I’ve got one hour until boarding time for my flight to Chicago. Flying in and out of O’Hare is always a little nerve-wracking because it’s an airport that can kick you in the teeth if you haven’t planned well or aren’t on the top of your game. I shushed my friend Barbara when she assured me everything would go well today, because I hate tempting fate. Excuse me, I mean Fate. With a capitol F.
I might as well admit to my other big airplane flying superstition: I hold my feet off the floor when we land so I can have good luck for the next flight. I guess I can’t call it “paying it forward” if it’s for my own benefit, but I will point out here I’m not completely selfish because supposedly all the other people on the flight with me would receive my good fortune as well. And I know I’m being completely ridiculous, but the little kid me heard my grandpa tell me to do it when crossing railroad tracks and landing in a plane, and now I can’t shake it for planes. I keep my feet where they are when going over tracks because 1: it makes it too hard to keep driving if I lift them up, and 2: Walla Walla has a ton of railroad crossings in and around town.
This has been a great trip, save my pangs of missingness for the wee one and Susanne. She’s been kind enough to send me pictures of him throughout the day with a video here and there so I can listen to him babble. And thank modern technology for FaceTime on the iPhone–he smiles at me across 3,000 miles and my heart leaps just as hard as when we’re together.
Since I’m being honest I will go ahead and say that these last two months have been entirely exhausting. I’m so glad my memoir is out there for people to read and discuss and digest, and I’ve mostly gotten over my feelings of guilt for marketing my work this constantly, but I still flinch when I send out yet another tweet about yet another interview or profile article. I mean, I’m grateful and thrilled that I’ve gotten so much support and yet my social network is still minuscule compared to what “real” writers have. So for those of you ready to hide or unfriend me because you’re sick of hearing about this one little book, I completely understand.
That said, I feel it in my bones when someone comes up to me smiling, telling me how much they enjoyed Bumbling or how it resonated with them. It makes me miss teaching because I loved those moments when a student would light up with the knowing of something new. These moments of connection are exactly what I’d hoped for in publishing the memoir. And I hope that they keep bubbling to the surface as more folks are exposed to Bumbling.
There was some applause during my talk at DC Trans Pride, when I brought up CeCe McDonald, when I told folks we can’t complain about LGBs leaving out the T when we bar people in our community from the T itself, and when I told the story of giving a jerk on the Metro a snappy comeback to “Are you a man or a woman?” They also seemed to like that I started off with the hokey pokey–we really needed to break the ice after a serious panel discussion on personal safety–and finished up with a call for more community building and support among ourselves. A few people stood up and clapped, and that touched me. So many people from across DC were there and damn, the District transfolk have a luxury suite in my heart, forever.
One of the current members of the DC Trans Coalition where I used to do activist work told me that they’d read my description of the meetings from 2004 and ’05, and said they’re still like that today. And so it goes, I guess.
After my keynote address, one attendee came up to me and gave me a suspicious glance. “You know,” they said (I didn’t get which pronoun I should use), “you excluded one group from the community in your talk.”
“I did?” I’d talked about who to include, sure, but I didn’t recall saying anyone shouldn’t be with us in a political coalition–since inclusion is part of my philosophy. I was curious.
“Yes, you excluded Republicans when you made a joke about Mitt Romney.”
“Ah.” I needed a second to process this, because it seemed like it needed pre-response processing.
I’d said that people needed to stick around to push for our civil rights, and not disappear into their private lives, because it was going to get funny any minute–Mitt Romney is running for President. I was just going for a little laugh, like a single grain of pepper in the big Caesar salad that was my talk. I could agree that this was exclusionary, but I don’t agree that Republicanism is a gender identity. I guess I’m okay with excluding a party or philosophy that is so set against my community.
I didn’t say this to my dissident. I thanked them for their comment and signed a book for someone.
But I acknowledge I’m certainly not perfect. Far, far from it. I want to improve my work and my message, and I crave a broader audience. I’m thrilled that Margaret Cho with 180,000 followers on Twitter would spend even one tweet on the memoir, and I still have @TheEllenShow in my sites with her 10 million followers.
So if you’ve read the book and enjoyed it and think that Ellen DeGeneres or her people should read it (or at least know about it), please send her a tweet with #BumblingintoBodyHair or @EverettMaroon in it. It won’t cost you anything but half a minute if you have a Twitter account. And it’ll be a speck of fun. I don’t hold out a lot of hope that it’ll get Ellen reading my book, but if it helps, I’ll lift my feet off the ground to give us a bit more luck.
Thanks again for all of your generosity and enthusiasm, folks. It means so much.