I’m nearing the end of my batch at the Recurse Center, and i want to remark on some thoughts that have persisted in my head during my time here. This is bound to be a bit rambly and fairly personal; it’s mainly meant as a kind of journalling exercise more than an information broadcast of any kind.
lots of big changes
I’ve lived in Texas since i was about 5 years old. Prior to starting my batch at the Recurse Center, i had never even set foot in New York City, so the thought of packing up my things and living there for three months was a daunting prospect. I had only even considered doing it after my partner had agreed to help with finding a place, packing up my apartment, etc. I could not have done it without their support and the generous fellowship grant from RC itself.
Shortly before and shortly after starting my batch, i described what i was doing as “quitting my job and moving across the country to better myself”, to echo the American myth of “moving to the big city in search of a new life”. I wasn’t sure what to expect in New York; friends and coworkers would warn me about how people were somehow meaner there, and that i would need to watch my step. My family told me about a bunch of things i would need to see and do. All i had in mind was making it to my flight and to the apartment that my partner and i were renting. (A week before my batch, my partner and i drove from Dallas to Denver, because two days before my batch was Colorado Gold Rust! It was a lot of fun, but it also meant that there was a lot on my mind.)
In addition to a stark change in surroundings, another major change that RC has allowed is in my gender transition. Even though i’ve been active in the Rust community under this alias and chosen name for all of my interactions with them in the last few years, i was still living under my birth name and assigned gender everywhere else. This all changed while i was at RC. Living in New York proved to be the first long-term test of living under my chosen name and gender.
I spent my first month in New York overhauling my gender presentation; i got a whole new wardrobe’s worth of clothing, started a makeup collection, got some new shoes, the works. One of my sisters, after having seen my pictures with a new outfit or after trying on makeup, said it was like watching me “bloom” into a new person. And i do feel like a completely different person than i was over the summer; those days feel impossibly far away now.
old life? what’s that
Which sort of brings me to the thing that sparked this post. I moved out of my apartment in Texas when i started my batch. For most of my batch, a lot of my things were in a storage unit. However, now that i’m at the end of my batch, i’m not actually moving back to Texas - instead, i’m moving to Colorado to live with my partner. Like when i started RC, this is another one of those changes where i have no way to see how things are going to shake out.
All this change and moving and reinventing and the like is making me think about the concept of “home”. For the last few months, i wouldn’t say i had a real permanent address of my own. Having terminated the lease on my apartment in Texas, i filed a change of address request to get my mail sent to a metamour to make sure that anything important would still get seen. While the apartment i had in New York was comfortable and convenient, it hardly counts as a “home” when i know i’m only going to be there for three months.
I have a low-level fear about a different sense of “home”, as well: The city i grew up in, Amarillo, is in a very conservative part of the country. While my family and friends have been very supportive of my transition, i can’t be sure that strangers will show the same level of support. Even in Dallas, where i was living before i started my batch, i never came out to friends and coworkers face-to-face.
I treated the Recurse Center as an opportunity to reinvent myself to a group of strangers, far away from anyone who knew me by my birth name. Put another way, i’ve somewhat discarded my old life, in favor of this new one. However, this kind of puts me between worlds: i’m hesitant to go back to my “old home”, but i still have yet to establish a “new home” of my own.
I can’t say i know anything about how things will play out from here. To all my friends, old and new: i’m thankful for the opportunity to have been in your lives.