So here I sit in my blue kitchen in the Midwest of the United States, wondering just how it is that I should start this.

Let me explain how I got here, to Thirty Voices–Explaining how I got to this point, here, in the blue kitchen in my far-flug working class neighborhood at 6:45 AM would take considerably longer and will evolve over time.

The other night, I was hosting my weekly queer lady open mic and a woman got up and read a nice little piece about her mother and eating and exercising. She (StacyJill!) mentioned casually that it was from this blog. As an avid blogger (it’s here), I was excited about this idea. I emailed her yesterday, got the invitation to participate and the rest will be history. (Since it’s only been a day now, I don’t really feel like saying “the rest is history” is very apt.)

So, who am I? I ask myself that every day.

My name is JT; that stands for Jeanne Theresa, the names of both of my grandmothers. Not too many people who know me by JT know that about me–my real name–because I perform a lot under the nickname here in Chicago.

Perform? Yes. Perform. I am a writer, a video and spoken word artist, and a burlesque performer. I perform about three days a week these days, in a wide range of performative genres–I am the best damned dilletante I can be. My stage name is Miss Bea Haven and no, I am not the fat-positive burlesque dancer from Denver, the drag queen from Seattle or the slightly porn-y burlesque dancer/stripper/fetish model from NYC. Other stage/pen names have included: Corn Girl, Welded Steel, La Princessa, Cameltoe Malone, Cherry Jubilee, and Little Miss Haphazard (but that was an actual role that I played in first grade on the public access channel in Bolingbrook, IL).

And then, in my spare time, I am a data analyst for a large internet marketing firm. I can’t say which one because we’re not supposed to blog about it, because we’re in the middle of an unprecedentedly-huge merger. Needless to say, I love my job. It keeps me engaged and it’s not too too much so that I can’t enjoy rest of my life. After about a decade in non-profit management (from which I burned out like a sparkling phoenix), I have to say that it is a total relief to work for The Man and receive all of the lovely benefits therein. I have never been so well-taken-care-of on the job in my life.

Personally? I am single. After many, many years in a terrible relationship (and the one before that), getting married to a women and having her leave me a year later, having kids with another partner, being denied custody of those kids, and generally moving from relationship to relationship throughout my whole adult life, I am taking a breather.

I am currently dating a pretty special lady (a 43 year old carpenter. Damn, that’s hot.) but we’re new at it and we’re taking our time and giving one another plenty of breathing room. For example, I have not seen her this week. I love the freedom of that and that we’re figuring out how to be together and still have space. This has not been a usual pattern for me.

I guess that there will be more to say, but I think that I will just let the rest evolve. Sometime next week, I will do the mix tape challenge–very excited about that.


JT, 36, Chicago