The Gravity of Bullying

I wore an eye patch from third grade through sixth grade. I was the mixed-race tomboy with one eye. While my obvious differences rarely reared their ugly side in elementary school, they became my sole identifier by middle school. The first time I was called a homophobic slur was when I was referred to as a Pirate Dyke on the school bus. After my flute was stolen and thrown into the yard of an aggressive dog and the school deemed it not their problem, I changed bus stops, where I was pelted with rocks on my way home each day […]

A Reluctant Valentine’s Plan

The last time my wife and I had Valentine’s Day off together, Barack Obama was in the middle of his first term in office. She was a college freshman, and I was preparing to transfer after attending a community college while I cleared up an outstanding student loan balance from my time at Wesleyan. We had tickets to the professional orchestra that was housed at our university and made plans to go out for dinner after the concert. To top off our romantic evening, I bought us a bottle of Boone’s Farm; and we spent the rest of the night […]

A Blast from My Past

A couple of months ago, I wrote about my struggles to reconnect with people from my past. In the 15 years since I graduated high school, I’ve changed a lot more than my name and gender. Hailing from conservative western Maryland, the reality is a lot of my former peers have tenets that, while forged in the name of morality, mean little more to me than an absolute dismantling of my equal rights. Trans, queer, and progressive or not, I still want a connection to my roots. We all crave that sense of grounding that both tethers us to our […]

Neil and I

During one of my weekend trips with my baton teacher to a competition in Ohio, my parents sent me with a Rush cassette for my Walkman. It was Permanent Waves, and I rewound “The Spirit of the Radio” so much the tape was ruined by the time I crossed back into Maryland the next evening. I want to say that Rush – specifically, Neil Peart – is the reason I became a drummer, mediocre or not. But honestly, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to play the drums. I’m a second generation band geek, the child of […]

A Boy, Interrupted

Pre-puberty me wasn’t much different from the rest of the little boys I identified with. I played baseball, loved Nintendo, and had dirty, scraped knees and holed-up jeans. Even at ballet or baton twirling, two extremely effeminate things, it was okay, because my brother also participated in them. Baton twirling is something I don’t talk about as an adult. It’s the most clock-able thing about me. I also don’t have a lot of good memories involving it. The combination of trans and not being the pretty little blonde girl who loved pink meant that competitive baton twirling did not want […]

The Force is with Me

Star Wars is my favourite thing. Obviously, I love my wife, pets, and family / friends more than Star Wars, but as for physical items, Star Wars wins, and has for a vast majority of my life. I was six or seven when in an attempt to enjoy child-free silence and get some work done, my father, flipping through the channels, stopped at the beginning of the trash compactor scene. When I used that moment to remark that I like space and science, I opened Pandora’s box with a sledgehammer. I have had a Star Wars cake every single year […]

A Holiday Plea

As I write this, I want to start by saying that today is November 30th and I was over this year’s holiday season by 3:15 pm on Thanksgiving. Which, considering my shift that day did not start until 3, is a pretty quick turnaround from me walking in just minutes prior with a bellyful of turkey, excited to see the decorations outside of the hotel in all of their winter glory. I had yesterday off, and while spending the day with my wife, my dog, and in my quiet, peaceful house helped rekindle that magic, coming back to work today […]

Guilt and Empty Places

Thanksgiving is a weird holiday. We stopped getting together as an extended family before I was eight. Then until I was almost finished with high school, my parents, siblings, and occasionally my grandmother would go to Shoney’s for the buffet. My mother worked at Wal-Mart, and she obviously didn’t want to cook for a demanding family of varied tastes before being screamed at by customers who couldn’t find the TV or toy they “needed.” When I was home for Thanksgiving break from college, we went to Cracker Barrel as a family, and now as an adult, both my wife and […]

Haircuts, Masculinity, and Me

I’ve been thinking about growing my hair out. Since 14, I’ve been slowly cutting it back, with the exception of senior year of high school, when I donned an afro that left people sitting behind me in class frustrated. These days, it’s shaved on the sides, with a fade at the top that I sometimes allow to grow to a length such that one ringlet of a curl can be seen. My journey with hair has been, well, arduous. As a child, it was my telltale giveaway that I was assigned female at birth. My grass-stained jeans and backwards cap […]

A Vote Against Vote Courting

I loathe election season. The former-wanting-to-be-president child within me would scream if they heard adult me utter those words, but here we are. We have a dozen candidates for president, the cycle of pandering ads with dramatic effects is just starting, and I am completely over it. Former teenage anarchist cobwebs aside, I am here to remind those seeking to be elected into office of something that has increasingly become imperative to me. I am not seeking to be courted. While I get to spend the next year of my life listening to people who have never met me – […]