Feeling Apprehensive

Family wedding.  I hate these things because I never feel at home to be myself.  I feel like I’m disregarded and treated like the family idiot – they don’t get my sense of humor, they don’t accept my comments, they don’t get or accept me.  Add to that all that I can assume is a transphobic in-law who is just cold AF to me and barely acknowledges me.

The bright light is my sister in law and her family.  I’ll probably hang with her and leave as soon as respectably possible.  Mental health challenges have their perks.

You are Mine

You’re mine.
If your parents discard you,
You are mine.
If your friends disown you,
you are so mine.
If you disavow yourself,
I will hold a candle for you and hug you in my heart,
keeping you as mine.

Even if you don’t know you’re mine,
you’re mine.
You belong to me
to us
to this community of love that has healed me and who will heal so many others
calling us its own.

I know how it feels to be a target
as we do
and I know the sadness of hiding
because I’ve been there too
but remember this –
when you’re ready to come out
to proclaim yourself
I will be there
And so will we.

For I and we are the same now
one voice
one arm to lend you support
one shoulder to weep on.
I love you.
We love you.
No gun or plowing of cars will keep our love from any of you.
You are one us now, an I and a we
For you are mine……..

And I am yours.1bfe9430a7f5059445e3c4dba36f3a1d



(a transition poem)

I have to do this

Cause I love me cause I love me

I have to do this cause I love

I need to share this

Cause I love you cause I love you

I need to share this cause I love

This name that was mine

Never was mine never was mine

This name that was mine never was

I’m now releasing

To you both now to you both now

I’m now releasing to you both

Because I love me

You taught me that you taught me that

Because I love me you taught me

I know it hurts you

Scared and no-ing scared and no-ing

I know it hurts you scared and no

But I’m a Sam now

Cause they all love cause they all love

But I’m a Sam now cause you love

You know me better

Than the rest of than the rest of

You know me better than the rest

You can release me

Cause I’ll be yours cause I’ll be yours

You can release me cause I’ll be

Ever and always

Take his name now take his name now

Ever and always take his name

And I’ll be free

Don’t you want that? Don’t you want that?

And I’ll be free perhaps you do.

So say it with me

Cause I love you cause I love you

Say it with me cause you love.

If you don’t though

it might hurt me it might hurt me

If you don’t though it might hurt

But I’m stronger

Cause of you now Cause of you now

But I’m stronger cause of you

So I’ll end this

With my name now With my name now

So I’ll end this as Sam A.


The Sammy is In!

The trajectory of a trauma is fascinating.

I ministered to facebook friends after hearing about the horrible shooting in Orlando Sunday morning.  I posted the Beatitudes and a preacher friend used them in her service.  Immeasurably grateful that I could help.  Then, I had hope.

But as the reality set in, I got SadMad.  (If you haven’t seen the animated movie “Home,” go watch it.  It’s on Netflix).  That guy killed us and at the same time was one of us. I had suspected this, of course, from the beginning but the confirmation blurred my boundaries.
Then, I was confused.

I grew increasingly angry.  With the urging of my therapist’s insight that there is a time for everything, I wrote angry poetry and drew the lines.  Us/Them.  Me/You.  Good/Murderer.  I was on the side of good, of course.  Even though I suspected that writing this screed nudged me toward my antithesis’ ideal.

Add to this a huge trigger that made me realize how fucking hard it is to intellectualize things in the face of pain.

So I lavished pain.  Reveled in it.  Until it sucked me in.

Thankfully, I was able to secure a ride home from an interfaith remembrance service at my local MCC church and went to it last night.  Muslims wiped their eyes and Jews talked about our intersectionality.  Afterwards we stood together and joked, ate, talked to erstwhile strangers.  I felt purified.

On the way home, my ride shared her wish to convert blown-out houses into places for the homeless to rebuild their lives.  “They need something to call their own,” she said.  I agreed – I know the restorative nature of reclaiming my community, my stuff. It turned my world around.

I feel like in the last 3 years I’ve found the community whose absence I lamented in Portland.  3 years ago I wasn’t able to stand at the reading of the names of those taken from us at TDOR because I was afraid someone would smell me or judge me.  I might trip.  So I sat as my small cadre of friends had transformative if depressing moments that night.

Later I formed a PFLAG group that tanked because I was inexperienced with organizing people.  Getting someone to commit on their ideas is now, in my view, the key to running a meeting.  You can have all the ideas in the world but no one will execute them unless they make a public commitment to doing so.  How I knew that.

Fast-forward 2 years: I was asked to lead a meeting and did my best.  The person I know noted that I had come out of my shell and asked me to be there, to step up.

I have and I haven’t.  I have anxiety and I can’t show up sometimes.  But you know what?  People understand.  It seems everyone can relate to being scared, and they are happy when I can make it.

This is why I love my community.  You reach out to it and it reaches back.  It lights a candle for you, knowing you might be in the dark.  It waits, as the candle eats its way down to its butt (heh), and lights another one.  Waiting till you take it and light another for someone else.









Safe Harbor

Safe Harbor – Holiday Thoughts for 2015 ~ Sam Allen

     In Approaching the Qur`an: The Early Revelations, the scholar Michael Sells describes the pre-Islamic tradition of hospitality that existed in Bedouin societies and that was folded into Islam through the Qur`an.  The central figure of this hospitality in poems was the karim, or the generous hero who literally would give you the shirt off of his – and in this gender-inclusive society, her or their – back by sacrificing his camel mare.  His camel mare was his most prized possession and something dear to the karim’s heart, but if someone came to his tent needing it, he would give her freely.  The Sufis, according to Michael Sells, see this sacrifice as a form of self-annihilation that makes the seeker become one with the Spirit or with the god they seek reunion with.
     I’ve been thinking a lot about sacrifice and hospitality these days, particularly in the wake of seeing news stories of people who are or who are deemed as strangers coming to our shores and living with us and worshipping in places that some Americans might think about as strange.  Indeed, I once found Islam strange and it was only war that brought me back to an understanding of our shared humanity and what binds us in the sacred.
     Human life.  That’s what we celebrate on Christmas.  Something potentially holy coming from the East – a place not so far away in either these times or in Jesus’ times.  Palestine and Turkey are literally bus rides – or raft journeys – away from Europe, and a trek of a thousand miles from Asia.  Caravanserai flanked the road that the Three Wise Men probably took, and the Persian Empire guaranteed safe passage to those travellers seeking to welcome a new spirit into the world.
     This was the place into which Jesus was born.  A place touched by traditions of Asia, of the Middle East, and, unfortunately in some ways, of imperialist southern Europeans, the Romans.  A place of convergences, both celestial (if you believe in such things) and of hardships.  Again, not too different from today.
     Ginger, Zoroastrian wise men following a star, myrrh, and humble yet holy lambs.  At this time, many of us imagine the East as a sacred space, a place of wonder and of pilgrims awaiting safe harbor.
     I know it’s been overdone in the news, but let us remember the pilgrims at our doorstep today.  Let us be safe harbor for those who who need our solidarity and our gifts of love.  Let us be the karim who welcomes those strangers who need us right now.  In time, you will find that they are not so strange.


Thoughts on the Christmas Holiday

Safe Harbor

I’m from a conservative Christian background.  First Baptist was my church, and at it I learned some things I wear on me today, and other things that I have discarded.

In 2004-2005 I took a class on Islam.  I was hungry for knowledge in a time of war.  What I learned opened my eyes to ideas that maybe some of you have known for decades, but to me it was secret, and new, knowledge.

That holiday season, I began to see ginger and other spices as relics of the meeting of cultures.  The three wise men – who were probably Zoroastrian – following a star in the night with hope, and with love to welcome a new one into the world.

It was a celestial convergence.
I have saved a Christmas hymnal I found at a thrift store and bring it out every year.  The front cover has Mary and Joseph and Jesus, all in stained glass. Angular.  Nothing particularly revolutionary, but pretty in its own way.
The back cover pictures the three wise men – one from an Arab country, one who looks like he could be from North Africa, and another of an unspecified heritage.  Maybe he looks like Jesus might have looked.  This I turn up on the coffee table and look at for a reminder of who we really are.  Souls from different faiths with the capacity to come together when we recognize the sacredness of a moment.
The more I look at Christmas, the more I see its universal ideas: heaven “coming down,” the east – which was not so far away  in Jesus’ time – meeting the west, and something holy being borne into this world.  Indeed, everyday.
Another thing I think about is safe harbor.  Harboring strangers who carry something holy with them.  The innkeeper didn’t know this, neither did the shepard (?) – I’m a little fuzzy on the details – who let them stay in a manger.  Today we have strangers coming to us with the same holy spirit that might be in all of us, and from a region many of us imagine during Christmas.  Please, let us recognize the sacredness of this moment.
~ Sam

Thank You

I just wanted to say thank you to the folks who’ve liked my posts lately. It means a lot to me.  I’m still recovering so I can’t really look at most of your blogs but once I’m feeling better I’ll get back at ya. 🙂

Wedding Today

My heart aches when I see transguys on Facebook.  I can’t watch the videos that I used to watch.  It’s not even that it reminds me of him; it just makes fills me with an overwhelming sadness.  Sometimes I cry.

I’m taking a Trans Identities / Issues course from my uni as part of an elective for my Master’s degree program this fall.  It’s online and taught by a transguy…..I hope this passes before I have to watch his vids (if he posts video lectures).  One cool thing is that this prof was asking for citation pages for the Hedwig movie screenplay, which I think is a fantastic sign as I’m an adherent of Teh Hedwig as well.

The wedding is tomorrow and we should be driving up today.  I’m sad because it’s in a rural setting like the boi liked.  I really want to just skip the reception and its love songs but Idk if I’ll be able to get a ride away from it.

My cousin is looking forward to seeing me.  We haven’t seen each other in about 8 years and even then I was so shy around people that I hardly talked.  We were close when we were little though.  She lived on a hill on the ledge of a creek and we used to slide down the red clay bank into the water.  Our fun-loving moms were fine with that and just made us bathe in our clothes afterwards.  She was sweet.  So I’m looking forward to seeing her and some of the rest of my fam.


Today would have been the day that I was coming back from his state to my hometown…..I have a wedding to go to on Saturday and I’m nervous about it.  I have the reputation for crying around this family I’m going to be with over the weekend.  And, shit, I can’t stand love songs right now.  Like, yes, I listen to them and they make me cry, but I really don’t want to start crying at the wedding reception where they’ll be dj’ing songs and playing requests that the guests have sent in on their RSVP cards.  I didn’t send one in because, oddly enough, I foresaw this breakup happening and I didn’t want to request a song that would just make me remember the good times during the wedding.

When we got together we posted a pic of ourselves in the snow together; we look so happy in it.  I got something  like 42 likes (which is a lot for me) and a bunch of supportive comments on it, including from my family where the wedding’s gonna be happening.  I just hope they understand if I’m sad and start crying.  I kind of want to go back to the motel after the wedding or after the reception dinner but god, I don’t know who will be willing or sober enough to drive me.  I’m riding up with my mom.  I hate coming out to everyone as being out of a relationship, and I really don’t want to be judged for not being attracted to the boifriend…..I’ve judged myself enough on that.  Apologized and silently prayed I’m sorry to him over and over over the last 2 weeks.  Ugh.

I wish I had something positive to say but hell, I don’t.  I’m worried that I’ll become depressed over this but really I see that I’m crying over the breakup and nothing else, so that’s a positive sign.  My friend’s gonna come down from where she’s living to help teach me to drive.  Hopefully once that’s over I’ll feel better.  Like, I took a Lyft to fill out a job app yesterday and that brought me out of it.  At first I cried to the person who was driving me there because she commented that it was a beautiful day and I just wasn’t feeling it.  She was sweet, though.  I told her about the breakup and she listened, was caring, and then we started talking about the importance of emotions and how to love people and use things, and not the other way around.  I think we were kindred spirits.  She’s the one who encouraged me to journal my feelings, which I’m doing right now. And then on the way back I had a jokey potty-mouthed driver who I bullshitted with and laughed with all the way back home with.  She was fun and driving back with her put me in a good mood.

I wish I trusted where I live enough to walk around but due to times in the past where I’ve been *grr hurt* I feel really self-conscious and uncomfortable when I go out walking around here.  I just started typing that I could bite the bullet and my PTSD and start riding my bike around again, but felt a surge of fear about.  Maybe later?  Who knows.  All I know is that I’m sick of feeding my sadness with food and that it helps me to go out.  It’s a feeling of freedom that I can’t replicate anywhere around the house.

This song by Nina Simone brings me comfort right now.  I feel her.  Especially if you think of, as in the documentary, she was talking about how black people lost their sense of history and identity through slavery and jim crow and all of that shit.  It helps me empathize and brings me into her world, not just a prejudiced world but the world of someone who’s going through crap like me.

Nina Simone – Ain’t Got No…I’ve Got Life

I’m leaning on my friends really heavily right now, and I’m so thankful for them.  One friend who’s called me every day ever since we met is continuing to call me every day and is holding my hand through all of it.  Another I just told about the break-up.  That I was hurting.  Asked him to pray for me because that’s what he does and how he can show that he cares.  He texted back that he loves me.  Which is how I feel about my friends right now.  I love them all.  Even the ones I only talk to once a month or so.  They’re all here for me surrounding me with love….and I’m lucky for that.