Gender Means More than one Thing
Traditionally, I think gender was just a biological classification, very similar to the definition of biological sex. Plenty of words have more than one meaning though, and in modern times, gender has come to mean so much more than the taxonomic classification. Personally, I compare gender to the word ‘human’. Just as being human is both a biological reality, as well as a social and personal one, I think gender can be, too. The word ‘human’ has both concrete meanings, as well as abstract and personal ones. Being human is defined by specific physical traits, but the ways one can be human on a personal and social level, are infinite. To be human, is to be in a taxonomic group, under a border categorization of ‘animal’. To be human is also to be imperfect, or kind, or empathetic, or unique, and sometimes, a human can, in a metaphoric sense, be inhuman.
I see gender in much the same way. To be man or woman, is a more specific categorization under the broader categorizations of male and female. Male and female can apply to most animals and many plants, then in turn, each individual species has its more specific categorization: mare and stallion, hen and rooster, man and woman. But then, much like being human, gender means so much more on a societal and personal level. Biological gender is specific and concrete, while gender identity, gender expression and gender norms, are personal, social and infinite.
I don’t think we can completely abandon the physical definition of gender, because just as being human starts with the physical reality of it, I think gender also starts with a similar physical reality. Biological gender informs our social and personal experiences of gender, whether that is conforming to, or going against the norm, and people should feel free to go with or against the common narrative of gender as they see fit.
Just as the physical reality of being human doesn’t have to limit the way we express ourselves, the biological reality of being man or woman doesn’t have to limit the way we express our gender, and that includes being trans, non-binary, or any other gender identity.
This is just my view, and how I make sense of all the controversy. I feel like it’s a bit of an unusual view that many people will not agree with, but it is only how I make sense of it in my own mind. I respect all gender identities and gender expressions, and I also respect all viewpoints on the matter as long as there is no intention to cause harm. I don’t think there is ill intention by most people on either side of the debate. I find the discussions and debates around gender to be very interesting, but I wish we could discuss it more openly without so many hard feelings and accusations.
There is nothing more beautiful than strolling through a forest.
The crunch of my feet over a path of fallen leaves. The rich smell of earth. The bright leaves rustling over my head. It calms my racing mind and grounds me in what once was.
It ends far too soon, when my quota runs out and the scene vanishes, replaced by the harsh shine of an underground tunnel, metallic air stinging my nose.
I sigh and press the implant in my temple, logging into my morning meeting. My colleagues appear as if on a round table in front of me. “The simulation is perfect” I say, after a brief good morning, “But why so short?” Five minutes felt like nothing. After so long without nature, that small taste only intensified my longing.
“Well we can’t have people walking through nature simulations all day,” says my boss. He is front and centre of our digital round table. “Nothing will get done.”
I’m not sure what needs to get done. After we destroyed the earth and raced to build an underground fortress, the only thing that needed doing, was to wait and see if nature would heal. “People are going to want more than five minutes.”
“Yes, exactly,” he replies, and everyone else at the digital table nods in agreement. “Free sample, to convince them to buy.”
“How much?” I say.
He shrugs his narrow shoulders “Hundred a minute.”
I clench my jaw, biting back anger. Greed got us here in the first place, and yet it’s still rampant. “Sir, don’t you think it should be accessible to everyone?”
“No,” says a collogue to my right. “Why should it? It’s a luxury, not a necessity.”
A luxury that used to be free, I think, but that doesn’t matter much, anymore. This is the new reality, and I have to adjust. Employee discount is the best I can hope for “Right,” I say, “And how much for us?”
“Complimentary half hour every day,” says my boss. “After that, you get half price.”
That was good enough for me. I zone out for the rest of the meeting. I only took this job for the nature simulation. There are a variety of landscapes available: Beaches, fields, parks and cities. But I always come back to the forest. It was my favourite place ten years ago. Now it can be, again.
I think about it all day and night, until I can wake up early in the morning and turn on my half-hour of forest landscape, walking through the cold tunnels as if it’s a brisk fall day, feeling a fresh breeze instead of stale air. Only a simulation, but it feels so real.
There is nothing more beautiful than strolling through a forest.
Describe Your Characters
I don’t know if this view will be met with disapproval, but I feel like I’m in the minority when I say, I want good character descriptions. The trend in modern day fiction is to be sparse with the descriptions, if you use any at all. But that method always leaves me a bit dissatisfied. It’s not like I want big long descriptions done via mirror cliché. But I want enough that to be able to picture the characters. Enough so that each character doesn’t just end up looking the same as any other in my mind. A good description will help me remember a character. Good descriptions will help me see a group of distinct and unique characters, instead of a group that all look kind of the same in my mind.
I don’t want grey characters who are essentially a blank canvas for me to fill in. I want unique and quirky characters with memorable looks. I think, sometimes, writers leave descriptions sparse so that the reader can insert themselves into the main character. It goes hand in hand with the bland main character trend. But I don’t want to insert myself into the main character, I want to read about a character that is distinct and unique. They don’t have to be like me to be interesting. They don’t have to be like me to be relatable. Describing a character gives them life. Leaving them a blank canvas, makes them boring.
Broken is often a temporary state. A broken body heals if set the right way. Same with a broken mind. Although sometimes the braking is beyond repair, I'd say the more constant state of humanity is scarred, like the jagged lines on a mended vase. We can function and move on, but the marks of each break follow us everywhere.
Time Travel Failure
Four minutes in, and I knew I had made a colossal mistake. What was I thinking, deciding to kill this child with such… crude tactics? Even knowing what he’d grow up to be, I hesitated, frozen with a glinting knife trembling at his neck, unable to complete the deed. The door to the room slammed open, a dozen rough hands grabbed me and wrenched the knife from my grip. Hitler would live because of me, I thought, as the blade sliced across my own throat.
Are They So Powerful?
Lately, it’s hard to think of my words as powerful. Maybe coming from the right person, in the right context, they can be powerful. But in my experience; trying to tell healthcare workers over and over again what’s wrong, all the places it hurts, all the painful fatigue, how overwhelming it all is, those words often seem to fall on deaf ears.
I mean, sure, some of them listen, but as soon as they choose not to, it’s as if my words lose all value. All voice. Then, no matter how many times I say something, no matter how many different ways, no matter if I write it down or say it verbally, my words can’t seem to penetrate their jaded indifference.
My words feel powerless.