rainbow hallelujahs

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For the LGBTQ people at the UMC General Conference this weekend…You are so brave, beloveds. Thank you for being so strong.

My beloved queer siblings in Christ:

You are holy, holy, holy

Like a chorus of rainbow hallelujahs

Your voices cannot be silenced, cannot be ignored, cannot be mistaken for anything other than stunning bravery in the face of gross injustice.

You are holy, holy, holy

Like a chorus of rainbow hallelujahs

Your voices cry to the heavens, your voices reach beyond the stars, your voices are the echo of God’s heart of mercy.

You are holy, holy, holy

Like a chorus of rainbow hallelujahs

You are warriors of peace, messengers of love, children of God embraced by the Creator and Sustainer of your faith.

You are holy, holy, holy

Like a chorus of rainbow hallelujahs

You are holy, holy, holy

 

wild precious life

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For Mary Oliver (1935-2019)

who taught me I did not have to be good.

Mary,

You taught me what to do with my wild, precious life at a time when I didn’t know if I wanted that life to continue.

The wild geese you talked about saved me, so I could let the soft animal of my body love what it loves.

That “whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination…” as if to say, this world is yours and you are free to embrace it and embrace yourself.

When I thought I had to walk on my knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting…

Layers of me have come unglued. Slowly, I am becoming. Slowly I am becoming me.

Self-actualizing. Growing. Blooming. Surgically removing ever so gently tissue that had long since caused pain and trauma.

I am becoming me.

I am becoming.

I am here…

I am.

I am becoming a new creation and yet I have always been this way, I think.

This new creation that remains a mystery to everyone–including myself.

This is a transition–no this is a transformation.

This is a metamorphosis.

I am becoming me.

I am becoming.

I am.

I am already here writing myself into existence.

And I do not have to be good.

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transitions on life’s way

How many times have I sat down to write this…and walked away. Because I was scared to speak my truth. I’m already brave just for existing as I am in a world that constantly wants to erase queer and trans bodies. I’m bad at being brave–only because being brave has usually meant not being afraid of anything. But if I’ve learned anything, bravery and courage allow space for fear and doing things in spite of that fear.

Or, in the words from one of my favorite movies The Princess Diaries, “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear; the brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all.” ~ Meg Cabot

“But the cautious do not live at all…” I had forgotten about that part of the quote.

It is my yearly practice to look back and see how much growth has happened in the course of a year and look forward to where I’d like to be in the next year. The past two years, I’ve come up with a few key phrases as a mantra for the year.

2017 – You are safe. You are loved. You are not alone.

2018 – You are good. You are enough. You belong.

I’m not sure what my words are yet for 2019, but I do know the one word I keep coming back to is bravery. I do not feel very brave. My wife tells me I’m brave all the time.

“You love you, you accept you, and you believe in you…I love you, I accept you, and I believe in you.” ~ my wonderful wife earlier this weekxsgvk5UHRBSloxiNdr88cg

Life transitions are hard. And transitioning from one thing to the next is natural. For me, I’m looking at somewhat of a physical transition that will help me feel more myself. The beginning of that starts with next Thursday when I will be getting an IUD to help mitigate symptoms of dysphoria that my menstrual cycle causes.

Meanwhile, I’m also dealing with conflicts in relationship with my mother and what reconciliation looks like, if a relationship with her can be possible right now, will I come out (again) to my family? Whilst being in seminary and pursuing a graduate degree, I’m looking ahead to taking care of my body, loving my body, and considering top surgery.

All this feels like a lot to share and honestly, living in this world as a non binary person can be terrifying. Most of the time, I try not to think about how often I do not fit in and how being “out” as non binary may lead to being treated not only as misunderstood, but as less than. Again. At this point, I just feel like I’m rambling on because my anxiety and fear are so present, and I ramble when I’m scared. Or I clam up and keep everything inside until it comes bursting forth.

2019 only has one word so far: You are brave.

Because maybe if I say that enough times, I will actually believe it. I am brave. And transitions on life’s way help us become who we were meant to be.

Please let me just be brave enough to be myself. 

 

fearfully and wonderfully

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.” ~ Psalm 139:13-15

For Transgender Day of Remembrance 2018:

I wanted to write something eloquent to honor your lives

To remember all your beautiful faces and mourn you properly

But all I could think of was how your lives were cut short

I wanted to write something powerful to honor your lives

To remember all your names (YOUR names) and grieve you somberly

But all I could think of was how your lives were cut short

How your lives were cut short and we do not even know exactly how many of our beloved Trans siblings we lost because so many of you will be misnamed, misgendered, and mis-remembered.

So many of you have had your lives taken from you either by someone transphobic or by internalized transphobia.

And I do not just want to remember those of you we have lost.

I want to acknowledge those of you who are still here.

I want you to know that your life matters. And that when they tell us that God didn’t create us to be trans, I want you to remember:

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. In all your trans ness. In all your complexities. In all your struggle and beauty. I want you to know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, dear ones.

Don’t let go of that. Don’t let anyone take that from you.

I wanted to write something poetic to honor your lives

To remind you of your belovedness

And all I could think of is how magnificent you are

No poetry in the world could capture the beauty of the trans community. But we are here together remembering who we have lost but also honoring those who are still with us.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made, dear ones. No one can take that from us.

 

expecto patronum

Today, in Harry Potter and the fight for Trans Rights

Expecto patronum…

expel all your fears and embrace your new beginnings

expecto patronum…

don’t let the dementors get you down, you are more than your soul crushing self-doubt

Expecto patronum…

because the darkness doesn’t get to win today

Expecto patronum…

damn it, Donald Trump, you cannot take away trans rights or anyone else’s rights without a fucking fight.

Expecto patronum…

because we are Dumbledore’s Army and you will not defeat us

Expecto patronum…

Because being trans and non-binary is terrifying sometimes and all I know is, I just want to hide some days. All you and I ever wanted was to be able to live freely and fully as we are. And I wonder some days if my patronus is strong enough to expel that darkness that is caused by dysphoria both social and internal.

EXPECTO PATRONUM

You are not alone. You are enough. You are beloved. You are beautiful. You have a voice. You belong. You are loved. You are good. You may not feel safe but we will fight this together. We will keep you safe.

My dear trans siblings:

I love you. I am sorry this is happening to us. I am so sorry we are not yet liberated from transphobic bullshit. Take the time you need today. Lean on your community for support.

P.S. My patronus is a cat according to Pottermore so…here’s this:

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opening the door

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“I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are
But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me” ~ This Is Me, The Greatest Showman
“In the out-of-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge…” For a New Beginning, John O’Donohue
For National Coming Out Day 2018 and Finding Calling
Why is coming out such a big deal if you’ve already come out…
Looking back to the first time I began to come out as gay three years ago, I realize it’s very much like crossing a threshold into a new world. And you have no idea what that new world is going to look like. Especially since my coming out experience wasn’t and isn’t linear…and being in the closet was seeped in shame and trauma, that new world was both tantalizing and terrifying.
Here I am now, embarking on a new adventure, and although most people in my life are aware of it, being on that journey is a lot harder than it may seem.
I started seminary in September online, but part of my program involves fulfilling residential requirements one week a quarter. So this week I’ve been on campus and got to meet my online cohort in person for the first time. The entire experience has been amazing and intense. But it’s allowed me to ponder some things anew.
In most spaces out in public, I’m not afraid to hold my wife’s hand. I’m able to be read as a gay person and not judged for it. What I am not able to do most often though, is be non-binary. Not really anyway. So let me explain this new coming out by inviting you in…
I still make apologies for using they/them pronouns. I am still afraid to use public restrooms especially since I know I eventually want top surgery and will then be read as “male” although that’s not how I identify.
Many of you can go to the restroom without even being afraid. There’s a restroom FOR YOUR GENDER specifically. There isn’t usually for me where I live. And living out as a non-binary or genderqueer person is a little terrifying. I’m slowly crossing that threshold and reaching for the door knob.
I’m slowly learning I can be fully who I am and fuck whoever thinks that I can’t be. “I know there’s a place for us.”
Bathrooms are just one example of terror. And living everyday in a body that feels like it has betrayed me since puberty with its developing chest and everyone calling me “lady” and “woman” when it never felt right.
I don’t want to be scared anymore. I want to be bold enough to say, hey, this IS a big deal when you use wrong pronouns and don’t correct yourself. I’m shy…but it’s not ok. It’s not ok to pretend that people don’t exist outside of the gender binary.
I’ve had enough violence come to my body for being perceived as weak and vulnerable.
Here I am being vulnerable and strong. I am non-binary. I don’t need you to understand what that means. But I do need you to respect me as a human being.
No one gets to force us into a binary, or into a closet. People don’t live in closets. I refuse to let people’s perceptions of me keep me from being myself. No religion,
bible, pastor, or church controls me or gets allowed to cause me or others harm.
I am non-binary…I am gay. and all the pain of coming out and the joy of it…
This is me.
That door is wide open and I am walking through it on this journey of fully becoming who I’m meant to be.
And I am called…to help others walk through that door. Especially those who have been pushed into the closets and margins and not allowed to be who they are.
I will walk with you. You do not have to go alone.
This particular live version of this song is incredible:

burn the house down

“I’m a little kid and so are you. Don’t you go and grow up before I do. I’m a little kid with so much doubt. Do you want to be there to see how I turn out?” ~ Turning Out, AJR

“Way up, way up, we go. Been up and down that road. Way up, way up, oh no. We gon’ burn the whole house down. Watch me stand in the line. You’re only serving lies. You’ve got something to hide. We gon’ burn the whole house down. We gon’ burn the whole house down.” ~ Burn the House Down, AJR

This coming of age story is brought to you by dystopian fiction, dystopian reality, and burning bridges that only led to my own destruction.

From ashes come new life.

Here’s to 7 years of healing from sexual assault, 23 years of surviving sexual abuse, and 27 years of surviving fundamentalism. Here’s to burning it all down and walking away from things that hurt me. I think I turned out alright.

And still the body remembers. The body remembers what you did to her. The lies, the manipulation, every unwanted touch, every chisel you used to sculpt her into what you wanted. The body remembers and she won’t go back there.

Childhood is such a strange thing. Especially when it’s stolen from you.

“You say I turned out fine. I think I’m still turning out…” (Turning Out, AJR)

They tell me I’m resilient now. That this has made me stronger. And it has…but I never wanted to be strong. I only ever wanted to be a kid with a “normal” childhood where I wasn’t afraid of hell, or my father, or the deacon and neighbor in my church. Or my ex-boyfriend.

One thing I’ve realized is that I was robbed. Robbed of innocence, of my early adulthood years. So I’m taking back what was mine. Because it was never theirs to begin with. They had no right to take ownership of this body, this soul, this mind. I will have the last say and the last laugh.

Childhood is such a strange thing. Especially when it is taken from those who become presidents, senators, judges, pastors, fathers.

We are taking back what is ours. Which means we are willing to make your lives a living hell for taking from us what was rightfully ours.

We are our own and no one else’s.

We will burn the whole house down and leave no brick standing. Not only will be burn the house down…we’ll rebuild it as a healing, safe place for everyone to coexist.

So, to all the men who stole my childhood:

You can go fuck yourselves. We’re out here exposing you for what you are.

We’re burning the whole house down.

This coming of age story is brought to you by people who are taking their lives back, by  the healers, the over-comers, the arsonists who burn bridges when they need to.

And this coming of age story is brought to you by those of us who are building new bridges. We turned out alright.

From ashes come new life.