Sunday, April 28, 2013

April Book: Pretties

This month I read Pretties by Scott Westerfeld. It's the second book in the series "Uglies." Uglies was a fantastic book and Pretties was no exception. I'm glad I don't start reading series as books come out because I seriously don't have the attention span for that.

Without giving too much away, we join Tally (the main character) as a Pretty. She's joined a clique called Crims where they like to pull of big pranks and keep people on their toes. She and another Crim receive the cure for the lesions on their brains that occur when one goes under the operation to become a Pretty. The story ensues.

This book was as much of an adventure as the last one. You feel all the old feelings that you did in the first book, but now they're conflicting with new feelings from this book. Westerfeld does a fantastic job pulling you into the story.

I really love futuristic/sci-fi type books. This one is a young adult book which is also something I really enjoy. If you like those kinds of books as well, I really suggest you check out Uglies. I can loan the book to you if you have Kindle.

Next month's book is Specials by Scott Westerfeld, the next book in the series. Let me know if you want a copy on Kindle!


Sunday, March 31, 2013

March's Book: My Teenage Dream Ended

This month, I read My Teenage Dream Ended by Farrah Abraham. My friend Emerald said that I'd need two books this month -- which I just figured, "Oh, she reads faster than me. I'm sure I won't." No, she was right. I very lazily made my way through this book and finished on the 11th. So far this has been a read so many pages in a day challenge, but I just didn't even need to. I finished without any guidelines 20 days early.


So as you might guess, this was a pretty easy read. I'm super happy for that since these last couple of books haven't been the greatest nor do I love reading as much as I'd like to. So, I was grateful for a quick read that didn't take much thought or effort. 

The book was not a memoir, and hardly an autobiography. It read like a dramatized journal where she mostly talked about her relationship with the baby daddy, Derek. He was such a prick, but if you read this, I'll let you discover that all on your own. It wasn't until about 3/4 of the way through the book did she finally get pregnant. She very briefly talked about Sophia in the book but was sweet enough when addressing her to say that she felt she has fought hard for her and hopes Sophia can live a "blessed" life like she did. 

Watching her 16 & Pregnant and few seasons of Teen Mom, I'm not sure what all to believe. I understand that reality TV has a way of skewing things, but I also realize that people can skew their life stories in their books however they please to. Certain things didn't match up with the show, but in all honesty, I don't necessarily care. This reading experience has hardly made me like Farrah more, but I do see her as more of a human now than a screeching, whiny, selfish brat. I would neither say must read nor stay away. Read if you will. Don't if you don't.

Thanks to her keeping this month so short, I got a head start on my book for April which is Pretties by Scott Westerfeld. It's the sequel to Uglies which was an excellent read. Do read it. It's very fun. Then start reading Pretties with me. It'll be a great time.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Being Hutch Young

This afternoon, I met up with a new friend who was also trans*, and I have to say that it was such an exceptional experience. We just sat and talked, but I'll never in my life take for granted the opportunity to not have to explain myself to someone. I've come out as a lesbian (which is not a label I use anymore), and I've come out as transgender. It's something I have to do on a regular basis, and it gets particularly old. Often times, I just let people make their assumptions about me and try to do my thing. Never works successfully as it's incredibly invalidating of who I am, but it's how I've learned to survive this world and this heteronormative culture.

I've been contemplating a lot on how I need to sit down and write something on being transgender because it seems not everyone gets it. There are a fair amount of you who do, but there's an ever greater amount of you who don't (despite explanation). Going to coffee with someone without having to explain myself led me to believe it's time to write this and force you all to see the truth of the situation.

Since I was a kid, I always said I was a man. In my younger stages of life, I was convinced that I would become male at puberty. Puberty would take me to cismale and that would be it. As that became an unrealistic expectation, I began throwing coins in mall fountains, "Please, please, please, let me grow up to be a boy." I stopped talking about it out loud for a while then I went to junior high. I'm sure some of you remember this phase. I went by Neioh (Neo) and told everyone I was having a sex reassignment surgery when I came of age. Again, the subject was dropped, and here starts my Mormon phase. I entered myself into conversion therapy where it was explained to me that my gender identity issues were all rooted in wanting to justify my sexual attraction to women. I realize now that that was hardly the case at all (seeing as sexual identity and sexual orientation are different), but I continued to believe it even after I left conversion therapy and the Mormon church.

In March 2010, I met Shelley. The first day she came to see me, she directly asked me if I was trans*. I hadn't been asked that, and I hadn't really considered it, so I said "no." She then asked, "Well, do you wish you were a man?" And that had always been on the back of my mind. I said "maybe" and instead of judging me, she immediately asked what pronouns I preferred to go by. It was so odd. I thought I had to go through surgeries and jump through hoops to ever be recognized as male, but here she was ready to recognize me however I told her I wanted be recognized. I settled on male pronouns, and she asked what I wanted her to call me, and I stuck with my birth name for the time being.

I bought my first binder and excitedly started wearing it. It never fully flattened my chest, and it didn't help me pass in any sort of way. However, it was the tool I used to explain to my mother that I was trans, though she already knew it. We went for a walk when she asked why I was wearing the binder. I explained to her that I was trans, and her question was when the medical transitioning would start taking place. Not a great first question, but I'm happy to have a mother who supports me. It was on that very day that I decided on a name for myself. I was going to go by Hutchington Jay Young, Hutch for short. I was about to settle on Jack when I saw the name of a singer of one of my favorite band's, The Thermals, was named Hutch. I thought it was way too cool of a name to pass up, and I really thought it fit me better than Jack ever would.

I moved to Colorado in June of 2010 and gave everyone barely any time to adjust to the transman concept. My family had just found out and so had a lot of my friends. Here I came to Colorado, and I smoothly transitioned into being Hutch, the transman, for everyone my girlfriend had me come in contact to. As work started, back to the female identity I went because it's never felt safe to come out.

As time went by and people poked and prodded about my identity, I tried to give answers I thought people would want to hear.

To the trans* folk, I'd start T soon. My Utah therapist had offered the letter, I was just waiting on the funds.
To those who insisted that it was too hard to call me Hutch and use male pronouns, just take your time. I will never correct you or act offended because I'd be far too embarrassed to make either of us look my trans identity in the face.
To my two lovely ladies who wanted to know every thought, every feeling, every concept, every concern that I (they) had, I don't know. Maybe I'm gender queer. I didn't feel as if I was transitioning soon enough, so I let them think that perhaps it wasn't something I wanted to do. Maybe I just liked the name and the pronouns but would be comfortable in this body, letting people walk all over my identity in my outside world, and not need to nor have to transition. Again, I didn't want any of us facing my trans identity face on. It wasn't time. I wasn't ready for this.

I started therapy with an excellent man back in September of 2012. Just recently, he asked me a question that kicked open a door I hadn't been seeing all of this time. He asked, "If you took away all the outside voices, do you have any doubt that you're a man?" And my answer was a flat out no. No, I know I am a man. I know that is who I am meant to be, who I am meant to identify as, who I already am. No more questioning myself, realizing all doubts that I had were outside voices. People telling me it was easier to call me "she" and continue with my birth name was a crock of disrespectful bull shit. The trans folk who said that not transitioning quicker meant I wasn't standing up for something I believed whole heartedly in, meant 1) I didn't believe it whole heartedly and 2) that I wasn't being courageous. And to my two lovely ladies, I'm not gender queer. I do desperately want to transition, but I'm okay waiting. I want to wait til I am financially responsible and in a healthy position to do so.

Now I don't think it's anybody's business how I go about transitioning or when that will take place. I am open for questions and intellectual discussions about being transgender, terms, and the likes. I have no place in my life for those of you who want to continue to call me by my birth name or purposefully use female pronouns, and this is me saying, "Don't let the door hit you on your ass. Except, maybe it should." It is everyone's right to be honored and recognized the way they want to be, and I expect that from everyone who knows I'm trans. I have already lost a good load of friends over this, but becoming Hutch Josiah Young is all I've ever needed.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February's Book: How to Be A Woman

February was not so well-spent on a book called How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran.


As I complained and complained about how painful reading this book was, one person suggested that life was too short to read books that I don't enjoy. What she doesn't know is my commitment to finishing something once I've started it. (With the exception of Kite Runner. Yeah, I said it!) So, let me explain why I started reading this in the first place. My dear friend Emerald wanted me to accompany her to a feminist book club because she wanted to force herself to be more social. Though we've both been to this club before, and it's absolutely not feminist in the way that white cis-gendered women sit around a table and talk about how they choose easy to read books because they don't want to be challenged too much. You know, don't think too much about your privilege or anything. So I started reading this book, painfully if you've forgotten, and then I realized I'd be in Utah during the group's meeting. Hecky darn! (That's in honor of my trip to Utah.)

I read it anyway, and I finished it. I'm going to save you ALL the trouble of reading it by telling you right now everything you need/want to know about the book.

PROLOGUE: THE WORST BIRTHDAY EVER

In this chapter she says:
"Traditional feminism would tell you that these are not the important issues: that we should concentrate on the big stuff like pay inequality, female circumcision in the Third World, and domestic abuse. and they are, obviously, pressing and disgusting and wrong, and the world cannot look itself squarely in the eye until they're stopped.

But all those littler, stupider, more obvious day-to-day problems with being a woman, in many ways, are just as deletrious to women's peace of mind. It is the 'Broken Windows' philosophy, transfered to female inequality. In the 'Broken Windows' theory, if a single broken window on an empty building is ignored, and not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may break into the building, and light fires, or become squatters.

Similarly, if we live in a climate where female pubic hair is considered distasteful, or famous and powerful women are constantly pilloried for being too fat or too thin, or badly dressed, then, eventually, people start breaking into women, and lighting fires in them. Women will get squatters. Clearly, this is not a welcome state of affairs. I don't know about you, but I don't want to wake up one morning and find a load of chancers in my lobby."
 The first paragraph here is not something I'm even going to touch yet. I'll bring that back around at the very end. What I want to bring to attention is while the Broken Windows philosophy is a great philosophy, it isn't to be used on people. Here's this "feminist" writer objectifying women quite literally by comparing them to buildings. Saying they're weak enough that if they were to have one thing wrong with them (this broken window) that people can come in and break all of the windows. Light a damn fire! Women aren't vacant buildings. They are strong, and they will survive a broken window.

"I don't know if we can talk about 'waves' of feminism any more -- by my reckoning, the next wave would be the fifth, and I suspect it's around the fifth wave that you stop referring to the individual waves, and start to refer, simply, to an incoming tide.

But if there is to be a fifth wave of feminism, I would hope that the main thing that distinguishes it from all that came before is that women counter the awkwardness, disconnect and bullshit of being a modern woman not by  shouting at it, internalising it, or squabbling about it -- but by simply pointing at it, and going 'HA!
', instead."

What an incredibly unhelpful thing to say. Ha? A man grabs a woman's ass, and she returns with a laugh? No, he suffered no consequences from that. It could've been considered an encouragement. Someone refers to a woman as a slut, and we respond with a laugh? No, now that seems okay. Now it seems like it was fine to call a woman a slut.

CHAPTER 1: I START BLEEDING!

Nothing to say. She gets her period and is really stupid about it.

CHAPTER 2: I BECOME FURRY!

She talks ignorantly about porn and how she needed to start shaving. I made notes, but they're not even important.

CHAPTER 3: I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO CALL MY BREASTS!

She explores a whole chapter about how she doesn't know what to call breasts, vagina, or penis. She skirts around the topic the entire chapter and acts like saying any of those words should be considered anything other than what they literally are. If those words make you uncomfortable, I really think you ought to take stock on your life and figure out where that discomfort comes from. These things need to be called what they are: breasts and vagina. Waltzing around a word perpetuates a stigma until everyone grows up unable to talk about sex, what they need, how they need it, and the likes. Society continues to be broken with this sick attitude towards sex where women are objects with "pussies" and "the girls." Slut types are perpetuated for women who are comfortable with their bodies, when there shouldn't be anything wrong with owning your own body and doing what you like. BREASTS, VAGINA, PENIS! Deal.

CHAPTER 4: I AM A FEMINIST!

"So here is a quick way of working out if you're a feminist. Put your hand in your pants:

A) Do you have a vagina? and
B) Do you want to be in charge of it?

If you said 'yes' to both, then congratulations! You're a feminist."
 Feminism isn't solely about being a woman. It's about liberating all injustices done to everyone. People of color, queer folk, trans folk, disabled folk, aged folk, impoverished folk, all prejudice you can imagine is a goal to be tackled by feminism. Liberation and justice for all. If you have no introduction to feminism, please go read The Fifty Double Standards book, quick and easy read. Very brief and shallow description of feminism, but Moran is so off on what a feminist is, in my opinion, it's shameful.

CHAPTER 5: I NEED A BRA!

I wrote "Not worth reading."

CHAPTER 6: I AM FAT! 

She proceeds to call people who aren't fat, "human shaped." Fat people who don't feel bad that they're fat are "lavish." Compulsive eating is the same as crack cocaine, and our friends should be confronting us about our problem. Sheer ignorance.

CHAPTER 7: I ENCOUNTER SEXISM!

You can see I'm really starting to hate my life and this book. I repeatedly ask Shelley to take my phone away, so I don't throw it across the room in frustration. I wrote no other notes on this chapter besides "horribly offensive."

CHAPTER 8: I AM IN LOVE!

Notes read: First time I laugh, still rather unintelligent.

CHAPTER 9: I GO LAP-DANCING!

Don't remember what garbage she wrote, but my notes read, "Slut-shaming is a feminist faux-pas, and here she is doing it. I'm so confused what any of she's saying so far has to do with feminism or how to be a woman."

CHAPTER 10: I GET MARRIED!

Notes read: I have no idea what your stupid point was. You made me tired.

CHAPTER 11: I GET INTO FASHION!

Notes read: I don't know your point, STILL!

CHAPTER 12: WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE CHILDREN

Notes read: I literally fell asleep a lot. Twelve chapters in, and I don't know what you're getting at. How should one be a woman?!

CHAPTER 13: WHY YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE CHILDREN

Notes read: First chapter where I've seen her point and appreciated her input.

Read this one?

CHAPTER 14: ROLE MODELS AND WHAT WE DO WITH THEM

Notes read: I fell asleep again. I've stopped paying attention. I wonder what I'll have for lunch tomorrow.

CHAPTER 15: ABORTION

 Only other chapter I've enjoyed. Read this one.

CHAPTER 16: INTERVENTION

No notes left.

POSTSCRIPT

In the postscript, she then proceeds to tell us she has yet to figure out how to be a woman. Everything she just wrote about for sixteen arduous chapters had absolutely no point 'cause you don't need to sweat it. Now I'm bringing back that first paragraph about domestic violence, pay inequality, and female circumcision not being terribly important. Sixteen chapters of non-important things that, at the beginning of the book, you told us were far more important than those three horrendous injustices happening every day that need to be stopped immediately but won't be. No, instead let's focus on what to call boobs then climb in our beds and say, "Shit, none of this mattered at all."

DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME! I'VE TOLD YOU THE WHOLE BOOK!!!!!!!

March will be featuring Farrrah Abraham's book My Teenage Dream Ended. This should truly be a blast. Again, I have a copy I can send you, and I'd be happy to if you'd like. Shoot me your email! If you leave it in the comments, I'll immediately delete it after I've seen it.


Last month's review

Sunday, February 3, 2013

January's Book: Big in Japan

This previous month to kick off my New Year's Resolution, I read Big in Japan by Jennifer Griffith.


To be honest, I never would've picked this book up on my own accord. My cousin and her boyfriend own (?) the publishing company that published this book, Jolly Fish Press. And if we're continuing on this plight of honesty, I still wouldn't have picked it up if my cousin hadn't posted that it was on sale for the Kindle for 99 cents. (Okay, so obviously, when I link this on my FaceBook, I'll be blocking her and her bf from seeing it.)

Big in Japan is about a man named Buck who lives in Texas. He's extremely overweight and fairly tall. These things cause him to be the laughing stock throughout his life. He gets a call from his parents one day asking him to accompany them to Japan where his dad is trying to legalize a drug there. The person who's supposed to fund the project wants to meet the entire family. Buck and his family venture to Japan where Buck is introduced by the youngest boy in the project funder's family to sumo wrestling. The story takes you on a "ride" of his journey as a white man into sumo and becoming a celebrity based on his size and falling in love with a teeny, tiny Japanese woman.

Here comes that plight of honesty again, I started the book back in December. It was so slow and difficult to get into. Once my New Year's Resolution kicked in, I figured out how many pages I needed to read to have it done by the end of the month. It was painstaking. The writer was so obviously vanilla Mormon with her choice of curse words for the characters to say like, "Holy cats." Obviously not a reason to stop reading a book but enough for me to roll my eyes up to the sky. At times the book had me turning pages, at other points, I was checking Twitter for @hutchhxcx tweets and DrawSomething for new challenges. Needless to say, I finished the book. Wouldn't recommend picking it up. I linked it up at the top, as you probably saw, and you're obviously free to check it out. I'm content with the 99 cents I paid and wouldn't pay the seven something it costs now. I'm pretty sure I can loan it, don't know how. But if you have a Kindle and want me to loan it to you, just let me know. I'm positive that I've sold it to you. You really might like it, though. I didn't.

Next month's book is How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. I'm a few chapters in and dying inside. This lady's trippin' so hard. My friend sent it to me for free. If you have an iPhone and download iBooks to read it on, I'll send it on over to you. Shoot me your email. So far though, she's been fairly crude and graphic to a point that even makes me queasy.

We'll revisit this in March.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

New Year's Resolution

Welcome to the New Year, y'all! It's February, so I'm assuming you're used to writing '2013' now.

Every year as I make my New Year's Resolution, I like to do something that I know I can absolutely accomplish. Transitioning from December 31 to January 1 does not suddenly give you resolve to turn your life inside out. That stuff comes from within, takes time and hardwork. My life is a constant quest to be a better person.

For 2012, my resolution was to always text back when someone texted me. One word responses were not required but became second nature after a while. The reason for this resolution was that I felt since moving out to Denver, I was losing touch with friends and family back home. People would text me, and I wouldn't text them back. I realized that was my fault. I put in more effort, and I now actually enjoy texting.

2013's resolution will be to read one book a month. So I figured in addition to expanding my reading, I would also be given more opportunities to blog. So, as I read my books, I will be writing reviews on them then featuring what the book will be for the next month in case you want to read along.

I finished January's book last week and got started on February. But I'm going to post the review tomorrow. So, see you tomorrow. Happy Saturday, everyone.