Marissa Explains it All #40 – The Moment After – A Short Story/Recollection

This isn’t a blog, and yet it is. It’s an in-the-moment recollection of the worst night of my life.

TW: Graphic detail, sexual assault

The scent of damp bodily function wafted through the pitch dark room. Slow, heavy breaths scored the otherwise oppressive silence. The clenching fingers at war with the downy threads raging against each other, a single bead of sweat dropped down a glistening, furrowed brow. Breathing, unlike other instantly previous actions, was minimally consensual.

Nervous metatarsils gripped the cold, wooden panels forming the pathway of momentary escape. The racing thoughts conversed with the methodical, deliberate pace with which reprieve was gained. Solace found only in the hidden comfort of solitude, presence regained its autonomy after the ultimate yet temporary betrayal.

Being alone was figurative, as the violator remained immediately above the present state of the stripped. The past force exerted to gain physical superiority continued to press firmly into the crushed veins and nerves of exacerbated vulnerability. Muse’s cruel inspiration dripped through the ethereal blackness, much like the foreign wetness invading the chambers of once-held peace. In silence, there cannot be a calm that washes away those drops of unforgivable malice.

Eyes eventually close, parting bittersweetly with the shock-induced numbness before trauma truly sets in the system. A subconscious reprieve was the only savior from the uncaring hand of reality reinstating its monarchy over the peasant of cope. But, like all monarchs, long shall they live, cruel shall they reign.

But not tonight.

 

 

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Marissa Explains It All #36 – Defaulting to Apathy

Written One Year Ago: July 25th, 2016.

Put your political allegiance and ideology aside for a few minutes here, before you read what I’m about to say. It’s easy to blame the media and government for what happens, but I want you to consider an alternate explanation for something that’s going on right now.

There are just a lot of people in this country who love to bitch. They love to bitch about what’s not happening, what’s not getting done, and what’s not going right. But they’re also the ones who bitch about anything that anyone does in order to help things go right, to fix an issue, to try to get something done. No matter what it is or who says it, they call everyone who thinks about it an idiot and criticize any idea proposed and anyone who tries to propose them.

The default position in this country is not right or left, it’s stagnation. It’s not liberal or conservative, it’s willful ignorance. It’s celebrating the lack of not having any attachment or taking a stand on anything, and thus equating the act of not participating to the right to bitch and complain about everything, somehow believing that is the hard position to take.

It’s not. Not taking a stand or commitment to any stance, any ideology, any event, any controversy, is the easy way out. It’s the way to not have to think about things. It’s the way to complain about things without having an alternate solution, or being called on for one, for that matter. We celebrate ignorance in this society, from an education perspective as well as an awareness one. You’re too political if you care about something going on, you’re shaming, ranting, sharing propaganda, influenced by the media, sheeple, a libtard, Republitard, or any other ableist name that makes people think they’re being clever and original, all the while using deflecting tactics to avoid having a thought.

I’d rather have a conversation with someone closed-minded who commits to an opinion than an open-minded person who takes a stance on nothing. For all the complaining we get about the oligarchy, political stagnation, the two-party system, crumbling infrastructure, or anything else that we use to blame government as if it’s a big fuck-all building with people in monocles twisting their mustache and guffawing. And the people who complain about their inefficiency are also convinced that they’re responsible for making every tragic event in this country a conspiracy cover-up, or saying that it’s distracting us from what’s really going on. They can’t do anything right, except orchestrate mass cover-ups and diversionary tactics that everyone but them believes. That makes sense.

On top of that, anyone who comes along who wants to do something about the system is derided, called a wasted vote, not taken seriously, and not given any chance to have a snowball’s chance in hell in the general, and anyone who opts for those who are trying to change the system are derided for equating the support of an independent, a Libertarian, a Green, a Whig, a Free Soil, a Know-Nothing, a Communist, a Socialist, a Pikachu, an Abnegation, a Hufflepuff, a Mystic, a Gamma, an Ajah, a Prole, a Blue Meanie, a Goonie, a Thuggee, a Greaser, a Na’Vi, a Fire Bender, a Morelock, a Rohirrim, a Hooman, a Brotherhood without Banners, a Democratic Republican, a Republican Democrat, a Crystal Gem, a Vox Populi, a Scav, or even Vermin Supreme who might just be insane enough to challenge President Whitmore on the next ticket because hello boys I’m back and all, are tossed aside before the election even begins, given no platform or opportunity, because a majority of people who claim to be dissatisfied with the system and hate everyone also are against anything that changes the status quo. After all, that’s easier, requires less effort, and has less uncertainty. Who knows what you might get from a Morelock, they’re crazy man, and without Team Red or Team Blue to choose, how would you identify yourself and save face at that thing where people congregate and discuss stuff?

So don’t tell those who are trying something different to shut up and go away, or to just vote for your person because you fear the other, as if only two people are running for President or should even be considered. Give them a voice, give them a chance, and put them in the debates and on the tickets so they’re not just a strange name no one’s ever heard when you reach the booth. And don’t write them and their supporters off the minute you hear about them because you fear the big fuck-all candidate, whoever that may be at the time. Voting out of fear seldom leads to anything good.

Remember, the person considered the best president in our country’s history was running from a party that had only been formed four years prior, against three candidates resulting from other split parties over a tremendous issue, and he won with 39 percent of the vote. I’d say Mr. Lincoln turned out all right for this country.

If all we do is complain, but keep electing the same people that have a 9-percent approval rating and do nothing of consequence to change the system everyone hates, then we need to stop pretending that not doing anything gives us full, criticism-free platforms from which to bitch and moan all the time. Just like a coach or an unpopular foreign group, government and media are consolidated into a big thing that we just like to yell about, and if that’s all we’re going to do, at least be honest about it. “I don’t like the way things are, but if I try to change it, I might have to find something new to bitch about, so I’ll pick the lesser of two evils, whomever that may be, because that’s better than actually thinking and taking action. And more fun.”

There’s so much bullshit and hyperbole in politics that selling it on a four-year cycle of elections gets ratings and media profits through the roof. They’re not the ones who created it, they’re the farmer filling the trough because it’s empty every day and it somehow remains a bottomless pit. If scaring the shit out of people and pitting them against each other was ever unprofitable, it wouldn’t dominate every second of media because that’s not how businesses work. If people truly didn’t get a smug satisfaction and sense of Schadenfreude out of it, it wouldn’t exist. It’s only a reflection of what the consumers want, and election rhetoric from the major political parties is a mirror of the times as well.

If you don’t like it, let’s start doing things to change the system and challenge people to step up. Or, at the very least, stop casting aside those who do. It doesn’t make you superior to not care or pretend that you’re above it all, so stop acting like it does, and stop giving credence to people who do nothing but complain no matter what happens. The Undecideds aren’t the noble among us, carefully weighing every single platform until the last second, because anyone who doesn’t commit to anything or can’t make up their mind doesn’t get the privilege of calling everyone else a sheeple. Sorry.

Marissa Explains it All #33 – Outside Looking In

I’ve been on several podcasts in the last week discussing Mormonism with Bryce Blankenagel and Molly Un-Mormon on both Doubting Dogma and Inciting Incident. It’s been culture shock to say the least, even in what I’ve already heard about what it’s like. The fact that there’s this insular “world within a world” that is barely, if at all, known outside of a certain part of the country is endlessly fascinating to me.

But when the fascination subsides, all that’s left is anger and disbelief. There’s such incredulity between the worlds that how horrific some of these things are often slips through the cracks. Something that is horrifying to me when I hear about it from the first time is almost shrugged off with a “that’s just what we grew up with,” and I get it on some level. I’m sure there’s no aspect of anyone’s life that they grew up with that wouldn’t be somewhat horrifying in another part of the country to someone else.

But then, I still can’t process the church’s welfare system, even within the context of American Christianity. At least when I grew up, I wasn’t a part of the church, but from what I could see, when they did charity work, it was… you know… charity. I think that Jesus guy was fond of that. Maybe there’s the invisible other side of it like in this situation, but hearing these new stories from a different place is incredible.

What I’ve been told, and verified from those who were there, is that the Mormon church brags about their charity work as being among the highest. But there’s attachments to it that I didn’t realize. Molly’s story told about someone who needed assistance, and they had to sit down with a (likely affluent) bishop with their entire finances, have it gone over with a microscope, and then beg their families for help first. The ten percent tithing they’re required to pay is supposed to go to exactly this, but they have this first gatekeeping block to it.

Then, if they still need to take food to feed their families, that they, you know, paid for with their tithing… they are suggested to work for what the food costs in free labor at the cannery. And, once again, still pay their ten percent tithing.

Doesn’t that come out to charity net zero?

This church has enough money to make prosperity pastors blush, and politically influence things like prop 8. Yet, they can’t afford to not make people pay their ten percent that they’re making people work off for free to do something crazy like feed their families in a time of need, which is supposed to, again, be what tithing is for?!

How the hell is this not indentured servitude?

But it’s legal because “religion.” Or right above in Idaho, where treatable illnesses in children are given prayer instead of medicine, and what would be negligence anywhere else is dismissed with “sincerely-held religious beliefs.” 

So these places take ten percent off the top of their members to help the charity work, that they make those in need pay for anyway, and pay no taxes but are able to buy off and influence public law and opinion? 

How in the everloving radiant flying rhinoceros FUCK is this anything but bullshit?! 

It’s true, I’m not used to it. It’s true, I didn’t grow up with it. It’s true, I’m on the outside looking in, both in terms of proximity and philosophy. However, isn’t there a point when respecting beliefs is overridden by the lack of relativity for absolute profit-driven shitcannery?!

Anthropology teaches that they want to get you as close to cultural relativism, as opposed to xenophobia, but that no one can ever be completely relativist, because that would be to have no personal agency or values at all. 

I think I found the place where I’m willing to say, “I don’t care if that’s their religion or culture or belief, that is fucking stupid.”

Inciting Incident Blog #17 – Things Won’t Change, Right? Oh Wait, They Totally Did!

Aiden, bright, coming out, CURRENT EVENTS, gender identity, giddy, journey, LGBT, LGBT marriage, Marissa Alexa McCool, married life, mtf, optimistic, Rissy Monster, sexuality, trans, transgender

Source: Inciting Incident Blog #17 – Things Won’t Change, Right? Oh Wait, They Totally Did!

Inciting Incident Blog #16 – Prone

I probably don’t even need to add anything to that word for you to know what I mean. Especially being a person of the LGBT community, we know to what it connects.For the last four years, I’ve attended a university with a suicide epidemic. Last count, I believe, was 13 kids have commited suicide at our University since 2013, when I started attending. There are those who argue that comparatively, this is not a large number of people, given the size of our campus. I would say to those people that one person committing suicide is too many.

Yeah, this post isn’t going to be friendly to the apologetics crowd.

The suicide rate, as well as rates for depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior has shown to be higher among those of the LGBT community. This, unfortunately, gives people like Milo and Pastor Carl all the evidence they need to throw at us, to tell us how wrong we are. It’s obviously happening because we know we’re wrong with God, so that’s why we end up so depressed, right?

Fuck you, Carl. Both of you.

I went on a rant about this on the episode of God Awful Movies (#73) on which I was a guest, but it needs to be said; more often, louder, and directly at those who use this as fodder to bully LGBT kids at universities.

Maybe those kids get depressed because people like you advocate for their bullying. Maybe those kids get depressed because you’re in their face, constantly using your so-called loving God to threaten them with lakes of fire and hatred. Maybe those kids are constantly looking over their shoulder because you elected a narcisstic fuckwit who has emboldened those with hatred in their hearts, and has given those people the idea that consequence-free hate speech is and should be a thing.

I go to a school that has trans-inclusive healthcare, an LGBT Center, and an entire system that allowed me to change my name simply by identifying as transgender, but do not think for a solitary second that I’ve taken that for granted. I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve read my email inbox. I know how many people can’t even be themselves in their own home, let alone at school, or anywhere else. Somehow, even with bullying being demonized and preached against, when it comes to us, it’s given a free-pass… or at least it’s treated less seriously.

Back when I was a kid, and people wrongfully assumed that I was gay, I was tortured. TORTURED. on a daily basis. Rarely did anyone even stop to lend a hand, let alone step in to help or do something about it. The school wrote me off as a misanthropic fuck-up, and those who perpetrated my daily hazing only got more emboldened as they saw no consequence whatsoever for their behavior.

16 years later, I watch as even on a “liberal Ivy League safe-space loving LGBT-supporting campus,” for the most part I just deal with the long, awkward stares and the jokes under their breath of which they think I’m unaware. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great circle of friends there and I wouldn’t trade them for anything, but even if I know 25 people, that’s less than one percent of the student body. That may go up with an article being published in the Daily Pennsylvanian about my book, but the bottom line is that even some of the most open-minded people don’t get what transgender is, don’t care to, and/or leave that out of their “love trumps hate” platform.

That’s what people like Milo love to exploit: Set people against each other and pick on what is perceived as the most vulnerable among us.

And when people stand up to him, he cancels his appearance and blames protestors, because he’d rather pretend to be a victim than face someone he can’t destroy with his words. He runs a segment called “How to Spot a Tranny” but if people protest him, it hurts his feelings. He puts targets on the back of vulnerable young kids, and our President wants to remove Federal funding for people who don’t want this hate speech on their campus.

This is what it’s come to. Our President hires people who deliver hate speech, supports people who spout it and put vulnerable kids in danger, and then complain when others stand up for them.

Because bullies love nothing more than someone different and weak going home and crying. Or worse, committing suicide.

As Pastor Carl said, “those kids killed themselves because they were ashamed.” When you can use the statistics of a suicide rate on campus to justify pointing out the queer kids so that you can threaten them, bully them into suicide, or break their heart, that is the behavior that’s being endorsed by the President of the United States. Quick though, better allow us to be discriminated against because of “sincerely-held religious beliefs.” Wouldn’t want our existence to interfere with someone’s bigotry.

Can I discriminate against someone being a dick? At my old retail job, can I refuse to serve someone because I don’t like their attitude? That’s against my religion for the sake of this argument. Treating people that serve you as if they’re below you, that’s against my sincerely-held religious belief that you should go fuck yourself, so are we allowed to refuse service based on our religious belief? Or are you only allowed to discriminate against queers? And is it only allowed to be under one religion? You know, the persecuted one that now has almost blanket representation in our country… again.

So I’m sorry if I’ve been yelling about this too much, but at the same time, I need to keep doing so before this becomes normalized again, because I refuse to go back to immediate post-9/11 conservative times where anyone who wasn’t a mindless straight Christian patriot was demonized and called un-American. I thought we were over that bullshit.

But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that anytime we truly believe we’ve found the bottom as to how low these people will stoop, they find the trap door button and prove us wrong yet again. Congratulations, fuckwits, you did it once more!

Inciting Incident Blog #14 – You Know Who I Am?

Sometimes people think I’m saying something like that to be funny, or self-depricating.

I’m really not.

I’m legitimately surprised every time someone knows who I am, let alone that they liked a thing I do. It’s not that I have low self-esteem or anything; it’s that most of my life, few people have known or been worried about anything I was doing.

This is new to me. I got beat up daily for looking too gay back in school. I was sent to the principal’s constantly for standing up for myself or wearing makeup because it was a distraction. My parents still see me as the black sheep screw-up that I was as a teenager, despite being about to graduate from Penn with three degrees with honors.

I’m really not used to this.

This weekend in Chicago, I was so nervous to meet the people I see as heroes, the people who spoke to me through their podcasts and helped me come out of my shell. The voices that brought me to the point of telling Pastor Carl and Donald Trump to go fuck themselves in public were in the same place I was going to be. I expected to be a mere one of many, waiting in line to say a few things, and then move on and return to my own planet Ris, being oblivious and frolicking around inside my own head.

That’s not what happened.

First, everyone from the show was beyond the level of nice that I could’ve ever expected, even after having spoken to most of them at that point. Lucinda and I are even new besties, but my husband still had to coach me up as we were about to walk in to the VIP meetup because I was genuinely that nervous.

The first person not directly from the show to approach me was Anna, Eli’s wife. She complimented my recent appearance on God Awful Movies, and she’s married to the funniest person I’ve ever met. I still don’t know how to process this level of niceness. I’m amazed any of them listened to something I was on, but then as the night went on, there were others who heard my appearance and started listening to the show. There were people who had either read my book or were going to. I didn’t expect people I’d never spoken to before to come up and say, “Are you Marissa?” I walk through my campus not expecting anyone to talk to me, and for the majority of that four years, it’s been true. I’m not used to being seen.

The best part was Noah telling me how much positive feedback they received about my appearance. Hanging out with my contemporaries in such fashion was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. But when I say that I’m amazed that people have been so nice to me, it’s not because I think lowly of myself. When I’m surprised that people follow our podcast, it’s not because I’m not proud of it.

I’ve been writing and producing content for more than half my life. The biggest difference between me now and four years ago when I was trying the YouTubes? I wasn’t saying anything, and it wasn’t me saying it. Anyone can punch low at commercials. Once I came out and started speaking on relevant issues instead of just wanting people to like me, remaining as neutral and passive as possible, it’s amazingly when people started to like me beyond, “oh, she’s nice.”

So trust me when I say, I’m flattered and humbled by all the kind words, gestures, and support I’ve been given recently. Most of my life I was either in hiding or being shamed for who I was. Now I’m not only being supported for who I am, but it’s being encouraged, protected, and I’m receiving opportunities I never thought I’d get in a million years. Being invited on podcasts, making appearances, having a name that someone knows beyond my inner circle… This is all new and unexpected to me, and it never stops surprising me.

With that said, I’m going to answer a few questions I’ve gotten recently…

Will I come on your podcast? Abso-fucking-lutely.

Does it matter if only five people follow it? Nope.

Will you make an appearance/do a thing/talk to this person? You bet!

I want to do all the things, because for so long, I was in a place where I couldn’t reach out to anyone or be myself. I’m not about to ever do that to someone, anyone else. But don’t be surprised if I’m amazed that you saw me here at all. I’m not used to it!

Inciting Incident #12 – If You Don’t X, You Have a Girlfriend

I remember a few years ago, there was a meme being passed around. It had a typical redneck-looking guy with a beard and a shotgun (or some other kind of long murderstick, I don’t know the difference), and it said: Ladies, if your man can’t fire one of these, you have a girlfriend.

There’s another one which shows a guy in a hipster beard, and it says: If you have this beard but can’t change a tire… Shave.

Change out any pseudo-masculinity dickmeasuring cock substitute definition for manliness, and I’m sure you get the drift.

This is the kind of shit that makes me glad I don’t have to pretend to be cis or straight anymore.

Inherently on the surface, it seems harmless, right? Tough guy stuff means gotta step up and be tough and manly and rugged, lest ye be considered weak. But unpack that for a second: What that meme is saying is, if you don’t do this socialized masculine gender stereotype, you’re the opposite of a man in a way that associates you with the negative countertype, feminine. And that, of course, is the enemy of strength, courage, honor, and any other cliche that comes from firing loud things or having facial hair.

Sometimes people question the things I say about toxic masculinity, and I think it’s because they’re so used to seeing it that it doesn’t phase them anymore. Every society and civilization has had some form of a rite of passage for its male members, but at this point in time, this country is made up of such a diverse range of identites, interests, and personalities. This is a social equivalent of hating someone for liking Game of Thrones or NFL Sundays; it’s fucking insulting. “You don’t like the thing I see as manly, therefore you’re invalid.”

The first time I saw the gun one, I was still questioning. The meme was shared by someone who not only knew about me, but was rather supportive as well. I picked out the inherent flaw in that argument, especially pointing out that it indicated that having a girlfriend might be a bad thing. The response missed the point, something along the lines of “oh, but you know how to handle a sword. It should really mean handle any weapon.”

That’s not the point, and it never was. The point is that this competitive masculinity reaching the point of being the polar opposite if you don’t fit a certain narrow criteria of one particular set of society somehow renders you invalid, and that’s harmful on so many levels, even excluding the boutique transpeople like myself.

Even when I wasn’t questioning my gender, actively anyway, I never gave a shit about hunting, fishing, and most outdoorsy stuff. Despite being raised in an area where people get the Monday off after Thanksgiving to go hunting, it never interested me in the slightest. I was more interested in books and baseball. Yet if I’d ever worn my Albert Belle jersey out to the range and said, “ladies, if your man can’t swing a piece of lumber like my guy Belle here, you have a girlfriend,” I doubt I’d have left the range in one piece. Yet doing it the other way around for a niche section of society is perfectly valid because of where they live and who they know.

And that’s precisely why this bullshit has to stop.

This is what leads so many people to be afraid all the time. When they don’t fit in with the norms of people around them, they feel like they can either lie, hide, or risk alienation or worse. That’s no way for someone to live, and that kind of bullshit societal pressure needs to stop. Like what you like, and if other people do things that aren’t that “manly” thing you like, leave them the fuck alone.

If you’re really so insecure about your masculinity that you have to declare anyone else feminine and invalid, I seriously doubt the others are going to flock to you saying, “Oh, shoot this thing? That’s all I had to do to be valid to you? Gee thanks buddy, now we’re best friends and I’m super manly, ya wanna go skateboards?”