"I will not be defined by the ignorance of others. I know my worth."
This was my mantra all of 2019, the most difficult--yet fulfilling--year of my life so far. I repeated these sentences to myself when I felt defeated by systems barring me from my rights. When I was invited to read my work for the first time. When I literally clawed my way out of bed. When I became a published author. In one year, I experienced so many devastatingly low valleys and soaring high peaks, that the arduous journey became something I wanted to abandon. It was overwhelming, disorienting, crushing yet survivable, worth fighting, precious, and purposeful.
After one year, two months, and four days of continuous struggle, I will finally have top surgery on December 4th. Three more days. Three more days until I get to be who I was always meant to be.
I wept in front of my doctors when they told me the date was secured. They were baffled by my reaction, not knowing how many roadblocks my insurance company threw my way. Sending me to doctors supposedly covered when they weren't. Trying to stick me with four figure bills. Providing conflicting information and yelling at me when I pointed out the inconsistencies. Appeals processes to change plans. Requiring weight loss to proceed further. One year, two months and four days. That's how much of my life was eaten up. But in the end, after exerting every bit of my resiliency, I managed to wrangle the oppressor to the ground. On December 4th, 2019, I will be the first person at my institution to have secured a breast reduction for the purposes of gender dysphoria, and have damn insurance pay for it.
Someone asked me last month what I was most proud of writing this year. I can honestly say I am proud of everything I created. Because in my eyes, it was my ultimate act of resistance. I kept doing what I loved despite the roadblocks and the crippling depression they caused. I had a reading, got published twice (more about that below), got requests for additional pages and full manuscripts. I built a social media following. I networked. I nearly finished another full length novel. I have accomplished so much this year and I will celebrate these victories proudly. Because I did all of this while others tried to rob me of my dignity.
And they did not succeed.
On December 5th, 2019, I will be published for the second time. My poetry was picked up by Borderless Magazine, a zine focused on intersectional identities. This amazing publication has also graciously agreed to read my poetry at their release party. Meaning my work, which is so focused on intersections of gender, race, and sexual orientation, will be read by someone else for the first time ever, the day after I fully step into who I really am. If that doesn't make a person feel victorious, I don't know what will.
I am so grateful to have made it this far, and to have garnered support from loving communities along the way. I would like to thank Borderless Magazine for adding the cherry to my 2019 sundae, one filled equally with tears and smiles. If you can attend the magazine's release party, please do. I want to share my joy with as many people as are willing to listen.
Thank you for hearing me.
And thank you for standing with me.
Borderless Magazine release party: December 5th, 2019 from 7:30-9:30pm at San Francisco State University's Cesar Chavez Center- Rosa Parks A-C.