I am fortunate to have encountered the plenitude of people who have engaged, challenged, educated and encouraged me. I am fortunate to have been on the receiving end of a mountain of love. I am lucky to have formed relationships with those who exposed me to art, politics, and activism. Thanks to those who taught me how to fight, organize, to love and be loved. On this, my 30th birthday, I reflect on the people who helped to get me to this place.
I am better for having been welcomed into beautiful friendships, extended and emerging families. Thanks to those who shared their art, their music, their experiences. A pile of thanks to everyone who came along, helped me to get to this place, agreed, taught me how to disagree, allowed me to go at my own pace. Thanks to everyone who—when that pace became more an excuse than anything else—told me to cut the shit.
As much as an agnostic can be, I am blessed to be where I am today. I am here for a lot of reason: some hard work and big ideas, hustle, craftiness, some ingenuity, privilege, a pile of luck. But I am also here because I have been charmed to know some of the most amazing people in the form of parents, friends, blood family, legal family, those people who are family just because, teachers, and lovers, and so-on.
I am the product of a big-hearted “fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke,” half-hustler/half-performance artist father and a hardworking mother. By the time many of my peers had some clue about where they were heading, I had only developed a sense of the importance of loudly, intensely and sometimes aggressively being myself. I knew to work hard and I knew how to hustle. This makeshift pseudo guiding ethos led to a lot of fun, an expansion of horizons, some great times, some shitty times and a heap of learning opportunities. I will figure something out, I figured and did. I eventually found myself on this day, happy and certain, thanks to the encouragement, collaboration, good will, occasional concern and consternation of the aforementioned.
I can be equal parts a good deal of fun and difficult to know. I can be easy to like and impossible to get along with. I can be a handful. In spite of all of this, I have been fortunate to have been encouraged, aided, collaborated with, and engaged and loved by some of the very greatest people. I wrote in a recent column that I will make every reasonable sacrifice in the world, and even some unreasonable ones, for those who compliment my own relationship with myself, with my own progress, with my own professional development, with my own sexuality, with my own passion. I make little or no time for anybody else. I am lucky to know and have known a good deal of these kinds of people. Thanks to all of you.
Photo Credit: Knack Factory / Zack Bowen