Archive for December, 2007

One down

One holiday successfully survived. 

Now for new year’s.  I still have no plans but I have a feeling I’ll somehow make it okay.  Really I’m just ready for this year to be over.  I’m ready for a sparkly brand new year which I am going to make mine.  This is my year to shine.  I’m done with 07.  Done done done. 

Whatever else I end up doing, the first day of 2008 my feet will be dipped in the Pacific, my new home. 

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Church

One of the things I am looking forward to when I move is going to the MCC in LA to hear Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson.  I haven’t been to church in a long time and thinking about all that inspired me to get my ass out of bed this Sunday morning and trek through the snow (uphill both ways) to go to church.

I went to the Unitarian Universalist church in town and had cause to reflect on my relationship to the institution. 

It used to be walking into a new church always made me feel hesitant, I always had the moment of trepidation, the pause at the threshold waiting to see if the roof was going to cave in over my heathen head.  Entering a new house of worship usually meant I felt shy and awkward.  Today, I walked into the UU’s beautiful building and didn’t hesitate for a second.  I helped myself to the order of worship, found my hymnal, chatted with the friendly ladies with pink name tags that identified them as welcomers, looked around at the stained glass and felt like I was entitled.  I haven’t felt that way in a very long time, I felt like I had a right to be there.  I had a purpose being there.  I had a place there.  I cozied up in my pew and closed my eyes as I listened to the beautiful organ and was at peace. 

And I sat there in musical prayer, feeling uplifted and cradled by the notes I thought about my friend and pastor Robert Cross who passed away a few years ago.  He was probably one of the first people to make me feel and not just believe on an intellectual level, that I was welcome in the house of god, wherever that house might be, under a tree or in a rlds church that we were allowed to use in the evenings.  I miss him and think of him often.  And he sat with me for a while today as he does sometimes bringing me silent comfort and peace. 

The service was very nice.  It was probably one of the better sermons I’ve attended as of late.  The Rev. Stephen Cook spoke about the nativity story and what value it holds for christians or for unitarians.  He spoke to the lack of literal credibility and the universal wisdom of the story.  The story of the birth of christ speaks to our humanity and to the sacredness of the human experience.  The star that shone to announce his birth not unlike the star that shines to shed light on every infant who comes into this world filled with possibilities and blessings.  The story speaks to the value of this embodied life, in celebrating the birth of a baby we are celebrating our own humanity and the fact that this life is precious, fragile and filled with surprises, with pain, with suffering, with unspeakable beauty, joy and blessings.  The baby was born and was cared for and we celebrate him as a baby not just a man because we all start out weak, dependent on the care of others, and the love of others.  And what a wonderful thing to remember.  And his final message was a reflection on the ways we walk in the world, and how wonderful it would be if we could continue to walk through the world that way, in love and support.  And, that is really the ultimate gift we can give our friends and family, not commercial crap or mall santa claus.

I realized I miss going to church more than I thought. 

Sharing my spirituality is often difficult for me.  I guess somehow I have picked up the United Statesian attitude about religion, spirituality and worship as private.  I also have to deal with the conflict over institutionalized religion and the oppressive system it has traditionally been part of.  I deal with the politics and power of organized religion.  But, I keep coming back because it’s my place too.  My very queer, very political, angry brown latina place.  And there is meaning there for me and comfort. 

It will be nice to have a number of different queer/queer friendly churches to visit in my new home.  I’m looking forward to fellowship and singing and being in those spaces, especially now that I know that I belong there, always have, just now I really believe it. 

And tomorrow I’ll be going to a candlelight church service somewhere else. 

Next Sunday I’ll be in a new place and a new church and I’m looking forward to it.  I’m looking forward to all the places where I hope to find community and comfort.

Converted to Pink

In my purse right now are the following:

A pink Razor phone

A new pink agenda

A pink pencil

My pink journal

And… let us not forget pink lipgloss.

I used to hate pink with a passion.  I attribute my conversion to pink to a number of bois/boys in my life, most of whom love/wear pink themselves.  I don’t know if it’s an embracing of my babygrrl side, if it’s part irony and part flair, or if it’s simply the inevitable influence of social conditioning but I’m wearing a pink sweater while I type this and my skin isn’t crawling out of it.  I also have a pink backpack (a gift from a boi) which I use on a regular basis, yes, in public.  And really it’s quite remarkable.  I realized the conversion had been complete when shopping with someone for planners for the next year.  I had seen a pretty pink one but then told myself, naw, I can’t get a pink planner!  Sure enough I slept on it and talked to her the next day to share the news: I must have the pink planner.  Yay! 

I hate assumptions about femininity.  Perhaps that might be part of what draws me to bloodred rather than pink a lot of the time.  Pink implies soft and fragile.  Yes, sometimes I am both.  Maybe my conversion has something to do with owning that as well as the hardass side of me.  Maybe I’m finally at a point in my life where it’s safe to be soft.  It’s safe enough to have pink. 

Whatever it is, it sure is pretty.

Noho In case you are wondering why on earth I would chose to move… let us have a visual contrast to shed some light on my thought process.  Behold my house here in Noho.  Behold the icicles.

Ouch!  Yes, really.

And now my hometobe:

long_beach_ca_at_night.jpg

Any questions?

Mis pies

Mis pies

Conocen este camino

My feet know

My hips recognize

As they swing down magnolia

reconocen escuchan mis pasos mi ritmo

I hear it

Susurrando mi nombre

Suspirando en mi sangre

Insistent

Persistent

I recognize myself in the faces around me

Caras que sonrien

Caras que saludan

Caras que me ven

Me reconocen

I see myself in the explosion of pomegranate seeds

Tickling my senses

Color

Sweetness

Abundance

Ripe and sensuous

Reconozco

Recuerdo

Lugares que no he pisado

Canciones I’ve never heard

But my heart sings along

Mis pies

Conocen el camino

Alma

Corazon

Esperanza

Haciendo camino al andar. 

Head high

En alto

Spirit grateful

Camino

My steps

Me llevan al mar

Me llevan al futuro

Unknown

Ripe

Delicious

Luscious

Divine.

Holidays and trust

I hate the holidays. 

I hate the pressure to wassail, to be joyful and merry.  And this year is difficult for many reasons: no home, no family, no roots, no plans, not a single decoration or sparkly wrapped present in my world.  Self pity is the only tradition I’m currently upholding.

And holidays bring up my issues around trust in a major way.  It takes a lot of trust to believe that someone will be your family.  It takes a lot of trust to believe that friendship embraces and protects.  It takes a lot of trust to be open and vulnerable about loneliness, about solitude, about sadness. 

I had plans for the holidays that fell through for whatever reason.  While that is very painful I have been dealing with the disappointment.  Then I made alternate tentative holiday plans that also fell through for different reasons.  Again I deal with it. 

And now, now that I’m not even sure which coast I’m going to be on, I’m pretty sure that I am going to take the days for myself.  I don’t want plans at this point.  I don’t want to be let down anymore.  I don’t want to rely on friends and ‘family’ that don’t come through.  I want to be alone this time.  I need to rely on myself for this one.  And maybe learn a lesson about whom to trust and with what.  Maybe also prove to myself that I can do it alone.  That I can choose who and what to need to a large extent and that right now what I need more than anything is myself.  And that loneliness sucks but it’s bearable.  

If a lot of ifs were different I know where I’d be: if I had money I’d go celebrate the virgin birth of my best boi friend, if I had money and she weren’t currently upset with me I’d go see another friend that is also family, even though she lives in the cold.   Two people with whom I feel safe, and two people whom I trust with my heart and my tears.  Two people I feel I have refuge in and two people I love dearly.  Or I’d go hang out with my femme friend and sip grrly drinks on the beach while we complain about the complexities of women/females/butches/bois/boys and work on our tans.  Her I trust as well and I miss her. 

Instead though I looked to other people and really took some risks, some of which I regret.  But I learn from these risks.  And I learn daily who my friends are.  And I let myself love them daily.  And I am learning how much I can trust my friends and with what. 

Even though I do wish the holidays were different for me, I have learned important lessons and I have learned where to look for love and friendship.  I am grateful for these lessons.  It’s the season for giving and I love to give to others.  This year I need to give to myself.  That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned this year. 

Single life and definitions

Livin’ as a single femme has been an adventure.  As I move away from academia I figure my blog should also follow me as I negotiate new boundaries in other areas of my life.

The short version is that I’ve been single for a while now and trying to negotiate healthy dating has certainly been interesting.  I’ve dated people, some more seriously than others.  I’ve stopped dating people for many reasons, some have remained friends and some have left my life.  I’ve remained single in status the whole time.  I’m not looking to shack up, not looking for any ONE.  I’m really about me right now, about the changes in my life, the lessons I am learning and the amazing adventure of life.

I’ve certainly been blessed to meet some amazing people and I’ve been blessed to return always to the most important lesson of all, that I will never settle for less than I deserve again, whether it hurts, whether it is sad or uncomfortable, whether it hurts me or hurts others.  This is a new way of walking in the world, this knowledge that I have work to do, lessons to learn, borderlands to explore, but ultimately, self love will prevail. 

Relationships are so tricky, especially when relationships do not fit into cookie cutter molds, do not fit into preset definitions, do not fit into the comfortable familiar language of ownership… MY boyfriend/boifriend, MY girlfriend/grrrlfriend… MY partner/wife/husbutch/significant other.  Instead it’s always fun to explain, “No, this is one of the people I am dating.” Or, as someone I dated once said to a nosy bystander in what ended up feeling like a blow off, “I’m with her right NOW.”  Yeah, ouch.  A better solution for me is simply to insist that I not be defined by my relationships to anyone.  I am me.  I prefer to be introduced by my name.  I find that it’s an important boundary for me, I’m not X’s grrlfriend not only because that isn’t the nature of our relationship but because I am not giving up my me to be grrlfriend.  I’m not giving up me to be anything to anyone. 

It’s especially important to me as a femme.  We are so often defined by the butches we happen to be dating, or even if we aren’t dating, even if we just happen to be out in public with a butch, they define us, they mark us as queer and sometimes provide that breath of relief from the tyranical invisibility of passing.  But I’m not a femme because I’m on some butch’s arm.  I’m not a femme because I’m in some butch’s bed or in his/her/hys company.  I am me.  Simply, complexly, fabulously me.  Whether I remain single for the rest of my days or marry the boy/boi/butch/tranny/queer of my dreams (which might be complicated given some of my dreams) I want to be defined by and AS myself.

I define myself.  My boundaries may be fluid and sometimes permeable.  I may cross my own borders and shift my own fronteras but I set them, they are mine and will remain mine.

New Fronteras

Well, it looks like our friendly borderland academic is crossing a new frontera and entering the so called real world.

I am escaping from the ivory tower into an amazing job with an office overlooking the bay and a chance to work for change and diversity and justice.  I will be working with the California Conference for Justice and Equality as the Building Bridges Program Coordinator. 

My exodus from academia is painful as much as it is refreshing. 

I anticipate I will return someday.  Perhaps not.  Who knows las vueltas que da la vida. 

Por ahora, I’ll be exploring my new borderland.  I’ll be looking for adventures.  I’ll be building a new life.  Building new bridges, new connections, new relationships, new beaches, new dreams, new horizons, new landscapes.  I feel simultaneously grounded and lost.  I am anchored in a place where I feel a deep resonance, a familiarity, comfort, and excitement.  And yet, I am crushed by the weight of uncertainty, the heavy preguntas, who will I meet? where will I hang out? who will my peeps be?  where will I make connections? 

All the same, I am escaping the snow, the ice, the cold, the white, the loneliness of walking these caminos where I don’t find myself, where my feet don’t find purchase.

When I was debating the decision to accept the job my one friend in CA spoke to me about my walk.  He said he’d seen how I walk in his homeland, he’s seen how my steps grow lighter, he’s seen how my head is held high, how my body seems so fluid and comfortable.  Mis pasos reconocen los caminos.  Mi corazon reconoce the beat.  And so, I am jumping, again.  Soaring into the unknown with myself. 

It is going to be an amazing adventure.  Who know what I’ll find out there? Comunidad? Raices? Suenos I had forgotten I had? Exito? Futuro. 

I am crossing over yet again, cyclical migration weaving in and out of my own fronteras.