After three years in a state I had only visited but grew to love, it is time for my journey to take me to a new destination. Leaving Oklahoma for Albuquerque saved my life, and I cannot put into words my thankfulness for this place and everyone I have met along the way. Albuquerque has been the first place I have lived where I felt at home. The feeling was small at first, but it only grew as I made connections with coworkers and friends. Because of Albuquerque and finding joy in my work, when I thought I could no longer go on, I found within me the will to live and to be my true self. When I took my leap into the unknown, I knew that it would likely cost me everything. I was wrong, and as I came into my true self, I found the most incredible friends and have had the most amazing experiences these past three years.
From the early stages of “I like boba” to board gaming at Empire to cosplaying for a Welcome to Night Vale live show to narrating my flight down a mountain with two long thin boards attached to my feet to falling asleep with the sounds of New Mexico winds shaking the aspen and pine canopies above my tent, my heart soars with memories. My heart soars with life well lived because I finally felt free enough to be myself. As I take my next step on my journey, I reflect on how much things have changed, especially with how I see the importance of choosing one’s family. Albuquerque and so many wonderful friends and coworkers have become my chosen family, and you shall always be in my heart. Thank you for accepting me for who I am and allowing me to thrive in this beautiful city that has become my home.
At the end of this school year, I found myself truly torn with what I wanted to do next on my professional journey. And, as I reflected on the experiences that truly meant the most to me, a desire and drive within me grew. I’d had the pleasure of modeling lessons this past year time and time again, and with each lesson I taught, my desire to teach again grew and blossomed. I’ve also been fortunate to work with the Reducing LGBTQ Adolescent Suicide Team and the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico, as part of the Transgender 101 Presenters Bureau, and I was able to be the advocate I so desperately had needed growing up in small town Oklahoma. That work, in addition to the very real threats to democracy and LGBTQ rights from the current president’s administration, has led me to seek career opportunities in a place where I feel that I can make the most impact, New York City.
And so, my time in Albuquerque will be coming to an end. The words I write here do not even begin to do justice for how I feel about this place and everyone who has been a part of my journey. Thank you.