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My fridge is covered with holiday cards, smiling faces of loved ones with summaries of their year. Most I read, some I skip, posting them with a magnetic tack, which I look at smilingly as I sip my Kona coffee in the morning.
What strikes me about these cards is milestones: Bri’s first day of school; Aunt Midge’s 90th birthday; Mai and Eric’s wedding. It got me thinking about 2012, a personally monumental year for me, in which I feel I found my voice as a young writer, as a woman and as an activist.
I haven’t written a blog post since July, on the eve of leaving my job of more than five years at People.com. As some of you may know, I’ve spent these last transitioning months traveling, speaking and most personal to me, writing my memoir Fish Food which will be out February 2014.
I’d like to use this space to highlight and list some of the people who have moved me, the events and work that have inspired me and the milestones, mentions and awards that have affirmed me and my work. In 2012, I was honored by an organization created in the legacy of one of my heroes Sylvia Rivera; I made my television debut on MSNBC with Thomas Roberts; I stood witness as two people I love married the love of their lives; I signed my book deal enabling me to truly write for a living; I shared on-air space with my sister Isis King, creating the first-ever segment where two trans women simply spoke to one another; I was among a small group of emerging LGBT leaders being feted at Vice President Biden’s home; and I spoke to thousands of young people and many privileged folks about what it means to stand at the intersections of many systems of oppression.
As we push towards another new year, I want to wish you joy and happiness, as the dearly departed Whitney Houston sang, but above all this, I wish you love – not necessarily romantic, fairytale, prince charming love – but the kind of love that one can only give themselves, the kind of love you attain and embody when you decide to live, own and share your truth.
Love is revolutionary; never forget that.
I can’t think of Valentine’s Day without thinking of this day two years ago.
I was single, lovesick and beyond weary. Weary of Aaron’s inability to commit to me, to be with me, to choose to make a life with me.
At this time two years ago, there wasn’t an us. I didn’t know the Aaron who’d bake oatmeal cookies for me. I didn’t know the Aaron who’d spend hours editing videos and photos for my website. I didn’t know the Aaron who’d randomly leave love notes around our apartment just because.
The Aaron I knew two years ago was an Aaron who was pretty certain that he wasn’t able to give me what I needed. This disappointment was something he communicated to me time and time again, in big and small ways: Not returning my calls or texts; flaking out on my passive-aggressive invitations to hangout; and outright telling me that he was afraid he couldn’t give me what I wanted.
On Valentine’s 2010, we’d been dating for nearly a year, and in that time I had told him about my journey, about my childhood, about my transition. He knew everything about me, yet was still reluctant to commit to me. And like most women with father issues, I blamed myself, my past, internalizing his rejection, his ability to communicate that he didn’t want to be in a relationship, as a reflection of my self-worth, or lack thereof.
After nearly a year of in-between, no-title, no-commitment dating, I could no longer live in limbo. Aaron had a hold of my heart, but had no desire to take on the responsibility to handle it with care. So with no Valentine and no date, I got a knock on my door.
After feeling insecure and vulnerable about his web series, Aaron turns the tables on Janet, calling her out on her progress (or lack thereof) as a writer. Feeling attacked, Janet unexpectedly breaks down, opening the floodgates to deeper issues within herself and their relationship.
Listen now as Janet and Aaron have their most revealing conversation yet.