Millenial Matriarch

In this episode, moderated by Ayasha Guerin, we hear from Elise Peterson, Maria Jose, Sasha Bonet, and Maia Cruz Palileo. This conversation encourages each person to share their varied perspectives as we attempt to define and redefine what it means to be a matriarch in the millennial age.

Ayasha: We are here to talk about the millennial matriarch. I’m gonna introduce myself and then I’ll let everyone on the panel introduce themselves. My name is Ayasha Guerin, I am an artist and scholar based here in New York. I do research about urban ecological haitories and community resilience.

Maia: Hi everyone my name is Maia Cruz Palileo. I’m a visual artist, mostly painting but I also make all kinds of other things. And most my work is based on my family. My family is from the Philippines and I grew up here. As of recently the work has sort of branched out from my own personal family to more about the history between our country and this country.

Elise: Hi everyone! My name is Elise Peterson, I’m a visual artist, mainly working within collage but I also illustrate children’s books as well. And I am an on camera media host.

Sahsa: I’m Sasha Bonet, I’m a writer. Most of my work focuses on black womanhood and the black woman experience through art and culture and traditional examinations, through non-fiction essay style mostly.

Maria: Hello, my name is Maria. I’m an artist, a photographer, a poet and a performer. My work is about many things, sometimes it’s wacky sometimes it’s serious but it deals with womanhood identity and all that nice salad.

Ayasha: Well I thought just to kick off the conversation, the name of this conversation is millennial matriarch, I thought it would be fun to go around and have everyone tell us what your immediate associations were with this idea. Did you relate to it? How did you interpret this idea of the millennial matriarch.

Elise: Well I’m obviously knocked up so it resonated with me pretty immediately. This is my first child that I’m having, doin the good work. It immediately resonated with me cuz I think I just used this term in conversation with friends like “Oh the millennial mom, the millennial matriarch.” Because that’s what I feel like. I think we’re seeing such an evolving narrative of women and womanhood and femme as we’re represented in media and the culture, and I think one of the last frontiers is motherhood, or matriarchy. And so I’m really excited to have this conversation because being on the verge of having my own child, my family is like “How are you doing this?” in the sense of not doing it what is considered a traditional way, or maybe a way which many of us have come from. And so having to rewrite my narrative of what a family structure is, what a mother is, what a mother does, what a mother looks like.

Sasha: I thought this was quite fitting I thought that they came to me and asked me to be a part of this because I’m a mom but I think it’s a bit more than that. I have a child her name is Sofia she is six, and I’m raising her alone as a single parent, and I thought that I was gonna have this baby and do everything different than the way my parents did it, from the way my mom did it, and I am in some ways but I think I come from a lineage of matriarchs and I think a lot of women of color do and that’s kind of what our ancestry is rooted in. So I’m this way of thinking I’m doing everything different I’m actually not. I’m jus drawing from what I know and then tweaking it, tweaking the things that I felt didn’t work for me and didn’t work for the people around me and trying to elevate that now.

Maria: Uhm well I was supposed to talk yesterday and that did not happen and I was given the chance to sign up for any of the conversations that were happening today, and I saw the queer matriarch and I thought that possibly could be the one panel fitting for me. I asked Sienna and I asked is there a trans person in the panel and I just thought it was important to have a trans person here. I have a very complicated and real relationship to motherhood and matriarchy that I’m excited to flesh out throughout our conversation. But it is scary, I was on a cab once with this other beautiful woman, mother carrying her baby in a, how do you call those it’s like a kangaroo type thing? And we were talking about this newborn baby. And she goes on to ask me, “Do you have children?” and I was really shook, I was like, who do you think you’re asking this question to? Am I passing as a cis woman and you expect me to be able to bear children that way? And I said no but sometimes I wish that I had said yes.

Maia: Yeah I was kind of thinking about matriarchy, I guess I was kinda thinking “Why’d they pick me?” But I was ok, if anyone has seen my paintings they’re always, a lot of it comes down the line, my mother, my grandmother, all of my great aunts. And I think about making a portrait of these women is in a way honoring them and everything that I’ve learned about who I am has come from them. So that’s where my thoughts about matriarchy came from. And also outside of my family, mentorship has been a big thing for me. Women, other artists, who have been my mentors and that is a thing that I see as matriarchal, these things that pass down through the generations and what you guys were talking about in the last talk just like intergenerational pass down, that’s unseen and comes from the mother’s lineage. I guess that’s what I was thinking about it.

Ayasha: I don’t have children and I don’t know if I will have children but I once was a child and I grew up in a house full of women, no men. My mother was very much a matriarch in that she had all the power. And she didn't really like to share it. And so my initial sort of impulse when I heard millennial matriarch was to hold matriarchy up to the same criticism that I have of patriarchy and question the power of this sort of top down leadership. So I immediately wanted to trouble the idea of matriarchy. Another reason is because I think that as women of color we’re often expected to be these strong women of color, and I think that it can sometimes lead to tokenizing and I’m sure you’ve all been in a position where you’ve been given or taken a seat at the table and then felt like you have to represent other women of color. And so I’m wondering if we can go in this conversation to a question of, how do we bring other people up to leadership positions alongside us rather than serving as representatives for women of color?

Maria: I think it’s really hard to topple any kind of hierarchy and I think that the world has functioned in pyramid dynamics and it’s hard to find out how to make a system work without someone on top. I think a lot of spaces that mean to have this horizontal sense of power ended up being corrupted somehow and someone then takes power. I think it starts maybe by killing the ego and realizing that it’s not up to you to do something for your community. We have to kill our egos in order to see each other as equals. And that’s really hard, it’s a tough path for all of us to go onto.

Elise: Nepotism, just when you get in the position where you can reach back and help someone else, then you do it. So many projects and collaborations that I’ve worked on have been because another person almost always, if not always, a woman of color who’s gotten into a position in which, hey Elise would be great for that. I’m gonna bring her on I’m gonna put money in her pocket I’m gonna give her a seat at this table as well, I’m going to introduce her to this circle of people. Has been one of the greatest most accessible things that we can all do. Whether it’s referring someone or posting someone’s work on your Instagram cuz you like it and you give them credit. There’s a lot of ways in which we can help other people and continue to create a platform. Also coming from a background of education and being an educator, I’ve always been so incredibly moved and believed in the power of youth and I think one of the greatest ways in which we can impact youth is visibility and people honoring what your gifts are. I think that is the only job any of us have here. When you’re talking about like is it really our job, I think our job is really to figure out what it is we’re supposed to be here for and honor it. And in doing that naturally we impact others, hopefully inspire others hopefully get on the position where you can put your sister on, get her a check, get her an opportunity get her some housing. That’s how I’ve survived in New York, and in life generally.

Sasha: I’ve had the same experience, I haven’t been offered any opportunity that wasn’t passed onto me by someone I know, a woman of color who put it in my inbox, even grants and fellowships. Ayasha is always sending me things, I’m sending her things and we’re creating an email network where we’re sharing funding opportunities and I think it’s really important that we keep that going and nor horde it like, only certain people can get this private list. Especially as a writer, hoarding editors. It’s ridiculous because it’s easy to slip into this idea of well if I’m the black representative because these institutions make you believe that you are their representative like “You’re our one black voice.” and you don’t wanna share that space with other poc that’s not cool. And so I think it’s important to get your ego out of the way. You are not the singular black voice. You can not tell the story of the complete black experience you can only talk about your experience. And so that’s important to keep in mind. Also checking on one another, checking on your people, seeing how they’re doing. And also being honest about your experiences because people call you and they’re like “Oh I see you’re writing for Vogue, or these people. You’re doing so well.” and I’m like I’m in pain, I’m struggling, this is why and just talk about that openly. I think that’s also important to not just pretend that you’re so safe and you’re so precious but also sharing your pains and also reaching out and saying hey can you help me, in work but also just in life. And I think this is something in my family I’ll say black women don’t talk about their pain because that’s weak. Even sometimes I’ll call my mother and she’ll be like “Ugh I had three jobs and three kids and you only have one! I did this and that and you have to pull yourself together.” And I feel pressure about that and sometimes I don’t wanna cry and I never saw my mother cry and I feel like crying js important in front of your child and letting them know that you’re not made of steel because that dismantles the idea that this stereotype about the black woman being this warrior that doesn’t feel pain. So all of these things I think are important when we’re talking about moving, progressing together as women. And I think we’re our only salvation. I’ve given up on this idea of men understanding our experiences. I think I’ve just accepted that we are our own salvation, we have to help one another we recognize certain experiences and pains and traumas within one another and then we can forecast them and be there to uplift one another.

Maia: I think you all said something I wanted to say too. I think that just the sharing aspect of it, the opportunities and the nepotism of it. I have a mentor who is having a show at a museum soon and she’s invited me and some younger artists to participate which I think that those things are a way of sharing that. And then being honest about where you’re at. I think im terms of also being able to be honest and I guess im a way be an example to, I also teach in addition to making art and it’s not like a top down type of thing, teaching, we’re all on the same level and I’m learning just as much as the students are and that community is super important. And also just going against your instinctual or maybe what society has taught us to do to get on top and have this “I come from this part and I have to climb my way up the ladder”. And to just buck that and try to do things that are opposite, to take opposite actions of what we’re taught to do. Whether that’s saying I’m in pain and this is how I actually feel or sharing things that maybe not everybody has access to, just kind of doing the opposite thing.

Ayasha: Yeah I think Sasha, what you said about us being our own salvation is so true and itms so great that we’re able to chart these alternative paths to power that are more collective based. I’m gonna ask another hard question about the politics of feminism today. We’re sort of living in this post-pant suit political era and we see the rise of “She-EOs” and “#girlbosses” and it’s easy to wear feminism as a fashion statement. I think we need to pay attention to the ways that female empowerment falls short. Female empowerment is important but what are the other ways to empowerment that don’t center the female, that look out for Native men or Black men too, because that’s also part of feminism, that’s also part of this movement. If we’re so frustrated with the “boy’s club” then how do we make the “girls club” accessible and different than the patriarchal systems that are the models of society?

Sasha: I find that so hard because I’m just really kind of tired of thinking about the male experience. I feel like, I know that what you’re saying is right, I know that it should be accessible to everyone because patriarchy hurts everyone, not just women. The last talk was talking about how men have these responsibilities that are impossible and that affects everyone in the family. And so, you’re right but I also don’t know that I have so much space for that right now. I just feel resistant to it, to the idea of thinking about that experience any longer. I feel like even growing up it was like you have to think about your brother’s experience, and when he’s out driving in his care you have to make sure and think about what it’ll be like when your husband comes home cuz the world is gonna beat him up. I was taught to anticipate these things for my brothers and for my future ghost husband. And no one ever sat down to say hey brother, this is what your sister is going to experience as a black woman in the world how can you make it a little easier for her when she comes home? And I have conversations with black men and they're saying things like “It’s different for you because no one’s afraid of you. They desire you.” as if that's in some way better because black men are feared and black women are desired. At least they see you in some way. And so I’m just so tired of having those conversations honestly, and I don’t make a lot of space to consider it anymore, I’ve kind of been on a track where I’m thinking about mostly women, and women of color.

Elise: I’m glad you brought this up cuz I’m in like a totally different place, and I’m glad we’re having this conversation. I have a lot of space for a male experience, I have a lot of space for men in my life because, let’s see where shall I begin. When I became pregnant, all I wanted to do was have a girl, right? And I was like I know women, I work with women, I empower women, my mother is incredible I come from a long lineage of a matriarchy, and when I found out I was having a boy I cried. And I felt so selfish cuz I was like oh so many people wanna have children and can’t, I’m healthy. And I was having all of these mixed emotions and I even had an aunt tell me “Ugh, don’t have a boy. We are a family of women. We don’t have space for some little boy running around.” I was like damn, well there’s nothing I can do about it now. Maybe it will change when he decides to be whoever he wants to be but as of now he is a boy, I’ve got a penis inside of me, this is what is happening. And so I had a really great friend, my friend Mara who is the mother of a son. And I told her about my frustrations and she said “You know Elise, this world is full of so many incredible intelligent powerful women. What this world needs is more good men. And what a privilege it is to bring a man a world into this world and to raise a man into a man that you’d potentially wanna be with. Or be out in the world making a difference.” And so that really helped me to come around to this idea of raising a son, and what that means today. And I think that’s probably one of the most radical acts that I can do is to bring a man into this world, with the knowledge that I have, that his father has, because I respect his father as a black man, I respect his experience, I make space for his experience. I don't expect him to understand my experience the way that my friend does, period. And vice versa, because we just come from a different experience and that’s ok. And I think once we realize “He doesn’t get it!” Alright, he doesn’t have to. All we’re responsible for is being our best selves and doing our best, and listening. And sometimes your sister doesn’t get it either. Sometimes the white woman that you work with doesn’t get it either. And we can’t hold each other to these impossible standards of always getting each other’s experiences. You’re here to live your life. I could go on and on but I think I sometimes become a bit frustrated in seeing how far a lot of our femme experiences are beginning to pull away from a male experience as well, especially within the black community. I think there is so much divide within our community, I think it is such a radical act to have compassion and empathy for things you can see people going through and things you can’t see. So I would hope that when my son is grown up and he’s in a room full of women that there’s space for him and there’s compassion and that he also knows how to make that space for those women as well.

Maia: Can you say the question one more time?

Ayasha: One part of my question was how do we create spaces and networks and communities that are accessible? And the other part of my question was how do we decenter gender as the thing when we’re talking about empowerment, how can we think about bringing other people into empowerment beyond the lens of gender, as women of color? What are some routes to doing that?

Maia: Just listening to everybody I just keep coming back to this idea of sharing. And this happens a lot, something that I struggle with, speaking up. I’m so conditioned to just stay quiet and be good or whatever and that my experience isn’t valid or that that’s what I sort of struggle with, this issue of using my voice. And that’s one thing, and then this is maybe off topic but I think about just being in the world regarding gender. I used to have long hair and used to look different, and the way I was in the world was such a different experience. Being seen, being catcalled, and now sometimes people aren’t sure whether I’m a guy or a girl, sometimes I don’t know why this is coming up but it’s just where I’m going with this.

Maria: Yeah, I’m spiraling so hard right now. Like I feel invisible. I feel like it’s really easy for trans people in this space to feel invisible given the language that’s being used. I think to make girls club inclusive we definitely have to broaden our understanding of gender and genitalia and include non-binary people which have not been mentioned once, they do exist. They are femme, sometimes, sometimes they’re not, sometimes there’s no word to allocate their gender. And I think a lot of times cis women in the attempt to create a safe space really make invisible a lot of femmes and trans women that have penises. You have to be very careful when creating a safe space because it hasn’t felt safe for me already.

Elise: I’m sorry.

Maria: It’s ok, and it’s something that we need to be speaking about even though it’s hard for me to speak about it right now.

Ayasha: Do you think that the question of how do we approach empowerment without talking about gender is insensitive or, I’m trying to think beyond gender and I don’t know if I’m doing it right.

Maria: I think your question poses a good platform to jump off from. But even given that platform, it’s kind of skewed into these areas that I don’t really think pertain to feminism as it should be today. I’m not afraid of feminism and I actually think that I am a feminist, a womanist.

Ayasha: I think we should talk about what feminism means to us, what is feminism without harping on the idea of gender dichotomies. What’s the ethis of feminism that matter to you?

Maria: Well I think we can’t just throw the binary out of the window. I think it’s extremely relevant to the way that we all navigate the world. I think just because toxic masculinity is gendered, I don’t think that we should throw it out of the window I think we should confront it head on. And I think as a feminist I’d like to think that that’s what we’re trying to dismantle. And in that comes understanding that gender and womanhood falls on a very broad spectrum that you might not always consider. I think feminism includes men, it includes masc people, it include gender non-conforming people, it include everyone, but with the common goal of empowering people because they deserve it.

Ayasha: I don’t think safe spaces exist, period. I think there is such an emphasis today to put on “This is a safe space. This is a safe space. This is a safe space.” It’s not. There is no safe space out here in the world, and I think in an idyllic utopian society there are, but you can’t please everyone and you can’t not offend. Because then we can’t stand by our own values our own morals our own beliefs our own opinions. And I think there’s so much emphasis that is put on not offending and being completely inclusive and that can be offensive to some people in this space. I’m ok with that. I think it’s really interesting in 2017 that it’s hard to have an opinion. I think that so many of us want to say things that make everyone feel good. And I’m not particularly interested in that. And that’s not to say that I don’t consider other people’s perspectives and I don’t want you to take this directly but something that you said, safe space tends to be a trigger for me because, I don’t know, maybe it’s my age, but I’ve been in a lot of spaces, as a former sex worker, as a mother as a black woman as a woman, there are not safe spaces, they just don’t exist. And I kinda would like to just make that point. And in terms of feminism, also categorizing is interesting. Categorizing in gender can be complex. Categorizing in how we identify can be complex. Certain words really resonate with me, like black. I feel really comfortable with that term. That’s how I identify. Woman feels really comfortable. Outside of that, things get a little weird. I’m not really sure what I would say outside of that. I wouldn’t say feminist. I don’t think theres anything wrong with feminism as a concept, a construct, but it doesn’t fit in my bag. And I think that again as informed empathetic human beings in this world, I think a lot of times when we don’t agree or align ourselves with certain terms people are like “Oh, she’s not a feminist.” And then you automatically assume, or oh she is a feminist, that means we automatically are on the same team we agree. Like no, maybe not. So I just in general have a tough time with the word feminism, not the idea just people labeling it. Every time I get someone like “Hey Ayasha I wanna interview you for this thing. Talk about being a girlboss. Talk about being a feminist. Talk about being a womanist. Talk about..” and it’s just like no, I won’t. The only thing I’m concerned about are honoring my gifts, giving platforms to women of color. Making my ancestors proud.

Elise: I think it would be great to get some concrete examples from all of you of some alternatives to the sort of heteronormative family model. Because I when I think of matriarchy I think of family and responsibility. And I’m just wondering if any of you have experiences from your own life, or loved ones and friends of alternative ways of parenting, you spoke a bit about mentorship, other ways of helping smaller people grow or people who have less experience than you in something.

Maia: That makes me think of just chosen family basically. I grew up, my parents didn't really support me being an artist, they didn’t support me being gay, I just didn’t have a lot of support from them. So I had to find that elsewhere and I had to find people who looked like what I wanted to be, seeking out that. And I don’t know if I even really seeked it out, I just was lucky to be in the places where people were living the kind of life that I wanted to live, and I don’t even know that I knew that actually. I was pretty repressed and then coming her and pursuing my interests I was able to find those people. And I think also just that kind of support is so important and for me it’s been really helpful in coming back to my family of origin being the person that I am around them, having my community and my family of choice has empowered me to be who I am and not apologize for it. I think that’s still a struggle, I'll talk about being an artist, I think representation is a big deal, and it wasn’t until after I was out of school that I was able to realize these thing I mean my of my program was white and I would kinda get pigeonholed like “Oh you’re this, you should make work about this.” it just so happened that I became interested in my family and my family’s history and that became a driving force. But I do feel like now is getting better, before it was just not around. So in terms of also just passing on stories, I do a lot of research and telling stories through the work. They’re not super didactic but there is a spirit that comes through it and I think the more I can just dedicate myself to my craft and try to be true in the work I think it magnetizes people to come together in that way. Even just being invited today, I don’t know anyone here, but hey I have a website and I make work and you guys found me and this is awesome!

Elise: So this one is fun. So my partner and I made a baby, and decided really on, I was like I like my personal space, I like living alone, I like doing my thing. So that’s what I’m gonna keep doing. He was really disappointed. I think a lot of times transitioning into having a child and going from being an artist and a freelancer and being really free in New York and living this life that looks really good on social media, and then transitioning into something that’s super rooted and a lifetime commitment, and I’ve never done anything from my entire life. Hopefully I’ll be a mother forever, and then I’ll die and my children will live on and I’ll still be a mother which is such a wild concept to think about. So my father was just like “So you guys are gonna move in together? You’re gonna get married?” And I was like, no actually. Maybe one day, but today I like living alone and I like when he goes home. And I like being at home and I really like when he comes to see me and I get excited every time that’s amazing. And it was very difficult and continues to be such an interesting challenge when you live you life in a way that is different from what other people expect of you, no matter what that means. I remember when I was living with my girlfriend, it he was like “Ugh alright.” And now it’s like I’m pregnant by a man are you excited? And he’s like “Oh but you’re still not doing it in the way that I wanted you to do it. So for me I find so much power in continuing to live my life exactly the way I want to. I live alone, I’ll live alone with my kid, we’ll be a family but my family are the women that continue to support me every day and supported me before I had a child. That’s my community. I love my community of women in New York and I feel really empowered by all of the women that have rallied around me especially in this transition of bringing life into the world saying we’re here, we’ll help you put the shelf up we have tool kits, we’ll do your laundry, whatever you need we’re here for. And I think that so much of that, specifically being a black person, so much of that is ancestral. Coming from places where community raises the child. And I just feel like I’m getting back to my roots of allowing my community to come in and help raise my child. And I think that’s really powerful when we’re talking about family structure. Cuz it does take a village, you can’t do it on your own. And I don’t wanna do it with just one other person either. If there’s 15 who wanna help me with this kid, bring it on. That’s 15 incredible perspectives because I don’t have all the answers, he doesn’t have all the answers. There’s so many people to come in and bring something and enrich not just my life but the life of my child which I think is such a precious thing.

Ayasha: Yeah that was kind of the follow up to this question of how do women of color show up to help create these alternative families? How do you expect your friends to be a part of this parenting?

Elise: Well, I hope they’re watching. Well one, I have 4 godmothers cuz one wasn’t enough. They’re all women or femme identifying people who I think have strengths and skills and show up in different ways. Artists, some are business owners and entrepreneurs like you’re gonna be the auntie who takes him around the world. That is your job, thank you. Or simple things like I’m having a home birth so my midwife comes and visits my house for my appointments. My partner travels around the world so a lot of times he can’t be there. My community of women show up to my midwife appointments. Little things that are literally offering to do laundry, or literally, it’s New York, I’m having a baby, what the hell I wanna live in a cute neighborhood that has a park and accessibility to organic food and things that you want your kid- that you wanna have, shit! And so having another friend who lives in my building who got me an apartment in her co-op in Fort Greene half a block away from the park, tryna live my best Brooklyn mommy life. All of that I could not have done on my own, by far. I have a mentor who’s an older Jewish woman who lives on the Upper East Side, who was the first one to tell me “Girl don’t move in with him.” I was like oh my god why would you say that? And she’s like “Mm, don’t do it.” Not that there’s anything wrong with him but she’s also a woman who lives a different structured life. She lives in the city during the week, and she lives upstate during the weekends with her husband. I was like damn, that’s genius! You’ve been married for like 40+ years, that shit is working for you. Maybe I need to restructure what that looks like for me. What does family look like for me because there’s a lot of ways to have successful family. And I think that’s an important thing to break down.

Sasha: Yeah I have a similar community that I feel really lucky to have here in New York, just a bunch of women around me helping me with Sofia and a lot of them are here and they show up in different ways. When I became pregnant I was really young and I knew that I always wanted to have a baby but I never wanted to be a wife. And I thought that was interesting when I became pregnant I was like ok I’m having the baby I always wanted and everyone was asking me, even my father, “Are you getting married?” First of all you haven’t even really been around and now you’re here talking about Christian ideals and I’ve never seen you go to church and I was shocked because I wasn’t raised this way but then all of these questions arose. When my baby was 3 months old we left and we moved to Miami and I didn’t know anyone there I just knew that I wanted to be alone and away from my family. And then shortly after we migrated to New York and I didn’t know what I wanted but I felt like I was getting closer to it each year. Slowly building people around me, letting people in, allowing people space to say things to my child, to teach her things and do things with her, not just being so protective and feeling like I needed to do everything on my own and once I opened that up people started showing up for me in, like you said, these little ways because it’s difficult for me to be everywhere as a single mother. Like to pick her up or school shopping and when I say school shopping I mean shopping for schools. Going on all of these interviews and wanting to get her into these institutions that are going to be oppressive to her but still trying to put her there and just having these people showing up for me mentally, people that I can talk to, people that can teach her things that I can not. There’s so many things from people around me that haven’t been my family and allowing people like this into our home and inviting them into our home and I still don’t even know what my ideal family looks like right now, but I feel like opening it up as wide as it can be with the people who are caring and loving and responsible and making space for that is the way. In my mind if it could be anyway I would own this big brownstone and it would me and all my people living in it and we all have kids, and no one kid belongs to anyone and everyone is just taking care. I don’t know how I’m gonna get that brownstone but everything else could happen.

Maria: I was just thinking about how we were gonna topple the pyramid and matriarchy. And I’ve been pondering sisterhood and siblinghood, “hermandad” in Spanish. And I think that’s a better way to revisualize these nurturing relationships with other people that is not top down but eye to eye. And I think I provide that for manc trans women in my life post transition. I’ve had access to money and class privilege in general that I feel like I need to redistribute to the rest of my community. And I think the redistribution of wealth is super important in order to create a fair terrain for people to see each other eye to eye. And yeah I’ve shared my room with trans women of color and it’s been uncomfortable sometimes. It’s interesting how you want to provide nourishment to someone but sometimes it starts feeling uncomfortable for yourself in terms of sharing personal space or feeling like you’re being taken advantage of and I think we have to push through those feelings of discomfort to just provide basic necessities to the people that need them. Sometimes that means sharing your room with someone that you don’t wanna share a room with necessarily. And I’m pretty young, I feel like I’ve gotten to a point where I no longer feel like a trans girl, I’m starting to feel like a trans woman, which I kind of was afraid to say for a few years for some reason but I feel like I’m coming into my womanhood. And it comes with a lot of responsibility. There’s a lot of people that have come up to me and have said “You inspired me to transition.” And that feeling of birthing people into the world but also I’m too young to be a mother but sometimes you don’t get to choose the age that you get to be a mother and you have to be prepared for that. But also it’s like I would like my relationships that are like that where I’m the mother to eventually transition to being siblings. And that’s what I want from my bio-mom too and I feel like I achieved that from her and both of my parents throughout time is has stopped being less top to down and started being more horizontal and I’m very grateful for that.



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