STEFAN: So this is our “Hello World!” moment here at Tilted Windmills. A good place to start is probably to outline what this site is about and what it means to us. Launching the site has been a long time coming and I’m thrilled that we are finally at a point where we can share our vision with you.
Those of us who are part of minority communities understand first-hand that we live in an unjust world. And yet, we are not helpless. No matter where we are, or what we’ve had to overcome, each of us has the capacity to thrive through the choices we make.
Tilted Windmills is a platform for exploring the ways we learn to adapt, survive and flourish in a sometimes hostile world. It’s also a space where we can showcase our achievements and the beauty we see in ourselves and the world around us.
Who are we? I’ll let my co-founder (and partner) Athena speak for herself. As for me I’m a 30-something year old transman and activist who is committed to doing what I can to expand society’s understanding of gender and disability. My aim is to break down barriers for those of us who don’t fit neatly into the male/female, man/woman binary. I’m also passionate about promoting mental wellness and resilience in the face of social bias.
I have lived the devastating effects of depression, anxiety and trauma that comes with being different. I’ve contemplated my own suicide. I have witnessed the suffering of friends and family members, and faced the loss of financial and mental stability. And through it all, I have learned an important lesson: love makes life worth living. More importantly, love is just the first step…
Tilted Windmills is the brainchild born of a unique partnership. What we offer is a hub of information and advocacy, an engine for collaboration with fellow humans who share our values of kindness and curiosity, and a creative movement devoted to well-being in its various forms.
We hope Tilted Windmills will appeal to those interested in learning more about what it means to live on the edges of mainstream society – the gifts that come with this positioning, as well as the challenges.
Tilted Windmills is a space that celebrates diversity in all of its technicolor glory, and promotes the imagination as a force that enables healing. It’s an experiment in giving voice to our individual truths, to the questions we ask ourselves, the answers we reach for, and the don’t-knows we bump into along the way. It’s a space for self-learning as much as it is a platform for sharing our gifts with the world.
What you’ll find here is a unique perspective on life and living, with a focus on wellness, disability, gender and creativity. I hope you will experience our posts as thought-provoking, inspiring, practical and engaging. Because, ultimately, Tilted Windmills is about wanting to connect with you and collaborate in moulding a different, better world. I hope you’ll leave each post asking: “what if…” with us and daring to complete that sentence.
ATHENA: I was born thirty-some-odd years ago with a rare genetic condition known as Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which causes brittle bones, weak muscles and a short stature—as an adult I’m 3’7”. I have lived with disability my entire life and I’ve been using a power wheelchair since the age of six.
When I first conceived of the name of Tilted Windmills—some years before I met Stefan—it was from a place of solitary frustration. As both an artist and a woman with a disability, I felt very much like I was railing at the establishment from the outside edge and that my ambitions were viewed as a little “crazy”.
What? As someone with a disability, I somehow thought I should be able to live independently above the poverty line? Contribute to society at large rather than be seen as simply a burden upon it? Live, love and create passionately and with purpose? Clearly, I had some kind of Don Quixote-complex, so I thought why not simply go with the metaphor.
And then one day I sat down to coffee with a transgender man and started what continues to be a fascinating conversation about what it means to live a life outside the mainstream. Our worlds and our life experiences have been very different, but Stefan and I have discovered a startling amount of common ground in areas such as mental health challenges in the face of adversity, trying to make sense of the barriers and attitudes flung upon us by mainstream society, as well as just trying to understand our own place in the greater picture.
I have come to believe that as human beings we are far, far more diverse and spectacular than we have ever realized. Whether you are ablebodied or disabled, cisgender or living outside the gender binary, you are part of that diverse fabric. In founding and re-envisioning Tilted Windmills with my partner, we hope to clear a space for that extraordinary diversity to be supported, nourished and celebrated, to take this unique conversation that we’ve been having between ourselves and invite you to the table.
This loving, inclusive world we wish to build and live in isn’t simply a fantasy for deluded dreamers. It is a vision that has the power to embrace us all.
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