Wednesday, May 23, 2018

What It's Like to be Queer

Pride Week is coming up in my city, and as an early event, last week my medical school hosted a group of transgender individuals talking about their experiences and answering questions.  Although it was a Friday afternoon and I was tired from being on call, I made an effort to attend, partly because I was interested in the session, and partly because as a queer person I feel a sense of responsibility to show up to all LGBTQ* events.  The session was hosted in the same room as my first-year medical school class, and as I pulled open the familiar door, I felt something completely unexpected.


Now, before I continue, I want to give some back story.  I came out as a lesbian when I was 16, and as bisexual less than a year later, so I have been out to the people closest to me for decades.  I brought my same-sex partner to a work dinner over four years ago, and I have been answering people's awkward questions about swingers resorts and polyamory at work ever since.  But when I was in medical school, having just returned to my home city after seven years away, none of my classmates knew.  Because I was still dating men at the time, everyone operated on the assumption that I was straight, and I did nothing to challenge them.

So my first thought, walking into my old classroom, was a reflexive "I hope no one sees me here and figures out that I'm queer."  Which...hello.  A little late now.  I work at a small university, and pretty much everyone who knows me also knows that I'm queer.

But there it was, nonetheless.  An almost instinctive desire to hide.  To pretend to be just like everyone else.

And it came up again last night.  The new girl and I went to a theatre show together, which was hosted by the company with which I volunteer, and my first thought was that I needed to hide the relationship from my fellow volunteers.

My fellow volunteers in a left-wing theatre company.  

There aren't a lot of spaces in this world that are more queer-positive than a theatre show, and yet that automatic response was still there.  Even though I live in a country where same-sex marriage has been legal for 13 years and where the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects LGBTQ* individuals, I still feel anxious about being out everywhere I go.

If my patient finds out that I'm queer, will they want a different doctor?
If my doctor finds out that I'm queer, will she want a different patient?
Can I hold my partner's hand in this alleyway at night?  In the elevator of my apartment building?  In the grocery store?

I am so lucky and grateful to live in a time and place where my rights as a queer woman are protected.

And yet.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Anticipatory Grief

Years ago, a friend of mine who was eight months pregnant commented that she hadn't set up her nursery yet, as she knew that it would upset her if she were so unlucky as to have a late complication and lose her baby.  Another friend, who was already a mother, gave her a piece of advice that has stuck with me to this day:

"If you lose your baby, you're going to be devastated whether you've set up the nursery or not.  All that you're accomplishing by trying to protect yourself from grief is preventing yourself from feeling joy right now."

I have been thinking about this a lot over the past ten days.  Ten days ago I met "the new girl", and in addition to blogging about her here, I've also been tweeting about her incessantly.  About how much we have in common.  About how easy it is to talk to her.  About how I kind of wanted to marry her after she told me that she has a plan to retire at 55.

I recognize that this is ridiculous.  We have known each other for only 10 days, and while there are many things that work, 10 days is way too soon to be making any sort of decisions about anything.  It is not impossible to think that we could end up in a wonderful forty-year-long relationship, but we could also be sick of each other by the end of the month.  We just don't know.

And honestly, I'm scared.  I'm scared that I am going to fuck something up, or she is going to fuck something up, or that things are just not going to align in the right way, and this lovely feeling I'm feeling is going to end.  So part of me thinks that I should stop tweeting and daydreaming and feeling all of the happy feels.

But then I remember the advice.  And I just go with it.

Thursday, May 17, 2018


Hey wow...yes...I have a blog.

It turns out that when you take three weeks off of work, no matter how good a job you do of getting caught up before you leave, there will be a shit tonne* of work waiting for you on your return.  And if you're sick for three weeks before you leave and therefore don't get done everything you want?

You're doomed.

It has taken me a solid three weeks of hard work to get almost fully caught up, and I am now on call for two weeks, so I am falling further behind every day.  So there (obviously) hasn't been a lot of blogging happening.

But there has been some dating.  (Also a reason for the not blogging.)

Dating is one of my least favourite activities in the world.  I have a few hangups about my appearance (thanks bad genetics and critical mother!), so putting photos out there for people to judge me by is not fun.  (I'm sure I'm the only person who feels this way.)  I also really don't like to meet new people.  I do like when new people become old friends, but I do not like the anxiety of meeting someone new or the tedium of making small talk with someone I don't like.

So yeah.  Introverts.  Don't like dating.  Who knew?

But then I met someone.  Maybe not SOMEONE, someone.  But someone interesting.  Someone whom I have actually been seeing around my city for years, because my city is small and we both love the theatre.  Someone who likes 90% of the same things as me.  Someone whom I have now spent over 8 hours with and had virtually no moments of awkward silence with. 


And it has been pretty wonderful, in a lot of ways.  Except for my anxious brain.  My anxious brain does not like to just relax and let things happen.  It wants answers to everything.  Now. 

Are we compatible enough?  Will my mother like her**?  Will I break her heart?  Will she break mine?  Will I stay with her too long and regret time lost, like I always do? 

It is, frankly, ridiculous.  I haven't known her long enough to be wondering any of these things.  All of these questions, and the many others that distract me constantly, can be answered with time.  There is no rush.

I can just date.

So I am trying to go against my nature and do just that.  Trying to slow down and let things unfold how they will. 

We shall see.

*The metric equivalent of a shit ton.

**Probably not.  But that's just my mother.