Coming Out: further postponement – now with reruns!

June 8, 2009

This weekend, I worked a little under thirty hours, if you count Friday evening, which I do, because it’s supposed to be time off. Thirty hours, at a job that I 80% hate.

This week, I’m following up on that joy by “coming out” to my mother about some bad experiences I’ve previously kept secret– eventually. It’ll hopefully put an end to all the conversations that are just “your social anxiety and depression have no cause, so stop it!” so it’s going to be a good thing– eventually. I’ll probably post the letter I’m giving her, as soon as we both stop crying, so I guess I’ll see you next week. Eventually.

I’m feeling guilty about failing so spectacularly to re-commit to the blog, immediately after swearing to do that very thing, but, uh, life’s been rough. I’m thinking a lot, and writing a little, and things will follow. I’m not sure what form those Things will take, but they’ll certainly be interesting.

In the mean time, I’m going to be reposting some of those posts tagged “critique,” especially the ones that start tying different movies together, because, darn it, that’s the blogging that I want to be doing!

They’re my favourites of what Gender Goggles has on offer, so I hope you enjoy them!


Quick hit: I WON!

June 3, 2009

YES! I am totally going to Australia!!

Thank you SO much to everyone who voted for me!

There’s no news on the site yet but I’ve gotten the email and I’m setting stuff up with them to get a profile about me on the site, and to word out details. So, this August, I’m going with my dad on this 12-day tour from Sydney to Brisbane! I’ll take lots of photos, and do my best to blog while I’m gone!

Yes, it’s true– I haven’t forgotten you, dear, sweet blog, or the promises I made to… actually update. I’m still coughing my guts up every day, but posts are coming.

…including posts about AUSTRALIA! Woo!


Shameless begging: send me to Australia!

May 31, 2009

I’m crazy excited: I’m one of ten finalists to win a trip to Australia! Now I just need people to vote for me so I can win! Voting ends TONIGHT, at midnight CST– mere hours away!

The backstory: I am a huge fan of travelling and as such enjoy maintaining a profile at www.whereivebeen.com (a facebook app that has expanded into its own site.) Recently they had a contest to win a trip to Australia, and every photo you uploaded entered you into the drawing one more time. I uploaded… a lot of photos. Now, they have selected ten finalists to compete for the grand prize, and I’m one of them!

The grand prize winner is going to be determined by a vote; polling began Wednesday night. I think I have a very real shot at this, but, well, I need to get people to vote for me! The trip I’m competing for is this one, and I’d really like to go!

To vote for me, you need an account at whereivebeen.com . It’s a fairly simple process to connect a facebook account to the site and create a profile that way, but you can also create a profile just for whereivebeen.com if you prefer. It’s free, and they don’t send any spam; I’ve been using the site for a while.

Once you have an account, you’ll have to go to the main page. Underneath the flash-animated map there is a blue box with the words “Their fate is in your hands!” You should be able to find my picture and name in the box, and click on me to vote for me. I’ve got red hair and am wearing a green scarf in front of a green background, and, of course, my name is Laura. If you have any questions, email me! Seriously. I’ll help.

It costs no money and very little time, and it would mean a great deal to me if I won. Please pass this along as much as you can, as well.

Thanks in advance!


Coming Out: the prelude

May 28, 2009

So, I have a big long depress-o-thon of a post in the works, in which I do a lot of soul searching and decide a few things, but I wanted to let you in on the decisions sooner rather than later. Namely:

1. I need to re-commit to this blog. I was taking a break because the work wasn’t seeming worthwhile, but I’ve come to the conclusion that Gender Goggles does still deserve high priority in my life.

2. I need to do so on my own terms. It needs to be a safe space for me, which means I’ll be “coming out” about a number of biographical details that have been weighing on me as I increasingly sanitize my posts to remove references to my life.

3. I need to do it right. Publishing every day was great, but it made it impossible for me to write the posts I am most proud of. Instead, I’ll be writing every day, and publishing when I’m sure I’ve got something good.

4. I need you to vote for me so I can win a trip to Australia!!!

Yes, this is actually what prompted all the soul-searching. You see, I am one of ten semi-finalists to win a trip to Australia, and the winner is going to be determined by an online vote. The polls are only open from Wednesday to this Sunday (11:59 CST). Four days to mobilize people on my behalf! Clearly, it was time to call on the Inter Webs for help! But I was entered under my full name, and I don’t use that here. Dilemma!

Well, dilemma resolved: My name is Laura Gauch, and I would like you to go to this site, sign up (for free! no spam!) and vote to send me to Australia.

I was going to do this anyway. I’ve been whining to Crowfoot about wanting to use my name for months. I’ve just been a lot more scared of things lately (which you will get to read all about soon) and my last name is a bit distinctive. I was nervous. I needed some outside reason to push me to follow through on my desire. And, well, here it is! I feel sleazy, but also hugely relieved. And a whole lot of other things too, which, like I said, forthcoming depress-o-thon. I just wanted the “woo Australia!” stuff to be in an upbeat post of its own.

More details of the contest:

Read the rest of this entry »


On being a woman walking at night.

April 4, 2009

I had a blissful few hours at my favourite coffeeshop/restaurant/cafe this evening. I read a really gripping book before and during my meal, then got a lot of really productive writing done afterwards, while drinking my favourite chai tea. It was a happy little bubble and a huge contrast to how I felt after I left.

The very first thing I noticed when I left the cafe was that the bars immediately next door had spilled crowds of drunken men (and women) into the street. Oops. I forgot it was midnight– it was only seven when I left my apartment! I fished my key out of my purse and put it in my pocket, and then I straightened up, looked straight ahead, put on my “I am invincible” swagger, and walked briskly in the direction of the parking lot. This involved considerable pain, as I took a bad fall earlier today, and have a sore ankle on one leg and a sore knee on the other, but I didn’t want to look vulnerable.

After I made it past the bars, I had to cross the street to get to the parking lot. The asshole who ruined my previous evening at this cafe was standing at the corner, playing his guitar angrily, immediately next to the “push to cross” button for pedestrians. I didn’t want to go near him and face his heckling, so I didn’t push the button, and just ran across when there was a suitable gap.

The parking lot was very full; I’d had to park way on the other end when I arrived. I clutched my keys in my pocket. My car key is a large-ish plastic rectangle with a metal key part that flips out like a switchblade, and this has always been a great comfort to me. I hold it like I would a knife, my finger teasing the “blade” of the key in and out and in and out, hoping that if anyone threatened me I could bluff them into thinking I really had a knife just from the metallic “swish!” noise it makes when it flips out.

Halfway through the parking lot, I reached the entrance where the cars drove in, and had to stand aside for a series of men driving in. I had to watch them to make sure they didn’t hit me, and they had to watch me for the same reason, but I studiously ignored the faces they made and the words they mouthed. I had a brief moment of terror when I thought one of them had slowed down to follow me to my car, but then he turned into another area of the lot.

The first thing I did when I got to my car was check the back seat to make sure it was empty. Then I got in and locked the door right away. Then I buckled, turned on the car, etc, and drove back to my apartment.

At my apartment, I had left my porch light on, knowing that otherwise I would be overwhelmed by the stress of convincing my finicky door lock to open for me. After about thirty seconds, my brain always starts whispering to me, “if this was a movie, you’d be dead by now.”

Inside my apartment, all my lights were on, because I left them that way on purpose. Same reason as the porch light. I take stock of the empty room, then do up two of my locks. (The third involves pushing the door out a little more to get the deadbolt to line up, and it makes the apartment very drafty, though it’s also the most solid lock so sometimes I do it up anyway.)

So now I’m back home, uneventfully. It was still, overall, a completely pleasant night out. Certainly, a pretty normal one. It’s just that when I’m making plans to go out by myself, I always have to balance the fun of whatever I’m going to do with what it’d going to be like to come home again. There are a lot of things that just aren’t worth it for me, especially if I have to walk more than a block.

I saw a man walking down the sidewalk while reading something on his phone, tonight. Not a care in the world.

I want to live in a world where I can do that, too.


Why Blog?

April 2, 2009

I’m not a very prolific writer, as you’ve been able to tell. Writing, while one of the earliest things I remember loving (apart from horses), continues to be a challenge for me. I write slowly, the words rarely flow, and I spend a good deal of time just staring at the page. Because of how it’s challenging and sometimes exhausting, I find myself often wondering why I’m blogging at all. But each time I come to this point, I end up with some faith that, in time, writing will get easier.

As well, when I’m not trying to write for a blog, I’m reading one. I read them a lot! Why do I keep reading them? Really, when I’m not working or socializing, I’m reading blogs (yes my life is exciting and full of action and adventure 😐 ). And I don’t socialize a lot, being hermit-ish from way back. So, basically, I’m saying that I find blogs and blogging to be really addictive. It’s not really that surprising that a Gemini would find blogs addictive; there is always new content and it’s always at least somewhat mentally stimulating.

But there’s more to why blogs are addictive, I think. For myself there is definitely a search for community. As I’ve spent most of my life with this nagging feeling of isolation, going to blogs written by people who see the world as I do can be a tremendous relief. I long for feminist community, preferably lesbian separatist radical feminist community! (even though I’m mostly just a part-time separatist; I want my lesbian community but I want my male best friend and his partner to live across the street so we can visit!)

Is it common, this search for community? Certainly with feminists, I think it is. How often have I read someone’s comment describing how happy they are to have found other feminists and to not feel alone, or crazy? I think this a part of how the internet can be a means of consciousness raising as well. We have these vague, feminist feelings, we seek out feminists online (or come across them by accident), and we read what everyone has to say. Sometimes we’ll disagree, and sometimes we’ll have “aha!” moments. Other times the information will just sit there, percolating in our consciousnesses until it solidifies much later into a solid understanding of feminist theory. Of course, sometimes blogging is blatantly consciousness-raising where feminists will ask what our experiences are like, or discuss their own experiences that do not seem to be widely spoken of, much like eloriane did just recently. And of course, blogging can be a means of activism, whether in challenging the sexism that we encounter daily, or in calling other feminists to write letters, or as a means of networking to gather for actual protests. As a means of reaching a great number of people, the internet is unparalleled. Should a protest go viral, literally millions of people could read about it and participate. Has that happened? Maybe somewhat? I remember during the March for Women’s Lives on Washington that a lot of people were organizing and hearing about it online.

And, finally and personally, reading and writing blogs can also be a way of ignoring my life, instead of living it. I had said earlier that I wanted to foment a rebellion, but I can’t even get my shit together to get my Master’s! At the same time, I’ve made real-life friends via blogging, and have learned an immense amount, and feel less alone. I know now that I have a tribe to which I belong. It’s just that my tribe is scattered to the winds, rather than living in the same locale. So I continue to blog and to read blogs because I know that others are out there, like I was years ago, feeling profoundly isolated in my feminism (despite the nearness of loved ones), and if we can continue to reach out we can end up coming together.


Seen

April 2, 2009

World recognizing benefit of Canada as a nice but boring nation:

Country has the soundest and safest banking system and is now being considered a model on which new financial regulations will be based.

c/o The Vancouver Sun this morning.

Heh, I love my country, yanno? (flawed thing that it is) So does Ian MacDonald, even though he calls us “boring.” But then, there is that old Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times.” Maybe boring ain’t so bad! :-p