SwanQueen is endgame

There are not many things that I know better than SwanQueen. I was not a forever fan – I actually distinctly remember seeing an interview with Lana Parrilla a few years ago in Latina Magazine and not thinking much of it, except for the fact that she was a very beautiful woman and a Latina as a lead in a TV show and that made me very happy. The article was about Once Upon a Time and I didn’t really pay mind to the show because at that time I was in college, working two jobs, taking crazy amounts of credits and just overall too busy to be watching TV. I am totally and completely thankful to my fiancé who at random picked Once Upon a Time as our binge watch last summer on Netflix. We were in the process of binge watching shows because I was unemployed and she was not in school for the summer. My coincidental following of the show soon became an obsession with the two leads, Regina Mills and Emma Swan, and the magnetism that I saw between them.

When I first heard of the show I was not out; far from it actually. I hadn’t really come to terms with the whole sexuality thing. I was barely even at the precipice of discovering who I am. Now, five years later, proudly, as a full-fledged, self-identified lesbian and feminist, I have to just ask the question we are all thinking with this season finale – Why is SwanQueen NOT canon? I mean my fiancé and I held hands when Regina wished to go wherever Emma was and then traveled through the forest shouting her name. Seriously? I mean my heart ached for them. I have read many articles about the writers of this show and how they don’t write toward specific relationships, but this series has been a never-ending succession of repeated opportunities and set ups for a SwanQueen romance. I cannot describe my devastation that Robin Hood came back at the end of the episode — WHY?!

Robin has passed and in case people haven’t noticed Regina is alive and well and kicking serious ass in every episode. If she is not weakening the power of the Evil Queen through pure magical badassery she is the most emotionally open and raw that we have ever seen her. She has been such a boss lady in so many impossible situations this season and she has been woefully underrated. FINALLY in the finale episode we see Regina and Emma back together. Their banter is on point and their connection is undeniable. We have been subjected to erroneous and unnecessary distancing of these characters throughout the season and it was truly a transformative experience seeing them work together in these last two episodes. To rely on one another – to connect in the most basic of ways as they did in the earliest of episodes. This is the SwanQueen that we all know and love. So I ask again – WHY ARE THEY NOT CANON?

Of all the wishes that Regina could have wished in that moment; bringing back Robin (which didn’t even seem to cross her mind), or anything she could have ever wanted she wished to be wherever Emma Swan was. She put herself in harm’s way for Emma. She pretended to be Evil again for Emma. She would literally do anything for her. I just kept shouting KISS HER at the television. I mean I am going to admit that I have been reading a particularly large amount of SwanQueen fanfiction in the past two weeks, but it is so much greater than that. Let us not even begin to talk about how Emma stayed in wish land with Regina despite her desire to return to Henry and her parents. These two are simply meant to be.

I turned to the love of my life and said this is exactly why I want to write Lesbian/ Women Loving Women novels. There is barely any representation for us. These characters could easily and pretty much effortlessly transition into a romantic relationship but that will never happen. When the writers say they do not think about relationships or ‘shipping’ when they write that is completely false. Mainstream media would not allow for the two female leads (which come on we have two female leads on a TV show – what more could we want?) to also be in love with one another. That would not happen. Let us all take a collective sigh – because clearly this battle we have been fighting as a Swen/SwanQueen shippers is dismantling with every new season.

I sat watching in suspense – my heart is still craving SwanQueen and was completely disappointed by the reappearance of Robin. We know what is to come. Robin from this pretend wish land that Emma was in will not be the same Robin that Regina knew and loved. He will disappoint her. He will hurt her in some way – and I believe he will leave just as quickly as he reappeared. Regina has grown. She has changed. Every season – every freaking episode rather – Regina is a representation of the sheer force and power of a determined woman. She knows what she wants and she goes for it without hesitation. She is the Queen we all knew she could always be and what she has consistently and unwaveringly fought for is the safety of one, Emma Swan, and her family.

SwanQueen is endgame. It always will be. The writers should really just get with the picture already.

not ever

I was reminded pretty recently by a friend of mine just exactly why I began this blog. I mean I guess you can say there are many reasons, but none ring truer that the fact that I wanted to grow within the LGBTQ community. When I began this (almost a year ago now…I cannot believe it) I had the full intention on being my authentic self. It is the part of me that I on a regular basis dim down for the comfort and ease of others – more recently for the fear I have of others emboldened responses. The societal and political climate of the US has brought up increased need to really dive into my community and begin advocating for and standing beside one another as well as proudly being as out as I really am.

There are so many instances even in this last week where I have adjusted my behavior, dropped a pronoun, hesitated when answering a question or joining a conversation, wondered if the person asking me if my work space was a safe space for LGBT issues realized that I am a lesbian. Alright, and yes I know there is internalized homophobia that runs rapid, so the mere fact that I am a member of this community does not automatically make it safe, but I mean still. I responded as if to say of course this is a safe space, not fully acknowledging the day to day differences in my behavior that I just mentioned. Yes, my office, our sessions, they will most definitely be safe, but can I say I always genuinely feel 100% comfortable and accepted at my place of work? – I do not think I can.

This is not to say there aren’t select coworkers (1) that I feel comfortable speaking with, who actually knows, but that is really it. I have alluded to my fiancé on occasion with a few other staff but nothing has really come of it. Honestly, I am even feeling a bit queasy right now as I write this because I do not make those adjustments out of my own personal discomfort – it is as if something has been ingrained in me through years and years of oppressive mandates. The craziest part being that I am so incredibly happy with my life, in my relationship, and with who I am and who I am becoming. It has taken me so, so long to accept myself fully and to really understand myself at all. I spent years in a haze of chaos not even remotely understanding why it was that I never wanted to be with any of my boyfriends. I was so bored, there was no passion, I felt nothing physically, and I just could not understand because I knew that girls were supposed to be with boys. I kept trying; one after the next, but none stuck.

When I came to terms with sexuality (and I use that phrasing strictly because it was somewhat of a difficult time) everything changed. I started reflecting on moments from my past, feelings that lingered around females in my life, an attraction and comfort that I could not sort out at the time. And then as an adult in college discovering women loving women literature and films and really seeing the connection between those undefinable feelings and what was happening to cause them it kind of just clicked for me. My heart was literally just racing while reading a slow burn SwanQueen fanfic…I mean come on.  I imagine that what I experienced a bit later on in my life is what heterosexual people go through when they see movies and read love stories when they are teenagers. Our society being as hetero-normative as it is never really gave me the exposure to fully understand those feelings when I was younger and so those feelings, in my experience anyway, never really came until I saw women loving women as an option.

So while talking with my friend we came upon the subject of the process of me coming out and what it meant to me. When I realized I am gay I think I went into immediate adjustment mode. I came out as bi (because somehow I thought that would be easier for family and friends…it wasn’t) and began to openly date women, well one woman in particular. It was both a freeing and shackling experience. It was like yes, finally, I’m out, but woah why are people constantly staring at us, why do they feel they can shout in our faces, why does the room grow silent when I use a pronoun to describe my partner? These overt and covert forms of discrimination do actually lead to fear and the feeling that one is unwelcome. So if you maybe happen upon this and you know someone in the LGBTQ community – or actually even if you are not sure if you know someone – maybe try to ease some of the discomfort and be an ally because this is not a case of over-sensitivity. This is real. These instances happen every day and you never really know how what you say and do can impact another person’s entire sense of safety. These incidents are not easy to talk about because we fear further isolation – as if allowing space to process these incidents is further inconveniencing the person who made you feel uncomfortable in the first place.

I guess the point of this is just to say – hey, we are human, complex individuals, and have feelings. For many of us being out is still a brave act so please – take that into consideration the next time you make an assumption that can marginalize or isolate someone.

We can all learn something from one another and no one should ever feel like they have to lessen themselves to make you feel more comfortable. Not ever.