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[Featured image: pictured is a slice of toasted white bread on a white background. Credit to Adobe Stockphotos]

Here’s to never giving up 🥂

Cw: mental and physical health (mentions su*c*de)

I was such a ham as a kid 😂

Pictured above: a tiny Jaesic plays in the Autumn leaves while wearing a bright red coat, they pose in front of carved pumpkins with their brother, they pose in a yellow coat and red hat with a huge grin (and some missing front teeth), and again in the yellow coat with their dog Rocket.

I look at these photos and truly see a happy kid. Well, maybe not in my dedication photo (ain’t that foreshadowing or what 🥲😂). But yes, a happy kid. But as I got older, something changed. You can kind of see it in the solo dancer photo, or me with a toy horse on a stick, at the end of this little gallery. The light started to dim from behind my eyes. Chronic pain, misunderstanding, and conformity really took a toll on me.

I’ve been sick with unexplainable physical symptoms since I was 4 years old, compounded by regular colds and flus. I’ve had mono BADLY twice, the worst of it as a freshman in college. When you are not physically well most days of your life, you are not mentally well either. That shit adds up, and depression/anxiety settles in. And this is only a fraction of what changed.

I was bullied, left out, and abandoned for being different more times than I can remember. Not knowing how I was neurodivergent significantly impacted how I developed self-esteem, efficacy, and relationships. I often invested my time in the wrong people (hell, I’m just learning how to not do that now). And I often failed the good relationships I did have because I didn’t have the tools to properly self-regulate and effectively communicate. I learned to people please and spread myself so thin in order to attempt at measuring up to the rest. The result? Repeat burnout, illness, suicidality, and years of abusive relationships. I’ve been trying to define myself by others’ standards and desires instead of looking inward to my core and shedding anything that isn’t ME.

Pictured above: Jaesic is in a dance troupe wearing a tie-dye blue and gold leotard, below they are in a red dress and tights, and to the right they are in a cowboy get-up with a toy horse on a stick named Oreo (it is black and white with a red bridle).

Well, no more. Finally, I see myself for who I am: a being of overflowing love, joy, and light. I no longer am ashamed of my joy or love and how I express it (or, at least most of the time; I’m getting better). I no longer waste my energy on things and people who do not symbiotically impact my life. I pursue my passions and care so deeply for the world, and I have power to make a difference.

My parents raised a little girl. That little girl grew into a severely repressed, depressed, scared young woman who let life and the people in it take advantage of her. Today I know that little girl is still a part of me, and that young woman helped me find how I am so much more now. I get to love her and carry her through to see just how expansive we can be as a fluid creature who never gave up on learning and loving. I know she is looking at me in awe, and maybe a little fear (lol). But how beautiful it is to be able to coalesce all parts of myself after working hard at healing my trauma, so that I can live a truly purposefully authentic life! I am so lucky. I almost didn’t make it. And now I know my life’s purpose is to support others to find themselves and heal too. We all possess the power to make a difference. Each time we realize that, the world has that much a better chance to become even more compassionate and inclusive for us all.

Thank you for being a part of my journey here 💜✨️🌈


Because my brain won’t let go of paranoia:

If you read things like this that I write and take offense because you considered us good friends growing up, these writings are NOT about you. I speak in generalizations about my life because it is easiest when describing the effect OTHER people had on me. I know I’ve had good relationships amongst the bad. But again, those relationships were few and far between, and it’s taken a lot of inner work to find people who will continuously choose me without taking advantage of me. So, know that you are loved, and I very much value whatever kind of relationship we’ve had over the years 🙌💜

[Featured image is of a white background with golden letters spelling out Happy New Year, surrounded by gold stars in different sizes.]

Okay, that was a bit inflammatory. And I hate “shoulding” all over the place; it was just for the headline, I promise! If you’re looking to have a “new year, new you” type of thing, I’m definitely not here to tell you not to go for it. But what if I told you you could do it in a way that would almost guarantee your success? Also, Happy New Year! (Ten days late, but hey, at least I made it!)

Themes > Resolutions

About two years ago now, a good friend of mine sent me this video, and it changed my life. Instead of being stressed about picking out resolutions that I knew would ultimately fail me (because I would fail them), I felt completely liberated by the notion of a New Year’s Theme.

In the past, I would set resolutions to eat less junk food, practice my instruments more, or spend less money on things I don’t need. However, especially for my demand-avoidant brain, that was less than motivating. Resolutions just became demands that relied on my own self-deprecation to exist. Naming my goals in such a way created the space for guilt to become the driving force, instead of intrinsic motivation. I’ve learned through enough trial and error that my motivation only really comes from being emotionally invested in things. Yes, I do things out of obligation or guilt at times, but I’m more likely to do things and do them well when I’m strongly emotionally linked to the end result. And to be honest, many of those goals came down to being emotionally invested in my own self-worth, which I didn’t have a lot of at the time.

A Guiding Compass

A New Year Theme acts more like a guiding compass so that all my decisions fall into the binary categories of, “fits theme” and “doesn’t fit theme”, which is super convenient for my indecisive brain as well. Instead of feeling trapped by demands, I am empowered to pursue goals that align to my theme, thus allowing me the emotionally attached intrinsic motivation I need to get shit done.

Last year’s theme was “Expansion” and this year is the “Year of Abundance”. In a simplified recap: I went from living with my ex and mother, to finding my footing with a roommate in our own apartment, to a lot of inner growth, to building my consulting and coaching business. And now, just in the first 10 days of this year, I’ve managed to develop deeper connection in some of the relationships I hold dear, I’ve made new connections for business, I’ve danced so much and been able to DJ music I love, I’ve launched my new coaching website, and I’ve had two interviews published (one was published last month, but I just found out). I am claiming Abundance in everything: love, wealth, health, and fulfillment. And now it’s easier to decide what actions to take because this theme empowers me to seek the best options for my love, health, wealth, and fulfillment. It allows space for me to be critical but also compassionate towards my dreams and the steps I need to take to realize them.

Failing Forward

Not only is it easier to believe in myself and my actions with a theme underpinning it all, but it’s easier to not be so hard on myself when I try things and “fail”. I truly am starting to believe that failure isn’t actually real. We can only learn from our past actions, so when every moment is a learning opportunity, do we every really fail?

To steal from my vocal coach’s toolbox (Arden Kaywin, thank you), “failing forward” is the situation of learning something didn’t work, and using that information to propel you into the next best decision. We’re all capable of this, it’s just a matter of how clearly we see, and believe in, our own efficacy.

You Are Powerful

You are a powerful creative being. If you’ve set your heart on resolutions in the past, just to not fulfill them in the ways you’ve wished to every year, then maybe give a New Year’s Theme a try! To find a theme that resonates with you, think about the goals you wish to achieve over the course of this year. Are most of them health related? Work related? Relationship related? Find the common thread and try to name it. I kept mine fairly broad because I had very specific goals that were hard to put into one category. The word “abundance” kind of just came to me. If you are spiritual, try meditating on what it is your heart desires most this year. You’ve got this!


If you’re queer, neurodivergent, or disabled and are seeking support in realizing your goals to live your most fulfilled life, please don’t hesitate to visit my coaching website and click the Life Coaching tab! It would be my joy to support you!

I really want to be mad at today. I really do. But I’m learning to radically accept what is, and keep moving forward with love.

To recap:

1) I started my day with a less fruitful (than usual) bonus hour of Lyft, which I woke up early for after falling asleep super late (and I only had restless nightmares during sleep).

2) I then shipped over to my mom’s place to take care of her dog so the poor thing wouldn’t have to be in the crate all day. Except my mom didn’t clear a place at the table like she said she would. I was supposed to work at the house while watching the dog, but I couldn’t because I know from experience you DO NOT MOVE my mother’s things without her being present. The whole table was filled to the brim, just like every countertop in the house 🙃

So I pivot and focus on getting Bella a walk. But I can’t find her normal collar and harness anywhere. I call Mom, and she insists the bag with the things is somewhere around. Can’t find it. I get increasingly flustered and frustrated, all while the damn fire alarm’s dead battery keeps making it chirp at odd intervals.

I try taking the alarm down, but it won’t dislodge from the wall. So there’s noise and mess everywhere, I can’t find the dog’s things, and my body is having a hard time coping with being in the house for a multitude of reasons (yay trauma).

3) BAM meltdown. My body is frozen in the front hall, just standing there, wailing. High pitched wails come out of me that I can’t control, my eyes pouring out tears. It’s like I’m there, rattling inside my meatsuit just behind my eyes, witnessing my body do these things, and I have no attachment to them or ability to step into control. Bella is confused and sits with me and starts “crying” too. Which, thankfully, kind of shocks me into a new awareness and I am able to stop myself from wailing like that. Then she starts sitting closer to me so I can keep my hand on her head/back when she moves around. She didn’t understand, but she was such a sweetheart trying to figure out how to help.

We go for a walk which grounds me a little bit. (With the wrong lead and collar, but I needed to make do.)

4) I finally ship off to my friend’s place to work in his office. I’m taking a course by Kieran Rose (the “Inside Autism Series”), so I can be better educated on the identity I hold. And naturally the first “episode” is all about the history of Autism, which is pretty horrific. I make it about halfway through before I need to drive Lyft again. Feeling the pressure, as I only have until January 6th to catch up on the videos.

4.5) I’m gearing up for a trip to MI over NYE and into January for a few things. I feel the pressure of needing to have things done before I leave, so that’s just exacerbating all of this. And I still need to make rent.

5) I’m finally on time for the bonus hour for once, and get a ride. Instead of him adding a new destination into the app, he has me go to a gas station which adds 10 extra min, as I have a ride waiting in queue. (I’ve learned my lesson, as this has happened a few times now. I don’t care if they tip in cash after, it sucks and I’m done doing it. Especially since it’s a safety risk now that I think about it.)

As I’m going to reposition the app to drive this man to his destination finally, I accidentally swipe “drop off” and lose his trip entirely. It immediately shifts to the next ride, which I had to then cancel. And Lyft says we can go offline for up to 15 min during a bonus streak, but it LIED because when I came back on, I had to start over. The ride after that took me a good 25 min out of the city one way. All this to say, I once again was denied a full opportunity at bonus money. (I need that money because I can only drive so much each day, which is why I structure my schedule around those hours.) Then as I leave the gas station, some other driver decides to use the exit-only lane as an entrance and we almost have a collision.

And the last ride of my day? An older woman started asking me about kids, told me that “they say” (and she knows, because she’s written for John’s Hopkins before🙄) that part of the development of being fully female is when we have children and breastfeed. 🤢🤮 Like it’s somehow my duty, and the only way to be a “woman”. I didn’t bother telling her off, or about who I actually am. Something seemed off with her anyway. But like. WTF? AND she insisted that I tell her my deadname after I explained to her my name now is a recycled version of it.

Y’all I’m exhausted. And I started this post saying that I really want to be mad about all of this, but I can’t. All I can be is tired.

I am learning that we only have so much energy to dedicate to what’s important, and I choose today that what’s important is not being mad at the world for being rude to me (lol). Instead I’m looking at how I’ve managed to have a semi-productive day after a small meltdown (that’s a huge win), and I’m looking at how having older people in power (who are super removed from the world and how it works) is something we need to address as a society. If people want to be in power and serve their communities, they need to actually KNOW who they serve. Obviously this isn’t how things work, because most people in power are there for the power, not for the people. But goddammit can we start doing something about that???

Times are changing. The Future is Queer. We can no longer assume who people are just by looking at them, we can no longer assume that humanity neatly falls into binary categories of gender or neurotype. I’m so over how things are currently. All today’s experience can do is fuel my mission of changing the world, one connection at a time.

I sent that woman away with a smile because I knew I wouldn’t be able to change her way of thinking in a 4 minute drive to her house. I choose compassion over anger.

I choose love for others, even in their misguided knowledge. I choose love for myself, even with all my mistakes and anger. I choose love.

Life and everything in it represents–past the metaphorical–infinite possibilities. As humans, we get to BE those possibilities. If we are infinite possibilities, and we are, through what we focus our attention on, then I choose to shift my attention and seek the paths guided by curiosity, courage, and compassion.

That was a lot. Thanks for reading 💜🤘🌈

Featured image is of human figures in gray-scale marching together and holding various queer flags.

Here is a compassionately direct message about grief and how to support those in your life who are transitioning their gender:

Exploring gender can be a lifelong endeavor. A family member or friend (or coworker, student, etc.) finding their gender, while a positive change, is still an external change that everyone around them has to internalize, accept, and then celebrate. In other words, while gender transitioning for an individual is a realignment to their truest self, the people who love and respect this individual must transition their understanding of who this person is in order to love and respect them best. We can experience grief within this change because “change, even if we see it as positive, disrupts the connections that exist” [Forbes]. There is an end attached to every new beginning. It is natural to feel grief when things end or shift, because that disruption can often feel like some kind of loss. However, it’s how we deal with these feelings that matters.  

The best thing we can do for grief is to acknowledge its existence—quite literally name it—and sit with it. We need to actually look at our grief to process it, and that may take time. As we take inventory of change, there are transitions within, the “in betweens”. According to the Bridges Transition Model by William Bridges, we have an “ending zone”, “neutral zone”, and “new beginning zone” as we process transitions. This model was originally used for change in the workplace, but here we’re applying it to gender transitioning. What do we need to let go of as allies to get to the neutral zone? What can we look for in new beginnings to bring us out of the neutral zone? How can we celebrate the new beginnings to move forward into them?  

Before diving in any further, I want to be very clear about something: this transitional process is yours to manage without relying on the emotional labor of your trans* loved one. Your trans* loved one has had enough on their plate going through this process themselves, and if you place your grief on them while they are entrusting you with their true identity, they will be burdened with the notion that you might not actually be trustworthy. Yes these things take time, but while you are processing, it’s important to express full support on their behalf. Your trans* loved one is still the person you’ve known and loved for however long they’ve been in your life, only now they know themselves better which means you have the privilege of getting to know them even better too. And if you don’t understand yet, or fear your never will, remember that you don’t have to understand to be respectful.

It’s important to understand this: You’re not losing anyone, you’re actually just gaining more of the same person. The person that you’ve known, who is now realigning to their truest self, is not going through a living death. The person they were before coming out was just a mask they finally figured out how to take off. It’s also important to remember that it doesn’t make you a bad person if it takes time to understand how you’re gaining more of the same person. 

One caveat: many trans* people will refer to their birth name as their “deadname” and do see themselves as separate from who they were before coming out. If this is how they view their transition, whether it’s strictly social or a social and medical transition, it’s important to not prescribe and project your own understanding of their experience onto them. Always default to how they process their transition. If they don’t want to be related to their past self at all, then you need to not relate them to their past self at all.

The Ending Zone: Acknowledge

While it’s important to understand you’re not actually losing anything but gaining everything, it might help to cope with your loved one’s transition by stating what you think you are losing. Again, the first step to processing grief is to name it. So, what are you grieving, i.e. what do you think you are losing as your loved one realigns to their truest self? You will need to let go of the prescriptive image of who you thought your trans* loved one was. And if some of your grief is attached to gendered actions, like getting your nails done together, it could be a fun opportunity to ask your trans* loved one what gendered activities they might still be comfortable with, or explore together what activities you could do together instead. 

(I would like to add that I use “gendered actions” in context of how our society demands things be gendered, not that they actually ARE gendered. Anyone can get their nails done, anyone can throw a football, etc.)

As a parent: if your child decides to change their name, you will need to adopt the understanding that the name you gave them at birth was a gift that no longer serves them. If this is a struggle for you and your child hasn’t already chosen a name, it’s okay to ask them if you can be a part of the decision process for the new one, but be prepared to be told no. Listen more than you speak if they say yes. And do NOT make this process difficult for your child by guilting them into allowing you to be a part of the process, or guilting them by explaining how special their birth name is to you. Confide in a friend or therapist instead.

As a parent you may also be grieving the loss of the future you saw your child having. While this is understandable, and you may fear the hardship your child will face as a trans* person because our world is less than kind to the LGBTQIA+ community, it’s important to recognize that whatever future your child has, they will a) have you as a supportive parent and b) be living a life that is more aligned to them, which will elicit strength and more possibility for happiness.

The Neutral Zone: Internalize

“This is the time between the old reality and sense of identity and the new one” [wmbridges]. This is where you adopt new understanding of who they are and who you are in relation to them. How might your role in their life change as they realign? It may be that your role doesn’t change at all, except for needing to be extra supportive of your trans* loved one. This may require you to stick up for them in public spaces, or even amongst other family members and friends (be sure to ask them how they would like those circumstances to be dealt with first). It will also probably require language shifts as your trans* loved one chooses new pronouns and name (I say probably because not all trans* people want new pronouns or names). 

Understand that while you may have had to let go of the future you saw your loved one having, it’s important to recognize a new future is on the horizon for them—one that is better suited to them because they know themselves better now.

The New Beginning Zone: Accept and Celebrate

“Beginnings are marked by a release of energy in a new direction – they are an expression of a fresh identity” [wmbridges]. Not only does your trans* loved one get to explore their new identity, but so do you! You get to relearn with them who they are, and you get to relearn who you are in relation to them—a loving ally.   

The most important thing you can do to support your trans* loved one is to get yourself to a place of excitement in learning who they are becoming, instead of focusing on the “negative” of who you think you’re losing.  

Key tips during this transition:

  • If you mess up pronouns or their name, simply say “sorry” (truly, just ONE word, or say thank you), and repeat what you were saying with the corrected pronoun or name 
  • ASK your trans* loved one how they would like to be referred to in specific settings
  • ASK your trans* loved one what you can do better so that they feel supported 100% 
  • DO NOT burden your trans* loved one with stories or explanations of your grief. Keep your grief to yourself and other loved ones whom you trust and/or seek out therapeutic support, or support from a trans* peer support specialist (like me!)

One final note: It may help your transition through grief to acceptance, to compassionately ask to speak with your trans* loved one about their transition through grief to acceptance. It’s very common for trans* people to have our own grieving process as we come to learn who we are. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried over my childhood, or over a future that no longer exists. Granted, I’m much happier now and am so excited for my future, but that took time to come around to. A big part of me went through those common stages of grief, where I denied myself of my actual identity out of fear (imposter syndrome), where I got angry about mistreatment in my past or loss of future dreams, where I’ve bargained with the past and felt depressed over it all. Finally I’m at acceptance and celebration, but I experienced all of those stages of grief, and not in a linear fashion. This took time. A LOT of time. The first full year and a half after coming out, actually. And even though I’m well into my third year of being out, I sometimes still experience the anger or depression stage. Just as gender can be a lifelong journey, so can processing and living with grief. But I promise, the future is brighter when we know ourselves better, and an informed support system can make all the difference. So from the bottom of my trans* little heart, thank you for caring. Thank you for taking the time to learn how to best support the trans* people in your life.


If you are an ally looking to be the best ally you can be, and you would like support, I offer peer support sessions on a sliding scale. Please click here to schedule with me! And if you’re someone exploring identity and would appreciate a safer container to do so in, I’m always here for you in those same sessions as well!

If you are a business looking to better serve your trans* employees and the queer community at large, I am available for consultation as well. Please click here to pick a package and schedule an appointment! Keep in mind: I can do one consultation, or you can hire me as a coach for your workplace to transition your environment into a more inclusive space.

cw: hysterectomy/menstruation, gender dysphoria

“Just click this and we’ll have him on his way,” one of the polling station clerks says to the other. My heart flutters with a small burst of euphoria. Then she looks at me, “Oh, sorry, her way.”

“That’s okay, I prefer ‘his’ anyway,” I reply with a hopeful timbre.

Guess what didn’t happen for the rest of that conversation? That’s right, she used ‘she’ the whole time after. 

It’s some kind of poetically cruel irony to have half the country voting for or against Roe v Wade principles on the same day I was supposed to have my hysterectomy, on top of getting misgendered at the polls, while menstruating.

I don’t expect strangers to know right off the bat, but I literally told her that I prefer ‘he’ to ‘she’ and it just didn’t matter (simplified, I actually prefer ‘they’ and no longer like ‘he’ anymore, but it’s better than ‘she’). And the procedure was denied by insurance due to lack of “medically necessary” evidence. I couldn’t get a letter of gender dysphoria into the system fast enough so my surgeon’s office could appeal, and now I’m doomed to endure another however many months of pain and discomfort in my body until I can get it done.

I’ve lived my entire post-puberty life in debilitating pain, and I’ve ALWAYS not felt right in the body I have. I just didn’t have language for it until I came out as nonbinary at the age of 25. I’ve been through birth control after birth control, ultrasound after ultrasound. I’m always picture perfect on paper, but my lived experience has been hell. Can anyone say endometriosis?! I don’t see how the medical director of my Medicaid insurance company could look at my medical history (of constantly being in and out of office for issues) and determine I’m not a fit candidate for surgery. I don’t understand how the “peer-to-peer” meeting my surgeon had with the medical director didn’t produce positive results; did my surgeon not fight for me?

And now I have the very scary possible reality where I could live in a world where my body is not my own. In fact, much of the U.S. government is already claiming AFAB bodies as its property. I don’t want to keep trying new birth control (side effects are scary) when societal collapse is bound to happen in my lifetime (I won’t have access to it past a certain point). I want a simplistic, permanent way to take away all the pain, risk of pregnancy, and added dysphoria so that I can continue to make something of my life before shit really hits the fan.

I am constantly forced to reckon with how we live in a dystopia. It’s fucking exhausting, and I’m one of the luckier ones.

I wish I could say my mental health is staying strong but it’s not. The last several months have been so stressful living in this “limbo” space of “will it happen or not”. I’ve been officially cracking under pressure for a whole week (when I was told the surgery needed to be postponed), and now that today is finally here, I’ve got nothing left in me to give. I’m hurting badly. And I honestly don’t see it stopping anytime soon.

I had a kind of sad realization today:

My mom recently told me that she didn’t have as many birthday parties for me growing up because she was afraid kids wouldn’t show up or that they would just be mean. I had more with family, but I think I remember maybe 3 with friends throughout my whole childhood.

I always saw this as a failing to be loved (privileged, I know), but now I see that she was just trying to protect me. I didn’t have many consistent friends growing up, and the ones that were closest to me often turned into bullies or would abandon me. The first birthday party I remember, there were a lot of disinterested little ones hanging about. The second one, my next door neighbor ended up taking people over to her place which disrupted the party and made me feel like shit. The only one I really loved was the one for my 16th or 17th birthday, where I knew the people there all cared for me to some extent and it was a great time.

Before and a little into high school, I was the secretly liked kid…the one people were happy to have around without others knowing. Often as soon as it was known a relationship was present, that relationship would break for one reason or another. And the reason was usually because I wasn’t cool enough to be kept around. I mean, the kids who lived near me dubbed me as the fucking neighborhood mosquito for christ’s sake. They kept me around mostly but definitely didn’t want me there.

This isn’t to say I didn’t have a group here or there, but people drift apart, and a lot of times I was only involved as an afterthought in those groups. Or at least that’s what it felt like a lot of the time. I frequently floated from one social circle to the next, watching from the outside in while gaining personality traits (masking) that didn’t actually align to my core identity because I wanted to fit in.

I think the mix of having so many extracurriculars (always busy), overprotective parents (couldn’t go anywhere), living in a hoarder’s house (couldn’t have people over), and my neurodivergence (didn’t have healthy boundaries and couldn’t communicate properly) prevented me from making lasting relationships, as well as a secure identity, before age 25. I was spread all over the place and mostly had to endure all of it alone.


Sometimes I go to write things like this and never post it because I get insecure about how this is a lot of the human experience and mine is no different or special or worthy of others’ attention. I’m also worried I’m going to offend people who considered themselves my friend, and please, if you’re reading this and you were my friend, I’m not talking about you in these posts. I know I’ve had a few good people along the way.

Then I remember that I have a blog so I can share my experience and relate to others regardless of how regular these experiences may be for people who don’t share the same identities as me. “That’s not an autistic thing, everybody goes through that.” Sure. But at what frequency? To what detriment? This shit has affected me all my life and I’m just now able to look back on it with a new lens for better understanding, acceptance, and healing. If you’re thinking the quotation above after reading this, maybe also consider how you might not be as neurotypical as you think you are, especially if this has affected you all your life. And if that’s the case, I’m here to support you explore what that can mean for you 💜🌈

Hello hello! It’s been quite some time, my apologies. Between life being what it is, my demand-avoidance, and insecurity, keeping things active on this site is a challenge. Thanks for still being here!

To combat most of those things, I’ve decided that moving forward, no post is too small to post! (Have I said this before? Probably 😬) So here’s a little one I made earlier on my Facebook page about, well, paralysis from not wanting to do things incorrectly.


I was just talking with a friend about the autistic experience and we both connected over the Can’t Do It Wrong phenomenon:

1. I am often paralyzed when it comes to completing a task—not because I can’t do it, but because I don’t want to do it wrong. So then:

2. I end up asking a ton of questions to clarify what the “right way” is to complete such task which leads to:

3. the people directing me either get annoyed or think I’m incompetent and trust me less.

4. Sometimes I don’t ask because I’m scared of being misjudged or misunderstood so I complete the task in a way I think is most efficient (and usually is most efficient, even compared to the directing person’s method), and I get scolded, or told/treated like I’m a know-it-all, or:

5. I just straight up do it wrong, or don’t do it at all, and still am seen as incompetent and end up being trusted less.

Sometimes I truly don’t understand a task, even if it’s obvious what the steps are. But if people take the time to explain to me what it is I’m supposed to have as an end result with the possible method to get there, in terms I understand, I’m a VERY quick learner, and often excel at the task at hand—often to the point of innovating new processes for that specific task, deepening understanding of it for more than just myself, or expanding the project past its original scope.

6. When asking questions I also have to be SUPER careful how I ask, because often even my questions can be seen as “dumb” because I’m asking about the already obvious steps at times, or I’m perceived as rude or antagonistic/challenging authority due to my phrasing.

I’m not saying this isn’t a normal human experience that probably most people go through at some point in their lives. What I AM saying is that it happens to me at a higher frequency (like neurotic levels), and it can often affect me physiologically to the point of making me feel sick. I also think this part of me plays into my indecisive behavior as well, as I often am paralyzed with indecision and it produces the same physiological response.

THE GAME NEVER ENDS. IT’S EXHAUSTING. GAAAHHH

Do you relate?

Welcome to my psyche. Please excuse the mess:

Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a suspense thriller?
Like everyone else is fake, and all circumstances are positioned just to make tomorrow barely tolerable, for you alone?
Except everyone is having this exact same experience in their own tailored hell.
Everyone except content creators with perfect houses and TikTok knowledge.
I keep watching videos of “life hacks” that will never change my life because to use them, I’d have to be in the circumstances that require them. Those people are not like me, they’re alien.

Or maybe I’m the alien.

We doom scroll because at least we can control the horror on our screens.
At least we can keep scrolling by as our lives do the same.
If we’re watching our screens, we don’t have to see the horrors outside OR inside ourselves.

And then I meet up with friends once in a while who remind me how I’m human.
We bitch about the same shit, on replay.
But at least we laugh.
At least we cry.
At least we make art and bask in the sunlight.

I honestly don’t know what’s real anymore.
None of it seems to really matter.
All the pain I feel for myself, for others, for the state of the world.
It feels like it’s wasted on me.
I can only do what I can.
And it’s never enough.
And the world keeps turning and burning.

A psychiatrist finally put me on some nightmare medication.
It drops my blood pressure so my brain can’t freak out.
Vet approved and all.
And though medications help me, I can’t help but wonder if they’re breaking me.
What if they’re making me forget I’m human more than I normally would?
What if the pain of fiery nerves and nightmares are what keep me alive?
OR
What if they’re dulling my human pain to the point where my psychic pain takes hold of me?
Where I wake up to the point of higher consciousness and see what is instead of what I want things to be?
Sometimes I wish I could go back.
Things were simpler then.

Even now my joy feels wasted on me.
It’s important to know that joy will always be some kind of fleeting.
That’s only natural in a world such as this.
This uncanny existence.
Still, I let myself feel it. Even when it overwhelms me to have it leave over and over.

What am I? A ghost?

Time is a trap.
Where do people find the time to work AND make art AND have family AND feed themselves AND have pets AND relax AND?
I’m trapped.

I’m trapped in a time loop.
And each iteration degrades into a worse version of the last.
More kinks and twists and turns.
More struggle and amnesia so the struggle is fresh.

My brain forgets but my body remembers.

My body is stuck in linear time.
My brain is stuck as a time traveler.

Same as it ever was.

Featured Image Description: the Disability Pride Flag, featuring a lightning bolt shape of blue, yellow, white, red, and green lines combined overlaying a black background. You can find its symbolism here.

It’s been Disability Pride Month all July and I have something I’d love to share, finally! (My demand-avoidance does not like having to write themed posts within the correct time period, go figure.)

Bella, the Goldendoodle. She has light golden hair with a white chest and white around the tip of her brown nose and atop her paws. Her eyes are hazel green and she’s wearing a very large open-mouthed grin. A happy pup.

This is Bella, my mom’s dog. Mom kind of acquired Bella by accident. Granted, Mom was looking for a puppy, but the litter that she was hoping to get one from had already all been claimed. However, just before Christmas, the breeder called my mom up and told her that someone had returned a puppy, and wondered if Mom would be interested in purchasing her. Naturally, Mom said yes.

A picture of Bella in front of a white door where she looks like Simone from Disney’s “The Lion King”, who is pictured to her right for comparison.

Now, while I don’t agree with the existence of breeders per-se, and I think Mom should have gotten an older dog from a shelter, period, I am very grateful for Bella in my life. She’s a lot to handle, as Goldendoodles aren’t exactly even keeled, especially this one as she’s more Golden than Poodle—she’s a doozy. Even so, she’s more than not a delight and brings a lot of joy to our lives.

Pictured above: To the left, Bella and I sitting outdoors in frame, looking off to the distance. I have short, bleach-blond hair, and lines of black eyeliner across the bottoms of my eyes and on the bridge of my nose in a unique design. I am wearing a blue tie-dye shirt on. Bella has a purple collar and bright golden fur. To the right, Bella is looking over her shoulder at the camera, her tail curled up toward her face. She has a open grinning mouth and brown nose, happy as can be.

You might be wondering why I am writing about her for Disability Pride Month though. Well, I’ll tell you: it’s because we share the same connective tissue disorder, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (Hypermobile type III, or hEDS). Granted, Bella has never been diagnosed officially, but I know what my disease looks like, and dogs can and do have autoimmune/connective tissue disorders. 

Here’s a list of some symptoms, just so you can see it too:

  • Incredibly lax and stretchy skin (it’s absurd how far I can pull her fur away from her body)
  • Hypermobility (like SUPER hypermobile, she can turn herself into a ball where her head is far overlapping her rear end; I swear she could be an owl with how far she can turn her head too)
  • She’s ridiculously clumsy (like, no proprioception—the body’s ability to sense movement, action, and location—at all)
  • Chronic illness of others sorts such as bad allergies, upset stomach, and UTIs
  • Beyond sensitive skin (we think she’s allergic to metal or something, but she’s constantly needing medication)
  • She braces herself when she sits (has to do with hypermobility, where one must find external support, move around a lot, or hold oneself awkwardly, as the joints do not hold themselves together properly)
  • She can’t play for more than 5 minutes at a time; she stops to either eat grass because of her stomach or to catch her breath (I’m assuming she’s usually in some kind of pain)
  • Her gums are super sensitive and it takes next to nothing to cause them to bleed

SO yeah, Bella has been incredibly expensive to take care of due to illness and I’m glad she’s my mom’s dog and not mine. That being said, I love the ever living crap out of her. It’s been a wild time reliving some of my medical and social trauma through loving and taking care of Bella, but it’s also been healing. 

Pictured above is 3 photos of Bella sitting oddly, where she’s bracing herself by relying on her front paws for support, her hips sprawled out.

There was one time where I came home to find Bella unable to move well at all. She had overexerted herself playing with some new doggy friends at the park earlier that day, and when I came into the room, she tried her best to hobble over to me, but it was a tragic attempt. Seeing her like that shocked my system. It was in that moment that I knew without a doubt we shared the same connective tissue disorder. I crumpled to the ground, with sobs racking my body as I hugged her close. I knew the pain she was in, and the strength that it took her to want to move at all towards me. I saw how pure her love was at that moment too—to want to be close to me and still feel excitement through the pain. Quite the trooper.

Pictured above, Bella and I are sitting outside, and I am wearing a red, blue, and white flannel atop a green shirt with Grogu on it. To the left, Bella and I are gazing out past the camera. To the right, Bella and I are looking towards each other. I am smiling and she has a little “blep” tongue out.

Seeing that shared lived experience in an entity that’s other than human just…I don’t quite know how to describe what it’s done for me. Like of course it’s great to relate to other humans and learn from their experiences and heal together in our sharing, or sometimes just commiserate without healing, but I don’t know…there’s just something about relating wordlessly with an animal. I honestly attribute the phenomenon to my autism, as it’s an indescribable experience. My words truly fail me here. (One stereotypical trait of autistic individuals is to relate better/be more comfortable with animals than people.)

Photographed above: On the left, Bella sits as an 8 week old puppy, posed in a Christmas landscape to the left with a stuffed snowman, Christmas tree, a red present, lots of red tree ornaments, and golden bells with a golden bow. Bella has a tiny green ribbon bow atop her head. To the right, Bella is lying down atop some fake felt snow, with a stuffed candy-cane under her right ear. She has a red starred bow on her head and is wearing a sweater that looks like a green-wrapped present with a red bow.

As beautiful as that experience was, it is, however, hard to deal with Bella’s health on and off. It makes me confront the not-so-far-off past of not having answers for most of my life about why I am the way I am. (I frequently have to disengage as memories flood my mind about how much I’ve been dismissed and discriminated against for the symptoms I’ve endured.) The vet keeps treating her symptoms, but it appears there’s a lack of understanding of why she is the way she is. I’m grateful they keep trying to find better food for her though, and they have meds for her allergies too. 

Picture above is Bella wearing a sparkly blue and silver Happy New Year top hat that matches her blue protective collar (used the same purpose as a cone of shame lol).

The good of our relationship though? She teaches me how to rest, how to be proud of my strength and love, how to stay and live in the present moment. She grounds me to the earth and to my body. She is my friend.   

Here we see Bella assisting (read: distracting) me from writing this very article. And you can see how she uses my as a backrest because it’s hard for her to sit up right, just as I have a hard time holding myself up because of hEDS. Kindred spirits, her and I. I consider myself very lucky.

So, all this to say: Happy Disability Pride Month. It’s things like this relationship I have with Bella that I seek, to bring me joy and peace amidst the chaos and pain of chronic illness. Thanks for reading!

cw: explicit language

The English language is an incredible beast. What makes it difficult to learn is also what makes it incredibly malleable and amazing. Not to get too vulgar right off the bat, but have you ever considered how many different ways we can use the word “fuck” to convey all sorts of emotions and meanings? Here, watch this real quick and you’ll see what I mean (cw: sexual violence, death; it’s from the show The Wire)😉😅

I shit you not, I only know about that scene because one of my linguistics professors showed it to us in class! But even without the video, you can see how a lot of our swearwords alone can be used in different contexts and mean different things. Okay, I guess we didn’t need to use swearwords as the example for this linguistic phenomenon (called lexical flexibility), but I like diving into taboo any chance I get. That being said, let’s get to the actual topic I want to discuss today: the word “queer” and its appropriate contexts of use.

“Queer not as being about who you are having sex with, that can be a dimension of it, but queer as being about the self that is at odds with everything around it and has to invent and create and find a place to speak and to thrive and to live.” – bell hooks

I’ve used this quote before in my writing, as it pertains to who I am at my very core. The identities I hold most dear are the identities that are most at odds with my surroundings (outside of being in the environment I’ve curated specifically to be safe for my queerness).

This may be controversial to say, but as a former linguistics student and continuous advocate for inclusivity, the word “queer” does not need to be exclusive to the LGBTQIA+ community. As history tells us, the word “queer” has already undergone several iterations. In the 1500s, the Scotts used it as an adjective to mean “strange, peculiar, eccentric, odd” which is still in use today. By 1740, it came to mean “open to suspicion”, and even slang for counterfeit money in the early to mid 1800s. It wasn’t until 1922 that “queer” came to be officially used to describe “homosexual”, but wasn’t a noun for the same until 1935. As a verb it was used to mean “to spoil or ruin” in 1812. Before that it was often used to mean “to puzzle, ridicule, deride, cheat”. And finally, Queer Theory/Studies was born in the 1990s. All of this information was found at etymonline.com.

What wasn’t mentioned on that website is how “queer” has been reclaimed since the 1990s as an identity marker by the LGBTQIA+ community itself, though on second thought, it should be implied to be an implicit part of Queer Theory/Studies.

“I see it as you can be neuroqueer, or genderqueer, or various flavors of queer. Isn’t the whole point of queer theory that being queer is an intentional subversion of cultural normativity?”

– a friend and fellow autism advocate, David Gray-Hammond of Emergent Divergence: Addiction, Mental Health, and The Autistic Experience

Not everyone agrees with this reclamation, mind you. Old school members of the community, and those who have experienced discrimination and harm from its use (young and old), wholeheartedly still consider it a harmful slur. In fact just the other day I was accused of being homophobic by a Facebook stranger, who appeared to be my age, because my blog is named “Queer Cult”. Clearly they’re missing the point of the name I chose, but it was an interesting experience to say the least.

When it comes to my membership of the LGBTQIA+ community, reclaiming “queer” as my own has been a very empowering experience. I’ve always been the weird kid, and as I’ve already discussed, “queer” is an easy descriptor for the peculiar. So when I finally figured out my sexuality and, ultimately, my gender identity, using “queer” was the simplest, most accessible way to communicate to others who I am. It just made sense, and felt safe to use because it described me even outside of my LGBTQIA+ identities.

That being said, listing all my identities within the community is cumbersome to say the least, and they don’t even fit all that well to begin with. While labels are liberatory and often connect people to each other, they are also limiting at a certain point. I only use “nonbinary” because that is the simplest, most accessible way to communicate that I don’t identify with being a man or woman, but it doesn’t exactly describe who I am either. To describe my gender would take pages, and all of those pages would be filled with nearly nonsensical metaphors. “I am stardust. I am galaxies. I am water flowing with salmon swimming upstream,” that kind of stuff. “Queer” allows me to communicate that I am different, period. It’s vague enough to allow my identities breathing room, to stay fluid, to stay “me”.

Also the featured image on this post, it says: People seem to believe that allowing polyamorous people to use “coming out” admits them into the queer community. That’s a debate for another time, but I think a polyamorous person can use the term without being regarded as inherently queer.

According to hooks’ definition of “queer”, I am queer in multiple ways: I am multiply queer within the LGBTQIA + community, I am dynamically disabled, I am autistic/ADHD, and I am polyamorous. I’ve had to “come out” several times for all of these identities, and I will continue to “come out” as I meet more people for the rest of my life. This will be reality for most of us who don’t fit the status-quo until the status-quo shifts from a white, cis-heteronormative existence to one that is post gender, race, sexuality, etc. We will continue to be subject to “coming out” until our labels don’t actually matter outside of connecting to each other, where mainstream media is so diversified that all identities are just considered “normal” and laws accommodate for all differences—where all lives are considered worthy of dignity and respect.

So yes, I agree with Poly Philia that using the phrase “coming out” does not make polyamorous people inherently a part of the queer community, meaning the LGBTQIA+ community. But I don’t agree that being polyamorous can’t make you another kind of queer. I operate out of bell hooks’ definition of queer, and I do believe that my polyamory is a part of my queer identity, but that doesn’t mean it’s a part of my queer identity within the LGBTQIA+ community. We’re discussing two versions of “queer” here.

That’s the beauty of language. We can have phrases and words that mean one thing in one context, and another thing in another context. Of course it’s important to recognize people’s desires and boundaries for certain uses. For example, the shortening of “polyamorous” to “poly” has been strongly discouraged by the Polynesian population that uses “#poly” to connect to each other online and for advocacy. Polyamorous people who aren’t Polynesian use that term and flood social medias, disrupting that connection for Polynesian people. We should respect racially marginalized groups and their desires. Instead, we use “polyam”.

But just as women have reclaimed “slut” and “bitch”, and the Black community has reclaimed the n-word, queer people reclaiming “queer” is not inappropriate. And I think it’s okay, if not absolutely appropriate, to extrapolate that reclamation to other identities that make us queer, in light of hooks’ definition of “queer”.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk.


Need support exploring your identities? I’m your guy! You can schedule with me here (read package information and scroll to the bottom to fill out a Calendly appointment time slot). Looking forward to supporting you!