"Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become."

Monday, May 20, 2013

Just a night for writing...

It's about ten to 2am and I'm starting to think that the Dutch Bros coffee I got at nine wasn't the best idea, but heck if I have the energy why not sit down and pick up the pen?
So last weekend I went home for Mother's Day and spent a wonderful weekend with my mom! I am so thankful for her! She is the most beautiful, kind hearted soul and I only hope to turn out to be half the woman she is. She has always believed in me, made me strong, open minded, and given me the faith to run with my dreams. She has always been and will always be the best mom, my best friend, and my number one fan! For that, I am forever grateful. There's something to be said about single moms. Twice the work, twice the frustrations, but in return twice the love, twice as rewarding and the one to receive twice as much from your children. So here's a wonderful Mother's Day to my loving, kind, compassionate mother and best friend who has managed to do it on her own and who deserves more than just a day of recognition.

On Wednesday night I went over to the OSU campus for a reading and lecture by Jennifer Finney Boylan on her books She's Not There and Stuck in the Middle. I walked in to the conference room where the reading is taking place and as soon as I walked in my apprehension went through the roof. There I was standing in a room full of the LGBTQ community. Now I want to say that that was not what made me uncomfortable, it was the fact that I felt like maybe I should’ve dressed differently, as I was standing there in my camouflage hat, camouflage sweatshirt and boots, terrified that they were going to think that I was some super conservative hick that was there to judge them, which was not the case whatsoever. I took my seat and finally began to relax. Now how I didn’t notice this when I looked at the flyer is beyond me, but as Jennifer Finney Boylan took the stage first thing that came into my head was, “Wait a second she’s a man or at least used to be…” The first passage she read us was from She’s Not There, a passage about her as a twenty-four year old young man battling the woman inside him. He had taken a long road trip and came to a point where he had stopped on the edge of a cliff that looked out over the Atlantic. He played chicken with the cliff and the wind. He would lean; the wind would push him back. He would lean a little farther; the wind would push back again. Finally the wind pushed him so far back that it knocked him on the ground, putting an ultimate stop to his suicide attempt. She continued to explain that while he was laying there that he heard someone say, “Are you alright? You’re going to be alright.” To this day she claims that she has no idea whose voice it was, but he got back in that car and travelled the long journey back home. Another passage she read us was from her book Stuck in the Middle, which is about her journey in fatherhood and motherhood. She talked about how as a father she was considered a feminine father and as a mother she was considered a masculine mother. Her sons refer to her as Maddy because it’s a cross between mommy and daddy and at the time her son was six he thought it would be weird calling her daddy when he was becoming a woman. Her readings were fabulous, but what I got most out of this experience was her explaining things. For instance how transgender is a very general term and all the different types of transgenders there are. She talked about during her transformation the new experiences she knew of as a man, but was now experiencing them first hand as a woman. She talked about being hit on at bars and instead of telling men to “go to hell” with their corny pick up lines, she responded with “Oh well thank you!” She said that she believes when you are born a woman you are set up with these skill sets to handle these types of situations, where she was not. I originally came to this event for my families class, but found myself relating it to my English class. One thing she said that really made me relate to our class was, “I could say I know about racism in the United States, but reality of it is…It’s different when it’s you.” Here we are in class learning about all these movements and racism with these artists painting these pictures in our minds, but in reality we have no idea what these artists are really truly feeling because it’s different when it’s you. We can do our very best to put ourselves in their shoes, but we will never know what it was really like to experience what they did. Just as we will never know the discrimination that Jennifer has faced as well or the way she did not know the pressures of womanhood until it was her. Overall, I am so happy that I got to attend this event. Growing up in rural Oregon, I lived a pretty sheltered life and leaving like I did really opened my eyes to what else there is out here in the world. I think growing up in that kind of environment you develop a curiosity for the unknown, such as what I felt towards the transgender community. It also opened my eyes to what the Ford Family Foundation has been telling me all along as a scholar, to get out there and live, experience, and open your eyes to the world, to put yourself in some else’s shoes.
Today was an overall good day, I got to spend the day with Shelby and Eric for Sunday Funday! Ate some wonderful food, crafted, and enjoyed great company and great country music! I felt happy and I felt beautiful, which for me lately is so great because I've definitely been struggling with that. The best way I found to describe how I felt down here is that I am not depressed. I can still smile at pretty things and laugh when jokes are funny. I can still talk to people and enjoy nice days. But when I go inside, when I am alone, there is something broken and I fall into a sadness so sweet that it engulfs me. I look in the mirror and I don't like what I see and the tears fall when I'm falling asleep and I miss something that doesn't exist. I am not depressed. I've just been sad for a while, but I can still find the light, I can still smile. But recently, somewhere in this new life I've begun I found someone. It took tears and time down on my knees and it's not who you'd ever guess or who I dreamed it would be, but in the mirror one morning looking back at me I found someone. I'm slowly finding that burning passionate person again. She's there and ready to conquer the world.

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