hope is something i rarely allowed myself to feel. amidst the constant & relentless assault on the people i am & the people i love, the routine & systematic policing of gender non-conforming life, the callous drone of misattribution & misrecognition - hope felt unrealistic, misguided, maybe even painful. hope meant going outside & saying today is going to be the day i won’t be harassed (& then it happening. again. & again. the disappointment its own wound). hope meant today is going to be the day that people will defend me (& then meant being left behind empathy’s embrace). but, when i meet you — my audiences, my potential friends — when i meet the students resisting the gender binary, the lovers cultivating compassion for themselves & everyone, the organizers ensuring that everyone is safe, the bipoc trying to remember another way to live, the heartbroken ready & willing to cry in public with me. when i meet you the people concerned with my safety & vitality beyond the stage i experience a kind of internal blooming as in “look outside it is cold but when i speak, here is spring.” in here there is a garden growing in the depths i thought there was no potential for life. which goes to say i am learning that it is both possible to be honest about the reality of pain & injustice while also feeling the reality of something else. these states of being are not mutually exclusive. i am clenching my heart with one hand & reaching out for yours with the other. i am hurting (& i am ready to heal). i am hurting (& i am ready to heal). love & need you! x

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