New Beginnings

Today was my first day at my new university…and man, was I trepidacious.

Uprooting yourself from what you’re acclimatized to is always a traumatic experience. I had to leave my school, my teachers, my apartment, and my friends all back in Waco. A new start. And this time, I didn’t really want one.

However…it hasn’t been the awful experience I was dreading.

My apartment is nice. Bigger bedroom, bigger closet, my own bathroom! Bliss, thy name is privacy. Also, no more crummy bitch monsters as roommates. The three girls I’m living with now are nice, considerate, and friendly. They actually invite me to do things with them! The other day we all went to a comedy show at our school together, and yesterday we went to one of those Paint-A-Plate places and got froyo afterward, then went for a late night swim. This is what the college experience is supposed to be, not hiding in your bedroom watching Netflix because your roommates hate you.

So, the first day. First of all, my new campus is sprawling compared to my old one. As I mapped out my schedule, I realized with some despondency that I had quite the daily trudge ahead of me.

My first class was Writing For Mass Media. I…don’t really have an impression of it yet. The teacher just introduced herself, told us which book to buy, that was pretty much it. I guess we’ll see.

After that, I had History of Costume, and on my way there I made two interesting discoveries: tomorrow night, there’s a “lavender mixer” for LGBT+ students. Shoot, you know I’m going to that! Where my people at? But what am I going to wear?

The other discovery was…Brian! An old friend of mine from high school. Brian was one of the few theatre kids who wasn’t a total asshat. (His name isn’t actually Brian, but I changed it to protect his identity.) Seeing Brian, to me, was a good omen that maybe, everything here would be okay.

When I signed up for History of Costume, I thought I was signing up for an easy A – boy, was I ever wrong. The teacher walked in and immediately referred to herself as Satan. Never a good sign. I also found out that I have to write a 10 page term paper on costumes from a historic movie. Oh well. I do like a challenge. And after writing a goddamn 26 page paper on trans bathroom rights issues for US Government this past spring, this is gonna be no sweat.

My last class today was Intro To Visual Arts (it’s just for a credit). This one was on the completely opposite corner of campus. I only had five minutes to get there. Needless to say, I was a little late. But the teacher is cool, and I explained my situation, and she said it was fine if I came in a few minutes after class started, that lots of students had that problem. God, college professors are such angels.

So the verdict for this day?…surprisingly okay. I’m definitely gonna have to get myself in shape for all this hiking I have to do (and maybe invest in a good pair of walking shoes), but overall, I had a pretty damn good first day.

They say girls go to college to get more knowledge. Well I’ve been in college long enough to know that the first day is always the easiest – it’s all uphill from here.

Oh well. At least my last class is next to a Taco Bell. Olé. ~TRL 🌮

Review: “Elena Undone”

I am a queer person, and I use the word queer as an umbrella term for for non-heterosexual/non-cisgender people. If you dislike the term "queer", you may not want to read this post.

Finding movies with LGBT+ characters is difficult. Finding movies that focus on LGBT+ people is even harder. Finding movies on LGBT+ people that isn't about AIDS or social condemnation or being rejected by family or any of the other depressing tropes that seem to come with queer narratives is damn near impossible. Most queer stories end unhappily, like Blue Is The Warmest Color, and most of the time in horrible tragedy, like Brokeback Mountain.

But as I was perusing the gay side of Netflix one day, I chanced upon a movie called Elena Undone, a lesbian romance between a pastor's wife and a free-spirited writer. It sounded like a cookie cutter lesbian romance (shy, innocent straight woman falls for mysterious, seductive lesbian and cheats on her neglectful husband with her), but I was bored, so I thought "what the hell" and hit play…and I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, as I predicted, it pretty much follows the standard formula for lesbian romance films, but I still enjoyed the movie. In this instance, the plot felt less like a tired old tread and more like a cozy blanket to wrap myself up in. Warm, soft, and familiar.

It's an indie film, and its format is unusual. Tyler, a mutual friend of Elena (the pastor's wife) and Peyton (the writer) narrates the film through his sparse cut scenes. Tyler is a "love guru" and believes in the idea of soulmates. Elena and Peyton's actual story is interwoven with clips from Tyler's informative video about finding one's soulmate, and therefore serves as a narrator of sorts for the evolving romance between the two women. It's an interesting idea, and works surprisingly well.

And then of course there's the electric chemistry between the two female leads. Both actresses exude affection, intimacy, and desire when they're onscreen together. Their making out/love-making scenes are luxurious and pulsing with heat. I haven't seen two lead characters with such a magnetic attraction since…well, since I watched the third season of Hannibal.

But the best part is, the women get a happy ending. They have their issues, as real people in real relationships do, but in the end, they find each other again and realize that they were meant to be together. It's a poignant yet simple ending.

The movie isn't perfect (the pastor character and the homophobic church member are a little flat), but it's a movie I'd gladly watch again. I'm a romantic at heart, and I've always loved the idea of soulmates, so I was glad to have found a real movie about two women were perfectly made for each other. If you can get past the dumb title, I recommend this film as an effective feel good story for when you're blue.

Oh, and for all you Supernatural fans out there, Peyton is played by Traci Dinwiddie, who was Pamela Barnes, the psychic who had her eyes burned out from trying to see Castiel. ~TRL