AJ

AJ Hadigan (they/them/their) is a 45-year-old gender retired, pansexual living in upstate NY. They have a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Iowa and a Master’s Degree in Transpersonal Psychology from Sophia University. As a writer, musician, psychologist, and runner, they like to combine personal narrative, poetry, music, and body awareness into their work. AJ believes that telling our stories and being true to ourselves can save us and the world, and wants to use their writing to help others find their courage.

I am Too Tired

I am too tired to write

I am too tired to fight

For my existence,

My seat at the table.

You say I’m only allowed

If I follow your rules:

To be quiet

To be nice

World Pride

A friend of mine posted on Facebook that she was going to NYC to watch the Pride Parade and show her support and wanted to know if anyone wanted to go with her. I jumped at the chance and asked to bring a friend. So, on …

Pride and Fear

Photo by Pond 5 Stock Photos

I’ve tried to write this piece on Pride about a dozen times. When I first started to write it, I thought it would be easy to just describe the road to the Pride I feel and how I have become more comfortable with expressing who I am, openly and honestly.

But as I started writing, I came to a startling realization: I still struggle with the idea of Pride and that it is so much more complex than just proclaiming who I am and living as that person. Pride isn’t just a feeling, it is an action and a process that I have to work at every single day. I am confronted daily with the choice to stand up proud or to shrivel into the background, passing as a straight woman when I am neither.

Running and Gender

Once again, I find myself staring at the online registration form, forced to choose between two genders, male or female. I stop every time I come to this question because neither option fits. But to complete my task, I have to choose. I get that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I finally check the box marked “female,” my gender assigned at birth.

You see, I’m a runner. I love the feeling of toeing the line at the start of a race and challenging myself to do things with my body I didn’t think were possible five years ago. However, I always get tripped up when I register for races …

Clues

Nothing anyone told me about being a girl felt right for me.

Who made the rules saying I had to be, like, and act a certain way anyway?

 

I was jealous of girls who had names that could be shortened to boy’s names, like Sam or Alex.

Wearing a name like that felt comfortable, like a flannel shirt in winter.

 

The only Barbie doll I ever owned ended up dismembered under my bed.

I don’t remember ever playing with her.

 

Wearing dresses felt like punishment.

Plus they made it hard to climb a tree.