Thursday, March 13, 2014

bea*ing human

I've recently devised and adopted a new life philosophy.

After two years on the campus of an academically rigorous and extracurricularly insane university, followed by a life-changing five months abroad in a culture in which the waiters never come because they expect you to sit there drinking mate or café con leche for hours, because Why Else do you go out to eat, I had a little North American revelation:

Too Many People Are Not Also Humans.

As a theatre major, I have seen many of my classmates churn themselves into class-and-rehearsal mules, blindly running from four obligations to the following four, leaving their apartments in the morning and not getting back until after midnight. I am guilty of this myself.

And coming back home from Argentina has been difficult. Having to readjust to a significantly more uptight culture while also adjusting for the first time as a transgender individual—and with virtually no on-campus trans* community on whom to lean—sent me spiraling into my old, North American habits and I soon found that a change was imperative.

Now, I make it a point to ask myself at the conclusion of each day, as I'm having my last sips of red wine and readying myself for bed,

Have I been a human today?

That is to say, Have I done something that was completely unproductive as far as school or work or rehearsals or internship or grant applications are concerned, but that served me as a breathing human being? Did I cook myself dinner? Did I stop and talk to that friend who said she was fine but seemed otherwise? Did I call my dad just to see how he's doing?

And once I began using this barometer as a means of measuring my daily successes, and not just the bureaucratic/academic bullshit that we here above the Equator so love to prioritize (yes, this is reductionist, but from my experiences, it's generally proven to be true), I found that I was happier.

I was happier the week that I went into Chicago twice, both times for strictly fun things, when normally I go maybe twice a month.

And I was happier when I decorated my apartment instead of attacking the constant barrage of homework banging at my undecorated door.

And I was certainly happier just last last weekend when I went to a coffee shop with two of my best friends and—como argentinxs—stayed for hours just to chat and play MASH (for the first time in a decade, no less!).

Life, I've learned, isn't something that starts after that application is due or after that show is over or after I find a job or graduate or move or find somebody to love me.

For me, life started on Friday, October 9th, 1992, when I was born with the wrong name and gender marker, but a hell of a lot of heart. And I'm done waiting for the next thing to come around before I can start acting like life is happening now.

So go ahead. 
Ask yourselves:

Have I been a human today?

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