An Irish Lesbian's thoughts and observations…

Archive for October, 2014

Halloween Memories

Happy Halloween everyone!

Honestly this is my least favourite holiday but I think that’s because it feels like a boring commercialised event that’s lost so much of it’s fun throughout the years. I might be just saying that because I’m looking at it through an adult’s eyes. One undeniable positive is the fact that it’s a day which encourages eating chocolate. Any day which promotes eating chocolate can’t be all bad, right?

When I was about 8 or maybe 9 years old I was trick or treating with a friend. We stopped at the house of a gentle old man who lived alone and when he opened the door, as tradition dictates, we shrieked a chorus of “Trick or treat” with our excitement making our voices more high pitched than intended. We held out our little treat bags expectantly but this old guy just said “Oh what charity are you collecting for?”. We looked at each other and despite her mask I could tell that my friend was just as confused as I was. We told him that we weren’t collecting for charity and that we were there because it was Halloween. He had no idea it was Halloween that day and didn’t even realise it was coming up soon. He grabbed some loose change and divided it between us. He was so apologetic too. Looking back on the whole scene both sadness and amusement can be found in it. It was actually quite pitiful that someone that had lived for so many years had gotten to the stage in his life where each day had begun blending into another. It’s an unusual memory of Halloween but it’s one that’s never left me.

Have a great Halloween everyone!! I hope you have a great time and make some wonderful memories.. 🙂

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An Awesome Piece of Advice

Today I was involved in a conversation about anger, challenging behaviour and how to deal with conflict. To be honest with you all, I am the type of person that would happily run a mile from a potential argument but I now realise that’s a habit that I must consider changing. Don’t get me wrong here: I don’t mean that I should be aggressive or irrationally challenging. That would make any situation so much worse. The advice I received today was so simple yet I never considered it before. I was told that if someone does something which upsets me I should always highlight it immediately. I shouldn’t let it slide or think that it doesn’t matter. I shouldn’t be afraid to speak up for myself or defend my feelings.

The woman who gave this advice also claimed that taking this strategy on board herself changed how she valued herself and how others treated her. We all should have a massive amount of respect for ourselves because let’s face it; respecting yourself encourages others to show you the same treatment. I’m going to try telling people that they’ve upset me before they get the opportunity to do it again. It’ll be difficult to break such a long term habit so I guess the greatest challenge will be standing up to my own ideas of what I’m worth rather than the challenge of standing up to the person before me. I think a lot of the time we do not mention the ways others hurt us because we think we don’t deserve to be treated any better than that. You never deserve to have someone intentionally or even unintentionally hurt you. Speak out. You’re worth every syllable.

Does Being Butch Decrease Employment Opportunities?

Hey all! I have been swamped with assignments hence my absence from WordPress and blog land. The downside – missing out on my virtual socialising, the plus side – an awesome qualification at the end of all this hard work.

I’m hoping that volunteer work is on the horizon for me pretty soon which prompted this thought process… does being butch actually decrease your job opportunities? Will this be a factor in a future employers decision regarding your potential employment? Or does this discrimination only exist in certain types of work? To be honest I’ve never been served in a shop by a butch woman. I actually haven’t encountered one elsewhere either for that matter but I am not sure if that means that butches aren’t being hired or if they’re just not applying for these jobs in particular. Even if they are applying for these jobs it must also be said that a lack of qualifications is a possible reason for them not achieving employment also. It could be any number of reasons really so it’s hard to blame discrimination alone.

Like I already mentioned, I am hoping to get some work experience through volunteer work which will revolve around caring for people who have intellectual disabilities. One thought which struck me recently was “Should I grow my hair? Should I make myself look less butch?”. I know, I know, you should always be true to yourself but I still found myself thinking about how my looks could potentially impact people’s impression of me. I was initially thinking that having longer hair may help my cause but then I got a haircut so I failed big time there. Then I wondered if my small chest is a factor when I’m presumed to be a guy but no way on earth would I be happy wearing something designed to emphasise what little breasts I do have. Wearing make-up just isn’t me… I’d probably end up looking like a drag queen to be honest.

In the end I thought to myself “Why can’t being butch be an asset for me instead of simply being something negative?”. After some research I found out that there is very little out there to help or educate people who have intellectual disabilities and identify as LGBT so this lead me to thinking that I could actually be able to offer some form of support for these people. Maybe sharing my experiences and knowledge could actually inspire understanding and compassion amongst those who have intellectual disabilities. It’s something that many heterosexual workers and volunteers may not feel equipped to handle so perhaps that could be where I can help?
I guess my point is that sometimes your sexuality and your style may be more of an asset than you first realise. Our world is undeniably becoming more accepting and even more fond of us rainbow folk and I’m glad I didn’t even entertain the idea of changing myself to fit in or be more accepted when this energy can be better put into helping to transform attitudes for the better. Right now I’m genuinely pretty excited about the possibility of speaking about a topic that remained taboo for such vulnerable people for so long. I’m feeling determined and ready to play an active role in my community.

I hope all of you are having a great week.
Take care of yourselves. 🙂

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