And One Fine Morning—–


I don’t know if there’s a God. Whether there’s some Almighty Creator looking down on me from the sky, judging me, deciding that if I do this one bad thing, I’m going to get punished for it…I don’t know about that. I do, however, firmly believe in Karma (or something like it, anyway). The difference for me is very important. God is a figure we’ve created to help us deal with our inward anxieties: forgiveness, morality, hurt and pain. It’s easier to believe that we aren’t responsible for the things we put out into the world. It seems to me, that to be an agent of God means that your actions are not your own. You move through the world doing things because it’s all part of some bigger plan. If you have a moral misstep, it’s God we have to own up to first, then ourselves, then the one who has been wronged. That order feels so wrong to me, but it’s simply what I’ve observed.

Karma works a little differently. Karma for me is like Newton’s third law of motion: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Life for me isn’t about pleasing a deity in the sky, nor is it about believing that everything happens for a reason. Life is about balance. My personal goal (and one that I think everyone should inherit) is to make up for all the bad things in the world by putting more good into it. Really, when it comes down to it, you have to remember that just as sure as there will be morning, there will also be night. Bad things are going to happen, you’re going to make mistakes, and not everything is going to go your way. But there will be good things too, and that has to come from you. You can approach a tough situation by dwelling on how bad it is, or you can fight it and do something positive in exchange. The human condition is so strange, because we are all capable of good and bad things, but it’s ultimately what thoughts we act on and what good or bad we put out into the world that makes a difference.

(I can see why God might feel necessary for some, and I don’t discredit anyone’s experience with spirituality, because that’s extremely personal. But I don’t think it works for me. I’ve often observed friends, family, and strangers, praying to God for strength to make it through hardship [e.g “God please give me the strength to carry on”], but when I’ve prayed this way, what I’ve ultimately found is that the strength I need is already inside me. God didn’t reach into my conscious mind, find that small courageous blerb I need, and push it to the forefront of my mind. No, I did that. I found it inside me because it is simply instinctual. Since the dawn of time, we understand that obstacles must be overcome in order to survive, in the same way we don’t decide to have sexual desires. We just get turned on and want to have sex because our animalistic instincts subconsciously remind us we need to procreate to bring new life into the world, and keep our species alive. It’s all survival of the fittest.)

Anyway, life has done me dirty for most of the year. I was broken up with at an impossibly strenuous time of year and forgot to take advantage of my final semester at school. I got hired at an internship which both took advantage of me and totally dismantled my drive for a career in entertainment. I was jobless for about four months and as a result, my empty bank account made it difficult for me to maintain and build on certain friendships. I struggled to apply for grad schools (again), collecting additional materials, overcoming self doubt, and digging deep to write several several several drafts of personal essays to prove I am a worthy student/human being. I also learned a week or so ago that my hero and favorite professor Kenneth Speirs, passed away from a heart attack.

My heart still hurts from the immediacy of his death, but I take comfort in remembering his life. He was a one of a kind man- someone who believed in the goodness of people and seemed to draw the best out of every student. He taught me many things but there are two moments with him that really stick out in my mind as extremely powerful and remarkable. I once caught him after class, excited to discuss “As I Lay Dying” with him. I remember telling him how much I hated the book while I was reading it, but taking a step back, it was the excitement I got from hating it so much that actually made me love it. His response was something vague, referential, and wise (as his language usually was). Something like “Ah, that’s so good. That’s great– and you should really experience that hatred. I’m glad you’re using your experience as a means to get you somewhere bigger. You know, I’m someone who actually doesn’t enjoy answers. I really like questions. I like the discomfort in searching for something. Searching doesn’t always have to make sense, you know? Sometimes you don’t even know what you’re looking for. And you don’t always have to be right, but pushing in certain places, and asking questions, and struggling is really where you learn the most from a novel…and life too I think.” An elaborated version of the expression “It’s about the journey, not the destination”. But I’ll always remember that and aspire to take comfort in the uncomfortable as Kenneth did. It’s so important, I think, to remember the value in making the most out of a bad situation. Balance, balance, balance. That’s what it’s all about.

The other moment that comes to mind, was in a friendly email, just to check in and say hi after graduation. Part of me will regret not responding to his last email. His parting advice to me was “Keep going; be more, much more, of who you are and always play your game with dogged stubbornness.  You know but don’t forget.” Looking back at his wisdom reminds me so much of the final words of “The Great Gatsby”, the first book our class read under his instruction.

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning——”

And one fine morning, we will pass as all things do… as Gatsby did. As Kenneth did. But what do we do before that happens? We stretch ourselves, we run faster, we push, we search, we love, we create, we keep going and become more, much more, of who we are. Why? So that when life, oh so fragile, finally cracks and crumbles in our full embrace, we leave something good in our wake.

Move, and take all your angels and demons with you. Every step forward is a lesson. Make the most of it, even when you trip.

Forget about God for a bit. Don’t be so dependent on him. Create your own good. Beat the bad by doing good. Learn to forgive yourself before you ask it of someone else. Find your own courage before you ask someone else to find it for you.

All that’s really left to say is that I hope I’m making him proud.

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I read an article on yahoo today that really tore me to pieces. The story was about a young transgendered boy in Jamaica named Dwayne Jones who after dressing as a girl to a high school party, was beaten to death. The article further explained how Dwayne’s friend and roommate (who attended the party with him) was assaulted and almost raped just for associating with Dwayne.

The most heartbreaking bit?

“Dwayne’s father in the Montego Bay slum of North Gully didn’t want to talk about his son’s life or death. The teen’s family wouldn’t even claim the body, according to Dwayne’s friends.”

I just want to take a minute to reflect and express how deep my gratitude is for the life I’ve been given. Oftentimes I think we forget how fortunate the LGBT community in America is compared to other countries. That’s not to say LGBT in America are by any means treated perfectly, as we still have a lot of work to do regarding marriage equality and anti-bullying laws, but reading this story reminded me just how blessed I am to have been born into a family that chose to love me regardless of my sexuality or gender. More importantly, I was born into a time of progressive acceptance for LGBT citizens, where there are support groups, advocates, and allies around every corner of this country. 

But what I really want to think about is the importance of the T in LGBT. I think oftentimes the gay community excludes or ignores transgendered youth.  I think the thing that’s really struck me about this story is Dwayne’s courage. He chose to be himself in front of a crowd of his peers and that is something to admire. I am not transgendered and I can’t imagine how suffocatingly difficult it would be to express oneself in a body that didn’t match my spirit, but I know what it’s like to not fit in with gender norms, and it has been very difficult for me to be myself 100% of the time because of that. My deepest sympathies go towards ANYONE who understands and intimately feels that their biologically “assigned” gender does not represent what’s within. Human society has structured such a powerful dichotomy between what is “masculine” and “feminine” that it becomes otherwise “queer” when someone can’t categorize themselves as one or the other, and I think that’s a horrible shame. 

I truly resent these dichotomies. I’ve never felt like a “man” but I sure as hell don’t want to be a “woman”. I am my own person. I am my own spirit and my own being. I don’t want to be either “man” or “woman”. I’m myself. I’m comfortable in my skin (though it wouldn’t hurt to shed a few pounds). This body is my own and no one else’s, and how I perceive myself is not up for debate by anyone else. I really wish more people in the world could understand that sentiment and that fewer gay men would chose to stay misinformed on gender. I cringe every time I hear “I hate feminine gays” or “I’m only attracted to masculine guys”. It’s important, I think, to rule out those stereotypes and to keep our minds open to the possibility that anatomy and sexuality don’t always reflect our gender. Gay men should be especially open to this as owning a penis technically leaves us responsible for procreating with a uterus. Gay men misuse our provided anatomy constantly, thus we know our anatomy does not define what we are attracted to. Our anatomy does not define who we are on the inside and what we are put on this earth to do. Just think about that.  

This post had no end point or conclusion, I just think it’s important to discuss the diversity of ideas, people, and possibilities there are in the LGBT community. Some people are blessed with strong families and others are blessed with nothing but the courage to be themselves.

Dwayne Jones, wherever you are, I want to thank you for reminding me how blessed I am for my family, for my friends, for this body I grew up in, and for the many beautiful opportunities I’ve had in my life so far to be who I want to be. You may not have been loved by many, being born into a world of hatred, but I love you and you inspire me. I’d rather die being who I am, than to live trying to be something I’m not. May your soul rest in peace, friend. 

The article referred to earlier can be found here:

What Went Away

To China, we said
we’d never quit
we’d dig through sand
Through rock, we said
we’d never stop
despite denim
dirt pockets.
Our nails, we said
could claw and grip
the grains like spade
With hands and feet
we dug and built
our castles, holes,


But sandbox shovels break at beaches
The lands stretched far too wide
My hand upon your handle still
Digs all this wet sand dry.
The shovel the pail, the try the fail-
One tool more useful than the other;
We could not dig forever if
You’re not a digging lover. 

I’ll build myself a castle then
(a fortress with a moat!)
At times it seems that I am sure
but I miss help the most.

The waves will come
they come alway
they see the holes
and fill.
The tide will rip
our towers too
but grace will ease
the spill. 

You never know:
what went away
could have it’s joy
here too
And oceans push
and pull one way
could send me back
to you. 

Friends in Ruff Places


 Friends come in many shapes and forms. Some friendships are simple and make sense, while others are complex and difficult to navigate. Some friends are easier to talk to than others, and in some friendships, talking becomes less important than actually sharing an experience, or a fit of laughter, or a bedroom. But most friends we keep because we learn from them. Most friends keep us rooted in something while we blossom and grow, becoming who we’re meant to be. 

When I was going through my first official breakup last week, I knew that my best friend Sophie (a 2 year old golden-doodle puppy) was what I needed more than anything. Sophie doesn’t say much but she’s a good friend. She doesn’t need me to talk, she simply understands. When I’m sick she cuddles with me, when I’m mad she leaves me alone, when I’m sad she tries to get me to play ball with her, when I’m happy she’s happy too. She epitomized the unconditional love that I needed this last week. 

I never expect to learn much from our time together, but she always manages to teach me something new about myself when I visit home. This week she took a spontaneous break in the middle of our walk to sit in the shade and observe the world. She wasn’t waiting for anything- she was just still and she looked happy (as she usually does). I sat with her and we enjoyed a quiet moment in the park together for a brief moment picking at yellow flowers in the grass and watching cars zoom by, before getting up and walking home. Immediately my problems felt smaller and I was grateful to be a moving passenger on this earth. 

My friends taught me a lot of things this week. So many of them reached out to support me in my time of need. All I can do is be grateful, feel their love, and reciprocate the best that I can. How does that song go? “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” And so it is written. 

Friendship does indeed take many forms, and it approaches us in different ways than we expect. I was blessed to have a very mature conversation with my new ex-boyfriend tonight about the development of our relationship away from our relationship. That is, we were able to discuss and identify the qualities from our romantic relationship we hope to carry over into our newly platonic one, and which qualities we’ll be leaving behind. What a blessing and a privilege to transition gracefully into these new roles. 

I’ve come to learn this week that friendship is indeed what you make it. There will always be love for you if you need it. All you have to do is ask for it, define it, and nourish it.