I AM WHOLE. I AM WHOLE. BY FUCKING GOD I AM WHOLE.

She was a tender angel with a pouty lip. A little cutie baby with a name she didn’t know yet. And that name was Zoey….

Something feels different today. A shift has occurred.

I feel lighter. I feel intent on my purpose.

I feel beautiful. And cute. And kind. And open to growing and learning from my mistakes.

I feel love from within and without.

I ran through the woods with the doggies, dodging from tree to tree as fast as I could.

I felt like a child. Like a beautiful, whimsical child. Something beautiful is happening to me.

I can feel this little girl inside of me blossoming into a young, self-assured woman. And I just can’t begin to describe how that feels.

Tonight, the sky was a purple ribbon. I pulled it down and tied a neat bow in my curls. I am one with the Moon. I am one with the Sea. I am one with all things.

I am really happy. And maybe it’s because I have reached a new level of depth and beauty in my personality. Maybe it’s because I sense that I’m growing, becoming whole.

I was on a walk today and I felt something creep in: a touch of magic, a taste of the divine, the world grew larger in my eyes and I felt my skin expand to new lengths; lengths that engulf all things around me: dogs, shrubs, oaks, moss, lichen, birds. Everything.

There are books in my future; financial security; and good good love. And boy am I excited to leave the past behind; always honoring the wounded girl from whom I have evolved.

She deserves so much love. So much care and celebration. What an incredible girl she is. So creative. So cute. So caring and kind. Such a big heart. My mother’s heart. She has my mother’s heart. And my father’s bravery. She is as big as the Moon, and bright as the Sun. She is the well from which I drink. The spring from which I spring. The source from which I leap into the cosmos, into my place in the Tapestry of Life.

Gosh.

I’m not going to cry because it honestly feels so good. But listen you guys. I have strived so hard to get to this place. I have sacrificed so much. Let go of so much. Allowed so much psychic pain to flood through me. And now here I am. Alive. Beautiful. Confident.

On the precipice of my great girlish dreams; the ones that filled my heart and imagination as a child, as a young girl who didn’t even know she was a girl; a girl who had accepted all that the world placed upon her small shoulders. But what a cutie. What a big lover. What a poet and a dreamer. What a whimsical little lady. What eyes she has for this world.

And I am her, and she is me. And the Child and the Adult have, after so long, become one.

Tonight I danced in the wind. I laughed to myself. And told the doggies I loved them. I am growing into a strong young woman of trans and queer experience.

And here’s another kicker: I HAVE THE GREATEST COMMUNITY AROUND ME.

My friends are all lovers. Lovers all friends. It manifests differently in each relationship. But the consistent force is an undying love that refuses to remain static, a love that grows from itself, that remains open and flowing. A love capable of smashing all barriers and engulfing all the shadows. A love that extends outward in all directions. From me to you.

And here is the simple answer to the modern problem of differentiation, resolved after so long spent searching: love yourself so deeply you are willing to go far into discomfort, into the darkness, into all the places inside of you that go bump in the night, all the places you have refused to explore. Love yourself so deeply that you are willing to be completely transformed by the sheer force, the sheer breadth, the sheer magic, and the sheer terror of the world. Allow yourself to learn and grow and change. Give yourself the gift of taking things slow. Of not rushing. See your beauty as it exists beyond the realm of productivity and finance. Be willing to speak your truth. AND EVEN MORE IMPORTANT, BE WILLING TO QUIET DOWN AND RECEIVE OTHERS’. This will transform your life. This will bridge the gaps of difference. This will enable you to see the Divine in all beings and to evolve your state of mind until it is pregnant with as much understanding as one brain can possibly handle. 

Listen:
Self-love is not easy. For it begins in the realm of uncertainty. It begins with acknowledging that you’re not quite sure how to do it. You’re not quite sure what it means. And if you are, oh my GOD I am SO proud of and happy for you, because there is no greater blessing than to know you are capable of growing, of humbling yourself, and feeling real, visceral love inside your own body.

Listen:
I am a woman. I am trans. I am queer. I am non-binary. I am androgynous. I am spiritual. I am revolutionary. I am ME.

And oh my gosh, my loves, it feels so effing good. Like, what the heck! WHAT. THE. HECK!

So GOOD!

I would not be here now saying this without so many (too many to count) people inspiring me, informing me, impressing me, influencing me, giving of themselves and their genius to me, showing me the way forward simply by the virtue of being fearlessly their own people. WOW. WOWIE. WOWIE. WOW.

I am so blessed. So fortunate. And I am privileged (I do not so much celebrate this privilege as I do seek to understand it as it relates to the world, as it relates to those who do not have the same privileges. And insofar as I see my privileges and am willing to use them to help others, I believe it is important to recognize what I have received in this life; and there is no shortage of them, I recognize that. And I also recognize that every day those without these same privileges struggle to reach the same clarity because they literally don’t have time or space or social resources; they have families, and bills, and so many forces bearing down upon them and it is for them that I write; that I seek to become better). I am privileged in my skin color. I am privileged in my physical attractiveness. I am privileged in my ability to pass as cisgender. I am privileged for having been raised in the third wealthiest county in America. I am privileged for receiving a high-quality, top-notch private education. I am privileged for graduating high school and being able to afford University [and for the financial support I received from my family]. I am privileged for my intellect. And my ability to communicate. I am privileged in my strength. I am privileged in my familial support (BOY AM I PRIVILEGED THERE! Thank you so much to my family for supporting me. You may not understand me. You may look at my life and think, gosh do I not have the slightest clue what she’s doing but I know she is pursuing her happiness and evolution and that makes me happy. I cannot ask you to understand what you have never experienced, but I can thank you for a. trying and b. for accepting me regardless.) I am privileged in too many ways to count. But I will try to count them. And I will try to use each of my privileges in ways that build the bright world I have dreamt of since my earliest youth. I will use every bit of what I have been given to help manifest that utopia. I believe it is possible. Sure, Earth is a big place. But I believe that every human being, given the right circumstances, can find happiness and community. Sure, sure. Maybe there are exceptions (psychopaths, people with Antisocial Personality Disorder, i.e. people who are literally incapable of knowing their pure baby hearts.) But with the right circumstances, anyone can find their way to the path of love. It is only a matter of creating those circumstances (assuming you have the space to do so, and if you don’t, fight nonetheless; KNOW YOU ARE WORTHY OF IT); it is a matter of extending your platform to those whose voices need to be raised higher than yours. It is a matter of knowing you are just one small part in a much larger machine, a beautiful, beautiful, and slightly terrifying machine.

Now. This is a revelation. I feel beautiful. I feel creative. I feel held. I feel celebrated. I feel loved. I feel anxious to meet my future. But! There is a turning point in my life that involves the acceptance and dissolution of self-doubt; a turning point that involves me trusting what it is that I am capable of, what it is that I am connected to. And guess what?

There is a whole world waiting on the other side of that. There is a whole world of learning, and listening, and growing, and growing, and growing, and helping. This is all I want for the world. And for myself.

Something feels different today. Something has shifted. Something new is creeping in, enlarging my heart (not literally thank god, but spiritually, emotionally.) Something powerful, something I have been seeking tenaciously for so so long, is crystallizing inside of me, emerging from the murky muck and the cold depths, rearing its gorgeous head, shouting into the void:

I AM WHOLE. I AM WHOLE. BY FUCKING GOD, BY FUCKING GODDESS, I AM WHOLE.

And insofar as I am whole, I am healthy, I am hallowed, I am holy, I am home. Thank the Beautiful Divine.

I am Home.

Advertisements

A Normal Day (An Excerpt)

For all intents and purposes, it was a normal day. And normal days, as well as abnormal days, tend to start the same way.

Open your eyes, Anna. The waterfall isn’t real. It was only a dream. And this is a normal day. A day like any other day. A day that takes its coffee black. A day that walks its dog to the park and back. A day that has yet to discover its purpose. And one might suppose that a normal day, as well as abnormal days, indeed has a purpose.

Okay, you’re awake. Good. Now wiggle your toes, Anna. Look out the window. There’s a green warbler on the branch outside—it’s got a song for you. Down the stairs, a record is spinning. It is not Lil Richie. And it is not Neil Diamond. And it’s not Velvet Underground. Down the stairs, there’s a plate of eggs sunning on the table. Would you believe your friend made it for you? Would you believe she awoke with your smiling periwinkle eyes twinkling in her mind, and thought she’d do a special thing to make your eyes smile wider? You’re a lucky girl, having friends like that. And she made the eggs just the way you like: a light shower of shredded Colby jack and a quick pinch of picante? Scrambled to milky perfection. A little fluff goes a long way. And so do good friends.

Life is a series of cycles.

We’re born alone. We grow up in a family, a tribe. Then we find ourselves itching for differentiation, a new name, and a vein of expression that is wholly our own. We find ourselves wanting to stand on the feet our mama gave us, prop ourselves up like flamingos in the waxing surf. We find that the pond—this pond that once seemed an ocean—is no longer big enough for us to stretch our big ole fins (to mix metaphors). So we head out. We pack a rucksack. No more sack lunches. No more notes from mommy. Who’s my sweet girl, Anna? I hope you have a wonderful day at school filled with learning and laughs. What a sweetheart that mother of yours, Anna. What a sweetheart. Let’s forget the time in fifth grade when Suzie Bondalucci looked over your shoulder at the lunch table as you exhumed that note from its brown paper confines and read it in the shadow of your own curls.

Oh wait. You didn’t have your curls then. You were too young to know you wanted them—that one day they would become as integral to your identity as your journal and signature space pants. You were too young to shuck off the husk of other people’s ideas to assert your own truth—the truth that one day you would grow out your curls and never look back.

So anyways there was Suzie Bondalucci sniggering over your shoulder like an invisible goblin with a lit candle up her butt and a donut in her hand. And there you were, stricken with a mixture of affection and embarrassment. The latter of which was only exacerbated by Suzie reaching over you, snatching the note from your hands, and reading it aloud for the entire cafeteria.

What a bitch that Suzie was. 

Anyways now you’re in the car and the sky looks like a half-finished Jackson Pollock. The highway overpass looks the same as ever. Droll. Drab. Dreary. Gray. Stone. Slats. A rumble of cars passes beneath it like an anthill built dead center between a troll’s legs. The troll in question—the overpass—is collecting its toll as usual; nothing material, simply that for brief moments, drivers have to subject themselves to the possibility that the troll could choose to pop a squat right there on the highway, or perhaps, a car—your car—were to fly right through the barriers as if mimicking its favorite Michael Bay scene, as if rushing to greet the vehicles below, as if smashing like a child’s toy Pontiac into another child’s whole collection of coupes, sedans, four-doors, SUVs, trucks, and go-carts, Lambos, Porsches, and Ferraris—too many foreign cars to be occupying the same roadway at one time unless we were in Italy, on some sundrenched coastal town sliced up by cement serpents rushing toward the sea.

But we’re not in Italy. We’re in America. In Kansas. This is prairies, and foothills, and too many pro-life billboards to count. And it is mundane office parks. And it is suburbia. And for a girl like you, it makes no sense. You stick out like a sore thumb at a pinkies-only party. At the mall, you catch a few too many stares for one human to be justifiably comfortable. Fortunately, you’re not in the mall. You’re in your car. And you’re crying. And you’re thinking about driving your car right off the overpass into westbound traffic. Of course, you’re too afraid to do it. But you’re thinking about it.

Something About Love (An Excerpt)

Here is something the author knows about love:

Listen reader, the author doesn’t expect you to live a life as extraordinary as the Shaman’s. If, however, you do lead an extraordinary life, please give yourself a genuine and heartfelt pat on the back. We cannot doubt the importance of living boldly.

For at the core of such a life there throbs a great willingness to take risks, to take mindful and impassioned leaps of faith into the great big unknown.

Did the Shaman know the island would be there? Let’s ask him, but stay quiet; he’s meditating.

“Hey Shaman…”

One green peeper opens with a mixture of irritation and nonattachment. “What is it?” He asks with a cinnamon roll of this lonely open eye.

“Did you know the island was waiting eight miles off the shore for you? Or did you dive into the salty Pacific merely hoping it would be there?”

He scoffs that signature scoff of his—the kind of scoff that doubles as a shrug and moonlights as a pooh-pooh on the weekends. “It was a simple matter of concentrated divination. Now please, I’m trying to meditate.”

When the Shaman meditates, two things happen: the koas blush and the Universe expands to play catch up.

Space is not merely a matter of the third dimension.

The brain is capable of many feats, one of which is that it can simulate the sensory conditions of visualization—anything you picture in your mind, you bring to life. If you want to imagine a baboon rubbing his butt against your leg in an effort to rob you of your cookies, and you’re able to hold the vision for a long enough time, you might just feel the fuzzy red flesh of ape cheek against your calf, as well as the profound disappointment of having lost a freshly baked batch of oatmeal raisin to a being of lesser evolutionary stature.

The same goes for space: if you can visualize yourself surrounded by infinite space, pregnant with it, a stomach full of it, and you hold the vision long enough, you will actually begin to feel it.

So space is also a matter of the fifth dimension—an inner experience as well as outer.

And one must have a healthy dose of both if they want love to thrive.

Anna never learned the value of space until it was forced upon her by her parents’ divorce. The collapse of the family unit as she’d known it left a void inside her—one that’d been previously filled by social and familial expectations, by enmeshed roles of identity, by hidden codependency.

It was not until she began living with the Shaman that she learned the true value of this most important ingredient of love.

“Love blossoms first within the Self.” He said, catching glimpses of the sunset through the Technicolor concoction in his highball glass. It looked like the Sun was dressing in tie-dye lace, swimming in a bowl full of jelly.

“Then what happens?” she asked him between sips of potato vodka and blueberry.

“That’s it.”

“What do you mean? It doesn’t go anywhere?”

“Love flows from the Self,” he said as the bowl of jelly began to spin, “and downriver the Self is there to receive it.”

Just then, the Sun began to twinkle in the upstairs hearth of the forest. The sky, in turn, blushed in six different languages. A mourning dove not endemic to the island landed on the porch. On her beak was a smile the size of a fried plantain. Anna smiled too. The time was soon at hand for her to return to the mainland.

For it is not merely a matter of creating space. One must also bring it to life—set aflame the joy of their own soul, pour it out their eyes and… One must begin to fill it with good salubrious work, the kind of work that makes a man go “whoo” when the day is done, the kind of work that cannot truly be called work if it is done with purpose. One must cultivate their space until the avocado plants are growing six feet high and the bees are having way too much fun pollenating the orchids. Cause everyone knows, all work and no play makes Jack a dull bee. But a bee that enjoys its work makes honey sweeter than a peach, and its space becomes rife with that sweet honey love.

The kind of love you can bake a pie with—a pie so good it’s guaranteed to make life at least five slices more bearable.

Don’ Look Now, The Muse is Nekkid

Days 10 to 13

Don’t look now, the muse is nekkid! She crawled out of bed that way. Her nipples are straining in the afternoon chill. And the afternoon sun is peeling oranges all over the deck. And the afternoon wind is caterwauling like a goat. Meanwhile, to the north an orchid is sprouting through nonexistent snow, and high above, higher than where the woodpeckers like to peck, clouds are clowning around like drunk teenagers. One of them dropped their wallet. There is a hundred dollars in it and a ticket to Paradise. So I’m in Paradise now. Contrary to Eddie Money, there was only one ticket. So I apologize. But yes I’m here now and let me just say:

It’s not a new haircut.

It’s not a new relationship, but something!

Something has shifted. One wall goes up and another, more important one comes down. Three consecutive days of good writing. The kind of writing I’m actually proud of.

It has taken two weeks but I’ve finally found my groove. My muse finally got my letter that I’ve come to the OAC. She has found me here, where I have been waiting. Now when the Sun hits the amber hour, she splays herself nude on the deck tanning her translucent skin, giggling in the wind. She smiles at me, gives me the kind of wink to make my toes vibrate. She puts words in my head, vibrant words, neon sorts of words, electric; and they string together like daisy chains, like pearl necklaces, like spaghetti tendrils; they drip down my brain stem like a good apple whiskey, like bumps of Colombian fish scale, like concentrated morning dew. She tickles my third eye and causes it convulsions of cosmic proportion. She visits me in my dream, an old painter’s wife welcoming me into her garden upon a stage at an art exhibit. She is the telekinetic who moves my books and cooks my food. She is the steam that rises in the shower. She is the field mouse, and the mule deer; the installations of casted animal bones strewn about the forest. She is the Gasconade River moving north. She feeds me strawberries when no one’s looking, and tells me the secrets to my stories.

She reminds me that each word is precious. That it’s okay to take my time. There is no rush; no reason for haste. She says, turn the faucet on and let it drip. The pipes are warming up. The water is starting to flow. Spring is coming. And the artist in me is beginning to stretch. Soon she will blossom. Roots will grow; reach deep. The decision has been like broth boiling in a boat; slowly then all at once I have decided to stay here longer. Until June perhaps, returning every so often to the city. I can save more money this way; have more time for the things that matter.

Thinking of applying to other residencies. Thinking I can live my life a bit differently. I don’t need much. Sure I want to save for my future. But I feel I have things to learn first.

And moreover, I have no clue if I’ll get into grad schools. It’s a shot in the dark right now; a suspended arc, a slow motion super ball, eyes closed, hand out, hoping. I’m trying not to think about it. Wherever I am, though–I know this–wherever I am is where I’m supposed to be; it is what’s in my best interest. That seems the one stable thing in my life. A positive correlation between time and events in my best interest.

Here’s a visual representation:

scatter2
Time Lived vs. Things In My Best Interest

So you see that whatever happens, every little ting is gon’ be alright. But I’d be lying if I said I don’t desperately want to go to Iowa or Michigan. I just feel like it’s the right next step for what I’m wanting to do. Let’s not dither or delay, I say. The time is soon at hand for an audience to be won; for me to delight people the way I delight myself. My Muse is here.

The flood gates have been opened. Silver glaze jelly is sliding down the luge. There’s a party in my prefrontal cortex, and everyone’s invited. Except Kevin. Kevin can’t come. Everyone else though is cool. And by the way, it’s BYOGOF (bring your own grapes and ostrich feathers.) Shit’s expensive.

But seriously. Let’s get serious for one minute. Can we do that? Can we put a look of cold detachment on our faces? Just for a moment? And talk about something important?

Can we?

Great. Thank you. So here’s the deal.

My Muse has gone to sleep. I have decided to join her. I am learning to be content with what comes of each day. Remembering her words: there is no rush; no need for haste.

I’m taking my time out here, and time is taking me; where I do not know. But the point is, we’re on our way.

Days 10 through 13. Change is good. Reports say I have trouble letting go of things that’re no good for me. Reports say I’m clearing my karma. Reports say there is a direct line between me and my inner child. We hugged for an hour today, and played with her action figures. She is looking out the window now while the sun sets over the neighborhood. Toys are strewn at her feet. Dinosaurs, and ninja turtles. Batman and company. There are stories percolating in her brain, and she’s itching to share them with me.