FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Welcome To December!


Yes it’s true, today is the first day of December! It is also my very first time hosting the Friday Open Thread on Autostraddle dot com! It is also the first day of my birthday month (yes, I am a Birthday Monster and yes, I believe in Birthday Months and no, I don’t feel bad about it)! And also, just to really up the ante, it is ALSO the day my first grad school app was due. So it’s a pretty major day today, wouldn’t you say? For me, at least. And maybe also for you!

So how are you?! I wanna hear all about everything. Is today a big day or a regular day for you? How was your November? What are your plans for December? Are you savoring the holigay season or are you super ready to say goodbye to 2017 and greet a brand new year ASAP? Are you planning to go to an Autostraddle Holigay Meet-Up? Are you hosting an Autostraddle Holigay Meet-Up? Did you know that you could? You can! There’s still time! You can submit a meet-up event right here, right now!

Additionally: How stressful are grad school apps?! What should I do for my birthday? (I’m thinking pajama party, but in January, when I’m less stressed out and when people have fewer holigay commitments and travel plans.) What did you do for your birthday? Did you read the very special Themed Party Guide I put together for you on Monday? Did you particularly enjoy another article on Autostraddle dot com this week? Did you know the salted caramel hot chocolate mix from Trader Joe’s is a particularly delicious addition to their product line and also to my life? Just wondering. Just shooting the shit. Just encouraging you to talk about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING because that’s what we do here, on the Friday Open Thread.

(I think? Remember, this is my first one. Please be gentle!)

Say hi in the comments, please, and tell me about whatever is on your mind! I can’t wait to hang out.

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Vanessa is a writer, a teacher, and the community editor at Autostraddle. Very hot, very fun, very weird. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 404 articles for us.


  1. HELLO it is DECEMBER and tomorrow is the staff Christmas party and honestly, I keep getting migraines. This isn’t new it is just very annoying. Also annoying is how all I want to do is sleep, and then mope. I made a Christmas playlist entirely of sad Sufjan Stevens songs, though, so that’s been nice.

    • HELLO i am so sorry to hear about your migraines :( my mom gets migraines frequently and i get them about twice a year, but tbh nothing helps me and i find it super irritating when people offer “THE BEST CURE EVER!!!!!!!” so i will just say that i am so sorry about your pain and i do hope you find a way to cope and/or cure your migraines.

      your sufjan playlist sounds lovely though — is it on spotify/are you willing to share it?


    • Sad Sufjan Stevens songs used to be the only Christmas songs I would willingly listen to! I entirely approve of this playlist.

  2. Hello!
    I bought some. As merch so I’m really excited.
    My birthday is also this month – the 15th – Sag or Capricorn?

    • hell yeah! what did you buy?? i put the Angry Lesbian pin on my xmas list but then i bought it for myself and also the scissoring pin and the Mommi shirt and two stickers, oops!

      happy early birthday! happy birthday month! i’m the 21st and i’m a capricorn (but my venus is in sag so i’m still FUN ya know?!) <3 <3 <3

      • I want the Mommi shirt! I feel you! I headed in to get a gender traitor sweatshirt, and ended up a Scissoring tee in Black and a “Soft Butch” Tee as well. #SorryNotSorry. My brothers birthday is a day after yours. That’s cool.

  3. I went to the doctor on Wednesday, and I’m now eating low-carb. I miss carbs. I love carbs. Carbs <3

    That's about it. Just craving carbs 24/7.

    • Mmm, caaarbs. They are tasty. They also do things to some peoples’ bodies so blergh. Good luck with it!

    • echoing @mayim-juno — good luck! i don’t love talking about food restrictions (even though i understand they’re necessary for some people’s health, and i respect that and value you taking care of what your bod needs!) because it’s such a hard subject for a lot of folks (myself included), so instead of focusing on carbs i will ask if you’re still living in nyc? cause if you are you should visit bryant park skating rink sometime this month, because i would say it is the number one thing i miss about living in nyc in december! rockefeller is fine, but bryant park is slightly smaller and quainter and if you like to ice skate the lines are less long and if you don’t they still have cute hot cocoa stands and a craft market and fuck, i don’t often miss nyc but sometimes i really do! okay that’s all i think you are great @caterrachel and i hope you have a wonderful wknd! <3

      • Sorry to those I triggered or made uncomfortable.

        I do still live in NYC and should definitely go ice skating in Bryant Park!

        Hope all is well! :)

  4. Congrats on your grad school application! I hope it goes well! Also very excited to see you at the portland meetup next week!
    Speaking of Trader Joes, I haven’t been in way too long and between the cheese board post and hot chocolate I think I need to fix that today. (Sure I could work on my lit review due on tuesday that I have barely started or my 10 pg paper….but why? when I could have good food)
    I’ve had a really amazing week because I didn’t have classes and I could just stay in bed and write a million pages for the end of the term that is fast approaching. There’s something about being incredibly productive while in pajamas that will never get old and always bring me joy.

    • OMG BEING INCREDIBLY PRODUCTIVE WHILE IN PAJAMAS IS THE MOST MAGIC THING. for instance, i’m wearing nothing but a fuzzy white robe while hanging out in this open thread. IT IS AWESOME!!

      and yay for having no class this week and EXTRA YAY for getting to see you at the portland meetup next week! i am really hoping that seagrape still has moon workbooks when we go on wednesday so i can buy myself ANOTHER christmas gift. or maybe this will be an early birthday present? WHO KNOWS.

      i super support you hitting up TJ’s today instead of doing work. how are you supposed to work on an empty stomach?! or without fancy cheese and hot chocolate. i mean really.


      • That sounds like a wonderful robe! I haven’t been to seagrape yet, excited to see what it is all about, I don’t know how long it’s been around. That area has changed SO MUCH! I used to live a few blocks away from where it is and I don’t even really recognize it anymore.

        Went to TJs! Didn’t get the hot chocolate after all, I have some, and I really wanted to get cheesy corn puffs instead! Needed some crunchy snacks! :D

  5. Congrats on applying to grad school! I did that last year, so all the empathetic vibes and hot chocolate are coming your way from Alabama.

    The first of December is traditionally the day I start letting myself listen to Christmas music. Am also working on a term paper about D.H. Lawrence; I like The Rainbow, but for the most part people who write Lawrence criticism are DICKS. If any of the other writing-humans on this thread have motivation to spare, I’ll take some.

    This week I bought a cast-iron skillet, a new shower curtain, and an enamel pin, and felt very decadent. (My program is fully-funded, which doesn’t equate to a living wage. I recently decided that, if I’m going to literally eat my savings to get this degree, I’m going to do so guilt-free and in some kind of style.)

    • I have to say, though, you’ll likely use that skillet daily if you usually eat at home (I use at least two for my family meals each day). It will last the rest of your life and can even become an heirloom. I have two that belonged to my great, great grandparents. There is nothing like cooking on a beautifully seasoned cast iron skillet! Enjoy it!

      • woah @mayim-juno this comment might be the motivation i need to finally give in and buy a cast iron skillet! the thing is i don’t really understand the seasoning part. i’ve read quite a bit about it, but i also lived with some folks who weren’t too fussy about theirs and used soap and water to clean them (which i think is maybe a no? or maybe it’s fine? like i said i don’t really get it) so i’ve always found it a bit confusing. the idea of turning it into an heirloom though is VERY APPEALING. i am open to any and all hot tips about seasoning the cast iron skillet i hope to one day own!

        • It’s not hard to do! Just scrub clean after using it and occasionally coat in a thin layer of oil and leave on low heat. Don’t use soap. They are actually really low maintenance as long as you don’t leave them soaking in water and stay just a tiny bit heavyhanded on the oil/butter.

    • thank you! i’m not convinced i will get in anywhere, but it feels good to finally be applying after telling myself i would for 4 years!

      i am sending you a ton of motivation and a ton of HECK YES re: being guilt-free and stylish! i know it can be hard to justify seemingly decadent expenses when living and working on such a tight budget/being broke, but i do think it’s very valid to treat yourself to some nice things (and hello, shower curtain + skillet = life necessities! you need to keep water off your bathroom floor and you need a thing with which to cook meals so you can eat food!) and i support you in that venture.


  6. I can agree with a holiday month birthday. My logic has been one could have easily been born a week early or late; so, why not celebrate the whole month(or at the least week)? Though it’s a bit awkward when your birthday is say the 1 or 30th of the month.
    I spent my birthday this year in San Diego with a friend, hit a few lgbtq bars, had a woman try to force me into locked bathroom while waiting in line at a bar. People told her it’s locked, she didn’t really care, & security told her I can use any bathroom I wanted, she didn’t agree. I left high, and angry cursing in Persian, and we went back to the lesbian bar while I was dancing in the street. Next morning we got up and had a nice hike.

    As for December not sure what my plans are besides hosting a potluck at the park next week(please come if you are in the SoCal area), & this Sunday to Cuties Coffee for donuts & to meet up a new friend I made via the app Hey Vina. I’m also trying to avoid impulse buying good deals I don’t really need. I was good honestly as I was one click away from buying 2 different camera lenses, a grey purse my friend later called ugly, tea set, & some queer looking overalls not in my size. Instead I bought grey and black lipstick on sale at Walgreen for $10 for both, headphones from Japan(wired, but you can get an add-on to make them wireless), and jeans that were on the sites unisex section.

    I still haven’t had pumpkin pie yet this season, but my November wasn’t all that bad seeing as we have incompetence running our federal government. Thanksgiving meals were good & weather for the most part has been summer and spring like(still is), and I think I’m, making more friends in the community(fingers crossed). December could be bad if the tax plan goes through as I am part of the middle class(technically upper middle) and I’m pretty sure my insurance will go up and the quality of my internet will go down(while price may go up).

    From my Thanksgiving morning hike.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my thread. Have a positive & safe weekend!

    • Al I love this comment so much! thank you for sharing <3

      your birthday sounds like a roller coaster and that woman sounds like a real jerk (that is the nicest thing i can think to say) but i’m so glad you still got to dance and hike.

      and heck yeah, your december sounds full of socializing and fun! i’m so proud of you for making more friends in your community! and so stoked that you are hosting a meetup! please take lots of pictures (if people don’t mind) and maybe even post them to social media? you can use our #Holigays2017 tag and our dream team social media humans will probs RT it and then we’ll all be gay and happy together ;)

      i hear you on worrying about general incompetence/cruelty in the government and concern about the tax plan. i am trying my best not to let it get me down, while still calling my reps frequently to voice displeasure and concern (even though oregon’s reps are actually pretty good, overall). it’s a weird/bad time to be alive. but we have each other, and that makes me grateful.

      that photo is beautiful. where did you go for your thanksgiving hike?

      have a wonderful wknd <3 <3 <3

      • Thank you for the kind response. I did get to hike and dance, but some of that dancing was with the help of Ouzo and Mary to loosen me up and dance like an awkward-ish Jew.

        My thanksgiving hike was at Topanga Canyon park in Malibu. Almost every time I go there I see a family of deer, but this time it wasn’t so. Probably all the noise from the Turkey 10k scared them, and why I took another trail. I will try to take pictures, but the last few events I organized, I was so caught up in the moment with people, I kind of forgot. The events have been diverse, which is really what I want to see and make it more fun imho.

        My reps(senate and congress) are thankfully the ones fighting(thank you Feinstein, Harris, Lieu, & Gomez). I think it’s finally hitting my dad(voted for all the props but not for president last year) as he’s realizing it’s going to hit his taxes, and possibly healthcare(though he was already paying a bit more under ACA for same coverage).

    • Thanks for the pictures, as always, Al. I miss mountains! This is my last year in grad school here in New Jersey, so I’ve made an effort to go hiking and do more local things before I move, and it was lovely but definitely just hills I’ve found so far.

      • I think where you are located one has to drive north to upstate NY, or Vermont or drive farther south east to central Appalachian mountains. Then again even hills are great cause you are in nature enjoying the sights & sounds offered.

  7. Hiiiiii Vanessa! Good luck with your grad school apps!

    My AS merch arrived and I’m constantly wearing my Angry Lesbian pin because I love it soooo much!

    I’ve spent a busy November at lots of feminist marches which has been great and also played drums in a huuuuuuuge manifestation last week for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and it was awesomeeeee! Also my protest sign from one of the protests got photographed by everyone age their dog so I keep seeing myself randomly popping up on feminist instagrams/twitters which is interesting! It even got featured in this national article about the 14 best protest signs of the march! (I’m the first one, the bright pink one!)

    Anyways I’m super tired but I’m going to have dinner with my girl so I’m a happy bunny. Hope you all have a great weekend!

    • @vickys1 WOAH! that is all so cool! i have kind of a bizarre question — i couldn’t tell from that article exactly where you live, because it mentioned several cities in spain, but if you don’t feel weird sharing on the internet — can i ask if you live in barcelona? the reason i ask is because my girlfriend and i were there about a month ago, and we stumbled upon an amazing neighborhood block party that was HELLA queer and there was a huge all-women/nb/queer drum group that did an amazing performance and we were BLOWN AWAY and i really wanted to talk to some of the folks to learn more/see if maybe i could interview them for an autostraddle feature, but ultimately i was too shy and my spanish is too atrocious so i didn’t say anything. BUT I WONDER IF MAYBE YOU ARE PART OF THAT DRUM GROUP??!?!?! idk, slim chance, but i had to ask!

      anyway regardless, that all sounds so cool, and your sign is rad! i’m so envious that your AS merch has arrived — i’m anxiously awaiting my AS merch package, and the Angry Lesbian pin will be in there and i cannot WAIT to wear it everywhere!

      i hope you have a lovely dinner tonight and that you get some rest this wknd! xo

      • Ahh nooo I’m actually in Madrid…..

        But I do play in an all female/NB LGBTQ drum group in Madrid! We are called Batucada Que Entiende (which is an in joke because “entender” is used as a way of asking if a girl likes girls, similar to “she plays for our team”). If you want I can try locate your Barcelona batucada, there can’t be many all-women ones!

        • @vickys1 i would love that!! and also, SO COOL to hear about your group! maybe i could interview you too! i know i’m a few days late with this so i hope you see it, but if you wanna email me vanessa [at] autostraddle [dot] com i’d love to chat more about this! xo

  8. Vanessa!
    I hope you have a great BirthDAY and Birthday month and no one tries to pull that “it’s for Christmas AND your Birthday” bullshit because no.
    As an early January birthday myself, I have a theory:
    Capricorns are so damn ambitious because we spend our entire lives trying to get people to pay attention to our birthdays and when we continuously fail we pour all that frustrated energy into doing everything else instead.
    Or maybe that’s just me?

    Anyway, I’m a Grinch who hates Christmas, though less this year than I usually do which is probably healthy and also confusing? But I am looking forward to New Years which is my FAVORITE HOLIDAY because it has no religious connotations at all and I get to just spend a really fun night with my friends and then be a lazy gay the next day and have no baggage about not spending it with my bio family and it’s glorious.
    Also I’m a sucker for the whole New Year New Me Clean Slate thing.

    • haha I LOVE THIS THEORY.

      the thing is, i’m jewish, and also south african, so christmas was never a huge issue for me and my birthday growing up and my parents didn’t take hannukah very intensely/seriously because as far as jewish holigays go, it’s actually kind of a low key one, i think it just gets super hyped up in north america because jewish parents didn’t want their kids to feel left out of the xmas consumer vibes. anyway! the point is usually my birthday got a lot of attention and it was totally fine, but now i’m in a relationship with a human who celebrates xmas with her family, so it’s been a tiny adjustment. she still makes a huge deal of my bday though, separate from xmas (because she knows i would have a melt down if she didn’t, lol) so i feel okay! i DO feel like i always need to postpone my party though, because of the holidays, which is irritating but ultimately okay because it means i get to drag my bday month on for FOREVER.

      anyway i like your theory and from one cap to another, i wish you a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY, entirely separate from any xmas bullshit!

      also HAPPY ALMOST NYE! wait til you see our NYE open thread this year, it’s gonna be magical. <3

  9. Today is my official move in day to my new house! (!!!)

    Although it will actually be sometime over the next week ask I gradually move all my stuff over between working and cleaning up the new place. My own place! Also, the word “house” is a little generous. I would say “clubhouse” is probably more appropriate since it’s very tiny (also fun fact: it was built in the early 1920s as a carriage house for the main house! How cool!) but it has a big private backyard and a full kitchen and the landlord is a nice woman who owns it with her sister and when I asked if I could put any nails in the walls for photos or whatever she said “this is going to be your home, I want you to feel at home here!” It’s also in a nice quiet area where I don’t feel like I need to fear for my safety living alone.

    Also I’ve been doing so many adult things like putting the utilities in my name and calling the gas company and looking up stuff about what internet I want to get and I haven’t even been very stressed about it? Have I evolved into an actual adult?

    Real talk though, y’all, living alone has been The Dream for as long as I can remember. In fact, a handful of FOTs ago I think I posted about my friend who told me about this little place and barely letting myself believe it could really work out, and now here I am! I really truly thought it could never happen or that I would never be in a financial position to make it happen and now it’s happening!

    Happy December, y’all. :)

    • Your new place sounds adorably awesome!!! I hope you really enjoy living alone! I’ve lived alone for a few months now, I also didn’t think I would for a long time, and it’s been so relieving and wonderful!

    • Your new place sounds lovely as do the landlords. I hope you have many positive and happy memories there! The house I live in was also built around that same era and from what I gather either people were smaller or people wanted smaller homes. Had a Neighbor say the same thing.

    • i am SO HAPPY FOR YOU! this sounds like a truly magical living situation, and how wonderful for your wish to finally come to fruition. mazel tov on your new place — like Al said, i wish you many happy memories in it for years to come! <3

  10. Hi Vanessa. I’m bored at work and saw your tweet. You’re doing great. Grad school apps blow, but you’ll get through them and BE AWESOME.


      i think YOU are great! i also owe you an email from a long long time ago when i was on the PCT and i intend to write it to you as soon as my grad school applications are done!


  11. Oh hey, this is my first comment in an open thread! I’m glad you’re doing an open thread <3
    I just had my last day at a job that I've been at for 5 years and I'm such a sap for goodbyes (and hello's too, haha). I drove home with my feelings and my windows down and basked in the weirdness of 60 degree weather in December and never having to return to my old place of work again.

    Good luck with your grad school apps? Idk anything about grad school apps, but Sag season is a good season to pursue anything education/goal related so uh, good job there? What are you doing for the solstice?

    • hi bb! i’m so glad you’re here! thank you for commenting <3

      congrats on your last day of work at that place! what a big shift. it sounds like you feel positively about it — i hope it’s a good move and that you feel happy and grounded moving on.

      i also don’t know much about grad school apps ;) but fingers crossed. solstice is my birthday, per always, and so far i’ve scheduled a massage and a soak! i’ll probably do a bonfire in the evening like i did last year — that felt really good. do you have solstice plans?

      ps, i miss you <3

  12. Both myself and my sister were December babies!
    My Mom and I are planning on getting some holiday shopping done this weekend. I’ve also got cleaning and homework to catch up on.
    Been wasting time playing that mobile game where you live in a van purchased from the penguin mafia and bribe animals into joining your no-men-allowed hippie commune.

  13. Hi Vanessa! You’re doing great at hosting this! happy birthmonth! Also, good luck with the grad school apps! I know nothing about those, but I hope they go well!

    First things first, this is me now:

    The pink is a little more than I wanted, I wanted a more magenta color, but I’ll also like the idea of taking something femme and trying to make it more androgynous… also, my hair is generally curly and I hardly straighten it anymore cause it reminds me of high school and doing it to make my mom happy, so doing this has left me with a lot of mixed feelings… I know I look good with straight hair, but the fact that straight hair is often considered better makes me revolt and not want it ever… but I also want to do whatever I want, so I went for it this time…

    New hair aside, I got some fantastic news about my permanent residency application to Canada. I’ve been waiting around for MONTHS for my police certificate for the few years that I lived in the US, and it finally arrived. Basically I have all of the documents which mean in a couple of months I’ll be all set and with the PR! It’s crazy to think about being done with my immigration journey. I started on 2009, going to the US for college, but didn’t manage to get the visa there after graduating. My work transferred me to Canada, and now I’m happier than ever in a great place, and things are working out! I’m super lucky in pretty much every way! (Well, I don’t love my job, but the PR will finally allow me to have control over where I work!)

    Anyway, I’m going home to make myself a cheese plate, so thank you Laneia!

      • i LOVE your hair!! as someone who is always threatening to dye her hair pink but never actually goes through with it (and to be real probs never will) i am VERY envious and i think you look wonderful! i hear you re: straightening hair feeling like high school…and wanting to buck that expectation…but also sometimes enjoying straightening my hair…but feeling confused about it…haha. i say DO YOU, and whatever makes you happy!

        also, CONGRATULATIONS on the PR stuff! that is AMAZING. my family has moved a couple of times, and i know how long visas and paperwork can take, and how stressful it can all be. i am so happy for you that you’re happy in canada, and that all your stuff is falling into place. YAY!

  14. Congratulations on applying for grad school! I’m still surveying my choices for that step, myself, but most of the ones I’m looking at don’t seem to have application due dates for when I want to start attending yet (and they’re all in Europe). Good luck with your application!

    As for Holigays meet-ups, unfortunately the Denver-Boulder area is as devoid of such things as ever (and I might not even have the time to attend one, and definitely not to plan one).

    Still, November was busy and December will be too. There are only two weeks of classes left before my university heads into finals week, and I’m really nervous. Three of my classes are no problem, but my E+M class is giving me fits. Thankfully I’ve already started studying for the final, so hopefully it will go well. So, yeah, school is my life right now. Busy finishing up undergrad after jumping careers (still can’t believe I’m this close to graduation o-o).

    • thank you! i’ve been putting off grad school apps for a long time (like, 4 years) so it feels exciting. fingers crossed. and good luck on your finals! i don’t know what E&M is but i bet you’re gonna be amazing! congrats on almost graduating — that is super exciting. YOU CAN DO IT!

      ps: there are so many queers in denver-boulder! totally understand not having capacity to plan a meetup right now, but we’ve got some cool meetup plans for 2018 and maybe you’ll have more free time to plan one then ;) or maybe some other industrious queer in the gayborhood will take it upon themselves to do so and you can just attend and enjoy! <3

      • Thank you! I’m trying to not over-stress (definitely failing at that, and it’s probably why I’m sick again), but I’ll do my best. :)

        Well, I’ll have to see if any meetups are happening in my area when I have time in 2018. :)

  15. It’s been a week. I can’t seem to keep my self together or get anything quite right, and I’m also in a state of flux that’s been fluxing for what feels like a year? But I think that might also just be what happens when you have young kids, and you just live that way for years?

    This is gonna get pretty personal, dear strangers on the internet…

    I began to feel like a real life sexual human grownup after a few years of emotionally consuming fertility problems, gestating, and raising a human baby. I decided I wanted another baby and now I’m newly pregnant with one and having the requisite “oh shit we did this and it’s happening” realization over the last few days.

    So strange after coming out of my postpartum haze in such a dramatic fashion… I have been with a cis guy for a long time- my first sexual relationship with a cis guy in my life. A year after my toddler was born I completely overhauled the way I lived my life so parenthood felt sustainable and sane to me. Six months after that overhaul, after I was feeling human again, I started to feel super gay. And six months after that I met a person who I had an overwhelming crush on. It’s fizzed out a bit, but it’s hard not to think of them as someone with whom I could enjoy life a little more.

    I can feel myself going back down, away from my adult human sexual self; there’s nothing quite as consuming as gestating and nursing and parenting young kids. I really wanted another child. I would not give it up for anything, and I think it is completely worthwhile, and I know I’ll come back out of it in like two years? But it is a truly odd feeling, especially since my coming out of it last year felt so jarring and shocking.

    I also instigated a career change, and there have been a handful of other notable shifts. It’s been a ride.

    • thank you for being so open and vulnerable with us <3 i see you.

      as a human who cares for kids as a profession (i’m a nanny) and who wants to birth a child in a few years (fingers crossed) i so hear what you are saying, and i also realize i have no idea what you’re talking about, or at least no ability to fully understand until i am pregnant and have a kiddo of my own. acknowledging that, i will say that everything you are describing sounds completely “normal” (what is normal?! but you know what i mean) and valid, and i am glad you seem to be being compassionate to yourself through this ride.

      i think you sound really cool and i think you are doing a really good job. and i’m so glad you are here. <3

      • Hey thanks! I’ve been sharing bits of this on AS through the past few months, and talking with my friends (many of whom are queer) and former partners. It’s been affirming to know it can be both normal to come out of a postpartum haze, and I have one friend in particular who has been very affirming re: my attraction to my husband being real and legit, despite feeling more gay before being with him and now. We are in counseling and hopefully can continue to coparent through this.

        Also now that I am a parent, and I am seeing the rate at which my friends in hetero relationships are raising kids vs my friends in queer ones, I want to shout on all the rooftops MORE KIDS RAISED BY THE GAYS! Like I feel like it’s so important for our future to have a bunch of people raised in a queer world! So on a macro scale I applaud your desire to parent. Also it is a really difficult/amazing/often fun thing to do. So I also think this is a great choice on an individual scale :)

    • Hi! You and I are going through A LOT of the same stuff. Wanna talk about it? I know I do. My comment is below yours somewhere; take a look at my particular brand of crazy and let’s email.

  16. Hi, pals! This week has been a wash but I’m happy to welcome December! I’ve been having a ton of health issues and today I finally got an almost diagnosis sooo happy diagnosis dance (I know that won’t make sense to most not in the chronic illness community but trust me when I say it’s a good thing!). My docs and I are still trial and erroring meds and I spent two hours in the doc office today figuring out new meds to shove in my bod, but I haven’t given up yet. It can be really hard to focus on the future when each day you wake up feeling so crummy, but gotta do it. Some days I submit to bed and just curl up with my cats (like yesterday!) but I’m still looking forward. I too am applying to grad school and I feel ya that it is quite the butt kicking experience. I’ve written so many essays it’s wild. Good luck with it! I’m sure you’ll do great  Other than tackling the mountain that is my health, not much is happening (cause I don’t have the energy to do much of anything haha). Might go to a holiday party tomorrow and might see this new gay Swedish movie Thelma with my girlfriend. Otherwise, just lots of laying low and taking it easy and hanging with my cats under our heating blanket while eating sodium packed canned soup and avoiding reality. Adulting! Woo!

    • Yay for diagnosis! Get yourself a diagnosis cake because finally knowing what is going on is such a relief and something to truly celebrate and I’m very happy for you!!

      • A diagnosis cake sounds like an excellent idea. One I’ll definitely steal if/when I get my diagnosis.

      • I love the cake idea! It seems like such an odd thing to celebrate but for the first time in 3 years I have meds to try and a plan to make and docs who can help me start to feel better so that totally calls for cake :D

  17. Congrats on the grad school applications! I’ve started sending out applications for summer associate positions for 2018 and I’m dying inside (I should be done by Sunday night though!)
    I also made bread and a chicken-veggie stir fry and got an extra free month of Amazon Prime because my teakettle got delayed in the post and arrived a couple days late so I was tea and coffee-deprived all week.
    And I started knitting a new sweater.
    Can you tell I have finals coming up?

    • Let’s be fair, panicked finals knitting is best knitting. Good luck with your tests; you’re going to be just fine.

      Can I ask, what’s the sweater like?

  18. Oh my god. I am so glad that this website exists and I get to comment on a post like this. I could really use some help.

    I am 31, I have two daughters and I’ve been married since I was 23. Two and a half or three years ago, I realized that I am hella gay, and I don’t know what to do.

    I have been sitting with it ever since then, and I have gotten to the point where I NEED to find something with someone else, but I am terrified to break up my family. But also, I’m slowly destroying myself staying in this sham of a marriage.

    I can’t find my way out to something better. I keep downloading and deleting tinder, or going into lesbian bars when I can sneak away from home for the night, but then I just get scared and leave after one drink without talking to anyone.

    I am constantly crushing HARD on straight girls in my life that I basically have decided to marry (100% in my head, obvi), and that’s just ridiculous. I don’t want to seem like a cheating spouse when I flirt, but also, I don’t wanna meet someone and be like HI IM ASHLEY AND IM GAY AND MY MARRIAGE IS A SHAM BUT I THINK YOURE BEAUTIFUL before I even get her name. Do you know what I mean?

    But then, I think about my kids, and I get so damn bummed that I can’t make a move. I feel terrible. But also, the person I am becoming is so awesome, and I want to spend more time with her.

    Help a girl out. Someone, literally anyone, please tell me what to do. Thank you so much. Thank you.

    • That sounds super difficult to be in the situation you’re in. Are you in a place where you could talk to a therapist (obviously a LGBTQ+ positive one) about this and how to go forward? A therapist can help you process and give you a relatively neutral but supportive outside perspective. I also think that, as a person whose parents have a very unhealthy relationship and have not been happy being together since I was in middle school, that staying in a marriage where you’re unhappy gets unhealthy really fast and does have a negative impact on your kids because they WILL PICK UP ON YOUR UNHAPPINESS and you shouldn’t feel pressure to stay together for your kids (though I know financials can definitely complicate this). I wish you all the best as you work through this complicated situation and hope you can come to a place where you are happy and that your kids can also be happy.

      • I’m so sorry about how your parents’ relationship affected you. I fear that’s the road I’m headed down, and I’m not sure how to proceed, so hearing from you is very helpful. I do have a therapist that I love, and she has been helping me in the best way she can, considering that I demanded to stay married while I figured out what I wanted in the long run. Now that I have, she and I have a BUNCHA work to do. So, business is good for her.
        Thank you so much for your recommendations!

    • I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU MEAN! I feel like I was in a very similar place for 5+ years before separating last December. (There were a LOT of other contributing factors in what was going on with my family, but I just wanted to say that I am so much more excited to celebrate my 1 year marriage-free than I ever was to celebrate the…regular-married-people kind of anniversary.) I am an avid reader of AS but not very active in the comments so I’m going to try and send you a pm about this.

      It’s okay. really. ((HUGS)). And check your pm’s.

    • …also, since you asked what to do, here’s my opinion: I know there are circumstances where complete honesty is not possible or safe, but if it is possible to be honest, do it. Always.

    • Hey! I’m in a hetero marriage too but a slightly different situation. My only advice is to work on getting through separation in the most loving and respectful way possible FIRST. Then think about a partner. I likely understand on some level how strong the drive is to not be single when you have kids (I have felt this myself during times I’ve wanted to separate from my husband; the idea of being single with this many responsibilities terrifies me). And I also likely understand, maybe on a lesser level? Or bigger level since the queer sex part is the part I’ve maybe missed the most in my hetero marriage? The THIRST oh my god the thirst. So I totally get where you’re coming from in looking for a partner before separation.

      That said, you will likely be in a better place emotionally in the long run if you work on that loving and respectful separation from your husband first. There’s a lot of history, you’ve grown up together, you will still need to share responsibilities for years to come… this is just coming from a stranger on the internet but I strongly feel that the history and what you’ve shared deserves some respect. A therapist might help – go into couples therapy with the goal of separation.

      Then you’ll be able to totally enjoy this woman you really are. You’ll be able to meet other queer lady-type people and date without those feelings, or questions, or possible guilt. I don’t have all the information about your situation but it just doesn’t feel good to cheat, have overlapping relationships, or try to carry the emotional responsibilities of a healthy polyamorous relationship in the vast majority of situations when you have kids who are sapping your emotional energy too.

    • I’m also in my mid-thirties, with two kids, and realized I’m super gay about two years ago. I just filed for divorce this week, and while I am sad because he is a good person and I care about him, I also feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest. I know people use that phrase all the time, and I thought I knew what it meant, but this week, I really feel it. I didn’t even know I was carrying a weight around until I set it down, you know?

      So first of all, girl, you’re doing great! You are figuring out who you are! You have two daughters whom you love, and who I’m sure love you to the ends of the earth!

      If you are like me, then you’ve been focusing on what you think your kids need (stable home, married parents, etc.). I felt that way for quite a while. But what your kids actually need is YOU – authentic, imperfect, fully-present you, in the best way that you understand yourself. And if you’re able to find a way to be that YOU in the context of your marriage, awesome! And if you’re not, that’s also awesome! You figured that out, and now you can figure out the next step, and the next, and the next, one step at a time. And through it all, you model for your kids what it means to be an adult – to be brave, to be real, to mess up sometimes, to apologize, to keep going.

      You don’t have to know the whole big picture right now. You don’t have to know whether you want to get a divorce or stay together or try an open marriage or whatever options you may consider. I have found that it’s easiest for me to just focus on the next right thing. What is the next right thing that I need to do in order to feel like I’m living as my fully authentic self? What is the next right thing that I need to do in order to model for my kids the values I want them to share?

      I agree with Hollis that an LGBTQ-friendly therapist can be super helpful, but I know that’s not always an option for folks. If you ever want to chat, please please feel free to DM me. Sending lots of love and positivity your way!

      • Cripes. I cannot believe how awesome your comment is. I appreciate it A LOT. I am constantly second-guessing everything I do, and my heart is already so far from this marriage that I feel like I am torn in half, so it’s been a long, lonely road, and I cannot believe that people are so willing to reach out to me and tell me I’m ok and that there’s a way out. Thank you so much. So so so much. I’m gonna pop into my dm’s now so I can reply to you more in depth, but just so you know, thank you.

    • Greetings Ashley, I am so glad you found Autostraddle.

      These words really stuck out for me:
      “But then, I think about my kids, and I get so damn bummed that I can’t make a move. I feel terrible. But also, the person I am becoming is so awesome, and I want to spend more time with her.”

      For just a moment, let’s put aside the fact that parents are entitled to pursue their own happiness insofar as it doesn’t put their children in danger, and pretend that you should make a decision about your marriage based solely on the impact it will have on your children.

      Staying in an unhappy marriage for the sake of not changing the shape of your family may arguably be more damaging to them in the long term. Maybe divorce/separation is on the horizon, and it wouldn’t be the worst thing if you’re destroying yourself in your current situation. It is a big change, but kids are resilient and bounce back when provided with proper structure etc. Growing up with dysfunctionally married parents is often far worse than being a child of happy divorced ones. When I was a kid, my parents were the miserable but still married variety, and I was always jealous of friends whose parents had gotten divorced and moved on to healthier lives. My parents did their best to put on a good front, but their unhappiness was palpable. From the moment I realized they had stayed together ‘for my sake’, I felt immense guilt about it. Sometimes I even felt resented for it, even though I never asked them to stay together. Their misery as a couple was like an ugly cloud that hovered over me until I moved out of their house. I love them very much but I wish they’d split up.

      Whatever you do, embrace the person you’re becoming. She IS awesome. Be brave and let your kids meet her. They will love her and want the best for her.

      Best of luck as you move forward, I am crossing my fingers for you.

  19. Now that it’s December, is it time to don our gay apparel?

    Or we could appreciate a good movie….in our gay “Carol”.

  20. This week has been mostly a wash because of health reasons (including some horrific migraines like today), but on the up side, I have scheduled SO MANY MEDICAL THINGS which is not like…great, but it will hopefully mean answers and a better treatment plan, so, I’m kinda excited about that. (Not excited about still getting the runaround from the surgeon’s office for top surgery and it being seemingly impossible to get in touch with scheduling, but I’ll continue calling until they’re so sick of me that I’ll get to the scheduling person)

    Also on the flip side, my puppy is doing SO GREAT in public. He’s…kind of a menace at home and cannot be trusted to not steal food off of the table or counters (or anything else he can get to run around with), but we’re working on it. I’m just so impressed with him in public though and how much better at focusing on me he’s getting. I’m also SUPER IMPRESSED with how him and my cat are getting along. The other cat isn’t getting along with him, but that’s the other cat’s problem. And my cat is so good and pure and is making the terrible migraine I’ve had today way better by being cute and cuddly and I just love her so much guys.

    Theoden and Win, Queen of Cats, being friendly and cute:

    • I totally know what you mean about medical things being kinda-exciting even though they’re terrible. Answers and a better treatment plan are basically the dream, even if it takes some thoroughly unpleasant tests and appointments to get there. I hope everything works out for you ♥

      Also Theo looks very soft and floofy. Give those sweet ears a skritch for me, OK?

  21. Today is Oscar’s kinda-gotcha day! He came into our lives as a foster three(!) years ago today, and we foster failed/adopted him on Christmas :)

    Honestly, none of us expected he’d still be around 3 years later, but he’s an incredibly tough little dude. And we’re enjoying every second we get with him ♥

  22. Hey Vanessa!
    I just recently discovered Autostraddle and am so excited to finally add a comment!
    December has started out pretty well for me. I’ve been wanting to relocate from the east coast to the west coast for months and I just got my apartment app approved for a new place in Portland, OR! So if you have any recommendations for cool places to check out once I move please let me know (or any other Portlanders! It’s all new to me :)
    Also, I am definitely going to Trader Joe’s now to hunt down that salted caramel hit chocolate. That sounds incredible.
    Have a great weekend!

  23. Hello there, I have never posted a comment to autostraddle before and I have no idea what I’m doing nor the appropriate conversational rules for a comment section Also, my head is filled with the fog of thousands of cold germs and I don’t quite feel real because of it. So, pardon me if I miss a comma.

    Good luck on those graduate school applications, Vanessa. I too am applying for grad school right now, I know the struggle. Actually, I’m applying for seven grad schools right now. I can only remember four of them at once and that makes it very embarrassing when someone asks I have all the applications up at once right now and it’s making it impossibly slow to even write this comment but I’m trying anyways.

    I’m taking a long weekend off work to write those applications, and also nurse my cold. It feels strange because last weekend was also a long weekend, and I kind of honestly want to be back at work a little more. I don’t cope well with feeling lazy, and I really enjoy my job. It involves lighting the table on fire and serving liquid nitrogen marshmallows to small children. Yesterday was particularly interesting day; my voice gave out as I was giving a lesson and one of my coworkers had to jump in to take over, and due to some shenanigans with updated software in the planetarium I accidentally sent a throng of people tumbling through the vast recesses of space at nauseating velocity.

    Let’s see, what else can I ramble about… I haven’t been writing enough. Christmas is in 24 days and I’m not finished knitting any of my Christmas presents for anyone. In fact I still have Christmas presents from last year that I still need to finish. I have gone on one (1) date lately and I hope to do it again. It was with a cishetero man, which is odd to me because I’ve spent the past two years of my life corralled in a queer bubble tending state of concentrated sapphicality, but he volunteers at the local LGBT center and told me about a bisexual support group and potluck there and he’s honest and sweet and nonmonagamous and has very nice hair so I couldn’t resist. There is some argument between me and my actually-very-wonderful-and-awesome mother in regards to whether nonmonogamy is either A) a terrible and sleazy thing that I don’t need to settle for and that will break my heart or B) my natural state and everything I have ever wanted in life ever. Joke’s on her– I’m already in an open relationship, as my best friend agreed that what we share is a queerplatonic partnership and that we’re going to live happily ever after together forever and ever and run a successful Let’s Play channel on YouTube.

    Oh yes and I’m going to try a new scone recipe this weekend. With orange peel and mulling spices. Wish me luck.

    • Hey, welcome to the open thread! Your job sounds awesome – Yay science! Wishing you the best on your grad school applications. If you don’t mind sharing, what subject/field are you applying to study?

    • In an Open Thread anything with in reason that follows the Comment Policy goes cuz there’s no specific topic, think of it like a party and just mingle.

      Basically as long you aren’t posting seizure inducing gifs, porn, or violence.
      Human decently, respecfully and you’re golden pretty much.

      But uh if you’ve never been a part of an online forum, message board or a comment section appropriate conversational rules are respond in a timely manner and apologize when you cannot and follow the policies or terms of service. Which are usually something like don’t attack people with some defining on what they consider an attack. Just being polite is good rule of thumb.

      Unofficial conversational rules I’d give you are consider whether your input does add something to a conversation or are ya dog piling something 10 other people said and the point is super clear by now and that conversation should be left to die.
      And always think before you post, once something is on the internet it can never leave.

  24. @fieto

    Apologies for a delayed response.
    Soy flour is flour made of soy beans instead of wheat. It makes things like doughnuts guaranteed to be all soft and chewy. It is also cheaper than wheat flour.
    But oh say your body has problem with soy and live in America where soy flour is a doughnut making standard from small businesses to national chains it means expensive custom doughnuts or no doughnuts for you.

    • ohhh, i SEE! OH no that sucks so much though, if you’re allergic to soy!! i had no idea this was a thing at all??? we make everything from wheat :O

      • Being allergic to soy is extra awful because there’s not a lot of regulations on what’s in “vegetable” oil and restaurants go for the cheapest shit ever, and even if they don’t adulterate their processed meat or other cheap foods they fry it in liquid death*. Schools like to use soy protein in their burgers bc it is cheap af and boy did it take a long time to figure out that’s why my body was rebelling.

        *death in this case being days of gastric distress and/or hives and fullbody itching beginning between 30 minutes and 6 hours of consumption

  25. I watched a play last night on PBS’s website and I cried.

    When I watched Moana there was some ugly crying from grandparent feelings and uh something I don’t know how to describe in a quick word. The happiness of knowing you’re seeing something someone who doesn’t feel seen seeing their self reflected back.
    So it was happy tears mostly.

    Last night it was seeing myself in character about to die no longer afraid to die because he somehow has faith his people and their stories will live on and sobbing like I broke 3 toes at once.

    Last year around this time I was watching and reading alot of Clone Wars stuff, many fix it fics where Darth Sidious is defeated and the Republic doesn’t fall.

    But since uh I can’t say when but definitely post Inauguration by good bit and well into my BtVS is Leaving Netflix binge watching my brain’s been doing that creative thing where it just starts to build a world and characters that bug me until I research or hammer out details for them that make sense till the thing cools off and just collects dust in my head.

    The setting for this one is far into the future post-earth humanity consciously I realised yeah this my brain trying to cope with shitty reality and pretend humanity even has a future.

    It hit me with a brick last night how much it actually means a work with humans, a diverse representation of humans set in the future. Thus the sobbing.

    I don’t know what to do with it, how to do it or where to go with it.

  26. Hello babes! Hi Vanessa hiiii welcome back!

    My week has been okay- I was trying to leave a comment earlier but the page kept crashing-

    Birthday months are perfect! A pajama party sounds great- I did a build-your-own ice cream sandwich bar, which was fun!

    We’ve been watching the marvelous miss maisel which is pretty fun, and I’m about to head back to work after two months off so I could hang out with our new baby. She’s learning to smile! It’s the best!

    My friend has this new job managing the food for a tech company and has been dropping food off for us but it’s really random so she literally brought
    us 10 lbs of watermelon and 3 kinds of Chinese American food so our fridge is super full.

    I’m trying to underschedule my December so that it isn’t totally bonkers! I love an underscheduled holiday season so we can sit the fuck around and watch movies.

    Have a fun weekend! ???

    • Hope you have a good weekend too! How are you feeling about going back to work? That was a huge source of anxiety for me, and I have a dear friend who is going through it right now and it’s been really hard for her.

  27. It’s technically the second day of December so I’m a little late, but happy birthday month! And also good luck with grad school applications! I have zero experience with grad school/the application process, but I believe in you!

    I just got my first short, queer haircut, and honestly it’s the most I’ve felt like myself ever. I just wish I wasn’t sick. During the winter I tend to get sick a lot, which is frustrating because I’m normally never sick. I’ll check out that hot chocolate. Not that it’ll keep me from getting sick, but I’m always looking for things to treat myself with when I’m feeling under the weather :)

    I hope your week/month goes great!!

  28. Hi guys!
    I had one of those weird phone conversations at work yesterday, which totally escalated.
    Anyways, I successfully quit, and was finally let go, too, after, well, a lot of prodding, and am now switching departments.
    I fought with one of my superiors whom I respect very much and hold very dear, and I’m so sorry about the way things went down, but I really stood up for myself and instead of enduring a situation, I did something about it, and that’s a good thing?
    I‘ve also made a decision of where my life is going next year and in general, and it’s a big relief, too.
    Next week, I‘m going to be off to Florida to see my mom for Christmas, and that’s a whole other bag of things to worry about.
    But! I’m going to go to Art Basel in Miami! Something I‘ve always wanted to do!

  29. Good luck on your grad school apps! I’m sending you good energies and hoping you get admitted to a program you love with an awesome financial package in a good housing market with nice weather. Keep us updated!!
    Y’all, I got an internship! I’m going to be using a virtual-reality video game platform to teach Shakespeare to middle-schoolers. It’s a relatively small time commitment, is kind of a ridiculous amount of fun, and the project director is a professor I adore. Isn’t that neat?
    My school had a really good turn-out for the grad tax walkout on Wednesday, including undergrads and professors (who are usually pretty removed from campus protests), which was heartening amid the waking nightmare of the tax bill. And there’s really no better way to bond with someone you’re depending on for a letter of rec than standing outside in the freezing cold together, going hoarse from hollering protest chants. If only I could make all of my professional connections that way.
    Also, I’m submitting a paper to the undergraduate research conference again! I’m working with a different professor I adore, who’s already gone above and beyond in guiding/mentoring/advice-giving and generally being a delightful person. I love her a lot. (I love everyone in my department, okay?) So send me good vibes to get this paper accepted!
    One more week and then two finals to go before the end of the quarter. I’m going to spend winter break reading books for pleasure and sleeping for fifteen hours a day. Can’t wait.

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