Thursday, July 26, 2012
I intend to post an update on this blog every Wednesday. Today is Thursday. I do my best to be flexible as I intend to co-create my life with the universe. This means being flexible at moments or taking an entirely new direction completely depending on the context and circumstances. I like to cook often. To me, food is love. I was inspired after work yesterday to try something new. Rarely do I buy fish. I chose to get a small cod fillet. I was going to look online to see how to prepare the cod. Yet, my housemate, Amelia was home so I was able to glean her knowledge and cooking wisdom to prepare the cod. I put garlic salt, pepper, slices of heirloom tomatoes from Happy Boy Farms on the fish. Then I sauteed garlic and onions with thyme harvested from the garden. Finally, I added fresh squeezed lemon to the fish. Amelia suggested that I prepare the cod in the oven and turn on the broiler. As the oven was heating up, I re-heated some cabbage, onions, and garlic, brown rice, and a few potatoes from a previous meal that had been in the freezer, yet had de-frosted in my fridge. This reminds me of a very entitled customer who I had an interaction with a month or so ago at work. She purchased an overly priced half pint of cabbage and quinoa. I asked her if she knew how to prepare cabbage. She looked at me stunned that I knew how to prepare cabbage and then she inquired as to how I prepared it. I told her I added spices like cumin, turmeric, thyme, salt, pepper, etc. I first saute onions, garlic, and then add cabbage. Sometimes I include bragg's in it too. I told her that I prepare a large amount, usually with quinoa and brown rice and/or potatoes. I usually make kale, chard, or collard greens to go with the rest of the food. Then I have leftovers for lunch and I put the rest of the food in the freezer for several meals that I will eat within the month. As our fridge is old in the lovely house that I live in and the landlord may or may not procure us a new one that has a consistent freezer where food can be kept for more than a month that doesn't taste freezer burnt. When I told the entitlement woman at the store where I work about freezing the cabbage she looked at me, an adult woman looked at me and said an exaggerated "eeewwww," in a shocked tone to my face with a look of disgust in regards to hearing that I freeze some of my meals. I live a very active life and I have a literal and figurative full plate! Thus, preparing more food in advance saves me time, energy, and I have a delicious variety of meals to choose from when I'm hungry. This experience highlighted one of the most interesting, blatant, and rude class dynamics I have personally experienced while at work. It is one thing to disagree with someone. Yet, a grown adult woman saying something that a child would say in a school yard or playground was very surprising to me. This brought up many feelings and thoughts. One thought was about class dynamics. I was raised middle-class. Both of my parents went to graduate school to become social workers. They are both Licensed Clinical Social Workers. Both are retired now. I've been a student most of my 20's. I'm at the end cusp of graduate school and I work part-time. As an artist/filmmaker I view myself as a graduate student and in a creative/artistic class. Is being an artist working class? I view the artistic/creative fields as a realm of their own. The class dynamic that I experienced while working was one that felt like I was working-class and this women upper-class. That is the dynamic that I felt. Is it working-class or artistic/creative class or not based on class at all to think ahead, plan, be economical with food, and prepare meals to put in one's freezer? What do people think/feel about this? I personally let this experience go, it feels good to write about, and it high-lights different forms of eating habits, etc. This woman can afford to buy an $8 half pint of cabbage and quinoa, while I a student and emerging creative professional prepare quinoa and cabbage at home. Getting back to the cod fillet. I put it in the oven. I checked on it after 6 minutes, as Amelia had advised. Amelia suggested that I put the cod in the broiler. I thought that if I put it in the oven it was on broil. Yet, in the oven in our kitchen there is a lower broiler area which I had recently discovered. I accidentally touched the hot pan that was on the counter across from the stove as I prepared to put the pan into the actual broiler. I instantly burned two of my fingers on my left hand. I put my hand under cold water in the kitchen immediately. I cook often and I don't remember being burned like this once. The last experience I remember burning my finger(s) was when I was in pre-school at a friend or babysitter's house and I touched a heater with one of my fingers as I was exploring around. That memory and age instantly came back to me as I plunged my hand into a jar of cold water and sat down for a few moments before putting the fish into the broiler. Two blisters emerged and my fingers continued to hurt. I'm feeling better today, yet it was a very unpleasant cooking experience to get burned. Amelia apparently burns herself all the time when she cooks. I'm grateful for my mom's input about how to deal with a burn and my buddy Samuel's hug, neosporin, and red crayola band-aids for my fingers. They are feeling better today. Yet, hurt for a while last night. The fish came out excellently and I enjoyed it more today rather than last night. Thanks for reading!
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
When I awoke today it was overcast and grey in the East Bay. Now, the sky is clear and the sun is shining. I don't mind the grey and overcast weather at times. It's a nice shift from lovely summer weather. It also makes me appreciate when the sky is clear and the radiant rays of the sunlight are available to enjoy. My tomato plants in the garden are soaking up the sunlight. Yellow flowers and buds of new green fruit are sprouting on the green stalks. I often times gaze at the three tomato plants in pots that are flourishing and growing so well when I eat my breakfast or dinner outside, enjoying the summer rays of light. After one year of living in Portland, I began to crave the forces of the sunlight. I had one of those ott lights that my mom gave me as a Hannukah present to prevent seasonal affective disorder. I would sit under the ott light on my couch as I wrote in my journal, read, worked on my computer, or decompressed from the day. The ott light wasn't enough. I could feel it. I felt called to be back in California and one reason was the sunlight. The forces of the sun. I enjoy feeling my feet on the earth, the grass or dirt outside, wearing my brimmed hat, enjoying tea, a meal, or simply being outside as much as I can during these summer days in the East Bay. I feel grateful for the house that I live in, the spacious backyard, and the little plot of Earth that I tend to with water, love, and presence. This past Friday the 13th was my two year anniversary of being on testosterone. It was also my two year anniversary of being a man. I lived as Ewan and was out as a trans guy for two years before I began testosterone. During that time, I was a trans boy. Did I go through an initiation to become a man? Most definitely. I went through so much and was tested by the universe many, many times so that I could walk through the initiatory fire and become a man. To me, being a man means to be responsible in so many ways. Responsible for my actions, words, and behavior. I intend to embody and express positive, balanced masculinity in this world. To integrate my feminine and masculine energies and to simply be who I am. Simply being who I am in the world has ripples of unseen and perceived impact. Like the rings of concentric circles that ripple in water after skipping a flat stone in a river, lake, or gentle creek. As a trans man I have the opportunity to self-create and self-construct my own personal, empowered, embodied masculinity. It's my path and also a huge responsibility. While working on my thesis film, CHANGE OVER TIME for the past two years, I've been living with the question, what does it mean for me to be a man? I could write one page every day for the rest of my life, musing and contemplating that question and there would be move to explore, delve into, examine, experience, and to write about. It is unending--infinite inquiry. I choose to be an aware man, a man that honors the divine feminine and masculine. As a man, I choose to integrate those energies within myself. A man who is a trans feminist. A man who can express his emotions and request from those closest to him to be heard, seen, mirrored, supported, and emotionally held in love and support. What space is there for a man to fall apart emotionally in this culture? When can a man break down and be seen as having strength in vulnerability? In these ways, how can our society and culture change and evolve? In honor of my two years on testosterone, I planned a solo two night camping trip. Just as I had packed up the car with most of my camping accoutrement and supplies, I noticed a nail in my left rear tire. I had a flat tire before in Portland. I know how to pick up my phone and call Triple A if any car issues arise, yet I didn't know how to change a car tire. The tire looked fine, was inflated, yet I didn't want to drive anywhere with a nail in it. I talked to my housemate, called my dad, called the california state park to cancel my first night camping reservation and was put on hold for an hour, called the tire place a few times, etc. It was a frustrating afternoon. I was present with my frustration yet decided to take my car to the tire place in Walnut Creek on Saturday. At that point, it was Friday evening and I decided to go with my housemates to the Circus Bella performance in Oakland that my friend Wendy and her boyfriend Nick perform in. The circus was great! There were probably over one hundred babies and/or toddlers at the circus. It was baby land and reminded me of my Waldorf days in Portland when I worked at a Waldorf school and was around many children and families. There were so many cute babies and attractive parents. One highlight from the circus performance was a man who stood on a ladder on a tight-rope. It reminded me of the amazing documentary, Man On Wire. I asked my friend/housemate Shannon to teach me how to change the tire on my car. How synchronous that on the date of my two year anniversary of being a man and being on testosterone, I finally learned how to change a car tire! To me this is a symbol of masculinity in our society. Self-reliance as a man and knowing how to deal with cars. My buddy Sam and I both learned how to change the tire. It was more intimidating than difficult. Before learning this lesson, I didn't have an active interest in learning this skill. I feel grateful to Shannon for teaching me. The camping trip will be re-scheduled yet the universe had a lesson to teach me and now I feel empowered as a man in this way to change my car tires.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
I began this blog four years ago when I was first coming out as a transgender guy and living in Portland, OR. The first post is still active. I'm now reclaiming this blog as a weekly exercise and a service to my community, as well as personal expression. I intend to write a weekly blog about any relevant themes and experiences that I feel need to be conveyed in this format. I contemplated earlier if it was best to carefully construct and plan out what to write. What inspires me is for this blog to be a stream of consciousness--to express and convey to an audience what I feel intuitively needs to be shared from my unique perspective. The current question that I'm living with is, how can I be of unique service to the Earth and to humanity as a creative, artistic person carving and paving a unique, non-normative path in this world? What unique tools, skills, and gifts do I have that can be of use during these radically changing and transitional times? At moments, I feel overwhelmed, as if my arms can't even reach around the larger issues of these times that impact us all. Another question arose for me during this same time last year. The question was, how can I build hope in this world? I moved to Berkeley, CA last year in July. Before that I lived in San Francisco for two years. I have always dreamed of living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was grateful, three years ago when I had a way to move here with a purpose--graduate school to pursue my MFA in Cinema at San Francisco State University. What struck me was that even in Berkeley, CA there is still so much work to be done. In comparison to my hometown of Clovis/Fresno--the SF Bay Area is the land of milk and honey. What image comes to my mind is that of Moses who led the Jews for 40 years in the desert before they arrived to the land of Israel. Moses looked on as the Jews that he led were able to enter the land of milk and honey, while he was unable to journey with them. I imagine that the Jews had many hopes, dreams, and visions of what life would be like in the land of milk and honey. Yet, there was a lot of work to be done then and there still is an immense amount of work to be done in the Middle East. I believe in co-existence, living in peace with a diversity of people, and bringing as much light to the Earth as possible. May all beings live joyous, balanced, grateful, and aware lives. For me, the Bay Area is the land of milk and honey. Milk--as in Harvey Milk, queer/trans empowerment, visibility, and an abundant, diverse queer/trans community. Although, the community does feel small to me now. Honey--for pleasure. I imagine a jar or vat of honey being poured on a hot queer body as another hot queer(s) lick it up. The honey represents the abundance of pleasure and sex positivity in the Bay Area. Those images were in my mind when I first moved here, three years ago. The queer/trans land of milk and honey. There is much work to be done. Yet, one still needs to have fun and enjoy every drop of sweetness.