Monday, December 10, 2012


For the last year-and-a-half I have had the privilege of building a very close relationship with one of my professors. First I was in a living community based on her class, then took another class with her, and now work as her TA for that same living community program. I have both laughed and cried hysterically with her, and at her. We had a conversation last spring about how she is not a "maternal type" figure. It's true, she isn't, but that hasn't made me any less close with her. In fact, in that conversation I expressed some level of surprise, noting that she was the first teacher I'd ever goten very close to without getting a mom-vibe from them. Professors are kind of like your academic grandparents, not as close as mom and dad, but generally really looking out for your best interests even if they;re a bit crazy. So this certainly-not-a-grandmother, never-could-be-a-mother professor gave me a christmas card the other day. And it was adorable and heartfelt and lovely. And was adressed to me with my initials, just the way my mom does, and in exactly my mom's handwriting. 

Monday, December 3, 2012


As you may be able to tell from the more limited postings recently, the end of the semester has come. In addition to moderately higher stress levels, I have encountered a distinct lack of things I find profound lately. This is either a result of being jaded, or of lack of sleep. As we get deep into finals I start blogging more as a heightened form of procrastination, so expect an uptick soon. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

525,600 Minutes

I just listened to "Seasons of Love" all the way through for the first time in six years without crying at all. At first, I freaked out that I was forgetting, or becoming jaded. As it sinks in, though, and I talk to someone who very much shaped my past, I'm realizing it was because for the first time in six years I'm listening to it in the context of a love that isn't bittersweet. To do no discredit to people I have loved, I enjoyed it very much, but I always thought of love as deep and passionate, yes, but also mysteriously somber. I valued that kind of love over one that was light and carefree. I get to sit here now in the context of a love that is playful and light, even silly (okay, let's get real, frequently silly) and it is just as deep and passionate and genuine as anything I've ever experienced. 525,000 seasons of love and I've only seen a few. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I Voted Sticker

The almighty "I voted" sticker is the manifestation of your promise to society that you care, are involved, take and interest, and take action. It is your proof that you engaged in the largest interaction with our government many of us will ever have. On my 18th birthday, the only thing I really wanted to accomplish was to register to vote. I did. I've spent a lot of my life knowing that the first election I would be able to vote in would be presidential and that was exciting to me. But in the past few days I have found myself not excited that I got to re-elect a president who, yes, is faulted, but who has done a reasonably good job doing what he thinks is right to take care of his country, but tremendously excited to get to tell the social conservatives, bigots, and homophobes of my state that my best friend can get married and that I could marry whoever I want if I wanted. It wasn't a privilege to vote for the Obama Biden ticket, but it was a privilege to vote for same-sex marriage and the dream act. Except the second I realized how excited I was that those were the questions I got to vote on in my first election, I realized how depressed I was that those were the questions I had to vote on in my first election. In the 21st century we, as a society, are still contemplating whether or not to give a significant portions of the population basic rights to education and legal marriage. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who say that I/we/Americans should not complain since we have it so much better off than other parts of the world. Just because my country is better than some others at some things I can't push for it to improve at all? I think those individuals assume that I/we/Americans are not sufficiently appreciative of what The United States of America offers us, or that we do not love our country enough. Love is never a term I would ascribe to a nation, so no, I don't love my county. I like it a damn lot though, and I certainly appreciate it. But why on earth does that mean I can't critique it. I think it is ridiculous that this country I am supposed to love actively disenfranchises people I love. I voted, I made that commitment to my community, and I was excited about, but I will vote to push it as hard as I can towards progress, maybe even to a breaking point. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Our Song"

I like this business of couples having songs, though probably only because I'm constantly listening to a song and extrapolating to my own life. I thus draw connections where they are probably relatively invalid. Whatever. I've never been terribly concerned with music meaning the same thing to me that it did to the artist that made it. It means anything they wanted to them and can mean anything I want to. Anyway, this means that, when in a relationship, I choose and re-choose  what our "song" is with ridiculous frequency, usually without telling the other 50 percent of the equation what's going on. (I have since revised to a more this-is-my-song-for-us-right-now attitude in a futile attempt to respect their right to have a say in the song selection.) So I phase through these songs, in the past three months I've gone through three really solid ones, and some other fleeting ideas. But I realized today that in the context of every love interest I've ever had, I've considered the relevance of "Swing Life Away" by Rise Against. It's always been a different line or stanza that's appealed to me, but somehow it's a song I keep coming back to.

"Let's compare scars, I'll tell you whose is worse."

"Let's unwrite these pages and replace them with our own words."

"If love is a labor, I'll slave till the end."

"I won't cross these streets until you hold my hand."

Monday, October 22, 2012

Never Walk Away Angry

Let me preface this discussion with the disclaimer that I have indeed regretted fights before. I have regretted things I said to people I cared about and wished I could take them back. I have apologized.

Far to often I hear the cliché, never walk away angry. And I always thought it was kind of stupid. Most often, I've heard it in the context of loosing a loved one (or potentially losing them) and having the last words you exchanged be ones of anger. It was ridiculous to me that any person I loved that much wouldn't know it. I'm under the impression that even when I yell at my mom because I'm being a bitchy teenager she still knows I love her, but I base that assumption off the personal knowledge that when I'm being yelled at I still know I am loved.

But everything's changing. A few days ago I walked away angry, well, ok, frustrated. And was miserable the second that person was out of sight, not because I'm not confident that they know I love them, I am, but because I have no desire to be mad at them, because there is nothing more important that I love them, no argument outweighs that.

So, new policy: never walk away angry. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Socratic Method

Questions are a tricky business. According to Merriam Webster: an act or instance of asking. My English professor today, in a discussion of how to enter an academic conversation, encouraged us to not answer a question without first asking one. It took me about two seconds to realize this is how I should be living my entire life, not just my academic conversation entering (like that'll ever happen). We discussed the concept of argumentation as conversation as opposed to the popular notion of argumentation as battle. I've lost one of my closest friends because she thought all arguments were a battle to be won by the best tactics and weaponry, and for far to long I played the game. Now that I'm "out in the world," the connections I make with people are often far more ephemeral and somehow far more dear to me and I'm far more interested in what those people can say to me than what I could possibly communicate to them. My closest friend right now I spend a ridiculous amount of time just silently listening to, since I know everything he says is precious to me. Challenge: always ask a question before you answer one. Try to understand the perspective of the inquirer and what they're really getting at. Be quiet. Receive. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Things a Weekend in Fredericksburg Taught Me

I like to sleep more than is natural, or probably healthy.
I lied ever time I said I had found the most confortable bed in the world.
I have absolutely zero ability to relate to a 13-year-old boy.
I wish I was more of a hipster.
I can totally write a ten-page paper in 24 hours.
My phone is crazy.
Bashing professors with other professors is exactly as satisfying as one might expect.
I should never be a commuter.

But a really lovely weekend.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ho Hey

So I found this new song a week or two ago. I'm madly madly in love with musicality of it, but it also happens to have some pretty intense romantic lyrics. I sent a link to my boyfriend, because I legitimately thought he' enjoy the music. To his credit, he hasn't mentioned the potentially more committed than we are just yet (I'll love you till the end of forever-esque). I find myself listening to and totally serious and that scares the crap out of me. On the other hand this is the best another human being has ever been to me, and I hope that that is as reciprocal as I want to make sure it is.

Ho, hey, I belong with you, you belong with me, you're me sweetheart.

It's a good song, check it out. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Won't Cross These Streets Until You Hold My Hand

When I was in sixth grade I quit my position as head safety patrol guard at my school. I had been on safety patrol for two years, getting younger students successfully to their parents in the carpool lane outside the building. I was a damn good safety patrol for a 10-year-old and thus, got "promoted" to head safety patrol. Childhood me was incredibly pleased with the recognition for my good performance in that organization and I worked hard at it. I created a schedule, acquired an equipment closet, and got us new "uniforms" (aka: reflective belts). However, people quickly began to not show up when I scheduled the, fail to wear their uniforms, be rude to parents, and a variety of other issues. At that moment, I learned I can never be anyone's boss. I got chastised whenever some other lowly patrol would break the rules, even if I had not done anything, often without me having any knowledge of the incident at all. So, I quit. I didn't want to be in charge of other people, especially people that were being less mature and responsible than I thought I was being. I have successfully avoided management positions since then (except editor of The TJ Chronicle, but then I had a teacher to enforce my rulings). Now, I am in the position, not of being responsible for 24 other individuals, per se, but having 24 other individuals relying on me. I took this position and didn't really expect to get texts at two in the morning about a paper due the next day (largely because I never used my predecessor in the same way). I'm not saying I don't love my job. It is rewarding and I get to go on tons of adventures I never would otherwise (and it pays well), but I do come across moments I did not expect. I don't want to hold their hands any more than I wanted to help patrols guide people across the streets. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hide and Go Seek

One of my best friends has this theory that the people you are supposed to find the universe will give you many opportunities to get to. He developed this plan when he was dating a girl he could have met through church or a summer camp or their parents working together. I have long been a casual believer in this small-world theory and on more than one occasion I've found people who became important in my life that I could have found in other places if I'd been looking. I didn't really subscribe to a notion that the only people who become important in my life are people I could have come across in a variety of ways, particularly not now that I've left my insular childhood spending 17 years in the same town. Now? Not so sure. In pure, crazy, poor decision-making, college student style, I'm taking a road trip this weekend to visit a high school friend, who happens to be friends at college with one of my college friend's high school friends. Happens to be one of the most important people in my life right now. Huh, maybe the universe knows more about what's going on than me, fancy that.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

No Regrets

I was talking to a friend yesterday about not wanting to let go of the things that make you who you are. I don't know that you can forget the things that shaped you. Sure, you can forget the details of the moments of the tings that were part of the experiences that created the person you are today, but, overall it got you somewhere and that isn't changing. I operate under a strong "no regrets" policy, right up there with the "anything once" policy. No regrets doesn't mean I don't know that I've made mistakes (I've made plenty), but it means that I like where I am (very, very much, at the moment). In an entirely butterfly effect-y kind of way, I couldn't be exactly where I am if everything that happened hadn't happened exactly as it did. In and interview with Lady Gaga, she said that "Judas" was founded on this exact idea. "I'm in love with Judas." I'm in love with the mistakes because they got me where I am. She said you have to love that Judas betrayed Jesus because, without that, he couldn't have become a savior. Yes, sometimes things suck; yes, sometimes we'd prefer not to remember them; but yes, they change us. "Who can say if I've been changed for the better, but, because I knew you, I have been changed fr good."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More Falling

It strikes me now that I have written two posts in my time writing titled "The Fall." The first referring to a fall from grace, and the second to falling in love (and the second is titled that largely because that is the favorite movie of the person I'm currently in love with). It was just odd to me how juxtaposed those two thoughts were, and that subconsciously I reference them in the same way.  

"Available" Gender

My professor  in History of the LGBT Movement mentioned in passing last week that it was unfortunate that everyone in our society has to chose from the two "available" genders: male and female. I definitively believe that there are not just two genders, although I also dislike the theorists that assert other numbers as well. As far as I'm concerned gender is infinite because it is endlessly self-defined. Gender is, for me, something I have never had to question; woman was always a quite comfortable title. However, I can definitely identify both masculine and feminine traits in myself if I want to. The business of any one person or group of people or institution telling people what their gender can be, or, what genders are "available" is ludicrous. Does this mean that, depending on the institution you are working under your gender could feasibly change (outside of the realm of gender being fluid, as in, you could feel exactly the same and yet be labeled something different depending on where you are)? Whatever your personal feelings about your won gender, who the hell does it hurt to let everyone identify in a way that makes them comfortable? If it isn't available, create it!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Fall

Without much thought, I used to believe that the best times you one was in love, he or she would be able to identify an exact moment when they "fell" in love. A less romantic story would tell of falling in love over some period of time for whatever reason. I have now abandoned the idea that it is even possible to fall in love in a moment, but there are certainly moments along the way. My new timeline is as follows:
     First: There is a moment that you never realize at the time, and that, only looking back after having fallen in love do you come to see. You also never notice it unless you do go on to fall in love, so we probably have these moments with plenty of people who never get close to a relationship with us. This is the gateway moment, the moment that connects you in some way deeply enough to open the door to falling in love. This time it was a fluke, a moment of vulnerability I should never have seen, but I did.
     Second: This door is opened and is followed by an unconscious wander down a fairly circuitous route. The whole point is you don't know it's happening, but things are quietly changing. The second you consciously realize it, you've hit stage three.
     Third: This is when you know in your own mind that you are in love (and, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I believe in love is a mutual state, so there is some level of understanding at this point that the other party feels similarly, sometimes communicated, but usually just mystically known). I think a lot of people spend a long time on this step, I, however, am not one of them.
     Fourth: Perhaps the most intimidating part of the process, telling to other person. It is a pretty self-explanatory step, you do it or you don't. I don't think much of trying to wait for a right moment. I think a lot of people do this because they don't think they are sure of their feelings, but love has always (and I hope always will be for me) very concrete. I am in love with a person or I am not; it isn't something you question, it's just something you intrinsically know. I certainly have been at junctures where I was in love with someone and didn't want to be, but that is an entirely different issue.
So here, now, I know that gateway moment for me, that let me be open to falling in love with this person, and I know when I told them. I forget, however, the moment I knew I was in love and that makes me sad, but perhaps I'll remember. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Eagle Rants

So AU's newspaper has a section called Eagle Rants which is pretty much people snapping anonymously at each other through the media and desperate singles begging for hook-ups, but occasionally I come across some true genius in a rant. Three days ago "The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference." At first I read it in a gender violence context, and considered men's amazing power to check each other. It called back memories of an, admittedly very odd, conversation with some of my male friends list year to the tune of "What would you do if you knew/caught your roommate raping someone?" But if I just sit back and get over the andocentrism for a moment, the statement holds very true. The right person in the wrong place can make all the difference. But it truly requires that we not be afraid to be that right person; we have to remember to speak up (I will also immediately own up to a proclivity to speak up at all the wrong times and few of the important ones). I'm not saying I don't know that this is an overdone point, but really, people can't get caught up in the bystander effect. Look at every wrong time as opportunity to be the right person.

Monday, September 10, 2012


I was talking with an acquaintance (friend?) a few days ago about our religious upbringings and I mentioned that I have often grappled with the notion that my church is inclusive. He agreed and aptly but simply said essentially "Implicit to inclusiveness is the exclusion of those who are exclusive." How perfect. My "open" church wouldn't be remotely open to a homophobe or racist or sexist, but then aren't we not really open? I'm not saying those are the kind of people I want to hang out with, they aren't, it's just the semantics that bother me, but it's still a bother. Then two nights ago I was watching Daily Show coverage of the DNC and they were talking about the exact same thing (basically that even though the democrats espouse rampant inclusivity, they wouldn't let a conservative within 10 miles of their values). At least I'm not the only one bothered by it.

Friday, September 7, 2012


I have an unreasonable love for quotations (and yes, they are quotations, quote is the verb, not a noun). As in, I write down funny quotations from my friends, family, and professors; keep a running notebook of famous quotations; and have more posters, postcards, and other tidbits scattered on my walls than any self-respecting 18-year-old should. I characterize this as an unreasonable love for two reasons. The first is obvious, I clearly like these cultural artifacts more than many and put much greater effort into pursuing them than they are probably worth. The second, however, is more complex, and, frankly, more depressing. What the hell to quotations do for us? I mean, sure, in the moment I'm inspired, perhaps even led to a new perspective, but then they sit, written in multi-colored pen in a spiral notebook with the Celtic tree of life on the cover in my desk drawer. We (humans) have all of these lovely ideas that never become anything. Perhaps that's a little too pessimistic, but as far as I'm concerned, it's just sad.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Perhaps this is imprudent, or a little to "meta" for some's liking, but I'm writing this blog about starting to blog. I have an opportunity to blog for a school publication that I have been writing long-form articles for for the past year. Last night, I was talking to our Blog Editor about how I need to come up with a focused topic or "beat" to cover serially, and she essentially told me I have a strong enough writing voice that she doesn't need me to have a topic. Apparently, I can blog about anything I want, pretty much whenever I want, and have me the interesting thing that connects these all together? Huh. I'm pleased, don't get me wrong, but that's a lot of pressure to be consistent and interesting. Hopefully, writing here has been good practice. I also don't want to take away content from this outlet because I'm writing for another one, and there are ethical implications to posting in more than one place. It's sort of like, well, the real world. Here we go.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Missing Home?

I've been at school about a month now since I went back early for job training before the semester started, so I came back home for the weekend to escape/relax/decompress. Last year, I came every month-ish for a weekend so it isn't like this is particularly early (although, for everyone else it's the first real weekend back), but I mysteriously miss AU more in these 24 hours than I ever have before. Even all summer I didn't miss it terribly, occasionally I wanted to talk to one of my friends, so I did, and sometimes I wanted to see them, but I always knew I'd be going back soon and it didn't really bother me. One of my good friends got really attached to school really quickly last year, and I always thought she was kind of crazy (well, admittedly, I still do, but I understand a little more). This is the first time I've ever thought about school and unconsciously used the noun "home" in my mind. Before, I always consciously refused to use the term home for school. Home is Frederick, in the house I grew up in with my parents, where my family gathers for holidays and my friends sleep over. Home is not, can't ever, be anything else. Except that now it seems to be. I have several theories on this. The first is that since it is the first weekend back, it is the first time all of my friends get to hang out, and I am not there. So, one reason is just that I feel left out. The second is that, the way my schedule worked out, I have a five-day weekend. Somehow five days seems a whole hell of a lot longer than two. The third, and probably most realistic, is that now I am attached, not only to friends, who I can still talk to and joke with and hear stories from, but to a significant other, and kisses are something only communicable in person. Whatever the reason, I'm feeling a little lonely in Frederick, although, I'm also not used to weekends where I come home and spend a day home alone since I'm used to getting home Friday evening, not Thursday. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Way It Goes

I am working this year as a Program Associate for a freshman living-learning community. This means I have the privilege(?) of living and working with 24 freshmen in a sociology course. One of my responsibilities is to set up the lab experiences that accompany the class, which involves a lot of e-mailing and calling various people in D.C. who work in areas studied by everything. One week, I am arranging for a speaker from the MPD Gang Unit to come do a presentation. I called him today to set up some logistical things about that event and he asked if he could call me right back. "Sure." Ten minutes later the phone rings and he casually says, sorry he was catching up with another officer after one of their colleagues funerals. "That's the way it goes," he says. Really? Is that how it goes? You mourn for a friend and then resume conducting business with a college student with an in-the-whole-scheme-of-things pretty damn trivial request? I mean, I guess that is the way it goes, but that sucks. And yes, "that sucks" doesn't begin to cover it, but is there anything I could say that would? No.

Monday, August 27, 2012

5:30 to 8:00

So this semester I have two classes that meet once a week from 5:30 until 8:00 in the evening. I actually "like" night classes (as in, I have no different feelings about them as compared to other time slots), and I also took one in the fall last year. Tonight, I walked into the class in the sunlight and walked out in sunlight, but as the semester progresses I will come to walk in in the sun and walk out in the dark, and then, eventually, both enter and exit in complete wintery darkness. Walking across campus after one of those classes today, I realized that approximately maps to my general feelings throughout the semester. Right now, I'm still pretty energized about everything that's coming in the next few months, but in a few weeks I'll be lethargically chugging along trying desperately to get through midterms, and by the end of November I'll be all but dead with a soupy brain. Soupy-brained, ready-for-Christmas darkness. So, basically, I'm deciding I really need to enjoy the sunlight while it lasts. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012


One of my favorite things is comfortable silence, not because I think silence is particularly invigorating, but because there has to be a pretty high level of ease with another human being to be happy just being. Quietly sitting or laying together and not having to speak at all is its own kind of magic. It happens between lovers, friends, family, and is most beautiful when they actually are communicating anyway. The completely silent moments of understanding always seem to me to indicate almost complete oneness. squeezing someone's shoulder and knowing what you mean is "I'm glad you're happy," or "I'm going to miss you," and them knowing that that's what you're saying. Those moments are phenomenal.  

Monday, August 20, 2012


English classes at my college are all themed. Oddly, in the first English class you take, the topic isn't published until after you've signed up, so it's a bit of a crap shoot as far as whether you'll enjoy it. I happened to not take freshman English my freshman year, so I'm about to take it now as a sophomore (it all worked out okay; it means I get to take it as an honors course which will be more interesting). I just found out the topic for our class is "Writing the Zeitgeist." Admittedly, I had to look zeitgeist up on Wikipedia. Zeitgeist: "the spirit of the times," "the spirit of the age." Before looking it up, I was apprehensive about the strange German term, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that it's exactly what I write anyway. Journalism is, by nature, taking the events and attitudes of the current time and synthesizing them into meaningful information that will communicate to the audience the pulse of the subject. In my personal writing, too (including this forum), I mostly write about my take on the way things are in the world. I, for lack of better words, report and interpret phenomena I come across in my own life. I have yet to meet anyone who is dramatically disappointed with the topical class they end up in. Perhaps there's a larger cosmic power making sure we all end up in the right place?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Falling In Love

I haven't had the pleasure of falling in love since I was 14 years old, and four years later, man is it different. At fourteen, I told a "love-of-my-life" boyfriend "I love you," because it seemed like what people did. Four years later I was caught holding back "I love you,"s to save them for the perfect moment. Obviously, the perfect moment is in the moment and was a spontaneous conversation in a ridiculous setting, but it was right. This fall has been harder and faster than ever before, and yet, mysteriously, I'm standing up with a lot less bruises (which is, I suppose, ironic). This particular development came about very quickly and not at all in a manner I expected. It also conveniently happened to coincide with a lot of personal thought about the nature of loving. My boss said the other day "Love is a verb, not a noun," and cognitively, I of course know that, but I have a new goal of always trying to frame it as that. Loving? For a long time. In love? Maybe soon...maybe now?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Wanderer, Worshiper, Lover of Leaving

We UUs, we have some funny hymns; it's just a thing. Many of these hymns I love dearly and will get stuck in my head for hours on end. Some, I picture singing with our youth choir and signing along to our words. Several, I can feel my mother swaying beside me as I hum. And different songs and phrases strike me more powerfully at different times. Recently, I've had this stanza running through my mind:

Come, come whoever you are,
Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.
Ours is no caravan of despair,
Come, yet again, come.

I wrote a poem inspired by this song many years ago in which I chose to dichotomize those three positions as completely separate people: the wanderer, who doesn't know what they're looking for but searches constantly; the worshiper, who is decidedly comfortable with what they believe; and the lover of leaving, who rushes through life in an attempt not to deal with finding or practicing the answers. But as I grow into a new understanding of identity, I begin to realize that most UUs, by the very nature of the religion, are a vastly complex combination of these identities. I reject traditional scripture and worship as to rigid in favor of endeavoring on my own search, but I search in the structured environment provided to me by my religious community, and I realize that while I idly search I am avoiding being tied down to any particular beliefs. I find both fault and strength in all three personas, but I have yet to decide whether, when the three are combined they are collectively more faulty or more strong. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

When I Grow Up

I'm currently back at school in training to be a student mentor in the coming semester. Today, our group did a "Diversity Dialogue" which is an activity we also did at Orientation last summer. Last time, I spent a lot of time being annoyed by other participants' lack of openness. but this time around I was challenged to accept that my upbringing has been incredibly liberal and open compared to most of my peers. I shared an anecdote during the discussion about something I remember very dramatically from my childhood. On several occasions, my mother said something to the effect of "When you grow up, I hope the man or woman you marry will be...." or "When you have kids with you husband or wife..." I have always really appreciated that my mom especially, but even my extended family, made diversity and alternatives a norm. I don't always remember, though, that not everyone had the same experience as a kid, and I often find myself thinking people who really are just ignorant or unexposed to issues are narrow-minded. So my task for the duration of this job will be giving people a chance. Last year, when I was a freshman in the program I am now a mentor for, there was one very conservative boy in our class and he definitely felt the push from the rest of the class to open himself to the experience. Admittedly, I didn't expect a lot out of him in the beginning, but by the end, even though he still disagreed on some points, he became one of the most interesting and respectful people to have a discussion with. I try to model acceptance in the hope that it will become a societal norm. I also make a point of modeling respect (one of my favorites is telling the little boys I babysit that NO MEANS NO when one tells the other they don't want to do something just so that it is a concept they're very familiar with by the time sexuality hits the scene). I won;t begin to pretend that this will probably be one of the most challenging experiences of my life, but I hope that, in being open to learning as much from them as I teach them, it will also be one of the most rewarding. 

Holding On. Holding Back?

Fun fact: every time I eat at my grandparents house, I use baby silverware. It's awesome. I have a little fork with a red handle that I've been eating with there for as long as I can remember, and spoons I used to eat Bran Chex with. They still have a separate drawer for just my silverware. In some ways it's incredibly nice to have the relics of a life I only knew fleetingly and now is entirely gone. However, it clearly isn't the most effective way to transport food from plate to mouth. Am I holding on to a ridiculous memory that actually makes my life harder just so I don't have to feel like I'm growing up. If all that's grounding me to my childhood is a spoon I think I have a much bigger problem. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I Just Can't Find a Simple Way to Say Goodbye

Today was an unexpectedly sad one. I'm leaving a job I only held for two months (not due to my own deficiencies, it's a seasonal position, lifeguarding) and six hours out I'm already missing some of the spectacular, hilarious, and soap-opera-y characters I met there. Some goodbyes I expected, even prepared for, but others caught me off guard. (I'm not using real names for the privacy of the individuals discussed.)
Emma: Another guard at the pool I've become pretty close with. It was an odd sensation, to be stuck with another human you don't know at all for up to eight hours and, when the pool is not busy, talk to them. It essentially meant that we got pretty deep into each other's lives pretty quickly. I could recite for you the names of her friends and boyfriends and tell you at least ten funny anecdotes about various combinations of those people. I could also rattle off a decent version of her belief statement and life goals. I'm sure she could say similar things about me. But now, this person who in two months has gotten to know me inside and out, I may likely never see again, an that's weird. I expected to hug Emma, I even sort of planned to. But she steeped out of my cr to her family waiting in the driveway and we parted with a promise to meet up in D.C. sometime over the next year  and visit. Goodbye, not as it was anticipated.
Marcy: Not someone who I'm particularly close with, but someone who frequents the pool. A middle-aged woman whom I've had several interesting conversations with. I didn't even realize she knew it was my last day until she was walking out of the gate. She stopped to wish me well for the year ahead and hope that I'll be back next summer (which, honestly, I probably won't). Unexpected goodbye.
Mark: This guy reminds me a lot of my dad and his friends. He has kids a little older than me and I've talked a lot to him over the summer about school, and plans, and future. He's funny and great when he plays with kids. Admittedly, the first day I met him I got a tiny bit of creeper-vibe, but it has vanished completely hearing him talk about his own kids and showing interest in my life. I expected him to say goodbye I suppose, but more of a "Have a great year," kind of deal as he walked out. Instead I got a tight, I-care-about-you, dad hug and a warning to stay safe and work hard. Goodbye, better than I thought.
Jess, Tim, and Joe: Joe is a four-year-old, off the walls, crazy, adorable kid at the pool. He's spent the summer playing mini-lifeguard for Emma and I and is clearly a smart and talented young man. As his parents got ready to leave, I walked over and asked for a hug and said I had to say goodbye. This exuberant, happy little kid started crying and screaming at me. I wished I hadn't said anything, he'd be too young to know the difference and would probably forget in a few weeks that I ever wandered into his life. His dad gave me his card (he's a part-time photographer) and said to look up the album of Joe pictures and keep in touch. He added his and Jess' phone numbers to the card and they walked away. Jess yelled back from the parking lot something to the effect of "Come back when you're 21 and we'll show you how to party." More than I...wanted goodbye.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Jumping In

And so I find myself at a very different time than I anticipated standing on the edge of cliff overlooking a very different view. The last five years of my life have not really gone as planned. Somewhere, in a now long-lost fantasy I was going to be doing what I'd always done and getting different results. But, now, I'm looking at a very new landscape from a vantage point I couldn't have imagined five years ago. Parts of me have always been afraid to dive into something unless I'm 100 percent positive about the outcome (or at least the best and worse possible outcomes). And, right now, I have no idea of the outcome, but I think it's time to take a leap (sorry, Kierkegaard, I know you're rolling in the grave for the misuse of that phrase). I try to stand by a strong even-if-it-doesn't-work-out-you-learn-from-it policy, so this is me, looking for a new teacher. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Taxi Driver

Recently came across this on Facebook. True or not, it's compelling.

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard
box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.'

'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive
through downtown?'

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly..

'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice..'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired.Let's go now'.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.

'Nothing,' I said

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hakuna Matata

You can run from your past or you can learn from it. I've recently been mentally revisiting some of my past decisions and interrogating how I now feel about the choices I made. Some things I've known since the moment they happened, for example, I've always known that quitting dance was the stupidest thing I ever did. Earlier this year I got a message from a friend apologizing for lots of things she had done years before and I found it didn't make me feel any better about the solidity of our friendship (I also learned that radical honesty is not the best policy). Her apology seemed like it was more to make her feel better than to help me. So, now, I am faced with a compelling desire to apologize to someone, but I know that, even though I might feel better having done it, for them, it will just open old wounds. And then I am left with a desire to at least be supportive and present even if I can't apologize, but I think even that might be too much (or at least this person knows me well enough to figure out where it's coing from). So, you have to put your past behind you. I have to abandon some good memories (and bad memories, but you have to take the bad with the good) to let  other people keep living. Mostly, I'm afraid I'll forget. For as hard as it was, I learned more about myself than I have before or since, and I miss that, even though I don't miss the situation. It's our problem-free philosophy?

Monday, July 9, 2012


Saturday night I enjoyed the culmination of Road Rally, and annual event for the youth at my church. It is essentially a scavenger hunt on wheels which ends at a church members house we we camp-out and have a service. The group returned to church the next morning, some tired and some overwhelmingly excited for the special guest of the morning: our old minister was going to be giving a guest sermon. If I went to a christian church, one would have thought Jesus was about to enter the building. Perhaps the largest contingent of youth that has ever attended a service they have not been designing sat in the front row (well, actually some of us sat on the floor to provide chairs to others). The sanctuary was the fullest I have ever seen it in my life (and my life is longer than that of the church, at least this building). At first, I was mesmerized by this turnout and the resounding first hymn (which happened to be one one of my favorites). It bordered on magical to feel that powerful a sense of community again in a place that has felt dead to me for so long. I love my church, which has been one of the safest, most accepting, and most fun places to grow up, but it has, for a while, felt decidedly devoid of the magic, intensity, and community that I remember from my childhood. Part of that is growing up, everything seems less romantic than it did when I was six, but much of it was a loss of spiritual and societal grounding when we lost our long-time minister and his family. They were a driving force in our church community the entire time I was there. He came the sit with my parents in a waiting room while I was in surgery; his wife came to "tea" with my mom and I every spring; I took art classes with his daughter. Like a grandparent the dies when you are young, I remember this man and love him, but I am being forced to admit that I never really knew him, and certainly do not now. For a long time, I have fantasized about moving close to his new congregation in California, and of one day having him officiate my wedding (which, ironically, was part of while he was there, marrying the brother of one of my best friends to another friend's older sister's best friend). And as he gave his sermon, which discussed us being on the precipice of the "Emerald City" (we are about to welcome a new, permanent minister) I started to cry. Partly because of the beauty of everyone coming together, but partly because of how wrong he is. Seven years ago, we stood before that city's gates, having built a new church and started a new era. But, seven years later, he can still bring us together in a way we have never been able to manage ourselves. Clearly, we are doing something terribly, terribly wrong. I am also being forced to face a feeling I have known I had for a long time, but always tried to ignore. I'm confident that he and his family leaving was the first time I ever really felt abandoned by someone I cared about. I didn't understand at the time, and quite frankly still don't, why we (and in my younger mind, me, specifically) weren't good enough for him. Since his departure, I have seen four more ministers come and go and I would be lying through my teeth if I didn't admit that I think that has been seriously detrimental to the quality of our church and the spiritual experience I have had there. I am interested in having a minister I can get to close to, confide in, and grow under the mentorship of. College has particularly led me to the realization that that is something I wish I had (which I acknowledge is odd for someone not involved in a particularly theologically organized institution, but I feel it nonetheless). I have not had a minister I trusted or was very interested in getting close to at all in a very long time and then it occurred to me that, for as much as we feel like these are people who truly care about us, it is still a job for them and can never be divorced entirely from that. This leads me to more current events. In two weeks we will welcome a new minister. I'm very skeptical about the whole thing, largely because of some comments from my grandfather, who was on the Ministerial Search Committee. I feel bad for not giving him the benefit of the doubt, but having gone through five ministers in my life, two of whom I disliked, two of whom were acceptable but didn't last long enough to enjoy, and one who could have been a second father, I just don't know that I can ever get that back again. I thought seeing him would make me feel better about everything, but having done it, I think it just makes me feel worse. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Bombs Bursting in Air Gave Proof Through the NIght

Of all holidays, I think the Fourth of July has been one of the most interesting and eventful almost every year. I have laid under the Baker Park fireworks with family and friends, I have watched them in rain, and cried through them. The Fourth has seen me make some of the best decisions of my life and get caught in the awkwardest moments. Ironically, though, it it one of the holidays I care the least about on principle. I am not a patriot. I have never considered myself patriotic (in fact forced or unfounded patriotism is one of my biggest annoyances). I owe no allegiance to this flag or country or government. What I do owe my allegiance to are the people this country is home to. Sometimes we seem to forget what the symbol stands for, and that turns me off of the symbol. It seems to me that if we celebrated American people rather than a document written before our great-great-great grandparents were born we'd take leaps toward more united states and citizens. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Being a Big Girl

Number one being a big girl task: having a job. As an only mildly big girl, it took me about a month of my summer to successfully locate a summer job. I work as a lifeguard at one of the sketchiest pools ever in one of the sketchiest neighborhoods ever, for one of the sketchiest companies ever. It's fine, I like it. It has, however, been quite the adventure. So my boss hired me without me even really applying. I told him I was certified and he asked me to work the next day. I was desperate for a job and signed up. I was supposed to work three days a week with some occasional extra shifts for the rest of the summer. That sounded pretty good to me. I have now been working there two weeks, and the world has been turned upside-down. It's a little weird because, technically, I am employed by a pool management company, but the leasing office of the apartment complex the pool is in are also sort of my bosses. Unfortunately these two parties do not communicate super well which leaves us guards mostly confused about the rules, goings on, and our employment status. So, less than a week after I started work, the pool operator was fired for something she didn't do. (Don't get me wrong, she wasn't great at her job and I'm not crying over her loss, but if they can fire her on a blatant lie, what can they do to me?) The next day, my boss (without having told me about this woman's being fired, I found that out on my own through other grapevines) called me up saying "Oh, by the way, you now work six days a week," aka every day the pool is open for the entire day. Wait a second. Excuse me, you want me to work 50 hours a week because you wrongfully fired someone and you expect me to skip church all summer when summer is the only time I am home and can actually go. That's not really going to work for me, buddy. Fortunately, I know some other only moderately employed individuals that are certified lifeguards and called one up. He is generously willing to take two shifts and we found another guy (who I'll meet for the first time tomorrow) to take two. Well, yay, now I only work five days a week. Not really the summer I planned, but hopefully they'll actually pay me the time-and-a-half I deserve. Have officially sucked it up and put on my big girl swimsuit. 

Monday, June 11, 2012


I would say that I have a pretty small family, and I don't think I would say that we are super close, but I'm coming to realize that means I get to be really close with a few people, and I get to have a lot of extra family. My immediate family is my mom and dad, but al four of my grandparents live within five miles of me and I see them frequently. My mom has one brother by which I have two cousins, an ex-aunt, and and aunt. My dad has two sisters, plus I have those two uncles and five cousins. But I am amazingly blessed ro have a lovely family that isn't my blood. My grandma's college roommate, Meg, has been an integrated part of my family since before my mom was born. Every Christmas and Thanksgiving is spent with her and her family; her sons have essentially been brothers to my mom and uncles to me. A few years ago at church we casually declared that one of my best friends and I were god-siblings. I have an aunt for whom's mother my grandma was a Hospice volunteer. She actually even asked permission to be a part of the family and now joins us for almost all of our holidays. I have at least two, if not nine, fabulous sisters who are all best friends. I have a new friend at school that has become as good as a brother. Today, I officially got permission to refer to two little boys that have been family friends since before they born my nephews. My little family doesn't look so little. 

Monday, June 4, 2012


I have never in my life spent a night in my house alone. The first time I ever spent the night anywhere alone I was housesitting for family friends from church who fondly (sort of) call the row house next door the "house of ill repute" because of the working girls they apparently see there. That night was rather surreal between the sleep deprivation, fried oreo coma, bamboo sheets, and Their Eyes Were Watching God recording. I was watching the cats Gordon and Weaver, and the greyhound Bea (short for Beast). I can still count on my fingers the number of nights I've spent alone, now at three different houses none of which are my own. Then I headed to college where you are never alone...ever...ever. I came back and pretty soon was housesitting and alone again. I won't say I don't get kind of nervous when I hear funky noises, because I definitely do, but I'm also not uncomfortable. But I was laying in bed in an empty house this Saturday and realized I don't know that that will ever feel right. I suppose I've always just (reasonably) assumed that I'd always have roommates until I was living with a significant other (which, let's be real, is just a vamped up roommate). I don't feel like I ever want to live completely alone, and then, thinking that, I realized I don't think I want to get to the end of my life and find I've never lived alone. I suppose it's one of the bridges I'll cross when I come upon it, but for now it's a strange thought. I don't think people really plan for the intermediate future. I plan for the immediate future...right now I am going to school and getting internships and working. And I plan for the distant in some modern apartment in a foreign city with someone I love. But what goes between here and there? No one really seems to think about that. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Betrayal at the House on the Hill

Sounds like a bad horror flick, right? Wrong. It's a rather intriguing board game. I think it first wandered it's way into my life when one of my best friends' significant other gave it to him as a birthday gift. Said friend then brought it back home and a group of us played it just about constantly all of winter break. So I started going around raving about this game, and some family friends got it for me, for Valentine's Day (long story). The basic idea is that the players enter this haunted house and begin exploring, discovering new rooms each turn. At some point, a traitor reveals him or her self and the "haunt" begins. Haunts rance from zombies to werewolves to flesh-eating blobs. In theory, this game should not be nearly as fun as it is, but it is. Either the heros or the traitor win and we get into vicious replays of every tactical maneuver made by each side. Anyway it's great fun, only no one else is around now that it's summer to play with me. We are playing at church this Sunday. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

iPod Hallucinations

I have a habit of getting music stuck in my head. In fact, when, for a school project we weren't allowed to listen to music (or interact with any other media) for 24 hours I discovered it only prompted me to sing all the time to make up for it. Even more annoyingly, I can get a song stuck in my head having only ever heard it once. Case in point: I only ever got into Girlyman because a year after I heard them in concert I could still sing the chorus of "Reva Thereafter" perfectly. Anyway I have a sonly like that stuck in my head right now again (actually another tune I heard at a Girlyman performance) and I felt like I should share my pain with the interwebs. Brief research has led me to the knowledge that it's actually a cover of "Born at the Right Time" by Paul Simon. I think I prefer Girlyman's version, but that's probably because it's the one I heard first.

Never been lonely. Never been lied to. Never had to scuffle in fear. Nothing denied to. 

As to the title of this post, that was the headline of my first published article ever. It was about how iPods have allegedly increased "earworms" even in people who have gone deaf. Published in The TJ Chronicle in September 2007. Memories. I keep a scrapbook of all of those early articles, It's crazy to sometimes go back and read them, and then realize it wasn't really that long ago.

Something Summery This Way Comes

I usually try to refrain from simply recapping my life and write about things I find particularly interesting on worth sharing on here, but I'm just going to take a minute to report on why I've been MIA for a while. FINALS ARE OVER and with them the first year of the amazing and terrible whirlwind that is college. I love it, I have it, I mean mostly I love it, but either way it's back to Fredneck for what promises to be an amazing summer with lots of camping and friends. I've been in Lifeguard Certification all week, hopefully with a job to come...soon. I've been on a bit of a break from thinking for the past two weeks but hopefully I'll resolve that soon and get down to an enormous reading list that I've been piling up throughout the year when I was too busy for pleasure reading. These first weeks back have been kind of surreal, so it's only just starting to set in that I miss my college friends. The land of love recycles into the same old bad but enjoyable habits, ehh, it's summer, what do you expect. Anyways, I have high hopes for lots of adventures and a good tan this summer.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


I have a friend who I have been growing apart from for a while, but several recent incidents have forced me to accept that he either is or is becoming one of the most immature, self-centered, misogynistic, disrespectful individuals I know. He knows I am not thrilled with him and asked to talk, but I decided I could express myself better in a letter. I have it written, but have not given it to him yet (mostly because I never see him anymore). In the letter I said that his actions were upsetting because I knew he wasn't actually that bad of a guy, and I suppose when I write it a few weeks ago I might have believed that, but now I'm coming to know that his is really just one of the most detestable people I know. Mostly in that he has no respect for anyone but he also enjoys making people as upset as possible. If he knows something will bother someone, you better bet he does it, and a lot. Now the worst part of this is that he will be in really close proximity to us next year. Adventures. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Real Me

 A friend just posted this on Facebook, she happens to be the student president at my college. Such a mind-blowing amount of courage. I don't know Sarah that well, and yet, I am incredibly proud.

This note has been a long time coming, 21 years actually.

Today, I ended my term as AU’s student body president. Being president has been an unbelievable privilege for me. I have learned and grown so much over the last year, both personally and professionally. As proud as I am of all of the issues we tackled together as a campus community, the biggest take away, for me, has been the resolution of an internal struggle. You see, for my entire life, I’ve struggled with my gender identity.

And it was only after the experiences of this year that I was able to come to terms with what had been my deepest secret: I’m transgender.

For me, it is something I’ve always known, but had never accepted. It’s been present my whole life, from as early as I can remember. It wasn't that I knew I was different, I literally knew I was a girl. I remember my friends dressing me up as a girl at four or five and just feeling a completeness that I didn't feel as a boy.

Around the age of six or seven, I was watching a sitcom with my mom when a transgender character appeared. Until this point, I thought I was alone and that there was nothing I could do about who I knew I was. I remember asking my mom what “transgender” meant. She explained it to me, and my heart dropped; I knew “that’s who I am” and I knew I'd have to tell my parents someday.

At the same time, I developed my love of politics. And starting at six and seven, I wrestled with the fact that my dream and my identity seemed mutually exclusive; I had to pick. So I picked what I thought was easier and wouldn’t disappoint people.

As I got older, became successful in politics, and expectations grew, the pedestal that I was on made it harder for me to come to terms with everything. As the years passed, my golden handcuffs grew stronger and stronger. I had everyone and everything telling me that I could really make it in politics. “What a privilege,” I thought, “I shouldn’t sacrifice that.” I was also scared to disappoint the mentors who had invested so much of their time and provided me with so many opportunities. 

To avoid letting myself and others down, I rationalized my decision: if I can obtain positions of power, make life a little fairer for other people, and make the world a little more accepting of different identities, then that work would be so compelling and fulfilling that it would make me feel complete and some how mitigate my own, internal struggles. I told myself that if I could make “Tim” worthwhile for other people by changing the world, that being “Tim” would have been worthwhile. I also thought that, on a superficial level, the perks and privileges of being an elected official would bring me some level of happiness that I couldn't otherwise achieve.

Then I came to AU and I became SG President. As President, for the last year, I've experienced a mock elected official experience. I realized that as great as it is to work on issues of fairness and equality, it only highlighted my own struggles. I also realized that I didn't care about the superficial things. I found no great happiness in the notoriety and the recognition. Finally, being the SG President gave me the confidence to disregard the petty things people say about me behind my back.

By mid-fall, it had gotten to the point where I was living in my own head. With everything I did, from the mundane to the exciting, the only way I was able to enjoy it was if I re-imagined doing it as a girl.  I wasn't really living anymore.  My existence was experienced through imagination. The world was passing by in front of me, but I wasn’t engaging in it as the person I knew I was; my life was passing me by, and I was done wasting it as someone I wasn't.

And with those experiences, and that new confidence, I couldn't continue to rationalize to myself that it would get better by continued concealment. It would only get better if I came to terms with everything and began to live true to myself.

After confiding in two or three friends as I struggled through fall semester, I told my family and some of my closest friends over winter break. My brothers and parents greeted me with immediate support and unconditional love. Naturally, it was difficult for them. On one level, they had believed that they would never have to really worry about me, that I was pretty much set for life. This development rocked that sense of security and for the first time in my life, they worried about my safety, my professional opportunities, my acceptance, and my happiness. And on a deeper level, they felt like they were losing me.

Since that difficult first week, there is no doubt things have gotten better. My parents have seen that the child they know and love isn’t going anywhere. My friends have been nothing short of exceptional. My parents’ friends have embraced them and me. And we move forward as a family, closer than ever.

The last several months have really shown me a lot about my life. I learned what truly amazing family and friends I have. My news has been met, 100% of the time, with love, acceptance, support, and, in most instances, excitement.

In a similar vein, as difficult as this has been for myself and my family, the experience highlights my own privilege. From day one, I never worried about my family loving and accepting me. But for far too many trans men and women, the reality is far bleaker. Coming out oftentimes means getting kicked out of your home, your community, and your family. I also mentioned that this is the first time that my parents have had to worry about my safety, my job prospects, and my acceptance. But those worries are all too common for most families. I grew up in an upper-income household, in an accepting environment, and with incredible educational opportunities.

I say this not to diminish my own struggle and experience, but to acknowledge the privilege, support, blessings, and opportunities which have been afforded to me. I also say this to emphasize that this story is my experience and my experience alone. There is no one-size-fits-all narrative; everyone’s path winds in different ways.

Today is the next day of the life I’ve already had, but at the same time, the first day of the life I always knew I wanted to lead. Starting on Saturday, I will present as my true self. Going forward, I ask that you use female pronouns (she/her) and my chosen name, Sarah. Over the last several months, I’ve begun to quietly make the transition. A month and a half ago, I started hormones. I’ve told most of my friends and have secured an internship for the summer at the Victory Fund, an organization that works to elect LGBT people to public office and one of the largest political action committees in the nation.

I’d love nothing more than to remain friends with all of you. Below is a link to my new facebook. Feel free to friend me if we aren’t friends already and, please, do not hesitate to ask me any questions. I know this is new to a lot of people and I’m happy to explain my experience in more detail.

With every birthday candle extinguished, with every penny thrown, my wish was always the same.  I am now blessed with the opportunity to live my dream and fulfill a truth I have known since childhood. My gratitude is great to my family and friends for accepting me as the person who they now know me to be, and for letting me show them the possibilities of a life well lived.


PS I now know that my dreams and my identity are only mutually exclusive if I don’t try :)

Below are some links with more information to answer some general questions. For AU students, you can also go to the GLBTA Resource Center with questions.

Still Missing You

I know I write about this a lot, but in a lot of ways it has affected me more than I ever anticipated and probably even more than I admit. I didn't lose a biological grandmother, but I lost a grandma just the same. This was a woman who loved me, and in the way families often do, I never really appreciated as much as I wish I had. Now there's a lovely little girl who doesn't get to know the grandma I did; a little girl who deserves it so much more than I did. Perhaps it hurts so much because it was the second blow in only a few months, or perhaps because we knew it was coming. Whether we were admitting it or not, we all knew. This was the second-to-last time I ever saw Fran, we were visiting to celebrate her granddaughter's birth. I remember I was kind of distracted because I had spent the morning with another one of my favorite people who I knew I was losing (well at least I thought so at the time). Then after I got there I was more exited about baby Meredith than her grandmother. I'm not trying to be that melodramatic person saying "I should have appreciated                more when I had the chance!" Sniffle. Sniffle. But, looking back, I didn't monopolize on the time I had, probably because in the back of my mind I knew it was coming to a close but didn't want to accept that. Anyway, I still miss you, Fran, and I wish I'd called you grandma more. 


It's a strange feeling and you'd think (well depending on how well you know my life) that I'd be quite accustomed to it, but almost without fail the people I love the most are the people in my life that are hurting and time and time again they are the people I can do the least to help. I have been on the sidelines of too many games of love, loss, and hopelessness where at most I can be a cheerleader and at worst I am an onlooker that only makes the players more uncomfortable and self conscious. They are always players without teams, and usually without coaches. The people I most want to support and see succeed are the people I can;t help get there. I have kept the deepest secret in the world for the person I care most about in it for over a year, have been the object of the greatest passion for one of my closest friends, and have heard stories I never dreamed of and certainly couldn't have survived from one of strongest people I know. I don't think me knowing even helps sometimes. I don't really mind knowing these things, but if I can't help I always just feel in the way, like a grumpy referee making calls that do not promote fairness but merely make the game unbearable. Yet, at the same time, I generally feel like the only way to stay close to these people I care about so much is to keep knowing and keep cheering, whatever the costs. Perhaps that's selfish. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Music. Love. Happiness?

Music gets me, and I get it. I've always felt a little silly for pretty much being able to relate and get into any song I hear (well okay, I can't really "get into" classical but I definitely like it and well, there's always dubstep, but in general). But, never fear! I have discovered an explanation for this phenomenon. Perhaps because I've had such a ridiculous, rigmarole, across-the-board love-life in the last five years, I've realized I tend to frame just about everything in terms of love. Who I love, what I love, what I'm passionate about, what makes me angry because of who and what I love. Similarly, most music is framed in love. It's quite a challenge to find a song (with lyrics) that isn't about someone or something somebody loves or used to love. Reasonably, this makes sense. These are the things people are interested in. No one is going to write and perform a song about something as mundane as drinking from a solo cup....oh, whoops. But wait, Toby says "I love you, red solo cup," merely proving my point. Unconventional, yes, but love. All joking aside, it has made me a pretty equal-opportunity music lover, which perhaps makes me indiscriminate, but at least I enjoy it. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Not Quite Lost

I've been feeling kind of strange the last few days and only just realized why. Do you ever have moments where you feel off but cannot figure out what prompted it? Yesterday was decently acceptable in the scheme of things: got lots of sleep, went to class, studied, actually finished homework for my night class. But I felt weird all day. I realized in the evening that I was vaguely uncomfortable in the dress I was wearing, even though it's cute enough and then realized I had not worn it since the summer. Then, I realized the last time I had worn it, was to the funeral of someone I cared a lot about. And I miss her, and on some subconscious level that dress makes me think of her. I suppose it got a little better after I realized it, but it will always be bittersweet. So then today I was feeling kind of funky again and this afternoon I got a text from a friend of the family asking for my mom's phone number. I didn't think much of it and sent it to him. Then, later, my mom called and asked for his wife's cell phone number (it has apparently been a rather epic game of phone tag). She said it was what would have been TC's 11th birthday. April 19th. I know the day, I've heard it before, but never needed to remember it. It's so strange that I can care so much for a person I never met, a person that only coexisted on this earth with me for 18 months before I was old enough to know what death is. And despite all of that, it makes me exceptionally sad. perhaps because I see those who were so much closer to him hurt, but perhaps just because I know I probably should. Either way it was a weird few days, with some weird signs, and weird feelings. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

One Down

Over 25 percent of my college education will be over in less than 25 days. It is strange that no matter how logical it is to me that as I get older, time gets faster, I'm always surprised when it happens. This year that only barely started is ending and I don't know if I'm pleased or disappointed. It's sad that I only have two and a half more years with these friends I've come to love so dearly, but I cannot say I'm not excited to go home and relax for a while. This has been one of the most stressful, high-intensity experiences of my life, but I don't think I'm ready for the world after that. It's so ridiculous that I'm freaking out about this being the end, when really it's less than a third over, but I am. My roommate and I started a countdown to going home today. You know it's close when there's a countdown. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

This is Why We Fight: We Fight to End the Silence

It's a very odd thing among allies, we never really feel like we belong. I want to help in this battle against the ridiculous people in the world who think some people are less than human because of who they love. But, who am I to fight this, I have been given all the privilege of being heterosexual in this world. A friend asked today (The Day of Silence) why it is that we (gay or straight) do this. I have heard several reasons throughout the years of my participation in the event: to stand in solidarity with those who must be silent about their sexual orientation, to stand with all of those who have been silent when they have been bullied, but I realized today that, intentional or not, it is designed to make you feel as alone as someone who can't be out might. That's obviously not something we allies can ever understand, but it seems similar. To their credit, my friends do quite a fabulous job of understanding what I'm trying to gesture or mouth to them, but without words, I feel very much alone. Perhaps that is because I rely so much on words to communicate. But even when I can write things for them, I cannot convey tone. The Day of Silence thus seems to be a particularly awkward event for an ally. Tonight, my school is breaking the silence with Pride Prom, but Pride Prom is not a place I feel that I belong, even though I know I would be welcomed equally. It feels so out of place to be that awkward straight girl in the movement for rights she has. It will never inspire me to stop, I still think this is one of the most important issues that will plague our country in our lifetime, but it does mean I am quieter (no pun intended). Less of a warrior, more support staff. And then I feel just as crappy for not being in it with everything that I've got. To be GLBT in our heteronormative, gender binary world is to be very alone, but to be straight in the queer community is very odd indeed. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Where You Lead...

I will follow, anywhere that you tell me to; if you need me to be with you, I will follow where you lead (Carole King). I don't know how to tell someone that has never experienced a really genuine, lasting love from anyone but a mother that they are loved, wanted, valued, appreciated. How do you communicate to someone who has never known any better they they are not disposable? I can tell you that I'll always be here, they we will always be hear, but I know you've heard that before, and I know it's been a lie. How do we teach you to trust again? And how long can I keep telling you we aren't going anywhere before I'm just a crazy broken record and you just get annoyed? I've considered everything from sending a text every day to writing a blogpost you may or may not read. But I'm realizing the issue isn't that we need to learn to say it differently, but you need to learn to hear it differently. But how can you change ears that have been hurt so much. It's amazing that you aren't deaf to everything we ever tell you. You also have the added intrigue of being a challenge and me being stubborn. You will never get rid of me, or any of us. I am determined to prove to you that we will always be there. But you need to keep us in the conversation; tell us what you need, always. I love you, and I'll always be here, and you damn well better believe I'm never going to let you forget it.