radical honesty

it is something new to show All of myself

past and present.

to be this

(all of this),

and somehow,

to not apologize.

i am terrified

to be loud

to be seen

to be thought about

to be memorable

to be recognizable

(no wonder i often feel invisible)

how fortunate then (i suppose)

that putting up walls and guards and protections and masks

is so exhausting.

When im running on empty,

the walls collapse

and i am able to to experience the open expanse

of just being.

i feel quite small today

Today, the Alabama House of Representatives voted to make it illegal for doctors to proscribe gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth (18 and under).

I am grateful for what a few representatives said in the battle that ended in a vote of 66-28 in favor of this bill.

Rep. England: “You’re saying this is about children. It’s not. What it is about is scoring political points and using those children as collateral damage”

Rep. Rafferty: “Its totally undermining family rights, health rights and access to health care.”

I was pretty numb while I read this headline at first. A protective numbness.

I was numb until I reached this quote in the article from Rep. Wes Allen: “Their brains are not developed to make the decisions long term about what these medications and surgeries do to their body,”

When I read that, I was angry. I was frustrated by the utter stupidity of it all. I wanted to storm down to that house and explain to this man that going through puberty ~naturally~ or whatever Is A Choice, and a choice with lasting, lifelong repercussions. I want to ask why he thinks the state should be able to make this choice for children: A choice that he states will have lasting effects on their bodies.

I have been fighting my body for years, and if I had been given the option at the beginning to not have to go through that, hell yes I would have picked that.

I’m not a better person for having had two puberties. I’m just sadder.

All I want is to be able to protect those kids in Alabama. I want to protect my trans students from the ricocheting pain I am feeling after this bill. And after all the rest.

I feel quite small today.

https://www.npr.org/2022/04/07/1091510026/alabama-gender-affirming-care-trans-transgender

motivation when I’m tired

(Alternatively titled: A teaching philospohy)

In trying to understand who I am as a teacher
I found a misconception I had been holding on to:
I thought the pull to teaching was math.

(And I do love math
I am grateful to have it as a partner in this endeavor
I love its definitiveness and ambiguity

Give me good pattern any day of the week and I’ll be happy
Or an algorithm
a visualization
a comparison
a mapping
a graph
a prediction
a puzzle

Math is a language where you can express
both more
and less
than you can with words.

Math carries a precision that syllables and sentences never can
Yet fails to articulate the finest points of humanness)

But to say I am tied to teaching because I love math
is a knot that will unravel under tension.
I would not have ended up here if I had not accompanied a bouquet of trans folks
On legs of their expeditions:
Through crushing expectations
Through meeting themselves
Through glimmers of expansive freedom
Through letting the world in to meet them.

I teach in order to hold a place for these gender explorers and defiers
For these norm breakers
For these students looking for someone to see them, to know them.


I stumbled into teaching with my crochet hook and calculator
with enormous and hazy and overwhelming dreams
To chip away at these walls against which my back is pressed
To exist where they said we couldn’t
To make space
for us.



Black trifold board poster with a rainbow geometric stripe from the bottom left to top right. Title in silver: lgbteacher: being out in the classroom as an act of radical honesty. 
Bottom right is a timeline with pictures. Middle contains titles with flap doors that reveal to more
final project for my first grad school class in teaching in 2019

long and short term goals and dreams

But who’s to say which is which

  • Create a math elective
  • Decorate/organize classrooms and office
  • write a play
  • create knit/crochet clothing
  • create a gender retreat or pen pal network or mentoring network or something related to giving the trans youths a place to explore gender
  • write pretty math puzzles
  • make cool escape room puzzles
  • crochet cool things
  • knit cool things/learn to knit
  • Research the crossover of fiber art and math
  • journal/post updates more consistantly
  • write poetry
  • Create art with trash
  • Learn more about 3d printing
  • Write a letter to students thanking them for being my first group I’ve thought for a full year
  • Do a workshop on gender/trans competency for faculty
  • Learn to roller skate more
  • Find a way to get back into dance

right now in Texas

powerful people 
Think that it is abuse
To let me feel free

They want our existence to be reported
Our support systems ripped out from under us

They want us gone
Because we make them question every lie they ever told themselves about how they were allowed to exist through the world

We make them confront the terrifying expanse that the universe becomes when you realize it is your right to define yourself boundlessly,
to be fully human,
fully unique and yet the same,
fully perfect
and yet never not fully a work in progress





There are people
Who Think that it is abuse
To help me feel free

But who refuse to see the enormously obvious, heart shatteringly painful reality that is
That their words rip open barely healed wounds
There will be unthinkable, unforgivable pain because of this
There will be lives broken and lost.


I want to hold a message of hope.
Of ‘we will prevail’.

But it’s hard to stay positive and be a trans person in a world where your right to exist continues to be questioned in new old ways.
I’m tired.
I’m in pain.



——-
Required afterthought:
But we will care for eachother
And we will care for ourselves
And we will be free

Defining our purpose: the trajectory of my math department

There is a lot of discussion around what the math department at my school will look like over the coming years. I rarely contribute to the discussions, sometimes out of anxiety but mostly because I am listening to what others have to say. I want to fully understand where we stand right now and how we got there before I can begin imagining where I want us to go. Here are some things that have come up when I have been thinking about this.

I want us to be a place:

Where you problem solve and model and visualize and predict

Where you learn to communicate precisely

Where you practice seeing patterns and connections

Where you use logical and organized thinking

Where you analyze and critique the world you live in, and brainstorm solutions

Where you come out in the end fundamentally believing in your ability to struggle productively

Where you lean into the unknown and the confusing with curiosity and creativity

Where you learn to ask questions far more than you find answers

assorted thoughts from my notes app (pt. 4)

  1. quote from C: “I like having options even though I hate making decisions”
  2. reading recommendations from a friend: Heartstopper, The Stars and the Blackness Between Them
  3. pretty sure this is a journaling note when I was panicking and trying to calm myself by writing down all the thoughts: “We are all just human. We are all big and little. We are universes contained within universes. Of course this is hard.”
  4. shopping list for yarn
  5. “How much corn” (thats the whole note)
  6. ideas for a review day: “Crocheting Olympics”
  7. quotes from C playing video games:
    1. “That was not very nice”
    2. “aaaauh”
  8. “I won’t let other people use gender against me”

parenthood

to acknowledge that I want a child 
is to acknowledge that my parents wanted me 

that someone wants me
that someone thought the world would be better off with me in it
that without me, something was missing. 

and for some reason my soul has trouble accepting that. 
original scribbles

Reflecting (~7 months after originally writing this poem): i really want to be a parent someday. i want to be a soft place for a child to land when things get hard (i heard this phrase recently and its stuck in my head. it just feels nice). I want to be a safe space to be imperfect. i want the experience of parenthood. i think i would be good at it.

holding on/letting go

I don't trust the world to hold me
my muscles remain tense, always holding myself above it 
I can’t even let the earth take my whole weight
my whole self
for fear of being too much

I mistake the feeling of muscles relaxing
of giving up control
of allowing myself to melt
for falling

version 1.1 12/27/2021
a handwritten original version of the poem, dated 5/3/2021

Afterwords: I struggle to allow other people to see me fully because I feel the tremendous weight of everything i am holding every minute of every day, and i couldn’t imagine giving someone else that weight to hold too because it is so overwhelming. but i am practicing both trusting other people to help me hold things, and also practicing sorting through all the things I’m holding and just deciding to put some stuff down. Some things I can put down until tomorrow, or next week. Some things I can put down and just leave them the heck there. Every now and then I need to do a spring cleaning of my thoughts.

Also related: the song Surface Pressure from the movie Encanto which I have listened to about 27 times today https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErY3eeRFTFg&ab_channel=DisneyMusicVEVO