Sunday Night Slowjam: You Make Me Feel Brand New– The Stylistics

I wish people still wrote songs like this.  A love song filled with gratitude.  Whenever I listen to it, I end up screaming the chorus with my arms raised above my head. My roommates have learned that I will sing to them on my knees when this song comes on.  It’s super-fun to live with me.

Someone once asked me why I love slowjams so much.  At the time, I didn’t quite have the words.  I think I said something like “why not?” which doesn’t answer the question.  I love them because they feel real in ways that a lot of music just doesn’t anymore.  To me, good, honest love songs feel human.  Of course, a lot of music feels human when it’s honest.  Love songs, though, carry a certain emotional vulnerability that is at best subtle in other types of songs.  I want to be affected by the music and love songs do just that.


Friday Night Post #3

I’ve had a hard time staying on track this past week. I’ve been a day behind in life as well as on the blog, so this weekend will be about catching up.

I’m working on improving the “Resources page.  I’m asking you all for resources relating to faith, self-care, trans* existences, and POC existences.  What do you read? What are your go-to educational resources?  Have you read/seen/listened to anything lately that’s changed your life?  I’d love to know about it.  Leave a comment on this post or message me through the contact page.

I’m still in the process of trying to find a new name and a new look.  I’ve narrowed down a couple different themes, but the name will really help to determine which one I pick.  If you have any suggestions, let me know.

Thanks for reading ya’ll!

<3 Taj


Found In Philly

As the bus pulled into Philadelphia, I started to feel anxious.  I hadn’t really thought about my expectations of the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference, and at that moment, the thought of what I would be walking to was overwhelming.  I’ve never had the opportunity to spend time with more than 10 trans* people at a time.  I couldn’t even conceptualize what it would be like to spend a few days with over 50 let alone thousands.  So I panicked.  The bus slowed, I gathered my suitcase and messenger bag, and set out for my hotel with shaky, sweaty hands.

Sunday Night Slowjam: Orange Moon– Erykah Badu

This week’s Slowjam is brought to you by the one and only Erykah Badu.  Enjoy!

I should have put what follows in a Friday Night Post, but I didn’t:  

I may not get to a Monday post this week.  Haven’t had a chance to work on a piece this past week and I don’t want to post something for the sake of posting.  You know?  I want to keep it as quality as I can.  So, enjoy the slowjam for now and look for some poetry on Wednesday.  

Happy Sunday ya’ll!

Naked and Not Ashamed: Lessons in Vulnerability From Adam and Eve

Each death brings up the last one and the one before.  When it happens, I have to let the names reverberate in my soul like residual sound waves from the repeated crashing of cymbals.  I can brace myself, but each vibration is stronger than the last, emanating from my chest until I’m on my back.  At that point, I am drained.  Nothing is real except the patterns on the ceiling and the disdain for all foods that are not pizza delivery.

I’ve admittedly been uninspired.  I have seven blog entries that I’ve started, each of which went no where.  It’s not that I haven’t known what to write, but that I couldn’t.  I would latch on to an idea and in the few minutes it would take for me to hammer out the first few sentences, I’d be through with it.  The words would disappear.  My mind would be blank leaving only distorted faces and traces of names.

What do you do in the aftermath of loss?  How do you cope?

I draw in.  I keep to myself.  I hide.

I write, of course, but not publicly.  I write everything down in my leather-bound journal to be viewed only by me.  I feel less vulnerable that way.  Everything written in the journal is protected by its secure location and the indecipherable code that is my handwriting.  I am free to be as candid as I please.  The walls can come down, and emotions can flow. Of course, I’m expected to be vulnerable here too, but there is a difference between expected vulnerability and unexpected nakedness.  When I am expected to be vulnerable, I get the feeling that I can prepare.  Not all of my secrets have to be shared, and I get to pick and choose which ones I air.  Unexpected nakedness leaves nothing hidden.  All of my faults and insecurities are open to scrutiny.  The world chooses what to do with the information as if it was never mine.

The Bible speaks quite a bit about nakedness, usually in regard to sex and sexuality. However, I think there is something be said for reading some of those passages with vulnerability in mind.  The last line of Genesis 2 is particularly interesting: “And the man and his wife were naked, and not ashamed.”  Usually, you will hear this line discussed in terms of sex.  To be naked is to be sexual, and to be not ashamed of it is a sort of ignorant bliss in which Adam and Eve lived before “waking up”.  This line, though, admits a sort of vulnerability that I think needs to be examined.

They were two naked folks without the shame that we so often feel surrounding bodies.  They showed their whole selves to each other with no reservations.  They lived without worry as to what the other would think, or whether they should be ashamed of revealing so much to the other.   It’s not just the act of creation that bonds them, but the vulnerability of their relationship that links them together.

Maybe applying Genesis to my situation is a bit of a stretch.  Perhaps the sexual implications of the text are too hard to ignore.  More exegesis of the story would bring up some interesting social teachings regarding gender, not to mention the whole thing about homosexuality, but this one-line verse is packed with so much beauty and innocence that I needed to look at it in terms of all that nakedness suggests.  The act of being naked is not inherently sexual; our reading of this text is what makes it so.  There is more to nakedness than just physicality.  Nakedness is also a feeling.  Being naked does not necessarily depend on whether one has on clothes.  I can feel naked while fully clothed.

Nakedness suggests an openness with my vulnerability that requires trust.  In an emotional context, the willingness to reveal myself creates a bond between that person and myself that makes for a more intimate friendship.  In that type of friendship, I am able to be as open about my feelings as I need to be without fear or shame.  The friendship itself becomes a safe space in which all parties involved can explore the depths of their feelings while trusting that the others will not take advantage of those feelings or that situation.

I have felt a sort of raw vulnerability that makes it difficult to trust other with that vulnerability.  I have felt as if my words would give away too much to people I don’t know I can trust with that information, thus leaving me open to those undesirable feelings of unexpected nakedness.  I tell myself I’m totally OK with everything, then I go to the ‘new post’ screen and freeze.  Suddenly, I forget the boundaries between private and public information and feel naked in front of the screen, as if anything I type will reveal too much.  I don’t share anything to keep myself from sharing too much.

I’ve had it drilled into my head that there are certain things that are OK to talk about and others that are not.  Death is definitely in the camp of things that are not OK to talk about.  It’s private.  The feelings associated with it are private.  We don’t talk about it.  There are some for whom this approach works.  I am not one of those people.  I need to process my feelings with those who are experiencing the same thing.  I need to know that I am not alone, even if the only other person feeling the same thing is across the world somewhere.  I have to write about it.

It’s not a neat process.  It’s hard to tap into that space knowing that these words will be read by eyes other than mine.  I get uncomfortable and think that maybe it would be better if I kept it all to myself.  I start imagining my life without assigning words to the difficult things I experience.  My alternate world is one where I can only express happiness.  That world is the more terrifying than most of my nightmares.  In that world, I do not relate to others and I do not grow.

Someone once taught me that moving forward with life requires being able to sit with discomfort.  Things don’t have to be OK including myself.  I am not always in control.  I do need to be able to sit amidst the chaos and feel it permeating all aspects of my life– including my faith– to understand that I am vulnerable.  I am delicate and fragile.  This is not something that I must hide or control.  If I accept anything as truth in life, it will be this one thing.

Really though, what’s the use of writing if not to convey difficult emotions and experiences?  I want to write such that I am moved.  I want the words to take me on a journey that makes it impossible to get back to where I was previously.  Hopefully, whoever reads it will experience the same.

Sunday Night Slowjam: This Woman’s Work– Maxwell

This. Song. This song! I told you this week’s would be really good.  I’m posting the lyrics to this one because it’s better to listen to it, read it, then listen to it again.  Hope you enjoy it!

Happy Sunday!


“This Woman’s Work”
by Maxwell

Pray God you can cope
I’ll stand outside
This woman’s work
This woman’s world
Oh it’s hard on the man
Now his part is over
Now starts the craft of the FatherI know you’ve got a little life in you yet
I know you’ve got a lot of strength left
I know you’ve got a little life in you yet
I know you’ve got a lot of strength left

I should be crying but I just can’t let it show
I should be hoping but I can’t stop thinking
All the things we should’ve said that I never said
All the things we should’ve done but we never did
All the things we should’ve given but I didn’t

Oh, darling, make it go, make it go away

Give me these moments
Give them back to me
Give me your little kiss

Give me your…
I know you have a little life in you yet
Give me your hand, babe
I know you have a lot of strength left
Give me your pretty hand
I know you have a little life in you yet
Oh oh oh
I know you have a lot of strength left

My love child
I know you have a little life in you yet
Whatever you need me
I know you have a lot of strength left
Give me your hand
I know you have a little life in you yet
Give me your hand
I know you have a lot of strength left

I should be crying but I just can’t let it show, baby
I should be hopin’ but I can’t stop thinkin’
Of all the things we should’ve said that we never said
All the things we should’ve done that we never did
All the things that you wanted from me
All the things that you needed from me
All the things I should’ve given but I didn’t

Oh, darling, make it go away, just make it go away

The Friday Night Post #2

Wow!  What an exciting week here in my blogosphere.  Thanks for all the positive feedback surrounding this week’s posts.  I’m feeling the love, which is not something often said when covering “dangerous” topics in this wild wild web.  I really appreciate your support.

Things you might notice in the next few weeks:

1) As part of my blog re-energizing project, I’m searching for a new look for this sight.  This layout has served me well, but I think it’s time to change it up.  I haven’t found anything that speaks to me yet.  When I do, the change will come.  Be on the lookout.

2) A new look deserves a new name.  “A Light in the Distance” is supposed to convey the idea of hope in the dark, which was fitting when I first started this blog back in 2011.  I deleted the original and started this one with the same name in its place.  It felt right at the time.  Now, as things evolve, so too must this blog.

As I said, these changes will not take effect for some time.  Just don’t be surprised if, upon your next visit, everything is green (I won’t make everything green).

Keep checking back for these updates and new material.  If anything, stop by for the Sunday Night Slowjam. This week’s will be a really good one.

Thanks all!

<3 Taj