Mochas Were My Gateway Drug
My Diesel love story starts with an important fact: I didn’t drink coffee before I entered Diesel’s doors in 2010. I only got mochas made of mostly milk for the first five years I was a customer, when I opened an office for my health coaching practice across the street above Chipotle. More than seven years later, I now make coffee every morning in a Chemex, courtesy of a tutorial workshop from the fine folks at Forge! They got me addicted forever and I love them for it.
On my breaks between clients, I’d run across the street to Diesel and get a large mocha and chocolate chip cookie…with a salad because I had to walk my nutrition talk.
When I got rid of the office, I just invited clients to meet me in the red booths of my favorite queer coffee shop. We’d sit there and they’d pour their hearts out to me and laugh or cry (sometimes both) among the many customers studying or playing pool.
My former gf and I sat for many mornings to have breakfast before I put her on the Red Line from Davis to go to work downtown.
Then we broke up at the start of my gender transition, which was such a difficult and disorienting time as I also lost most of my family of origin. But by then in 2014, Diesel felt like my second home, as it does for so many regulars in the community. Walking through the door each day to see those smiling faces of other queer-identified and queer-friendly folx made my transition process so much easier. And it helped that when other vital relationships in my life were ending, a new one was beginning: I was coming on board as the new health coach for the Diesel/Bloc and soon-to-be Forge team.
After five years of being a customer and frequent Halloween party attendee (when I got to live my best life as a Newsie like I had wanted to since I was 17 years old), I actually got to work alongside these people I had known and respected so much! Some preliminary workshops soon grew to a regular relationship lasting over a year as Jen and Tucker built out Forge Baking Company and Forge Ice Cream and simultaneously invested in the development of their staff. Stressful change or expansion (in life and/or business) can actually be sustainable with support for better work/life balance and that’s exactly what I felt grateful to provide these teams. You can read about our work together here.
After being a customer who was star-struck by the Diesel cool kids for so many years, it was nothing short of a dream come true for me to support these amazing people with my work as a coach. I took incredible pride in posting from my regular perch at one of the tables on Instagram every day to encourage customers to eat more salads (and scones, let’s be honest). Supporting them with their life goals made an incredibly challenging time in my own life much easier because I was connected to my passion and my purpose. Every day, I felt completely content as I biked around Somerville between Diesel, Bloc and Forge for various meetings with the staff. It was a lot of fun getting to know them deeply and helping operations move more smoothly but it also kept me going. As my identities and my life shifted around me, the continuity and comfort within the walls of those cafes gave me a reason to get up every day and keep going. I felt like a part of an important legacy as I helped the staff learn new ways to take care of themselves and each other better. I was sharing as I learned right along with them.
When I finally left Boston for retreat in Vermont in 2016, it was hard to say goodbye. But the Diesel, Bloc and Forge communities will stay with me forever as places and people of comfort and community when I really needed it. Hopefully I was able to give back a small part of what these places provided me, via mochas and so much more.