What motivates you to apply? For the purposes of this story, I’m going to assume you’re sick and tired of living in poverty and you’re looking for a way out. You think maybe learning to code will do this, and you think one of these boot camps can do that for you.
Having taken one, I don’t believe they are scams, per se, but that if you don’t understand what you’re getting into when you do something like this, you can wind up worse off than you were before. For a couple of reasons:
I don’t want to bog down this story explaining why I wanted the surgery, or the mechanics of how various configurations of reproductive organs and hormones work together. It was something I’d known for years I was going to do eventually, but no rush, because the procedure involves internal organs that don’t affect my life much unless something goes wrong.
The possibility of something going wrong had become more of a worry. There have been intermittent shortages of testosterone. There was constant talk of the US government trying to restrict access to health care for trans people, and access to abortion. Having a uterus was a liability. …
When I was in maybe fourth grade, my best friend handed me a rock.
I was a weird kid. I got bullied a lot, and she was my only friend. She had a few other friends though, and having me around all the time started to weigh on her. She took a magic marker and wrote a date, about three weeks in the future, on a smooth palm-sized gray stone. She told me,
“Don’t talk to me until the date on this rock.”
So, for maybe a day, I left her alone. I didn’t argue; the formality of having written it in stone suggested that our friendship would be over forever if I violated this order. Heartbroken, angry, I threw away the rock. I panicked (what if she asks if I still have it?) …
I used to work at a copy shop on the Upper East Side. It was an hour and a half commute at five in the morning for just above minimum wage. The wealthiest neighborhood I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in, for sure. I once saw an ad for a lost dog that said, “last seen wearing a Burberry coat.”
Once, a customer came up to my counter, exuberant: she had just gotten into Pratt Institute, she told me, and wanted to print her acceptance letter.
“Oh,” I commented, “I went there.”
I do not remember the exact change in her expression, but imagine the sound of lightly crushing a blown egg in your palm, as an emotion. …
A few months ago I met a professor from my college, Pratt Institute, at a life drawing night at a gay bar in Brooklyn and he asked me about the red-dyed paper I was drawing on. The convoluted story of how I came to possess that paper began when the school’s Main Building, where I had my painting studio, burned down in 2013. He was surprised: he’d never heard there’d been a fire. It really wasn’t all that long ago, but they’ve fixed up the building since then. I suppose people don’t really talk about it anymore.