TAYLOR HAWKINS

May 30, 2017

“When you’re whole and authentic, you stop collecting pieces of people to piece yourself together. You stop creating a picture of yourself that has nothing to do with you. Your light is brighter, your joy is truer, you’re more present, and its just, generally a more stable and safe space that you occupy in the world.”

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INSTAGRAM: @taylorkate1

1. Where are you from and where do you live now?

Lafayette, LA –> Dallas, TX

2. Tell me a little bit about what you spend most of your days doing.

In my professional life, I spend my days finding people the perfect space to call home. I love my job and the people that surround me. I go to work every day, grateful for the opportunity to help people find their space in Dallas but also that Im one of the lucky ones who wakes up excited to go to work. Thats so rare and I recognize that.

In my personal life, Ive cultivated a life that would have made 16 year old Taylor so happy and relieved. I spend my days with my beautiful fiance, in the house that we have torn apart and rebuilt together, literally! Time well spent is time with the awesome crew of friends I have here in Dallas.

3. Give us a little insight into your backstory/upbringing…

Honestly, it was a really great childhood. My parents gave me every opportunity, within their means, to make my life fulfilled and joyful. I knew I was gay from a very young age so I always carried guilt about hiding things from them but, growing up in south Louisiana, I was conditioned to believe that gay people, more than anyone else, were taking the express train to hell!

I played high school volleyball and ended up being one of the top players in the state. Sports brought me so much happiness but also, stereotypically enough, brought many gay people into my life. This was so important for me because I didnt have many lesbians in my life, outside of sports. I got to be in an environment where I was really good at something and I could feel a little more at ease about what it looked like to be gay. Just like everyone else. Volleyball brought me to Maryland on a full scholarship and that was the best thing that couldve ever happened to me. I was thrown into a liberal collegiate environment with people from all over the country. The great thing about collegiate sports is that there is an instant family you get.I was with these girls for years, playing, working out, eating, traveling, arguing, partying.. all of it. I finally felt comfortable, at about 19, coming out to my closest friend on the team, Shey. She was my PIC and ended up being one of my strongest allies, still to this day. She made me feel comfortable enough to keep telling people, one by one. I finally gained the courage, after about ten rum drinks, to tell my mom when she came to visit.

My mom was the most incredible human that Ive ever come across. Her heart was so genuine, she never met a stranger and she was the strongest person. My mom passed away from cancer after the toughest battle I think the human body can withstand but, not before telling me how much she loved me and how supported I was.

My dad was the same way. After my mom passed away, he was the last person to know. He was the one I was the most scared to tell. When I did come out to him, a few months after my mom passed away he asked me two questions :

“Are you happy? Are you healthy?” We’ve never looked back. He’s walking me down the aisle in July and he loves my fiance immensely. He jokes that if anything ever happens to us, he will take her back and not me!

4. What is your religious background?

Christianity/Protestant

5. On a scale of 1 – 5 how supportive was your family when you came out?

4

6. What is one accomplishment in your life that you’re proud of that most people might not know of?

Less than a month after my mom passed away, I jumped on a plane to go somewhere I had never been before and finished my first half marathon. I trained for months but at the end of my mom’s life, running was last on the list. Running made me happy but it was also a moment of silence…a gift I gave to myself when everything was hectic. Running that half marathon in Seattle was the most alone and the most alive I have ever felt. Grief sometimes does irreparable things to the body and mind but that was my first major, healthy milestone after losing my mom. Im beyond grateful for that experience.

7. Why do you feel that the simple message of the Promote Love Movement is important?

I think kindness and love are so important, now, more than ever. I think we have to, individually, cultivate an environment of love that balances out the fear and hate that has escalated. Humans are good, but sometimes we need to be even better. Plus, who doesn’t deserve to feel loved?! Love is so powerful, imagine the things we could cure if people genuinely felt secure, taken care of, seen, heard… and LOVED!

8. What is one piece of advice you would give to someone if you knew that today was going to be your last day to live?

Make sure that everyone important to you, truly and firmly, knows how much you love them. After you’re gone, there is so much comfort in knowing that everything that could have been said, was.

9. Why do you think it is important to be your authentic self?

I think, the more self realized you are, the greater life is. I don’t mean greater as a step above good I mean deeper and more impactful. The things that you feel, the things that you experience, the people that you love and the way that you love are so much deeper. The impact of being loved when you’re whole is indescribable.

Also, when you’re whole and authentic, you stop collecting pieces of people to piece yourself together. You stop creating a picture of yourself that has nothing to do with you. Your light is brighter, your joy is truer, you’re more present, and its just, generally a more stable and safe space that you occupy in the world. That shit is GOOD!

10. How do you feel like growing up in church played a part [positively or negatively] in shaping who you are?

Oh man. So, growing up in South Louisiana.. you don’t have to attend services to know what is expected of you, what the community needs to see and what “the Lord wants.” We prayed before every meal, but never attended services. We talked about the Bible but never actually read the damn thing. We judged everyone but ignored or disregarded our own sins. Certain people were discussed more heavily than others because some sins were MUCH more damning than others but, we talked about it while polishing off a bottle of whiskey. The only sin I was repeatedly reminded of by the people around me was the sin of being gay. I was conditioned to believe that it is the biggest disappointment to both your family and the Lord. I was such a hostile teenager, for many reason but, one of the major ones was because I was 16 and already believing that I was a lost cause. I hadn’t lived even a quarter of my life and I thought I was going to hell and even before that, was going to shame and disappoint my family beyond heartbreak.
Today, I have an incredibly strong relationship with God and my faith is a huge piece of my stability and happiness. It wasn’t until I learned that religion and God are two very different things. No earthly human speaks for my God and no other person is capable of influencing my relationship with Him.
I think so many people are driven out of the church, not because God doesnt want them there or he thinks they are lost causes but, because the people that claim to be followers hate outliers. I dont ever want the LGBTQ community to give up on God because his followers misrepresent him.

11. Do you still attend church/religious gatherings?

YES

12. Top books/documentaries/podcasts that have helped in life?

Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I cant say enough about this book.
Bridegroom documentary on Netflix

#DALLAS #LESBIAN #LGBT #LGBTQ #promote love #QUEER #Texas

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