Junior Year

me!   By Julien-Pierre Campbell

 

As junior year creeps up on me, I can’t help but feel nervous. There’s a question I can’t seem to dodge: “Julien, what do you want to do when you graduate?”

 

The answer is…everything.

 

I used to think I knew exactly what my life would look like. I’d graduate with my degree in political science at 20, shoot into law school and begin practicing law by 24. At the latest! It took a depression spiral that lasted three straight months to realize I hated my degree. The goal shifted: I’d be an English undergrad –for my sanity– and then go to law school! So maybe I would graduate at 21, but that didn’t negate my success.

 

Other careers tempted me. Wouldn’t it be nice to work in publishing, to join my father in the business that had brought him so much joy? Or perhaps I’d be a non-descript academic, reading scholarly articles and sipping brandy in front of a fire. Maybe I would run away to the countryside and work for a historical society. I could throw away the life I’d made for myself in Oregon and go be a Revolutionary War reenactor on the East Coast. Or I could give into my passion for taxidermy and find an apprenticeship. Or work in an old folks’ home. Or a mortuary.

 

The problem is, I can’t decide.

 

Nineteen feels deceptively young to call myself an adult. Though I live on my own, pay rent, take care of an animal that depends on me and have all the experiences of any young 20-something, I can’t shake the notion that I’m still very much a child. I feel intelligent, but not mature. This leaves me in a sort of a limbo.

 

I want to shout, “Why in the world am I deciding my future when I can’t even go to a bar?”

 

At the same time, I want to ask why I can’t do everything I want. Why not work in publishing, while writing in my free time, volunteering for a historical society, and retiring to the East Coast? Why not be a wandering poet who just so happens to have an eerie knowledge of law?

 

When I think about life after these next two years, my chest clenches — with fear, but also anticipation. I’m so excited to begin the rest of the life, even if I’m not exactly sure how.

My Favorite Coffee Shops in Portland

DSC04253 by Jennifer Vo-Nguyen

For the past year, I’ve been really interested in exploring new coffee shops around Portland. There’s just something about the atmosphere of a coffee shop; the quiet background music, and the sight of people on their laptops doing work while sipping on their drinks, that is just so calming and pleasing to me.

The coffee community in Portland is actually really close-knit and very supportive of each other’s businesses. I’ve met a lot of cool people within this community through my boyfriend who is a barista himself. At least once every few months, the community would come together to host “latte-art throwdowns”, which are basically tournaments for who can make the best latte art. I’ve attended a few and they’re really fun.

Here are some of  my favorite coffee shops that I’ve visited:

1) Deadstock Coffee

IMG_2857

Located in Chinatown, this black owned coffee shop is for those who love coffee and sneakers. The entire shop is sneaker-themed and the people who work here are huge sneaker enthusiasts!

2) Kiosko

IMG_3143

Kiosko coffee is a closet-sized, Latinx owned coffee shop that is located along the southwest waterfront. I love coming here because I love that it’s near the river, plus they offer a variety of unique signature drinks such as the “True Mexican Mocha” (the cup at the top in the photo) that I order every time I come here.

3) Case Study Coffee

DSC06918

Case Study is my go-to shop because there’s one down the street from my house and I always go there to to do my homework. There’s a location downtown on SW 10th, super close to PSU campus!

4) Push x Pull Coffee

IMG_2895

IMG_3043

Push (and) Pull coffee is one of my favorite coffee shops because the staff here is so friendly! Plus I like the nice open space.  

5) Coava Coffee

DSC06236

Coava Coffee has multiple locations but my favorite one is the downtown one, which is just a couple streetcar stops away from PSU. The downtown location has two floors, and plenty of seating and tables for those who need to get work done.

6) The Arrow Coffeehouse

image_6483441 (7)

The Arrow Coffeehouse not only serves great coffee, but they also serve fresh-baked pastries, and breakfast and lunch food! They’re located on NE Martin Luther King Blvd.

This is just a short list of the many amazing coffee shops that I’ve visited in Portland. I am still on an ongoing quest to find new ones to visit everyday, what are some of your favorite shops that I should check out?

PSU Women’s Lacrosse Team

BY: SHAYLA NASWOOD

When I began this school year, I had’t expected much. I only knew that my goal was to succeed academically and make money.

Though soon came the day when I learned of the women’s lacrosse team at PSU and I remember thinking, “Why not join? It’ll give me a reason to be active again.” So, I went and attended practice but little did I know that in a few short months, the team and the game would soon become one of the best decisions I have ever made.

PSU vs. GU @ UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO – March 31, 2019

Matching Tattoos

me!   By Julien-Pierre Campbell

A brisk Saturday, sunny but cool, and we stumble into the tattoo parlor. My usual artist, the stern Igor, sees me and grins. I’m with my newly-minted best friend Ali, and it’s time for a milestone in our friendship: matching tattoos. It was a rushed, giggling decision. I have no regrets.

 

XXX

“I’m getting a tattoo on Saturday,” I had told her.

 

“What? Me too!” Ali said. We grinned at one another across the table in the Queer Resource Center. “At least I’d like to. I don’t wanna be that person who gets Hozier lyrics tattooed on them, but…”

 

“What?!” I yelled. “I’m getting Hozier lyrics tattooed!” What were the odds?

 

“From what song?”

 

“‘Nina Cried Power.’ You know those lyrics, ‘The heaven of the human spirit ringing?’ Those are the ones I want.” I felt that certainty down to my bones. The first time I ever head it, I was moved to tears. I knew I needed it on my body, which is a map of my favorite quotes.

 

Ali’s eyes were saucers. “I want lyrics from that song too! ‘It’s not the waking, it’s the rising.’ What the hell?!”

 

Our individual lyrics mean so much to us for so many different reasons. Mine remind me that I am stronger than my depression. My human spirit rings out with all the force of heaven. It does not end.

 

“I know a tattoo guy,” I said, and with that, our plan was set.

XXX

Saturday arrives. Igor draws up our designs using my favorite font, and Ali and I discuss what led us to this moment. We talk about our childhoods, and the trauma we’ve endured. We talk of our paramours and friends. I chug a bottle of water followed by a liter of Coke. We’re buzzing with excitement.

 

Finally, Igor calls us back.

 

We go together, grinning, and I sit down across from my artist. Igor is a funny guy, accented and unsmiling, but he’s always got a chuckle for my terrible jokes.

 

“Are you ready?” he asks.

 

I nod. As the tattoo gun pierces my wrist, I smile through the pain.

 

The heaven of the human spirit is ringing.

Life’s a Cabaret

me!    By Julien-Pierre Campbell

The first time I saw “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” I was scandalized. I was 11 years old and convinced I’d been scarred for life. Fishnets and sex! Murder and cannibalism! Aliens with ray guns and pelvic thrusts! Not for me, the budding actor. I would stick with nice, clean shows like “Hairspray”, “Phantom of the Opera”, and “Les Mis”, thank you very much!

 

The next time I saw “Rocky,” I was entranced. I was 16 years old, dressed in little enough clothing to stun my mother, and so excited I could have burst. At the Clinton Street Theatre, I watched actors perform in front of a screen, a “shadow cast,” they called themselves. They were dressed in perfectly screen accurate costumes, performing the movie as it played along behind them. Every word the characters said, the actors would mouth. Every dance move was done in sync with the screen. Every minute finger twitch or foot shuffle was perfectly synced up. It was incredible.

 

The audience was lively and intense. They shouted vulgar callbacks at the screen. They screamed and hooted and hollered. It was irreverent and ridiculous, over the top and perfect.

 

I went to see the show again and again. I dragged all of my friends to see it with me. They enjoyed it, but didn’t have the same obsession I did.  One day, the director cornered me after a show. “I’ve seen you here a lot. How old are you?” he asked me.

 

“Eighteen,” I answered. By about two months. I was still skeptical of my alleged adulthood.

 

“You wanna audition? We’ve got open rolls.”

 

It was like the world had been handed to me on a silver platter.

 

The first time I performed in “Rocky,” it was one of the best nights of my life. I had no idea what I was doing. I’d never been so scantily dressed in front of so many people. I didn’t know half of my cues. I’d only just memorized my lines. I was so nervous, I almost threw up. It was beautiful. The audience cheered for me like they’d never seen a bigger star. My castmates welcomed me to the family. I crept along the stage, cringing as my hunchback handyman character. I smirked at Brad and Janet, I danced the Time Warp. I came sprinting onstage to kill half the characters at the end of the show!

 

I’ve been performing with my cast — my family — for a year now. My college friends associate me with “Rocky” now. They know where to find me on Saturday nights. I’ve never been happier, or fit in anywhere better. It’s a strange group of ragtag queer kids, theatre kid burn-outs, and those who have just wandered in. This is what makes life worth living. This is sheer joy. In the mire of work and college, this show has given me life.

 

I sometimes think back on the horrified 11-year-old who first watched the movie. If only he could see himself now…

The Mirror

me! By Julien-Pierre Campbell

My mirror is dusty. It sits in my carpeted bedroom, all but unused, and I cannot bring myself to clean it.

“Every teenager is self-conscious!” my mother has always chided. “This is normal. It’ll pass.”

The thing is, I don’t hate how I look. I’ve got a killer jawline, curves for days, and an adorable haircut. I don’t hate the way I dress. My fashion sense lies somewhere between a wannabe punk and a 2005 emo. I love my black skinny jeans and grungy beanies. But the crippling dysphoria, oh, how it kills me.

When people look at me, they see a tomboy. An androgynous one, perhaps, but clearly a girl. In the words of a less than kind friend, “You look like a punk butch! It’s, like, your whole thing.”

But I am not a tomboy. Not a girl. Not a “punk butch.”

I’m a boy.

I see the way my beloved black jeans hug my hips and I cringe. My cut-up band T-shirts reveal my chest, small, but forever a tell. My face, even with the square jaw and high cheekbones that make me feel like a Greek god on my best days, looks feminine.   

I try to romanticize myself. A feminine young man, a dandy. A 19th century fop. A young, androgynous devotee of Apollo back in ancient times. But then I look in the mirror and my illusion shatters.

“I identify as a guy who likes guys,” I correct the friend, the less-than-kind one. “I mean, I’m pansexual for sure. But when you call me a lesbian, it invalidates me. It’s crushing. I’m trying to look like a guy. Not like…whatever your image of a lesbian is.”

It’s an endless cycle of frustration. Of invalidation. People should be able to look however they want, no?

I wish I had a clean solution for all of this dysphoria, but I don’t. I have hope and excitement about my future, but please, everybody — be sensitive to your trans friends. Our everyday life is a battle.