Brood X and Me

When I was a little kid in Seattle, I somehow ended up with large a rubber cicada toy. Maybe my dad bought it for me at a museum gift shop. We didn't have cicadas where I lived, so all I knew about them at the time was what was written on the card that came with it. In a way, they were exotic and unknowable to me.

After 28 years in the Pacific Northwest, I moved down to Austin and spent the first few years wondering what kind of weird bird spent all night screaming in the summers. It wasn't until I saw my first Neotibicen that I realized they were real, they were in reach, and they are LOUD. I fell in love, hard, and have felt blessed by every cicada I have ever seen, from Texas, to New Zealand, to Malawi.

I have had a rough couple years. I was laid off in the beginning of 2019 and was so stressed about saving money at all costs that I essentially stopped going on the nature trips that brought me joy. It took over a year to find a job, and by then the pandemic was in full swing. I am in an at-risk group, so the large groups of unmasked people filling up the few parks that were still open were a no-go. It has been almost two and a half years since my last real trip, and I have spent most of that time at home.

Enter Brood X.

As soon as I heard the largest group of periodic cicadas were emerging this year, I knew I had to go see them. Initially, my plan was to drive to Tennessee, to avoid the nightmare of flying during a pandemic. But, thanks to the vaccines becoming widely available (and my own status of being fully vaccinated as of April), I felt comfortable enough to book a flight to Cicada Ground Zero, Maryland/Virginia/DC. And so I'm going later this week and I couldn't be more excited!

I have been referring to this trip as a pilgrimage, because that's really what it is. And Brood X is symbolic to me in more ways than signifying the end of a tumultuous period of uncertainty and fear. I tend to keep to myself, so most (if not all) of y'all are not aware I am queer and agender (this puts me in the transgender bucket). I use neopronouns (fe/fin/fizz, rhymes with he/him/his) but am fine with they/them. I have never liked my birth name and am changing my name to Kai. I've struggled with how I present myself to the world for a long time, in part because of how traumatic it was to be totally rejected by my mom when I first came out as a teen.

Many of you will no doubt have noticed the wave of trans-phobic legislation popping up in the US recently. This has taken a toll in part because many don't realize how many people like me there are, being trans but silently passing by unnoticed and suffering deeply for it. We are everywhere, and even if you don't know me in person, I guarantee you have trans people in your life whether you know it or not.

In truth, I have delayed coming out because it was legal to refuse to hire somebody and legal to fire somebody just because they were trans until after I started my current job. Even now, Texas does not recognize non-binary genders, so I will be able to update my Washington birth certificate, but I cannot update my drivers license. I work with several people who openly believe that people like me don't deserve basic human rights.

I have always been contrarian. If I am told I can't do something, it just makes me want to do it more. So now that I have the security of a job, and now that gender identity is a federally protected class, I'm going to be fully myself, and this includes the necessary act of changing my name.

So just like Brood X, I'm ready to emerge from the pandemic in a different form than I entered it. Although, maybe I won't scream quite as loudly. :)

xoxo Kai Wren Joaquin

Julkaistu toukokuu 23, 2021 08:04 IP. käyttäjältä nanofishology nanofishology


wonderful to hear! im glad you are doing well kai :)

Lähettänyt buggybuddy noin 3 vuotta sitten

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