Friday, April 11, 2014

Book review: Redefining Realness

Redefining Realness by Janet Mock

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads! Holy long description! I cut it down a bit for this post.

In 2011, Marie Clairemagazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she publicly stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Since then, Mock has gone from covering the red carpet for People.com to advocating for all those who live within the shadows of society. Redefining Realness offers a bold new perspective on being young, multiracial, economically challenged, and transgender in America.

Welcomed into the world as her parents’ firstborn son, Mock set out early on to be her own person—no simple feat for a young person like herself. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving, yet ill-equipped family that lacked money, education, and resources. Mock had to navigate her way through her teen years without parental guidance but luckily with a few close friends and mentors she overcame extremely daunting hurdles.

This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from her early gender conviction to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that found her transitioning through the halls of her school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. Ever resilient, Mock emerged with a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned her masters degree, basked in the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past.


I first heard of Janet Mock after she had gone on Piers Morgan's show. An actress I follow on Twitter, Laverne Cox, tweeted/retweeted a couple times about how Janet had not been treated well on Piers' show. She later went back on his show and explained why she felt she had been mistreated

I didn't watch the interviews at that time, though I have since, but I began following Mock on Twitter. She was publicizing her new book, and I put it on hold at the library.

The transgender community is a marginalized population in the US, and I was eager to read about Mock's experience being a trans woman in America. I went in to reading this book with a base outsider's knowledge about what it means to be trans person, but I don't think you need to have much background knowledge to understand or enjoy Mock's memoir.

Overall, I thought Redefining Realness was incredibly brave. Mock reveals parts of her life that, before she began writing, she had never told even those closest to her. The book takes the reader from when Mock was a very young child figuring out that she didn't identify with the body she had and gender she'd been assigned, through her transition with her family and friends, when she told them she identified as female and asked to be called Janet, through to when she, as a young adult, fell in love with a man and had what must have been some really difficult conversations with him.

The book isn't hard to read, but it's hard to read -- you know? Her struggles and pain are clear throughout the book, and I found myself rooting for her throughout it all.

I gave Redefining Realness four stars -- mostly for her bravery in telling her story and for knowing what a difference it could make in the life of someone facing similar challenges.

Have any of you read Redefining Realness? What did you think?







PS. As always, I trust my regular readers to post only thoughtful comments. If I see anything hateful in the comments, I will delete it.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ten reasons my dad is super awesome

Today is my Dad's birthday! Since it's April 10th, I decided to tell you all 10 things I love about my dad.

ONE. He's the world's best texter.



(Those are from two different half marathons -- he made it to my first but couldn't be at my second)

TWO. He reads my blog! Since he's not really my target audience (my blog tends to mostly resonate with women in their 20s-ish), I love that he still reads it!

THREE. My dad is not a beach guy. But when I was growing up, we trekked 21 hours in a mini van every summer to visit my extended family and the beach. My dad made it through every sandy day and every heat wave, because he knew the rest of us loved it and because he loves us.

FOUR. He eats anything I'll bake. Even when I mess it up. Even the burned chocolate chip cookies. (Especially the burned chocolate chip cookies.)

FIVE. He has always been the goofiest dad. I mean. Just look.

SIX. We have always joked that my dad turns into a pumpkin at about 9:00 -- he has always had super demanding, physical jobs, so he conks out at night and goes to bed early. But recently, when Pat and I were home, my dad stayed up till TWO IN THE MORNING playing card games with us. If that's not love, I don't know what it is.

SEVEN. Speaking of Pat, my dad and Pat get along so well. And isn't that just the best? When I graduated undergrad, they shared a lemonade at my graduation ceremony. I like to think it has bonded them for life.

EIGHT. He is the keeper of the pets. Ever since I was in preschool, my dad has been the one to bring home and take care of all our pets. That time, it was a bird. He hid the bird's cage under a sheet and made me and my older sister guess what it was. When I was a little bit older, it was a bunny he won for me at the county fair. In between, before, and after there have been (approximately) seven dogs, three hamsters, another bird, some chicks, some turtles, some lizards, a million fish, a bunch of aquatic frogs and newts, and one kitty.

NINE. When I was in a play in high school, I volunteered to host the cast party after our last performance. I don't remember whose idea it was, but me and my dad built a fire pit in the side of our yard. We collected giant rocks and made a ring and he found an old knocked-down telephone pole or something and dragged it over using his truck and now we have the coolest fire pit ever. He also builds us awesome fires almost every time I'm home.

TEN. He takes and sends me awesome selfies


 HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!! I hope it's great!



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Facing your problems

Hey friends!

Today is the second week of the 30 Topics link up! If you missed it last week...

My blogging bff Tamara is hosting a thought provoking link up for the next forever -- 30 topics in 30 weeks, inspired by these two articles about things to do for yourself and things to stop doing to yourself. Because I know everything Tam does is awesome, I decided to participate.

Lehmann Laughter

And today's topic is based on the first two pieces of advice:

Stop running from your problems and start facing your problems head on.

I tend to put off some of the difficult things.

Sometimes, I don't think I can help it. Anxiety is a beast, and sometimes I don't have it in me to do things. So I procrastinate and push stuff off another day another day a n o t h e r d a y.

But mostly, I find that when I do finally do that thing I don't want to do, there is relief. There is closure. There is the feeling that even if I didn't do the thing perfectly, or even to the best of my ability, the thing is done and it's not a rain cloud over my head anymore.

Sometimes, I just have to remind myself that I'm doing the best with what I have and giving what I have to give.


OTHER TIMES. Other times I wish I could get my problems over with. Like this whole finding-a-job thing. Wouldn't it be great if I could find a dream job and have it already lined up, I don't know, like yesterday? So that is one problem I would LOVE to face head on. But it's filling a water bottle from a  from a leaky faucet with a slow drip and I'm getting there with each little drop. Someday. Someday. Someday.


I think life would maybe be easier if I could face everything head on. Get it done now. But as a human who requires a lot of time to think and to process, I am not sure I would be happy in that world, a world where I don't take the time to consider my solution and act on it before coming up with alternatives.

Are you a slow processor? Do you face your problems head on?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Who do you spend your time with?

Hello, friends!

How's your Wednesday going? I'm happy to be halfway through the week that Pat comes home! He's my favorite human to spend time with :)

Which is a GREAT transition to today's post. My blogging bff Tamara is hosting a thought provoking link up for the next forever -- 30 topics in 30 weeks, inspired by these two articles about things to do for yourself and things to stop doing to yourself. Because I know everything Tam does is awesome, I decided to participate.

Lehmann Laughter

And today's topic is based on the first two pieces of advice:

Stop spending time with the wrong people and start spending time with the right people.

This topic is actually quite timely for me, as I am trying to sort through some friend feelings right now. And feelings are the worst.

Over the years, I've had a few friendships that aren't so great for a little while. One of us does something to hurt the other's feelings, or one of us drops off the face of the earth for a long time. Sometimes I'm the bad guy in these scenarios, and sometimes I'm not. But, mostly, we've always gone back. There has almost always been a final push to say, hey, you're really important to me, and I want you in my life. And then we've rebuilt a healthier relationship.

So currently, I'm struggling with a friend. And it has been probably about two years of not-great friendship. But recently I took some steps to repair it. (based on the logic that someday, I'm going to get married, and I always pictured this person at my wedding. maybe dramatic, but it pushed me to pick up the phone.)

Already, though, I'm feeling anxious about this relationship. You know that cheesy saying, don't make someone a priority when you're only an option to them? I have always kind of rolled my eyes at that one, but it's pertinent to this situation, I think. I have felt like an option for so long. A back up plan. I don't want to just be an option anymore. Because that's not how I operate, and it hurts when someone treats me like that.

So how do you know when to cut the cord? When to wash your hands of someone and move on?

The inspiration article says, "Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot. Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth."

I hate the idea of giving up on someone. I love people, and I still love this friend. But trying to force a relationship when it makes me feel crappy and anxious? I don't want that either.

What do you do when both the relationship and the idea of giving up make you feel bad?


I don't really know where I'm going with this. This whole post is probably vague and obnoxious. But I guess I'm curious --

Have you all ever had a friend who made your heart hurt, but you couldn't let them go, either? What did you do?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Do A(n easy) Good Thing for Sick Children

Hellloooooo everyone!

Remember a while back when I raised money for Children's Miracle Network through KU Dance Marathon?


(If you don't remember, a quick recap: last semester, I started advising a student group called KU Dance Marathon. These crazy passionate, hardworking, loving students work year-round to raise money that goes to sick kiddos in our local Children's Miracle Network hospital.)

I'm still working with KUDM, and we currently have a SUPER EASY, quick way to help out!


A local apartment complex is donating $1000 to the student group who gets the most likes on their picture. If you have a facebook, please consider going and liking KUDM's picture HERE. It'll take you three seconds. Maybe seven if you have to log in. But it could make a huge difference in the life of a struggling little one and their family.


(Yes, I'm trying to guilt you into this.)

If you really want to help, please also consider sharing the picture! The more likes, the better chance we have at helping more kids.


Like the picture here!


Questions? Check out KUDM's website or let me know!

Thanks, loves! FTK!


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