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  • Writer's picturej patricia anderson

Pronouns (mine)

Updated: Oct 31, 2022

I've been meaning to write a post about pronouns (mine) even though I'm not done thinking about them...maybe thinking about them will be a life-long thing and I'll never be done thinking about them? So I should write a snapshot of my thoughts right now!


Because I might finally be able to articulate my thoughts. This has been an interesting progression because the "rise of chosen pronouns" in my life has come mostly during the pandemic...which means I've been locked in my house and only interacting with people online (where my curated space is very chosen-pronoun-positive) or with people I know very well, in which case...they know me? And I can just be me? And I haven't been performing any kind of public-facing persona I may have been forced to perform (or just naturally performed because that's what I do in public) if I had to be out in the world with strangers?


I know there are communities who have been talking about chosen pronouns for a long time! I definitely encountered the discussion in the SFF community before the pandemic, and through characters in fiction years before I interacted with anyone in the SFF community, but I think it's safe to say the conversation has gone more mainstream in the last few years.


I used to be relatively happy to just go on being "she/her", because prior to this shift I thought of them as something people used to refer to me based on what they saw and also just...grammar. I didn't think of them as something I had chosen or something that meant anything. In fact I thought they meant even less because I didn't fit what I thought people meant by them and they referred to me so? They must mean nothing.


Of course a lot of the people using them meant something by them, but that was *their* business as far as I was concerned. I meant nothing by them when I used them for other people, and accepted no one's perceptions about me based on them. My ability to passively accept them and not be bothered made me think it was fine. That they were fine. (And even if they're not, I know this is a great privilege I have to be automatically perceived and referred to in a way that is passively acceptable to me).


But here's where I get confused, and it's the reason I think I have to say something about it now.


I wanted to put them in my twitter bio. Because I think everyone should have them listed! I opened it and wrote "she/her" and immediately recoiled from it. I deleted it. I couldn't put that there. So I thought "hmm. That is a problem." Closed it. Refused to think about it any more. "I'll add them later."


Then I started to be asked what my pronouns were. Recently I had to fill out a form that had a *required* pronoun field. I genuinely do love this. I saw it and thought "that's good. It should be that way. If everyone has it there's no implicit burden on people who want to choose them to be the only ones with them." But I couldn't fill it out. I actually almost didn't fill it out. I almost forwent registering for this event I really wanted to attend because I couldn't fill in the field.


The me of the past actually would have just closed it and not registered (and this is what I originally did). I don't react well to things like this. My husband has to help me fill out forms because I can't do it if the questions aren't actually asking what they mean to ask. I find it impossible to answer the question I know they wanted to ask but failed at asking. I want to answer the question they actually asked! Which sometimes doesn't even fit the type of field they used for the response...


I have the same problem with required field questions I don't have an answer to. I just shut down! I give up!


So. I left it blank. Closed the form. And walked away.


But I really wanted to attend!


I actually went back and tried to fill it out a few times.


Then I realised the form field wasn't a drop down. You could choose whatever you wanted to (as it should be!). So I put "none". But then...I thought that isn't right either. So I put "N/A" and just submitted it before I could rethink it :S.


And of course since then I've been worried about that response. Partly because I worried it made it look like I don't like chosen pronouns! Like I rejected the question because I don't like the question? But this was purely a personal issue. I'm also partly worried about it because it's not right either. It's sort of right. Because I feel like "N/A" describes the conclusions I want made about me based on pronouns...but grammatically I would like to have some pronouns.


Okay this post ended up being more "talking it out" than I meant for it to be! But maybe that's what I needed. I'm sure I'll get a lot more opportunities to discuss this when my badge at the event says "N/A" and people don't know what to do with that...


:S.


Maybe now I'm ready to just put "she/her"? "She/her grammatically"???? Help! LOL.


tl;dr being asked my pronouns gives me a panic attack and now I've given myself one by writing this hahahahahahah.


That's enough for now! But that's what's in my head! Ahhhh!!!!


Okay, let's calm down. Here's a pretty tree :D. There aren't any stock photos of a bunch of question marks so this will have to do for the post. Although I made all trees "he/him" in DoT because they give birth and I thought that was nice...



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