Dear M

Power of Words

It’s been an awfully long time since we’ve talked (in any format), yet you still cross my  mind on a regular basis. I imagine you, like Hemingway, sitting at a gnarled desk in the West somewhere, chain-smoking cigarettes (you’ve probably quit by now) with your ink-stained fingers; a tumbler of whiskey by your side.

The beginnings and endings of your stories still play through my mind. “Out of April…” I still have copies stashed somewhere…the corners bent and pages faded in the last decade and a half. (God, has it really been so long?) When I feel in need of inspiration, I pull them out and read. Then I dig out your critiques of my own work…so juvenile at the time, but you saw something there. Your words make me feel solid and strong inside.

Back in the day, our lives were filled with papers and walks. Grilled cheese sandwiches and ice cream sundaes. Storms on the lake. It feels like another world altogether. I guess in some ways, it was.

I always felt like you were on some plane above me. Part of that, I guess, was the cliqueiness that existed around us. At the time, I thought you were a part of it. Now, I realize you were just a part of the elite circle as you were mine. Our paths intersected, but you followed your own trajectory.

M, I want to thank you for your stories. Your words. You’ve taught me the importance of voice and character (in more ways than one). You remind me of my own passions, and you continue to be a muse. Thank you.

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Dear Bo

bo burnham

I have been in a mood lately. Oh god, have I been in a mood.
Maybe it’s the dreariness of January seeping into my bones.
I don’t know. All I know is that it seemed like forever since I’d
even cracked a smile.

Until I heard your jokes.

Not only did I find myself laughing out loud at the corniness of “sick beets”, but I also wound up relating to a lot of your material. “Finally, someone else gets it.” And suddenly, I wasn’t feeling so alone anymore.

So thank you, Bo. You’ve inspired me to write more with your witty puns and lyrics. You’ve lifted my mood with your jokes and melodies. In that regard, you’re a bit of a lifesaver.

Thank you.

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What Do I Tell My Kids About Transpeople?

I can’t stop thinking about Leelah Alcorn. I’m having all sorts of thoughts and wishes and regrets, and wondering if any of it really matters now.
I keep coming back to a conversation I was having with someone awhile ago about being transgender.
More specifically, this person wanted to know how they should “explain” transpeople to their children.
This individual was coming from an exceptionally strong religious background, and felt like transpeople are some sort of threat to our society.
I found myself bristling at their assertion, sickened and in tears. Still, I wanted to give them some sort of response.
I’ve given this quite a bit of thought. A few months’ worth, actually. I wonder if the acquaintance even remembers our previous dialogue.
As much as I want to dismiss the whole “What about the kids??” schtick, I can’t.
As much as I want to borrow Louis CK’s retort re: gay marriage, I can’t.
As much as I believe that no person requires an explanation to justify their existence to another, I need to say something.
I don’t want to be perceived as hostile. I don’t want to shut down the discussion before it’s even begun.
I think about my friends; my family…and I feel like I owe it to them to come up with a calm, thoughtful reply.

So. After months of rolling this around in my brain like a stone in the current, here’s what I’ve got:

Tell Your Kids We are Made in God’s Image

Point out just how miraculous that is, considering how different human beings can be. Some of us are tall. Some short. Some have blue eyes, some green, some brown, some gray. Some have eyes as colorful as the sunset.
Some have curly hair. Some straight. Some have no hair at all.
So many differences, yet God encompasses them all.

Tell them that their Heavenly Father Makes no Mistakes

Now, this is especially important–I don’t mean “God doesn’t make mistakes, so a person who thinks (knows) they’re trans must be wrong”.  Quite the opposite, actually.
There are all sorts of people, and a person’s existence can’t ever be “wrong”.

Rather, I believe it’s the limited view of our society–the gender binary that we adhere to and force people into before they’re even out of the womb–that is the mistake. There is nothing inherently “wrong” with a person who is transgender, even if they decide to change their physical body.
God doesn’t make mistakes, but people do, and it isn’t up to us to dictate how or what another individual’s body or life should be.

People do all sorts of things to alter their physical appearance; to make their outer appearance more aligned with how they feel inside. To make themselves happy. They wear makeup and high heels. They cut and dye and style their hair. They get LASIK surgery, or liposuction, or other types of procedures. Can you imagine shielding your childrens’ eyes and speaking in hushed tones about someone who decides they’d rather be a blonde than a brunette? Talking about “going against nature” when you put on a bit of mascara or red lipstick? No? Then why do the same when it comes to talking about transpeople?

“As I Have Loved You, Love One Another”

Remind your children that God commanded us to love one another, as He has loved us–unconditionally. No exceptions. No excuses.

The funny thing about kids is that they’re resilient, and curious by nature. You’re not required to give them some long explanation. Chances are that your kids couldn’t be less concerned with what’s under another person’s clothes.

If you’re really struggling to “explain” other people to your children, ask yourself if it’s because of your kids’ inability to understand, or if it’s your own discomfort getting in the way. I’m willing to bet it’s the latter.

Teach your children to be kind, and accepting, and non-judgmental. Tell them that they have your love and support, no matter what.
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Please. Tell them.

Edit: If you are struggling, you are not alone.

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Canada: (877) 330-6366


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Fecking Ay.

As you can probably tell, I’ve been struggling to come up with ideas for what to write in this space.
Struggling to the point where I’m laying awake at night, letting ideas roll into my mind and then immediately casting them away as “no good”, and then laying awake some more, tormented by the blank page.

And then today, I came across this post, from The Bloggess:

I have the next week off, and I’ve been bored out of my  mind with the extra time.
I’m challenging myself–right here and now–to write something every day.
Doesn’t matter what about. Could be anything from a detailed explanation of how I fell in love to a painfully explicit description of the dirty-water hot dog I ate for lunch.

No more (fucking) excuses.

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Where’s the Stuff?

Well, it appears that the Writer is struggling with a bit of good ole’ writer’s block at the moment.
Right in the midst of NaNoWriMo, too. Awesome.
They say that the best way to combat writer’s block is to push through it.
Just put words down on the page, and eventually the sputtering will stop and they’ll start to flow freely again.
So, here I am. We’ll see how this goes.

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