Vegetarian Enchiladas! And other things

College is stressful. Graduating is stressful. I’ve fallen hopelessly in love with podcasts. That’s my whole life right now. In the meantime, I’ve been trying to find ways to keep on track, organized, and cooking as much as humanly possible. This morning I was on the phone with my mom when I told her I’d be making enchiladas for dinner, and she asked how I planned to go about that without putting meat in them. So, this is for you, Mom, and for anyone who is a vegetarian, loves a vegetarian, or is just really into fake meat and black beans.



  • Rice
  • Vegan Meat Sub
  • Corn
  • Can o’ Black Beans
  • Enchilada Sauce
  • Cheese (no cheese or Diaya if you’re going for a vegan dish)
  • Cumin and Chili Powder
  • Tortillas
  • Big Dish
  • Sriracha (not pictured, oops)

Step One: Throw Corn and Beans into Pan/Throw Rice and Water into Pan

I used a cup of white rice, and two cups of water. For the corn and beans, dump the beans and their juice into a small saucepan, and add frozen or canned corn. I added the cumin and chili powder to the beans/corn after a few minutes.


Step Two: Take your fake meat out of it’s package – examine it, and proceed as instructed.

The sub I used called to be heated in a skillet after crumbling it down. It looks good, and tastes pretty good as well. I’d recommend using some oil in your pan, though, as these products tend to stick to the pan.

IMG_1181 IMG_1182

Step Three: Coat the Bottom of the Big Dish with Enchilada Sauce

Like So:


Feel free to add rice to the bottom of your dish, too, to give it some extra substance.

Step Four: Fill Up Some Tortillas with All the Things You Cooked


At the top is a rice/corn/bean makeup, and the bottom is the rice/”meat”/cheese makeup. Roll these puppies up, and put them, opening down in your dish of rice and sauce. I chose to alternate the two different makeups in the pan.

Step Five: Add Cheese, Add Sauce, Add Cheese


Step Six: Pop Those Bad Boys in the Oven at Three Hundred and Fifty Degrees


Bake them for as long as they need. You’ll know when they’re done.

Step Seven: Enjoy!


Serve with some sour cream/guac/whatever you like!
Check back soon – I plan to keep this up!

It Gets Less Worse – Love Letters to My Younger Self

Dear Eight Year Old Em, 

The other kids think you’re weird. It’s okay. You have fire in your heart. Pick your glasses up off the ground, puff out your chest, and let them say the things they will. When they hurt you, tell an adult. Tell your parents. Take this time to learn that those two people will protect you with their last dying breath until they don’t know how anymore, and then they’ll still try to throw themselves between you and your pain, even if it looks like it could swallow them whole. They will always do their best for you. They’ve fought much scarier monsters. You were blessed with two people who love you. They will fight for you on the days you no longer have the courage to put up your fists. They will do it now, when you are small, and easy to console. And they will do it in three years, when you believe yourself to be a hardened adult at eleven. They will do it when you call them, long after you’ve moved out, eerily calm, and tell them about the razor blades and the pain you don’t understand, even though they no longer understand most of what you are. Take your struggles to them, dear heart. 

They made you. They want you. You are wanted. 

Dear Eleven Year Old Em,

You’re allowed to be angry, or hurt, or disappointed. You can be any or all of those things. Even though you keep your chin up, your eyes will water and your lip will tremble. It’s alright. Cry. No one has stopped loving you. Adult things are complicated. You didn’t do anything wrong. This isn’t your fault. People make mistakes. Good people, your people, will make mistakes. It’s okay to feel however you do. Don’t take your hurt out on Poppa. His heart is just as beaten as yours, and you may not believe it now, but Mama’s is, too. They’re bleeding with you, not against you. Don’t let anyone step on your broken heart under the guise of trying to be strong. People go away, but baby, they almost always come back. This is not the end, and don’t you dare think it is.

We’re nineteen now. We made it.

Dear Fourteen Year Old Em, 

High school is scary, but it’s not as bad as you think it will be [and for the record, it wasn’t as bad as you remember it, either]. Take this time to learn to love your body, if you can – at least try. Accept that this is the only one you have. When he starts showing you affection again, do not jump at the chance to feel desirable. Do not accept his heart simply because you’re tired of watching yours beat all by itself. You don’t need him to validate your worth. You are not who loves you. You are what you love. He is only a man; he can not fill the gaps in your heart. You will learn that your worth comes from your own heart. I promise. 

You don’t need him. You’re gay now anyway. 

Dear Sixteen Year Old Em,

It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. I am so proud of you. You are so lovely, and worthwhile. Please, please, remember that people love you before you start dragging that horrible lighter across the backs of your strong arms. This is not your fault. You were created fearfully, wonderfully, and in His image. It isn’t your fault that no one else has figured that out yet. You are not inherently flawed. You are not worthless. Your sexuality does not negate who you are. You are not damned for this. You are so completely unprecedented. Take your pain to your parents, they will hold off these demons for you if you just let them. Take it to your therapist. Do not hide it. Do not bury it in the first girl who might love you. She doesn’t. Maybe she did. I still don’t know. Also, kid, take on less. Cut yourself some slack. You’ll thank me at nineteen.

There is so much I want to tell you, but I still don’t have the words. I’ll try again in a few years.

Dear Eighteen Year Old Em, 

You are going to fall so hard for the first girl who shows you intimacy. It’s okay. That fall will hurt. She won’t know all of the damage you’ll allow her to cause. Learn the definition of unrequited now. College is new, and you’ve not grown up at all. This new found freedom does not come with any kind of maturation. It just happens. Drink less beer. Say “no” to weed more often than you say “yes.” Hug your best friend whenever you see her. Her heart is heavy, and you cannot stop loving her, because she’s one of the only people you’ll ever feel okay sobbing in to, one of the only people who will cry with you if that’s what you need. You cannot stop loving her, because you may never know this kind of love again. Don’t let a year apart and a hard summer get in the way of that. Not everyone who tells you they love you actually does. This is a hard pill to swallow. Don’t ever stop opening your heart, anyway. Trust me, in less than a year’s time you’ll be proud of the horrible, soppy mess of a heart you wear on your sleeve. You’ll guard it, and protect it, and share it with someone beautiful far sooner than you know, so stop pretending like it doesn’t exist. You are going to know so much more at nineteen than you do now. I’m sure we’ll know more at twenty, too. Let go of your pride. It is only weighing you down. 

Keep pedaling, man. It’s getting less worse, and a little more livable. 

To My Christian Community Regarding the Death of Leelah Alcorn.

This was orginally posted to my Tumblr (

I am a member of the Christian community here on Tumblr, and I am grateful for that. As a young queer person, I am so grateful to be apart of this community, and to feel loved and accepted by people who share my faith, when all too often I have felt cast out from a community that I grew up knowing and loving. Thank you, for loving me.

I’ve seen many of my Christian family (here on Tumblr) struggle to comprehend the death of Leelah Alcorn. I’ve also seen many of us who aren’t understanding how to love this young woman, despite her actions, and despite the fact that who she is fundamentally defies many of the things you may believe to be true.

If you feel yourself thinking or feeling this way, I want you to remember and understand a few things:

1. We love and serve a benevolent God.
Our God loves Leelah, as she is, as he created her. She did not choose the body she was born into. Her gender identity’s disagreement with her biological sex does not negate God’s love for her. Christ calls upon us to love one another, saying “I give unto you a new commandment, that you love one another as I first loved you (John 13:34).” God loves you, and it is our calling as Christians to be loving to the rest of God’s creation. 

2. We have been called to love our neighbor. 
There are no standards for who your neighbor is. You are to love the people around you. The queer people, people of color, addicted people, abandoned people, people of different theological philosophies, and so on. We are to be the sheep. We are to clothe the naked, care for the ill, feed the hungry, visit the imprisoned, and protect the weak. That is our calling. We have not been called to judge those we find to be lacking. Jesus didn’t hang out with the pharisees or the high priests. He comforted the woman at the well, and kicked it with a bunch of poor blue collar guys. He held lepers, and befriended tax collectors. Our place is to love, serve, and protect those who cannot do for themselves.

3. Tolerance is not enough. 
Christ did not tolerate others. He accepted them. We are Christians, and that means “little Christ,” so it’s about time we followed his lead. Let down your walls, put down your sword, and open you arms, open your heart. This is not a time to remain neutral. If you stand, arms crossed, holding the sword, but do not strike, you are tolerating what is around you. Notice how unapproachable that image is. Drop your sword, fall to your knees, and open your arms. Be ready to hold the hurting, and mend the broken hearted.

4. You can not conceptualize God’s image.
We have been told for years that we are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). We are made in his workmanship, and he has put himself into creating us. Leelah was fearfully and wonderfully made, just as you were. She was created in the image of the loving, benevolent, and sovereign God you were. As human beings, we cannot rationalize or conceptualize what God’s image is. We’ll know someday, but as for now, we have no idea. He makes each of us, and the gender identity of a person does not inherently determine that they are turning from what God has created. Sex and gender are so vastly different, and unrelated. Do not negate this beautiful girl because she found herself to be different from the presentation God created. Your body is a vessel. Believe in the soul. Believe in the mind. Understand where worth is placed. Your body is a temple, and you shall adorn it as you see fit. Other than that, it holds little meaning.

The death of this young woman is tragic. She was seventeen. She grew up in a circumstance that made it impossible for her to feel the unconditional love of God, from people who claimed to be Christians. The two people on this earth who were supposed to love and protect her unconditionally could not bring themselves to accept their daughter. They have chosen to bury a son rather than love their daughter, their child.

It is not easy to grow up queer in a Christian community, regardless of how accepting the people around you may be. You question every move, every choice. You learn to fear certain conversations, and people. There are passages of the Bible I still don’t dare comb through, for fear of what they may reveal. I am aware that my God loves me, and created me as I am with great purpose, but on the days when the rain falls hard, and the boat rocks, I must flail and struggle to see Christ walking out across the water to me.

Brothers and sisters, please, there is so much hurt, and so much pain. We do so much more damage than we could ever imagine. Put down your sword. Open your arms. There are so many people who need your love, so may who have heavy hearts and do not know where they fit in this community. Remind them that they belong here with you. Love them, because I guarantee that most days, they struggle to love themselves let alone believe that God could ever love them.

God is love, and so are we. Show that to the blind. Be the light for the stumbling. That is what you are called to do.

“In essentials, unity. In nonessentials, liberty. In all things, LOVE.” -Moravian Credo  

Let’s Not Talk About My Pink Underwear

Let’s not talk about my pink underwear. I get it. I know. You know me as what I present on a daily basis. I am strong, and solid, and masculine. So, when you see the minute stash of panties I keep hidden like a bad secret in the back of my dresser, you joke, and you whistle, and you laugh.

But can we not talk about my pink underwear? That they feel as out of place against my hips as his hands always did. The way they speak to a box I no longer fit in. I am not comfortable in them, but still, they sit there behind boxer briefs and black tshirts. I am not me in those underwear. I am not the strong person you know, and it’s odd that some fabric that no one else will see can do that.

Let’s not talk about how they threaten my masculinity. And how they make me feel like less of whatever I am. Those pink underwear that wear me like a stranger. Like someone I don’t know who’s grabbed me on the bus. Like the men who shout homophobic slurs at me at four in the morning when I’m just trying to get home.

I wear my masculinity like a badge. I am proud to fall into whatever category you want to define my presentation as. I am not here to make you feel comfortable about my gender. I find so much solace in my androgyny, so much strength.

No one fucks with the girl with a crew cut, and damn, does it accentuate my eyes. There is no reason for me to lace my keys between my fingers on the walk back to my apartment, not on the days I’ve donned scuffed jeans and dark leather boots. Not when my shape has been covered by three layers of shirts. But I’ll tell you, on the days I wear the pink underwear, I carry extra keys. I carry extra bullets. I carry an extra hardness in my eyes, and my heart. I ask a boy to walk me home. I hunch my shoulders, and dip my head.

There is too much vulnerability that come along with those underwear, too much room for error. And that’s not a risk I’m willing to take. So let’s just ignore my damn underwear.


Let’s talk about two of the five things you don’t discuss at dinner parties: God and gays. I know. I heard you cringe. I get it. Calm down.

Being a Christian and being queer has proven to be more of a challenge than just being one of the two ever was. You get attacked on almost all ends here. Your ‘re gay, so no one assumes faith in Christ. Your friends (who for some reason are mostly agnostic or atheistic all together) will question your sanity due to your god, and your fellow Christians will question your righteousness due to your biology.

There is no way to win here.

The first time you go to Bible study as an “out” queer person, I hope they don’t try to save you. I hope they look at you, and see the light of God in your smile, in the way your courageously volunteer to pray at the close. I hope they see you. And if the group leader comes up to you afterwards, and talks about Leviticus, the healing power of Christ, and loving the sinner but hating the sin, calmly remind him the Jesus Christ is your savior. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Remind him that you’re trying to make peace. You do not have to show them that your love for your God is authentic. God knows. He loves you.

When they tell you you’re sinning, remind them that they can only cast that stone if they stand before you pure of heart. I swear, they drop the rock every single time.

If they question your faith, tell them that Christ left you two commands. Love God. Love everyone else. Love them. Even them.

Ask your God for the serenity, courage, and wisdom. Understand that you will not change some people. That’s all right. Your God is for you. I promise.

When you are out to coffee with the cute girl from your chemistry class, and she asks if you were raised religious, do not allow your heart to jump through that pain of sheet glass when she replies “But you’re so bright?” to your meek “Yes, I still am.” Understand that your faith does not negate your intellect. Understand that it does not negate your sexuality.

People will see what they want to see. Some will see Christ in you; others will see you only for the gender you love. Don’t let what others choose to see in you define who you are.

Don’t back down. Don’t give up. Your God throws mountains into the sea. He has overcome this world.

Coming Out

I am gay.

I have, by far, the most saccharine sweet coming out story. I come from a very accepting (and relatively knowing) family. I grew up in a small town that values standing by your people over traditional ideals. It wasn’t hard for me to be out and at home after I left for college.

I went away to school, came home maybe a month later, looked at my parents over dinner one weekend and said “Guys, I have to tell you something.” They gave me their full attention, and when I told them I was gay, my poppa told me he was proud of me, and my mama told me she knew. They said they loved me, and that was that. They’ve always supported me, and they raised me understanding that they’d love me no matter what.

I started to come out to the people around me after that, some friends from home, members of my high school groups, my grandfather, and my pastor among them. I was met with the same response from all parties. “We love you. We support you. We’ve known.”

My sexuality came as a shock to no one. Maybe I should have been a little indignant about that, but in all honesty, I was just relieved. I was relieved that nothing was going to change because I was gay.

As much as I hear the horror stories about coming out, as much as we hear how awful it is for some members of the community, know that it isn’t like that for everyone. Some small towns are coming around. Some people find love everywhere they turn. I hope this becomes the story for most, as time goes by. I hope that no one has to come out, eventually. But for now, take some solace in the fact that a small town in Ohio is learning, and loving its children all the same.

I Won’t Let Go

I published this to Tumblr a while ago:

I lie awake at night and wonder if things would be different if you were here. You make me want to be next to you, to feel the thud of your heart next to mine. I want to hold your hand while we regale stories of our lives to one another that we’ve already told. I want to listen to you tell them over and over even though I know how they end.

I want to sit next to you on the floor, our backs pressed against the sofa, arguing over who should get up and flip over the record, because honestly it’s just been spinning for the last five minutes, no you get up and change it. I did the last one. I want to put my head in your lap, so you can shield me from all that is dark. I need to know that all is not lost, that you have not gone. It’s become cold again, and there is no shoulder here for me to bury my nose in, so it can escape the harshness of winter.

Occasionally I think to myself “Where is he? What is he doing?” I know you feel it too. I know because you tell me. You do not do the typical male thing and act like you don’t care. You don’t wait around for me to say it first. You just say it. And I love you for that.

And one morning, I’ll get the call. “I’m here.” You’ll whisper into the void that stands between us. And I’ll rocket from the warmth of my bed to see you. You’ll be standing in the lobby, snow in your hair, cheeks red from being bitten by the wind. I’ll turn up the collar on my sweater, and guide you back into the cold.

But the weather won’t matter. The time won’t matter. The fact that I didn’t even bother to change from my pajamas won’t matter. Nothing matters when it’s you and I together. Nothing matters except together.


I don’t understand why we aren’t there now. I don’t understand why it hurts so badly. We parted, and I lost part of myself. No, it was taken from me. We left each other, and part of me was stolen, and replaced with part of you. That’s what we do, you and I, we take parts of each other and try to construct the other out of the jagged, broken pieces. Please, watch your step. There is glass everywhere.

I can see you in the jokes I make. Or when I hear the song, you’re there. And it makes me want to smile so big that my face cracks, and it makes me want to shout my anger from the mountain tops to anyone who will listen, and it makes me want to curl into myself and sob until I have nothing left, but tear stained cheeks and exhaustion to pull me out of this place without you.

I don’t understand. Help me to see the growth. Guard me from the people trying to tell me that absence will make my heart grow fonder. I cannot be any fonder. You are my brother. You are my family. You are a piece of my soul. And you are missing from me.

And it hurts.

I need to know that there will again be a time where we are together. Where it is you, and I, and some old Beatles record floating softly through the air while we breath in that funny offbeat unison we pick up when we’re together. I have to know that there will again come a time when your shoulder is there for me to hide my face in from the cold.

You are the light at the end of this tunnel, and I can barely see you. You’re there, and I know because I can feel your warmth.

So, just keep running my way. Just keep headed in my direction, and I will continue to sprint in yours, arms open wide. ready to embrace you, and hold you, and tell you how beautiful you are, and how much this experience has made you into a better man, even if you can’t see it. I’ll tell you everything we are too afraid to say out loud. And I know you’ll say it back.

That’s how this works. That’s why this works.

You are me, and I am you.

Until our paths cross again, and the weight of the world is shared between us, instead of having to bear the pain alone,

I love you. I miss you. Hold tight, I’ll be right there.