Thursday, May 30, 2013

Oh Look, It's My Birthday!

Lesbi Crafty turned 1 today! :D

I want to thank all of you again, those of you who read my blog, for sticking with me and encouraging me to keep writing.  I've received messages telling me that I've entertained and inspired, and knowing that I've helped teach others is a really wonderful thing.

When I first started the blog, I honestly didn't have terribly high hopes.  My last blogging attempt petered out into nothingness, so I figured I wouldn't be surprised if this one did, too.  But then, people were responding.  People were sharing my posts with others and talking about them.  In the grand scheme of blogdom I'm just a speck of dust, but the fact that my words were important to people I didn't even know kept me going, and here we are!

Of course, I'm not going to stop here, either.  I have plans for Lesbi Crafty's future (though when those plans will come to fruition, I know not).  I'm going to move to a different blogging platform, and--with luck--join BlogHer's Publishing Network and start earning money doing this weird bloggy thing.

Most importantly, however, I'm going to keep writing.  As long as I keep knitting and society keeps sucking, I'm going to be writing.

Once again, thank you for sticking with me.  It means so much.

Onward, into year 2!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Can We Just STOP with the Fat-Shaming BS, Please?

Photo credit to Lydia Hudgens (Source)
So I'm going about my business, reading Jezebel like ya do, when I come across this article about how quickly a new line of "fatkinis" sold out after becoming available.  Now, I'm not surprised at all that this happened; despite statistics that show that a very large portion of the American population is fat*, it seems clothing retailers not 100% geared towards plus-size fashion vastly underestimate the demand (whether this is on purpose or not, I don't know).  I'm used to not being able to find things in my size when I go into a store, and I'm not even that fat.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Gorramit, It Never Ends: When Being Honest is Risky

When you're a queer person, you come out to people.  A lot.  I'm only now grasping as an adult that it really truly never ends.  I thought: most of my family knows I'm queer, all of my friends know, so surely I don't need to worry anymore, right?


As a human who sometimes likes to leave the house, I keep finding myself in situations where I could come out, or not.  I have to weigh those times very carefully.

It's different from when I was a teenager (so many years ago, right?).  Then, coming out was an active thing; I would pull trusted friends aside and tell them.  They would hug me and assure me that they still loved me.  We would go back to whatever it was we were doing.  There would be a little thrill because YAY it had gone well.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

From the Bottom of My Heart, Thank You!

Yesterday, Lesbi Crafty reached 10,000 pageviews.  10,000!  Within less than a year of this little blog's existence!

I don't get to use this gif often enough.
Thank you!  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

When I started the blog on May 30th last year (there will be a birthday post :3), I didn't think that I would reach as many people as I have, especially within the first year.  I'm still not sure how this happened, but I'm incredibly grateful.  You all, dear readers, think that what I have to say is valid and interesting (or, if you're a hate-reader, you consider my blog important enough in your life to hate-read, so thanks for wasting you time on me).

The funny thing is, I don't know who a lot of you are.

Blogger can tell me some things.  I know that over two thirds of my views come from the US, and that I have people who've read the blog in Brazil, Russia, Norway, and Germany.  I know that one tenth of those views are for one post, Voting: Why You Should Care, which even now is still my most frequently read post.  I know that people have Googled me in Canada (or at least people were brought to my blog through a Google search while in Canada).

But I still don't know who many of you readers are.  I have friends and family who read me, for sure, but even within the first couple of months of blogging I knew that strangers were reading, as well.  When I started cross-posting to BlogHer, two of my pieces got featured and each of those got hundreds of views, all from people I've never met.

So, who are you?  If you're a regular reader, what keeps you coming back?  What brought you here in the first place?

I want to see actual comments! :D

And again, to all of you, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Simple Pleasures or, My Knitting High OR, How to Avoid Being a Sourpuss

This is a post about self-care, and nothing is more important to self-care than kittens. (Source)
I was chatting with a friend yesterday, who had bought some comic books for the first time in a couple of months.  He said the happiness he gets from purchasing new comics is nearly on par with an orgasm, and he hopes that I have something to get that excited about in my life.

While it's not quite as intensely enjoyable as orgasms, I think one of the most pleasurable things I do in my life is beginning and finishing knitting projects.  And by beginning, I mean walking into a yarn shop and buying materials.

Sure, I'm a social justice-y person who dislikes conspicuous consumerism* and I have plenty of days where I wish capitalism would go burn, but dang if walking out of a local yarn store (LYS) carrying a bag full of yarn, needles, and other things doesn't feel amazing.  It's like a paper bag of potential.  Balls and balls of yarn which, when I pile them on my floor, seem to just scream "Knit us!"

I don't hallucinate, I promise.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Having a Body is Hard

This body is NOT gonna last, and I want to be okay with that.
"I like giants/especially girl giants/cuz all girls feel too big sometimes/regardless of their size" -"I Like Giants" by Kimya Dawson

A couple of weeks ago, I took my measurements before ordering a dress.  Between late December and now, I have lost more than two inches in the waist; I'm smaller than I've been in a long time.

I've been caught between celebrating and being unnerved at my own celebration.  In December, my doctor told me to lose ten pounds because I had high cholesterol, and at the time I rationalized that he said "lose ten pounds" because the steps taken to do so would restore my health.  That it was all about health, not about size or weight on its own.  But now I find that even as I worked so hard to love my body no matter the size, I really truly prefer how I look at a lower weight.  I find this troubling.

I've been seeing shifts and new challenges in dealing with food and my body, as I've been getting healthier and realizing that I have it in my power to improve my health further through what I eat.  This realization hasn't been good.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Meatballs, Vikings, and a Man in a Skirt: My Easter Holiday

Hello, friends!  The blog's been quiet for the last few weeks as I've been travelling.  The uni I've been at while studying abroad has a three week Easter break, so I took advantage of that time to go to some places which I've dreamed about visiting for years: Sweden, Scotland, and Ireland.

I had an amazing time, and I've only been slightly inconvenienced by the fact that I'm a female travelling alone.  I've visited several natural history museums and stared at lots of taxidermied birds and pangolins, motivated out of my love for a little YouTube show called The Brain Scoop.  I've also seen works of art by the greats--Titian, Rodin, Van Gogh--for free.  I learned about Vikings in countries which had been invaded by them.  I've knit in pubs and read theology in restaurants and gotten lost both accidentally and on purpose.  I listened to Swedish poetry and Irish folk music and could barely escape the sound of bagpipes, as there was a player on nearly every street.  My accent changed with each person I talked to, frequently with each sentence.

Beyond the things I did, however, were the people I met.  They're the true highlight of this adventure.

In Sweden, I slept on a bed set up in the corner of my distant cousin's living room.  We'd never met before, but she'd offered her and her fiance's apartment as a place to stay, and I took it.  She took me to her favorite touristy things in Stockholm on all of the days she had off from work.  By the end of the week, not only were we talking and laughing easily around each other (I was honestly afraid that my shyness would make for an awkward visit), but I had gone to Easter dinner with the whole Swedish family, meeting cousins whom I'd only heard about as a child.

One of my cousins is a goth ghost-whisperer.  HOW AWESOME IS THAT?
After that, I went to Edinburgh, where I stayed in a hostel where I met young women from all over the world: Australians, Koreans, Canadians, German Serbs.  Each had their reasons for travelling, each had their stories.  They came and went, but for a brief time our lives joined up in a way that would have been impossible not that long ago.  I also met a veteran who had ended up homeless and had an impenetrable accent, but was friendly and chatty and told me that it was actually completely worth paying £16 to tour Edinburgh castle.  On Sunday, I went to a queer-affirming Episcopalian church, was anointed, joined the congregation for coffee and rolls after the service, and spent half an hour at least talking to a woman about my travels and studies and goals.    I met the rector, American like me.

Finally, I arrived in Dublin hoping that I would be able to identify the man who was letting me stay with him; a friend of my sister, whom she'd met through an online community centered around a Slenderman web series/alternate reality game.  I knew him by his Internet name ("Chewie") much better than his real name, and I was worried again that things would be awkward because I'm eccentric and nerdy.  Instead, I was greeted by a man with a scruffy beard and long ponytail who was wearing a patchwork leather jacket and a skirt made from worn shorts.  He had a folklore degree and referred to coins as "shrapnel," and he was open and friendly right away.  Upon arriving at his flat, I met Chewie's pet crow, a surprisingly adorable little bird with a lame wing and spazzy leg, and his housemate, who kissed my hand instead of shaking it.  Chewie runs an alternate reality game in the same universe as the one through which he met my sister, and I got to be involved by being filmed tied up in a tunnel and crying while the Morrigan tortured Chewie's brother (trigger warning for torture and general creepiness).* Read the footnote before watching the video, please

I don't know why I was afraid of not being comfortable around Chewie; my sister and I have shared friends since she was in high school.  Chewie and I get along easily, have a similar sense of humor, and pretty much instantly relaxed around each other.  I hope that we remain in contact and that we can collaborate in the future (as much as I swore up and down to not get involved in an ARG because it involved horror and making/editing videos, I find myself wanting to continue my character's story beyond being tortured by a wicked deity).

My months-long stay in London has already been magical; this trip has turned the beauty and wonder up to eleven.  I've made friends I hope to keep for a long time, learned skills which my privileged and relatively sheltered life have kept me from developing until now, and acquired a number of accents and speaking habits which will take a while to shake (and honestly, I don't want to shake them).

I'll be in England until June, with no classes or outside responsibilities.  I don't know what I'm going to do with all of that time, but I hope I'm able to make the best of it.  This has been an amazing holiday, and an amazing term.

*Hugely necessary quick and dirty explanation of the premise of Chewie's ARG here (seriously, the video will make a bit more sense if you read that first)

Monday, March 25, 2013

When You're Powerless

I'd like to tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a group of girls who had reached the end of a lovely evening out.  They decided, it being a freezing night in England, that their best bet would be to take the bus back home.  And for about half the ride, it was fine, until at one stop, a man got on the bus.

He was scrawny and pale, with a fresh-looking cut across his forehead; he was also carrying an open bottle of whiskey and an open can of Coke.  He sat near the girls, and started to bother them. It started innocuously enough- he asked one of the girls to hold his Coke for a minute.  She said no.  He asked again, and she said no.  He set the can down on the seat next to him, and for a minute that was that... until he started asking the girls where they were getting off the bus.  And didn't stop.

The girls ignored him, starting to feel afraid.  The man noticed that one of them was avoiding looking at him at all, and he started to ask if she was ignoring him.  She was, but she didn't want to say anything, so she stayed quiet and continued to stare out the window.  The man started to insult her to try and get her attention, threatening to throw his drink on her if she didn't acknowledge him.  The girl sitting behind him had her headphone cord in hand, prepared to strangle him if things got dangerous.  Instead, the bus reached the girls' stop, and as they got off the man kicked two of them.  As the bus pulled away from the stop, the man climbed into the back of the bus and waved cheerily through the window, as if he hadn't just terrified them.

And then we realized that this wouldn't have happened if our 6'3'' Hungarian friend David had been with us.

Though one of my friends reminded us that we had managed just fine without a man there to protect us, I still had to walk back to my flat alone in darkness, and I was afraid.  I wanted a man there, because the unfortunate truth is that many men who would otherwise harass or attack a woman won't if they see she's "taken" by another man.  They wouldn't want to mess with another man's "property".

The whole situation was awful.  There were five of us, minding our own business, wanting to get home, but this drunk lout decided that he would make us uncomfortable for fun.  The fact that he thought it was his right to frighten us and attack us just to get his jollies shows a certain entitlement that as a feminist I try to combat. The fact that he made me that much more afraid to be alone afterwards means that, in a way, he won.  The fact that I desperately desired protection from someone bigger and stronger and male made me feel like a bad feminist.

So often, I deal in abstractions.  As far as I can remember, I was never harassed in high school.  I knew intellectually that as a woman I was oppressed, but I hadn't known the weight of that oppression.  Now that I'm getting older, spending more time in public, I'm being reminded that to some people, I have no power.

It makes me fantasize about being a vampire and terrorizing them, while simultaneously wanting to turn into a baby red panda and running away.

Good luck harassing me up here! (Source)
I'm afraid of encountering this man again.  London is a big city, but he and I both live somewhere between Putney and Tolworth.  We probably shop at the same ASDA.  I don't want to see him again.

I want my power back.  I guess that's why I blog; through writing, I can have some semblance of power which men like this guy would try to take from me.  Because he can insult my nose, throw his Coke on me*, and pretend my fear is all a big joke, but he can't take away my voice.

I'm going to listen to Macklemore for a while.  He always makes me feel better.

*Thankfully, he didn't

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Joke's on Us

In one of my classes, each of us was supposed to prepare a performance response to something that came up during the term.  Being a class on the theory of comedy, there were multiple discussions on what the line was in offensive comedy, and something the lecturer said over and over again was "Comedy changes the situation".  There's nothing wrong with comedy offending someone if the point of offending them is to get them to think about their assumptions, because that's a change in the situation.  In discussing with my lecturer one-on-one, we talked about how so often comedy just targets people who already get the short end of the stick in society, rehashing tired old stereotypes and only serving to put those people down.  This has bothered me for a long time, and this is what I decided to address in my performance response, and I knew that the way I had to do so was through slam poetry.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Thoughts on Health and Meat-Eating

Oh hai.  Don't eat me plz.  (Source)
I'm an omnivore. A picky omnivore (I'm slowly getting better).

I have friends who are vegetarian and vegan. Some are more evangelistic than others. Some are just like "Eh, I'm a vegetarian. Big whoop." Others regularly post things about how much better, healthier, more moral, etc. their choice is.

And you know what? For the most part, they're right. Humans very likely aren't meant to consume meat in the quantities we (meaning Americans) do. Most of our meat is produced in wasteful and brutal conditions (which I get to see every time I drive through California).  The vast majority of wheat (70%), corn (80%), and soy (90%) grown in this country go toward producing meat and 50% of our water goes toward growing these things.  It's unsustainable, and it's unhealthy both for us and for the animals we eat.

So why am I not vegetarian?  Because meat tastes good and I'm picky.  Those truly are my reasons.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Love! Betrayal! Scandal!: Shame and the Church

Rachel Held Evans' latest blog post, "Ashamed," is convicting, powerful stuff.  She addresses a lot that is wrong with the American church, with nothing held back:
I am ashamed of the bumper stickers, the t-shirts, the logos, the fog machines, the light shows, the celebrities, and that paralyzing fear of Silence we’re so bound and determined to avoid that we keep shouting and shouting and shouting at one another till our words are just clanging cymbals echoing off church walls.  
I am ashamed of the walls. They are built high, with circles of barbed wire around the top, to keep pests away from our bread and wine, to keep the Silence from getting in. 
I am ashamed of the abuse, the shaming, the cover-ups, the secrets, the millstones* being forged in Sunday school classrooms and pastors’ offices where people are supposed to be safe, and the way I want to watch those millstones drag a few more bodies down to the bottom of the sea.  
I am ashamed of the violence—in our theology, in our words, in myself.
Many who read this post agreed with Evans, and told their stories of the pain they felt from fighting so hard to remain devoted to the faith while the church continued to behave abominably.

I identify with those people.  Where once I was delighted to announce my Christianity to the world, felt nothing but excitement at entering the walls of a church, now there is so much pain.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Library of Reaction Gifs

Just a fun post, because I'm reeling from massive amounts of transphobia in the comments section on an article about a six-year-old DMAB girl who's being prevented from using the girl's bathroom at her school anymore.

SO, when you want to perfectly convey how you feel about something, do you use your words?  Naaah, you use gifs! :D

Warning for relatives sensitive to this sort of thing: Lots of swearing ahead.  STRAP IN.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dinner for One: Chicken and Rice

What do you do when you're a single university student with a limited budget and a craving for the taste of almost-home?  You make a single serving of chicken and rice, of course!

I should say before I get very far into this that I'm not basing this on any particular traditional recipe.  I'm not trying to be super authentic to Latin cuisine.  I just like chicken and rice and it's something different from the thoroughly European fare I usually have for dinner.  I should also say that while in general this recipe is something I've come up with on my own, I'm stealing the rice steps from British culinary goddess Delia Smith; I also had my mom look over the recipe and give pointers on how to make it go smoothly.  So this recipe is by me, my mom, and Her Excellency Delia Smith.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Gather 'Round While I Preach Some (with GIFs!)


What's that, you say?  You already knew that?  Well, congratulations.  You're not an overzealous feminist.

...yes, I do have problems with some feminists.  And this is my number one problem with said feminists.

It's a mistake some people make in combating gender determinism, which is basically the idea that because, say, I have a vagina and breasts and my chromosomes are XX, I am a woman and that means I'm meant to do certain things and I'm only fit for certain roles in life.  To feminists, this is plainly silly, but we have different ways of addressing this huge, society-wide misconception.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I Am Damaged

I was just engaging in some masochistic reading of conservative Christian blogs, when I came across a statement, an idea, which I hadn't seen in years (mostly because I was better at self-care before I discovered Patheos).

This idea is best summed up as such:
I'll let you sit on that for a minute and think.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dinner for One: French Onion Soup

What do you do when you're a single university student with a limited budget and leftover beef stock?  You make a single serving of french onion soup, of course!

When I got this idea the other day, I was both excited and nervous.  All of the recipes for french onion soup which I knew were for serving 6-8 people, and I'm definitely not 6-8 people, nor did I want to deal with storing leftovers.  So I went over to ASDA, picked up some onions, stock, garlic powder and wine, and I'm cooking my bowl of soup as we speak.  I figure waiting for it to finish is the perfect time to tell other people how to BS their dinner!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Politics and Friendship: Thoughts from London So Far

Outside Buckingham Palace.
Hello, readers!  I'm here, in England, in London (specifically, the district Roehampton in the borough Wandsworth), and I'm going to be here until June.  I'm studying at the University of Roehampon and living on-campus with a bunch of nutty flatmates* and drinking lots of tea.

It's been a very interesting experience so far, because I'm in this strange situation where I'm more informed about social justice issues than I've ever been before, and I'm used to being surrounded by like-minded, sensitive people in my classes and clubs, and I've suddenly had to practically start from square one in making friends.  This has meant, unfortunately, tamping down my indignation, concerns, etc. in the name of getting along.