converse

Alternatively titled: tattoo #7

i wore white converse to my high school graduation. this was against the dress code, which banned sneakers. But my high tops were clean and white, they matched the school mandated cap and gown, and i liked them.

normally, I would not be allowed to walk at graduation unless I changed my scandalous footwear. But I was giving a speech and it would have caused more disruption to prevent me from participating, and so I wore my converse.

a full body photograph of me, from my graduation cap to my sneakers made the front page of the local newspaper. school administrators were upset that I had tarnished their image. I was happy that this image actually showed an authentic version of me.

I kept and wore these same shoes again for my college graduation. They now sit on a shelf, near my diplomas, much less white and with many more rips than they did for their debut. But I will wear them again when I graduate with my masters, and any other degrees that may come after that.

and so as i wrap up year 1 of teaching, and it feels simultaneously like I am ending my own freshman and senior year of high school. I am in this place of transition out while still settling in. I am feeling rebellious, excited, frustrated, tired, and proud.

And when, this past weekend, I saw a local tattoo artist post a set of flash tattoos (drawings that they will tattoo all in one day, on a first come first serve basis), my rebellious impulsiveness took over. I submitted my interest in about 8 of the designs, and the next day found out that I would be getting this one.

this high top converse sneaker. the perfect way to wrap up a year of academic and personal accomplishment. A symbol of being here, despite the rules, and staying here to change the rules.

lost in the numbers

18 children 

And one teacher 

were killed today

by an 18 year old school shooter.

(And maybe more will not make it) 

The second major incident of gun violence to make it to my news radar this month. 

And there were over 200 that never made it to me. 

We have drills

We have trainings 

We have debriefs 

But we will never have peace of mind

And in hearing about this tragedy,

This unthinkable catastrophic normality,

I think first about where in my classroom would we go. 

Where are the locks and the curtains and the heavy objects to use to barricade the door.

I think about where are the books for throwing in self defense

And where are the sharp objects I could use to break the window. 

And then I think about how the news would reach my person. 

And my people

And I think about how i would recover if this happened here 

how this is community would recover

And I think about how would the situation change depending which class i was with, 

and their dynamics, and their needs,

And how I would best protect them,

And how could we get through this together,

And
I think of of each and every one of them.

The 58 on my class rosters.

And the many more who are not. 

I think of their faces 

(Or half visible faces) 

And I think of the goodness I see in them all. 

And I can’t think of the world without them. 

And
I try to think of anything else 

anything besides the idea, the possibility, of this happening.

19 children were killed.

And 2 adults. 

27th school shooting

212th mass shooting 

1984 people killed by guns 

In the United States of America

in 2022

so far.

And I have to say so far 

Because there will be more.

For these irreplaceable,
individual, incredible human beings

who have taught me how to be a teacher,

i want more for them. 

more than this never-ending barrage of preventable and catastrophic violence.

I want more accountability and action and shelter and healing and care for them. 

and
i want more for me.

Sources: https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/, https://www.npr.org/2022/05/24/1101050970/2022-school-shootings-so-far

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.

wrapping up year 1 of teaching

  • things that have been on my mind lately
    • i want to crochet something for students in some way but it either needs to be a very small (like 5 minutes each) type thing, or i don’t give one to everyone. perhaps only my advisees.
    • how to send off the seniors? I don’t teach any, but i know a handful from clubs and the play and such, and i would like to celebrate them
    • this department is really shifting. there is so much possibility here.
    • how are there so few weeks left. one month from now i will be done with my first full year. beginning to end with the same students.
    • grades are meant to be simple, transparent communications but also convey so much information and i dont know how to do that accurately/meaningfully (yet?)
    • there are so many things i wish i could do to wrap things up and reflect and preplan for next year because im already excited to try this dice project again. its going pretty well but there are a lot of things i would do differently the second time around and i am excited to try again!
    • a middle school art teacher in florida was fired for allowing discussion of sexuality and identity in class. i am tired. i am sad. i am anxious.
      • every week it feels like my humanity is questioned anew.

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

Focuses of the week

  1. School/Work
    1. Finalize plan for 3D print project guidelines
      1. begin trial run of it
    2. Area Unit arc + collect puzzles
    3. Brainstorm probability idea
  2. Crochet
    1. Get to yellow section of the sweater I am pattern testing
    2. finish back of sweater
  3. Self Care
    1. journal 1 sentence every day
    2. designate time to care for friendships/relationships
  4. Chores
    1. Plan yard cleanup
    1. New dog training schedule
    2. make appointments
    3. clean carpets
  5. Walking Practice: walking training season* is in full swing, and my dogs and I are working on gaining some confidence in stressful/overly exciting situations (ie. there are any bikes, other dogs, amazon delivery trucks, cars that are too loud or are going too fast, roller skates, squirrels, strollers, all the smells, etc.)
    1. Remember to STRETCH
    2. Try running a bit
    3. Coordinate 5k team for https://www.laughingatmynightmare.com/

Looking forward to:

  • Play games/do puzzles
  • cook yummy food
  • romp around outside with the dogs
  • snuggle
  • watch good tv/listen to good podcasts
  • friends who make me laugh
  • being back with students who make me laugh
  • feeling rested (pls)
  • roller blade season can start soon hopefully
  • doctors appointments to help my joints not hurt

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