I just finished watching The Greatest Showman with Hugh Jackman as PT Barnum, and it was fantastic. The movie was positive with amazing vocals and brilliant choreography, and it led to me think about writing this blog post. (This post has spoilers in it for The Greatest Showman)
2017 was a year of hustling for me. I am going to break down this post into several sections, and I hope you take the time to read all the way through. I do plan on blogging weekly, and my next blog is going to be all about 2018.
Friendship has been at the core of this year. The Greatest Showman has a major theme of chosen family. While my actual family is great, they live very far away from me, and I have had to rely on my chosen family to lift me up throughout this year. If you know anything about me, you know that I am the founder of The Change Project, a 2.5 year old, national LGBTQ arts and advocacy organization, that is shaping the way we talk and percieve LGBTQ people. This year I got to spend nearly all of it with my life-long friend, Jay. He took this year by storm by supporting my vision for using apparel to change the world one t-shirt at a time. He reminded me nearly every day that everything is going to work itself out, he even went so far as to encourage me to push harder and expect excellence from every other employee. He was a major source of stability for this year, but alas, I will be losing him from work as he moves his career forward in DC. Pat, Robbie, Ty, Trey, and my newest friend Codi have taken to this chosen family idea nearly instantly. Each of them encourage me to push forward and have been loving on me as though I have been in their lives for years. Pat grounds me in the impact of the work. One of the best things he does is tells me all the time to zoom out and look at the impact. I have bad days pretty often, and he is always there to remind me of why I am doing this work. Robbie is his partner, and is the encourager. Constantly pushing me to be the most excellent in my work. Ty and Trey are a part of my future. Each of them bring a freshness to the work that I do. Trey is the master of events and Ty is the master of the earth, and whisky. You will figure out soon what all of that means, but I promise the wait will be worth it. Codi is the newest in my chosen family, as we just recently met, but the connection between us is pretty awesome. He keeps me energized. His energy is contagious, and I hope that as we grow together that we can stay energized tackling all the world’s problems.
Finally, Matt, I know he is reading this and is saying, what about me?! He could have an entire page to what he means to me, but for the reader’s sake, he has been the most loyal, most consistent friend I have ever met. He is my brother in the work, and I know our friendship will never die. Now what on earth does this have to do with this damn movie?! PT Barnum is only successful because of the family that was built in the circus. (I do implore you to look past the actual PT Barnum as an exploitative capitalist, and look at the movie PT Barnum). Without his core, his rock, he could not be successful. Is that not what we all strive for in life? A group of people to love us for who we are. People that will stick with us through the thick and the thin. Sometimes for people that is their significant other or life partner, but for me, he is just one part of my core. He is definitely reading this not knowing why he didn’t get four pages. The love I have for him, and the love I have for my chosen family knows no bounds.
The future is full of mystery for me. Later this week you are going to get a long exciting post about what 2018 has in store for me. I encourage you to love on the people that love you. Sometimes it can be difficult to see them. Sometimes life gets us down. Sometimes we don’t want to hear what they have to say. Reach out and listen to their words, I hope they are full of joy.
The movie ends with PT Barnum having to rely on his family to move forward because the circus building burnt down. His only option was his chosen family. For queer people it is often our chosen family that we rely on. I hope you read this, and see that it takes us to rely on them to lift us up so that we can be the greatest version of ourselves.
Until next time. - Steven