say yes

felt you in my heart

Archive for October 2009

NY bound

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I’m leaving for New York tomorrow. Eight days without my home, without J. or my bike or the cats or her dog. We are going to baptize my sister’s son in the church she and I and our mother and our mother’s mother were baptized in.

I haven’t been to church since I was a child. I kept asking J. what I should wear, and she was amazingly sweet and helped me find a dress and cardigan at a thrift store on Devon. I am 90% certain that I will look appropriate, and, despite what my friend Alex claims, pretty much entirely certain that I won’t actually burst into flames in the doorway.


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October 21, 2009 at 2:19 am

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city of my heart

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The title is a lyric from one of my friend’s songs. When I was in London last spring, I kept thinking of that song.

I met a girl last night who was born in Germany to American parents. We share this thing that marks us, even though it’s invisible. We might have talked all night without discovering our common difference.

Her friend was teasing her about her Wisconsin accent. And I said, when I get together with my sister, I get my old accent back a little. Then her friend asked me where I was from. And I said, like I usually do, Well, I was born in California.
And the friend goes, Oh! Where in California?
And I told her, San Francisco.
I’m from Fresno, she said, excited.

I have no idea where Fresno is. I have no idea where anything in California is, except San Francisco and L.A., and I’m pretty sure Sacramento is somewhere in the middle. This is why I don’t say I’m from California, because inevitably I run into people who really are from California, and then I am revealed as an interloper.

I left when I was eight, I explained, I don’t know where Fresno is. So they asked where I moved to and I said, Sweden.

So she told me she was born in Germany. I could tell she was excited to tell someone who had been overseas, but we almost never knew. There is nothing to show our difference.

I wonder if she feels it. If she longs to return. If either of us will, or if we’ve already left forever.

Although I am unmarked, I feel it every day, homesickness, a pull to places I cannot claim. I was walking down Broadway yesterday and I saw a woman in a quilted silk jacket, and for a moment, for several blocks, I missed Shanghai so badly I could taste its loss. Like metal on the back of my tongue, like I was crossing a river with a knife in my mouth.

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October 16, 2009 at 9:53 pm

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tears for fears

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L.’s service was beautiful, simple, and personal. Her daughters and two friends spoke. I started crying when her eldest daughter talked about her mother’s love of books.

Ever since my mom was diagnosed—two years ago, now—I’ve cried easily. I used to be much less emotional, and I still think of that as my real self. But I’m realizing that this might be my real adult self, a person who cries at movies.

Could be worse. My mother, for example, cries at commercials.

L. was so kind to me when I found out that my mom had cancer. She took me into her office and talked with me, gave me a cup of coffee, told me that I would pull through. L. let me take off school for a week to go stay with my mom at the hospital, in the middle of our senior year, and told me that my mom was lucky to have me.

Many of the people at the service had similar stories.

My classmates re-opened the question whether I should go back to teaching. Maybe if I could find the right school, maybe if I taught older kids, etc. Jean in particular reminded me of the things that drew me to teaching in the first place–a sense of social justice, a desire to help people find themselves. And I know that L. thought I was a good teacher, that I was a valuable resource for the community, and that she would want me to continue with it.

I really question whether I could handle classroom teaching at this point, though. It is the most emotionally draining work I’ve ever done, and at this point, I pretty much wake up emotionally drained every day.

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October 13, 2009 at 6:04 pm

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in my own voice

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L.’s funeral is tomorrow. I’m trying to figure out how to look respectable. I don’t know who else from our school will be there, but I kind of feel like I’m going to the 10-year reunion with not a lot to show. All my classmates hold teaching positions.

I don’t want to teach anymore, in part because the early childhood field has a disproportionate amount of cis straight women speaking in their highest vocal registers, and—despite being a cis woman myself—I stick out like a sore thumb in that kind of environment. I spent the whole time that I was teaching growing out my hair, trying to present feminine, trying desperately to pass.

When I was laid off last spring, I went back to bike taxi. I regained my favorite hairstyle (mohawk!) and my facial piercings. I was doing work I loved, I looked exactly how I wanted to look, and it felt great. Unfortunately it isn’t very profitable in the winter.

So I’m looking for a winter job, any winter job, and I’ll get a haircut & take out the jewelry, but I won’t speak in a falsetto.

I was telling J. on the phone a few days ago that I want to work at something where I don’t have to hide myself, that I want to be one person all day long. She pointed out that it’s one thing to be yourself and another to “fly your queer flag high every day”. And I get that. I don’t need to be completely out at work to be happy, but I can’t handle being completely closeted, either. I just want to be able to speak in my own voice.

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October 10, 2009 at 8:23 pm


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I’m back home. J. came to pick me up from the station, looking devastatingly handsome in a shirt & tie, and we curled up in her bed for days, emerging only to make coffee and pancakes.

I am exhausted. Content, but exhausted. Here is a camera-phone shot of some brownies I made at my sister’s apartment last week. They’re the blueberry brownies recipe from Veganomicon; I think it’s become my favorite brownie recipe. When I made them with Heinous a few weeks ago, J. ate one and then declared that she dislikes brownies with fruit. I’m going to make them with strawberries & strawberry jam next time…she won’t be able to resist.

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October 8, 2009 at 11:46 am


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Rice & black beans with coconut milk, fried plantains, sliced avocado and a cream soda.

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October 7, 2009 at 8:13 pm


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Turns out I’m going home tomorrow, a couple of days earlier than I expected. So this is the last dinner I’m making for my folks for a little while. It’s roasted brussel sprouts (just tossed with salt, pepper, and olive oil and tossed in the oven for half an hour), garlic bread, and lasagna. I didn’t have a recipe on me so I just made up the lasagna, and it came out a little saucy but still delicious. Of course, the fresh basil from the garden doesn’t hurt.

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October 6, 2009 at 9:35 pm

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