why do i and everyone i love pick people who treat us like we're nothing

IT'S A BABY, THAT'S WHAT IT IS, or: we are having a tiny human real soon and we're not telling you what it is then either

“Do you know what you’re having yet?”

Friends, the way we see it, you don’t know what you’re having till the kid is old enough to tell you what they are.

To my surprise and pleasure, most people I’ve said this to have chuckled and agreed. And I mean, random people like neighbors and cashiers. Not hand-picked friends and loved ones.

(The latter have also been awesome; all of them we’ve told have been like, “that makes perfect sense,” or “I would expect nothing less.” Which is why they’re our friends.)

I do wonder how people will react, though, when we have the baby, and still won’t tell them “what it is.”

I thought this would be a good time to brainstorm what that means to us, and how we’re going to handle it.

The first and foremost thing is:

- There are a ton of good, solid studies that show that when people are told a baby is a boy or a girl, they talk to it differently and even hold it differently. Without even knowing they’re doing it.

- In a very nutshell: people hold babies they think are boys less closely, and talk to them in ways that are less nurturing, and less responsive. Even when they don’t have any intention of doing that.

- People tend to treat babies they think are girls with more emotion and nurturing. But also praise them more for being quiet and looking nice, while praising boys more for their actions and strength.

- no thanks

- Sure, statistically it’s probably “safe” to assume the baby will identify with whatever gender we think it is.

- although I don’t think those statistics are as high as we tend to think they are

- The risks in just picking a gender for the kid, and hoping it’s right, are comparatively low for that majority of kids where you ARE right.

- Basically, there are no negative consequences if you’re right, EXCEPT for the negative consequences of people’s unconscious baggage around gender roles.

- But they’re VERY high for the minority of kids where you’re wrong.

- And we are lucky enough to live at a time when we have access to lots of stories from people who tried to tell their families at a very, very young age that they were a different gender.

- So we now know that even when kids do get listened to and get to live as their correct gender at a very early age, they suffer intensely before that. Including when they’re too young to put their feelings into words, but are being gendered at every turn.

- It seems to us, after much consideration, that there is zero risk in not gendering the kid. In using gender-neutral pronouns, and letting them wear whatever they enjoy.

- And letting them know, as they learn to speak, that we can call them by any pronouns they want, and that they can change that for any reason.

- Just like any parents, we assume that we’ll hit that preschool age where they have a lot of questions, and​ often have picked up a lot of weird ideas, about boys and girls.

- Just like any parents, we’ll do our best to answer their questions, probably mess some things up.

- And we’ll work, ahead of time, to bring lots of different types of people, and lots of different people’s stories into their lives. Not just around gender, either, of course, but around race and class and religion and types of families and disabilities and everything else we can think of.

- Maybe the kid will tell us early on, emphatically, what they are. Maybe that will still change. Everyone has to explore with their gender means to them over their whole lives, even cis people; what’s important to us is that we support all our children in their journeys.

- Here are some specific strategies we’ve thought of. @rivergst, please add anything else you want to!

* Using they/them for the baby until/unless it wants something different

* Having scripts ahead of time for how we tell strangers about this when they go, “what a cute baby! is it a boy or a girl?”

* In my mind, I would say something like, “We don’t know yet!” and (a) smile real big and wait, (b) smile real big and leave, © go on to explain that “we figure that you don’t really know till the baby is old enough to tell you, and we know that people treat boy and girl babies differently​ without even meaning to, so we want to wait.” Depending on how i feel at the time.

* I assume that I’ll adapt this script over time as I start to see how people react and what questions or opinions they have.

* I want to design some onesies and/or baby shirts and/or hats and/or baby-safe decorations that say “they/them”.

* I figure we will need to put something about this on the baby announcement, and/or have boilerplate we send people.

* I might design a business card or postcard that I can hand people with a short version of this post on it. Or a website?

* Not gonna lie, if I get too much push back I’m gonna be SO tempted to bust out with the neopronouns. “O rly? Well now the baby’s pronouns are glitter/glitterself!! BETCHA WISH YOU HAD GONE WITH THEY/THEM NOW HUH”

* This is not a slam on neopronouns, I would love to go by gem/gemself

* Feel free to use that for me

* If people struggle with they/them or are somehow opposed to this whole thing, they are welcome to just use the baby’s name all the time

* Diaper-changing and alone-with-baby privileges will be restricted to people who have earned them by successfully using gender neutral pronouns for the baby

* Honestly I don’t even care if you use “it” for the baby, but there is definitely a point where that becomes disrespectful and I don’t really know what that age is. River may also disagree on this idk

- I’ve done this successfully before; when I was co-parenting Connor, we talked at like age 3 about how “pronouns are what we call people, like she, he, they, and others, is there one you would like us to use for you?”

- in that case, we had gone with “assigned at birth” pronouns before that. Connor picked something else and I ended up having to just never use pronouns around the birth mom, who was a dick about it. I got really good at it.

- We have an advantage, in that we’ve both already done a lot of learning around gender stuff, and have lots of people of unusual genders in our lives. And have hand me downs for lots of different genders. And know of good stories about this stuff that are age appropriate, like the story of baby X, and what’s the amazing Jay one Rebekah just gave us? I’ll put some in the comments.

- But I’m learning, too, that my default online might be to call people they/them unless I know what they want, but irl my mental default is actually to assume people are she/her. Thanks, Mills 😂 and I do get autistically stuck on matching pronouns with people’s names or presentations even when I know better.

- my strategies to counteract this with the baby are simple: give it a gender neutral name, and think of “physical sex” as simply being “does the baby have an innie or an outie?”

- bonus strategy if somebody is too pushy about knowing “what the baby is”: react as though we already live in a world where all of the above is the default, and say, “why do you want to know about my baby’s genitals?!”

- that handy and versatile line can be delivered with outrage, horror, or humor, depending on how much I like the person.

Hopeless Fountain Kingdom sentence starters
  • "He said one day I'd realize why I don't have any friends."
  • "I find myself alone at night unless I'm having sex."
  • "He can make me golden."
  • "I don't let him touch me anymore."
  • "I'm not something to butter up and taste when you get bored."
  • "I have spent too many nights on dirty bathroom floors."
  • "Please don't go away."
  • "It's too late."
  • "I can't stop thinking that I almost gave you everything."
  • "Now the whole thing's finished and I can't stop wishing that I never gave you anything."
  • "You wrote 100 letters just for me and I find them in my closet in the pockets of my jeans."
  • "Now I'm constantly reminded of the time I was 19."
  • "He said 'please don't go away',I said 'it's too late.'"
  • "I almost gave you everything."
  • "I can't stop wishing that I never gave you anything."
  • "I know how to play, I know this game."
  • "It's all the same."
  • "He'll never stay, they never do."
  • "If I keep my eyes closed, he feels just like you."
  • "You've been replaced."
  • "I'm face to face with someone new."
  • "Would've gave it all for you."
  • "Tell me where I went wrong."
  • "Tell me how to move on."
  • "They don't realize that I'm thinking about you."
  • "Can you hear my heartbeat fucking kickin'?"
  • "You best believe that I got something on my sleeve."
  • "I walk my talk, no time for wishful thinking."
  • "You thought that you were the boss tonight, but I can put up one good fight."
  • "I can put on a show."
  • "This is Heaven in hiding."
  • "I don't have no time for conversation."
  • "A girl like me is new for you."
  • "I can tell you mean it cause you're shaking."
  • "I'm Heaven in hiding."
  • "He tried to phone me, but I never have time."
  • "He said that I never listen, but I don't even try."
  • "Everywhere I go, I got a million different people tryna' kick it."
  • "I'm still alone in my mind."
  • "Baby, as soon as you meet me, you'll wish that you never did."
  • "I got into some trouble with that drink in my veins."
  • "I got a problem with parties 'cause it's loud in my brain."
  • "I can never say sorry 'cause I won't take the blame."
  • "I know I always go missing."
  • "You ask why I'm distant,oh, I'm runnin' away."
  • "I know you're dying to meet me."
  • "I know you wanna slip under my armor."
  • "I don't wanna fight right now."
  • "Been through the ups and the downs with me."
  • "Got a whole lot of love, but you don't wanna spread it 'round with me."
  • "Never pick up, never call me."
  • "You know we're runnin' out of time."
  • "Need to know that you're mine."
  • "I want you to love me now or never."
  • "I'm callin' it a night now."
  • "Wishin' you were 'round with me, but you're in a different town than me."
  • "We've been through it all, but you could never spit it out for me."
  • "Tryna talk to a wall, but you could never tear it down for me."
  • "I need you to make your mind up."
  • "I've missed your calls for months it seems."
  • "Don't realize how mean I can be."
  • "I can sometimes treat the people that I love like jewelry."
  • "I didn't mean to try you on."
  • "I still know your birthday and your mother's favorite song."
  • "Sorry that I can't believe that anybody ever really starts to fall in love with me."
  • "Sorry I could be so blind."
  • "Didn't mean to leave you and all of the things that we had behind."
  • "I run away when things are good."
  • "Never really understood the way you laid your eyes on me, in ways that no one ever could."
  • "So it seems I broke your heart, my ignorance has struck again."
  • "I failed to see it from the start, and tore you open 'til the end."
  • "Someone will love you, but someone isn't me."
  • "There's a place where love conquers all."
  • "Don't trust the moon, she's always changing."
  • "The shores bend and break for her and she begs to be loved."
  • "Nothing here is as it seems."
  • "Sun is coming up."
  • "I get the message, you wish I was dead."
  • "Please don't take this as a threat."
  • "If you don't love me no more, then lie."
  • "I'm about four minutes from a heart attack."
  • "I think you make me a maniac."
  • "We both been here since we seventeen."
  • "Here we go, fist fight in a limousine."
  • "We both hope there's something, but we both keep fronting."
  • "Damn, if these walls could talk."
  • "I ain't your baby no more."
  • "Told my new roommate not to let you in."
  • "Got a boy back home in Michigan and it tastes like Jack when I'm kissing him."
  • "I never really liked his friends."
  • "Now he's gone and he's calling me a bitch again."
  • "He wants me in the kitchen with a dinner plate."
  • "I believe that we're meant to be."
  • "Jealousy gets the best of me."
  • "I don't mean to frustrate, but I always make the same mistakes."
  • "I'm bad at love."
  • "You can't blame me for trying."
  • "I'd be lyin' sayin' you were the one that could finally fix me."
  • "Got a girl with California eyes, and I thought that she could really be the one this time."
  • "I never got the chance to make her mine."
  • "She fell in love with little thin white lines."
  • "We never told no one, but we look so cute."
  • "Both got way better things to do."
  • "I always think about her when I'm riding through."
  • "I'm in too deep."
  • "I don't mean to frustrate."
  • "I always make the same mistakes."
  • "I'm bad at love, but you can't blame me for trying."
  • "You were the one."
  • "I know that you're afraid I'm gonna walk away."
  • "I know that you're afraid I'm gonna walk away each time the feeling fades."
  • "I don't give a damn what you say to me."
  • "There ain't no time for games with me."
  • "I'm moving on."
  • "I am not the type to be out past dawn."
  • "Can't fuck up my vibe."
  • "Motherfucker, don't play with me."
  • "Women don't play no games."
  • "She doesn't kiss me on the mouth anymore."
  • "It's more intimate, than she thinks we should get."
  • "She doesn't look me in the eyes anymore, too scared of what she'll see."
  • "We're not lovers, we're just strangers."
  • "She doesn't call me on the phone anymore."
  • "She doesn't let me have control anymore."
  • "I must've crossed a line, I must've lost my mind."
  • "When I wake up all alone, and I'm thinking of your skin, I remember what you told me."
  • "I miss the mornings with you laying in my bed."
  • "I miss the thought of a forever, you and me."
  • "All you're missing is my body."
  • "We're not lovers, we're just strangers with the same damn hunger to be touched, to be loved, to feel anything at all."
  • "I woke up to another mess in the living room."
  • "Conversation's getting hard."
  • "Nobody seems to ask about me anymore, and nobody seems to care 'bout anything I think."
  • "Everybody, look at me!"
  • "I'm faded away, you know, I used to be on fire."
  • "I'm standin' in the ashes of who I used to be."
  • "I used to be a darling starlet like a centerpiece, had the whole world wrapped around my ring."
  • "It's my own anxiety that makes the conversation hard."
  • "Nobody ever cares 'bout anything I think."
  • "I should eat my feelings."
  • "I still let everyone down."
  • "I'm too much to handle, I shine too bright."
  • "I don't wanna wake it up; the devil in me."
  • "Boy, you make it look so easy."
  • "Promise that I'm gonna call you back in five."
  • "Yeah, I've known that girl for like my whole life."
  • "The truth hurts, but secrets kill."
  • "Still here, there must be something real."
  • "You know the good die young, but so did this."
  • "It must be better than I think it is."
  • "Gimme those eyes, it's easy to forgive."
  • "You and all your friends all hate me."
  • "You're better when I'm not around."
  • "I can't help the way you made me."
  • "The good die young, but so did this, so it must be better than I think it is."
  • "I hope hopeless changes over time."
Perks of Being a Wallflower for the Signs
  • Aries: "And there are people who forget what it's like to be 16 when they turn 17. I know these will all be stories someday. And our pictures will become old photographs. We'll all become somebody's mom or dad. But right now these moments are not stories. This is happening."
  • Taurus: "I know I'm quiet... and, and I know I should speak more. But if you knew the things that were in my head most of the time, you'd know what it really meant. How, how much we're alike, and how we've been through the same things... and you're not small. You're beautiful."
  • Gemini: "This one moment when you know you're not a sad story. You are alive, and you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you're listening to that song and that drive with the people you love most in this world. And in this moment I swear, we are infinite."
  • Cancer: “She wasn't bitter. She was sad, though. But it was a hopeful kind of sad. The kind of sad that just takes time. ”
  • Leo: "You can't just sit there and put everybody's lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love."
  • Virgo: "You see things and you understand. You're a wallflower."
  • Libra: - "Why do I and everyone I love pick people who treat us like we're nothing?"
  • - "We accept the love we think we deserve."
  • Scorpio: - "Sam, do you think if people knew how crazy you really were, no one would ever talk to you?"
  • - "All the time."
  • Sagittarius: "My doctor said we can't choose where we come from but we can choose where we go from there. I know it's not all the answers but it was enough to start putting these pieces together."
  • Capricorn: “Standing on the fringes of life... offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.”
  • Aquarius: "If somebody likes me, I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am."
  • Pisces: “So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.”
a hella long list of random lyric sentence starters (pt. 12)
  • "You can have my heart."
  • "I think we're doomed."
  • "I'm sorry, but it's too late and it's not worth saving."
  • "You know that I'm in love with the mess."
  • "I think I like it."
  • "I think we're doomed and now there is no way back."
  • "I know you're right behind me."
  • "Don't you let me go tonight."
  • "Say you'll be there."
  • "Why do we waste time hiding it inside?"
  • "I want you to be mine."
  • "You know the way I can't resist you."
  • "If we try once more, would you give me it all?"
  • "I'll tell you flat out, it hurts so much to think of this."
  • "I've thrown away so many things that could've been much more."
  • "I just pray my problems go away if they're ignored."
  • "You touch my heavy heart, and when you do you make it light."
  • "I love you. Oh God, I love you."
  • "Life is now worth living, if only because of you."
  • "Who the fuck do you think I am?"
  • "You ain't married to no average bitch, boy."
  • "Don't hurt yourself."
  • "You ain't trying hard enough."
  • "I'm just too much for you."
  • "If you try this shit again, you gonna lose your wife."
  • "I was sitting waiting, wishing."
  • "This world is cruel."
  • "I'm just a fool learning loving somebody don't make them love you."
  • "Must I always be waiting on you?"
  • "Must I always be playing your fool?"
  • "I gave ya friends all a chance."
  • "I can't always be waiting on you."
  • "I keep playing your part, but it's not my scene."
  • "I've had enough mystery."
  • "I'm not you and if I was, I wouldn't be so cruel."
  • "Waiting on love ain't so easy to do."
  • "I wanted that heat so bad, I could taste the fire on your breath."
  • "I wanted in your storm so bad, I could taste the lightning on your breath."
  • "The world is so pale next to you."
  • "Your hair is coxcomb red, your eyes are viper black."
  • "You said every road is a good road."
  • "Every love is your best love and every love is your last love."
  • "Every kiss is a goodbye."
  • "Yeah, you still kiss me, but it's just on the cheek."
  • "You pull away so easily."
  • "You even stay over, but now we stay in our clothes."
  • "I'm only there so that you're not alone."
  • "I'm pouring some whiskey, I'm gonna get drunk."
  • "I'm not afraid. I'm not."
  • "I'll show you my true colors."
  • "No, I won't apologize."
  • "It's like I've waited all my life."
  • "All the pretty girls like Samuel."
  • "It's more than he can handle."
  • "Life is anything but fair."
  • "You’re the only one I’m in love with."
  • "You’re the only thing I’m interested in."
  • "You’re the only one I miss like this."
  • "We’re still two lives in ruin, we’re still boats anchored at sea."
  • "Don’t you ruin."
  • "Here I am, I’ve got to tell you while I can."
  • "You’re the only one I’ve been waiting for."
  • "You’re the only one I have to have."
  • "Somethin' 'bout you makes me feel like a dangerous woman."
  • "Somethin' 'bout you makes me wanna do things that I shouldn't."
  • "I live for danger."
  • "All girls wanna be like that; bad girls underneath like that."
  • "From the moment I first saw you, I was yours and you were mine."
  • "Deep down we both knew you were trouble by design."
  • "Baby, don't you play with fire."
  • "It's too late to say goodbye."
  • "We both knew it was trouble."
  • "Now I'm under your spell."
  • "Nothing's gonna hurt you, baby."
  • "As long as you're with me, you'll be just fine."
  • "Nothing's gonna take you from my side."
  • "Give me the way it could have been."
  • "Give me it all."
  • "I called you up three times last night."
  • "Running through the streets, bloody from a fist fight."
  • "Keep you warm, keep you there, wanna keep you all."
  • "See you there, wanna see you some day."
  • "As you look back, I'm pulling away."
  • "All that remains are words in the rain."
  • "Give me a goodbye said out loud."
  • "I know you could be here with me."
  • "I'll be right there."
  • "I feel there's a fork in the road."
  • "I took a pill in Ibiza to show Avicii I was cool."
  • "Fuck it, it was something to do."
  • "I drive a sports car just to prove I'm a real big baller 'cause I made a million dollars."
  • "You don't wanna be high like me."
  • "You don't ever wanna step off that roller coaster and be all alone."
  • "All I know are sad songs."
  • "I'm just a singer who already blew his shot."
  • "I can't keep a girl, 'cause as soon as the sun comes up, I cut 'em all loose and work's my excuse, but the truth is I can't open up."
  • "People still think I'm a star."
  • "Hold up, they don't love you like I love you."
  • "Can't you see there's no other man above you?"
  • "What a wicked way to treat the girl that loves you."
  • "How did it come down to this? Scrolling through your call list."
  • 'I don't wanna lose my pride, but I'mma fuck me up a bitch."
  • "What's worse, lookin' jealous or crazy?"
  • "Let's imagine for a moment that you never made a name for yourself."
  • "We were made for each other."
  • "It is such a shame you let this good love go to waste."
  • "It's always up and down with you, this game you play is kinda twisted."
  • "I could leave it all behind, trouble is I know I’d miss it."
  • "Even though you play me like an Xbox, I don’t want you to take your hands off."
  • "I'm all about you."
  • "You always make my heart beat faster."
  • "I don’t want you to take your hands off me."
  • "You don't want to act like you care."
  • "Are you gonna give up so easily?"
  • "I thought I meant more, I thought we were strong."
  • "Babe, I've been stressing about us all day."
  • "Guess you bit off more than you could chew."
  • "I've got literally nothing to say to you."
  • "You wanna promise me you'll never go, then you wanna leave."
  • "Don't text me, you're pathetic, bitch, please."
  • "You don't get a goodbye."
  • "You don't get another shot to make me everything I'm not."
  • "I'm a girl on fire, I'm a girl who dreams."
  • "You're a boy who needs to stay the hell away from me."
  • "It was loneliest with you there."
  • "This is the only way you'll hear from me."
  • "You thought you wanted her and got what you deserved."
  • "Used to want you but I don't now."
  • "I can be cruel just like you."
  • "You hit me up again to tell me I'm the one."
  • "Was she worth letting me go?"
  • "I need you right here by my side."
  • "You're everything I'm not in my life."
  • "We're indestructible, we are untouchable."
  • "Nothing can take us down tonight."
  • "You are so beautiful, it should be criminal."
  • "I'll promise you this love will never die."
  • "No matter what, I got your back."
  • "I'll take a bullet for you if it comes to that."
  • "Believe me when I say you're the one."
  • "They'll never forgive us for the things we've done."
  • "Everybody said that we would never last, and if they saw us now I bet they'd take it back."
  • "In a simple skirt you caused a ricochet of courting boys that watch you walk away."
  • "I don't live my life like you do."
  • "Every time you leave, I wanna go."
  • "Don't be so blind."
  • "Am I your one and only desire?"
  • "Am I the reason you breathe or am I the reason you cry?"
  • "I just can't live without you."
  • "I love you, I hate you, I can't get around you."
  • "I breathe you, I taste you, I can't live without you."
  • "I just can't take any more, this life of solitude."
  • "I guess that I'm out the door and now I'm done with you."
  • "I feel like you don't want me around."
  • "I guess I'll pack all my things."
  • "I guess I'll see you around."
  • "It's all been bottled up until now."
  • "Why would you tear my world apart?"
  • "I see the blood all over your hands."
  • "Does it make you feel more like a man?"
  • "Was it all just a part of your plan?"
  • "She liked black caddies, listened to Puff Daddy and danced until her legs were sore."
  • "He loves her definitely maybe."
  • "I see you everyday,I'm too scared to go over."
  • "I wonder what she'd say, I barely even know her."
  • "How much longer will this keep getting stronger?"
  • "I wonder when you'll realize that she means a lot more to me."
  • "He's picking me up at 6 again and I don't wanna disappoint my boyfriend."
  • "She's telling all the girls about all the things that he bought her."
  • "He had his hands on every single girl he laid his eyes on."
  • "Even when he kissed her, he was looking over staring at her sister."
  • "I'm not the type to get my heart broken."
  • "I'm not the type to get upset and cry."
  • "I never leave my heart open, never hurts me to say goodbye."
  • "Relationships don't get deep to me, never got the whole in love thing."
  • "Someone can say they love me truly, but at the time it didn't mean a thing."
  • "I stray from love."
  • "It cut me like a knife when you walked out of my life."
  • "I've got all the symptoms of a girl with a broken heart."
  • "No matter what you'll never see me cry."
  • "I should've never let you hold me, baby, maybe why I'm sad to see us apart."
  • "I didn't give to you on purpose, can't figure out how you stole my heart."
  • "I never meant to let it get so personal."
  • "Am I the reason why you tossed and turned last night?"
  • "Everything was such a blur, it didn't come out right."
  • "All of a sudden it's cold and we're falling apart."
  • "I guess we're really over."
  • "I'm not over it."
  • "You make me feel like I'm desperate."
  • "I'm not desperate."
  • "Little bit possessive, little miss obsessive, can't get over it."
  • "That side of your bed is still mine."
  • "I've never been a fan of long goodbyes."
  • "It's like a fairy tale without a happy ending."
  • "Tell me that you care."
  • "I try to make it through my life; in my way, there's you."
  • "Just don't deny it."
  • "You tried to break me."
  • "If you were dead or still alive, I don't care."
  • "Everything's so blurry."
  • "Everyone's so fake and everybody's empty and everything is so messed up."
  • "My whole world surrounds you."
  • "You know that I'll protect you."
  • "I wonder what you're doing, imagine where you are."
  • "Everyone is changing."
  • "Let me know just how you feel, 'cause I am lost without you."