THE BURN AND JUGGLE
It's been a minute since we've had a chance to update everyone during our travels. Basil here.
I am currently sitting in the two door Solara which is very full of our bags, equipment, and the powerful music of Kendrick Lamar's "Damn". I think folks were impressed by the raunchy Tennessee tunes of Lady but we moved on. I think I'm going to make a 2000s-indie mix... #postalservice. We are leaving Atlanta, Georgia and headed to Auburn, Alabama.
Branson from Buzzfeed has joined our tour. They showed up on the sixth. We are annoying them by constantly talking about baby coke.
Atlanta has been astonishing experience. We probably did nine interviews. Each one was spectacular.
One of the most amazing parts of Atlanta was the house that hosted the four of us. Mallory and Jim were complete strangers before housing us. Jim is Mallory's Dad and he also fathered us a bit... even me .. right down to tricking me into believing his finger was cut off at one point. Their kindness, support, and safety was very affirming. In fact, all of the allies who've used their resources to open their homes to us has been one of the greatest gifts to me on this tour and last years. Without them, this tour could not happen. With them I also remember that people are good and kind and fighting to change the world… and you’d never be able to tell who’d help you just by looking at them. Smashing assumptions, ya’ll. Every day, that’s what Transilient does.
I had my 31st birthday on the 7th. I had an article that I wrote for Harper's Bazaar magazine come out! My birthday was probably the best birthday I have ever had. The morning started with a dozen gluten free cupcakes from the sweetest Jonah. We then had breakfast at a place called the Dailey that served gluten free pancakes. Next SahLeem and I went and got our hair cut by his friend Rashad (um, who is the most handsome man I’ve ever met). Branson and Jonah went and did a follow up interview with Monica Helms, the creator of the transgender flag, who we met with the day before. Monica shook my world with her kindness and openness and complete humility. I also left my notebook there and needed it. After the hair cut Sah and I walked around and flirted with some girls at a Mexican restaurant where we all had lunch and THEN WE ALL WENT to SIX FLAGS!!!!!! I was given birthday DJ rights all day. We drove home listening to Southern Femisphere .. one of my oldest friends, Emily's, band and then followed that up with Elliott Smith. When we got home I received a package from the funniest person I know, Chicago Laura, and felt very special. (SIDE NOTE: Chicago Laura has given the Transilient road crew life through many of her dry witted opinions and text messages. We're going to have to recruit her for the trip next year.) All and all this was the best day of my life.
As a team, we're starting to feel the burn and juggle a lot of things on top of personal dynamics. We regularly discuss our identities and racial dynamics. We often bring up masculinity as a whole and our masculinity brands. We try to remain conscious of how to be the most culturally competent in our work and interview styles. I am trying to be as sensitive and present in my management styles with the two of them and realize all people need to be managed differently- I do this while simultaneously holding space for a massive array of people, their experiences, opinions and identities and I do this by giving those we interview as much of my heart as I can. I've been wearing bloodstone to enhance my abilities.
This morning on the way to the interview the three of us did a very in-depth gratitude list and the three of us showed up on each other's in different ways. The three of us are growing as rapidly as the project.
While this project highlights our artistic abilities, the human sides of trans people, and the country and its many facets, for me on a personal level I am gaining siblings and lifelong friends in the car and loved ones on the road and new friends behind the notebook.
We're moving towards hitting the two-week mark and, while tired, I am very excited to see what else will unfold on this tour.
Oh yeah! When we had dinner at Taco Bell in Georgia and the young cashier asked, “Are you guys a band?!” (WHICH WE GET ASKED BY STRANGERS ONCE A WEEK) Depending on how safe we feel we either say, “No. Photographers.” Or “No, check out Transilient.” We gave her Transilient’s IG. She came back to SahLeem and said, “Oh wow. You’re a part of the trans movement?” He nodded. She then said, “I don’t care what anyone says. I know Jesus loves you and you don’t need to let anyone else ever tell you different.”
We were touched.
Also. Final side note. I know I am on the road, but damn.. I really need to stop using my socks that are on my ankles/feet as napkins… dogs and bugs get really into it.
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