Archive for August, 2014


Since FYF is soliciting feedback, and since I was going to write something about it anyway, here’s an open letter I wrote to them:

I don’t have a problem waiting in lines. I’ve stood in many before, and I’ll stand in many again. I have waited many hours to be up front at venues in my life. But there has to be a sense of purpose to a line. Things can take time, so I get that aspect; sometimes, it’s because something’s free, which I also get; time is just another way of paying occasionally. It’s problematic when there’s no sense of purpose to the activity, though. That was what Saturday felt like when I showed up to FYF. By happenstance, I walked by the front entrance before finding the end of the line (which, all told, had to be about a half mile of walking by my estimation) and the most disturbing thing I noticed wasn’t the slow pace so much as the lack of movement. No one was going in. As I wended my down the block in search of the end, I couldn’t really understand how this had happened. There were delays at Pitchfork when the scanners didn’t work properly, but I don’t think I waited more than 30-40 minutes the entire weekend across the three days. I eventually made my way to the back of the line, and I waited. We were so far back that we were almost at the VIP entrance. And then I stood there. Again, as luck would have it, after an hour of inching along (I’d gone a few hundred feet at most), people just started going in the VIP area, which led to the same gates as the regular entrance. Like that, after standing in a line that barely moved for over an hour, I was waiting to get through security. I am not sure if anyone encouraged us to do this in an attempt to ameliorate the situation, or if people just started doing it and therefore it was a thing that was happening. After an hour of standing on concrete and pavement in the sun, I don’t think anyone bothered to question it too much. I felt sorry for the people stranded, and it was not the most ethical decision I’ve ever made, but I was tired of standing there without purpose and I also wanted to see Slint, which I didn’t think was going to be a problem when I showed up by 2:45 pm.

The problem with the line was a nice portent to a weekend full of problems. When I got to security, I had to discard my metal water bottle. Because in one part of the information available online it said “non glass or metal water bottles” were not allowed. Which, while lexically confusing, I do understand. Unfortunately, the problem was that was under the list of allowed and prohibited items; elsewhere, in the FAQ, it stated that reusable water bottles were allowed as long as they were empty. I grabbed my bottle from Outside Lands and didn’t think much of it. In a push notification from the app, I was reminded not to forget my plastic water bottle. I think you can see a pattern here. While all the various bits of information were trying to say the same thing (you are allowed one empty plastic water bottle), they all actually different things. Consistency in messaging is important. There’s no reason all three outlets couldn’t have been worded the same. In fact, there’s good reason all three should have been worded the same. While I was having quite the argument with security about this, I decided it’s just a water bottle, something that would make my weekend nicer, but not ultimately something that’s irreplaceable like the time I’d spent arguing about it was. I was also offered the laughable solution by security of going and putting the water bottle in my vehicle. Security seemed utterly oblivious to the nature of the line, a problem they helped create as they they were too busy pulling apart every bag and doing what appeared to be too-thorough gender-segregated searches. I went down the wrong line first (no signage), switched to the appropriate one when I realized what was what, and then didn’t receive a search at all after I got into a shouting match with security about the poor messaging around the water bottles. I am not sure what the motivation was for that level of searching, but it seemed odd. Again, different festival, different circumstances, but no one was cupping anyone’s bra at Outside Lands a couple weeks prior. It looked grossly unnecessary, and even though I didn’t get one it made me uncomfortable, especially after I had already been misgendered by security twice at that point.

You might note I’ve gotten several hundred words in and haven’t said anything about the music. In that case, I hope this experience somewhat replicates what Saturday felt like. I finally got inside, and hoped to grab a map but I didn’t see where anyone was handing them out. This turned out to be no major issue, but I still went the entire weekend without figuring out where anyone got one. I had made it onto the grounds in time to hopefully catch Slint, who was just starting as I got in at 4 pm. The Arena really seemed liked a missed opportunity. It took so long to make your way down to the floor, or to get into it in the first place, that I didn’t end up making it to the stage until 4:20 pm. I watched the rest of Slint, and didn’t end up going back into the Arena for the remainder of the weekend. Turns out it saved me some trouble, as it sounds like it involved more waiting in lines. While I respect the idea of having a stage like that, in reality, it just didn’t work that well. Sure, sound bleed sucks and some bands look better on a dark stage, but one of the reasons festivals are nice is usually you at least have a shot to see everything. The Arena, with its capacity issues, created another frustrating layer in a weekend full of them.

Lines were the theme of the weekend, and the overall festival followed that by having a very linear layout. While it wasn’t too problematic in terms of finding things, it did take quite a while to get from the Main stage to the Lawn stage even though they technically weren’t all that far from each other. And while I didn’t have any issue figuring out where the stages were, there was an acute lack of signage throughout the grounds. I didn’t even notice a posted schedule until the next day, right by the entrance in an area I never went back to after entering, even when I made my way over to the Lawn stage.

But you come to FYF for the music. I went three years ago and had a blast. It’s hard to beat the quality of the bands at that price, and now that I live on the West Coast, it’s an easy trip down from San Francisco. I said before the line-up was announced that if any other festival besides Pitchfork had Slowdive, it’d by FYF. I know that you get that caliber of band. Seeing Slowdive again was one of the main reasons I purchased a ticket. And by the time they took the stage, most of my negative feelings had dissipated. They delivered a glorious set, a beautiful dusky wash like the LA sunset behind us. From the thrilling punk of Against Me! to the well-dressed, even better delivered post-punk of Interpol to the wonderfully lit and lively Ty Segall, Saturday was a wonderful experience musically. I already knew it would be. It was almost doubly rewarding on the heels of such a frustrating afternoon.

One of the things I respect about FYF is their responsiveness. This wasn’t just evident on Sunday, when the line process was much smoother, there was free water to assuage those of us who’d lost our bottles the day before, and the Arena was expanded (though the lines still looked like a mess). This was evident in the run-up, in response to artists that cancelled for one reason or another; it’s evident in the responses I’ve seen since. I don’t expect things to be perfect. I understand that executing an event like this is difficult. And FYF seems to have something of a reputation for trying. There is something to be said for being willing to try. And sometimes, failing is a cost. I’m not a big believer in saying I’ll never go again. I still think FYF books the caliber of bands that I will always consider it. Because while it won’t be the Blood Brothers or Slowdive next year, it’ll be someone that’s legitimately worth catching, who delivers that gut punch or that swoon that music has so sorely missed for however long they’ve been gone. On paper, I thought Sunday was the weaker of the two days, but it didn’t show in what I saw, and as opposed to the day before, I actually got in plenty early with time to catch all of Joanna Gruesome’s set. Built To Spill delivered one of the best sets of the weekend, it was fun to catch bits of up-and-comers like Benjamin Booker, and Presidents of the United States of America delivered the type of fun, nostalgic set this child of the 90s expected. By the time I got to the measured lackadaisical headlining set of The Strokes, I didn’t need anything else. I’d gotten everything I came for. Musically, I had a wonderful time, and while all the other aspects of a festival are nice and can enhance the experience, it doesn’t matter how good the food is if the music isn’t.

On things that didn’t quite fit into the narrative, I thought the food was good. There were really good options but it seemed the best stuff had long lines, though I didn’t find I waited too long for anything. As a vegetarian, I was glad to see plentiful options, from the poutine truck to the vegan pop-up to Tony’s. I could have eaten at the Sage truck all weekend. While it was great that there were food options built into the alcohol gardens, I didn’t go in any of them all weekend, so I’m not sure what I missed in there. The free water and charging stations were nice touches, though it seemed the only stage you could take in from the charging stations that I found was the Trees. Again, I never located a map, and I didn’t want to spend too much time poking around on my phone as I wanted that battery power for other things. The fact that there were real bathrooms was definitely appreciated, though as is fairly typical of any festival, the portable toilets were quickly out of toilet paper, and I couldn’t particular figure out the lift in separating those by gender. The passage between the Main Stage and the Trees felt quite constricted at times, and the same was occasionally true of the passage between the Lawn and the Trees. All told, it felt like there was plenty of space, but not where you needed it at times. I never got too close to the Main stage, but I had no problem getting right up to the other stages when I wanted to. Parking wasn’t a huge issue, and getting in and out via car was pretty easy all told. Overall, the festival experience was a great one musically, and an occasionally frustrating one logistically, but it’s still something I’d probably do again. While there are certainly problems, I have faith that FYF will try to remedy them, and many of the problems seem to be the kind borne of ambition, of trying to do more and still deliver an amazing experience that’s fairly economical. The stories of those of us who waited in line will linger, they will eventually be what most frustrating stories become, funny stories that we can tell later, badges of honor, something to commiserate with other festival goers about when it comes up in conversation. And if they keep a few people from coming back next year? Well, at least it’ll be easier to get in, right?

Like, Etc.

One of my friends shared this article about quitting liking things on Facebook. As if to prove one of the points, I never saw another friend share it even though a mutual friend first posted it. It could be because I wasn’t all plugged into Facebook much of yesterday; it could be because it’s infuriating to figure out how to get the information I want versus the information Facebook thinks I want. I’ve grown more entrenched with my use of Twitter, which does not do that at all and only recently added features (at least in its native form) to control that beyond unfollowing people. Perhaps that has made me more aware of it. While I’m not totally in agreement with the conclusion the author comes to, I do appreciate the general ethos. I am, perhaps, a bit specious of the conclusion that commenting instead of liking will foster an environment where we’re all better at connecting; that could just be me. Commenting carries different weight, different social protocol even, and if my comment was merely to signify “I acknowledge this” or “this made me smile”, then I’m not really sure that counts as true engagement in a meaningful way that exceeds the like. Though it definitely does seem to be an action Facebook wouldn’t like. The actual effects do seem to be true in the sense of what shows up. At least to some degree, Mat Honan liking everything illustrates that. That article also seems to hint at the fact that Facebook might not take too kindly to doing that. Which makes me wonder what might happen either way, if we all stopped liking anything or if we all just started liking everything, irrelevant of our feelings and stances on the subject. Needless to say, it sounds like Facebook would become a different tool than it currently is. Of course, I’m sure they’d figure out some way to adjust. Besides, engagement is still on us as individuals. And while things are different over at Twitter currently, they may not stay that way forever. In the end, What does it mean when we “like” stuff around the Internet? I really find that Anil Dash piece sort of nails the idea that even if we aren’t entirely aware of it at the time, these actions do have meanings to them.

What does it means to be a conscious social media user in 2014? Because that’s what those articles and ideas are exploring. It’s worth thinking about. These tools are embedded in our lives. Those tools can certainly change, but we are always going to have something. It may not be a company we know the name of know, it may not even be a tool that exists currently, but the impulse behind all of it is an utterly human one, to stay in touch, to reach out, to share. From the standpoint of simple mechanics, texting isn’t so far removed from the telegraph. It’s a tool that closes distance, a tool that keeps us in touch with each other. And even if the fav or the like are only the head nods across the room as so many people have indicated, they are still tools we use to acknowledge that. Perhaps we nod too much and don’t say enough, which is one takeaway from not liking things. Or perhaps instead of nodding to people, we are nodding to corporate sponsors and aggregators too much whose goal is to just keep us nodding.

Therein lies the challenge of how use those tools. With that awareness, I can make some decisions. I sometimes like stuff not just because I like it, but also because I am aware that my liking it may bump it up in that algorithm for other people to see and I think they should. Of course, I don’t have all the tools at my disposal to totally evaluate what happens. I am mildly curious to see the effects of what might happen if I liked all of my own stuff now. I am guessing Facebook has had time to navigate around that in terms of its algorithms, but perhaps they do not worry about it. Perhaps they rely on our awareness of the social cost of doing that, of what friends would think, how that reaction can keep us in line. That is perhaps what they count on to keep you from liking everything. Though that can’t do anything about you liking nothing, and it still seems we’re a ways from reliably mining information from the written word. Given the annoyance that people express with what Facebook decides to show based on our likes, we’re a ways from reliably drawing too many conclusions from that as well.

I try not to get caught up in it too much. I don’t rely on Facebook to tell me anything specifically because I am aware of the fact that I might not see it, much as I know I cannot necessarily rely on it to reach all of my friends. If I have something I want to say to specific individuals, I try to make sure I do that directly. When I am planning something, I either make that effort with a number of individuals simultaneously or I try to saturate Facebook enough to get the message through, fully aware that not everyone sees everything every time even as I worry that I keep going on and on about it. I hope that it will tell me most of what I want to know, though. Because I do want to see what’s going on in my friends’ lives. I do want to see what they think is worth sharing or worth talking about.

In the same vein, I try not to get caught up in the gamified aspect of how many people liked a picture or a status, of whether that pithy tweet got a retweet or not, though it can occasionally be entertaining to try and craft a status or a tweet that has that effect on purpose. Obsessively looking to see if I’ve got a new notification doesn’t make it happen, and isn’t particularly a healthy way of approaching these tools anyway. Not that I succeed 100% of the time, of course. But I am trying to use the services, not let them use me (at least completely). Obviously they appreciate the data that I give them. In return, I use services like Facebook and Twitter because I want to see pictures of my friends’ kids, I want to hear what they have to say about their lives half a world away, I want perspectives and rapid information on current events (though, that’s really more Twitter because the two services are different), I want to read articles and posts that get me thinking and challenge my view points. I like cat pictures as much as the next person; I like them a whole lot more when they are my friends’ cat pictures. I doubt I will stop liking things on Facebook. I definitely will not start liking everything. I am aware those functions are just nods in a world where maybe we don’t have time to do much more, or maybe that is all the engagement that we currently want, to acknowledge that we appreciate it in some little way. I am aware that they perhaps have effects I do not completely understand, or that I at least only partially understand. If I have something to say? There’s a little box right below that status. Don’t worry, I’ll use that. We’ve got that tools. If I have something to say, I’ll say it. Hopefully you will too.

How To Fight Loneliness

By Sunday afternoon, I still hadn’t run into anyone I knew during Outside Lands. That was not entirely surprising. My friends here did not get tickets, nor did I know anyone coming from out of town. Not that it was going to stop me from going. I can be a bit iconoclastic in my concert-going, to the detriment of hanging out with people. I try not to be, but I have a habit. I’ve been here a while now and I do occasionally run into friends at shows, friends I’ve made at shows. It’s no different than it was in 2010 when I didn’t know anyone at shows, or had lost touch with a large subset of someones I used to know. Slowly, I’m getting there here as well. I knew I would.

Doing things by myself is a skill I’ve had a lot of practice with. As an only child I learned it’s not hard to entertain yourself. But going out to see a show? That’s a social thing, the kind of activity most of us only learn to do in groups. It’s something I had to learn to do on my own. And eventually, I got really good at it. It’s neither better nor worse than going with friends, but it certainly is different. Occasionally, I wonder if I’ve gotten too good at it though, if I don’t put in the work to invite and agitate as much as I should. Not that getting people to do things for fun should necessarily be work, but we’re all adults with finite amounts of time. Besides, there’s not a lot of exertion involved in sending that text or throwing together an online invite somewhere. But for the most part I don’t. I either go or I don’t, almost always by myself, hoping that I may occasionally see someone I know.

There’s another kind of loneliness when I go to most things by myself. When I look through a crowd and I see couples everywhere. They were there at The Good Life; they were there at Xeno & Oaklander; they were most certainly there at Outside Lands. Not that I have to go to shows to be reminded of that. But it’s still a lonely feeling. It’s been a long time since I’ve come home to anything other than an empty bed. Coping with that kind of loneliness is a learned skill, too, another one I have a lot of practice with. Most days, I doubt that will ever change. I wasn’t great with relationships before because I wasn’t comfortable and I certainly wasn’t being myself. I found it quite difficult when I wasn’t be authentic and true to myself. I don’t have that problem anymore; unfortunately, the converse is a lot of people are uncomfortable with who I am. Even with people who have been greatly supportive, I still get the sense that some people see me less as a woman and more as not a man. There’s a distinction there, and it isn’t even a fine one. That’s a pretty basic way of viewing someone. Even among open-minded people, that feeling still hangs there. It could all be in my head, but I doubt it. I know I don’t live in a world that truly accepts the truth of my womanhood. I hope I can help change that, but it doesn’t change how frequently I am reminded of that in the present.

I don’t need statistics to tell me that to live authentically is to set upon a challenging path in so many ways. I’m not doomed to live alone forever, though it definitely feels that way on the worst days, those brutally honest nights by myself in my one-bedroom. Plenty of trans people have great relationships. I know that. I see evidence of that all the time. For me, aside from a few random dates (definitely nothing serious), it’s been quiet the past few years. It is, perhaps, in my nature, something that has nothing to do with me being trans, though it can be hard to untangle all of that. Besides, that has no bearing on the times I’m having a good conversation with a guy that I think is engaging and attractive who then proceeds to misgenders me. That has nothing to do with me (or everything to do with me depending on how you look at it). I know that. That doesn’t change how frustrating and disappointing that feeling is. I am the happy with who I am, how I look, how I project myself out into the world. It took me a long time to get to the point where I felt those aspects aligned internally and externally. But it remains a challenge, finding people that I am attracted to that accept who I am.

Sometimes I feel like I go out so much because then I don’t think about it. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, as I can point out the above examples, but when I’m out, I’m put in situations where I react a lot more, or just act. Either way, I don’t tend to just sit there and think because there’s too much going on, the converse of what happens a lot when I’m at home. I also never know what’s going to happen when I’m out. Ideally, it’d be nice to meet someone who also shares that same spark for live music. But it could also be at Eats sitting at the bar discussing Woods and local venues and the differences between Oakland and San Francisco over brunch. It could be at the bike shop the next time I go to get a tune-up. It could be the next time I stop at Bi-rite to get some ice cream and end up spending 30 minutes talking with someone. Hell, it could be on Twitter for all I know. In the end, it’s not any different than making friends. It’s going out, it’s meeting people, it’s putting yourself out there, in whatever form or fashion that may be. It’s knowing that irrelevant of how it’s been the past few years, it could be different tomorrow. It seems a bit reductive. And if I’m being honest, that is a bit facile. Though I am much happier being myself, being trans doesn’t make it easier. There’s that much more I have to be on guard for, for my own safety. Still, I have perhaps gotten too good at doing things alone. Most of us have to crack that door a little for one reason or another to let someone in, even if we leave the chain on to get an idea of who it is first. Most of us have to ask, to say what we are thinking, to take those risks and open up. And it is a risk. I definitely am not a huge fan of rejection. But I can text a guy just as easily too to try and get things rolling. I deserve to steal a kiss between songs just like that couple at The Good Life show. I deserve to nonchalantly hold hands at the Xeno & Oaklander show. I deserve to share a $50 blanket and some body heat with someone at Outside Lands. I deserve to love, and to be loved, as I am, for who I am.

Many days, that feeling remains elusive. I know that. Like the music I love so much, it’s hard work to find it. The specter of loneliness, it will always be there, it has been there for a long time. Even though it makes me uncomfortable at times, I would rather engage that feeling full on than deny it. I can try and try and try and still go home to an empty bed. I know that. I’ve gotta try. Because if I don’t believe I have value, if I don’t believe in myself, then what do I have? Engaging the perpetual feeling of loneliness is always a bit terrifying because it means engaging thoughts of self-worth. That is much easier these days, but it’s still not necessarily a fun topic to think about, honestly evaluating yourself. There is another reason I tend to do things by myself, a sometimes stubborn streak of self-reliance, almost as if to prove to myself I can do this without anybody. I can’t do everything on my own, though. I can run from it, or try to engage it, or try to push the thoughts away, but I cannot fight that ineffable feeling that I will always be alone by myself. I cannot fight loneliness by myself. Whether it’s someone to help me move the couch in or just someone to curl up next to on it, I can’t do that without other people. But I don’t really have any solutions. I like when there are clean and simple answers. I like defined ends. I like goals to work toward. This is not something that works like that. It’s a constant ongoing process with myself, with others, one with no guarantees, one that still terrifies me sometimes. The same could be said of just being myself, of being honest, of being open. Irrelevant of what happens going forward, I will probably always feel that way. And that’s okay.

I Will Be

Last week, for the first time in a long time, I managed to get all of the dishes clean save a couple containers in the fridge. In those containers? Prepped food to expedite cooking dinner the next day, because I was just sitting around anyway, so I figured why not take 15 minutes, cut some vegetables, dehydrate the soy curls to marinade them, and just basically be ready to go the next night? It was my bargain to myself for stopping for a burrito on the way home that day, and it’s definitely made the next day a little smoother. I’d like to think that by 33 I’ve learned how to be a functional adult, but most of my life still feels like a series of bargains. There will still be too much internet to keep up with, too many cursory distractions today, tomorrow, and the coming days. Which isn’t to say that I shouldn’t spend some time with those distractions. We all need them sometimes. But perhaps sometimes is getting to be too much time some days?

There are a lot of things about that first paragraph that look a little ridiculous on their face. Soy curls? Clean dishes? Running? Who am I? If you know me, you know this isn’t in my nature. Or it least, it didn’t used to be. For the few of you who have lived with me, you know that’s especially true. But why isn’t it? And if it isn’t, why can’t I change that?

Half the reason I did all that was to make it a little easier to go for a run. Which is a consideration I never used to make. After all, I never used to run. And though I am having trouble keeping a good rhythm this summer with everything else going on, I still carry on trying to forge an identity of myself as a runner. I may have finally found that rhythm, and little things like that, taking a minute to take care of something when I have the time instead of putting it off for later when I don’t have it and then making excuses, they can make the difference. Though it may have seemed to be anathema at one time, now it is simply a reality that I am trying to live up to. I did this once before, when I became a more dedicated bike commuter in the Twin Cities, And once again in San Francisco just a couple months ago when I vowed to start biking to work because Muni was just getting too frustrating to justify when I am able to get on my bike and get to work quicker, albeit a bit sweatier.

While I made a conscious choice to become a vegetarian, it wasn’t really a terribly explicit one. It just…seemed like a good idea at the time? After a couple years, it has become habit. It didn’t magically make me eat better either, but over time, I’ve gotten more conscious about what I eat, where it comes from, and what it means to me. It is perhaps an expression of that. And it’s an ongoing one, as I continue to negotiate the difference between what I want, need, and enjoy. I can’t envision a future where I don’t drink beer. But things change. It’s a possible future. Just like a few years ago, I didn’t necessarily envision a future where I didn’t eat meat. But I don’t.

I know a lot about not being the person I feel I am. I had years of practices. But that elides the fact that before I came out, before you knew me as Jane, before I started living as the woman I knew I was no matter how much society tried to tell me otherwise, before I stop telling myself otherwise, I still tried to be a fairly authentic person. I still wanted to be me. There was just a pretty big internal negotiation in regard to who I was, who I am, who I will be. And that’s an ongoing process for everyone. We’re always learning how to negotiate that. For example, there are words many of us once used to say that we probably never thought about that we wouldn’t utter now, at least, out of context like we once did, as slurs. If you’re in my age range, think about how much you and your peer group uncritically uttered all sorts of awful things, words like gay and retarded that we just used so flippantly. Perhaps you had a different peer group, or a different upbringing. But I had a pretty smart group of friends and we still uncritically said a lot of things that we shake our heads at now for saying. Of course I know now that I wasn’t a very good person for throwing words like that around carelessly, for callously not thinking about the consequences of what I said, for not being critical of my own word choice. I’m not trying to absolve myself. That’s something I live with. I don’t think that means we were all terrible people. I’ve done some things I’m not terribly proud of, had some habits that I wish I didn’t, and otherwise done and said a few things that I don’t feel represents who I am. Though, obviously, if I said them, if I did them, they do represent who I am. Perhaps it is more appropriate to say they represented who I was. They did not always represent who I wanted to be, or at least who I thought I was. But I can’t change who I was. I will always have to live with the person I once was.

What I can change is who I am, and who I will be. Which, over the process of time, becomes who I am. Identities are forged; we are sometimes stuck with identities that are outmoded, out of our control, but we all have become different people over the years. That’s just part of growing up, of growing older, of changing, of learning. Some of it is perhaps a conscious decision to try and do things differently. Hopefully much of it is. Some of it is just the slight unconscious things we pick up along the way. Much of it can lie in factors that are sadly out of our control, life circumstances that dictate many of those decisions. I get that. I am in a fairly fortunate situation to do some of the things I do, whether those are my choices as a commuter, my dietary choices, my decision to actively support a lot of live music, or even just living authentically as me. I get that’s not everyone’s situation, and I’ve never been terribly comfortable with the idea of trying to tell other people how to live because I think that’s a naïve thing to do.

What I can do is tell people where I’m coming from and let them decide on their own about the decisions they make in their lives, who they are, who they want to be, what they want to do. I can tell you why bike commuting is a good idea for me, why I like to run, what works about being a vegetarian for me. That doesn’t mean I expect other people to suddenly change, or value what I do, though, much the same I hope no one suddenly expects me to change many aspects of who I am and what I do. I can’t change anyone’s minds. All I can do is put the information out there and let people do with it what they will. Well, not really. Hopefully, I can also help try and make the world a better place were people have the freedom to do that too. Either way, though, it’s an internal process. If that leads to change, what I can do is support that, even if I don’t understand it or agree with it. For me, it’s just remembering to be critical of myself whenever I say “that’s just how I am” or “that’s just what I do”. There could be, and probably are, very good reasons for it. But I should be able to at least articulate them to myself.

I don’t harbor any illusions. The dishes could well pile up again at some point. I may choose to stop running at some point. But maybe not. Perhaps I’m just stuck thinking of the person who has always done that. But perhaps that person doesn’t live here anymore. It is hard to say in the present I’ve turned a corner, but it’s easy to ascribe to the past when I did. Life is funny like that. As for who I will be? I will be me. And hopefully, that’s someone who’s always challenging herself to be authentic, to be true to herself, and to be better.

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