New Words For Old Ones

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This weekend was a big deal. There are several things that happened – for example, I took a two-day filmmaking workshop that I’ll be talking about in greater detail here soon – but there was one thing that was the most important, and will (hell, it already has) change the course of my life.

In case you missed it, on Friday I posted an essay at The Mary Sue called “Why Sense8‘s Nomi and Amanita Are Everything (to Me),” wherein I reveal something pretty important:

My partner of two and a half years, about whom I’ve written here at the blog before, is a trans woman! :)

You can read a lot about it over at the piece. I’m talking about it here again, because I realized that, since I do write about my personal life here, as well as my professional, that the way that I write about my love life has to change. After all, my love’s name and pronouns have changed. She is a she. As for her name – I don’t really share that in my public writing, because privacy, etc (though if we both end up SUPER-SUCCESSFUL AND FAMOUS in our respective careers, I guess names will come up soon enough!). Usually, if I’m referring to friends, I only use first names (unless they have a public life online as well), and they don’t seem to mind, but I’ve never used my partner’s name. As of right now, she doesn’t put herself out there in that way, and I don’t need to do it for her. Still, she does understand that I write about pretty much everything, and nothing is written in public about her of which she doesn’t approve.

Which is why it’s taken me this long for me to talk about dating a trans woman on my blog. I was respecting her boundaries and her ability to come out in her own time, and on Friday – which was the beginning of Trans Pride here in L.A. – she decided to do just that! :) I was so proud of her, and she’s already gotten so much support from our loved ones! Our close family and friends have known about her being trans since the end of last year, but it feels really amazing for her to be out now to the world. It changes everything in the best way in that, no matter what potential bullshit she might have to deal with in the future (and there may be a lot f bullshit), neither one of us has to be quite so careful what we say anymore.

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If you know me at all, you know it’s extremely difficult for me to keep my mouth shut! :) Hiding feelings and experiences is not something I do well, nor is it something I want to do well. I firmly believe that feelings and experiences are meant to be shared, and that too many problems arise when too many of us aren’t open about what’s going on with us. That’s what leads to feelings of inadequacy and being alone and a weirdo – when we all toil away in our own corners of the world thinking that no one else could possibly “have it as bad,” or “think these thoughts,” or “be like this.” It causes us to turn our anger and insecurity and fear inward, and that’s the worst thing to do. That’s no way to live!

Anyway, I’m getting off track. The point is – she’s out, and I’m thrilled she’s out. As I continue with this blog, and my writing, I realized that the way I wrote about my life had to change. For a long while, when I wrote about my love online, I called her “The Boy.” First, because it was before I knew she was trans. Second, because even after I knew, she wasn’t ready for the world to know. But using that phrase became increasingly difficult the further along she was in her transition. Not only did “The Boy” hurt her, but it also hurt me to use. I hated having to refer to her that way, because I knew it wasn’t true. So, I gradually started trying to not use pronouns at all. I started using phrases like “my partner,” or My Boo, leaving the gender pronouns out entirely.

But hereafter, she will be known as The GF. :) I’ve changed my old “The Boy” tag to reflect this and everything. I was thinking about sticking with My Boo, but being that her coming out is such a huge deal, it seems only fitting that I acknowledge her femininity in my nickname for her – even as I keep it short by using initials, because space.

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So, The GF and I went to Trans Pride this weekend at the L.A. LGBT Center, and it was pretty rad. Amazon’s Transparent was the sponsor, and it was so funny – pretty much everyone there and their mom was in some way related to the show. :) Either they’d been an extra, or an actor in it, or something. Even The GF had worked on a project associated with Transparent! I felt like the only person there who simply watches the show! Anyway, I got there in the evening, but she’d been there all day watching all sorts of entertainment, meeting up with friends, grabbing food, and just enjoying the simple pleasure of being around people like her for once.

When I got there, it was just in time for the Awards Ceremony, and the VarieTy Show, both of which were really moving. The Awards Ceremony acknowledged two long-standing employees of The Center – one cis, one trans, one still alive, one who’d passed away – who’d gone above and beyond for the trans community. After that, the VarieTy Show, where trans singers, dancers, stand-up comics and other performers took to the stage and blew the roof off the place. My favorites? Alexandra Billings (yes, from Transparent!), who did a heartbreaking cover of Radiohead’s “Creep;” D’Lo (was in the project The GF worked on associated with Transparent), an actor who brings theater versions of his family on stage in a hilarious and heartwarming fashion; Ian Harvie (also from Transparent!) a HILARIOUS stand-up comic; and Our Lady J, a fierce musician with mean piano skills. The evening closed with a surprise special guest, Jenifer Lewis (you might know her from Black-ish or as Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray on Broadway, among a million other things). I had no idea that she worked so hard for the LGBT community, and that she was a part of early AIDS activism back in the day. Anyway, she brought the house down with Hairspray‘s “I Know Where I’ve Been,” which resonated with the LGBT crowd, and also because she sang it in honor of the victims of the church shooting in Charleston.

There was more of a party atmosphere later on at the Trans Pride after-party at Arena, a Hollywood night club. We went there for drinks, and to watch our friend HP Loveshaft/Lady Anastasia host her Pangaea Drag King Show. But after the show, the music came on…and was WAY too loud. I had Day 2 of my film workshop the next morning – and The GF and I are pretty much old people – so we didn’t stay long after our friend’s show.

Yes, there were some somber moments, but what I felt more than anything else that night was the high everyone was riding at a time when Laverne Cox is on TV, there’s an entire show centered around a trans woman on Amazon Prime, and one of the Kardashian-Jenners is a trans woman. The theme of the evening was “Our Time Has Come.” It certainly has.

And I’m so glad I get to follow The GF on this journey, wherever it takes us. :)

What Not To Say To A Fat Friend

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I know, I know. Where’ve I been? Working (The Mary Sue keeps me too busy to blog during most of the day), Incredible Girl-ing, applying for this year’s writing fellowships with Adam (and revising the scripts needed to do so), and for the past week, I’ve been trying to pay closer attention to my health by participating in the Fit Girls’ Guide 28-Day Jumpstart Challenge, a program I heard about through a friend that’s designed to get you eating cleaner by cooking healthier food, and doing regular exercise. The battle for health and fitness has always been a difficult one for me, but here I am, trying again, because I know how important it is not only for my health, but in order for me to live the kind of life I want to live. Also, I need an excuse to try and cook more, because I’ve always wanted to, but I’ve also always been lazy. :)

My schedule during Week One last week was uncharacteristically busy, which meant that I was waking up, working, and had some sort of meeting or obligation in the evening that I’d come home late from and have to get to bed right after – meaning that I had no time to make any of Nerdstrong‘s classes, or do the prescribed FitGirls 30-minute workout on every day save one. Still, my food game was pretty much on point, and even though I ate things that weren’t on program, because I was eating out at these meetings/obligations, I made healthier choices for the most part, and I was proud of myself. The Jumpstart is a group challenge, meaning that you’re part of a community sharing with and encouraging each other on Instagram. You’re supposed to take pictures every day – of your meals, of your workouts, etc – to hold yourself accountable and to allow from encouragement from the group, and because I’m me and like to share, I also shared the photos and progress on my Facebook and Twitter in addition to Instagram, because why not?

Well, here’s why not.

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Me after my one and only workout last week. SWEAT!

Not a week into the program, I had a couple of well-meaning friends, acquaintances, and family members commenting on how I could improve. They were supportive of my efforts and want to see me achieve my goals, of that there’s no question…but not a week in, and people were already giving me suggestions as to how I could be doing things “better.” And as we live in a society that encourages people to constantly be dieting, everyone has their own “thing that works,” their own tips and tricks that they swear by. Never mind that everyone is different and has different metabolisms, body types, personalities, schedules, issues with food, etc. So many people felt comfortable giving their two cents in an attempt to “help.” The thing is: I never asked. It’d be one thing if I were crowdsourcing weight loss advice online, or if I’d gone to any of these people directly and said “Hey, I see you’ve done something that really works for you, can you tell me about it?” But here I was – already doing a thing – and even that wasn’t enough to deflect commentary on what I “should” be doing, or “could be doing better.” This has happened before, during other attempts of mine to get healthier, but it wasn’t until now that I really noticed how negatively it affected me.

After a couple of those moments of unsolicited advice, I started to feel down and say “Fuck it” in my head. I decided to stop sharing my progress on Facebook and Twitter (limiting it to Instagram), and over the weekend, while I didn’t overeat, I also wasn’t particularly concerned about what my meals looked like or how “clean” they were.

Could I just ignore people’s unsolicited advice? Sure, I guess. But here’s what people really need to understand about people dealing with being overweight. As I’ve written about before, people are overweight for any number of reasons. Sometimes it’s genetic. Sometimes, it’s just sheer lack of mindfulness coupled with our society’s tendency to deliver us food fast, and with the most amount of calories for the least amount of money. And sometimes, people overeat because they have an eating disorder.

As I’ve written about before, compulsive overeating, or binge eating, is a disorder the same way that anorexia or bulimia are.  And so it’s not just a matter of “eat less, exercise more.” There’s other stuff going on, and one’s relationship with food is very different than it is for those who don’t deal with that. Yet, just as well-meaning people make the mistake of telling someone with anorexia to “just eat something,” while ignoring the myriad psychological things that are going on, people feel free to tell people who binge eat either what to eat, or when to eat, or when not to eat, without taking into account that individual person’s needs, wants, or issues.

For me, binge eating has a lot to do with control. I’ve noticed that the times in my life where I’ve eaten the most are the times when I feel like my life is the most out of whack, and food is one of the few things I have any power over. So, whenever anyone tells me what I should eat or not eat (and I didn’t ask them, and they’re not a medical professional), my reflex response is to eat whatever I damn well please. My response in these instances has gotten better. I don’t sneak food the way I used to, and when I eat “whatever I damn well please,” I’m better equipped to stop mid-stream or to make choices that are only partially unhealthy (ordering fried food at a diner) and not completely unhealthy (going to 7-11 and buying a pint of ice cream, cookies, and a package of cupcakes to eat on the walk home).  Still, the impulse is there. I don’t know that it’ll ever not be there. All I can do is figure out how best to handle those moments when they crop up.

However, there’s something all of you can do. If you really want to support someone who’s trying to get healthier with regard to food – KEEP YOUR SUGGESTIONS AND OPINIONS TO YOURSELF UNTIL YOU’RE ASKED. By all means, cheer people on – I have amazing friends and family who are constantly rooting for me, and even the folks who’ve given me the unsolicited advice have cheered me on, and I’m so grateful for that. A kind word goes a long way, and the phrase “you can do it!” never gets old. But keep your suggestions on how they can improve, or what they should or shouldn’t be eating to yourself unless you’re asked for your opinion. You’re not a doctor. I don’t care how many diets you’ve been on, or how much weight you’ve lost, or how much research you’ve done on the internet. All that shows anyone is what worked for you. Everyone is different physically, and everyone’s specific food issues are different.

Me? I can overeat ANYTHING. If all I have is salad stuff in the house, I’ve been capable of making 3-4 salads in a row, piled with ingredients and dressing. I’ve been able to have several bananas in a row. I can pound back yogurt like it’s nobody’s business. So, what I’m trying to work on is repairing my relationship with food – all food. Which means that it’s unhealthy for me to categorize foods into “good foods” and “bad foods,” because anything can be a bad food for me. So while yes, I’m trying to get into the habit of cooking healthier food, it’s not so much about eating “good foods” so much as it’s about rewiring my brain to recognize that I have even more food options than I’ve ever given myself, and that I should explore them. It’s not about a deprivation mentality, it’s about having all the options in the world and then choosing what makes your body feel better. And yes, my body feels better when it has more nutrition and less ice cream. But that doesn’t mean that ice cream is completely off the table. It just means that ice cream can’t be THE SOLE REASON I LIVE AND BREATHE. (BTW – I haven’t had ice cream in a good long while) It’s less about telling myself what I “can’t have” and more about just being more mindful of what I eat, and making every choice a purposeful one. Am I actually hungry right now? What will actually satisfy me as opposed to just being a temporary food Band-Aid. And also, it’s OK to like food. Food isn’t “just fuel.” It’s not. It has cultural significance, it’s comforting, it’s a part of all of our celebrations and observances, and that’s okay. The thing is, there are people who can have it be that, and are capable of stopping eating when they’re full, or who don’t constantly think about the next time they’re going to get to eat, or who don’t feel the need to secretly stuff themselves with baked goods when no one is watching. And there are people who do exactly those things.

I’m one of them. Or rather, I used to do those things, and I now do them less and less as I find different ways to cope with things and actively pursue things that make me happier than any food ever could. And I’m not trying to blame the people who give unsolicited advice. After all, I had these problems long before you told me I should lay off carbs, or how many fruits I should eat. All I’m asking is that you understand that I’m simply working on trying to have a normal relationship with food. With all food. I’m trying to eat in a balanced way as a habit, and I’m taking steps to learn what balanced means. I ask you to understand that your well-meaning advice could be the very thing that triggers another binge for me. And I ask you to understand and trust that if I need help, I will ask for it, difficult though that is.

And, I wanna thank all my wonderful friends and family for all their support! I want you to know that even if you’re one of the people I’m talking about, I know you have my best interests at heart, and I’m so grateful that you care! :) And to those of you who’ve been non-stop fonts of encouragement, THANK YOU, TOO! Knowing that I have people in my life who love and care for me is actually one of the things I focus on to remind me that I don’t need to eat to feel full. :)

 

 

Incredible Girl and Supergirl Radio Events This Weekend! (Also, Sorry I’ve Been MIA)

Cupcake Dominatrix character poster - featuring me!

Cupcake Dominatrix character poster – featuring me!

Hey there, everyone! I’m sorry that I’ve not been blogging much lately! Between The Mary Sue and getting scripts ready for writing fellowships with Adam this year, I’ve been crazed. But I wanted to pop in to tell you about two events going on this weekend that you may be interested in if you’re down with the projects I’m working on!

So, what’s the deal with the poster of me bound? :) This is one of the first poster images from Incredible Girl, the digital series I’ve written and am currently co-producing and fundraising for. In an effort to build our base and support, we’re going out into the BDSM community – which features prominently in the series – to raise awareness and make friends! So this weekend, from TONIGHT through Sunday, May 17th, we’ll be appearing at L.A’s DomCon – the world’s premiere professional and lifestyle domination convention!

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Our main Incredible Girl character poster featuring my partner-in-crime, Celia Aurora de Blas, as the titular Incredible Girl!

We’ll not only have a table in the vendor’s hall (complete with a spanking booth and giveaways Fri, Sat, and Sun!) all weekend, but we’ll be hosting the Opening Ceremonies in character as IG and Cupcake, screening our teaser footage, and appearing at Friday night’s Play Party AND Saturday night’s Fetish Ball! So if you want to pop by, indulge your curiosity, support our show, and see me in a cute new corset I just bought, come check it out!

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Whether learning more about BDSM is your thing or not, I’m sure there’s something all of us can agree on. Fuck cancer, am I right? As you may know, Supergirl Radio – the Supergirl fan podcast I host with the lovely Rebecca Johnson – is part of a family of podcasts called DCTV Podcasts, which includes Quiver: The Green Arrow Podcast, Legends of Gotham, and The Flash Podcast (as well as the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow Podcast!). We’re all teaming up for a massive super-powered marathon this weekend to raise money in support of the Winship Cancer Institute, to which we all have a very personal connection through my co-host, Rebecca. Check out the details about the fundraiser/marathon and find out how you can donate HERE. Our goal was a paltry $500, which we’ve already raised thanks to our generous listeners. But we’d love to raise as much as possible, so give the marathon a listen and donate what you can! Sadly, I won’t be able to participate, because I’ll be at DomCon, but one of Supergirl Radio’s fabulous regular guests, Michael Bailey, will be joining Rebecca to talk about Supergirl in the DC Animated Universe! It’s sure to be a great time!

Thanks so much for your continued support of my work and my various projects. I promise, I’ll be getting back on the blogging train soon. In the meantime, enjoy those fun photos up top! ;)

 

 

Deaths, Resurrections, Births, and Gratitude

Venice, Italy 1986 - Mom and Me

Mom and Me in Venice – 1986

 

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, as I’ve been busy figuring out what my life/schedule looks like around the new Mary Sue gig. That’s been going well, and I’ve finally figured out what my actual days can look like. However, there’s been a lot of travelling, too. Went to Emerald City Comic Con  to do an Incredible Girl panel with Aurora, Lady Anastasia of Pangaea fame, and Cunning Minx – it went really well. And I’m writing this post from the MD/VA area where I’m with My Boo visiting Boo’s family for Passover. It’s been a really nice trip.

But the reason for the writing today is, of course, because it’s the anniversary of my mom’s passing. Mariana Hernandez Jusino died on April 5th, 2006. It’s also Easter. It’s also my writing partner, Adam’s, birthday. Deaths, resurrections, and births. It’s weird to think of all of those things on the same day.

It’s been 9 years – NINE YEARS – since my mom passed away. That’s insane to me. On the one hand, it feels like just yesterday, but on the other, it feels like a million years ago. Time definitely heals all wounds, but the wounds sometimes re-open at unexpected times. Being in MD/VA with My Boo’s parents just drives home the fact that I don’t have parents to go home to anymore (we’ll be celebrating the 1st anniversary of my dad’s passing in 2 weeks). I think about things they aren’t around to experience, like my career milestones, or a wedding, or kids. It’s sad. But at the same time, I still have my brother and sister and their beautiful families. I have My Boo and that whole family. I have amazing friends who are like family. I’m not alone, and my future looks bright, and I’m happy about those things. What’s more, I’m equipped with the things my parents taught me, so they’re never that far away. I find myself folding plastic bags and putting them away the way my mom did, or putting silverware tine/blade side up in the dish rack the way my dad did. Just the other day, my sister, brother and I were chatting on Facebook about how we all cut our pancakes “like pizza”, the way our mom did. :) I have my mom’s ability to choose battles, and my dad’s ability to start them when necessary. I’ve learned from their successes and mistakes, and I’m so grateful that they were in my life for as long as they were to give me the gifts of their experience and love.

So, today isn’t a sad day. It’s an introspective day. I get to remember the good times, express gratitude for what I’ve been given, and life my life as fully as possible with the knowledge that that’s exactly what my mom and dad would’ve wanted for me. I hope I make them proud, and I hope I can be the kind of parents they were one day.

I love you, Mommy.

SUPERGIRL RADIO: Catching You Up!

It seems that in all my Mary Sue-ing (I’ll fill you in on my first week in a second post), I’ve completely forgotten to catch you up on Supergirl Radio!

Well, it’s still a lot of fun to do and, in my opinion, our episodes have gotten progressively better! I couldn’t have asked for a better podcast co-host than Rebecca, and we’ve already had two really fun guests join in on the Supergirl conversation! The last episode I posted here at the blog was Episode 2 about Supergirl – The Movie. So, here are the episodes you may have missed since!

SUPERGIRL RADIO – Ep 3 – “Little Girl Lost” (about Supergirl on Superman: The Animated Series)

SUPERGIRL RADIO – Ep 4 – SMALLVILLE: “Kara”/”Fierce” (about Supergirl’s first appearance on Smallville; featuring special guest, Morgan Glennon from BuddyTV)

SUPERGIRL RADIO – Ep 5 – MAN OF STEEL Prequel Comic (featuring special guest, Andy B of The Flash Podcast, and our fearless producer!)

In addition to that, we also announced some big news! Fearless Producer Andy has brought all the DCTV podcasts together to form a sort of “Justice League” of podcasts, and we announced DCTV Podcasts on March 6th! DCTV Podcasts includes Supergirl Radio, The Flash Podcast, Quiver: The Green Arrow Podcast, and Legends of Gotham – so if you want to get your fix of talking The Flash, Arrow, Gotham, or Supergirl, DCTV podcasts will allow you to tap into all that sweet comic book show goodness all in one place! Follow DCTV Podcasts on Twitter, Like on Facebook, and show all of Supergirl Radio‘s brother podcasts some love, won’t you? And fear not! Two of those “brother podcasts” – Quiver and Legends of Gotham – also feature lady hosts! Because in this family, everyone gets a say!

I kinda love that my hosting Supergirl Radio falls so beautifully in line with my new position at The Mary Sue. I’m coming at female geeks from all angles, apparently, despite having “given up” pop culture writing not that long ago.

Just when I thought I was out, THEY PULLED ME BACK IN! ;)

 

My New Gig!

Well, if you missed my RT of this tweet earlier, I can now talk about the new gig I’ve got! I’m now one of the assistant editors at The Mary Sue! :) Geek friends rejoice!

I’m thrilled, as this is not only my first staffed writer gig, but my first real editorial position, so I’m excited for the challenge! And today’s already been super-challenging. It’s kicked my ass, to tell you the truth, but in the best way! The staff at The Mary Sue has been amazingly supportive, and as fast-paced as the job is, everyone is so efficient at what they do that I know once I learn the ropes it’ll be smooth sailing. Such a great team!

And I even got to write two posts today and take part in a third group post! Here’s my first post. And here’s the second. :)

Me and my first Mary Sue post!

Me and my first Mary Sue post!

So, huge thanks to Jill Pantozzi, The Mary Sue’s Editor-In-Chief, for the amazing opportunity. It’s gonna be a blast!

 

My New Status Quo

By the way, I’m completely IN LOVE with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. LOVE. :)

I’d made a decision at the beginning of this year. Freelance writing wasn’t cutting it for me financially, so after trying to make a living by cobbling several jobs together, I was willing to concede that it might be time to look for full-time employment. However, there were still reasons why I wanted to have a flexible, freelancer schedule – namely, that I wanted time to work on my writing, and I wanted the freedom to network during the day.

It’s amazing how important being available for coffee is in L.A.

BUT, I was willing to seek 9-5 employment as long as that employment served my ultimate career goals. In other words, I wasn’t going to be looking for barista jobs, or office work in an accountant’s office or anything. I wanted 9-5 employment in The Industry. If I was going to give up my free time, I wanted it to be with a purpose. So, I started seeking and applying for jobs at studios, production companies, and literary agencies. I reached out to friends who already work in this sphere asking them to keep their ears to the ground on my behalf, and many of them gave me a heads up about some great opportunities and very useful resources for my search! In the meantime, I still had my day jobs at HotPixel and at the other company I worked for one day a week.

You read that right. I typed “worked.” 

Because in a whirlwind couple of days last week, I was offered and accepted a new full-time job! Unfortunately, I can’t tell you exactly what it is until tomorrow. Here’s what I can tell you:

  • It’s a 9-5 job, but I’ll be working remotely from home.
  • It’s salaried with benefits.
  • It’s a writing job.
  • It’s related to pop culture.

I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t you recently go out of your way to say that you were no longer going to be doing any pop culture writing, because you were burned out on it and you wanted to spend your writing time working on your own stuff? Yes I did. But here’s what I’ve realized since then: I wasn’t actually burned out on pop culture writing. I was burned out on freelancing. I was burned out on having to hustle for each and every piece I wrote. It was exhausting, and made me not enjoy the writing I had to do. But once I was offered an opportunity to write full-time – for ONE employer – suddenly the topic makes less of a difference.

As for the connections that can be made with a 9-5 job in The Industry vs a full-time writing job outside of it…the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it doesn’t make much difference. After all, all of the Industry connections I’ve made up until now (and there have been several!) I made as a freelance writer. What’s more, I feel like the connections I’ve made, because of the nature of my work as a pop culture writer, were more organic and friendly than they might be if I were to become, say, a receptionist at an agency, or some executive’s assistant – jobs where you’re required to blend into the background. As a writer, I can engage with people on my own terms, which has served me pretty well so far. Point is, networks can be built any number of ways. There’s no one right way to “break in.”

I gave my notice at HotPixel and my other job last week, too, which was kinda sad as I really enjoyed working at both places. I wouldn’t have left the jobs were it not for a better career opportunity, as my bosses at both places were extremely kind, and just cool people. It’s rare that you have an employer you can hang with, and I feel like both places offered me that. And as sorry as they are to see me go, they were extremely supportive and proud of me, and they totally get why I had to accept this new challenge.

I’m thrilled about this new opportunity, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it tomorrow! :) My days are going to be much more structured, and it will force me to get my personal writing done before and after my job, which actually might help me get more of it done. After learning the hard way, I’ve realized that unstructured free time is my kryptonite, and I think that this new gig will allow me to flourish in other areas.

I start tomorrow! Wish me luck! :)

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