i have adventures (sometimes)

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Guest Post: Emmie's Story

It's my second ever guest post! After I posted my untestimony, one of the things that struck me was how willing people were to share their own stories. It prompted me to invite a few people to tell them publicly.If you would like to tell your story of transition out of or into faith, nonymously or anonymously, I'd love to post it. Let me know.

Emmie sent me this one a shamefully long time ago. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and then panic and ignore all my emails and messages until it would be more awkward for me to reply than not. And that was what I did here. But this is a story that deserves to be told, and not just because the writer is so talented (her debut novel is being published later this year!), but because this is a beautiful, thoughtful and very personal story. So I owe her a big apology for waiting this long.

I became a Christian when I was fifteen years old.

My sister had converted when she married a Christian, and that summer she invited me to a Bible study with her where the pastor stuck me on the hot seat and started reciting my life verbatim.

You see, I didn't realize at the time, but my sister had told Pastor Matt everything about our family, from my drug-addicted father to our gay moms to my self-esteem issues -- and he hit on every single point. It wasn't hard to convince me after that skillful playing of my unwitting heartstrings that Jesus would help me deal with my pubescent angst.

What I wanted most was a father and acceptance, and he offered both of those things. At least that's what I thought.

For years later, people would come up and congratulate me on finding Christ in spite of such a background.

My parents divorced when I was two. I grew up in abject poverty with a bisexual mother who was mostly involved with women for about 12 years of my early life, including the woman who brought my sister and brothers to our little family.

Growing up we had next to nothing, and I estimate that I have spent at least seven years of my life without having access to a real toilet or shower at home. We were also forced to move many times -- in my twenty-seven years, I have lived in over thirty-five homes, fifteen cities, eight states, and three countries.

In spite of the financial hardship, I had a loving and joyful childhood surrounded by the GLBTQ community. I had heaps of aunties running around rural Alaska who adored me, and later in Portland my favorite neighbors were a gay couple I loved. They had a Mexican hairless dog and a pot-bellied pig called Veronica, and they always welcomed me when I’d ride by on my bike.

When we left Alaska for Oregon, my mom sang in the Portland Lesbian Choir and took me to Pride each year. And Nee-Nee (as I called her) was another mother to me, often more emotionally stable than my own mom. On my wedding day this year I made sure to call Neeshonee. She was instrumental in my upbringing and taught me to respect the earth, to honor myself, and to create things with my hands. She is a beautiful woman, and I am a better person for her having been a part of my life.

But of course, my new church considered most of my upbringing sinful.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

I Guess I'm a Derby Girl Now

17:38 Posted by Ali , , No comments
It's hard to know where to start when talking about roller derby. So let's start with my first time on skates.

Wheels, wat r u doin. Wheels, stahp.
No, before that.

Last year, I went to watch my first roller derby bout. Dasia explained the rules to me - and I mapped them onto Quidditch rules so that I could understand them* - and told me which team to cheer for, and I was hooked.

And I decided immediately that I would never ever be as cool as derby girls.

Shortly after I watched my second bout, the Jo'burg league put out a call for new skaters, and I decided, cool or not (hint: not) that I was just going to have to give it a try.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Same Old Penguin

18:14 Posted by Ali , , , 3 comments
Long time no blog! I have some excuses, which largely focus on being tired and busy and boring.

These excuses are also boring.

Fortunately, everything is different now! I'm still pretty tired and fairly busy and often boring, but differently so. And thus generally happier.

Here is Big Change #1.

Remember how I look like this?

Well, I still do. Exactly the same. Nothing new to see here.

Penguinhead. In worse lighting.
Ok fine, with one small difference.

After just over three years, I decided it was time to say goodbye to my dreads. I always said I'd keep them until they just didn't feel like me any more, and I finally reached that point within the last few weeks.

Which is not to say we didn't look fabulous together - here seen trying to convincing Dave to pose like Rocky.