I didn’t intend to take a break from writing. In fact, I wrote a couple things, but I was having some issues connecting to the internet with my laptop at home and didn’t bother to solve it for a month, so they didn’t go anywhere. Perhaps I unconsciously decided a break was in order. Besides, it’s not like I haven’t kept myself busy, between Noise Pop and an impromptu Minnesota trip on top of trying to keep up a good exercise routine, working, etc. I certainly wasn’t sitting on my sofa thinking what should I be doing right now? There’s always something to do right now. Sometimes it’s catching the sunrise. Sometimes it’s getting out for a few miles. Sometimes it’s catching up on The Americans. Sometimes it’s just sitting on my couch spinning Cinema, Red, and Blue.

Lately, though, the room I’ve spent a lot of time in is my kitchen. While it wasn’t an explicit goal of going vegan, it has forced me try to figure out how to make the things I want to eat since they are not as easily available. That, coupled with a few timely gifts in the form of cookbooks, provided all the motivation I’ve needed to find out what works now. Not that I was much of a cook before. Perhaps it’s better that way. I think that frequently in other contexts as well. It’s hard to be disappointed with my performance when I run because I have no body of experience as a runner until the last couple years, so I have no body of performance where I had a lot of testosterone to help drive my performance. While I’m occasionally curious about how fast I could have run if I’d had the discipline I possess now when I was in my early twenties, I just don’t have that data. Then again, that kind of thinking can be self-fulfilling; I try to avoid dwelling on it too much either way. But my mind has been returning to lots of thoughts like that in recent times.

Cooking is a lot like running for me in that my mind wanders during the act, but not too freely. And in those moments, it begins to turn down different paths than the ones I’ve been on. I have something right in front of me that requires attention. It’s not really heavy lifting, though it’s obviously not as simple as one foot in front of the other, it’s still basic things when I’m in the kitchen. Chop this, measure that, mix them together, time this out. To some degree, it’s a bit of mental busy work along with the physical activity, something to clear my head because I cannot exert too much energy toward my thoughts lest I end up with burning the garlic or I miss a step and roll my ankle. And when I’m done, I find I am frequently someplace else mentally. While there’s certainly a degree of importance to thinking things through, I hope I never return to being the kind of person that dwells on things like I used to when I was younger. Perhaps you can function like that, there are, after all, different ways of living, but I cannot. Because when I get too focused in, it starts acting like feedback, and that’s not good for me. It’s that kind of thinking that paralyzed me for so long coming out, as I was too focused on trying to figure out how everything would go and not focused in enough on doing it. In a way, these activities such as running and cooking act as breakers. When it gets too much, they can help reset my mind, forcing me to spend energy on the task at hand instead of the perfect thing I should have said when someone misgendered me on BART for no reason. Because it can be easy to dwell on those sorts of things.

Whether it’s acknowledging and pondering that I sometimes feel I’m too trans for most cis people and not trans enough for most trans people as I try to figure out where I fit in or just dealing with the weight of trying to be a conscious and good citizen of San Francisco or trying to figure out all the ways I can help further support the music I love even though the world just seems to be swallowing up venues and musicians or dealing with the realities of just trying to get through each day, I have no shortage of things to think about. No doubt you can say the same, though what we ponder most likely differs. Sometimes writing serves as a way to get the thoughts out, as if I’m excising them via the written word. It’s one of the reasons I always end up back in front of a computer hammering at the keys. A few years ago, it might have been the set of keys on my piano as well. The problems will never go away, in as much as I’m always working on something. I choose to look at that as a sign that I am (hopefully) always growing and challenging myself to be better. Recently I’ve channeled the energy to be better into how I take care of myself, and perhaps the reset buttons I reach for are a reflection of that right now. Sometimes the reset button means stepping away from the keyboard. Sometimes it means stepping back.

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