Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday. It’s going to be a pretty quick blog this week – I have a lot to pack in at work today since they’ve given us tomorrow off in recognition of Juneteenth.
This week I’m delivering performance assessments to my direct reports at work for the first time. It’s nerve-wracking, because I want to be supportive and encouraging and also help them grow and deliver it all in a way that’s motivating rather than paralyzing. The upside is that I was not at all nervous for my own performance assessment this time around – usually I get really in my head about it, but I’ve been so focused on getting assessments written that I didn’t have the brainspace to worry much about it.
Last weekend I dove full-force back into being a social human, and ended up needing to take Monday off to recover (and also because I woke up with a massive sinus headache). Friday night I went out for dinner and drinks with some coworkers, a couple of which I’d never met in person (and then rest of which I’d only seen in person once or twice, basically). It was fun getting to know them a little better IRL, and to see how tall they actually are. Saturday, we got dinner with some dear friends, and then I ended up going over to their house afterward and we wound up playing D&D until 1am (which is SEVERAL hours past my usual bedtime, but it was worth it). I cannot put into words how delightful it was to get to play in person with some of my favorite fellow nerds. And Sunday we got up early to grab coffee with another friend at the park near our apartment, and then I had a virtual D&D game that night (which only went until 10, thankfully). I am definitely swinging wildly between, “I want to see all my friends and do all the things!” and, “I am way too anxious for being social right now.”
We’re down to two weeks away from moving, and I’m trying not to panic. We’ve made good packing progress already. The big thing that’s hanging over my head right now is figuring out how to get rid of the furniture that’s not coming with us to Minnesota. I’m sure it’ll all work out, though.
I think that’s it from me for this week. I hope you’re all hanging in there and taking care of yourselves, whatever that looks like, as many of us start taking our first shaky steps back into social life.
Greetings, dear readers, and welcome to another Thursday. I am extremely scatterbrained this week. It’s been so hot and sticky here in the Midwest (and I shouldn’t even complain, because it hasn’t been as bad in Chicago as it’s been in the Twin Cities), which always makes me a little crabby. I overheat pretty easily and humidity does weird things to my joints and it’s just hard to focus when you feel like you’re melting. Even though my desk is basically directly in front of our window AC, it’s still pretty humid in our apartment, and it’s like my body knows that it’s hot outside and is responding to that instead of the cool air I keep trying to plant myself in front of.
We’re moving in three weeks and I’m trying (with middling success) not to panic about everything that needs to get packed between now and then. I know it’ll all come together, and we’ve done a good job of making lists and keeping track of all the logistical details, but there’s this part of my brain that is absolutely convinced that I’ve forgotten some major detail somewhere along the line. Anxiety, woo!
This weekend we have a handful of social things set up that I’m looking forward to. And in between packing and socializing I’m trying to decompress with Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing on my Switch Lite (I was knitting a sweater but it is obviously way too warm to have a pile of wool in my lap right now). I don’t play a lot of video games and I don’t play any of them very well, but it’s good to have a thing I can do where my hands are busy but I’m not doom scrolling.
I think I’m going to keep this one short, because I have already gotten distracted after basically every sentence I’ve written, and I don’t have a lot of other coherent thoughts. I hope you’re all hanging in there. I’ll leave you with a clip of the inspiration for the title of this blog post. I’ve seen Kiss Me, Kate exactly once, probably close to 20 years ago, but fragments of this song get stuck in my head every time the temperature rises to uncomfortable levels:
Hello, dear readers, and welcome to another Thursday. There’s definitely a part of my brain that thinks it’s Tuesday, because the beginning of my week was a departure from routine, but it is, in fact, Thursday.
It is also my birthday today! I kind of forgot it was coming until about a week ago. I didn’t really make any plans. I’m working today, which is fine. It looks like it’s going to be pretty warm out, so I’ll likely be hiding in my apartment next to my air conditioner for most of the day.
I don’t know how I expected to feel about turning 33, but right now I’m feeling pretty neutral about it. I like the number 3 a lot, so it feels like a fun age to be. I wonder when or if I’ll start to have particularly negative/existential crisis feelings about getting older. Mostly, as someone who’s dealt with mental health issues for most of their life, I’m just glad to still be around. I didn’t know how to picture myself in my 30s when I was younger. (I wonder now if some of that was tied up in gender stuff, that I couldn’t see myself as a grown woman, but I didn’t know there were other options, and so everything was just a hazy blank space.) My 20s were pretty tumultuous, and so I was glad to leave them behind when I hit 30, even as I watched a lot of my friends wrestle with feeling like they hadn’t done enough to be in their 30s yet. I imagine I’ll have a similar experience at 40, but who knows? A lot can change in a few years.
Right now, I’m just glad to still be here.
I started writing a new song a couple of days ago. It’s not going the way I’d like it to, but it’s the first songwriting I’ve attempted since FAWM ended in February. I haven’t gone this long without writing a song in years. So even though I’m somewhat frustrated with this song’s progress, I’m glad to know I haven’t completely lost my ability to write.
My coffee pot just beeped at me to let me know that the coffee is done brewing, so I think I’ll leave this one here. Cheers to another trip around the sun – thanks for coming on this journey with me!
Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! I have been all over the place about what day it is this week – I spent most of Tuesday thinking it was Wednesday, most of Wednesday thinking it was Tuesday, and today it feels like Wednesday again. Not sure what that’s about.
Anyway, I’ve been hinting for the last few weeks that big changes were afoot that I couldn’t yet talk about publicly. I’ve announced this to enough of the right people at this point that now I can safely blog about it – my husband and I are moving back to Minnesota! We move into our new place six weeks from today, actually, which is wild.
When we moved to Chicago in 2012, we knew it wasn’t going to be forever – our families are still in the Twin Cities and we knew we’d eventually want to move back to be closer to them. We figured that’d be 7-10 years away. The trouble was, we never changed that “7-10 years away” number in our heads as the years ticked by. Nine years later and we’re realizing it is, indeed, time.
There are so many people I’m going to miss in Chicago, but the weird mixed blessing of 2020 is that most of the places/things we’d have to say goodbye to we’ve…kind of already done that with, since we haven’t been able to do anything in person in over a year. (I’m thinking in particular of the Old Town School and the songwriting community we’re part of here…it’s all been online.)
I will, at least, still be back somewhat regularly for work, so I know I can continue to connect with friends here. I am also genuinely excited to return to the Twin Cities and the friends and family we still have there. We’re moving into a beautiful apartment with in-unit laundry (which has been a dream for forever), and a den where I can set up my office space (no more working out of my dining room). I’m overwhelmed by the process of the move itself, but I’m looking forward to being moved into the new space. I’m super grateful I have a job that I can continue to do remotely even when the rest of my team returns to the office in some capacity.
It’s weird to leave this apartment, though. We got married in this apartment. We’ve learned how to coexist in this one-bedroom space while being together 24/7 over the past year. There have been enough minor annoyances around maintenance that I’m not exactly sad to leave it behind, but it is weird.
So that’s the big news! In other news, next week there will likely not be a blog (or it will go up late) – we’re headed up to Minnesota for a visit over Memorial Day weekend (hopefully bringing up a load of fragile things to store at my parents’ place until the move, and doing a tour of the building we’re moving into, and just seeing family) and will be driving on Thursday at the time that I usually write this blog. If I’m super on top of things and get something written Wednesday night, we’ll all be pleasantly surprised.
Keep hanging in there and taking care of yourselves and each other. I believe in you.
Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday, which I keep thinking is Wednesday…which is, I suppose, better than thinking it’s Friday. I hope you’re all hanging in there.
As of a couple of days ago, I’m officially two weeks out from my second covid vaccine and therefore as immunized as I’m going to be for the time being. It feels good to feel like I can start making some plans with (also immunized) friends again. It also feels weird. I am definitely going to need to relearn how to be social in person, and I’m sure my limit for how many people I can tolerate being with for an extended period of time has changed over the past year of isolation. (I’m an introvert, so that wasn’t a huge number to begin with…I’m a bit nervous about going back to group activities, to be honest.)
My tattoo is healing up nicely, though it’s in a very itchy stage right now. I can’t tell how much of that is the tattoo itself and how much is the hair growing back on my arm, but I’m trying to be careful about not absentmindedly scratching at it.
I don’t really have a lot to talk about this week, but let’s end this with a little list of things I’m grateful for right now:
I am grateful for my job. It’s still mindblowing to be in a place where I feel both challenged and appreciated, where I feel like my value is being recognized. It’s wild that I’m in a leadership position and enjoying it (not that it’s easy, but that it feels like a good use of my skills). It’s wild to have a degree of financial stability I have not had since moving out of my parents’ house.
I am grateful for my friends. I’ve had a lot of really great conversations lately that remind me that my people are the best people. I’m grateful for their trust and their insight and their love. I’m so glad I don’t feel like I have to carry everything on my own, or pile everything onto my husband or my therapist, but I have whole communities of people supporting me.
I am grateful for music. In the past couple of weeks, I rediscovered how much I absolutely adore P!nk. In college, I went from listening pretty exclusively to contemporary Christian music to dipping my toes into the waters of other options, and P!nk was one of the first artists I heard that really connected with my angsty, troubled heart. I hadn’t kept up with her music after graduation, really, but in diving into her newer stuff, it’s been a delight to see that, even though I am not an angsty college student anymore, her music still connects. We’ve both grown since then. I have immense respect for her as an artist. My current favorite track is this one (in case the link doesn’t work, or you don’t use Spotify – it’s the last song on her 2019 album Hurts 2B Human; the track is called “The Last Song of Your Life,” and it’s beautiful), but her newest singles (from the current year) are also incredible.
That’s it from me this week – keep taking care of yourselves and each other.
Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! I nearly forgot it was Thursday today – I’ve been attending a virtual conference the past few days for work and it’s got my routine a bit out of whack.
I don’t have too much to report this week, except that on Friday, I got color added to my dragon tattoo, and I am SO EXCITED about it!
It turned out SO GOOD. It’s currently at a very gross stage of healing (the photo above is from when it was fresh), but I’m excited to get past that so I can show it off all the time.
While she was working on it, the artist was joking about this being a “spicy dragon” (by the end of the 3 hour session I was pretty sore), and that nickname has stuck, particularly since it was pretty tender for several days. They’ll get a better name eventually, but this spicy little dragon is bringing me a lot of joy this week.
I will have more news to report in the next few weeks (there are some big life changes afoot), but in the meantime, take care of yourselves and each other, keep wearing masks and washing your hands, GO GET VACCINATED if you haven’t yet.
Hello, dear readers! I’m a little late posting this today because I have been taking the last couple of days off from work – I got my second dose of the Covid vaccine on Tuesday afternoon, and I wanted to give myself time to recover. So far I’ve been mostly okay – tired, a little feverish here and there, and about 24 hours after getting the shot, the joints in that arm started hurting really bad. But Tylenol and sleep seems to be helping, and I’d much rather be dealing with the vaccine side-effects than the actual disease.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks (more on that soon, hopefully), but things are good. I’ve been using this time off to catch up on some knitting. I finished a stuffed friend for my older nephew, and am slowly chipping away at a blanket for the younger one. (I’ve also been playing a bit of Animal Crossing lately to get myself off my phone/computer screens, which has been fun.)
I’m going to keep this one brief – time for me to have some coffee and make some breakfast now that I’m finally up and moving about. Tomorrow I’m getting color added to my new tattoo, and I am very excited about that! (And very thankful I don’t feel worse post-vaccine, so it should actually be manageable.)
Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday. For a number of reasons, I’m feeling like it’s already been a long week, and it’s not over yet. Thankfully, things have been mostly good and I’m feeling okay about it.
We have some big life changes coming up (which I will hopefully be able to go into more detail about in a few weeks). I am incredibly grateful to be in a place where I have the bandwidth to deal with these changes and make plans around them.
I feel like until I can talk about more details, I don’t have a whole lot to write about, so I’ll fall back on what I often do when I’m feeling less wordy. Here are a few things I’m grateful for right now:
Friends/Community. This has been one of those weeks when I’ve been super aware of how many incredible communities I have supporting me in different areas of my life. I think I sometimes get it into my head that since I’m an introvert, I must only have a few friends, which is absolutely untrue. I have so many wonderful people in my life supporting me in myriad ways. I’m particularly grateful this week for those friends who have known me forever, who I don’t get to talk to often, but who are always willing to pick things right back up where we left off.
Family. I’m really grateful that my family (and I’m including myself in this) has been willing to put in the work to make our relationships smoother. I’m glad to be talking with them more. I’m especially glad for the photo updates we get from my sister-in-law of our nephews.
Stories. I come back to this one a lot. Whether it’s playing D&D and collectively telling stories with friends, reading books, or letting myself dream of possible futures, stories are such a crucial part of my life, and I’m so happy that that’s true.
Keeping it short and sweet this week – time for me to dive into my work day. I hope you’re all hanging in there!
Hello, dear readers, and welcome to another Thursday that I didn’t fully realize was Thursday until I’d been awake for a few hours, despite having looked at my schedule and literally written the word “Thursday” in my planner earlier this morning. The coffee hasn’t kicked in yet, apparently.
I’ve been thinking about resilience lately. Last week, I posted about how frustrated and sad I am about all of the anti-trans legislation that’s being considered across the US right now. I am definitely very frustrated and sad, but I’ve been thinking about how, even a year ago, that might’ve made me feel totally derailed. But I’ve been doing a lot of work in therapy over the past couple of years to build resilience, to increase my capacity to deal with hard emotions, and to be better able to self-regulate. And I’m finding that, despite the frustration and sadness…I’m okay.
I recently worked out a new schedule with the therapist I’ve been working with for a little over two years now. We’d been meeting weekly – we pushed things back to fortnightly for about a month, and now we’re just checking in monthly, because I realized I was consistently showing up to therapy saying, “You know, I’m actually doing really well!” and not having a lot to dig into. And even this week, when I’ve been wrestling with frustration and sadness alongside some general adulting that came up unexpectedly, I am okay with that decision. I’ve checked in with myself a few times over the last week, asking if I needed to text my therapist and schedule a check-in sooner, but really, I just keep coming up with the answer of, “I’ve got this.” I have proven to myself that I can do hard things, and I’m learning to trust myself more.
I’m really proud of the work that I’ve done to get here. I know this work is the work of a lifetime, and it’ll never be done, but that doesn’t overwhelm me like it used to. I’ve finally moved out of being in survival mode 24/7 and into a place where I feel like I’m thriving, even when things are hard or uncomfortable. (I won’t lie, this is thanks not only to a lot of hard work in therapy, but also to the fact that moving into a new job situation a year ago meant a significant increase in pay. It’s a lot easier to feel like you’re thriving when you’re not scraping by paycheck to paycheck and having to watch every penny you spend to avoid overdrawing your checking account.) It’s a welcome change.
Buckle up, dear readers, because this week I’m returning to the roots of this blog and talking about my life as a trans person.
This year, at least 28 states are voting on anti-trans legislation. There’s a lot that’s fucked up about this. Just this week in Arkansas, a bill was passed that bans gender-affirming healthcare for minors. The (Republican) governor vetoed the bill, calling it “vast government overreach.” The legislature overruled his veto with a dishearteningly large majority vote. Make no mistake – this bullshit that’s marketed as “protecting children” will actually do devastating harm. Taking away a trans child’s access to affirming healthcare isn’t going to make them not trans. It will just make them miserable. (I will again post this Twitter thread that makes some really good points about all of this.)
Today at work our Pride ERG hosted a half-hour hangout where people could come and sit with each other and with our feelings about what happened in Arkansas. I’m glad I went, and I appreciate the other people who showed up, but even as I felt seen in a way that was validating, I felt…exposed, in a way that was less comfortable. I am the only trans person I know of at my company, and I’m out as nonbinary there. Most people at work respect my pronouns (which are they/them, by the way, which is at least the third time my pronouns have shifted in the last decade, which I am not apologizing for, because identity is fluid and can be complicated) – no one is actively disrespecting my identity, but sometimes people forget. I do my best to educate people and stand up for myself and for the people around me. And it’s exhausting.
Inextricably tied to all of the feelings I’m having about trans identity being up for legislative debate are feelings around bodily autonomy. One of the hardest and most beautiful lessons I have learned in the ten years since I started coming to terms with the fact that I was not, in fact, cisgender, is that my body is my home. It’s a home that I struggled for years and years to relate to, until I realized it was mine to change and mold into a shelter I could feel comfortable in (at least some of the time). This has shown up in big ways – the changes from testosterone, and having gender-affirming top surgery – but it’s also shown up in smaller ways. I can paint my nails. I am currently sporting what feels like a super queer haircut that I love. In the middle space between those extreme examples, I can get tattoos.
I knew I wanted tattoos by the time I was in my teens, if not before. I got my first one eleven years ago this month, just a couple months before I turned 22. It’s a trinity knot on my right forearm. I wanted a reminder that the parts of myself that so often felt fractured – body, mind, and spirit – were all part of the singular being that was me. Four years later, I got three tarot cards tattooed on my left forearm: the Hermit (because I am an introvert and I believe in both finding my own truth and in lighting the way to help other people find theirs), the Ace of Wands (because I am a person with a lot of creative energy who finds joy in making beautiful things), and the Nine of Pentacles (which is my constant reminder that my body is the home that I am creating for myself). A couple of years after that I got a few more, which had less in-depth meanings, in some ways (there’s a leaf on my right ankle that I got because it was pretty; I have a classic Winnie-the-Pooh illustration on my right arm, and an earth/air alchemical symbol that reminds me to stay grounded and breathe under that), but all of them were ways to exercise my bodily autonomy.
On Tuesday, I got my sixth (or eighth, depending on if you count the tarot cards as one tattoo or three) tattoo:
D&D and other tabletop roleplaying games have been a big part of my life over the past few years – through them I’ve connected with people I might never have met otherwise, and I’ve found so much joy in collaborative storytelling and getting to play with my friends as an adult. Just in the last month I started DMing my first game, and it’s been a blast. I knew that I wanted a D&D-themed tattoo to capture some of that. I told the artist (who has now done the majority of my tattoos) that I wanted “some sort of dragon and dice situation,” and I could not be happier with what she came up with. This little dragon clutching its d20 is better than anything I’d envisioned ahead of time.
As I was chatting with the artist during the tattoo, I mentioned that as a teenager I had sketchbooks full of dragons. I drew them because no one could tell me “that’s not how a dragon looks” – it was one of the things I loved about fantasy. She asked me what drew me to dragons, and I honestly didn’t have an answer at the time, but I’ve continued to think about it since then. I think there’s something about the wildness of them that called to me. In all the fantasy novels I read, there was this sense that you couldn’t really tame a dragon. Even in the ones where dragons and humans got along, it was because the dragons chose to treat the humans gently. There was something about that power that was appealing, for a whole host of reasons I’m sure I could delve into with a little help from my therapist.
Last fall, I wrote an autobiographical song that I kind of set aside after that songwriting session was over, but the chorus has been stuck in my head the past couple of days:
I’m building this wondrous body, creating my home Something more suited to housing my curious soul I dress it up in ink, in wool, and in leather I know this act of creation is a holy endeavor
I don’t know that I have a huge sweeping point in all of this, except to say that trans people (like all people) are sacred, and the act of self-determination and self-discovery is a holy endeavor. I was raised with the idea that humans are created in the image of the Divine, and while I have a lot of complicated feelings about the picture of Divinity I was raised on, I think trans people are every bit as much a reflection of the Divine as anyone else. I am angry and sad and disheartened that there are so many people in power in the world right now who refuse to see that.