I’ve heard described, and experienced parenting as abject terror interspersed with unexpected moments of sheer joy. My last few days have mirrored that experience for me.

I’ve been transitioning in my personal life for a while. After a month of preparation yesterday I came out to my students and my colleagues. All in the course of a single day. Much to the surprise of many it would seem.

Until the last couple of days I didn’t realize there are so many people I’m connected to at my university who I felt I wanted to tell in person.  After a headlong rush to finally get here, I’ve caught myself over the last few weeks wishing for more time, for a chance to tell more people myself.

Even though I know with my head relationships are important and I’ve worked to build them over the years, suddenly it is right in front of me how many I have built. Even more, just how much I’ve come to rely on them.  People are not often forced to stop and actually reflect on the web of connections they build through their lives. Yet, confronted with the prospect of a public transition at my uni, the list of people to share with kept growing seemingly without end. Finally a deep understanding in me is forming — I have actually built a network of relationships I rely on. These people matter to me and I want them in some way to be a part of my process. I only hope they can accept who I am and how I need to go about being that person.

So, here I am only one day in with presenting as who I know I have always been in my work life, and it has been an amazingly positive experience so far. I’ve received offers of support, encouragement, and even admiration for my courage both people I know well and others I only cross paths with twice a year. It’s a humbling experience as it has revealed a depth of compassion and caring under the surface of busy people trying to get their job done, working simply to get through their day and week.

This giant scary thing I worried so much has brought out the best part of the culture where I work. The efforts to get my name, my pronouns right shows me people who truly care about those around them. It’s something that often gets lost in the flurry of the next email, the next deadline, the next problem to solve.

In this moment I can see the good around me, yet I had been afraid all I would find was bad. I know it won’t always be easy, that the rainbows and sunshine will give way to darkness at times, but in this moment I have hope. That is what matters, for…

“Where there is hope, there is life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.” — Anne Frank

Waving through a window…

I must admit, I’m a bit of an Owl City fan girl. Adam’s music speaks to me in a way other music doesn’t. Music is a huge part of my life, I played in the band in high school and college. I often feel music deeply, in fact it helps me feel things much better than almost anything else. I’ve had some near out-of-body experiences to music (I’ll write on those another time) but I’ve never known an artist whose music has reverberated with me so deeply on such a consistent basis.

The other day I was looking for new music by checking out artists marked “You may also like” on Apple Music. After several “I want to like your music, but just don’t” moments, I wandered over to Owl City’s page to check out the “You might also like” entries there. I had one of the best moments of my week to find there was a new Song of Adam’s I’d not heard or even heard of.

It started playing before I could take a breath and suddenly my remaining breath was swept away. I listened to it at least a half-dozen times in a row. There were intense feels, overwhelming emotion, and tears — sadness and joy both at the same time.

The song has become a staple in my life already. And then (there is always an “and then” in my stories) I looked up the song to learn more about it and discovered it’s a cover of a song from the Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen.” The writers said they pitched the music and story in part by saying Owl City was playing on the radio in Evan’s room.

So I sit here waiting out a 3 hour delay for a flight to my home away from home… and I’m looking out the window listening to the lyrics.

“We start with Stars in our eyes…”

We have starts in our eyes, and in our soul. But what has been sticking in my mind is:

“When you’re falling in a forest and there’s nobody around

Do you ever really crash, or even make a sound?”

It’s the same question I’ve been asking myself – does the world know I exist or even care? If I shouldn’t exist, if I’m impossible, does it even matter that I exist?

If there’s nobody that really experiences me as who I am, do I really exist?

I feel like I’m waving through a window to the world, and almost nobody sees me.

How is it that Adam knows what I’m feeling, even if he’s not writing my words?

Inner Infinity

I am a Unicorn.

A creature who doesn’t exist,

so rare nobody has ever seen one.

That makes me invisible and unavoidable.

Probability says each part of me is improbable on its own,

adding them all together makes for impossibility beyond measure.

A million, billion impossibilities rolled into one.

I shouldn’t exist.

Therefore I don’t exist.

Yet here I am.

People see me,

though I don’t feel real,

I am not real.

I am someone else.

Hiding in plain sight.

A shell for others to see,

they look through me hidden inside as if I’m not there,

because I’m not.