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Posts from the ‘Life’ Category

Oh, is that how it is?

December 25th, 2013


I’m visiting my folks in Charlotte for a few days, and things started out pretty well with my dad. He picked me up at the airport, said, “Hi, Ashley” when he greeted me, and we were off to the races.

Once we got home, I chatted with my mom a bit too, and while I don’t mind “Snooks” as an occasional nickname, my mom just kept calling me Snooks and never once my name. Finally, after about the third time:

MOM: And Snooks, Dinner will probably be ready around 6:00.

ME: “I’d prefer if you’d call me Ashley.”

[Before my mom could reply, my dad chimed in:]

DAD: “Well, we said that we’d try to call you Ashley in public. But we still like Snooks, and we’ll go with that sometimes too.”

I was too stunned to say anything. And it really chapped my hide not only that they weren’t really over this hump but also that they seemed to think I was the insensitive one for bringing it up. For fuck’s sake.

Calling My Dad For His Birthday

October 1st, 2013


I haven’t talked with either of my parents since July 18 when I ended a call after my dad wouldn’t call me by my name. Up until then, I’d usually talk to one parent or the other every three or four days, so it’s been a bit of an adjustment to go over two months without talking to either of them.

It so happens that today is my dad’s birthday, and although he and I still have our differences, I figured that I’d give him a call—I wasn’t sure if it might be awkward, but he’s still my old man, for Pete’s sake. I sort of thought of it like how some opposing soldiers would put down their arms on Christmas day and share a meal together.

I just got off the phone with him, and the call was somewhat surreal—our chat had many of the same conversational cues as if everything were fine, but I think we both knew that wasn’t really the case.

As the call was wrapping up, my dad asked if I had any travel plans coming up. Since I’m not working—and unlikely to spend money on travel for the heck of it—I think that was my dad’s way of asking whether I’d be coming to visit for Thanksgiving. At first I was reluctant to answer, seeing as though I didn’t want to rain on my dad’s birthday call, but I finally said,

ME: “I don’t have any travel coming up in the next few weeks… but I suppose Thanksgiving is coming up in November too. And I think I’d like to come for Thanksgiving. If you were to call me Ashley, I’d love to stay with you at the house. Or if not, I may book a room at a nearby hotel or stay with someone else.”

DAD: “Okay.


“So how are things going with the job hunt?”

Sometimes I wish my dad would set aside his stiff-upper-lip routine and tell me how he feels. Granted, a birthday call probably wouldn’t be the right context to get into a full discussion, but even a sentence or two of his thoughts would have been nice to hear.

That’s Still Not My Name

July 18th, 2013


My dad called me just now, and I had a hunch he might try to carry on a conversation while avoiding all names and nicknames for me entirely.

(The last time that my dad called me “Snooks” over the phone, I ended the call. So I wasn’t surprised that he might try to find another “loophole” to try to call me without actually having to use my name.)

Sure enough, he plowed ahead with his plan:

ME: “Hi, this is Ashley.”

DAD: “Hi. How are you?”

ME: “Hi Dad. I can see what you’re doing there. And that’s not okay either. I’d like you to call me by my name.”

DAD: “We’ve discussed this.


“So how has your week been going?”

ME: “Dad, we can talk more about this when you’re ready to call me by my name. Goodbye.”

This time around, I didn’t offer a one-one-thousand grace period before I said goodbye—I was so sick of the “We’ve discussed this” bullshit that I just wanted to get off the phone as soon as possible.

Oh, and for anyone curious, the call lasted 31 seconds.

I’ve Become Nameless to My Parents

July 8th, 2013


My parents called—they were both on the line— and they sang “Happy Birthday” to me over the phone. But they seemed to take some creative license with the lyrics.

The tradition version of the song is, of course:

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday, dear [name],
Happy birthday to you.

But their rendition went a bit differently:

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to youuuu,
Happy birthday to you.

I just—I don’t even. What.

And then my parents and I had some light chitchat—and throughout the call they managed to avoid calling me by any name, nickname or otherwise. I don’t even know what to say.

We can continue this conversation when you’re ready to call me Ashley

June 26th, 2013


I just got off the phone with my dad.

ME: “Hi, this is Ashley.”

DAD: “Hi, Snooks. How are you?”

ME: “Hi, Dad. I’d like you to call me by my name.”

DAD: “We’ve discussed this. We’ve agreed not to call you [birthname] and to call you Snooks instead.”


“And we don’t like the name Ashley. So we’ll be calling you Snooks.”

ME: “Well, we can continue our conversation when you’re ready to call me by my name.”

[I counted a one one-thousand in my head—just in case my dad had second thoughts.]

“Goodbye, Dad.”

And then I put down the phone.

On the relative attractiveness (or not) of Bill Murray

February 3rd, 2013


A couple of friends and I watched Groundhog Day last night, and we couldn’t resist sharing our pithy comments now and again. My pal Steve couldn’t get past how frumpy most of the cast looked and at one point he remarked:

STEVE: “Bill Murray was kind of a schlub in 1993.”

ME: “Eh, I’d have gone out with him”

STEVE: “Really?!”

At which point my friend Andrea chimed in with:

ANDREA: “Being funny helps.”

ME: “Yeah, it really does.”

Growing up, I had often heard my female friends remark that a guy’s personality can affect how attractive he is. And I couldn’t really relate to it at the time, but I totally get it now.

(I predominantly identify as a lesbian—hence @FourthAndFirst, which is named after the fourth and first letters in “LGBT”—but I sometimes find guys attractive too. It’s probably about a 70/30 thing for me.)

How do I stop these fleeting thoughts of suicide?

January 20th, 2013


Trigger Warning: Suicide
[What is a trigger warning?]

Over the last few months, I’ve had fleeting thoughts about suicide every two or three days. (I suspect a large part is from my parents’ lack of acceptance.) But each time such a thought enters my head, it may be around for no more than a second or two before I swat it away, not unlike a gnat in my mind.

I don’t mean to be flippant, but it’s almost as if one corner of my brain is saying, “Maybe all this would be easier if I was dead,” but with the rest of my brain soon chiming in with, “No, that would be a really bad idea.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’ve come to realize I have depression (which I recognize from having had in the past). I haven’t yet sought medication for that, but might that be something that could help dispel these thoughts?

(I took Lexapro the last time I had depression and it seemed to work okay, but if you have depression and if there’s a particular medication that’s worked well for you, I’d like to hear about it.)

Either way, I have a psychotherapist who I can talk to about this kind of thing, and I plan on setting up an appointment with them soon.

P.S. To reiterate, I have no plans on killing myself, and I want to be around for a long time. I just have these thoughts that keep creeping in my head about this.

— Ashley

Updated Jan. 21: I have an appointment on Thursday.

Updated Jan. 24: I had a really good conversation with my psychotherapist and I have another appointment with them on Thursday.

Updated Jan. 25: My doc has given me a prescription for lithium to start.