Monday, June 29, 2015

Struggling with mental illness & a list of resources.

Note: There's a list of helplines and helpful websites dealing with suicide prevention and mental health resources under the actual blog post so feel free to scroll down to that if that's what you're here for. :)

One of the hardest things about struggling with a mental illness is going through it alone. You can know without doubt that you have a friend or multiple friends or a family member or three that you can go to but sometimes you just can't bring yourself to do that. 

Maybe you've always been seen as "the strong one" and going through depression or having suicidal thoughts or wanting to cut yourself or developing an eating disorder makes you feel like you're weak. (You're not weak. Not even a little bit. Not at all.) Those people that see you as a tough cookie can often be the last ones you want to reach out to and say, "hey, I need a hand here." You worry that they'll think less of you. You worry that they won't take it seriously because you're strong and you can handle it. You worry that they won't know what to do because you're so often the one that's helping everyone else. 

Maybe you feel like you don't want to bother anyone with your problems. If they truly care about you, they'll NEVER see you reaching out to them as bothering them. It's not. Please, don't ever look at it that way. You aren't a burden to them on your best days and you're certainly not one on your worst days. 

There are tons of reasons why you might not want to reach out to someone close to you. Mental illness is still so stigmatized that people worry and even at times fear admitting they're not okay, even to the people closest to themYou shouldn't be embarrassed because depression can hit anyone. An eating disorder can happen to anyone. Mental illnesses don't have a specific type of person they prey on, they can strike anyone at any time. 

There's always someone to talk to if you need someone to hear you but don't feel like you can go to anyone in your daily life or if you just don't want to go to anyone in your life.

Suicide is a permanent end to temporary struggles. Even if it seems like there isn't any relief in sight, it can get better. It doesn't happen immediately or even as fast as you might feel it all started in the first place. It takes time and work to get there and a good support system, whether that's two people or ten people, help so much. And the hardest part after realizing and admitting that you're not just having a lot of bad days is reaching out and talking to someone. It's so damn hard to take that first step. I opened my mouth so many times only to close it again and force a fake smile back on my face. I typed out dozens and dozens of text messages thinking if I could type the words instead of say them it would be easier only to delete them because I couldn't bring myself to hit send. I even wrote, yes on actual paper with pen, a few times only to shred those papers without any one's eyes but my own seeing them. 

In the last few months since I started getting more and more vocal about mental health issues on twitter and on facebookI've been surprised more than a couple times by people reaching out to me for various reasons. Some because they wanted to talk to someone that understood, some that just wanted to ask questions and a couple that wanted to make sure I knew they had my back if I ever need them. People that have followed me on social media for months or years, coworkers that I didn't know were going through or had gone through similar things, even a couple friends that just wanted me to know they were there and would be any time I needed them. 

I know it can be scary and intimidating to do so but please reach out to someone if you need to. Be it the suicide prevention lifeline, online chat services, a friend, a family member, your neighbor buddy, someone at church if you go, that person on social media you see advocating mental health, a work friend, a therapist or anyone you trust and feel comfortable talking to.

If you don't know where to start, here are a few places to start and a couple websites that list resources. There are so many ways to get information and get help if you need it. 
Please don't struggle alone. 


Trans Lifeline is a non-profit dedicated to the well being of transgender people. We run a hotline staffed by transgender people for transgender people. Trans Lifeline volunteers are ready to respond to whatever support needs members of our community might have." Call:  US: (877) 565-8869 or Canada: (877) 330-6366

The Trevor Project offers accredited life-saving, life-affirming programs and services to LGBTQ youth that create safe, accepting and inclusive environments over the phone, online and through text." The only national 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention lifeline for LGBTQ young people (ages 13-24), available at 1-866-488-7386. They also provide online chat and text message service as well for LGBTQ youth, information found through the link.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers their services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Free. Confidential. They also have help specifically for young adults, victims of bullying and veterans, information can be found through the link.

7 Cups of Tea offers people a free, confidential, completely anonymous chat service. You can call or chat online with any number of trained active listeners. They're not a suicide prevention line but they can help you find the resources you're looking for if you need someone to point you in the right direction. Or if you just need someone to talk to about something that's bothering you or just need to vent, they have listeners available 24/7 and they have a free app for android and iphone so you don't even need to go through their website to do it. They also have message boards and group support to help you connect with others on everything from eating disorders, self-harm, addiction recovery and much more.

HopeLine focuses on providing the community with a free and confidential crisis and suicide prevention helpline and instant messaging service. HopeLine specializes in providing suicide and crisis intervention, supportive and non-judgmental active listening, gentle and understanding discussion of crisis resolution. Crisis Line: 919-231-4525 for locals in Raleigh, NC or for anyone else 877-235-4525 They also have a Teen Talkline available, as well.

THIS is a list of crisis centers and suicide prevention lifelines in your local area that you can call if you feel like you need to. It lists every state and lists multiple cities for each state.

THIS is an international list of crisis centers and suicide prevention lifelines. Click your country and find what you need closest to you, wherever you may be in the world.

National Alliance of Mental Illness is a great website to find resources and information through. They also have a helpline that can give you information about mental health disorders, symptoms, local support groups, local services & more at 1-800-950-6264. They also offer online resources for LGBTQ, minority groups, family members & caregivers, teen & young adult and veterans & active duty.

National Eating Disorder Association is the leading non-profit organization in the United States advocating on behalf of and supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. They campaign for prevention, provide improved access to quality treatment, and increased research funding to better understand and treat eating disorders. They have a lot of information and resources on their website and they also have a helpline you can call, free & confidential at 1-800-931-2237.

P.S. If you have any other relevant, helpful resources, websites, etc that I can add to this, please feel free to email me at amorousrocker [at] gmail [dot com] :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Death and Life

June is an odd month for me. There's a lot to celebrate as it's one of my younger brother's birthday month, my birthday month, my boyfriend and his sister's birthday month and Father's Day. There's a lot of joy in there but then there are things that were life changing events that make it a harder month to get through emotionally and mentally.

June 9th is one of my younger brother's birthday. It also unfortunately is the day our grandfather passed away. Yesterday was the 4th year since he passed and my brother's 29th birthday. 

The last several years of my brother's life, I've always felt a little guilty because I want my brother to have an amazing day on his birthday, as people should. But I also still get so sad on that day because I miss my grandfather a lot. And I know it's something that weighs on him as well and that sucks. I also understand how much it sucks to lose someone you care for on a day that's supposed to be a damn good one to celebrate life and love and the people in your life. I digress. 

I was lucky to have someone so great that's worth missing so much be such a big part of my life because not everyone's fortunate to have a pair of kick ass grandparents. At the same time, it makes it hurt that much more because losing someone you have a close relationship with sucks. Even if you're a little happy to see them go because you know their pain and suffering is now over and who doesn't want that for a person they love?

Last year on June 13th, my friend Amanda committed suicide. June 15th is my birthday and that also happens to be the day we found out that she had committed suicide. I've been thinking about her a lot lately. In part, because it's hard not to think about it considering my birthday celebration last year ended with me laying in bed only to find she'd been found dead in her ex's kitchen shortly after I'd laid down. Also because it's coming up on that one year and people have been posting things to her Facebook wall. Poems, art, random thoughts, prayers and various other things. All things she'll never see or read but things that make the person posting them feel connected still, in some way. Or maybe it just makes them feel better in another way. I don't judge because I can't bring myself to delete messages from her and can't remove her from my Facebook feed even though I'll never be able to talk to her again. 

Her death was, in several ways, harder to deal with. My grandfather had Alzheimer's (which is what got me into doing the Alzheimer's Walks and fundraising for the Alz Association) and he was sick for quite a while before he finally couldn't fight anymore. Amanda, I didn't see that coming because you rarely ever see suicide coming. I had plans to see her and hang out the following weekend. I went to her funeral that day instead, which wasn't the way I wanted to spend time with her.

It wasn't the first friend I'd lost like this but it's not something that gets easier. It's hard and you go through so many emotions. I still occasionally get so goddamn mad at her for being gone and then a few minutes later I'm crying because I just miss her and wish I could split fajitas and some margaritas. I know it won't be as bad this year as it was last year, though. I won't be shocked and devastated because she's already gone. And as hard as it is to cope with death, it does get easier the more time passes by.

My grandfather's death was the first death I'd gone through that was someone I was truly close to. I feel guilty saying that because I'd lost other friends and relatives that I honestly didn't know that well before him. Those deaths sucked in different ways but his was the first one that was heartbreaking and devastating for me. I kept having people telling me it would get easier the more time that went by and after that first year, I really understood that nothing would be as awful as the first year of adjusting to the fact that he was gone. There were so many things that I didn't realize would hurt that did. Not needing birthday cards or father's day cards for him anymore. Not needing to buy a present for him at the holidays. Addressing Christmas cards solely to my grandmother and not to both of them. Changing the name in my cell phone from "Grandpa & Grandma" to just "Grandma." Watching a basketball game and remembering the reason I even like watching basketball is because I used to watch it with him and got into it because of him. Tons of little things that never even crossed my mind but felt like punches right to the gut. Now, after several years, moments like that happen few and very far in between.

With both of them, I think I thought it would stop hurting much more immediately than it did despite really knowing better. Maybe I naively hoped I could get passed it and be okay faster than I really did.  Like it couldn't possibly keep being painful year after X amount of time because at some point, you're obviously going to realize you've cried all your tears and had all of your sad moments. Then you could just think fondly of them and remember happy times and feel gratitude at the time you had with them and nothing will hurt anymore because it's been long enough. That's a really nice thought but it's not realistic and that realization sucks. There isn't a "long enough" and another realization that this one brought on is that that's okay, too. It's okay to cry and miss them and hurt. As long as you're not dwelling there and do remember all the good, it's okay to not be okay after you lose someone you love. It's okay to not be okay sometimes even after it's been a while. There's no time limit and no reason to feel guilty or ashamed over how you feel.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Therapy and 20 things to be happy about.

*Dusts off blog*

I recently started seeing a therapist. I say recently because it hasn't seemed like long at all but now that I think about it, it's been several months since I made my first appointment. That's not really what this post is about though I mentioned it because therapy is what plays a role in me sitting here typing into this screen.

I love writing. I used to write often. I was even working on a book of short stories at some point last year. The worse the state of my mental health got, the less I wrote until I had stopped completely. Only a few people knew about the short stories I was writing and anyone ever asking how my writing was going once I had stopped was painful. I didn't want to admit that I'd lost my desire to do one of my favorite things. That my head was in such a dark place, all I could think to write was things I didn't want other people reading because it seemed so telling to me. So, I'd put on that fake smile I was so used to and oddly very comfortable wearing and would say it was going fine, that I just needed to make more time to write. Or some such nonsense to hide the fact that I'd stopped. 

In seeing a therapist, we got around to discussing why I wasn't writing. She suggested I try blogging again since I'd previously mentioned that before. She thought it would help, for a number of reasons. I sat down and tried more times than I can remember only to walk away sad and frustrated and angry at myself for not being able to put anything to paper. Once, she mentioned I could try blogging about mental health. I automatically rejected that because I hadn't even told anyone I was seeing a therapist. She mentioned it again a couple months later. I tried. Instead, I took to my Twitter account and started tweeting about mental health there more often, joining the #EndTheStigma crowd. 140 characters or less was pretty much all I could manage in terms about speaking about mental health but I was happy because I was making progress. My thoughts were coming together again and I was able to actually connect with several new people who were looking for people that understood what they were struggling with. 

So here I am today, writing this and feeling like a champ because this far exceeds a handful of 140 characters or less tweets. Though if you follow me on Twitter, don't think the mental health tweets will be going away because it's something I feel strongly about and I've found a little community on there where it's never discouraged to speak openly about mental health. I hope one day that's something that happens on a much larger scale and I think talking about it is a good way to break down stigma and encourage people to talk about it so it's not seen as something embarrassing or something to be ashamed of. I digress.

I decided that at least once a month, I'm going to post a list of things that make me happy because that gives me a goal to reach for in terms of getting some writing done. That's an easy subject because I've no shortage of good things in my life and oddly I haven't really lost sight of that. Which has made the struggle for mental health harder for a few reasons but that's another post for another day. Maybe. 

Anyway.... 20 things seemed like a bit of a challenge but not too difficult of a goal to reach so there's where I'll start. If you've ever done a list like this, you know it's never as easy as it sounds. 

20 Things To Be Happy About

1.) The rain finally stopping so I can get in some pool time. 

2.) I don't hate my job. So many people I know go to work every day dreading it so I'm thankful that the few days I do go in dreading it, it's just because I know the day ahead will be a particularly trying one or because I'm in a mood that has nothing to do with work itself.

3.) Short hair for the summer. 



4.) My birthday is June 15th and the boyfriend's is two weeks later. So we're having a joint birthday party on one of the weekends between the two. I'm looking forward to all the tasty food I'll get to make for that because I love cooking for others.

5.) Orange juice with a half a teaspoon of honey mixed in.

6.) Books, always and forever.

7.) An upcoming trip to Las Vegas.

8.) Our boyfriend and I just celebrated our 9th anniversary at the end of May.

9.) The smell of cinnamon rolls filling the apartment in the morning.

10.) How quiet the gym is at 6 AM.

11.) A friend is getting married next weekend and his pure excitement and happiness rises the closer the day gets and that's one of the sweetest things ever.

12.) My volunteer group. They're a bunch of weirdos but they make all the Saturday mornings I spend with them so much more enjoyable.

13.) S'more Oreos because I love almost all of the things that are S'mores.

14.) Supportive family.

15.) Having a handful of great people in my life that can always make me laugh.

16.) Vegetable and herb garden. Which is something I didn't ever think I'd enjoy but there's something awesome about being able to grow your own peppers and herbs.

17.) Board games and card games and all the games you can sit around a table playing. I grew up playing games with my family and thankfully I have a partner and a couple friends who enjoy playing games, too. 

18.) The days on the weekend where I actually manage to sleep in passed 6:30 AM.

19.) New running shoes that are actually comfortable from the start.

20.) Being comfortable in my own skin.

Happy Thursday!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Toys For Tots Fundraiser Year 6!

***NOTE: THIS POST WILL REMAIN AT THE TOP OF THE BLOG UNTIL I'M DONE WITH THE FUNDRAISER. Scroll down for new posts. :D ****


 
It's Toys for Tots time! For the SIXTH YEAR in a row!  :) WE HAVE ABOUT THREE WEEKS AGAIN THIS YEAR. Next year I'll be starting earlier, again, hopefully. Life needs to stop sucking so much but that's irrelevant currently. ON TO THE TOYS FOR TOTS GOODNESS!

Every year I donate some toys to Toys for Tots. I pick and choose other things to donate to as well through out the year. I don't think I can make a big dent of change in the world but I can do little things to make things a little better for other people. Be it with toys during the holidays, money for food, donating clothing, etc. I bitch about things that I wish I could fix but really, all that bitching does nothing if you're not willing to step up and do something to help make it better. So, I do what I can when I can to help out. It makes me feel good to know I've done something good and I help out with a lot of different things.

In 2009, I got an idea to do a Blogger Toys for Tots Fundraiser. I got the idea damn late it the year though so there wasn't much time to work with for Toys for Tots. I did it again in 2010 , in 2011 in 2012  and last year in 2013 as well. And now I'm doing it again this year. Don't know what that is? Let me inform you before I get on with the rest of the post.

Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity is the fund raising, funding and support organization for the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. The Foundation was created at the behest of the U. S. Marine Corps and provides support in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commander, Marine Forces Reserve, who directs the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. The Foundation has supported Toys for Tots since 1991.

The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.

Like I said, I donate something every year. Sometimes in toys and sometimes in money. Sometimes more and sometimes less. Sometimes I don't have much money to spare but I do a little bit anyway because I know even if I'm hurting a little, some little kid and their family is hurting more. I prefer doing toys, though. I like going in to a store and picking out toys that I know will make some little kids happy. I never see the kids who get these but I always wonder if they liked what they got or if they were just happy for something, anything.

In 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and last year in 2013, I did a Fundraiser for Toys for Tots on my blog. The results were far better than I had expected in 2009 and they were amazing in 2010 and surprised me yet again in 2011, 2012 & 2013. I was beyond touched at all of the help and support I got. I got so many people who donated little amounts and it all added up to so many toys that I went and purchased. I take plenty of pictures and get it well documented on the blog because it's important to me (and lots of you!) to get pictures to show that I was doing as I said I would. I had so much fun going to get the toys in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013. This year, I'm doing it again. :)


The final results from 2009: Here
The final results from 2010: Here

The final results from 2011: Here 
The final results from 2012: Here
The final results from 2013: Here


If you want to see more posts with more details and pictures, then just click here or go to the Toys for Tots tab at the top of the blog on the tabs section.


On the right side of this blog on the side section above my profile, you will find that there is a PayPal donation button there. There's also a Toys For Tots tab up above that.  The email address you can paypal donations to is amorousrocker [at] gmail [dot] com. Easy peasy, eh? :)



If you want to donate money to help buy toys for Toys for Tots, just use that or CLICK HERE.

I will take all the money that gets donated and go buy toys. For proof that I'm doing what I say I'll be doing with the donations, there will yet again be pictures of the toys as I buy them and pictures of all those said toys being loaded into the car and more upon being delivered to a Toys for Tots location once I'm done with the fundraiser.

I know with the economy being what it is, things are rough for a lot of people (myself and my boyfriend included) BUT if you can spare $5 that would be enough. With $5 I can buy an action figure, toy cars, Legos, a stuffed animal, various kinds of dolls, PlayDoh sets and various other things. $5 will buy a toy and in some cases more than one toy. I can get 8 or 9 Hot Wheels cars on $10 so no amount would be too small. If 15 people donate 5 dollars, I have $75 and that will buy quite a few toys to brighten a child's day. You can do something to help and leave all the work up to me.

Like I said, I know life financially sucks for a lot of people right now. If you can give just a little bit though, you'll be making someone happy and doing something good. It's not that big of a deal to let go of $3 or $5 to a great and very worthy cause.

And yes, I know Christmas isn't about the toys and other presents but imagine being 7 and not looking forward to waking up Christmas morning because Santa couldn't bring you anything this year. It's a bummer.

If you want, please feel free to post about this on your blog with links and send people over. I would appreciate that quite a bit. If you do pimp this post out on your blog, email me after you do so with the post link so I can include you in a post that's to come later on. Also feel free to tweet about it or post it on Facebook. A few dollars from a lot of different people goes a long way. :)

This post will stay at the top of the blog for quite a while. Actually, it will be up at the top until the time I'm done with the fundraiser. The cut off date to take donations via paypal will be December 10th. I'll go shopping and deliver the toys by the 13th. I know that there isn't a lot of time for this (as I touched on previously) this year but any amount is better than nothing at all in my opinion.

There's also a tab Toys for Tots at the top of the blog if you want to go check out all the previous posts and pictures from the previous two years.



The tab just has pretty much what this post has plus links to the posts I did last year including all of the pictures as well as a donation link.



Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Toys For Tots & The Great Online Cookie Exchange!

Before I get to the cookie recipe I'm sharing today....

Just a reminder that TOMORROW is the FINAL DAY to donate to my Toys for Tots Fundraiser, if you haven't already but want to. No amount is too small, even $5 will help make a difference! :)

Now, on to my contribution to the Great Online Cookie Exchange! BIG THANKS to Jz for putting together and organizing this awesome recipe fest each year. 

Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Cookies


Ingredients

2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup granulated sugar (for rolling dough)
Preparation

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger in a small bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until well blended, about two minutes. Add the egg and molasses and beat until light in color and well blended, another minute or so. Add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Roll the dough into 1 tablespoon-size balls and roll each ball in the granulated sugar. Place the balls on cookie sheets (12 per sheet). Bake for 10 minutes – the cookies will look puffed up and have cracks, which is the way they should look; they will deflate as they cool. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes, then move to cooling racks. 


Don't forget to visit the other Cookie Exchange participants!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I miss her.

It's been 5 months since my friend's suicide.

Tomorrow would be her 30th birthday so I've been thinking about her a lot the last few days. There won't ever be a Whirlyball party or a super nerdy Cosplay party or any other event or conversation again. No baking her any birthday cupcakes. No card. Nothing. No goofy banter. No random talks. No weird little messages. Just nothing. The random conversations and dumb little jokes is what I miss the most.

I miss her sassy little smile and her wit and the weird things we used to joke about. I haven't been bothered by it much lately but significant dates and events of deceased loved ones are always tough. Especially the first ones you go through after they're gone. And then I think about how awful her family must feel, how much they must be hurting with her being gone and I feel terrible for them. I know how I feel and can't even fathom how they must feel. I haven't deleted my friend from my facebook yet so I've seen every time a family member posts how much they miss her. It was one of them posting something this evening about her birthday coming up tomorrow that set me off tonight.

I feel like I should be fine by now, that I should be passed the tears and the hurt. And mostly I am but there's still some part of me that hurts so much when I think about or am reminded of her. Though it doesn't happen every time. Sometimes I will see or hear something that reminds me of her and I just smile. When it hurts though, it's this raw space that feels like a wound that just won't heal. Then I go through all the emotions again. Crying because I'm sad and miss her. Angry because she would still be here if she hadn't pulled a trigger. Guilty for getting angry because I so completely understand that mental illness is a bitch. Then I'm sad again and overwhelmed because it's so much to feel and it always rushes over you quickly. Like a sucker punch that hits you hard in multiple places simultaneously.

Suicide is hard. If it's something you humor the idea of or think about at all, please reach out and get help. You might feel like no one cares but if you're gone, you'll leave behind people like me. People that will miss you more than you might think possible. People that will cry for you. People that will be left with memories and pictures. People that will wish they could hug you and laugh with you and plan with you and celebrate birthdays with you and have the dumbest most pointless conversations in the world with you. People that will wish they could say things to you that they didn't get to say because they didn't realize that last time was their last chance. People that will feel pain so raw and so deep that it will reduce them to a sobbing aching mess sometimes.

No matter how alone you feel or how much you're hurting, it can get better. Not even just for those people that you'll be leaving behind but for yourself. You're worth it and you're not beyond fixing. You aren't broken. You aren't ruined. There's no shame in not being able to overcome things on your own. We all need help sometimes and that's nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of.

And as I've stated in previous posts, that's said as someone who has been there and someone that still struggles sometimes.

If you're struggling in any way, talk to someone. That first step, that decision to reach out for help and making yourself do it is the scariest part. Talk to a teacher, a friend, a coworker, a parent, a sibling, an aunt, your partner, a professional, anyone you feel safe and comfortable talking to. You can email me if you can't or don't want to talk to someone you know. Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) and talk to them. If you'd rather chat online, 7 Cups Of Tea is a free, confidential online one-on-one or group chat with a real people there to listen and help you.

It can get better.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Much to her surprise. I'm not a lesbian.

One of my new coworkers was surprised to find out I have a boyfriend. Not because I'm hideous looking or because I'm a horrible person. She assumed I'm a lesbian. The logic (and I use that word incredibly loosely) behind her theory was very special.

Her: "You like sports, like a lot. Like you seem to know baseball and hockey better than the guys here do. And plus you drink scotch and that's a total man thing. Plus you listen to metal music and like muscle cars and you're into shooting archery. And you dislike shopping and don't like chick flicks. And you don't seem feminine really very much. Plus your Nike's look like they're men's Nike's. I mean not like you're manly but you're not girly at all and seem pretty tomboyish like you'd be better off being like in a guy's body, you know? So I really thought you were a lesbian." 

Just.... really? A person's interests, dislikes and personality in general does NOT indicate what they're sexuality is. Also, I did at length explain why her assumption was stupid, offensive and horribly problematic. I'm pretty sure she hates me now but I think I'll be able to live with myself. Also, quite happy in my current womanly body and definitely do not wish I were a man. Getting erections at random times and no longer having boobs anymore? No thanks, I'm fine here because this works for me and I'm good with who I am. I'm a big fan of doing what works for you, what makes you comfortable and what makes you happy. As long as you're not hurting yourself, hurting others or doing something that could cause potential harm. 

I have never understood why things have to be sectioned off as "boy things" and "girls things." I think that's partly because I grew up as a girl that had little interest in the "girl things" I was supposed to like and much more interest in the "boy things" that weren't for me. Gender binary can go die in a fire now, thanks.

Growing up, I liked LEGO's and Ghostbusters. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Batman were idols of mine. I liked sports. I liked music. I liked painting. I had an obsession the trains (that still exists to this day.) I loved books. I liked building things with my hands and science sets were rad, too. I liked the color purple. I loved art. I loved monster trucks. I liked playing outside and getting dirty. I liked hanging out on the garage floor with my grandpa while he worked on cars. I liked doing crafts. I was fascinated with pirates and dragons instead of the princesses I was supposed to be interested in. I pretended to be a Ghostbuster, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or Batman in whatever made up fantasy game I was playing with siblings or friends. I loved stuffed animals. It's not like I didn't like "girl things" just on some kind of principle because there were things considered as "girl things" I did like. I remember being a kid and wondering why it was weird for girls to want to play with Tonka trucks or why boys weren't supposed to want an Easy Bake Oven. It always made sense to me that you should like what you like as long as it makes you happy but that's not what society told you back then. It's largely still not what it tells you today, sadly. 

Bless my parents, they didn't try to push stuff off on me that I didn't care for. They stopped buying me dolls and other "girl things" and just let me have the things I was interested in instead of the things I was supposed to be interested in. Sometimes those were "girls things" and sometimes they were "boy things." I called them toys and hobbies. I know, weird.

So hearing my cw explain to me why she just assumed I was a lesbian brought me back to that. I do love sports and have since I was a little kid. I was also an athlete growing up and happened to play all of my favorite sports at one time or another. I'd hope I'd have a pretty good understanding of the games given the time spent playing and the even longer amount of time spent watching. Girls like sports, too. I swear it's not some trick and no, we're not all trying to impress the mens by liking sports and showing off our sports knowledge. Some of us (and there are a lot of us, I can direct you to tons of avid sports fans on Twitter that identify as female) just really enjoy sports, k.

I get that because of movies and television there are things considered as "man drinks." Men drink beer. Men drink scotch. Men drink whiskey. If it's a brown liquor, men put that in a glass and knock that right back. SO DO WOMEN. I'm not the only woman I know who can enjoy a nice glass of whiskey. 

And yes, I wear men's Nike's because it's really fucking hard to find women's running shoes I like that aren't doused in colors I hate. If I'm paying $70+ for some shoes, I'm going to LOVE the way they look as much as I love the way they feel on my feet. 

I'm not listing out why every example she used to come to a conclusion about my sexuality because no matter what else was used as an example, it's not indicative to how I identify my sexual orientation. 

I'm bisexual so don't think I'm ranting because she assumed I was a lesbian and OHMYGOSH HOW DARE SHE. But really, how dare she drop her jaw and let her eyes fly open in surprise at the mention of my boyfriend that she assumed I didn't have because I'm like a totally masculine tomboy brochick who obviously wishes she were a guy so obviously I like girls? Because every dude on the planet only wants women and if you're not a heterosexual female it's apparently because you wish you were a man but you're in deep denial or some such bullshit. I digress. I'm mainly irritated this way of thinking is STILL so prevalent in today's society. I know I'm not alone in thinking you should like what you like, as long as you're not doing harm to yourself or others, as long as it makes you happy.

 Aside from assigning things as appropriate based on your gender, another issue I have is assuming because a person's personality doesn't fit the mold here then they obviously belong there. I'm not girly enough so obviously I'm not heterosexual. I'm not but that's not an indicator to make a judgement off of. Being an "ultra feminine" woman  is not a sign of being heterosexual anymore than being a woman who is "tomboyish" is a sign of a women being gay. 

All of these silly preconceived notions about how people should be this way or should be that way or vice versa are really insane. You really can feel like there's something wrong with you when so many people and so much of what you see around you is telling you the way you are isn't right. That can be horribly confusing and quite damaging to a person.

There's no set way to be. There are no guidelines that say if you like these things and act this way then you go here in this box. But if you act this way and like these things, please go here instead. If everyone were meant to be the same way, we would be. We're not, so it shouldn't be so difficult of a concept for people to grasp or accept.