Do you ever have days where the whole story you tell yourself shifts? Today was one of those days for me. This was supposed to be a Friday where I went to work and then took myself down to Denver to see Trevor Hall at the Gothic Theatre. For some reason the moment that I woke up I knew in every inch of my bones that I did not want to do that this evening. I've never seen Trevor Hall and I'm sure he's as good as the yogi community says, but I listened to myself and I sold my ticket. I didn't know that this was opening me up, freeing up space if you will, to unexpectedly spend my night a way I hadn't imagined at the beginning of the day. Fifteen minutes before five pm, a co-worker of mine asked if I wanted to walk over to another building on campus for an evening with one of our mutual favorite poet & activist. On a whim, I said yes. We walked in moments before the reading was about to begin and due to it being a lowly publicized event we took our seats right in the front row. The poet, Andrea Gibson, was just feet away. Andrea is a feminist, a liberal, a queer, and a beautiful human being. Andrea performed a poem that I had never previously heard, it was about Pulse, the Orlando nightclub where one of our nation's worst massacres happened In June of 2016. The poem was so moving that when it came to a close, everyone sat there in silence. My eyes were filled with tears, I remembered Summer of 2016 and the many times that I contemplated going to a First Friday lesbian night at a club in Denver. The whole discussion and performance of this evening was inspiring... and made me realize how much my beliefs are worth fighting for.... but with my words.
When I got home tonight there was a package at my door, I wasn't expecting anything, and when I picked it up I saw it was from the U.S. Government... I kind of had a flutter of anxiety... Oh God, what if there was a mistake with my taxes and they need part of my refund that I've already spent back? (Yes, i know... alarming right? The fact that I've already filed and spent my whole refund). Well... it wasn't the IRS, it was my new passport. My passport with my name (yes, this was the last official document that it took me almost a decade to deal with changing my name back on). A blank passport, with my name.
I walked in to my apartment and I looked at that Robert Doisneau photo that I love so much. It reminds me of who I used to be, who I wanted to be.... it has so much weight and stories attached to it. The story of how I received it, the story that I tell myself about the meaning of it, the story that I assign to the figures in the picture. Tonight, my mad desire to take that photo off the wall and get rid of it was at an all time high. It was now or never.
I took it outside, I was afraid to just leave it by the trash... afraid I'd be out there at 2 in the morning, blowing snow off of it so I could bring it back in. I tried putting it in my car so I could donate it tomorrow. It wouldn't fit... not in the door, not in the trunk. And just when I thought, maybe this is a sign? Maybe I'm supposed to keep this. Then again, I was hit with another bout of determination. I'll take it out of the frame... maybe it will fit in the car then. It didn't. And as I stood there, here came my neighbors, "Do you want this?" I yelled.
She said, "Your'e finally ready to get rid of that romantic kiss picture, huh?"
"Yeah, do you want it?"
But then her boyfriend said, "I'll get rid of it", and he threw it in the back of his covered pickup, and said he would take it to their storage and find it a nice home.
So here I stand in my apartment... a blank wall. No man kissing a woman. No pressure of the past. Instead there is freedom. There is space. There's literally a blank canvas... and I notice that on the wall, the plaster and paint has chipped from where the picture had fallen off the wall a few years back. It's scarred, just like me... but overall it's blank, it's clean, and it's ready for a new story to believe in... again, just like me.
There's a story brewing inside of me, words that are stringing together to make sentences. It's a story of gender, of sexuality, of the political times we live in, of releasing old trauma, of rooting down and rising up. Stay tuned.