There’s Worse Things Than Being Alone

It’s funny how a move can shake up your life, change your perspective, force you to do things differently, but we always find ways back to who we are. Not that I think we are doomed to repeat things over and over. Just that we keep finding our way back to ourselves. We all have life changing experiences, but I know first-hand that amazing things can happen that change your perspective that just don’t last forever. Probably the most notable moment in my life like that was when I was hit by a car leaving the 400. It may be a reminder of the fragility of life in that moment, or for the days after, and it still is one of those things I look at and realize could have happened in an entirely different, and possibly deadly, way. But it was nine years ago, too. I just don’t think about it that much anymore. So I guess it’s not the events, but rather whether we can make lasting changes coming out of those events. I certainly realize that it could all be over tomorrow. But you got live like you’re gonna die tomorrow and plan like you’re gonna live forever. It’s a delicate balance. When is challenging yourself to do something taking care of yourself? When is telling yourself not to do something taking care of yourself?

Have I made any lasting changes here? Of course. I’ve gotten better at honestly answering those questions at least. But I find myself troubled by many of the same problems I experienced in the Twin Cities. Whereas I felt many of my friends were going in different directions with their lives in Minnesota, here I’ve just found it difficult to even make those friends in the first place. It’s still a pretty sparse roll call when I’m trying to get people together, which frequently leads to the same result. I do a lot of things alone. I have yet to really develop the same level of community with the music venues in this town. Some things I knew wouldn’t be much different, but I guess I was hoping for more in that regard. It’s not a bad town to be trans in, but it’s not much different than the Twin Cities in that regard. There are still a lot of assholes everywhere, which I’ve said before and I’m constantly reminded of. This move didn’t make my life easier, but then again, no one said it would, and I didn’t believe that it would anyway.

Even if it feels like it gets harder each day, I do a better job of taking care of myself. Whether that’s remembering to floss or paying more attention to what goes into my body or getting in a few runs a week. Or being honest with myself, at least. Sometimes it’s just processing how I feel. That could be the totality of feeling like I am an outlier in a lot of ways. Whether it’s as a bike commuter or as a vegan or as someone who still goes out on a Wednesday night for a show or as a trans woman, I feel like I’m in the minority a lot in regards to the decisions I make. Or perhaps not necessarily a minority, but someone for whom systems are not designed. In other ways, I am not. But I don’t make those decisions to consciously being different in any regard. I make those decisions because they are the right decisions for me. In some ways, I think being trans makes it a lot easier to make those decisions, because really, what other decisions am I going to make that are harder or people are going to treat me worse for. People laugh at me when I say I bike everywhere, they scoff at me when I say I’m vegan, but that’s nothing compared to moving through the world every day as trans, and as someone who is definitely perceived as trans with frequency. And I say this as someone whose experiences have been fairly tame. Many people might not believe that I could live without bacon, but many people straight up refuse to accept that I’m a woman.

But there a lot of positive ways in which I feel like an outlier too. When I look at all the great people in my life, or I think about the fact that modern technology means that even if I spend a lot of time alone, I rarely spend a lot of time lonely. I know my problems are fairly minor, and even if I get piqued fairly frequently. I have multiple friends I went to high school with only a few miles away that I’m still in touch with. And I live 2,500 miles from where I went to school. I feel like I will always have a home in Minnesota, even if I don’t live there any more. I have the means to go to all those shows on Wednesday nights, and have a drink or two, or a good meal. I can go to those cities and see you. That is a rare thing, and rarer yet for many trans folks, to have that security and means. And as frustrating as it is, there’s a reason people keep moving here, and it’s not just the jobs. There’s just something about this place. If I end up leaving tomorrow or I’m here for the rest of my life, there’s still a chapter of my life where I can say “this is my chapter in San Francisco”. It’s not perfect, but it’s important to remind myself of in those moments where I feel like things aren’t going anywhere, when I’m frustrated because I’ll never be one of the pretty ones, when I can’t seem to get anything done after work because all I want to do is sink into the couch. I remember that things are going places, that there’s a lot more to life than a pretty face (though it never hurts), and some nights, it is okay to sink into that couch. It’s just important to not keep doing those things.though. I don’t want to deny my feelings, but I don’t want to be captive to them either. And if I force myself not to dwell on whatever has me down at the moment, it’s pretty easy to see things are pretty fucking awesome. There’s worse things than being alone. As a car reminded me nine years ago.

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