I begin to think something, an inkling of something. Possibility. My potential capacity to actualize aspiration. I feel the edges of my unlived life and quiver at its magnitude. I begin to think I am capable of incredible feats. A life of health, wholeness, joy, and deep commitment. So what stands in my way?
I can feel myself growing with each day.
New opportunities are presenting themselves.
I am leaving behind what distracts me.
And working hard to face what is in front of me.
Breaking out on my own.
Finding a space that is entirely mine.
Setting boundaries with people.
Finding myself within my own field.
Cultivating peace and inner security.
It is my inner strength that is bringing all this to pass.
Taking refuge in the jewel of my own heart
And thriving there.
This is a new world I’m treading in.
A new world of possibilities and satisfaction.
Of needs met and passions pursued.
What starts from within will inevitably make its way out.
And so I am beginning with the blank canvas of my soul,
Forging ahead with a new life.
One grounded in love and care and strength and resilience and fluidity.
And I am excited for the day when finally my dreams come to pass
Somewhere there is a layer of skin I no longer need,
A shell going back to the earth
While I rise
Little by little
Into the heavens.
I don’t know what there is to gain from all this. The Sun is low, hiding behind some drab cloud. The river seems to be moving at a stand still. I am back in this place where all I have is time. Time on my hands. Time to write. To think. And read. Surely there is some contemplative nugget, a gleam of wisdom waiting for me in the woods, if only I am willing to ask for it. My mind returns unceasingly to love, or the lack thereof. It returns to her. Why after all this time I do not know. It is not as if I have done nothing to extinguish the flame. It is not as if I have remained inside, kneeling at some altar. No. I have lived. And yet still the image conjures itself before me.
What does it mean to break free of it? To release myself from its muzzled grip? To wander in these woods without the thought of a ‘once was’. Without the possibility of losing myself in some old reverie; a reverie which ultimately whisks me from reality into a land of dream and vision where anything is possible. And yet, here, here in this place and time, things remain as they are. They do not magically transform to my whims. They set upon me delicately. They offer themselves to me but without the mystical air I yearn for.
The horizon is dull. Hills sloping like wavelengths. River water muddy and green. The woods wait for me to step outside. To embrace them. To gaze fully upon their fresh colors. The violet pinks. The cranberry reds. The whip-whoo of pileated woodpeckers. The long vowel sound of the Earth discovering me.
I sit at my desk as though nothing has changed. As though a month has not gone by since my leave. The leaves outside my window still flutter. Most of them are still hanging on. The dust still collects on my keyboard.
And something within me wants to knock itself loose.
Something within me wants to be released, to find its way back to source.
At certain times, certain periods of my life, I find myself grappling with an old demon. It rides on my back, its long curling claws hitched into my flesh, fastened at the shoulder blades. It likes to whisper in my ear. Sometimes it tells me to press on the gas of my car and never look back. Other times it tells me to whimper and yearn, to feel small and needy. I have thus far been unable to shake or shed it.
In love, I am a computer fraught with conflicting systems of operation, old and new. The old, a desperation. The new, a liberation, an empowerment. A freedom. Trouble is, I associate each of these with place. In archetypal terms, let’s call it the mountain and the market.
In the mountain I am alone free, unhindered by others. But I am without community as well. Without relationship be it romantic or friendly. And inevitably I become aware of my need, my yearning, to return to people, and to the market.
In the market I am together, with others, but without a sense of groundedness, without roots, with stability in my day to day. For I am without home. The result is imbalanced, unhealthy dependencies in relationship. The result is feeling anxious and giddy to run off once more to the mountains, to return to myself.
Get it? In the mountains, I am with myself. In the market, I am with others. But wherever I am, I am denying a fundamental aspect of myself. In the mountains, it is my need for social connection. In the market, it is my need for solitude.
It is innately an imbalanced situation. Ultimately unfulfilling in both respects. Ultimately unsatisfactory.
If I am to be home, it is quite simple. I must have my space. I must have roots. The nomadic lifestyle is good and beautiful and nourishing but it is tiresome, ever changing, and spiritually impairing on a certain level. For I am without my family, blood and built.
And yet with due consideration, I reach this essential truth:
What I desire most is this: a bit of land, a home of my own, a woman who wishes to share their life with mine, who harbors the same nomadic and domestic urges, space and time to write, to read, and contemplate, a community. Yes, all of this. Situated somewhere between the mountains and the market.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
There, in the dreaming house,
The wasps played against the window.
To the chicken coop,
To warm eggs fresh from the cloaca.
To coffee on the deck,
When the river was soundless
And the dogs were pancakes against the wood.
We took a walk in the forest,
And bounced on beds of moss.
Does existence precede essence?
Among rocks splattered with lichen
Like old dentures drenched in spearmint.
We watched cows pee standing up,
As they are wont to do.
And when the Sun fell down,
I left a note for you
Hidden along the pasture’s edge.
Last I heard it was lost in the bonfire.
Here’s a note for you.
A baby orchid bloomed in the dirt
Out where the lichen grows.
On a cushy bed of moss I danced
With you in mind.
And a warm breeze rolled off the river
Joining me in celebration.