It was my first day of school in nearly 5 years and I really had to pee.
I texted someone I knew who goes there also, asking if he knew of any gender neutral bathrooms because well, I hate using the men’s. He said he didn’t know of any.
I lingered outside of a bathroom for awhile, watching as guys filed in and out, trying to catch a glimpse of what the stall situation was like. Sometimes there’s only one and I try to avoid that at all costs. Sometimes there are huge gaps in between the stall door and its frame. I avoid that as well.
I stepped in after several moments of battling with my brain. I panicked. It looked like all the stalls were taking so I proceeded quickly to the facet to wash my hands so I didn’t look like a total idiot.
And then I realized that it only looked like the stalls were in use, so I pushed one of the doors open and was relieved to see there was no one inside.
I exited the bathroom having to pee less and grateful that I hadn’t gotten any weird looks or told to get the fuck out.
You don’t really think of these kinds of predicaments until you’re in them. We, as a society, are entirely oblivious to these sorts of anxieties that your average person goes through. I know that I didn’t really think about it until I was faced with having to choose a bathroom to use.
It’s difficult to explain to people who don’t understand. Many of said to “get over it” or “just do it.” And it seems that easy when it’s not you but when it is, there’s a lot more to be considered.
Maybe I’ve seen “Boys Don’t Cry” one too many times but I am in perpetual fear of the wrong person finding out that I’m transgender and wanting to kick my face in. Probably mostly irrational but I still feel it.
That’s why when I discovered a gender neutral bathroom in the Performing Arts building, I breathed easier. I didn’t have to face the overwhelming anxiety of braving a bathroom full of dudes again. Not to mention that I have to dress down in one of my classes and refuse to try to the mens locker room.
I would like to see a world where it doesn’t matter. Where it’s more common to have a gender-free bathroom than something segregated by your perceived gender (or your assumed genitals).
It helps keep society in its binary-thinking chains because it separates us. We’re taught that our gender roles define us and anyone who doesn’t adhere to those is a freak or a pedophile. Isn’t that great? Of course, this is the extreme and things are certainly getting much better but it’s still a struggle.
If we can employ heaps of empathy to our fellow earthlings, I believe we can progress more efficiently and truly educate without screaming at each other to understand.
So I suppose that’s what I’m going to be exploring. The empathy side of activism, something that’s much more in my character and hopefully an efficient means of education. We’ll see.
This is a beginning and an end.
After 5 years of being out of school, I’ve made the decision to go back and it seems to be one of the best decisions I’ve made.
I’m long past the time of feeling like I’m doing this because I “have to” and I think that provides me a unique advantage over your average college-pursuer. I have no grandiose thoughts of exiting with a career and I’m not even sure I’m after any particular degree.
My favorite part is that I’m taking classes that have nothing to do with business or the web, at least not in a direct way, and I am really okay with that. Plus, those kinds of courses here are incredibly out of date and I don’t believe I would gain any significant value from them.
No, instead I am taking classes to help me achieve a different dream. Perhaps the largest pipe dream of mine which I will share now. Keep in mind that this is a pretty vulnerable thing to share to the general masses, but fuck it.
I want to be the first trans*guy to win a Tony Award.
So I’m taking a voice class, a stretching class, and a beginning acting class. I’ve been involved in theatre on and off since I was 6. It’s been a lifelong passion of mine that takes the backburner sometimes to other things in my life or other interests, but it is always there.
It’s only been a week but already I feel more motivated and less like a broken record of boredom. It reminds me that change is refreshing and that it’s okay to punch through the paper walls of fear and create my own opportunities.
I’ve been working my ass off to get my new business off the ground. It’s almost ready to be unveiled to the public and my co-founder and I are on to something good. I’m not quite ready to disclose what it is yet, but it deals with the sex & body positive education space from a queer-inclusive perspective, which is very close to my heart.
This process is beginning by doing some freelance writing for a pretty large resource site for trans*men and helping with their social media efforts. I’m pretty excited about that.
I’m also working hard on redesigning this space from scratch. It’s just about done and I need to start converting it to a WordPress theme but I’m done letting that stop me from shipping.
For those of you who don’t know about me already, you can find out some on the “about” page and I will further delve into my story in the coming days.
So welcome. Feel free to subscribe to the mailing list if you’d like to receive these things in your inbox.
It was November, 2011. I had just returned to Oregon after a very brief stint in Milwaukee where I had lived with another blogger. The midwest culture didn’t seem to be jiving much with me. I wanted to go home. I wanted to go home. I missed my friends and my family. I missed having people to socialize with. I didn’t want to be alone anymore.
I was completely broke and already on the fringes of a bout of apathy that would last 8 months. A friend of mine generously bought me a train ticket so I could crawl my way across the country to the place I called home. 46 hours later, I rolled into Portland and waited for my mom to drive the two hours from my hometown to pick me up.
Several hours later, I was home. I was relieved.
But it didn’t last long.
Knowing full well that I shouldn’t, I started hanging out with old friends. People that I knew weren’t good for me but they were comfortable. I had just come out to myself as transgender and I knew that it was critical that I start using male pronouns and that I wanted to start taking testosterone. These friends were supportive of that. They respected my desire to be “him” and instead of “her.”
But beyond that, I had no support. Despite having achieved so much in the past, despite the fact that I make an effort to improve myself, I was getting no love. I lived with them. And then they kicked me out.
During this time, I was so apathetic. It was not an environment that facilitated any creativity or self-love. It was alcoholic. It was chaotic. There was some fun to be had but ultimately, the toll it took on my soul was not worth it. I was grateful to be kicked out.
This was in June. My parents generously let me live with them again but with the stipulation that it would only be for the summer. The first two months resulted in very little. I just couldn’t get my survival instincts to kick in. I was content in my stagnation.
And then something happened. I can’t even remember when or how it happened but I started doing. Small things at first like picking up business and marketing books again. A friend of mine connected with a friend of his who was starting a company and I began exchanging ideas about branding and marketing.
I had lost my core group of friends (except for one) when I got kicked out of the house I was living in but I retained a small, but supportive group of people who were encouraging me to succeed (my parents, a few friends, and my lovely ladyfriend). They believed in me. And slowly but surely I began believing in myself again.
Somewhere along the way, my survival instincts kicked in. I didn’t realize it. Actually, I didn’t realize it until this moment, as I write this. And it’s a little incredible.
Right now, I’m now doing design work for the start-up I mentioned. This is allowing me to move out of my parent’s home within the next week. I’m gaining more autonomy for myself, slowly but surely.
I’m experiencing excitement again. Ideas are beginning to manifest. I’m relearning that the more you allow yourself to be creative, the more creativity you have. I’m trying to learn to love myself again. I’m discovering that I have a lot deep-rooted issues from a past relationship that I didn’t even realize were there.
And that’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m writing this. Because I miss sharing myself, I miss helping people, and I miss connecting with strangers from across the globe.
When I was blogging before, I squandered a lot of opportunities. I didn’t follow through with a lot of things I said I would. I wasn’t reliable. I don’t want to be that way anymore. I want to love myself so I can love others. I want to help myself so I can help others.
I believe that now that I’m on that path, I can start doing that. I can start talking about what’s working for me. What’s not. I can help other people who are transgender start their journey. I can share my ideas and love of business with others. And I can do all of those things at the same time.
So welcome. I have nothing to promise you except a journey. A story about one person’s attempt to love themselves and to thrive. To heal. And I’m hoping that through sharing that I can help someone, somewhere.
I don’t know where this will take me but I’m excited. I hope you will join me on this journey and that maybe I can inspire you in some way.
Thanks for reading.