Snow Trek to Star Wars

Snow.

As a friend and I begin our mile long trek through falling snow and slush-filled sidewalks to see the eighth installment of the Star Wars Skywalker saga and the ninth installment of the Star Wars franchise, The Last Jedi, I calm his near conniption and re-come out as flakes of white blanket my black framed glasses and my warm breath seems to fog up any non-flake filled part of the lens, which leaves me slightly impaired on the slippery path before us.

I had forgotten that I’d come out to him already, and I find myself at a loss for who I am and who I am not out to at work.

It is not something I hide, as I wear my transgender necklace everyday and led the understanding New Mexico LGBTQ+ youth training at the school, but still, I don’t begin every conversation with, “Hi, I’m transgender, which probably means you a) think I am the devil b) are confused or c) could give no fucks. Or, in all likelihood something else entirely.” Perhaps, I should begin every conversation in this manner.

As our walk continues, with brief pauses for snow-filled photo opportunities, I begin to lose feeling in my toes. My blue canvas boat-esque shoes are not made for snow, but I did not want to get Philadelphia street grit on my beloved black and white plaid Converse. The blue canvas shoes should be on their last leg, since they are slightly stained by ketchup, ranch, and green chile stew spills of elementary lunch duty. Yet, knowing myself and my inability to purchase new articles of clothing and throw out old articles of clothing, some (at this point very few) still hanging around from the days of high school, I know I will likely continue to slog through streets, sidewalks, and hallways in them until the soles completely wear through.

Arriving at the theater, which possibly due to the snow, is fairly empty for a Friday night, I ask one of the theater employees if theater 17 is in the middle of the movie. It is a dumb question I know because it is 5:36, and our movie begins at 7:30.

Out of sheer dumb luck, the employee laughs at the idea of waiting for two hours to see a film that is about to start in the theater behind him, theater 3. He says we are free to wait, but if we want, we can go right on in.

We do.

The movie plays.

It . . . I won’t provide any thoughts or opinions or spoilers about it here.

None.

But, after Episode VIII ends, and we begin to walk back to the hotel, I am struck by a thought.

This will likely be the first Star Wars film I won’t see with my family, let alone in the theater with them.

I am filled with almost a melancholic sadness as I remember.

I remember watching the original films re-released in the late 90s in a theater, which would later become a comedy club, where the comedian would tease my stepfather for his . . . lack of hair.

I remember watching The Phantom Menace in a nearly empty theater in Sand Springs, wondering how it could be possible that the theater wasn’t packed.

I remember watching Attack of the Clones, arriving late, missing the crawler, and being so frustrated until I was so entranced by the movie, that the tardiness no longer seemed to matter.

I remember watching . . . well, I don’t actually have a clear memory of watching Revenge of the Sith, but I do remember watching The Incredibles for my birthday, hearing the voice of the soon-to-be Emperor in a trailer, and being unable to contain my nerd excitement for the sixth film and third episode.

I remember watching The Force Awakens, knowing that in days everything about my place in my family would soon change.

I remember watching Rogue One, my brother opting not to attend the showing to read in the Barnes and Noble near the theater.

And, as I am flooded by memories of Star Wars and action figures and my mom shouting upstairs that Attack of the Clones might be too scary for my youngest sister and Lego battles, I hear my brother’s words from a few nights before when I was in a NyQuil addled state as he said, “I am mad at you,” and I said nothing in response.

I can’t shake the words from me.

Do I address it?

Do I let it go?

I know, or at least I have a very strong idea of why . . . the article.

“Child of Trump Nominee Speaks Out”

On a loop, “I am mad at you” plays on my mind as I pull up Twitter while waiting in the hotel restaurant for my avocado bruschetta and goat cheese fritters.

And, then, I see it.

CDC is banned by the Trump administration from using the word “transgender,” and the reality of what that means shakes me to my core.

I remain fairly silently and withdrawn throughout dinner.

I feel hopeless.

Via text, I vent to a friend and apologize for venting.

I feel hopeless still.

After dinner, as I close my eyes and try to fall asleep, I scroll through a text exchange with that same friend to find what I am looking for and need to see.

It reads, “Don’t let them get you. You are stronger than that. I know you are.”

I read the text again and again.

I close my eyes.

The loop drowns out.

My core shakes less.

And, I fall asleep.

 

Child of Trump Nominee Speaks Out

http://www.gayly.com/child-trump-nominee-speaks-out

Report: Trump Bans ‘Transgender,’ ‘Fetus,’ ‘Science-Based’ From CDC Documents

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-administration-cdc-banned-words_us_5a348ed2e4b0ff955ad3221d?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

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Across the walls

The light from the illuminated electronic casts shadows across the walls.

My heart beats, echoing within my core.

I close my eyes as a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions close around me.

 

What do I do?

What have I done?

What happens next?

From each question, springs forth a fountain of truths, memories, and fears.

 

How do I navigate the impossible?

How do I cope with guilts and fears and still smile and be okay?

Questions compound in a cacophonous rapture.

 

The light from the illuminated electronic casts shadows across the walls.

I close my eyes.

My heart beats.

I shut them tight.

My Ideal Bookshelf – A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness

In a darkened theater, waiting for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri to start, the trailer for the latest Guillermo del Toro macabre fairy tale, The Shape of Water, plays, and I nudge the elbow of my friend, whispering, “I want to see that.”

After the heartbreaking feature film ends, a discussion follows, which leads to a journey down the Wikipedia rabbit hole until I reach director J.A. Bayona, director of The Orphanage, which was produced by del Toro. Bayona, also, directed the adaptation of the most recent read on my Ideal Bookshelf, A Monster Calls.

I’d been chronicling my thoughts about each book on the figurative shelf until I reached this one.

This one had me stuck and unable to move forward.

And, I am not sure why exactly.

I guess this book has just stayed with me, as did the movie.

How do you tell the story of a child trying to accept his mother’s cancer diagnosis?

How do you make that story matter?

How do you make that story linger?

The beautiful illustrations, the core narrative, and the tales within the tale reveal truths about who we are and how we cope with our realities.

When originally read, now, and throughout the course of that time in between, I have dwelled on those truths.

And, as I cope with my own reality and all of its intricacies, I know that I will still keep A Monster Calls in my thoughts.

Where Things Stand

Two years ago, I came out to my fiancee as transgender, which ended that relationship. A month later, I would come out to my brother and parents. Here is where things stand.

 

Dear Senator,

 

Hey made it to Quartz mt.. I want to talk to u soon.. I am in class until 6. Then A mtg. Then dinner.. so if u are available this evening I would like to talk to u..

 

Have a good time at Quartz Mountain. I’m not really available tonight, getting ready for a Paint Night tomorrow.

 

Ok.. have fun painting.. I didn’t know I had upset you again. I will delete my Facebook account as soon as I can figure out how to save my pictures..

 

Why would you delete your Facebook account? That makes no sense. If you stand by your posts, why delete it?

 

Because u get very upset and I don’t want to continually upset u.. life is short

 

I get very upset? There are so many other things that make me upset than your Facebook posts. I am still not even sure what blog post you are referring to.

 

While I have no idea if this message will reach you or make a difference, but I could not live with myself if I did not express my concern. The Trump administration continues to nominate radical and dangerous individuals to high government positions, and with a heavy heart, this also includes my father, Frank M. Coffman for the position United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

 

I am way more bothered by my father’s new job than anything I have ever seen on your Facebook wall. But, I do want to add this. Your post about Puerto Rico and CNN being fake news scares me. It really does. It is naive and discredits the media. And just so you know, my coworker lost family members in the hurricane that hit Puerto Rico. The island is devastated and will take years to recover.

 

I am very sorry. For your feelings and your friend who lost their family members

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/conversations-with-people-who-hate-me/id1257821731?mt=2&i=1000390479804

Deleting your Facebook page is ridiculous. If you feel a need to apologize, listen to this podcast instead. There are nine episodes, and listening to them would mean more to me than an apology ever would.

 

Ok.. do I download something

 

Did the link not show up for you?

 

I see it. I will have to get head phones

 

Almost two years ago, I came out to my parents as transgender, and needless to say, it went poorly. I am writing to you because a person in the position of U.S. Marshal must be objective and non-biased  in regards to following the law. Based on everything I know about my father, he is committed to his prejudices over his respect for the law. For instance, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know he views the Black Lives Matter movement as criminal. Yet, it is his disdain for the LGBTQ+ community that frightens me the most. He refuses to accept family members as LGBTQ+ and has explicitly told me that I am under the influence of demons and corrupted by society because I am transgender.

 

Why are u bothered by your dads new job as a us marshal in Oklahoma

 

Because the Trump administration is threatening the very foundation of this country’s democracy and my father wants to work for that administration. Also, as radical and extreme as the Trump administration is and out of everyone in Oklahoma, the Trump administration sees my father as a kindred spirit for this role.

 

Whoever the president is has to appoint the Marshall.. you know your dad is not a kindred spirit.. he was more a bush kindred spirit.. I think he quit being a secret service agent because he didn’t want to be involved so closely with trump..

 

I have no idea why he quit the USSS. And while I used to think he aligned his views with moderate Republicans, I know the media he consumes and the views he holds. Just his views on social justice movements and LGBTQ+ individuals certainly does not make me feel safer or confident that he will objectively use his authority to protect all Americans.

 

I disagree.. if something happened your dad would not see gender or race or anything to help and protect.. u seem very angry and filled with rage!

 

Where is this coming from? And, of course I am angry, but filled with rage is a bit extreme. And, unfortunately, knowing things my father believes, I have to disagree with you about him.

 

To talk to u .. u don’t seem angry.. your blogs and text are extremely angry and raging!! U have been hurt by your dad and u r very sensitive to him at every level.. it is OK for people to have different beliefs and opinions!! It is EVERYONES right to feel and think differently.. and then of course someone thinks they are right and someone else is wrong! But to try and force that anyone believes exactly to believe/agree with everything u do is impossible

 

At this time, he and I barely speak, and his support of radical conservatism only drives us farther and farther apart. It is heartbreaking to write this to you, but if I do not speak out, who will? I ask you to oppose his nomination and to continue to speak out against other current and future Trump nominees that threaten democracy and the freedoms of this country.

 

You are completely right that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions. Here is a key difference though. Some of those key differences could cost me my job, my healthcare, a place to live, my students’ families, and lives. Not all thoughts and opinions are right or just, even though you are entitled to them.

 

Yes every opinion and every thought can cost someone something.. costing a life is the most important loss.. the things your dad said to u was horrible and he was falling apart.. and the things I say to u are not to hurt u..but past all of that u can’t make anyone feel what u feel

 

Is he still falling apart? Are you? Regardless, the things I say and write may not change how anyone thinks or feels, but I have to try. Because, if I don’t, who will? And, how much damage will be done in the meantime if I stay silent?

 

No he is ok.. being a Marshall removes him further from trump. I am ok.. I just don’t like feeling like we r fighting . I accept and love who u r. I want u to love me and accept who I am..

 

While that is not entirely accurate about his new job, I would prefer us not to disagree. However, I will not stay silent. I love you both, but that doesn’t mean I will just accept your views and opinions just because you are family.

 

Accept isn’t the right word.. from my text.. u don’t have to accept my beliefs maybe accept the right to be different from each other.. have u thot much about meditating for inner peace

 

I certainly accept your right to be different. I don’t have to be okay with it. Just like you don’t have to accept me for who I am. And meditating? I’d rather be a bit more proactive for inner peace, like getting involved, contacting legislators, etc.

 

Just sometime for peace and to relax a bit

 

What brings me peace is knowing that I have done something in the face of what is happening.

 

Thank you for your time,

Nicholas Bailey

 

Ok what do u do to relax

 

Paint nights. Movies. Spend time with friends.

 

Child of Trump Nominee Speaks Out

http://www.gayly.com/child-trump-nominee-speaks-out

Trans

I knew since middle school

that something was off,

but I didn’t have the words to understand it

until college.

But,

I didn’t think that it could be me,

and

I knew that I could never come out.

 

No,

I knew there was no way that I would ever say a word about it,

question it.

 

Not even a hint.

 

I just knew that I would lose my family and

everything

if I ever said anything about it.

And,

I never thought I could live through that.

 

I had just moved with my fiancée,

and

I was suicidal from the guilt of who I was.

 

I had forced myself to believe I wasn’t trans,

a freak.

 

It was why I was suicidal.

 

But, I fell in love with my work,

and

it saved my life.

 

I felt like I was finally at a place

that was making

a real difference

in the world.

And, it gave me a reason

to live.

 

And,

that reason

began to save

my

life.

An Isolated Expectationist

I don’t mind being alone,

in fact I enjoy my alone time.

But, I just never let anyone close growing up,

and I was afraid of people getting too close.

 

I just did what people expected me to do

and I acted liked people expected me to act.

I didn’t question or challenge others.

I was the expected status quo.

Except when it comes to religion,

I grew out of that unacceptablely early.

 

I guess

I would have called

myself

an isolated expectationist.

Hope, An Exchange

I hope you come visit. For a lot of reasons, I am not sure if I will be around for the holidays.

 

Say what now? Um why?????

 

(Redacted), I thought you should know I am transgender for sometime now, in fact I was going to tell you when (redacted), but I was asked not to by (redacted). More recently, telling you was brought up again, but again, I was asked not to because of fears of you being bullied if you know, which honestly makes no sense to me.

This is why I won’t be in Oklahoma for Christmas and am undecided for Thanksgiving. It is not easy continuing to hide who you are with family, and it is even harder knowing some of the views family has towards the LGBTQ+ community.

I am not sure how you will react to this, but I hope I will have your continued love and support. Know that I love you and will always be there for you if you need me.

 

Honestly, I’m not sure how I am supposed to react, I am a little shocked, but if this is what you want, then I support your decision. I love you too

 

I can understand and appreciate that. It shocked everyone. I appreciate your support. It means the world to me.

 

I couldn’t have asked for a better or more hopeful response. Where things go from here, only time will tell, but this is a moment of hope.

A moment.

Another Tuesday

Some things seem impossible.

Impossible to do.

Impossible to hope for.

Tonight was a sliver of hope and a strong rebuke, a rebuke to bigotry, corruption, and deceit.

The Resistance stands strong.

IMG_0750

The above tweet flashes onto the screen of my iPad. I can’t look away, and I have been refreshing my Twitter app frantically for a glimmer of hope.

A retweet sends it my way.

IMG_0751

Another retweet brings a smile to my face.

It has felt so horrible and hopeless for the last months, which have felt like decades.

But, this is hope.

Possibility.

IMG_0752

I switch over to Facebook, inundated with increasing possibilities. I scroll by a post from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Wow.

Just wow.

IMG_0753

A quick shift back to Twitter as tweets scroll by in an endless sea of excitement. One after another, excitement rolls through, excitement and hope.

IMG_0754

I consider all the people who consume Fox News like a sponge, soaking in an alternative reality. People who I once respected. People who I used to look up to.

I continue to scroll until I cross someone spouting bigotry.

Andrew T. Walker.

His words enshrined in digital stone.

“Christian parents, the nation’s first transgender elected official enters American history tonight. What are you doing to prepare your children for this new world?”

I hear these words as if uttered by a parent.

My scrolling continues as I stumble upon a reply to Mr. Walker.

“Christian parent here. We’re celebrating. We’re preparing our so to embrace difference, not fear or discriminate against it.”

IMG_0756

The gif of applause that follows is perfection.

I can’t spend all night on Twitter and decide to do something about the laundry situation.

After a few minutes, The iPad screen is illuminated again.

Twitter.

One last look before I move to some other distraction.

IMG_0757

Yeah.

That.

Muted Words

How many days has it been since the last one?

I turn to Google because I think surely it must have been a month since Las Vegas. Surely, it has been at least that long.

Google bring me this URL: http://www.dayssincethelastmassshooting.com.

A bright red zero blazes onto the screen. At 2:00 PM today, more lives were lost, lost to the senseless gun violence that has taken over this country, the blood stains on our hands and the hands of the cowardice within the American political system.

Then, I remembered that after the Las Vegas terrorist attack that I posted on my Facebook. I switched to the Facebook app.

There.

October 2nd. Fifty-eight people, people with hopes and dreams, were gunned down by an American terrorist. Fifty-eight people that America dropped the ball on to protect, and now, it is too late.

I am grateful that one of the people I follow on Twitter tweeted about blocking words. I had not known blocking a word was possible. I had immediately known which words I would mute. I feel beyond frustrated and disappointed. I grow angry. At talented people who disappoint. At the rich and powerful that take advantage. At the heartless. At the denying. At where we are right now.

I grow angry.

And, rejuvenated. Rejuvenated to resist, to try to make the world a better place, to not give up, even when things seem impossible, to give a damn and do something about it.

I go back to back to the website, Days since the last mass shooting in the United States. I click on history. The list of dates is incredible to see, an incredible tragedy, an incredible disgrace.

I realize that the list is incomplete. The list of American terrorism only includes the mass shootings. There was another shooting, just recently, at a Walmart.

Again, I turn to Google.

After some alarming headlines but not really finding what I am looking for, I settle on: https://www.massshootingtracker.org/data. 

img_0747

Damn.

Three hundred and seventy-seven mass shootings so far this year.

Three hundred and seventy-seven mass shootings, and that number doesn’t even take into account the shooting that just happened at a Walmart.

And, three people were killed there.

When will it end?

When will the ignorance and the greed and the selfishness and the senselessness of the American Right end?

And, I am not only talking about on this issue.

But, on taxes.

And, on healthcare.

And, on the health of the planet we live on.

And, on civil rights.

The American Right really needs to get their shit together.

The future of humanity depends on it.

Before I put this post to rest, I scroll through my Facebook wall, and once again, I come to this post. 

Damn.

img_0749

I am really getting tired of seeing that article pop up.

Really tired.

Because at this point in our political system, a vote for a Republican is a vote to continue this insane loss of life.

You are either helping put an end to this or, by not voting or voting Republican, you are allowing this to continue.

It is that simple.

One final thought.

Hey, 2008 Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito, did you ever think that your rewriting of the 2nd Amendment would have led to this?

Just wondering.

 

Days since last mass shooting in United States

http://www.dayssincethelastmassshooting.com

Trump’s “Condolences and Sympathies” Won’t Cut It

Mass Shooting Tracker

https://www.massshootingtracker.org/data

Man accused of randomly killing 3 people at Walmart captured

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/01/us/colorado-walmart-shooting/index.html

‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens

https://www.theonion.com/no-way-to-prevent-this-says-only-nation-where-this-r-1820163660

District of Columbia v. Heller

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_v._Heller