Sunday, June 24, 2018

Social Anxiety is not actually as fun as it sounds

This has nothing at all to do with being gay or coming out or my fancy rainbow hair for Pride Month.

I just want to tell you a fun little story about the social anxiety few people believe I have.

I'm in Pennsylvania for the summer and had to get a prescription refilled. Since my refill was at a pharmacy in Utah, this involved three phone calls because I didn't know the process. I hate making phone calls, but I put on my big girl pants and did it. Today I realized that the prescription I picked up a couple days ago was wrong (don't panic, anyone. It's just birth control. I'm not dying. "But why does a lesbian need birth control?" *eyeroll* BECAUSE IT DOES MORE THINGS THAN JUST PREVENT PREGNANCY! GO TAKE YOUR VIAGRA WHICH IS ACTUALLY A HEART MEDICATION AND LEAVE ME ALONE! *ahem* Because when I don't take it, I bleed all the damn time. 3+ weeks out of the month. Aren't you glad you asked?)

I was not a serious mistake, but after consulting a friend, I decided it was best to go have them fix it. To give you an idea of the lengths to which I will go to avoid confrontation/talking to strangers: if I hadn't also needed to buy tissues and batteries, and so needed to go to the store anyway, I probably would have taken the wrong pills and not worried too much about it. But, I did need tissues, so I literally put on pants this time, went to the Wal-Mart pharmacy (don't judge), and explained to the pharmacy tech what had happened. As expected, he told me that the pharmacy in Utah had sent the wrong information. He went to talk to the pharmacist. I waited and ran through all the possible ways this could go horribly wrong in my head, causing my anxiety to increase. I was about to be up to having to talk to two strangers and maybe a phone call. Best case, they said, "no worries" and handed me the correct pills. Worst case, they came back and said I had to call the pharmacy in Utah to fix it. Another phone call. More strangers.

The pharmacist was very nice to me. She said they'd need to contact the pharmacy in Utah, but they didn't open until noon PA time, so they'd give me a call when they'd sorted it out. This was a totally acceptable resolution. Everyone was nice to me and sympathetic. No one yelled or got upset. This was a perfectly normal interaction between humans and probably you're all nodding along thinking "yeah, that went as expected. Why are you telling us this?"

I'm telling you this completely boring story about a completely innocuous interaction because as I walked away from the pharmacy counter, I nearly burst into tears. That situation, which went about as well as could be expected, was so stressful for me that I wanted to cry. That I actually felt tears welling up and did an extra lap around the women's clothing to calm down before I went in search of tissues.

Here's the thing, I'm a friendly human with rainbow hair. Strangers talk to me. Sometimes little kids openly stare and I think that's adorable. I smile and am generally polite. Sometimes even funny. And if the entire conversation goes something like, "I love your hair." "Thanks!" "I'm not brave enough to do that to my hair." "You should do it! It's just hair! Go for it!" and then you go away, everything is fine and dandy. I can charm the socks off a cashier or waitstaff because those interactions are brief and have a defined end. I'm really great at those. If you stay past my 45 seconds of charming, I run out of words, become increasingly uncomfortable, and stop making eye contact. You are now completely in charge of any further conversation and my participation level decreases the longer you stay. I have used up all of my social-ness and do not know how to proceed and am now silently willing you to leave.

But! You're so well spoken! And friendly! And you're not like that around me! You love people!

Yes. These are all true things. Because, probably, you are my friend, and I don't have the same anxiety around my friends. I totally understand why no one believes that I'm an introvert. I'm loud, laugh easily, like to tease my friends, and those 45 seconds of charming are *very* convincing. (Because what if the cute waitress actually IS flirting with me? It would be rude not to flirt back, right?) But if you are one of those blessed extroverts that I so enjoy and surround myself with, and you see a stranger approach me and they stay past "I love your hair", please, please, please, for the love of all that is holy, come to my rescue. I'm about to be out of words.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Don't Tell Me My Own Story

I need to set a record straight.

Tonight I went to dinner with my aunt, who told me this story about myself:

When I came out to my parents, they shunned me and turned their backs on me, so I went to live with my grandparents (and, coincidentally, my aunt). Every Sunday my parents would come to my grandparents' house to have dinner and play cards. Every week my grandparents would regale them with stories of how funny and kind I am and how I'd made them some wonderful meal or was, in general, a wonderful person, until, after weeks, my parents realized their mistake. One week, after not having spoken to me this entire time, they came over, my mother looking very grim, and my father said to me, "we don't approve of what you're doing, but we want to be a part of your life," then, to my mom, "did I get that right?" She silently nodded.

This story never happened.

Here is what did happen:

I came out to my parents while I was in college and they were surprised and disappointed and confused and probably upset. They never turned their backs on me and they never stopped speaking to me. I had come home for some holiday? One of my brothers' mission farewell? That seems the most likely. I came out to my mom in the car on a drive somewhere because she asked me why I hadn't taken the sacrament, so I told her. ("But how do you know you like girls?" "I don't know. How do you know you like chocolate ice cream?" "Well, I've tried chocolate ice cream." "Well....")

Roughly a year later, I sat them down in the living room of their home and told them that I was engaged to be married to a girl. They were not happy about the news, but stayed remarkably calm. Later that night (or maybe the next day, but I'm pretty sure it was within hours) I was downstairs at one of their computers and my dad came down and said something to the effect of, "we don't want you to think we approve of the choice you're making, but we also want to be there for the big events in your life, so we'd like to come to the wedding." My aunt was not there. It was a private and really touching moment (if a little awkward) between me and my dad who was doing his damndest to reconcile his incredible love for me with his incredible belief in his Mormon faith. I think he did a pretty kick ass job juggling what must have been an emotional nightmare. With the exception of my youngest brother, who was in Peru on a mission, my entire family came to my destination wedding. (We got married in Vancouver, B.C. because this was before gay marriage was legal in the good ol' US of A.)

It is true that while we were engaged, my fiancé, Becca, and I lived with my grandparents and my aunt for a couple months. This was a choice Becca and I made because my parents weren't comfortable with us sharing a bed before we were married (a rule that also applied to my three straight brothers) and we had already been living together for nearly two years and weren't willing to stop sharing a bed. We were never, that I recall, given any grief about our choice by my parents. We were respectful of the rules of their house. Once we were married, we stayed with them many times and they never batted an eye at us sharing a bed.

In my aunt's story, my grandparents were heroes because instead of shaming my parents into speaking to me again, they just carefully and consistently reminded them what a wonderful person I am until they realized what they were missing out on. In reality, my grandparents are heroes because they raised a son that loves his children fiercely and would never turn his back on them, and who married a woman who is every bit as loving and compassionate as he is. Even when faced with what to them must have felt like not only a deep disappointment, but also a failure of their faith, they were gracious, kind, loving, and made a conscious effort to welcome my wife into our family. She and I were lucky. No one in her family was able to come to the wedding, but they also welcomed me into their clan with open arms. The world is shifting, but we still live in a time where not all coming out stories have such a happy ending.

But my story is a happy one. No one gets to change that. No one.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Dating Fiascos - The Hairdresser

When last we saw our heroine, she had just moved to Los Angeles, had recently had her heart used as the Official Soccer Ball for the World Cup, and was in desperate need of a haircut.

On a friend’s recommendation, I made an appointment with The Hairdresser.

You guys. This girl. This. Girl. The Hairdresser was unlike any person I'd ever met. Gorgeous. No. Not gorgeous. Mind blowingly beautiful. On a scale of 1-10, she was an easy 11. Los Angeles is full to bursting with attractive people and this girl put them to shame. To shame, I say! And then she spoke! Her voice had this husky, sexy quality that got ALL of my attention, and on top of it she was charming and intelligent and...flirting with me?

Probably not. The truth of the matter is, I often misconstrue friendliness as flirtation. It gets me in extra trouble in customer service situations. I.e., every cute waitress isn't flirting with me, they're just being friendly so I'll leave a bigger tip. (It works.)

But I was lonely and here was this BEAUTIFUL woman (have I mentioned that she was beautiful?) being kind to me and, ya know, touching my hair and stuff, because hairdresser, and I turned into a puddle. I probably didn't say six words the entire time I was there, despite desperately trying to appear witty and charming and worth flirting with.

I went home and could not stop thinking about her. So, four hours of building up my courage and asking friends for advice and ego bolstering later, I sent her an absolutely dorky text that said something like “now that you've made it so I can see out of both eyes, would you like to go to a movie with me?”

Listen, don't judge. I had *literally* never asked anyone out before. Like I said before, I didn't really date, I just sort of started making out with friends. Anyway, she laughed and said that she didn't like movies. I was in the process of dusting off my ego when she sent a follow up text offering drinks as an alternative activity. I think I may have screamed. I'm certain I accepted, because the next thing I knew I was sitting next to this insanely beautiful woman at a bar in WeHo splitting french fries and gulping down vodka cranberries as quickly as my nerves would allow.

Here's where things get a little tricky. She texted me a few hours before we were supposed to meet up to let me know that she had a girlfriend. Fine, I lied, I was still looking for friends in the city, so I'd still like to hang out. Over the course of the evening she told me about her girlfriend (much older, very wealthy, not very nice) and I told her about the way my heart had recently been smashed into tiny pieces (and confessed that I was still in love with the person who'd done it). We laughed. We talked. We got a little tipsy. I let the vodka ask her if I could kiss her. She leaned in...

You guys. This kiss. This. Kiss. You know how sometimes first kisses can be awkward things made of too much anticipation with sprinkles of self-doubt? Not so with this kiss. There's really no way to describe how amazing this kiss was (which isn't going to stop me from trying). It is now the kiss to which all other kisses are compared in my world. "Oh, she's a good kisser. I mean, not as good as The Hairdresser, but right up there!"

Sparkly Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitten is *almost* as magical as first kiss with The Hairdresser. Almost.
By the time I climbed in the back of the Uber to take me home, I was basically floating. Mr Uber Driver even commented on my stupid grin and asked if I'd had a good night. You will never understand how good, Mr Uber Driver.

(Prepare yourself. This is the part where I blow it.)

Time passed. We hung out a few times, but she had a girlfriend, so nothing happened. She took me to my first professional hockey game. I helped her out when her car broke down. I went on tour. Her crazy roommate moved out. She broke up with her girlfriend. I came back from tour. We went on a date that should have ended in more of that magical kissing followed by other magical things, but instead ended like this (you've prepared yourself, right?):

We went to dinner. It was pretty tasty. We chatted and got caught up - mostly about how her now ex-girlfriend was trying to buy her back (yes, you read that right), and how tired she was and how early she had to be at work the next day. I interpreted this repeated information as an indication that there would be no magical things after dinner and was quite content to enjoy her company. After dinner we went back to her apartment. She was excited to show me the new furniture she had bought after the crazy roommate moved out. So I'm trying to be appropriately impressed with couches and giant mirrors (not that they weren't impressive. I'm notoriously bad at gushing. Please don't invite me to look at your newborn baby. It's wrinkly and smushed and will be much cuter in a couple of months and the nicest thing I'm going to manage is "oh, she's so tiny!" And that's not much of a gush, but I digress...), and she starts lighting candles (scented candles, mind. Not like long taper "mood lighting" candles, but candles, none the less.) and pours us each a glass of wine. Then she sits on the far end of the couch from me. Now, if I'd been a very clever girl, I'd have sat in the middle of the couch to begin with, but I'm not a very clever girl. Instead, I'm the girl that takes it for granted that when you have company over, you offer them a glass of wine. I am also the girl that accepts without question the explanation that she really likes smelly candles and is excited to have company over and therefore an excuse to light them. I am the girl that completely misses that she's lighting candles, and giving you wine, you dumbass!

We sit on opposite ends of the couch and drink our wine and then...nothing happens. I make no move. She makes no move. No moves are made. She mentions again being tired and working early. I accept this as my cue to politely excuse myself. I take our wine glasses to the kitchen and put on my shoes. She looks at me very strangely, kisses me goodnight, looks at me strangely again, and I leave. There is no floating in this Uber ride. Just me replaying the evening and kicking myself.

Because sometimes I'm a dumbass.

On the other hand, she is still my hairdresser. I'm gonna see her next week, in fact. So, maybe this is a To Be Continued?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Dating Fiascos - An Introduction

Oh, hey there! I had an idea. It’s probably a terrible idea. In fact, I should probably consider the fact that when I went home to act upon this idea, the internet was down, a sign from the universe that this is, in fact, a truly horribly terrible idea. But instead, I’m going to run with “what the hell” and go ahead and turn this terrible idea into a frighteningly terrible reality. We are rapidly approaching Halloween, after all…

You see, I’m dating. Which, if I’m perfectly honest, is a thing I have actually never done before. I didn't so much date girls as much as I sort of…well…hunted them? Casually stalked my prey until one day we were living together and then it was all sort of “so…I guess you’re my girlfriend?”

Here is the terrible idea: since this blog could use some dusting off, and considering it never really solidly found its identity, why not use it to document my dating adventures?! You do want to know precisely how lesbians go about dating, right? I KNEW IT!

There are some new rules. Since these girls are (mostly) innocent, I’m not going to use their real names. So far, this is going to work out delightfully well, as most of them have some form of identifying nickname in my world anyway. Cute Girl, The Nerd, Baltimore, Double Ex, Ohio, The Hairdresser. See? 

Aside from the millions of things that can go wrong when you start talking about actual people in painfully honest ways. Like, do I have to consider that there’s a possibility one (or several) of them will someday read this? I probably should. I don’t wish to be unkind or unfair, but come on! Some of this stuff makes for some humorous stories! Stories that are practically begging to be told! Or maybe that’s my ego talking, but as I said, “what the hell?” So, we’ll make a rule: if you know the person the story is about, please don’t use their name in any comments. Especially their full name. If the story is about you, then you likely have my number. Feel free to berate me over text, or, hell, even in the comments. I probably deserve it. And, hi! It’s nice to talk to you again!

Now that we’ve gone over the rule, the question becomes where to start. How about at the beginning?

By now we know I’m divorced. We should also note that the girl I dated for the two years after my divorce broke my damn heart. That’s a story for another day. What happened next was this:

I asked out my hairdresser.

Stay tuned...

Friday, November 1, 2013

A New Point of View

First, let me state the obvious:

Sometimes things happen to you that change your perspective on other things. For example, when you're acting in a play, you have a different concept of the tech process than when you're designing a play. (Ok, that was a pretty narrow metaphor. Sue me.)

In July 2012, Becca and I parted ways (not as cordially as one could have hoped) and since then, I find my perspective on things has changed. Shortly after we got married, I legally changed my name to take her last name. Since we split up, I've gone back to using "Wecker", but, technically, "Fischer" is still my legal last name. This makes things like getting a job somewhat complicated. Then remember that I'm working primarily as a freelance sound designer, so, on average, I pick up between two and three jobs a month and you see how this can be excessively complicated.

So, lately, I've been thinking about how to simplify this aspect of my life. The most straightforward option would seem to be to get an actual divorce. Straightforward, maybe, but also a complicated process. Complicated because we were married in Canada. Complicated because in the entire life of our marriage, we only lived briefly in a state that recognized our marriage. Complicated because the federal government is wishy-washy at best and a cluster-fuck at worst. Complicated because laws are often unnecessarily complicated.

The second, and potentially simpler, option would be to get a legal name change. This doesn't clear up all the confusion, but it probably takes care of enough of it to get by until such time as she or I start thinking about getting married again. (A situation that I have firmly sworn off, for now.) I haven't researched the intricacies of this process in the great state of Illinois (where I currently reside), but in Utah, you had to have been living in the state for at least a year before you could apply for a legal name change. I've only been in Chicago since August, and can only prove my residency since September. If that same one year rule is true here, then I have several months to go before I can even begin the process.

And then there's the waiting and hoop jumping and headache that begins after you have the official legal paperwork indicating that your old name is your new name again. My passport expired. It was the only thing I didn't update when I changed my name the last time. I can't renew it until this gets sorted out because I sure don't want to renew it to Fischer and then have to turn around and change it to Wecker (expensive! Unnecessarily complicated!) I'll have to get a new driver license and social security card. I'll have to contact every financial institution I've ever interacted with and update their information. Jobs. Subscriptions. All the things. Ugh.

But...perspective! The Illinois congress is seriously talking about legalizing gay marriage in the state. How awesome is that? That's awesome. As it turns out, I'm very pro gay marriage. But, where two years ago the thought of a state legalizing gay marriage just made me feel all warm and squishy for days, now my first thought is, "I wonder if that will make it easier to get a divorce."

Maybe not the response I was expecting, but there it is...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Today Minnesota became the 12th state of the 50 United States of America to "legalize gay" (as the t-shirts so eloquently put it.)

That's really cool. And that gets us to nearly a 1/4 of the states in the country. That's huge.

Things are happening. I can't wait to see what the Supreme Court does with DOMA. I hope that is a really cool day too.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sticking My Nose In

I'm probably about to upset a lot of my friends and family, and while I accept that as a potential side-effect of this post, it is by no means the intention of it.

Last week was really awesome in my little world. Starting about Tuesday, every time I glanced at Facebook I was overwhelmed by the waves of support and love coming from my peeps because my entire newsfeed looked like this:

Every little red equal sign (or variation thereof) just made me grin from ear to ear. I was impressed not only with the willingness of my (particularly straight, particularly Mormon) friends to publicly stand up with me and so many others to show support for marriage equality, but also the amazing creativity and humor and love that was flowing freely through the interwebs.

Love. It's a thing. And kind of an important one, if you ask me.

Before I get to my point, let me state a few things for the record: First, I haven't considered myself "Mormon" for years. I stopped attending church nearly a decade ago and it's been at least that long since I've watched or listened to or paid even a smidgen of attention to a General Conference address. I was annoyed that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints put so much of their time and resources and funding into the Prop 8 battle that happened in California a few years ago, but it wasn't *my* tithing money, so I mostly kept my mouth shut. Usually when I hear about LDS Church leaders encouraging members to "love the sinner, not the sin" or skirting the "gay" issue by suggesting that same sex attraction is not a sin but acting on it is, I roll my eyes and go on my merry way. Not my church. Not my problem.

I grew up in Utah. I was raised LDS. Many of my friends and family are Mormon. Yesterday, when it was announced that a Mormon temple will be opened in Cedar City, UT, as far as my Facebook newsfeed was concerned, it was bigger than Grumpy Cat and George Takei combined. ("Did you hear Halle Berry's pregnant?" "Halle who? Who cares? They're opening a TEMPLE IN CEDAR CITY!!" "Hasn't there been a temple in St. George for years?" "Well, yeah, but that's, like, 45 whole minutes away...") Which is to say, whether I'm paying direct attention or not, I hear about stuff that happens during General Conference. (My mom texted me to tell me about the Cedar City temple. It made me giggle. She very rarely texts and when she does, the messages are often monosyllabic. I therefore surmised it was a big deal to her and appreciated her thoughtfulness in keeping me in the loop.)

So, today, between clever memes and witty observations and the occasional "things I'm doing today" post, I came across this article in the Salt Lake Tribune:
Just because the nation may change its laws to "tolerate legalized acts of immorality" does not make those acts any less spiritually damaging, senior apostle Boyd K. Packer said Saturday morning at the LDS Church’s 183rd Annual General Conference.
"The permissiveness afforded by the weakening of the laws of the land to tolerate legalized acts of immorality," Packer said, "does not reduce the serious spiritual consequences that result from the violation of God’s law of chastity." 
"Tolerance is a virtue, but, like all virtues, when exaggerated it transforms itself into a vice," said the 88-year-old Packer, speaking from his chair rather than from the pulpit. "We need to be careful of the ‘tolerance trap’ so that we are not swallowed up in it."

The article is careful to note that he did not directly mention gay marriage or homosexuality. Because, you know, after Wednesday and Thursday of this week, no one is going to have any idea what he meant by "weakening of the laws of the land".

But the part that really stood out in my mind was the notion that tolerance can ever possibly be a vice. I'm not going to get all tied up in why "tolerance" isn't all that great anyway...

(but here's a video of someone explaining it pretty well)

...but rather I want to chat for a minute about how a man who many of my loved ones believe to be an apostle and mouthpiece of God can stand up in front of a group of Christians and say (essentially), "Love thy neighbor, but make sure you're not loving them too much."


I must have missed the part in the scriptures (and I'm going to go ahead and include the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price when I say "scriptures") where it says, "love everyone, but not too much. Because, as you know, too much virtue can be a vice."

First, tolerance isn't all that much of a virtue to begin with (see video above), but it's something. It's maybe enough to get you to not punch someone who doesn't share your belief system. But to insinuate that it could potentially be a trap? What happened to "love thy neighbor as thyself"? Isn't the parable about the Good Samaritan about a bunch of people who were "tolerant" and one guy who probably would have changed his profile picture last week? (And I don't know about you, but I was taught that we should emulate the Samaritan.)

President Packer, growing up, I remember enjoying your talks. Overall, I liked this one too. Your poem was cute. I liked the way you tied in the story about the snakes and the finches and related it to the necessity of a strong family as the best way to protect children. It distresses me that you would rather some family units were not afforded the same governmental protections that your own family has enjoyed for decades because the composition of that family doesn't jive with your narrow definition of "family". And, quite honestly, I think the suggestion that one can be "too tolerant" to the point where tolerance is a "trap" is deplorable.

I rather prefer to live in my little world of love, hoping that someday tolerance will bubble over into outright acceptance. That someday, the laws of the land will encourage families of every flavor without infringing on the rights of any person to make fun of marriages like those of Brittany Spears and Kim Kardashian. That down the road, when I have a family of my own, my kids won't be pitied because they don't have a traditional "dad" around to teach them things like how to throw a ball or put the toilet seat down, but rather envied because their moms love them to pieces and taught them how to throw a ball anyway.