Yesterday, I shared an article about my impending surgery, and a request for help – both social and financial – as I go through this. I was embarrassed to ask, and not sure what to expect, but your response has been swift and overwhelming. I can’t thank you enough, but I’ll keep trying.
Wow, you all are so wonderful and generous. Thank you so much. I am entirely floored by this outpouring of support and love from friends, relatives, and strangers. I should not have expected anything else. You’ve been there for me over and over. Why does it still take me by surprise?
I keep trying to write an update worthy of your generosity. Maybe something about how we build up shame around money, and asking for help – friends had to convince me it was ok. But that’s looking the wrong direction. I want to talk about you, my family by choice (and sometimes also genetics).
I’ve been watching Pose on FX, and thinking about the power of finding your chosen people – rebuilding family out of trauma, on our own terms. I think about the years that “family” felt distant for me, even dangerous. I put up every wall I had, and moved to Denver.
I still don’t know how we got here from there. My favorite part of transition has been the people it keeps bringing into my life – including people I’ve half-known for years, now pulled closer. The queers and cousins and sisters and aunts and friends who reach out to me, and share their own stories. Who bring me into their lives, and become chosen family: not in spite of our traumas, but because of them. Because we can cry and laugh and scream together.
It’s too easy to look back and say “I built that!” – but it rings false. At every step, it’s been the generosity of others inviting me in. People sharing their struggles, their pain, their vulnerability, their art and vision… until I might learn to share mine. I’m only sorry it’s taking me so long.
There’s a card in my novel that’s been rumbling around my mind lately. The card I’ve always want to lean into, and build my life around (though I fail regularly):
When I die they will say she kissed us all she could. What more could we ask? And I will say, through a video I recorded this morning, I’m sorry that I didn’t kiss you more.
—Riding SideSaddle* (a novel about chosen family)
Much love and gratitude,