Here I am on the last night of a work-related conference, wasting time before our closing dinner. It's been an intense, busy weekend. I'm not great at this stuff, mingling and chatting and all that. In the past I've felt ineffably backward, wrong, and out of place. This time was different, especially since I was aware of the need to forge of professional identity that will fit with my sense of self. On the one hand I felt like I was always carrying difference with me, queerness dragging behind me like a cape. On the other hand I was more comfortable with myself, and that made it easier to connect with people, too. I actually spent a lot of time hanging out with some (straight) women here and really enjoying it, not in a flirtatious sense at all but just as colleagues and human beings. That's not something I get to do very often. (Not that I usually flirt with straight women, not at all, it's usually just much more awkward and wary.)
And yet. I feel tired, I miss queer people, I really miss my apartment and my girl. Finding vegetarian food here has been a real hassle and I'm hungry. There's a black bug (or a gaggle of them?) crawling across my hotel room floor, back and forth. It creeps me out but I don't have the heart to kill it, or the energy to carry it all the way downstairs and out through the lobby. Stupid windows don't open.
I have a long day of traveling tomorrow and then the next day I'm supposed to have coffee with my mom. I haven't written much about family stuff here, partly I guess because I don't want too much of it out there on the internet. But basically things are not really ok, in the slow motion passive way characteristic of my family. My new priorities, my new outlook on life, my new independence: not really ok. And honestly, it hurts, even though I feel deep down that I'm making the right choices. This year I've felt like I'm in a battle for my own existence, refusing to live the mummified almost soul dead life I had before. I realize I've been less careful of my family's feelings, less deferential. And slowly, slowly, my guts no longer turn on a dime with their (her) disapproval (again quoting the fabulous tongue-tied).
But that's a depressing note to end on, isn't it? I will leave you with the image elevators doors closing on two women working at the hotel, a brief moment of slightly embarrassed, mostly smiling eye contact between me and the one who's just finished saying *something* about "...like Rachel Maddow." I'm taking the most ego-boosting interpretation of that one, folks. Yes I am.