kinds of people. People who are very neat and clean (everyone I ever painted with) and people who get paint all over their hands and in their nose/ears/hair/other body parts (me). Good luck finding out which group you belong to!

          • I am one of those people that gets paint everywhere no matter how hard I try to be clean. I have so many “painting clothes”.

    • a) If you want the honest truth, I am a bad friend when I am this busy. I haven’t seen anyone in months who isn’t directly related to my program or my work, and if I have it’s because they’ve come to see me. That is how I do the amount of things that I do; I am a garbage human, socially.

      b) I love painting! I always paint in underwear and bare feet so I don’t wreck any clothes, and I also pick a nice long audiobook for the process. Makes it go so much faster! Also, you may not think you need to tape off the tile in your bathroom, but trust me. You need to tape off the edges. Don’t skimp on the tape step. Painting is so much easier with the tape step.

  36. You all are probably lucky enough not to know Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, but he’s doing his damndest to keep people from accessing Planned Parenthood services in Kentucky. So today, some of my friends and I (so far 50+ that I know of!) are donating to PP of Indiana and Kentucky in his name. If you all are so moved, you should too! (PP will send him a thank you!)

    Here’s some context: “Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky provides lots of necessary services to people in our region. Everything from cancer screenings and birth control to STD testing and safe, LEGAL abortion services.

    PPINK and the women of Kentucky have been under attack recently by men in Kentucky’s government who believe themselves to be qualified to make decisions for women regarding their bodies.

    Indiana closed several Planned Parenthood facilities in 2013 that offered free HIV testing. Shortly after, Indiana had an HIV crisis.

    I am asking all of you that support Planned Parenthood and have the means to do so to donate something this Friday to Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.

    To donate, click on the link below. Select the organization of Planned Parenthood of Kentucky and Indiana, Inc. and select the “Yes, my gift is in honor of someone special” checkbox. Then, enter Matt Bevin’s name. Let’s flood PPINK with donations in honor of Matt Bevin.”

    Matt Bevin’s address for notification letters is:
    Matt Bevin
    700 Capital Avenue
    Suite 100
    Frankfort, Ky 40601

  37. I’m just happy that most of you seem to be having a much better week than last week!

    Hope your weekend is even better ~ mine is going to involve sewing pasties and finalizing choreography…2 weeks to burlesque debut!

  38. I’m also graduating in May, and I’m starting to just realize that? Part of me is excited, part is nostalgic, but mostly I’m totally overwhelmed by how much work has to happen before then.

    ALSO I have two graduate school interviews tomorrow!

  39. FRIDAY OPEN THREAD!!!! Happy Friday Straddlers!! OMG I can’t believe I’m early today. How is everyone??

    YES TO CUSTOM SUITS!!! I’m lucky to have Sharpe Suiting near me here in LA. The process is awkward and great all at the same time. Plus I think it’s fun and I like being able to pick out the fabrics and colors and buttons. LOL

    I HAVE GREAT NEWS. Christine passed her interview and the next step is finding out WHEN she can get here!! We’re looking at something in the coming months! Aaaaahh!!! PANICPANICPANICPANIC but also #RIPLDR THANK LESBIAN JESUS. When she called me to tell me she passed I cried. Then she cried. And then she told me cried while she was in line at the US Embassy in the Philippines because some of the other applicants had their person with them. So I cried some more because I realized that her being here is going to be a reality. There was a ton of crying in the span of 10 minutes you guys.

    I actually JUST came home from the Pleasure Chest with my co-workers. Yep, I take my co-workers who are all over 40 to the sex store. We call it a field trip. I didn’t buy anything but we had a grand time testing out lube. And tasting. And turning on all the vibrators. We ate at this Argentine (argentinian?) grill called Lala’s. MAN THAT STEAK WITH GARLIC WAS GOOD.

    I smell like garlic with every turn but it was so worth it.

    I got my button up from Tradlands last week. LOOK YOU GUYS. BIKES>

    Andy says hello, he’s outside a lot Christine says but it’s because he can’t leave the birds alone.

  40. Yaaey, wedding suit. :)

    Bluntly, my life is still shitty. My father has not come back, &… i think we’re past the point of things being fixable. Mom went to talk to a lawyer today; idk how that went. Mom isn’t eating much & neither am i; when i do eat, i go from feeling hungry to feeling nauseated very quickly. There are times when things feel almost normal, & then i’m reminded that they aren’t. Things still feel surreal; i keep thinking this must be a bad dream & i’ll wake up because this can’t be happening to me. My temper is very, very short; i get irritated very easily. I’ve run out of fucks to give for anything. I’m so emotionally drained & empty that i don’t have it in me to be a nice, kind, decent person.

    Every time i cuss– which is often, over everything, i’m so agitated– my dog moves away from me.

    Mom told me that on Thursday a claim was filed with USAA; she says she doesn’t know if it was a genuine accident or if my father is trying to get rid of the car. It’s a hell of a time to remember i had some of my favorite CDs still in there, ones that i don’t know if they’re easily replaced. One of them was from my childhood.

    Nothing about this has gotten any easier at all. It doesn’t help that the house is essentially filled with relics of a not-so-distant past. There’s a cross stitch over the kitchen door that was to commemorate my parents’ wedding day. There’s pictures of them on their wedding day next to pictures of them being silly together a few years back. There’s my father’s display case, with some of his model kits & Star Wars stuff. There’s his old anime books still sitting on the dining room table; literally the day before shit happened, he was going through them. Like, stuff from my childhood, again, so that every time i walk by the table & see a freaking Robotech card pack, with Rick/Hikaru’s face on it, i have to look away. The attic, where my room is, has a ton of his stuff in it. A lot of Star Wars. I grew up on Star Wars because of him. And Star Trek. And anime, & heavy metal. He introduced me to Tolkien. My copies of The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit were books that he gave me when i was young, because i “might want to read them someday.” I went to midnight shows with him, when Return of the King & Revenge of the Sith came out. Because i grew up on old-school anime, i got interested in Japanese & that’s why i took it in middle school & college.

    And then i remember how i used to love telling people the story of my parents’ first date (they went to see Lost Boys), how i used to like telling people how they met. I remember my father telling me about the first time he held me. I remember joking with him only days before this happened, & texting him something funny hours before this happened. We went from all that to this. In 27 years, it went from him happily holding me, to him threatening me & me screaming at him to go fuck himself & die. And then i look around the house & his presence is everywhere– there’s a BluRay of The Jungle Book sitting by the TV that we watched only a few weeks ago– & my heart keeps breaking over & over.

    And i still don’t have a job. I don’t know if i’m going to get this Barnes & Noble one i applied for; even if i do, it’s only part time. A local sex toy store is hiring, but ever since this year started i’ve been so sex repulsed that i know i couldn’t write up a convincing cover letter, much less work there. I mean, so sex repulsed that it makes me feel ill, & angry, & GetItTheFuckOutOfMyFaceGoddamnYou. Even seeing artsy nudes gives me the same reaction, despite the fact that i was an art student who drew from the live figure, despite the fact that i know the human body is not inherently sexual. But it doesn’t matter, it makes me feel as nauseated as anything blatantly sexual. I’ve unfollowed a bunch of NSFW Tumblrs, & i’m thinking of deleting my own NSFW Tumblr, because honestly, fuck that noise. If i never have any sex for the rest of my life, it’ll be too soon. I can’t even think about it without feeling sick.

    Also, is it possible to be romance repulsed? Is that a thing? Because i definitely feel that way, too. I went from “who cares, i don’t need anybody” to “this makes me want to punch myself in the face, get it away from me.”

    So lol, no queer events for me~! Not like i ever go to any, but still. Nope.

    I overheard my mom talking on the phone saying she’s sent him lots of texts, but he hasn’t responded. So. Yeah.

    I made a GoFundMe, & if people could at least share it, if not donate, that would be extremely helpful. Any help as to how to make money, get a good job, whatever, is also helpful. I’m really hoping for this part time thing, but i don’t know if i should wait to see if the store manager gets back to me or if i should check in again. I haven’t even gotten an interview yet; i’m still only hoping for one. And i just signed up for one of those survey sites that gives you money in exchange for sitting around mindlessly doing things. I feel desperate. I feel empty. I feel sad & angry, still, though. I feel stressed & heartbroken.

    And meanwhile i still have a bunch of free oracle readings waiting for me to do, while wishing that i could at least like, get a dollar per three-card reading. But at the time, i offered them as free, flat-out. I can’t be like “oh…. wanna leave a tip????” That’s not fair or ethical.

    I’m sorry i’m such a downer, that i’m never any fun. I really don’t have any hope in anything anymore.

    • @caitlin-2 I’m so sorry. *hugs*

      fwiw, I think giving people the option to tip is perfectly ethical. And so is prioritizing other things in your life right now.


    • Sending lots of <3.

      It sounds like things feel pretty hopeless right now and really, really stressful. I think feeling like shit is a totally rational response and like Laura said, prioritizing yourself is OK right now. Whatever you need to do to get from one day to the next is OK.

      I’m really sorry you and your mom and brother are going through this.

    • All I can say is that I’m confident you’ve got this, as hard as it is right now. You’ve got this.

  41. I can’t believe you are graduating already! Congrats!

    Jessica Jones was amazing and empowering even though Kilgrave was rape culture and misogyny terrifyingly personified. She and Trish were totally gay for each other.

  42. Congratulations for your thesis!
    I wrote mine almost a year ago, but I still can feel the relief and happiness of getting positive feedback and feeling near to the end… as well as the need to drop down on the bed as soon as possible (this was the case with me).

    Today I attended my graduation ceremony, which initially filled me with anxiety about being around people, but was ultimately really fine cause I’m always emotional about meeting friends from very different contexts all into one big room.

    And there was one more reason for celebration today, even if it is disputed whether it can in fact be considered enough a reason for celebration – the Italian senate approved the law for civil unions. Of course they approved the mutilated version (it doesn’t even cover the bare minimum), which doesn’t grant homosexual couples the stepchild adoption (although I’ve heard it has in some cases already been permitted by judges). So, first thing this morning, the radio gifted me with the slimy voice of one of our rightwing politicians claiming to have “prevented a revolution against nature”.
    With our neighbours holding a referendum on gay marriage last December and our talk of the whole “stepchild adoption” matter, LGBT issues are being discussed at large now, usually by people who have a lot of opinions and not much knowledge of the subject.
    It makes it even harder to be a closeted teacher living at the outskirts of the country in rural isolation, if possible. But on the other hand, it gives me a tiny bit of hope that the discussion will somehow evolve over time? (A tiny bit)

  43. Jeez, is there something in the air? Seems like a lot of us are having not-so-good weeks.

    For me, it’s been the creeping return of my depression that’s effing shit up. Long story short, I’ve been dealing with basically back-to-back episodes since August, thanks to some hormone/health issues. Thought I had them fixed (by basically torpedoing my hormones with Lupron), but apparently not. Back through the specialist merry-go-round I go…

    Here’s hoping next week’s better for everyone.

  44. Whelp, first I posted this in the wrong thread!!! But, its still a stellar weekend! Here’s what I had to say to the FOT:
    Congrats on all your thesis success! That’s a wonderful way to start your weekend.
    My week was pretty good, many good runs happened outside. Also, this is the first weekend in more than a month that I do not have to spend coaching because championship season is finally over, so I can finally participate in FOT for the first time in what feels like forever.
    I felt very productive this week. Wrote a new blog post, made gf/df rugleach for my tattoo artist (that were delicious!), finished my chest piece, now house sitting for friends &surrounded by trees and snow and 2 cats and its lovely.
    Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend.
    Also, more winning, splurged and bought a ticket to see the Savages play while I’m in AZ for my race in April.

  45. Way to go Ali! I know you were doing CRAZY amounts of work and juggling lots of different work/projects.

    This week: I came back from Alaska where I was brought up as a special guest artist, doing an art show and conducting a couple workshops. It was amazing to have all these new faces look at my comics and even more amazing to connect with some of the teens in a small town about being queer/genderqueer.

    I landed two gigs teaching comics to teens at different libraries. One position is specifically teaching to trans and gender non-conforming youth, so how freaking rad is that?! I also got another job that I can’t talk about really but am so thrilled and honored to get it!

    My sex podcast is stupid but working out super well! We now have a sponsor, get free stuff, and can give discounts to our listeners. Tomorrow we are co-sponsoring our first event (featuring GAYmous!!!) and are getting a free womanizer (that we are re-naming The Succubus!). It’s such a goofy weird thing to do with my time but it’s with one of my BFFs and I regret nothing so far.

    Also working on a new mini-comic! And reorganized my studio with a webcam so I can now skype while I draw!

    I’m just really happy and thrilled about the work I am doing! So I am giving myself this space to just be happy and thrilled for a bit!

  46. Speaking of clothing and fittings, I’ve decided that my new goal is to learn how to sew well enough that I can offer basic services on a sliding scale to fellow queers. I’m always seeing recommendations that people, especially GNC people, get stuff tailored… but I know I’ve been reluctant to do it because 1) money and 2) going to a stranger to display your clothing choices and have them put their hands on you can be scary. And I bet I’m not the only one. So I think it would be super cool if I could do that for folks as an openly queer, GNC person! And, y’know, work on my own stuff in the process of learning. Now to get my hands on a sewing machine…

  47. Eh Jessica Jones was cathartic for me because I have interacted with the person who sexually assaulted me and talked to them about it. Managed to bullying out an apology.
    But still I can’t eat and watch that show because I get stressed by BLANKED. When I stress my stomach clenches. I know doomed when I see it and sometimes it hurts, but watching a survivor take on their abuser make me feel alive and not stressed.

    Other than the alcoholism I finally have character I can point to and say yep that’s alot like me. Which I never have because survivor narratives in live action fiction never get close to mine.
    I’m probably going to subtly dress up as Jessica Jones someday at a convention just be my surly self and see if anybody thinks I’m cosplaying.

    My week was full of failure and would headdesk if I didn’t think I’d be tempted into sleep the second my head touched down on something moments.
    I’m getting an A.A.S and whether or not I get to the final classes in my program is dependent on passing something being taught by a person with a fancy BFA & MFA from fancy design/art schools who doesn’t accept late projects. Very sanctity of the class this one, even tho this is prerequisite class and for I think the majority of my classmates their first college experience in an arts thing.
    So it’ll be me and a host of noobs failing if I fail.
    I have never wanted to tell an authority figure to what to do so bad before but this one has only theirself to blame. Don’t demand noobs stay the for the whole class they will not get their work done because they don’t know how to pace themselves outside of class when it comes to art things.
    Me I’m failing because she spaces time for people who freehand stuff, not analytical types who depend on tracing paper for multi step refinement if you force them to analog.

    Songs stuff in my head this week

    4Minute- Hate
    K-Pop is kicking American pop’s butt

    Malagueña Salerosa by Chingon

    I’m concerned I will try to learn this song then will randomly go “Que eres liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinda y hechicera” in public and if someone understands me depending on their dialect may think I am cat calling them or something.

    In other language news my wires got crossed in class and I read manejan out loud like it was Old Norse, not español.
    Estudio nórdico viejo runas, asi su pronunciación >_>

  48. Congratulations on your thesis!<3 That's fantastic news. And that wedding suit- wooboy, jelly.

    I've heard such good things about Jessica Jones. I've been putting off watching it, because I've heard it is also awfully intense- I'm sure though that once I finally make myself watch it, I'll be hooked.

    It has been an anxiety-ridden week. I'm trudging through it. I've at least kept inspiration for artsing- I haven't exactly drawn anything new, but I'm slowly finishing my wip's. And I've also found myself becoming more and more interested in tarot- which has led me to so much reading, and trying to find communities to learn more. I'm excited- for that, and for the gardening class(well, I say class, it's more just someone giving gardening tips and allowing those who attend to have their own pot and soil and whatever seeds to start) I'll be attending tomorrow!

  49. I forgot to mention the most important update in my life rn which is: tried vegan Ben n Jerry’s Chunky Monkey, it’s amazing, everything is wonderful and I can eat my socialist ice cream again

    • It really depends on the brand but anything by So Delicious tends to be A+

      The cashew milk ice cream is the best but I can’t eat cashews without dying inside, alas

      The Ben and Jerry’s stuff is gr8 tho A+ 10/10

      Not in grocery yet but you can probably find it at an actual Ben n Jerry’s store

      • The only one in my area is road trip distance.
        Boo, but I can hope it’ll find it’s way to Whole Foods soonish.

  50. My day has been nonstop from the time I opened my eyes. My GSWS capstone class, of all of 9 people, has put together a brand new show The Bodylogues (in the vein of the vagina monologues) in 9 weeks. Monday is our performance. This last week and this weekend we have all been scrambling to get everything done and finalized and practiced. I have to put together our booklets in one day, tomorrow!
    And after rehearsal and meetings for it today, I got home and found out that the new property managers for my apartment (who just started being in charge A WEEK ago) have raised the rent $250! My two roommates are saving to move out of the area and can’t afford it, so within a few weeks they’ll likely be moving and I’ll need to find a new roommate.
    I was so stressed and upset, I decided to treat myself to some pizza at my favorite place. I went and right before I could order their register system went down. I was just patiently waiting for it to come back on to order. The workers were so stressed and I was just like no don’t worry about me I’m fine. While I was waiting a huge line formed, I got all anxious that the workers were all upset and worried, I didn’t want them to worry. But I go to this place often, and at least three of the people know me by name at this point. I guess they decided to make a pizza for me and give it to me on the house. Cause I was just standing there with the huge line behind me waiting to be able pay, and then the cashier just came out from the back and handed me my pizza. I was so shocked by their kindness, after the day I had it just meant so much. Even if it was just that they wanted to get as many people dealt with and out as possible, like that was such a great thing for them to do for me. I almost started crying as soon as I left. Next time I go I am for sure giving them a really big tip. Random acts of kindness are so important to me

    • Hooray for random acts of kindness (and free pizza) I hope you pass the kindness along! Your project sounds rad, I hope it goes well.

  51. I always love when you write the articles! So im sure your book will be outstanding!! Congrats on even attempting to write a novel, super proud of you!
    Ive had an AWESOME week. I flew to California from Maryland, and have been camping in the Redwoods! We also took.a break from camping mid-week and drove to Portland- f*ing awesome!!
    Like, that is my place. Which im sure everyone thinks that upon visiting because…its amazing. But seriously, i have to figure out how to uproot my life and follow bliss. God its amazing there.
    Im currently sitting in the airport, thankful that i havent had service for a while so i have lots of Autostraddle to catch up on while i wait!

    Again, SO JEALOUS OF ANYONE WHO LIVES IN PORTLAND!!! Omg youre so lucky :)

  52. I’m late guys, it’s Saturday afternoon here. But there’s a lot going on. Most of which I can’t talk about just yet but believe me when I can I will. It seems my life is a whole lot of keeping secrets at the moment which is pretty draining. Especially the dayjob related ones because clients ask questions constantly about the business that I’m not allowed to answer. The personal life secret is pretty stressful but also just so wow that I’m constantly almost posting about it here – especially today – but the paranoia that someone would read it stops me.
    So its secrets secrets secrets screaming inside me. Which is probably why I kinda came out to my students – the dam had to break somewhere right.
    I’ve never been particularly closeted, I’m unapologetically soft butch, my missus meets me at work on the reg and she’s the same, it’s always been a DADT situation, with colleagues outing me to clients/students because they don’t understand that that’s a big deal, or people guessing but no one talking about it. But this week I actually said “they wouldn’t get away with making homophobic and sexist statements like that these days” with regard to how I was spoken to at a uni interview when asked if I wanted to be a man by the interviewer. So I’m counting it as coming out. I had a brief panic when half of them huddled together far away but everything seemed chill later on. Back to them talking about their boobs like normal…or as normal as this place gets.

  53. Thanks for explaining about the novel = thesis thing!
    I suspected it, but didn’t remember to confirm it, after watching Jane the virgin this week.
    Now it all makes sense!
    Reading everyone as gay is 100% acceptable. Maybe even preferrable. I’m totally with you on the “balancing the scales” idea.

    This week I have mostly been looking for jobs. I also helped out at my mum’s doggie daycare and met the new addition, China, who is a Cane Corso. She looked a bit like this

    but smaller and with some brown specks. So freaking beautiful and adorable.
    The same day I hung out a lot with my mum and her boyfriend’s new French bulldog puppy. He peed on my leg while sleeping on my lap. Yesterday my guinea pig peed on me. All the cute little animals are peeing on me and I wish they wouldn’t, but mostly I’m so grateful I get to hang out with them.

    That day at my mum’s was pretty eventful – I also had my first discussion with someone who disapproves of abortion AND gay couples having kids. One of my mum’s employees/interns. It was basically mum and I against him, and she ended up using me as an example (My mum was supposed to have an abortion, but changed her mind at the last minute. And I’m happy I exist, but I’m still pro-choice and I understand why she had decided on abortion – we’ve talked about that before). And then I outed myself for the forst time in a situation where I felt the other person might mind. Basically “Yeah, I think saying every kid needs one mum and one dad is bullshit. I’m bi, so I might have kids with a woman. But let’s move on…”. And we did (after I mentioned single parents and how their kids often grow up happy and become awesome people – so wy shouldn’t someone with TWO dads?). Apparently mum has had this discussion with him before, so she didn’t even want to start talking about the subject.

    Yesterday I spent some time with my friends before one of them + her fiancée goes to Oklahoma, where they’ll live until November next year. (I live in Sweden, so there’s quite a distance.) It was nice, and not sad – we haven’t really had the most thriving friendship the past year, so even if I’ll miss her, I’ve sort of already gotten used to life with very little of her in it. It did feel a bit sad that two people from our friend group couldn’t be there though.

    Is this how you write in Autostraddle’s open thread? I’m not sure how it works. :P

  54. This week I tried to put some emphasis on self care (something I never, ever do…) because mentally preparing to come out to the hubby has been so taxing in every way possible. My creativity is in the toilet as a fun side effect, but I managed to start next week’s comic strip anyway. Also I managed three super good workouts, so depression hasn’t quite pancaked me yet! Now I’m trying to get out of bed and face my weekend, which is full of more social things than I really feel comfortable with right now. Trying not to curl into yourself where nobody can find you is hard when you’re a scared gay tadpole, but I’m trying not to isolate myself too much. I really sense that that’s an bad road to go down.

    My friends are lovely, though, and it’ll be good to see them, even if I’m terrified/relieved/nauseous that a bunch of them might already know.

    Anyway, trying to hang in there. I hope everyone is safe and happy and receives a hug sometime this weekend. I don’t know you, but I’m sure you deserve it. <3

    • Here’s a hug for you in return!
      Remember, that the great blessing (and also the great curse) of time is, that it passes.
      It passes and we grow, and that, sometimes, can be quite painful, but is usually very worth it.
      Take Care!

  55. Wow, a custom suit! Oh, one day I’ll have one too…
    Also, dear friends, and that’s the real reason I’m commenting even though it’s already saturday, Y’ALL CAN GET MARRIED NOW IN ITALY, if that’s what your heart desires. Hurray! Hurray! Okay, it’s just a registered partnership, but still. Adoption is still illegal, even stepchild adoption, but still.

  56. I finished my Master’s two years ago, and I’m back to looking for another one (or a PhD), I think that dissertations/theses are like childbirth – you forget how much that sucker hurt and want to do it all over again.

  57. YOU GUYS. I just found out something very very important.

    Lady rats have sex together. Like, really regularly and normally. I’ve only ever had big squishy smelly man rats as pets, so I was reading up about the does, curious about what I’ve been missing, and I found this:

    “Another common reaction is that the other does in the group will mock mate the doe in heat. This not only is a hormonal reaction but also is an important act within the social structure….Mock mating can be a bonding exercise and often two does that squabbled the day before can be introduced smoothly when one doe or the other are completely pre-occupied by being in season.”

    (“‘Mock’ mating” though!! Heteronormativity really is amazingly thorough, y’all.)

    I’m really tickled by the fact that when lady rats have sex with each other, it’s got all these complex social implications. There’s so much drama there!

    (I’ve only known one of my men to hump other boys, a little guy who is just overflowing with love…of every kind. I didn’t want to judge, but the fact he was mounting his brother did sort of weird me out!)

  58. I’m having the EXACT same problem getting through Jessica Jones and no one has understood. So thank you for validating my experience, I will push through on your recommendation!!

    Ahhhhh so excited for your suit! It’s gonna be rad.

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