When I moved to Portland, I got a job cashiering at Powell’s. I quickly befriended my co-worker Zach Ellis, or he befriended me, or it was mutual because we both hated when people say, “You rock”. Zach turned into one of my closest friends in town. We almost exclusively ate breakfast on Thursday mornings at Helser’s on NE Alberta. Like Central Perk in FRIENDS. I went to his house for homemade pizza dinners and played dolls and Barbies with his daughter. We both worked until 11pm on Tuesday nights and he gave me rides home in his car that we named Rufus, because we blasted and sang along to Rufus Wainwright in it. I had no family in Portland and was lonely at times, and Zach was truly a great friend to me. When I was at my lowest, he showed me how to collage a GOD BOX, if you can believe this.

During this time Zach wrote a lyric essay called BEING, which is, essentially, about being transgendered, as Zach was born a woman. His essay won an award and he flew to Scotland to read the poem at an event. Since then, he’s expanded it, and it is now a book that you can buy. It’s an ebook. Buy it and support him. It’s not easy to write (well!) about this shit, I imagine. This book is truly unique and one of the most moving things I’ve read in a long time. I’m so proud of him.

Zach and I sitting in Rufus
Zach and I sitting in Rufus

Here’s an excerpt:

i don’t know if you can mourn something you have never had, but i’m in mourning. when i want

to process something, i don’t capitalize words. unless they’re important words. that’s how you’ll


i was born without a penis. i was born with girl parts, but a boy’s brain and a boy’s soul and a

boy’s feelings and a boy’s heart. you just have to take my word for it. i don’t know what

happened, but i used to believe there was a mix-up somewhere in the roasting pan of my

mother’s womb. maybe it was that mexican food she might have tried or the msg at a chinese

restaurant. maybe it was a silent prayer i made for patience as a fetus. whatever the case, my

insides and my outsides were not a match. i realized very young that god had gotten my mom

and dad’s order wrong. the big problem is that there was no kitchen to send me back to and fix

the problem.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s