Seniors of CPS: Liz D.
What’s your favorite memory from CPS?
“That’s a hard one, I’m gonna need to think for a minute on that. I would say intraterm, sophomore year. We took a trip to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and that entire trip was such a blast. I bonded with so many people in the drama community and some people who weren’t in the drama community, and I got a new appreciation for theater. It was just a super, super fun time, and I want to go back to Ashland.”
Who’s the most influential person in your life?
“Definitely Skyler. We are basically best friends and mortal enemies, all tied up in one–except for the mortal enemies part, ironically. Absolutely. Since we’re basically constantly together, even more so now, we’ve just had a huge influence on each other’s lives and how we interact with other people and we’ve helped each other improve ourselves in general. It’ll be like ‘Hey, you’ve been doing this, and it kind of seems a little bit not the best thing,’ and then like ‘Oh yeah, okay, thanks for pointing that out.’ It’s a lot of positive reinforcement, whether it’s just like … always having someone to hang out and be friends with or more actual self-improvement.”
Tell me about your pet(s).
“So up until recently I had four chickens. They are slowly dying off; they were quite old. The last one died a week ago, so really all I have right now is really my wonderful, beautiful boy, Moonshadow–my completely black cat except for a little patch of white on his chest. He is both the sweetest thing ever and also the devil incarnate. He will go from purring like a motorboat and loving all the love and attention and belly rubs to attacking your hand and your face in a second, and I love him so much. Honestly, the quarantine has been better because I’ve been able to be around him more often.”
What are you most proud of?
“As cheesy as this is, finding myself. I think if I hadn’t realized I was trans I would be a lot more unhappy. Obviously, I haven’t found out everything about myself and I’m still working on myself, but just figuring out I was trans was just a huge step and has been and continues to be a huge process for me. I am proud that I think I have handled that in, at the very least, a decent way. I [am also proud of] radically shifting the way I relate to people in a vastly positive way. Realizing I’m trans has allowed me to make a lot more people happy and relate to people in a way that is much more positive for them and for me.”
What is something you want to leave behind at CPS?
“Something I want to leave behind from CPS is all of the baggage that I carried with me concerning my gender and my masculinity and everything that just tied me down and made me a worse person.”
What’s a story you tell that no one believes?
“This one’s one that people do believe, because I have photo proof of it. So, one time when I was on sleep meds–it was in the summer, and I typically run hot, so I like to have all the windows open. It was just really really warm and I was wanting to open another window. I have this one window that I don’t really open that often and so I opened half of it and I was trying to open the half of it and I was like ‘Hm, it’s stuck. We’ve just had our house painted recently or maybe it’s just a little bit stuck.’ So I was trying to open it and turns out it doesn’t open that way so I ripped the window pane out of the window, and kind of just held it in my hand for a second–and remember, this is just completely conked out on sleep meds–and then I put it down and go back to sleep. And in the morning I was like, ‘Oh, that was a nice dream–oh… oh, that happened. Cool.’ It didn’t shatter, just the whole window thing came out. It was–it was an interesting experience.”
What’s your favorite place in the world?
“Can I interpret this however I want? On one hand I want to say Edinburgh because I went there last year for the Fringe Festival and it was just, like… I want to say a religious experience. It’s just such an amazing experience and all the shows there are incredible. First of all… it’s just a really, really old city. Like, you can feel the age in each cobblestone and brick, and every building has cellars and sub cellars where they’ll either have, like, stocking rooms or their hold small stand-up comics, and it just feels like a maze down there and it’s incredible. All the buildings are, as I said, very old, and it’ s just an aesthetic I love so much because it’s not something I get over here. And the weather–it would start raining out of nowhere, on the drop of a hat. Some people might think that’s bad, but it’s just really spontaneous and something that I really loved. One time it started raining [and] we were in a very small, purposely ramshackled theater with a very thin roof where you could see the sky. It started raining at the climactic scene of a very emotionally charged and intense play, which just heightened the experience all the more. Also just, all the shows there are incredible, and as a performing artist, it’s just mind-boggling to me how much talent there is there. And honestly, if I were to move anywhere, that would probably be at the top of the list. But, at the same time, the deck that my uncle built for us [is my favorite place] because it has a wonderful view of the city and it’s really peaceful and gets just the right amount of light. I just lay outside on the beanbag all the time, and it’s just really, really peaceful.”
What’s your favorite book of all time?
“For various reasons, ‘favorite book’ has been a bit of a hard question for me. But I would say last year in Dr. Robinson’s seminar–no, last semester, January feels like two years ago–we read this book, Girl Meets Boy, which is about lesbianism and queerness in… I think it’s Scotland… It helped me begin to come to terms with how my lesbianism interacts with my being trans. It’s just a beautiful book that kind of makes a statement against a lot of the frustrations I have with the world, like sexual assault and the huge gender imbalance in our society and it’s just, I feel like, a must read for any young lesbian, or any queer person who’s interested in literature.”
If I asked you at age 5 what you wanted to be when you grew up, what would you say?
“… I just wanted to be an electrical engineer like my dad, and I had these awful, awful drawings–not as in they were disgusting, they were just kid drawings and they were very bad. And I remember I had– I might still have it, I’m not sure–a drawing of me that was basically a drawing of my dad, but I said it was me.”
What’s something you want to do before you graduate college?
“Release an album that I’m proud of to the public and collaborate with my peers at my college to make something wonderful, most likely something art related.”
What’s your biggest regret from your time at CPS?
“In general, the way I related to people in freshman and sophomore year. I did a lot of really, really stupid things and… I mean, to an extent, not realizing that I was a woman sooner. But more so, I did a lot of dumb stuff freshman and sophomore year. I think I would change it so that I didn’t have to hurt the people that I hurt. I went to an all-boys middle school, and on one hand, it taught me how to sing, but on the other hand, it… really didn’t do a lot–I didn’t grow a lot, socially, for three years… so I didn’t really know how to handle a lot of situations coming into CPS. So, I feel like if there was another way to learn how to be where I am today without hurting as many people, I would definitely take that route.”
Who’s your favorite musical artist?
“At the moment, AJR. They’re an alternative rock band, which isn’t normally what I listen to, but they’re just doing a lot of experimental stuff that I really love, like using choral sounds and combining synth with real instruments and a lot of things that I haven’t been seeing in other artists that I really admire. It kind of touches me because I’m also in a place where I’m experimenting with my music and finding out what I want to make and do. Their experimentation is their music. They’re constantly doing new and innovative things, both with their subject matter and their lyrics and with the actual sound and production of their songs.”
What’s a skill you wish you could have?
“Two answers: one, I wish I could actually play an instrument, because it’s just a little embarrassing as a composer. I mean I’m in AVE, I can sing, but I feel like if I had a better understanding of the instruments I was writing for then I would definitely be able to do more with my music. And, honestly, I think more than that, just background in game design because that’s something I wanted to get into but I have absolutely no experience in, so that’ll be a fun transition in college. So maybe coding, I don’t know–something along those lines. I’m very indecisive, if you couldn’t tell.”
If there is one thing that you think everyone should know about you, what would it be?
“Let me think about how to phrase this… If I’ve hurt you, I’m sorry, and if you want to talk about something that I’ve done, or if you wish we had a different relationship, or just about anything, please let me know. I’m open to talking or to trying to repair anything I’ve done, or just talking in general. I’m not really gonna see many of you.
I also want to say something along the lines of ‘what do you wish you had had in senior year,’ but that might be too sad. On one hand, this seems like a reflection of our cps experience, on the other hand, I would at least would have wanted to acknowledge what we lost in this year. There were just a lot of end of year things that I really wish we got to do. The astro field trip, which still might happen next year, who knows. Senior retreat, prom–I feel like that [would’ve been] my first prom where I felt actually comfortable. Last prom was a little bit early in my transition. It would be nice to have our performances back–I’m missing out on three big performances, and although they did stress me out a lot, and although we are doing them in a reduced format, I wish we could do them to our full capacity. It just shows the creativity and persistence of the arts department and I hope you guys enjoy what we produce.”