Maybe Sometimes

I have an idea of my true self
But I have no idea where that self will take me
I know that this self
This person
Is ever changing
I just want to be seen
In the light I project
Which isn’t always the clearest
Or the brightest
My worried mind will often interject and leave me with feelings of anger or worse thoughts that I was either not enough or was much too direct
I get this really bad feeling
When I feel tension
When I feel like my words are misinterpreted
Or your tone was taken out of context
The simple complexities of conversation
What is taken
What is given
What is left as a question
If only we asked
So then we would know
Why that silence just got longer and longer
Why nothing dissipated
But instead chose to grow
Why we distance ourselves from those we once loved
And still do if we were honest
Friends lovers and in betweens
We are whatever we were
We are has been
Used to be
But if we take away the negative
And holes in our conversation
Could we get back to something
Get back to simplicity
Simply

Silently sensitive
I am
Not too proud to be emotional
But
Too cautious to show hurt

But still most things eventually hurt
And because we are not here forever
Maybe we should try not to say words that could break us apart forever

Maybe apologies should come easy
For me they never have
But maybe part of growing up
Is learning lessons we always knew we had to
But never took the emotional space to

Because really who wants to admit they were wrong
Because really who wants to dig into that space that you tucked so far away
That trunk in the attic of your parents house
That you know contains both euphoric memories
And thunderstorms that caught you off guard
And wrecked you in that moment
For a few days
That trunk exists for a reason
Burden can be entirely too much to hold on to
But clarity is something we’re all entitled to

Dust forms on the things we leave untouched
But it doesn’t make them worthless
They aren’t worth less

Shake up a snow globe and watch a million pieces of sparkly nothing illuminate a fairy tale scene
For a moment everything is beautiful
Perfect
Serene
But eventually the glitter falls
And the music stops
What do you then make for that snow globe
Is it now just nothing more than a paper weight
Or is it just as useful when it isn’t putting on a show
When it just is

We can illuminate ourselves
We should illuminate ourselves
But we should remember life isn’t just about the show
You are the shell that holds a million pieces
Shake them wrong
Shake them right
Sometimes calm
But not always
Sometimes strong
But not always

Because nothing
Is always

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Untitled Feeling

Dreamy
Like milk swirls in her coffee
Like the rain hitting my face
Like the mixed up blurry thoughts that are my every day
The way I feel when it’s all triggers
When I can’t keep my fingers
From not doing what my brain is trying to say
The triggers that make those coffee swirls need to go exactly a very particular way
It’s all so dreamy
Hitting light switches
On and on and on
Turning door knobs until they feel just right under hands that just might break if it all doesn’t come together
My hands will shake and my ears will ring because inside I’m screaming about how coffee swirls and door handles mean nothing and yes indeed the lights are off and the front door is shut and the bed is made the proper way and the stove is not still flickering because god damn you haven’t used it since last night but -
What
If
Dreamy my thoughts
Click click my tongue against my teeth
Trying to breathe
Easy
Easy
Dreamy
Lay down and count it all out
Odds and evens
Even yourself out
The rain is making you feel fresh and new
Alive with out the panic
Alive without feeling manic
Dreamy

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Beyond the Surface of Gentrification Lies a New Generation

I’ve been thinking a lot about gentrification. About people and the spaces that they occupy. Why they occupy them and who they are disrupting by staying in them. I’ve been thinking a lot about our countries prison system. I’ve been thinking a lot about mental health, and how the poor don’t have access to proper doctors and treatment. This is what I would call a freestyle essay. It is free verse. Free thought.

I think we have quickly categorized gentrification as a: black and white thing. White people moving into areas and “colonizing” them. Young white post college kids moving into areas that are minority filled; white washing them. I have many times scuffed at white kids living in areas that are predominantly black. Scuffed at the businesses that follow them. The rent hikes that they’ll bring. The ignorant and those who are unaware of their privilege; I can’t stand them. The broke and just trying to make it in the city of their dreams? I can’t blame them.

Do I because of the color of my skin deserve to move into certain neighborhoods while those of equal economic status do not belong because they are white?

I have come to see gentrification as a clear induction that our government and political system are both racist and classist. That our banks are built to support those two groups and therefore small businesses are run not by young minds with brewing ideas but big those with money. Or those who look the right “American” way.

Cops are always around. They are always around black neighborhoods policing the every moves of black youth. They are present in gentrified communities to do the same thing. The NYPD as far as I’m concerned exists to protect white people. The jail system in our country is in place to enslave black people and minorities. To literally lock them up an throw away they key.

Black people have always had it (to put it very lightly) bad in America. Racism still exists in our country it is absolutely impossible to deny that. But in the same breath we must acknowledge that the gap between classes has become disgusting. Racism in 2014 means more than white vs black, it means rich vs poor, the educated vs the non educated.

White people have tried again and again to strip black people of their roots. When I fill out a census or a health form I am asked to check “African American”. As if it is a constant reminder that as a black person I must have come from Africa. Meaning I must be the descendent of slaves. Meaning I am less than a Caucasian.

I was having a conversation with someone about how much her neighborhood has changed. She is white and moved to a part of Brooklyn she could afford. A neighborhood mostly Hispanic. She said a line that stuck me: I make the same as many of my neighbors, I don’t have healthcare, economically we are equal. Young white people maybe for the first time in our history are broke and have similarly disadvantaged situations. The difference is our visual privilege. Race.

Business owners don’t pay attention to certain neighborhoods. They do not see opportunity with young black people. They don’t see profit from minority families. Police see crowds of brown people as threats. Doesn’t hostility breed hostility?

If an event like St. Patricks Day existed for POC I can not even begin to imagine what cops would do. Being that a tremendous chunk or the NYPD and the FDNY are Irish it makes, beautiful, disgusting, enraging, sense that the absolute ridiculousness and drunk tomfoolery that is the St Patricks Day Parade is allowed to exist.

Can you imagine a city filled with drunk, loud young black people? Replace bag pipes with African drums. Hear that noise. See stumbling brown people. Loud harassing brown men. Scantily clad brown women barely able to walk. HOW DO YOU THINK WHITE PEOPLE AND THE POLICE WOULD REACT TO THAT?

I’ve lived in New York all my life. We have parades for different brown nationalities. They are not the no holds bar fun and brew that the St. Patricks Day Parade is. Cops present at the Caribbean Day Parade feel like wardens. Their presence is not celebratory, it is hostile. Watching the police watch the Caribbean Day Parade feels much like what it would have been to watch plantation owners looking over their slaves. With a combination of fear, disgust, ego, and hate.

The structure of our country needs to change before our country implodes on itself. It is no longer the era of Jim Crow, and while we can’t say that racism is gone we must realize that it has manifested into something else. Our country is a buffet for the rich. White or black if you have money you have power. The poor haven’t been forgotten, they have almost been played. Giant corporations in our country keep the poor employed while ensuring that they will never become rich.

Take McDonalds or Walmart, both billion dollar businesses who profit of of those who work for them. College kids protest sweat shops in China and Malaysia yet little is said about corporations in America that are essentially of the same caliber.

Our prisons. Jesus Christ our prisons. We have young men spending lifetimes in jail for drugs. They are not rehabilitated, they are not taught valuable skills, or how to re enter society. They are not given a plan. There is a section on most job applications that most of us barely see. “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” Here are the top 20 felony convictions in our country: ” #1) Drug abuse violations are exceptionally common, often the most common felony offense, with about 2,000,000 violations annually. #2) Property crimes include auto theft, burglary, larceny, arson, and theft. #3) Driving while intoxicated is so common that every one of the states spends an incredible amount of law enforcement time and expense on preventing and catching DUI offenders. #4) Larceny (theft), under the category of property crimes, is by itself one of the most common felony crimes in the U.S. #5) Assault is, tragically, tremendously common, with well over 1,000,000 offenses each year. #6) Disorderly conduct is a category that includes various crimes that pose a risk to society. #7) Liquor laws that limit the sales of alcohol, such as sales to minors, are broken regularly across all of the states. #8) Violent crime is another category including manslaughter, murder, robbery, assault, and forcible rape. #9) Public drunkenness is still considered a crime and is rather common. #10), #11), and #12) consecutively are the individual crimes from the violent crime category, namely: aggravated assault, burglary, and vandalism. Each of these holds a spot in the top 20 felony offenses. #13) Due to media raising awareness, most Americans are aware of the commonness of fraud in the business and political arenas. #14) Weapons violations include carrying a concealed weapon, or possessing a gun without a license. #15) Curfew and loitering laws exist in certain areas for different reasons, such as controlling gang activity. #16) Robbery is next in line, which is theft involving direct contact with the victim. #17) Domestic violence and child abuse are sadly pervasive crimes in every city in the U.S. #18) Stolen property violations include being in possession of stolen property, whether or not the possessor is the one who stole the property. #19) Motor vehicle theft is common enough that car alarms are a must-have item in many neighborhoods. #20) Finally, forgery and counterfeiting include writing checks on someone else’s account and printing fake money. Together these 20 most common felony crimes cost taxpayers billions of dollars a year and are the focus of much political debate on prevention and reform.” http://www.schatzanderson.com/information-and-resources/20-common-felony-crimes-u-s/

I feel as though America has set it self up in a way, that the rich will prosper, no matter how many dirty things they do to succeed. The poor on the other hand must live by the book. Otherwise there is a lovely home waiting for them in jail. Our prison system is not set up for you to never return, on the contrary it wants you to return.

There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, “no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens.” The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population, but only 5% of the world’s people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.

What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?

“The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners’ work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself,” says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being “an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps.”

The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. “This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors.” -  http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-prison-industry-in-the-united-states-big-business-or-a-new-form-of-slavery/8289

Maybe it is because I am a queer person, or maybe it is because I am black, or a Jew, maybe because I am trans*, or maybe… I am composed of many minorities. The histories of each of my parts have faced insurmountable levels of oppression. It is all of those parts of me that make me question nearly everything. It is those parts of me that make me distrust the mainstream, the government, the police.

I walk by the projects that exist all over New York, that exist all over our country. I see isolation. I think of Apartheid and the Jewish Holocaust. This “government housing” is no longer in place to help the poor. It is in place to keep them that way. It is a a country within our country, much like our prisons. I hear people toss around the word ghetto. People with privilege using a word that represents the poorest of the poor. I hear white people talk about privilege, talk about white guilt. Part of me is extremely happy that they get it, that they understand that the color of their skin gives them priority. That they are the privileged few in our country. But then I see parties being advertised as “queer” a word that I have come to realize in many cases is a mask for racism. If a black 20 something hears about a queer party, they do not feel welcome. How do we take that word back and mean use it to include all races?

I see Facebook invites flash across my Timeline, I see white promoter after white promoter creating spaces that are exclusionary in neighborhoods that have never seen white LGBTQ people before. YET do not include those who live there. I see them mindlessly engaging in cultural appropriation or even worse using the plights of black people has HALARIOUS promotion tools. Most notably done here: http://queergrub.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/if-youre-from-africa-why-are-you-white/

I do not know how to fix these problems. I don’t know how our generation can in essence: get it together. I see more and more so a division occurring between races. No we no longer have government laws telling us to be separate, but we are doing it to ourselves. We were always taught that you should not judge someone based on the color of their skin. But thousands of years have proved that humanity simply can not do that. White people are put on a pedestal that no brown person will ever even begin to grasp. So what now? Do we racially divide ourselves again? Should our government be made up of a representative from each nationality that exists in our country? Has the racism of our past crept so far into our subconscious that it is naive for any of us to ever think it will go away?

It is not that I have no hope for humanity, but our struggles run deep. Some of them run so deep that I wonder if something as great as an apocalypse is necessary. A total clearing of our history. A clean slate for all new life. I hate to think about what our children will be indebted to. Beyond social issues, they will inherit environmental issues that we can not even fathom. How do we start to fix these things? How do we get the selfish and the greedy on board with the rebuilding of society. Is it time we realized that those selfish and greedy can not be changed? That they were in actuality born and bred that way?

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How to Live When it Comes to Dying

I’m at a really interesting point on my year, and it’s only the beginning. For the past few weeks I’ve seen my name – both my birth and chosen name splattered around the internet. It has been overwhelming and amazing. Both feelings simultaneously. I’m trying to understand how to take hold of both of those feelings, and own them.

A few months ago my uncle, great uncle if we’re being particular. Came to the states for his annual holiday visit. He retired to the Dominican Republic years ago. His house there is breathtaking. It sits in the mountains overlooking a rolling rapid river. His house has no actual windows, just shutters so that you can hear the river from basically anywhere in his house. Outside there is a mango tree, he has a swimming pool and a marvelous garden. At night you have to sleep under mosquito nets, which isn’t actually that bad when you have the sound of a river to lull you to sleep.

He is still here now. Not next to that rolling river, but instead in Long Island. He is going though his second round of chemo.

My mom died unexpectantly when I was 14. It was shocking and it was painful but it was brief. My family doesn’t grieve. We do not talk about the sadness that comes with death. The pain associated with loss. The repercussions of what happens to you after someone you love is gone. I went back to school a day later. Went to boarding school a year later. And didn’t shed tears over what had happened for years.

One year, a few days after when my moms birthday would have been. I cornered my dad. He hadn’t called me that weekend to check up on me. My father and I have always had a relationship that wavers from extremely close to painfully far apart. I spent most of my late teens and early twenties not speaking to him. I spent most of that time angry at him for choosing his new wife over me. For allowing her into his families life.

We met for lunch and I ripped into him. I broke down, maybe for the first time in years about how alone I felt. How much I missed my mom, and how much I despised him for not being there. My mom and him were high shook sweethearts. How could he have forgotten her birthday? How could he have forgotten his kid? To my surprise, my father who had always been the type to attack when confronted started crying. He told me he had never stopped loving her, and didn’t know how to voice his loss. His sadness.

For the first time I saw how he must have felt when she died. For the first time I realized how my stepfather must have felt. I thought about what it would feel like to have the woman you loved ripped from you. I broke down again.

My family doesn’t deal with heart. My dad’s father was a businessman as was his father. My dad and his sister are architects. Their worlds are numbers. It’s funny though because those numbers are highlighted with beauty; of gorgeous buildings. But there are no words. Just images and structures.

My world has always been words. But they have always had to stay written. My household didn’t allow for me to be outwardly expressive. As a kid I read everything I could get my hands on. I would lock myself away and write everything I felt. Everything I wanted to feel. My grandpa often says to me what are you going to do if someone stumbles across your notebooks when you’re gone? They’ll think you were always so angry or so sad. Whenever I write he says I always make a note explaining that’s just how I was feeling in that moment, so no one will take away whatever is in those books as who I am.

That is my family in a nutshell. We have feelings but they are meant to open they are meant to be suppressed.

My uncle is sick. I have no idea how sick because again my family is all business. I don’t know anything about cancer, or really watching someone die. My mom died while I was home, and those sounds still haunt me. I didn’t say goodbye to her. That will always haunt me.

My family speaks about doctors. About surgeries and about medicine. They don’t talk about how he feels. He doesn’t talk about how he feels. And I’m realizing I have no idea how to ask. Conversations are about doctors appointments. About how he feels physically; what foods he can keep down.

He goes to get his chemo treatments in Manhattan he goes alone and comes back filled with medicine – poison. I stop myself before I ask what it felt like. What it feels like to have all of that medicine running through you. What it must feel like to spend the winter of one of your golden years in the cold of New York, when for years you’ve basked in the sun of the Dominican Republic.

I am trying to find the words to let him know that I’m there. If he wants to talk. But I’m failing at those words. He instead asks about me. About gender and about sexuality. He is gay but his experience is extraordinarily different than mine. He grew up in the 40′s. His life was a secret. When he did come out it wasn’t to a world with shows like Modern Family. It was a world where he was a faggot, a Jewish one at that. A world where gay men were the punch line. His love life was not celebrated.

My grandfather tells me about how he felt when my uncle came out. How confused he was that a man could love another man. I was so attracted to women he told me once. I couldn’t understand how he looked at a man and felt those same feelings.

This was my grandfathers first of what would prove to be many surprises in the family. All of my grandparents grandchildren are either mixed or black. Both of their kids; my dad and my aunt married black spouses. My mom who was also white married my father and they adopted me. Years later my grandfather would deal with me coming out of the closet and then coming out again as trans*.

My grandfather and I always push and pull at each other. He, like my father reacts to frustration with rage. They both have horrible tempers that end up isolating them from the people they love the moat. At their core they are both anxious kittens. Kittens cloaked with the mask of lions. My childhood was spent hearing my father roar.

My grandfather always wants to talk business. Even when it isn’t business, it’s business. Everything had an answer. And everything if you break it down for long enough becomes black and white. This way of thinking has proven to be very difficult when talking about gender and sexuality. It has also proven to be difficult when talking about sadness. About the fears associated with losing someone. When I speak about my mom it is one sided. I’ve never felt solace going to my grandfather or my dad. It’s top overwhelming for them.

I want to talk about my uncle. I want to talk to him. It kills me to think that he could be gone, and I will have missed out on knowing someone and equally as important he will have missed out on knowing me. Someone that I love that is. God that is a hard word amongst my family.

My mom would smother me with love. She loved flowers and fruit. The art of Matisse and O’Keefe. We would paint each other’s nails in the summer, outside in our cement coated backyard in Queens. I would struggle away when she locked me in bear hugs. When she would overwhelm me with kisses and tells how beautiful I was.

Those are memories now.

I’m not sure how to share them. I’m not sure who will listen.

My mom died like a wave crashing into shore. It was quick and before I knew it it was gone. Her memory fading into the sand. You can curse at the stars you can curse at the sky but once death takes over well it’s infinite goodbye.

I know that will happen with my uncle eventually. This is his second battle with cancer. He is older this time and this winter is so cold. I’m not counting him out, but I’m realizing how much of a risk life is on it’s own never mind after you add cancer to the mix.

Sometimes we have to realize that we have to reach outside of our own comfort zones to comfort those we love. I am learning how to do that, and I hope that he and I can make contact.

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On Race and Satire

Whenever my grandfather reads one of my blogs, the first thing out of his mouth 9/10 is: “But why do you curse so much?” He thinks that it makes me look quite unprofessional, and claims that it is unnecessary. Now being that he is from a totally different generation I understand that reading a 20 somethings blog is probably not only confusing but slightly painful. He grew up in a world where students took penmanship classes, men and women actually courted each other, the man has told me his has been drunk a grand total of ONCE in his life. Which I could say as well…back in my Freshman year of high school. For the most part of love the snark of the internet. I love the tone that our generation has. We are a funny bunch, dealing with a boatload of societal crap, and taking to blogs to get it all out. Sometimes however the internet can make me want to kick basically everything in sight. People often use sarcasm or irony as a free pass to say things that are actually not at all funny. They use their privilege to comically comment on conversations that go on in different corners of society as if they were invited to those conversations.

Last week we were all presented with the XOJane piece on the white woman who just COULD NOT with the black woman in her yoga class. In case you missed it

This week we have this web gem. Which I think is someones attempt to be ha-larious. But see the thing is. It isn’t. First off Thought Catalogue isn’t The Onion; which is known to be satire. And for those confused to what the definition of satire is this is it: “the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.” When done correctly AND IN THE RIGHT SPACE satire is the cats mother fucking pajamas. Satire can often be used as an excellent tool to make people realize how asinine a particular new story or line of thought actually is. Satire has proven to be extremely effective and popular online. I would say about half of the articles I read have some form of satirical tone. Our generation loves them some good ol satire. 

But here’s the thing: Not all journalism has to be funny. There is still a place for serious blogging. Thought Catalogue, while allowing some pretty dull, vain, and typical millennial dribble is not a site built on satire. So when someone takes it upon themselves to write an article such as the one above one begins to question whether or not the entire internet is just trolling OR if people, hiding behind the veil of satire are actually being racist as fuck. 

Every Black History month a section of our country takes to the media to say some really truly inconceivably ass backwards shit about why Black History month either shouldn’t exist OR why White History month should exist as well. Now I don’t have the time or the energy to thoroughly get into why White People are basically THE LAST demographic in our country who need an actual on the calendar month to be openly celebrated. All one has to do is look at who runs this country to understand that white people do not need anther pedestal to stand upon. The problem with articles such as these, is that white people have gotten to the point where they do not know what to do with their privilege. They can’t assert it the way that they used to; they are no longer slave owners, the civil rights movement wiped out Jim Crow and segregation, oh and we have a black president. Now I am in no way saying that ALL white people are racist. That would be a a horrible sentence to write, as it is not true. But young white kids looking for I don’t know, support? Acceptance? A voice? Are taking to the internet to say some really backwards things. And they are doing it by hiding behind satire. 

Men in our society are not taught not to rape. In sex ed their is no point in time where the teacher devotes a lesson to why rape is a horrible crime. Instead women and girls are taught how to not get raped. They are told the best ways to avoid getting assaulted. The people who are responsible for the crimes, are not held accountable. They are men, and they are privileged. How often are rape victims put on trial for telling the truth? How often do entire Universities and towns support rapists while degrading the woman or girl who was assaulted? 

White people are taught about slavery in school in books penned by white authors. They attend college classes, where some are fortunate enough to learn that white privilege is a very real thing. They then enter the real world and see first hand that society still does bend for them in ways that it does not for minorities. In the LGBT community white people often talk about how black people are missing from their parties and events yet still go through with naming them “Queer” and giving parties titles that fetishize or isolate minorities. They then sit back and complain that their parties are too white. They then go on the internet and write pieces about how sorry they feel for black women in yoga classes. They jokingly write about White History Month. White people have gotten to the point where they are so privileged that they can learn about their privilege and then complain about it and then do nothing to fix it because they actually do not have any plans to make things any better for minorities.

Sites like Thought Catalogue and XO Jane will continue to publish these pieces, because their audience is mainly white. Black voices will come up in the comment sections, but they are drowned out by the fact the authors are white and privileged. If you are going to be racist, be a fucking racist. If you are going to be a journalist who sticks up for minorities and talks about the very real race problems in our country, do that. But if you are just looking for laughs, kindly do not do so at the expense of a race of people who have had to be the butt of not only your jokes, but the end of your whips for far too long. 

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Strap-Less

Maybe I’m the only on this side of the fence but I kind of hate strap ons. Like in my head, in theory, I fucking love them. But in reality, in practice, in the time of fucking I kind of have some real beef. (no pun intended)

So as a male presenting person with a female body who has the sexy times with cis women a strap on would appear to be a god send. I was born without a dick poof here’s a dick (an expensive fucking dick) viola le sex can commence. But it never really happens like that. It’s more like:

Man I want to fuck you so badly right now.
Great I want to fuck you too.
Awesome where’s the strap.
Fuck idk it’s so dark.
Check the top drawer.
(slams head into dresser)
Ok found it.
Wait shit I really can’t see.
Is it on?
Uhm…yes. I think…wait yeah we’re good.
Lube?
Shit.
I’m so wet.
Let me just use my hands.

No this doesn’t happen every time but seriously 7/10 times that I’ve used one this has been the situation. And like I JUST WANNA FUCK.

Now as someone who thinks of themselves as (mostly) a dude. I do like the idea of having a dick. It’s nice. And sex is as much of a mental thing as a physical thing. So for me, mentally, having a strap on is really amazing. BUT I’m not naked. Because with straps come harnesses. So no matter what I’m going to feel like I am wearing something that isn’t a part of me.

I’m also really about touch. I like to be able to actually (truly) feel what I’m doing. Which as much as I am mentally about it the thought of being hard and being inside someone I do like you know TO FEEL IT.

I have friends who are on all sides of the gender spectrum and whose sexualities run the sexuality unicorn rainbow trail; they love straps. Lahve them. And whenever we get to talkin about sex I’m always intrigued to hear about why they love it so much. Everyone’s opinions differ but the consensus is always yesss please.

I want to so fucking badly be all about the strap. I want it to feel like an extension of me. It can in the moment, but I could also do without it when it comes to actual sex.

Is I a crazy queer?

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The Lucky Ones

This piece is a compilation of many feelings. Of many thoughts. It is the pouring out of the things that have been going through my mind for the past 5 months while interning. They have all come to a head now that I have left my internship feeling no more connected or accomplished than I did when I started. The length of my internship had no limit or minimum. Other interns had been there for going on a year. Seeing no employment opportunities within. The company I worked for was lovely and our work atmosphere was amazing. But the underlying fact is we were working full work days without pay. In a city like New York it is almost impossible for 20 something’s to make ends meet with entry level jobs. Never mind no source of income. Does “experience” really override monetary payment? I worked at a pizza place in high school. I had no experience working in a restaurant. I quickly learned how to answer phones, make pasta dishes, top pizzas, and handle money. I also received a paycheck every week. I gained experience while earning. And to this day can still make pretty delicious Italian food. In 2013 only 37% of grads who worked unpaid internships received jobs from the companies they worked for. Who can afford to work for 6 months to a year for free? That question is mainly rhetorical as we all know the answer is: The Rich.

Many jobs now require intern experience as a prerequisite to being hired. Entry level which is what an intern used to be is now a notch above being an intern. Which means in many fields you should expect to work for free well after graduation without anyone thinking anything about it.

New York is a city that will test you in ways that you never even thought would come across. From judging the correct way to side step the person yelling at you on the subway, to dealing with a bug bed outbreak in your apartment. New Yorkers deal with shit daily that would break most people down. But we keep on grinding. You don’t move to New York by accident, you’re here for a purpose. To fulfill some dream no matter what it may be. The problem with dreams is that sometimes they are just that. We all imagined our lives going towards a certain trajectory. If we put the time in, networked with the right people, and worked our asses off we would get to where are parents always told us we could.

Right off the bat I will say there are some factors that immediately get in the way of my trajectory going as planned.
1. I chose to work in the arts and activism.
2. I’m black.
3. I’m transgender.
4. I think way too many people are full of shit.

Let’s attack each of these bullets.
The Arts and Activism/Non Profits
LOL
So you’re a musician, a writer, a designer, an actor, an artist, a…you catch my drift. This world was not made for you to make a shit ton of money. You’re a professional activist? Good fucking luck. No one is trying to pay you. You’re fighting battles because the government and mainstream don’t give enough of a fuck to. Which means you will forever not have enough funding and will be climbing what will feel like a metaphorical Mount Everest for the rest of your life. Some artists get lucky. Some musicians and actors go on to fame. And some writers find themselves in great positions. But those are the very small, fortunate, lucky few. Activists much like teachers will always fight the biggest fight and always make the least. That’s it.

Being black.
I mean I don’t even know how much of this I have to explain. More often than not when I talk to an older white person they look back at me and reply: Well aren’t you articulate? I’m surprised good for you.
I think that about sums up what my skin color attracts and pushes away.

I’m transgender.
Remember puberty? Remember how shitty that was? PUBERTY WAS THE WORST. Now let’s imagine shall we coming out of the closet, and also realizing that the gender you were born wasn’t the gender you wished to be. This happened for me around 20 and for the last 4 years I’ve ben trying to piece together who the hell I am and how I want to present to society. Which let me tell you, is super fun. I haven’t changed anything legally. My ID still has my very feminine birth name and says Female. I however present as a male. This causes daily anxiety and fear. Now the good thing about New York is that for the most part people are either too preoccupied with their own shit to care about yours or are extremely LGBTQ friendly. But that does not mean that a percentage of ignorant individuals and homophobes does not exist. And those motherfuckers, well they are motherfuckers.

When I apply for jobs online there is always a moment of hesitation before I send out my resume. If I land an interview how will I explain within the first few moments meeting that I am trans*? Will the interview than shift from my skill set to my gender? Will it kill my chances of getting a job altogether? And if I do get it, what will life in the office be like? How often will I have to correct pronouns? Or have awkward conversations?

Do not think for a second that I pity myself. I don’t. I pity neither being gay or being trans*. In fact I am thankful. I realize for instance that my climb in the nightlife world would not have been as easy as a straight person. Being gay often is horrible but if you tap into your community and win their support you will thrive. It is a lot easier to be a big fish in a little pond. Being gay and trans* in New York definitely makes you a big fish, but as a big fish you are also a bigger target.

The Shitty Ones.
The quicker you learn how many people are full of shit, the easier your life will be. This is not to say that there aren’t wonderful beautiful people out there. There are. Treasure them. But in a city of dreamers, in a city of people working towards fame, money, power, or all three you are bound to meet a lot of assholes. A lot of them who will use you and manipulate you as they see fit. Someone can use you and not be an asshole. Those are the trickiest kind. You know who are the trickiest users? Companies using your wide eyed dream having self as an unpaid intern.

First of all working and not being paid is only ok if you are doing charity work OR helping out a good friend or family member. Which even than has its limits. But working a full work day without payment is a crime.

Are you paying for my meals? Or commute? Or housing? Are there jobs open at your company for me at the end of my internship?

Would you date someone who brought absolutely nothing to the table but the promise of CONTACTS and EXPERIENCE? Look I won’t say that internships don’t provide some base of experience of course they fucking do, you are working a full motherfucking work day. Which you should be compensated for. Since when did experience overshadow payment? This isn’t an apprentice position. This is what used to be an entry level job position, that companies realized they could hire rich college or post college kids to do for FREE.

Note that I said rich. I also forgot white.

When I was a wee gay I had a huge problem with the word queer. It felt incredibly exclusive. It felt incredibly high and mighty. It felt incredibly white.

I now feel very similar thoughts to the word “intern”.

The kids who were using this word: queer. Were those whose parents were ok with them going to school for poetry and gender studies. They were white liberals with money who had the patience and time to let their kids find themselves. Which is great I guess; an amazing education is something that should not be snuffed at. But none the less these kids have always made my skin crawl a bit. These same kids who I would later in life be invited to parties with and see what I had thought all along the word queer did in some ways means white. Want to see a party with little to no black people? Advertise it as queer.

This is not to say that queer black spaces and queer black people do not exist. But it has taken some the for the word to spread past the halls of liberal arts colleges and lofts in Brooklyn.

How do I say this without – ah fuck it black people were slaves for long enough. Working in offices for white people for no money just hit very close to home for me. I realized that most of the people around me had parents that were still funneling money into their bank accounts. They could work 40 hours a week for free because some way or another they were being paid for it.

I also realize that I am in a different situation than most black people my parents are white (twist). Granted I did not have a fairy tale childhood, but my family are liberal open minded Jews. My entire life I have been told by black people that I was too white and by white people that I was the whitest black person they knew. You’ve heard the story before so I won’t preach it again. My point being that just like being trans and gay me being black with Jewish parents has lead me to opportunities that I do not think many other black people my age with similar life stories can say.

Black trans people go through hell. From their families. From society. From within the black community. Of all of the people you would see interning in an office in Manhattan a black trans person is probably dead last.

So I guess I’m lucky. Yes I am lucky, lucky in the sense that I am able to navigate through a very white world. I understand this. I understand that I will probably never meet another me working in an office. Because other “me’s” were never afforded the chance. I feel grateful while also feeling angry; feeling sad, feeling used, and being broke.

These are as I’m sure you can imagine a mess of feelings to be feeling while also starting the process of going on Testosterone.

New York is a whirlwind. No where else do people have roommates well into their 30′s. No where else is Happy Hour essentially mandatory at least twice a week. And totally excusable every night of the week. Drugs of all kinds are norms. Adderall to get more work done. Xanax and Ambien to calm the fuck down. Alcohol and cocaine because you either have way too much money and it’s making you sad or way to little and it’s making you sad. Marriage? Children? You didn’t move here to fall in love. This isn’t Paris. You came here to make it. There is something about New York that is beautiful. The amount that people hustle, the communities that flourish here that would not be allowed to exist anywhere else. The food, the entertainment, the breathtakingly beautiful people you see everyday. But New York wears you out. It’s like the rope swing in gym. It takes you years to get anywhere, and you often feel like you’re just dangling in the wind. Waiting for something either really good or absolutely horrible to happen. You get higher eventually, and closer to the top, but what the hell do you do when you get there? To the end of that rope? The ceiling. Are you now the master of your own life? Or have you just spent years climbing to meet a wall?

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