I am not a people person.

I’m honestly not much of a people person – haven’t been as long as I can remember really. It’s not that I hate people (as much as I often say I do) – it’s more that I do significantly better in occasional brief encounters with a few individuals and by myself than anything else. I’m an introvert and very shy – I stumble over my verbal words and get stressed out easily over constant stimulation through interacting with people.

I prefer reading and written communication – it’s often easier for me to think about what I want to say and the best way to say it through writing than talking. (Although I definitely appreciate body language and unspoken cues when having major discussions. Talking about television shows and how a date went? So love being able to text for that stuff!) I love reading and watching stuff on Netflix because I still get to interact with the world outside of just myself but it’s usually not too over stimulating.


So the past couple days has been really stressful because I’ve been constantly hanging out and doing things with plenty of people. And it’s not that I don’t love the people in my life – at the very least I have a deep appreciation for their existence. But it’s exhausting to constantly be on and to be social for me.

I’m very much looking forward to the next few days – really brief encounters with a small group of people and spending so much more time alone are both things I desperately need for some down time. Hopefully with this break I’ll also be able to write a little more as well!

Making Mistakes.

quote-if-youre-making-mistakes-it-means-youre-out-there-doing-somethingFor me, a big part of humanity is that we are flawed and we do make mistakes. But the great thing about mistakes is the ability to learn and grow from them. I do think that if you want to act as an ally and stand in solidarity with different groups, you have to be okay with making mistakes and owning up to them. Ashley Truong wrote about making mistakes as an ally and how if someone does call you out, listening, giving a genuine apology, and learning from your mistake are some of the most important things you can do.

But a big thing is to learn from your mistakes and not repeatedly use “I’m human and make mistakes” as an excuse. Because at least for me, if someone keeps fucking up and uses that excuse on and on again, there’s a very good chance I personally won’t want to be around them for too much longer. Acknowledge mistakes and grow from them.

And I also think it’s important to realize that people change, grow, and learn in the span of days, weeks, months, years. What someone might have believed a few years ago might not be what they believe now and ironclad holding people accountable to problematic stuff they said some time ago can be tricky. I think that if someone is called out and they genuinely apologize and learn from it, it’s important at the very least to acknowledge this.

That doesn’t mean I think marginalized people should coddle the people in power or hold their hands throughout all the discomfort we as people in power are going to face but instead that we can’t expect people to be perfect revolutionaries from the very beginning. Everyone grows in different ways and society is so dead set on keeping up the problematic status quo that what might be apparent to one person might not be so apparent to another.

I hope this adequately describes the points I’m trying to convey about making mistakes. This was actually one of the few times I felt like I didn’t quite have the right words to describe what I’m trying to talk about here but hopefully the message is still understood. And this is as much as a note to self as it is something to consider for everyone else.

The Bechdel Test and Every Single Word.

There have been several projects and tests that have called out the lack of diversity and general problems that Hollywood has in regards to representing anyone other than a cishet white male. Hollywood has an undeniable diversity and representation problem and the problem seems to at the very least start at the top. I think it’s unbelievably important for us to be critical of the mainstream media that so many consume on a regular basis, especially along the lines of a lack of representation towards race/ethnicity and gender.

Dykes_to_Watch_Out_For_(Bechdel_test_origin)The Bechdel Test, for example, first started in 1985 and named after the cartoonist Alison Bechdel whose comic the rules first appeared. The Geek Feminism Wiki highlighted the rules for the test (taken more or less straight from the comic itself), saying that the requirements were:

  1. the movie [media] has at least two women characters;
  2. who talk to each other;
  3. about something other than a man.

And the test is more important than you might realize. Charlie Jane Anders wrote about the importance of the test over at io9, saying among many things that while the test is not fool proof, it does force many to think why so many films would fail such a low bar in regards to representing women.

Additionally, Dylan Marron, a New York based actor, has recently been working on a project titled Every Single Word, which has been a compilation of movies edited down to just the words spoken by people of color. He’s covered many mainstream videos like Birdman, Juno, the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy (which fit into one 46 second video), Into the Woods (which was silent…), and many many more.

The videos highlight how few words are actually said by people of color in big/mainstream movies and the race problem in Hollywood. And the project highlights the dynamics behind a study done by UCLA a few years ago, which found that minorities and women are underrepresented (compared to actual demographics in the US) both in front of and behind the camera.

It’s both interesting and extremely disappointing that so many mainstream movies and television shows fail to have any sort of representation. The new reboot of Doctor Who started off strong in regards to passing the Bechdel test for the first couple seasons but once Stephen Moffat took over as showrunner, the show began to do significantly worse.

Whovian Feminism wrote about the problem between the first few seasons and the last few as far as the Bechdel Test and also addresses the fact that this test is not a measure of feminism but a measure of female presence within a medium and not talking about a man. And fan artists of the Harry Potter series have also helped many to reimagine the characters other than the default white that took over the movies.

Race and gender are not the only identities that Hollywood fails to address – there are so many other problematic issues that Hollywood and mainstream media needs to address. I am happy to see things like the Bechdel Test and Every Single Word addressing the problems, particularly in such blatant ways.

#sHellNo update – #PDXvsShell

CLFoR05WoAAc7I_The fight and protests against Shell’s proposed arctic drilling continues, as protesters in Portland, OR have helped block a Shell vessel from leaving the cities harbor. The #sHellNo movement continues to try and stop Shell from moving any vessels and ships up north to work on drilling. Most recently, several protesters have been suspended from the St. John’s Bridge across the Willamette River in north Portland for several hours. OregonLive (the Oregonian’s online presence) has live updates about the protest.

th (10)In addition to the people suspended from the bridge and similar to the actions done in Seattle several months ago, there are also many kayaktivists who have taken to the waters around Swan Island in the Willamette. King5 highlighted the actions in the Willamette river, saying that:

Without the Fennica and its equipment, the Polar Pioneer rig can’t begin drilling operations, even though the White House has already approved Shell’s exploratory drilling permits for Arctic oil.

It’s unlikely the demonstrations will prevent the Fennica from leaving Portland, but protesters say every delay helps their cause.

In addition to news stories, there have also been several storifies that have collected tweets about the protests into one location:

  • Portland, OR says Shell No!
  • Portland Shell Protest at St. John’s Bridge
  • Activists Suspended off St. John’s Bridge
  • Activists Attempt to Block Oil Vessel in Portland, OR

Shell has already been approved to start digging up north but activists hope that with the delays brought on because of the protests, there will be a huge financial loss to the company.

Writing and Depression.

Over the past couple weeks, it has been really difficult to find the time, energy, and desire to write. I’ve been spending so much of my time sleeping or watching shows on Netflix and I’ve been feeling like I’ve been regressing back to my low point over a year ago. There are so many things that I want to write about and engage with but being able to actually do that? Usually very difficult.

I wish that depression was an easy fix, that I had the desire to do the things I love. Most of my days blend together, with me spending a ridiculous amount of time laying in bed because getting out of bed is difficult. Marathoning television shows is one of the few things that I regularly do.

Hyperbole and a Half’s Adventures in Depression is a great representation for so much of my experiences with depression. Getting up and doing things is so difficult sometimes and nothing seems to motivate me to get many things accomplished. Allie (the author of Hyperbole and a Half) wrote about one experience that I’ve gone through many times:

I spent months shut in my house, surfing the internet on top of a pile of my own dirty laundry which I set on the couch for “just a second” because I experienced a sudden moment of apathy on my way to the washer and couldn’t continue. And then, two weeks later, I still hadn’t completed that journey. But who cares – it wasn’t like I had been showering regularly and sitting on a pile of clothes isn’t necessarily uncomfortable. But even if it was, I couldn’t feel anything through the self hatred anyway, so it didn’t matter. JUST LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE.

A New Space.

A week ago, I moved into a new place. I now live in a tiny little one room cabin on my neighbor’s 5 acres and I am just so happy about it. When I walked into the cabin for the first time, I nearly cried out of relief and happiness because it has been over a year since I had a space and stable living situation. For the first time in over a year, I have a permanent place to call my own, a place where I feel safe and calm.

I’m just so happy because splitting my time between either parents’ places was difficult and stressful. It started to destroy my relationships with my parents – once my mom got really upset and told me to leave and spend the night at my dad’s at like 9:30pm because I wouldn’t share my small sandwich with her. (I can’t even make that up…)

And honestly, I just do so much better when I have my own space and the ability to be alone if I need it. Being in public spaces and spending time with people (regardless of my relationship to the people I’m with) can be really stressful and overwhelming for me so having a space where I can shut off the rest of the world for a while so far has been really helpful.

I’m still trying to figure out what the future will hold for me but having the space to do that will be unbelievably wonderful. And the five acres I’m on is also home to a dog, a llama, three cats, four chickens, and maybe some chickens eventually. It’s just so wonderful to be around animals for such a big chunk of my life because animals have been some of the most consistent things in my life.

I know I won’t be in my hometown forever (or at least I hope not) but having this new space gives me hope for the future that everything will work out.


nuJ22FbzOver the past several weeks and continuing throughout the summer, community organizers and the organization Operation Help or Hush have been working on regular events in several cities across the United States that accomplish several different things. D.A. Krolak wrote a great explanation of the events, saying that:

#FreedomSummer15 [Freedom Summer 2015] is a series of events in eight cities nationwide, taking place in major metropolises, created to celebrate black culture & community while also providing  moments of levity or bonding away from the day-to-day front lines of activist work. These free events and spaces can provide activists working for social justice and equality chances to connect within their neighborhoods and fellow foot soldiers. (source)

Some of the events have been lunches in different cities that provide food and community! For more about what’s happening with the different lunches and events, check out the hashtags for each city:

  • #BaltimoreLunch
  • #STLLunch
  • #FreedomSummerPhilly – starting this weekend!

To help or donate for these events: donate to Operation Help or Hush

A note to all the queers out there.

To all those confident in their identity,

To everyone still questioning,

To everyone forced to be in the closet,

To those living in abusive homes,

To the lgbtq+ community,

I love you I love you I love you.

You are worthy and wonderful and

made from the stardust of the universe.

You are valid, your identity is valid.

th (9)

This doesn’t fix all the problems in the world.

But I hope it reminds you that you are necessary,

That you are loved and wanted in the world.

Being in a place that doesn’t offer respect and love is hard.

And if you ever need a friend or a shoulder to cry on,

Or need some help in whatever way,

Please let me know.

Love from, Charlie

Resources for Trans Individuals.

th (8)So I wanted to compile a short list of resources for trans individuals about housing and clothing resources, different master posts with resources, and stories from trans people themselves. And I really wanted to specifically collect resources for trans people rather than for allies. This is just the beginning of what’s available but I hope this is a least a little helpful for someone!

General Resources

  • So you think you might be trans? Notes and resources from Everyday Feminism 
  • The Tumblr Transgender Clothing Exchange
  • The Transgender Housing Network
  • The Trans Life Line (staffed by trans people for trans people)
  • Domestic Violence: A Resource for Trans People – for the UK
  • A US Based Domestic Violence Resource
  • Swim Suits for Trans Individuals
  • Life Outside the Binary
  • FORGE – Publications and Resources

Resource master posts

  • Life Outside the Binary’s Resource Master post, including:
    • Looking for a bathroom?
    • I Think I Might be Trans – Now What do I do?
    • WPATH – Standards of Care
  • Nonbinary Resources, including:
  • Coming Out: Resources for Nonbinary Folks
  • Coming Out as Transgender, Genderqueer, and/or Non-Binary Master post
  • QPOC Coming Out/Support Resources Master post
  • Trans Day of Visibility Master post

Trans Women Resources

  • DMAB Resource List from Life Outside the Binary
  • Tucking and Other Skills Your Cis Parents Didn’t Tell You About
    • Tucking How To

Trans Men Resources

  • Binding 101 – don’t use Ace bandages or duct tape while binding!! Those are not meant to be used for binding and can cause serious physical problems
    • Trans Guys – Chest Binding 101 (includes places to find new and used binders and how to choose a chest binder)
    • Underworks Tri Top Chest Binder
    • TransActive’s In a Bind program
  • Hudson’s FTM Resource Guide

Individual Stories and Narratives

  • Micah – Neutrois Nonsense
  • Out of This Binary -collab YouTube series
  • Queerbb – YouTube videos from Winley
  • Brooke – transgirltumbling
  • Janet Mock – Redefining Realness

Living with Depression and Anxiety.

The thing about living with depression and anxiety for me is that simple things like showering, regular and consistent sleep, interacting with people, grocery shopping, making my own food, basically anything and everything society has deemed appropriate and necessary to be a productive member of society are really difficult to accomplish on a daily basis.

**I want to say that I only have depression and anxiety and so my experiences are very biased and this post only speaks for my life experiences. Everyone has different experiences with depression and/or anxiety AND there are many other mental illnesses and chronic illnesses that I can’t speak about because I don’t have them…

I have my good days – ones where I make my own meals, shower, do several things on my to-do list, go out with friends. And I have my bad days – where just simply getting out of bed is difficult and usually I’m crying or really anxious over things I shouldn’t really be so emotional about. (On bad days, thank god for ready made meals at grocery stores or my parents making extra food because I would not eat otherwise…) Most days are some weird in between – where I’m able to get up and sluggishly make it through a few things before taking a nap.

And with depression, I often get intensely emotional over things that would have been just a moment or two acknowledgement from people who don’t have depression. Like last Friday/Saturday, when I got (partially) upset because the dogs I was caring for were really cute. Or when I get incredibly frustrated or irritated for extended periods of time over things that would have others go “oh damn!” and move on.

Trying to get my parents to understand is difficult – I’ve spent all of my life shielding them from the bad days, not explaining that the laziness they perceive is actually depression worming its way through my head and life. Looking back, I doubt they’ve seen any incredibly bad episodes because in my family, there is no chance for negative emotions. We were always passive aggressive, hid our angry and sadness. My parents frequently told me that I would never have any friends with my terrible attitude (that same attitude I now realize was my depression presenting itself in my awkward teenage life).