I’m proposing a new practice. I’m going to try to remember to start referring to the person I’m married to as my spouse, rather than my husband.

The only thing that separates heterosexual marriage from homosexual marriage is the terminology.

If you have a man married to a woman, she is his wife. But if you have a woman married to a woman, she is also her wife. This marks the woman saying that as “other”. It marks her marriage as different.

You know she is married by the fact that she is wearing a wedding ring. But you don’t know that she is gay until she talks about her wife.

I’m for removing that barrier and that difference.

I propose using gender-neutral terms to indicate the person you are married too. “Spouse” and “partner” both work.

This is my way of indicating solidarity with homosexual couples. We are the same, after all.

Marriage is hard enough without social stigma.

Just a pinch.

What is it about doctors who say that “This is just going to be a little pinch”? It never is a pinch. Sometimes it is more like a punch.

Perhaps they think that if they warn you, you’ll tense up and it will hurt more. Perhaps they don’t know what that procedure feels like for themselves. Perhaps they just aren’t thinking at all.

I remember when my father in law went for a bone marrow test. My Mom had been through the same procedure many years earlier and I remembered how it was for her. I asked him if he wanted to know and he said yes. I told him that it was not going to be “a little pinch”. It was going to feel like a mule had kicked him in the hip.

A bone marrow test is like a core sample of your hip. They put a huge needle straight into your hip bone with only topical anesthesia. It is an in-office procedure. It is done if they think cancer has spread to your bone marrow.

He sat with that knowledge for a bit. He didn’t quite believe me, but he trusted that I would have no reason to exaggerate or lie to him. After the procedure he said that he was grateful that I had told him. Otherwise he said he might have punched the doctor because the pain was so surprising.

I had an experience recently that wasn’t as physically painful but it was still upsetting. I’d gone to the dentist because my night guard had broken. I wear it because I have TMJ. They had changed the way that they make them and the assistant had to make an impression of my teeth.

The only problem was that it has been a long time since I’ve had an impression done and I’d forgotten. The last time was at least 30 years ago when I got braces.

She made the mold, asked me to open my mouth, and then put it in. She asked me to move my tongue and then she put her fingers on the mold to hold it in place. And then she stood there, like that, with her fingers in my mouth, for probably five minutes.

I couldn’t ask how long it would be. I couldn’t ask anything. I was a little freaked out.

It is very intimate to have someone’s fingers in your mouth, especially a stranger. It is very overwhelming if you have sensory processing disorder. I don’t have a strong case of it, but it is still there.

Now when I normally go to the dentist, I know what to expect. I know how to prepare myself mentally. I kind of go away in my head. It works. But this was new to me, and I didn’t know what to expect. Nor did she think to tell me. It was routine for her. It wasn’t routine for me at all.

The feeling of the mold in my mouth was a little much. It took up a lot of space in my mouth. Fortunately the smell of the material was a bit like Fruit Loops. That helped a lot. But still, I had a stranger’s fingers in my mouth for a lot longer than I’d expected, which was not at all.

I don’t know why she didn’t tell me what was going to happen. It seems logical to prepare people.

My chiropractor told me exactly what to expect when he was going to adjust my hips for the first time, and again when he was going to adjust my neck. I’m grateful for it. He told me that he does that because he remembers when he was adjusted for the first time when he was eight. He said that the first time his neck was adjusted he cried, and he doesn’t want anyone to have to go through that trauma. He’s very considerate, and that is part of why I continue to go to him.

I have a dream that all doctors will understand what life is like from the perspective of the patient, and stop seeing us as products, but people.

Feeling lonely can be helpful.

“The first to help you up are the ones who know how it feels to fall down” – from the website “Soul Gazing”.

I often feel alone. I often feel as if I am by myself. Sometimes I really am by myself.

Sometimes I’m in a group of people and when we choose places to sit it turns out that there are three to a table and end I’m one to a table. It hurts. I didn’t choose to sit alone, but I am. It is like I lost at “musical chairs”.

Sometimes I overshare, and I’m a little hard to deal with. Sometimes being my full expression of myself is a bit too much for people. Sometimes that means I get excluded.

I’m starting to understand I’ve been made this way, this being different, this being separate. Because I’m different and separate, I can understand others who are different and separate.

It’s empathy, not sympathy.

Because I understand their exclusion I can include them.

I’ve come to realize that what I have to bring to the world requires that feeling, that sense of alone-ness, of alienation. That way I can “see” others who are also alone, and make a bridge.

It doesn’t make it easier, really. It is still hard. I’d love to feel like I was understood, that people “got” me.

I’m starting to feel that we all have that feeling every now and then. I’m starting to feel that many of us who are “in” are just faking it.

I’m tired of faking it. I’m tired of hiding who I am. I’m tired of conforming. The more I try to fit into someone else’s box, the more I stunt my own growth.

I think that when I’m honestly myself, my true self, I give other people the permission to be themselves too. It is my experiences of alienation and exclusion that have taught me this.

I could have felt forced to comply, to submit, to blend in. Instead, I’m going the other direction – and calling others to join me.

Burial chamber

I was looking at the “Lakeland Cam” website today and came across this picture.

14051318carn_llidi (1)

The author describes it as “burial chamber”. He is in Pembrokeshire, Wales. On the picture’s metadata, it is labeled as Carn Llidi.

I know, in my heart, that it isn’t a burial chamber, in the sense that we mean it. Sure, there are burials there. But not in a physical sense. There are no bodies there.

It is a place for shedding off skin, like a snake. It is a place of building a cocoon if you are a caterpillar. But the snakes and the caterpillars are human, in this case.

These are deaths, sure. These are most certainly deaths, but also rebirths. These are transformations from one state to another. This is a place where people go to become human, to evolve.

It is a place to let go of old selves. It is a place to smooth off the rough bits.

It is a shelter and yet a danger. Look how it is a lean-to. If you sit under it, you’ll be protected from the sun and the rain, but you can still see and hear. You aren’t sheltered like you are if you go into a cave. But it is also a danger. Look at the size of that top rock, and how small that supporting rock is. There is a risk of death there. The rocks could shift and it is all over.

The same is true with transformation. It isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always good. Sometimes bad things happen when we go from one thing to another. Sometimes it isn’t how we planned it would be.

We transform all the time. We transform when we graduate from high school or college. We transform when we marry, have children, get that promotion. We transform when we publish a book or start a band or a business. We transform when we retire. We transform when we die.

There are often ceremonies and rituals for these transformations, these gateways. There are often special places we go to mark them.

This is one of those places.

So sure, it is a burial chamber. But it is also a nursery. It is a place to lay down the old self and pick up the new self. And there is just enough room in there for you. You bury yourself, and midwife yourself here too.