Tag Archives: Judaism

My Grandmother

Upon hearing that my wife and I are splitting up, and that I might possibly someday want to consider going back to school to become a Rabbi. She said, “K will always be apart of our family, because you loved her and because we love her.” I know Grandma. I love her too, we just can’t be together. She said “Of course you can be a Rabbi, this is not such a crazy idea.”

So we talk. Then last night a few hours after our lunch, she sends me two emails, with one link in each email, no other text the first one is this:
http://www.reformjudaism.org/blog/2013/07/15/profiling-first-generation-transgender-rabbis
and the second one is this:
http://www.reformjudaism.org/blog/2013/07/19/fight-equality-life-changing-experience-alabama

Now, I don’t know if my grandmother ever knew that I thought for a time I might be trans, or if she just knows Queer Judaism are as intertwined into my soul as anything. She’s not one for big heart-to-hearts but she is my liberal southern Grandma and I love her with all my heart.

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Filed under Divorce?, family, gender, Politics is Personal, Religion

3 Years Blogging. 25 Before 25.

This post will probably take me quite a while to write. Maybe I shouldn’t put everything all in one post, and maybe I will end up splitting this up at some point, but for now, here goes nothing.

I have had this blog for going on three years. I suppose I started it around the same time I decided I was to propose to my then girlfriend, now domestic partner. Oh boy did we not expect to be where we are today three years ago. We have been through so much.

What I really want to talk about though, is this: In about a week and a half, I will be 24. Three months after that, my father will turn 50 and that, my dear mathematicians means that next year, when I turn 25 and finally getting my BA/starting my Masters? my father will be  exactly twice my age and I will be the age he was when I was born. It seems like that should be such a bizarre concept to me, but really, it makes sense. My dad was definitely a mid-twenties/early thirties kind of dad. In that, I mean I never felt like he was soooo much older than me. We had intellectual discussions, he allowed me to make my own decisions, even if he fought them the whole way. He grew as I grew, and we grow together. What does feel weird is that I’m not there yet. I’m not where he was when he was 24, of course in some ways I’m past where he was I suppose.

When he was 24 he was living in a co-op household attic, my mother was almost five years older than him, and lived right across the attic. He had just graduated with his BA in Environmental Studies and was working on a farm. I think I’ve told this story before, but just in case we need a refresher… His father was dying and his girlfriend (my mother) found out she was pregnant, the same week. They moved up to Mendocino with dreams of starting a blueberry farm, but instead lived in a little one-room cottage with no electricity and my mother, pregnant and living with an incurable disease that causes really poor circulation to extremities, absolutely hating every second of the cold. My dad’s best friend – his dog midnight, was stolen one night while they were eating dinner, and eventually they had had enough. They moved back to their community, rented a little house, I was born. He got a job with the county as a planner and six months later they got married. Typical early 90s life right? Two years later they were divorced. I don’t want to be divorced before I turn 30.

I don’t want to be divorced period.

Don’t get me wrong. I am so happy for the people I have gained in my life because my parents divorced. But generally, divorces are not so easy. For my parents, well, my family is unique. Divorce in my family seems to just mean an addition to the family, no retractions, but still. I don’t want to get divorced.

I wound up so off track I have to remind myself to rein it in.

I wanted this post to be about the things I want to do or accomplish before I turn 25 because I know the year will flash by in a hurry or seem to drag on until it is over. I so badly wanted to put “create life”, “have a baby” on this list of mine. It’s been on my “to do before, or at 25” for as long as I can remember. I guess I just assumed somewhere in my head that would be the natural progression… I get married at 24-25 and then have kids immediately. That’s not what my parents drilled into me, the opposite is true, but I somehow just assumed that would be my life. Reflection is an interesting and dangerous thing. We have solid plans now and that makes my heart rest a little easier, having the goals, the stepping-stones that have to be crossed. Of course the best laid plans right? Such is life, especially our life.

dance

Here goes 25, before 25:

  1. Take ME time, and US time.
  2. Run a 5k
  3. Take a walk to the beach at least once a week.
  4. Re-learn the cello
  5. Visit a country I’ve never been to
  6. Take an “electronic-free” day at least once a month.
  7. Choose 5 accomplishable tasks every week and complete them.
  8. Finish our “first year” scrapbook, almost four years later.
  9. Read two books per quarter that are not required reading.
  10. Play a duet with my partner
  11. Start a community garden near our apartment and/or Plant a garden for my grandparents
  12. Hike 7 falls again
  13. Take the kayaks out
  14. Keep our bedroom clean for a month
  15. Paint a picture
  16. Make a new friend
  17. Get a cat
  18. Find a doable volunteer position and go once a week.
  19. Fly a kite
  20. Take a dance class
  21. Visit my godson
  22. Prioritize music & friendships – Go to a friend’s show at least every other month.
  23. Minimize the STUFF (get rid of things I don’t need), de-clutter.
  24. Call my nonbio-still-completely-siblings, more frequently.
  25. Dance in the rain.

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Filed under family, friendships, growing up, Married Life, Politics is Personal, Work

Being Jewish and…

I think I’ve come to realize that for Jewish families the only thing important is that you remain Jewish and remain a family. Little else can shock the family. For instance, when I came out to my father, who is studying to be a Rabbi, we were sitting in the driveway of his house, the Jeep Grand Cherokee probably still running, or maybe turned off in the middle of an awkward sentence like we do when we suddenly realize this may be a longer conversation that originally planned. You see I hadn’t planned on telling him I was gay, actually I don’t think I did. I think I had just finished telling him that the guy he really wanted me to spend the rest of my life with was actually no longer my boyfriend because I really actually had a crush on this girl with pink streaks in her hair and that I was confused and that it might be possible that I might be gay… And this is what he told me after a long pause “Honey I will always love you no matter what but I think I would rather you marry a Jewish woman than a non-Jewish man.” Of course it is years later and I happen to have met and fell in love with a non-religious definitely not Jewish woman and again my father and I had to have a conversation which went something like this… I really really love her Papa and I think she may be the one… “Is she Jewish?” Well no, but she supports me and loves me. “Oh… Would she be willing to convert?” Well actually Papa I have no interest in asking her to convert she is spiritual and participates in Jewish ritual with me and loves learning…. This conversation was not actually one conversation but many over the space of at least a year and will probably continue to take place especially because he will be performing the ceremony but the next part of the conversation, months later, after I proposed, went something like this: “You know I love the home that you and Kacie have created together, you’re really good together. Will you raise your children Jewish at least? Can you promise me that?” And I told him that we would, but that it would be our version of Judaism, because he always told me to question authority, to argue with God and to find my own meaning in Jewish teachings.

And if you’re reading this you may think, well that is just your story, why are you insinuating that’s everyone else’s experience? Well of course I am not trying to do any such thing but it seems to be a popular theme. I’m currently reading Aaron Raz Link’s book “What Becomes You” and I just finished reading the section in which he tells the very first family member, his cousin, that his name is now Aaron and at first the cousin thinks that Aaron meant Erin as in Irish or Catholic or something and he freaks out, but then reason that it’s A a r o n, sighs with relief and understanding and says, well as long as you’re still Jewish.

It’s all about our Jewish identity and passing along the Jewish story to the next generation that matters. Who you are, who you love, even having tattoos, can all be forgiven as long as you remember the people who came before you and the Jewish story, remember that you are Jewish even if it’s not a religious practice for you anymore, it’s your culture, your history, your people.

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Filed under Engaged Life, family, gender, growing up, Politics is Personal, Reading, Religion

Day 17

Day 17 – Your first experience with an LGBT organization or event (Day of Silence, Pride, etc

Before I was a loud, proud, engaged, civil rights fighting, gender questioning semi-adult, I was a very quiet teenager. Okay that’s a lie, but I was shy, sometimes. My first experience you say? Well we had a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) at my high school but I never went, of course to be fair I was only there for a year… Probably my first major event was my hometown pride festival, a normally totally family friendly event but gf at the time was completely wasted. Then later after I came to my senses I became the co-chair of the Queer & Ally Club at the community college for a year, spoke at protests, marched in Los Angeles, went to protests in Fresno and San Francisco, and got an equality tattoo on the back of my neck.

I know, I just scream dyke. I’m okay with that.

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Filed under 30 Day Meme, family, gender, growing up, Politics is Personal

Thank you for the lessons

In talking to the previously mentioned queer person at the coffee/popcorn shop she was complaining of an ex and ex’s crazy mother and how the previous three years were just down the drain… Just like that. I told her straight up that I don’t believe any relationship could possibly have been a waste of time, that we learn from every relationship we’re in, no matter how scary or plain stupid it was for us to be in that relationship if we reflect on it, we learn something. Or at least we should.

So in looking back at my first real attempt at a committed relationship with a female-bodied person I learned a lot. I used to think that what I had learned was about how not to be in a relationship, what warning signs to look out for from alcoholics and drug addicts alike. And I did learn those lessons I hope. But I also learned how to be a butch. Or what kind of butch I want to be. See my lesson in butch qualities didn’t come from the kind elder butch at the bar once I came of age, or the internet, or the books I’ve read. Though the latter two were definitely helpful and I’m sure I am always learning, my introduction came from hir. When she was sober she was the epitome of what I wanted for my life, though I wouldn’t have told her that then. I was femme. Or femm-ish. Or femme-onmywaytoftmonmywaytobutch if you get the picture, which it’s okay if you don’t.

She wore silk Armani shirts and boxers and taught me about the comforts of boxer-briefs and didn’t mind if I bought myself a pair or two either. She tried to teach me how to pick out shirts without trying them on and how to figure out my size. More importantly, how to cook without instructions, how to grill, how to pretend like the weight of the object you’re attempting to carry is no problem at all, how to make love to a butch and how to f*ck like you never ever want to leave. She let me drive her BMW around town with the top down and didn’t even mind when I stopped wearing skirts and started wearing those silk Armani shirts… or you know, the lesser costing shirts from The Gap and thrift stores. She knew I was becoming more me and that was enough for her.

So, at this time of the year when I am reflecting on previous years, and how to make this one better. In this time of forgiveness and of asking forgiveness. I forgive her for the pain she caused, thank her for the lessons she taught, ask for forgiveness for not being able to cure her pain, forgive myself. Ultimately, I thank her for being my elder. I thank her for being able, through her pain to live long enough to teach me the lessons I needed to learn, the lessons maybe she had to learn on her own, or maybe she was born with.

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Filed under gender, growing up, Uncategorized

Day 4! Plus a New Year, a new Job

By Day 4, I am of course referring to the MeMe I’ve been attempting to complete but we’ll get to that in a minute.

First of all: L’Shana Tova to those who celebrate the Jewish New Year, I unfortunately am nowhere near a temple or the beach 😦 And yes, beach can = Temple, just ask my little sister which is where she and probably most of our temple back home, spent the day. I am however very excited to have finally gotten a job though it doesn’t start for another couple of weeks… Invasive species removal for the next year here I come! I can be sure to be overworked and very tired every day but at least it’s physical and hopefully I can get in shape (this summer of driving has done nothing for me physically).

Side Note: I am writing this in the small-town library near where my fiance works, they have an entire section of there small two room library dedicated to Westerns, this is a logging town but what the heck? They also seem to have no concept of LIBRARY VOICES… which means, quite, whispers. I guess I should be thankful they even still have a library and that it has wireless internet. I am very thankful I swear.

I realize that previous paragraph sounds… well mean? But it’s not the way I mean it I swear. It’s just that I’ve spent the previous three days delivering phone books as a temporary job and this town now has two kinds of people from what I can tell… Or three really but the third is hard to come by: One – Obviously rich, Obviously retired, Obviously their houses were paid for before they retired or they own one of the logging companies/factories still in business. Two – Meth addicts, in the droves… I guess I should have said this town used to be a major logging town, it’s still somewhat functional but a lot of the factories closed down a few years back and everyone lost their jobs and then got addicted to drugs. Most of the once middle-class neighborhoods are 75% boarded up windows and scarily skinny, paranoid people. Then there’s Category Three – really hard working families trying to get by, trying to have fun with their kids, stuck in this town, making the best of their lives here. It really makes it hit home how really crap this economy is and I am so very thankful for the jobs and job training that my fiance and I are receiving. REALLY. But we do love Olympia which is about an hour from the town where my fiance is working and making us appreciate our lives a whole lot.

Okay moving on from the depressing topic:

Day 4: The First person you came out to, and the story

I didn’t come out to the first person, really. Two girls ended up being at various times, my first kisses, first girlfriend, best friends, friends, cheaters, best friends again, lovers, drug addicts, and ex-friends. How two people can occupy so many roles in my life is a long story but I’ll try and wrap it up shortly since I’m hoping I’m not currently getting a parking ticket (shh I’ve been parked in the same parking spot for more than two hours). At our high school (The same one Katy Perry apparently went to at the same time, and no I did not know her…) it was apparently surprising for a girl NOT to be Bisexual, or at least not to have Kissed A Girl for one reason or another. So in my freshman year of high school these two girls ended up being my introductions into that aspect of sexuality. I think I probably confided in them that I had wanted to, and was too shy or something so one on of their birthdays the two of them, me and my boyfriend were all drinking on the beach and I kissed both of them, or all of them. You get the picture. So I didn’t really COME OUT to one person first, it was a gradual process that started with kissing girls, thinking I was BI, dating girls, dating boys, coming out to parents, coming out to parents again…. Thinking I was trans for a while… Friends just kind of picked up where I was at along the way.

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Filed under 30 Day Meme, Engaged Life, Uncategorized