I moved in with my partner.
For those of you who aren't my Facebook friends and can't follow my insane joy and random photos of my Durham summer adventures…let me backtrack.
I tested the waters on a few friends first…"I think I might move in with Hilary…" and tried to gauge people's reactions. Overall, the responses were uncertain, or trying to be polite, some were nervous. I don't blame any of you--the pervasive hook-up culture at Duke and unknown world of Durham and its queers can be a cloud of impenetrable-ness. Then came the next phase…"We've been looking for a place…," then finally, "WE SIGNED A LEASE TODAY!"
The reactions didn't change much. I got the occasional, "So now we REALLY won't see you." (coughChrisPerrycough)
The Duke campus isn't bliss for all of us. In my case, I'm not talking about hate speech or feeling unwelcome on campus because of the general student body versus my queerness. I'm talking about class and I'm talking about ethnicity. On the surface, I've got white skin and blue eyes. I blend in okay unless I'm intentionally trying not to (which has been more of the case lately). But I'm Mexican. I was raised Mexican. No, I don't have the best Spanish in the world, but I come from a working class neighborhood of Mexicans. That's what I know, and what I love.
I try not to make everything about money, or judge folks on their privilege. We're all born into different circumstances and I love everyone in the LGBT community for different reasons. But for me and my mental health, I need folks who can commiserate with me a bit more on financial issues.
Speeding up to the last month, I feel like I've finally accomplished that.
For those of you who have kept up with my summer adventures, I moved off campus into a house of four other Durhamite women, including my partner. We've got three cats, a dog, and a bird (ridiculous, I know). Everyone in the house is partnered…and we've become quite social. So the house is a bit of a zoo. But a lovely home we've christened 'Lockamy.' (To discover why this name was picked, you'd have to come over, so make plans to visit me in the fall!)
My friend Anthony and I have also been fond of calling the place 'Estrogenhaus.'
Recently, I've been laughing so much. Hysterics from tickling, giggles from baking in my massive kitchen, joy from the animals doing silly things. So much happiness. I feel like the most fortunate woman. But I wanted to write to you all today because I know what the struggle feels like. I want to honor and celebrate the good times, but the fight through mental health and reducing isolation can be a lonely one.
I hope to open my house to you all. I know what staying on campus too long does to me. The effects are probably different for some folks, and I know plenty of students that love the campus and never see any reason to leave. But there is so much greatness in Durham, there are so many good people, and I urge you to explore it with me next year.
The Pinhook has recently started having nights that are open to 18+ and they have some very fun events, we will most definitely have weekend brunches at my house, and hopefully some WLW events. I'm not trying to make you vom with my love, I'm just saying that it's been a three year struggle for me (so for any first years reading this, if it gets bad for you, don't wait for it to get worse! Come have cookies and play with my kitten), and I want to help any part of my community that I can.
Also, I'm currently in the airport on my way to a language immersion program, so I won't be in touch for the next 7 weeks since I'm not allowed to do anything in English. Maybe I'll move this blog into the bilingual realm and post a Spanish entry. ^_^
Please have a great summer, I can't wait to see all of your beautiful faces in the fall!
PS. A bunch of my friends who are in a Durham arts collective (DURTY) are planning a music festival in August. I believe the 28th is the tentative planned date. I know lots of you will be here by then and it should be a huge party with tons of local kids and bands. Please come! It will be a great opportunity to begin building bridges between Durham kids and Duke kids!