Weighing just grams and razor thin it holds against a force that carves mountains and washes away cities and drowns life.
Until a few years ago I had no idea what transgender was or that it was even a thing. Growing up I just never heard the word, but once I did and knew what it meant I was completely okay with it. I was okay with it because it in no way hurts me or anyone else if a person was unfortunate enough to be born in a body they don’t identify with. If you can, try to imagine the confusion and conflict a person must feel growing up feeling like a woman in a man’s body or vice versa. Life is hard enough when everyone thinks of you as normal. To have this identity crisis as a kid and live amongst a culture that looks down on it and even hates it must be terrifying. People need to get over themselves and just try be nice to anyone having struggles they themselves don’t understand.
The only thing I don’t like about any of the LGBT or cis dialogue is that we have to have labels at all. I don’t want a label. There isn’t any one word that you can put on me to even start explaining who I am. Who I want to have sex with in no way defines me. My body in no way defines me. My actions and thoughts are always evolving and growing with my newly acquired knowledge. My past has made me who I am today but it doesn’t define me and shouldn’t have any label put on it. I’m just a human being trying to navigate through all the crap everyone else seems to be making up to complicate and divide us.
I would quite honestly just like to disappear into some endless forest to never be seen again. I was born into a century I don’t identify with though and therefore I feel like I must try to get along with people. I do like people but as a species we make these insane choices to hate and fear and oppress others that are different. It is a choice me make every time we meet somebody unlike us. I’m just a poor broken down socialist living in my grandmas old room and with all my problems why would I choose to hate somebody for being transgender? Why? What purpose would it serve to hate some dude for finding me attractive? I don’t choose to be offended or flattered or anything because it doesn’t matter to me and he can’t help it. I like a wide variety of women. My tastes vary quite a lot. That has offended people knowing that. They felt hurt that they weren’t my type. They weren’t happy that I was just into them no matter what and that to me is just a silly thing. I’m just wired in a way that makes me more comfortable with a person’s personality and not their hair color or eye color.
People need to be this way with everyone up until the point of who you decide you’re going to have consensual sex with. Outside of the bedroom or wherever you have sex, who we have sex with in no way defines us. I’ve been judged by so called friends and even family for shit they really knew nothing about and was none of their business anyway. I’m a straight single male on the “normal” side of things and I get judged. I can’t imagine what a young gay man must go through. It’s a very brave thing coming out of the closet to a world full of mean spirited assholes.
All we should be doing for people is doing everything we can to make life easier for them. Build unisex bathrooms and educate people and be kind and listen. Is it really that crazy to just be nice and make the choice to be cool about things you can’t relate to? Think it over a bit.
Isolation used to be sought. Hours spent driving to the country for peace and quiet.
Now it`s dreaded in a metropolis of over a million. Divided by highways and miles of surrounding parking lots and the distraction of television and social media.
It’s an isolation of sensory overload without any real quiet. The local woods echo the traffic. The constant slamming of car doors and mysterious hums and sirens block any real thoughts or insight.
Deep in the suburbs surrounded by a world speeding by, we’re isolated but not alone.
In a tiny backyard lit by neighbors porch lights and dimming streetlights only a few stars shine. The wind gusting between homes prevents us sitting by the store bought fire pit. Rules and regulations take away the dancing of the flames that draw us out of ourselves and into a deeper space in the winter night sky.
It’s nothing like the solitude of a forest or prairie that brings peace to the soul as you listen to mother nature breath around you.
Deep in the suburbs you’re walled in by prefabricated oil based capitalism and roads littered with raccoons and Opossums and deer and coyotes fallen victim to its poison.
Isolated and always plugged in, feeling the warmth of technology against your legs.
Isolated by the unspoken community bedtime of 10 p.m.
Isolated by the yard signs declaring this to be a christian white nationalist town.
Isolated by the headphones and averted eyes as strangers pass.
Isolated by the garage door openers and living room theaters and lack of porches.
Isolated by texting and snapchatting and expression through memes.
Deep in the suburbs longing for a campfire under a cotton wood and listening to its branches squeak as I wonder if they’ll snap and end me. Just looking up at the sky and feeling the warmth of a fire on my knees and the winter chill on my back.
Deep in the suburbs I’m surrounded by people with unfriendly faces and electric lights and the cold wind unheeded by parking lots. Isolated and all alone in a transformed Missouri wilderness.
Deep in the suburbs and isolated.
On inauguration day 2017, Donald Trump’s presidency is being protested by tens of thousands of America’s diverse people across the country. Protesters are sad and angry and fearful. The protesters cause is unique to each individual as they march united against a president and the culture of hate and intolerance he represents. The protests are about lgbt rights and the environment and black lives matter and women’s health and freedom of speech and so many other causes.
I have attended three protests since the election and have seen people full of despair and fear and looking for solidarity in a like minded group. I have seen people full of love and hope who see this election as a sign to love more and speak out and fight for those they see threatened. One thing everybody brings is their voice in solidarity for all people.
Some people chant, braver ones give speeches, others carry signs, and many just lend their presence to show support quietly. They are all united in their beliefs of equality in that America is and should remain a safe place for all its unique people. Despair or hope aside that must remain a core principle.
This election and its results have filled me with sadness and anger and confusion. I’ve written about it and protested and most of the time I feel hopeless about my efforts. I know congress will ignore the will of the people like it did after Sandy Hook and Donald Trump will tweet about us being paid sad losers. I’m sad for all the people who feel afraid because conservatives look at them as lesser than. I’m angry that so many racists and bigots and bullies feel empowered to openly hurt people. I’m confused how such a relatable slogan as “black lives matter” is demonized and sexual assault has been normalized.
I also see hope and love in the protesters and that inspires me to be as positive as I can. I see young men and women march topless on a chilly January day to add more power to their voice. I see people who had protested in the 60’s and are still fighting for whats right. I see openly gay and transgender people defying hatred and telling their stories to the public. I see all these races and ethnic people walking together in support of one another.
I see local law enforcement lining the streets and smiling as peaceful protesters march by and give thank youse. You see all these different people marching together from all walks of life in an effort to support each other and you feel hope for the future. Its sad and it hurts knowing things will get tough for many Americans over the next four years. At the same time you have to fight for them anyway you can. You can’t stand by and watch and be silent. Give hope and empower others by speaking out and letting them know they’re not alone.
This country has long been a beacon of freedom to the world. We make horrible mistakes as American citizens and yet that reputation stands. Through slavery and internment camps and Jim Crow we fight and fight until justice is restored at any cost. Women fought to vote. Japanese citizens defied prejudice and fought fascism in Italy. Black people marched for civil rights and gays marched for pride. The American people fight for their and others freedom. None of us march alone in despair or hope. We are the collective good on the right side of history. Through this sadness we will unite and fight the next battle together. I’m not alone in this and neither are you! March on!
You can take a winter walk down a well marked woodland trail and still the growth on the trails edge will block out the forest. Some areas are protected and you should stay on the trail to protect a fragile eco-system, but if not get into those woods. From the trail the woods look too thick and full of thorns and bushes and dead limbs and you wonder how you could walk through without sounding like a demolition derby. The woods are full of trails made by large animals like deer to small ones like opossums and naturally they at some point intersect your trail. The animal trails wont look like much at your eye level but keep your eyes low and you’ll find one and you should follow it. It won’t be as smooth and easy going as the maintained people trail but the people trail is cleared of all the nature things that might impede your path or get you dirty. The deer and foxes aren’t into convenience like we are and their paths will allow you to so see their world. You get to see the art that nature makes. The greens in January and deer in flight and bluffs overlooking an icy lake. I find these things interesting and beautiful on their very own. They show me a different world parallel to mine where life is harsh and uncomplicated and lawless and quiet and giving. It’s all in the shapes of things. The erosion of limestone or the decay of a once mighty oak, the shapes all tell a story started long before my time and maybe of a time before any man walked through these hills. They tell stories of fires and storms and floods and the history of people come and gone. Nature tells all these stories all along the daily route of animals in the shape things carved over time.
Longing for that friend who wasn’t there on that cold lonely night. The ice on the window brings back the need for that cold heart. That icey woman who came with passion and an instant bond and left like a stranger. This storm and being shut in brings it back. A deep wound aches in the winter weather. This storm brings beauty in its reflective surface and danger in falling for that beauty. The cold hard reality of opening yourself to somebody you love is apperant in the introspection this ice storm allows. People are beautiful and shiny but so painful when they let you fall.
Can you stay friends in “real life” after you decide you can’t be Facebook friends? Sometimes I enjoy the company of somebody but seeing what they post on social media and always being connected is just too much for various reasons. When I’ve unfriended people they took it as being out of their life. The thing is, Facebook isn’t my life. It doesn’t define my friendship with anyone. Neither does Twitter or Snapchat or Instagram. What defines my friendships has nothing to do with technology unless technology is the only link I have to be involved in their lives. Facebook and other social media is not what we are. We need hugs and dinners out and talks over a hot drink or a stiff drink. We need people to stop by and we need to do things that are inconveniences for us but a huge help for others. Being friends is empathy and solidarity and sharing. It’s not just laughing or being entertained but being there through hard times and giving support. Being friends on Facebook and laughing over memes or agreeing over politics is just a thing friends can do but shouldn’t define a friendship. That’s how I feel anyway. I’m Facebook friends with people I know nothing about and I’m not Facebook friends with people I care a great deal about. Facebook is nothing. I can write letters or text or call. Facebook is nothing. Just a tool that makes it easy to be lazy about staying in touch and never seeing people.
I started writing again two years ago today on the advice of a Facebook friend I found on Craigslist and never met in person. It’s funny how often people come and go out of our lives and what a huge influence they can make and how easily their names are forgotten. Any stranger on any day can set us on a path we never expected. That lady also got me back into photography and in doing so introduced me to many new friends and adventures. I hope her name comes back to me someday so I can thank her.
I recommend everybody slow down their lives by discovering a way to express themselves. You can write or draw or paint or photograph or sculpt it doesn’t matter. In finding your expressive medium you slow things down and find yourself in introspection. I believe I’ve found the hope and empathy I had as a youth in writing and photography. For a long time I quit caring and said fuck it dude. I saw and heard nothing but negativity from the news and coworkers and as an introvert I kept quiet and just gave up on people because I didn’t have a voice. On my class ring there’s a picture of the planet and the inscription “Ours to save”. I lost sight of that over years of frustration in not having a voice for my views or ideas and the inability to share what I love with my friends. Thanks to a kind strangers advice I got that back and I can forward on the advice to whoever reads this. You can live your life through memes and quickly scrolling through Facebook posts looking for things that catch your eye or binge watching shows and making them your livelihood, but what are you really learning about yourself and the people around you in doing so? There aren’t are any lessons in car selfies or Game of Thrones. It’s just killing time and a cheap way to do it. There isn’t any connection to humanity and nature through that path in life. That aren’t any new discoveries about your life except which filter makes you look cute or who shows their boobs or gets killed in the next season. It’s an empty forgetful life to live. If you create something that shows the world who you are and what you stand for besides your cute dog face then that’s something you and others can learn from and do something with. That’s what I’ve gotten from two years of blogging and my photography. I feel like I have a voice and that it matters and I know people listen. I just need to remember that lady’s name.