Decluttering in 2019: Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning. Something a lot of people do. I did some spring cleaning, but it’s because of my plan to not have to take everything with me when I get married. To be honest, I probably got more things than I got rid of, thanks to some bridesmaid’s gifts in a tote bag from my cousin’s now-wife and my decision to buy Bi Pride gear for my very first Pride event.

I did get rid of some stuff, though! This is what I got rid of this spring:

  • One book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
    • I wasn’t a fan of this book because the main character seemed condescending at times. I have been “trying” to get rid of the book, but not really. I’m never near any “Little Free Libraries” so I never can put a book there. My previous ex got it for me because he thought it might help me better understand the way I think because it helped him (The main character is autistic, but the book never outright states the diagnosis, but they keep saying “behavioral issue”. Also, I thought my ex thought I was autistic. While I’m very sure we are both undiagnosed autistic people, his signs of autism are clear as day).
    • At a church potluck recently, someone mentioned the book and it piqued the interest of someone with Asperger’s Syndrome. The next time I was at church, I gave the book to him. He tried to give it back, but I told him he could read it and keep it once he was done.
  • Three Hollister zip-up hoodies
    • I don’t really wear hoodies anymore, and at 26 years of age, I am too old for Hollister
  • Two long-sleeved shirts
    • One had some type of sequined female lion head. Too old for that!
    • One had these tiny holes designed on the top of the shirt
  • Three work pants
    • One with pinstripes, which is a style I don’t wear
    • Two with a weird closure that would be a lot of trouble if I had to pee badly
  • Five pairs of summer dress shoes
    • I don’t wear all of them and don’t wear many pairs of dress shoes, so why am I keeping them? Plus, one of them seems to be stained with something that won’t come out.
  • Two textbooks from my previous semester

My Experience At My First Pride Event

Now that I had some time to relax after getting home from Pride, I thought I’d share my experience with you. Note: Not everyone’s experience at Pride is the same for everyone.

In April, a rumor about Pride coming to my county was confirmed. It was then that I knew that I was going no matter what! Of course I was going to the very first Pride event in my county! My church has a social justice committee that I’m a part of, and they decided to have a table at Pride because Unitarian Universalist churches are LGBTQ-friendly. I came up with the idea of doing carpool because I’m selfish and didn’t want to drive myself. In the town where Pride was held, parking can be hard to find on a good day and can be horrendously impossible on event days. Not many people took advantage of it, but at least I got a ride from the only person at my church Franklin and I have gotten close to (Franklin was not at Pride. He was at his annual training for the National Guard.). Best case scenario!

So I bought two things specifically for the Pride event. I bought a bisexual shirt that’s subtle enough that I can wear it around without people seeing it as me being bisexual (This is the exact shirt) and a small bi pride flag. I already have a tote bag from my cousin’s wedding, so I put everything I needed in that bag.

I packed the following things for Pride:

  • My shoulder bag
    • Of course I needed that, since that held my wallet
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • My bi pride flag
    • I’m not out to family, so I needed to hide it
  • Water
    • I took a reusable water bottle that I got as a bridesmaid gift from my cousin’s wedding

I should have packed my parasol because no one brought a canopy. I have my hair in a clip-in ponytail, so I can’t wear hats. PRO TIP: Carry something to shield your head from the sun.

So the afternoon of Pride, I met my ride at a park that’s near my hairstylist (which isn’t far from the town where Pride was held). I put on sunscreen near my car and it took me a bit of time to even see my ride’s SUV. Sorry Marc! I wish I saw it sooner so you wouldn’t have had to wait as long for me! So we waited for another person and his daughter, and when they arrived, they decided to just take their car since they couldn’t stay the whole time. Again, best case scenario having to ride with Marc by himself!

So we get there and set up. Someone from my church offered me a slice of her pizza, which was like a margherita pizza, but without the tomatoes. It felt like I ate the sun because she added pepper flakes. Drinking water made it worse, and I don’t think there was milk anywhere.

I signed up to do one-hour shifts at the table from 4 PM – 5 PM (1600 – 1700) and 6 PM to 7 PM (1800 – 1900). I didn’t want to sign up for every shift because I wanted to see what other booths were around me and who was performing at the stage as well as giving other people a chance.

I watched the opening speeches and the sound system wasn’t very good. One microphone was of good sound quality, though. One out of three! I don’t remember much between the opening speeches and my first shift at the table, but I was talking to someone’s daughter and was trying to find a way to ask Marc if he was hot wearing long sleeves without it sounding like “Hey, you’re hot!” (insert front-to-back body wiggle here).

When I was working my first shift, someone asked me where I got my bi pride flag. I told her that I ordered it online and used a bi pun. The Time Warp song came on and I danced to it with another woman from my church. She and I talked about how she took her wife to one of the Rocky Horror Picture Show live shows and I told her about how I almost had a wardrobe malfunction when I was dressed as Columbia.

Near the end of my shift, some protesters showed up. From what I heard, there are ALWAYS protesters. For some reason, it didn’t really bother me like I thought it would. All they did was quietly hold up signs and walk around a bit. The woman I was talking to was surprised that the police let them on the grounds instead of just standing at the sidewalk. This was used as a teaching moment for the woman’s son so he could learn why protesters were there and to reinforce that he knew two people of the same gender can love each other. I missed the pet parade, though.

I chose to have an hour break between my shift so I could participate in the little parade. But first, I watched a drag performance so I could be nearby when the parade started. The drag queens were so full of energy! I wish I could take vogue lessons, but I’d probably get hurt doing “death drops”. Besides, I’m not a gay man who is black or Latino, so should I really take something from their ballroom scene to add to my dance repertoire? One of the drag queens had us do a call and response and forgot to say bisexuals. See why I keep complaining about how us bisexuals don’t feel welcome in queer spaces?

Now it’s time for the parade! We marched around the parade site and by the only two protesters left. I had to keep switching arms to hold my little bi pride flag up, but I was happy to be the representation bisexuals don’t often get at Pride. We walked by the only two protesters left. I guess most of them left after a short time. I don’t know how Marc didn’t see the protesters. He’s 6’3″ (190.5 cm) for goodness sake! I hung around the table doing something until I found some other people from my church. One person asked where I got my pronouns button and I took the people to a table where there were pronoun buttons. We watched some kind of thing going on at the stage. Maybe the last drag performance?

Once it was time for my last shift, I sat back down at my table and the breeze was a permanent feature. It was actually kind of chilly now and Marc was sure smart to be wearing long sleeves at that point. Pretty much the last hour was filled with Marc making girls, including me, laugh (note: he’s single, ladies. Insert eye waggle here). Thinking about it now, I hope me laughing at his… I guess, joke?… when he said “Learn punctuation!” after seeing a drawstring bag with a slogan saying “achieve. prosper. grow.” because of the lack of capitalization wasn’t hurtful to him… if he even heard me.

Quick side note: Marc has Asperger’s Syndrome (yes, I know it’s now a part of the Autism Spectrum Disorder umbrella, but he was diagnosed back when DSM-IV was used and it had separated Asperger’s Syndrome from the typical autism label) and I’m not sure if he would consider me laughing as a bad thing. I’m learning about Asperger’s Syndrome and high-functioning autism because my experience with autism includes a mostly-nonverbal uncle (who passed away years ago) who was diagnosed back when you institutionalized people with autism and my grandparents were doing their best to raise them when there were no therapies to help and defying what was the norm back then.

After all that time in the sun, it was 7 PM (1900), which meant it was time to pack everything up. It meant my time with the guy my fiance and I have gotten close to was coming to an end. After a mix-up with another booth over whether we had the light blue or dark blue bean bags for cornhole, we got everything packed into Marc’s SUV and after some confusion on where to go, we were on the way back to the park where we met for the carpool.

And that, my friends, is the story of my first Pride event. Will I go next year? Depends on when it is. I might be coming back from my honeymoon during that time.

DiaryofSelf Marries in 2020

My Dress Shopping Experience

So on June 23, 2019, I said yes to the dress! It was the fifth dress I tried on that day, and it was the second store.

I went to my first bridal store on June 18, 2019. This store was within walking distance from Franklin’s house, so I made sure he was away for his annual training when I scheduled my dress appointments. The first place was smaller and didn’t have much of a selection of a-line dresses or ballgown dresses that I like. Reflecting back, I was picking dresses to try on just so I could have SOMETHING to try on.

I was given a petticoat to put on and as someone who has long legs despite my short height, I couldn’t wear the petticoat up to my waist. The petticoat slid off while I was wearing the third dress.

My favorite dress was the third dress and I kept thinking about it. Usually your constant thoughts about the dress is a sign that it’s THE DRESS. When I put it on again, something felt off. I guess it felt like it looked like a dress you can buy in stores for a prom or a quinceañera. It wasn’t a white or ivory color and I guess it was starting to bother me. Because the dress I really liked wasn’t THE DRESS, it disappointed me and I wasn’t looking forward to my next dress appointment.

Now let’s fast forward to June 23rd. We got there early because why not? I filled out a short form and then started looking for dresses to pick out. This time, I was finding dresses that I liked and while I didn’t pick out as many dresses (I tried on 10 dresses at the first place), I didn’t feel like I was picking out dresses for the sake of having something to try on.

I tried on my dresses and felt myself getting closer and closer to my dress. The first and third dresses I tried on were contenders. Then I tried on the fifth dress. It was strapless, which is not what I wanted, but I can add straps to it.

My first thought when I saw myself in the mirror was “Oh wow.” There were things I liked from previous dresses that were on this dress. When I walked out of the changing room (which was inside the room we were in), I couldn’t stop smiling. Mom loved it, and I think my grandmother did too. I said yes to the dress and mom and I were given white zinfandel (it was quite good!) while my grandmother had water (she was worried about alcohol mixing with one of her medications). We Facetimed with my Matron of Honor, who could not make it that day. While I wore THE DRESS, I tried veils too and said yes to a cathedral-length veil.

I said yes to a Maggie Sottero dress in the “Sakura” style (This). I will get straps added to it.

Afterwards, I had to take the dress off (boo!) and got my measurements. My waist has gotten smaller since I got measured for my bridesmaid’s dress back in September (yay!). Afterwards, I signed some more things and paid for my dress and veil. I got a discount on the dress and free shipping because there was a Maggie Sottero trunk show and I also got a discount on my veil for whatever reason. The cost of the dress and the veil plus tax put me below my dress budget, so yay!

Tips for people going dress shopping:

  • Your wedding dress size WILL be larger than your regular dress size. This is because wedding dress sizes are not based on what is called “vanity sizing” where clothing is made bigger than its true size. I wear a size 4 typically, but my dress is a size 8
  • Even if you don’t want a strapless dress, try it on because you can add straps! If you are of a religion where you need to wear a modest dress, then this advice won’t work too well
  • Try on dresses that aren’t like what you want! I tried on a sheath dress at my first appointment and it looked good on me!
  • Take as long as you need to find THE DRESS! It took me 15 dresses and 2 stores to find mine, so don’t get a dress just so you can have something
  • Celebrate you finding THE DRESS!
LGBTQ · Rant

Bi+ Exclusion in the LGBTQ Community

Note: I have used the term “Bi+” before, but for my new readers, bi+ is inclusive of all sexual orientations that aren’t straight, gay, or asexual (sexual orientations that are considered in bi+ include bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, fluid sexuality, etc.).

Bi+ people have unique challenges with our sexual orientation. We get hate from both sides; many gay people don’t like us as well as many straight people not liking us. We’re not gay enough or straight enough. We have straight-passing privilege. People assume we’re either gay or straight when we are holding hands with our significant others. People don’t believe bisexuality is real. Bi erasure happens so much, an example being Freddie Mercury, who was very much in love with a woman before he was in a relationship with the man he loved until he died. Some people have even been told to not come back to LGBTQ groups because they are bisexual. There are gay people who don’t want to date us because we’re wrongly stereotyped to be cheaters or will leave them for someone who’s a different gender than they are.

Then there’s the issue of bisexuals being viewed as transphobic because people wrongly believe we only like cisgender women and cisgender men. To me, trans men are still men and trans women are still women. Some people define bisexual as liking your own gender and a gender different from your own. While I also identify as queer, I feel like bisexuals should not force themselves to call themselves “queer” or “pansexual” in order to not be called transphobic.

Well us bi+ people have had enough. The B in LGBTQ stands for Bisexual. LGBTQ means Lesbian, Gay, BISEXUAL, Transgender, and Queer (or questioning). Let us into these spaces. Date us. Represent us in the media. Some bi+ people have left the community because LGBTQ feels like it’s LGTQ.

You will not block my entrance into Pride events. I will be going to my very first Pride event and I am empowered to wave my bisexual pride flag and work a shift at a table with other people from my Unitarian Universalist church. I was afraid to go to Pride because of how bisexuals are treated, but I will no longer be afraid. I WILL be there Saturday.

DiaryofSelf Marries in 2020

T – 12 Months: We’re One Year Out!

Today marks 12 months, exactly a year, until I wear a dress for what is very likely the last time. It is time to start actively planning again since we booked our venue and vendors before Christmas, thus giving me many months off from planning. Since my last countdown blog post, I have:

  • Secured one groomsman
    • I decided to ask my cousin who was seeking help for his drinking problem back in April just in case I needed to find someone else as the groomsman (in case he didn’t return from treatment in time). My venue can give non-alcoholic toasting beverages to wedding party members who don’t or can’t drink.
  • Bought my shapewear for my dress shopping
    • Since it’s black, I will likely need to buy “nude”-colored shapewear for the wedding day
  • Scheduled my dress shopping appointments
    • You can go dress shopping without making an appointment, but you should make an appointment so you can make sure that there’s someone available to help you in your dress shopping experience
  • Started making a to-do list of things that have left to be done
    • In order for things to be less overwhelming for my anxiety-riddled brain, I am only including things that need to be done in the first 2-3 months and will make new to-do chunks as time goes on
  • Set a hard deadline for my mom to give me the guest list for my side

Here’s what needs to be done between now and the 11-months out mark:

  • Go dress shopping!
    • This will be done during the second half of this month. Shopping time is almost here!
  • While dress shopping, I will ask the person I want as the Matron of Honor to be my Matron of Honor
    • I decided to ditch the proposal box idea because school kept me busy and I just didn’t have time to start gathering things for the proposal box. I didn’t want to buy a pre-made one since that sometimes includes alcohol and she doesn’t drink for moral reasons.
    • Instead of the proposal box, I’m going to give her a card instead. I found a pack of cards at Target that had “Bridesmaid proposal” cards. The pack of 10 includes 8 “Will you be my bridesmaid?” cards and 2 “Will you be my maid of honor?” cards.
  • Have Franklin ask his brother to be the best man
    • He will as well need to ask his brother if his (Franklin’s) nephew will be capable of doing the ring bearer role (the nephew will be 3 at the time of the wedding)
  • Schedule (and possibly do) engagement photoshoot
  • Start paring down the guest list
    • Based on our minimum, our venue coordinator set our maximum and I’m very sure we are going to have more than our max on the guest list

And here’s what else needs to be done between now and the end of August when I return to school for the fall semester:

  • Do the engagement photoshoot
  • Choose save the date design
  • Get the rest of the addresses from the people Franklin and I worked with
    • We are inviting people we worked with who were on the same project Franklin and I worked on since Franklin and I would not have met if it wasn’t for this project
      • Since there are people who are on the project now who weren’t on the project when Franklin started, we are only inviting the people who were on the project when Franklin started. Don’t worry, I have made sure to privately ask each person for their address so there wouldn’t be any “Why am I not invited?” drama
  • Find a florist
  • Think about cake
  • Send our venue coordinator a list of questions we have for her to answer
  • Update our address book to add names and addresses as we go

This may get a bit overwhelming, but chunking things down month-to-month may help as well.


Coming Out as Bisexual/Queer… Again

Our hearts knit together, with no intention or aim
And the feelings have stirred, unstoppable.
Would you say it’s wrong?
Well, I don’t give a damn.
It’s not for them to decide.
-English Translated Lyrics of “Linear Blue wo Kikinagara” by Unison Square Garden
Yes, I wrote my coming out story before, but I’m going to do it again as this is an updated version of my coming out story. Read this to read my original coming out story (that was edited once or twice). I will first do my coming out as bisexual story first, then will do the “Why do I also identify as queer?” part later in this blog.
I come from a family of huggers. I didn’t know that it would make people think I was a lesbian in 6th grade. I didn’t expect to kiss my (female) friend at home after intramural sports. (Yeah, I never counted that as my first kiss since I wasn’t on the receiving end. I forget about that kiss sometimes). I didn’t expect another female friend next door would pretend I was Raviv “Ricky” Ullman from the show “Phil of the Future” and make out with me (Gosh, we both had a crush on Ricky Ullman). I don’t know why people at school thought I was a lesbian because everyone in sixth grade knew about my big crush on a guy named Adam. I was also very boy-crazy from the time I was in 4th or 5th grade until probably some time in university (no, seriously, if a group of friends write a letter to you saying that you talk about a cute guy so much that you have to stop talking about him or talk to him, that’s bad).
It’s time to fast forward to university. I had a crush on a football player who looked like my most recent high school ex-boyfriend. In October 2010, I had a sudden urge to kiss the girls I knew. I don’t know where the urge came from, but it scared me. I later learned that it wasn’t uncommon for someone to want to know what it’s like to kiss someone who is the same gender as they are (or is it more common for girls?), and didn’t worry about it anymore. The urge went away for every girl except for the girl who sat next to me in my basic statistics class. I never thought about it as me liking her until later in my self-reflective times. She’s actually the first girl I ever liked. The first girl I knew I was starting to like was one of my suitemates during my sophomore year of high school, but nothing went past “I think I’m starting to like her. This scares me!” stage of liking her because I started dating a guy from anime club! Junior year, I was talking to my friend and she said I was suppressing my feelings for my suitemate. I ended up confessing to my former suitemate via text message. I never found out if she liked me back (she probably didn’t), but I did find out for sure that she’s a lesbian (yeah, kind of figured that since she preferred to wear masculine clothing). I didn’t want to label my sexual orientation at this point, so I labeled myself as Kinsey 1. I had dated another guy from anime club the year before and liked another guy my junior year after a bad breakup with the second anime club guy, so I definitely wasn’t gay and didn’t feel like I liked enough girls to be bisexual.
Senior year is when I was confronted with questioning my sexual orientation once again. I thought my ex-boyfriend’s roommate was cute, but when I was listening to a feminine-presenting person’s coming out story, I imagined falling in love with her*, and I did. I had a dream that I held her* hand and when I realized I was starting to like her*, I got scared. Once I accepted the feelings, I waited until the end of the semester to confess my feelings for her*. I planned to walk with her* to her* dorm building and confess there, but I wrote a note to her* just in case someone also walked with her*. Someone was of course walking with her* so I handed her* the note and went back to my on-campus apartment. She* wasn’t interested in dating anyone, and I almost cried due to how many times I was rejected in my life. The next semester, I had a lunch outing with another feminine-presenting person. We were at Subway for three hours and the only reason why we didn’t stay longer was because she* had calculus homework to do. When I got back to my room, I realized how much fun I had with her* and wanted to ask her to be my Valentine. I bought origami paper and practiced making an origami heart so I could give it to her* at the LGBTQIA club meeting right before Valentine’s Day.
At some point I think around this time, I realized that I was (and still am) indeed bisexual, but I didn’t accept that about myself yet.
Because the universe likes to work against me, the LGBTQIA club meeting was canceled due to an impending snowstorm and the president and vice president did not want commuters to put their lives at risk on the way to the club meeting or get stranded at school. I may have almost cried then too. I instead made heart on Valentine’s Day and carry it with me everywhere I went just in case I saw her*. Before I was able to deliver the heart to her*, I accepted my bisexuality. About a month after I gave her* the heart, I found out that she* had a girlfriend she* was in a long-distance relationship with. I only came out to three people during that semester, and they all were LGBTQ in some way: I first came out to my lesbian friend, then came out to one of my best friends in the university who is a pansexual trans man, and then I came out to my bisexual ex-boyfriend whom I stayed friends with. I was hesitant to come out because:
1. I had only been in relationships with guys.
2. People may not believe me because…
    a. I’m realizing my sexuality later in life compared to others, and
    b. People might think I’m bisexual until graduation
I still liked girls since then, so reason 2b is not true. We first have one of the workers from Noodles & Company (probably called Noodles World Kitchen now). Long story short, it turned out she had a boyfriend and I honestly felt led on. I also briefly long-distance dated a girl who lives in Seattle on the other side of the United States. We would communicate through text messaging, phone calls, and a Tinychat room for lesbians and bisexual women (where we met). I never told anyone about that until now. Finally, I liked someone that I worked with because I felt a connection with her since we’re both skin pickers. I came out to her (a.k.a. she figured it out after I made a comment) and it felt so freeing compared to when I came out to people before. I started liking her again and long story short (since I don’t feel comfortable sharing the long story yet, if ever), I almost lost my job over it and was almost forced out of the closet.
*for the purpose of this part of the coming-out story, I am using she/her pronouns. This will change later.
Now for as why I identify as queer, here’s that portion of the story:
I mentioned these two people in university as being feminine-presenting. This is because they both still used she/her pronouns at the time. Sometime after I graduated from university, they both were educated on non-binary gender identities and came out as non-binary and using they/them pronouns. While I would still solely identify as bisexual if only one person came out as non-binary, but with more than one prior romantic interest identifying as non-binary now, I felt like the queer identity worked as well. Bisexuals often get called transphobic or binarist because of the “bi meaning two” prefix. Recently, a friend from university told me that one of the people presenting as feminine at the time I was in undergrad has come out as identifying as a guy.
I am mostly closeted because my dad’s homophobic, my mom’s side of the family is religious, people won’t believe I’m bisexual, biphobia is rampant with both gay people and straight people, and it’s not something that every person in the world needs to know. I am out to a small handful of people in real life, but I feel more comfortable coming out to people online.
This is DiaryOfSelf, and thanks for reading my coming out story.