Your Shopping Cart

It appears that your cart is currently empty!

CONTINUE SHOPPING

The DIOP Circle V.20

November 3rd, 2019


Travis Ammann

Every Sunday, we publish a story from a member of the DIOP community. Because each and every one of you is on a journey and we're right there with you.

This week, we're linking up with Travis Ammann. Our 262nd customer, he just got an Amar top and it's his new favorite. Travis is going to share how he developed a true understanding of community

It all started with Judy Garland. They say I was singing before I could talk. Like most kids from the late 80s and early 90s I loved Disney but was also obsessed with The Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland in general. Both my Mother and paternal Grandmother saw early on that I loved something about singing and theater. Before you know it, I was introduced to every movie musical by Grandma and my mom got me into dance lessons. The rest tells itself if you just look at me now.

I am a child of Orange County, California. The oldest of seven, I was surrounded by strong, free thinking, powerful women. My Mom and paternal Grandma could not be more different if they tried. My Grandma is a White, middle class, retired elementary school teacher with conservative views. While my mother, who is a first generation American woman with two mixed working class parents, is a little more liberal.

Growing up with them being so different is a blessing looking back now, because I always got to hear two perspectives on many topics. My parents divorced when I was pretty young but both women continued to love and support me in their own very different ways.

I came out when I was 12. I began arts school in 7th grade at OCSA (7th-12th at the time) and when i walked into that school on my first day one of the first things I saw was a boy walking down the hallway in heels. Right then it clicked, and I’ve been “Travy” ever since. I didn’t get picked on much because I was so confident and self aware, I think most kids knew I couldn’t be bothered. I knew exactly who I was, which made me a very interesting role model for my younger siblings, if I am even deserving of the title.

By the time I was 16, I was introduced to rave culture along with the gay club scene. I partied pretty hard, experimenting with different substances, but was already close to done when I reached my early twenties. I am now sober (though I totally support medical marijuana). I had still done things I am not proud of, things that put me in situations where my body and health were at risk. I did it just to feel that acceptance and love from men, however brief, and even if I knew it was fake.

Dance and theater were my saving grace and my means of self expression at that time. It helped me escape the darkest corners of my mind. Through movement and choreography, I could express things I didn’t necessarily want to verbalize at that time.

About 4 and a half years ago, shortly after my 26th birthday, I suffered a spinal cord stroke while surfing. I was later officially diagnosed with what is called Surfer’s Myelopathy, a condition so rare, fewer than 50 people in the world share the diagnosis. Being a dancer, I was apparently at a disadvantage. I was flexible and when I got up to catch a wave, I hyperextended my back and pinched the wrong nerves to make exactly everything go wrong. In the span of about 15 minutes, I was left a T12 complete paraplegic.

You discover who your community really is when you are at your lowest. I discovered who my true community was when I was injured four and a half years ago. The same day I was paralyzed for life was also the day I was diagnosed with HIV. The doctors ran blood test when I was hurt and knew right away. My family came in full force, especially my mother. She worked full time, and had 6 other children. And with their own health issues, she was by my side every day. She still is. And she will never know how much her sacrifices mean to me. Some friends I didn’t expect to show up, did, and so much more.

Others I thought would be there in a heartbeat, never were or maybe came and said hello once. Even more never came to see me at all while I recovered in the hospital for close to a year. It was then when I really found out what it meant to appreciate my life and the people who chose to be around me.

I excelled in voice and dance and was recognized in the theater and dance world of Orange County and Los Angeles. But I thought my career was over after my injury. It wasn’t clear what I was going to do with my life; to be honest I’d be lying if I said I have it all planned out even now, because I don’t. But I now know the things I want in life and the things that make me happy. And that is a step in the right direction if you ask me. Only time will tell where I go next, but if you were to ask me now “Hey Travy, are you happy with where your life is going?” I would most certainly respond “Yes Ma’am!”

It took a lot of self-healing to get here. I’m in a better place and I am finding myself again. And it is with much support from my loved ones that I am comfortably able to be so candid. Community boils down to family. It doesn’t have to be blood. It has everything to do with choosing your tribe and staying loyal, no matter your differences. It’s about being there and showing up when it’s important.

Now I perform for different charities, mainly focusing on children with disabilities. I like performing for kids because it reminds me of how much I needed inspiration when I was young. Not only is it great to find art again but to give back at the same time.

One great piece of advice I received was from my mother. She always told me to always find someone that loves you more than you love yourself. I’ve followed it pretty well. I am at a great place now. My boyfriend and I are in love and moving in together with our two dogs Kya and Ilana, who are also both my Emotional Support Animals.

I think I’ve found the love of my life. It’s funny too. Because he showed up right when I stopped searching. It happened when I became truly comfortable with myself. Then someone saw it, appreciated it, and loved all of it. I hope others, especially more queer and or disabled people can have the opportunity to feel the same. Everyone deserves love.


The DIOP Circle V.20

November 3rd, 2019


Travis Ammann

Every Sunday, we publish a story from a member of the DIOP community. Because each and every one of you is on a journey and we're right there with you.

This week, we're linking up with Travis Ammann. Our 262nd customer, he just got an Amar top and it's his new favorite. Travis is going to share how he developed a true understanding of community

It all started with Judy Garland. They say I was singing before I could talk. Like most kids from the late 80s and early 90s I loved Disney but was also obsessed with The Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland in general. Both my Mother and paternal Grandmother saw early on that I loved something about singing and theater. Before you know it, I was introduced to every movie musical by Grandma and my mom got me into dance lessons. The rest tells itself if you just look at me now.

I am a child of Orange County, California. The oldest of seven, I was surrounded by strong, free thinking, powerful women. My Mom and paternal Grandma could not be more different if they tried. My Grandma is a White, middle class, retired elementary school teacher with conservative views. While my mother, who is a first generation American woman with two mixed working class parents, is a little more liberal.

Growing up with them being so different is a blessing looking back now, because I always got to hear two perspectives on many topics. My parents divorced when I was pretty young but both women continued to love and support me in their own very different ways.

I came out when I was 12. I began arts school in 7th grade at OCSA (7th-12th at the time) and when i walked into that school on my first day one of the first things I saw was a boy walking down the hallway in heels. Right then it clicked, and I’ve been “Travy” ever since. I didn’t get picked on much because I was so confident and self aware, I think most kids knew I couldn’t be bothered. I knew exactly who I was, which made me a very interesting role model for my younger siblings, if I am even deserving of the title.

By the time I was 16, I was introduced to rave culture along with the gay club scene. I partied pretty hard, experimenting with different substances, but was already close to done when I reached my early twenties. I am now sober (though I totally support medical marijuana). I had still done things I am not proud of, things that put me in situations where my body and health were at risk. I did it just to feel that acceptance and love from men, however brief, and even if I knew it was fake.

Dance and theater were my saving grace and my means of self expression at that time. It helped me escape the darkest corners of my mind. Through movement and choreography, I could express things I didn’t necessarily want to verbalize at that time.

About 4 and a half years ago, shortly after my 26th birthday, I suffered a spinal cord stroke while surfing. I was later officially diagnosed with what is called Surfer’s Myelopathy, a condition so rare, fewer than 50 people in the world share the diagnosis. Being a dancer, I was apparently at a disadvantage. I was flexible and when I got up to catch a wave, I hyperextended my back and pinched the wrong nerves to make exactly everything go wrong. In the span of about 15 minutes, I was left a T12 complete paraplegic.

You discover who your community really is when you are at your lowest. I discovered who my true community was when I was injured four and a half years ago. The same day I was paralyzed for life was also the day I was diagnosed with HIV. The doctors ran blood test when I was hurt and knew right away. My family came in full force, especially my mother. She worked full time, and had 6 other children. And with their own health issues, she was by my side every day. She still is. And she will never know how much her sacrifices mean to me. Some friends I didn’t expect to show up, did, and so much more.

Others I thought would be there in a heartbeat, never were or maybe came and said hello once. Even more never came to see me at all while I recovered in the hospital for close to a year. It was then when I really found out what it meant to appreciate my life and the people who chose to be around me.

I excelled in voice and dance and was recognized in the theater and dance world of Orange County and Los Angeles. But I thought my career was over after my injury. It wasn’t clear what I was going to do with my life; to be honest I’d be lying if I said I have it all planned out even now, because I don’t. But I now know the things I want in life and the things that make me happy. And that is a step in the right direction if you ask me.

Only time will tell where I go next, but if you were to ask me now “Hey Travy, are you happy with where your life is going?” I would most certainly respond “Yes Ma’am!”

It took a lot of self-healing to get here. I’m in a better place and I am finding myself again. And it is with much support from my loved ones that I am comfortably able to be so candid. Community boils down to family. It doesn’t have to be blood. It has everything to do with choosing your tribe and staying loyal, no matter your differences. It’s about being there and showing up when it’s important.

Now I perform for different charities, mainly focusing on children with disabilities. I like performing for kids because it reminds me of how much I needed inspiration when I was young. Not only is it great to find art again but to give back at the same time.

One great piece of advice I received was from my mother. She always told me to always find someone that loves you more than you love yourself. I’ve followed it pretty well. I am at a great place now. My boyfriend and I are in love and moving in together with our two dogs Kya and Ilana, who are also both my Emotional Support Animals.

I think I’ve found the love of my life. It’s funny too. Because he showed up right when I stopped searching. It happened when I became truly comfortable with myself. Then someone saw it, appreciated it, and loved all of it. I hope others, especially more queer and or disabled people can have the opportunity to feel the same. Everyone deserves love.


By Travis Ammann

Follow Travis @travyfrank and visit ocde.us/VSA to learn more about VSA California of Orange County which provides arts, education, and cultural opportunities by, with, and for people with disabilities.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of DIOP.


- Travis Ammann


Follow Travis @travyfrank and visit ocde.us/VSA to learn more about VSA California of Orange County which provides arts, education, and cultural opportunities by, with, and for people with disabilities.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of DIOP.