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ASLC Special Meetings 8/23, 8/26 & 8/30

On 8/23 we appointed our ASLC Secretary, Alycia, and on 8/30 Zach was appointed Club Affairs officer. At both meetings we discussed ideas for fall events, which will be followed by an internal brainstorming session.

The Wayfinder and Latinx clubs were chartered and re-chartered in time for club rush on September 5th.

We are currently in the process of re-evaluating our regular meeting times and location as the 3rd & 4th floors of the student center are closed for elevator repairs.

On the 26th we had a special meeting with President Gilkerson to discuss possible locations for ASLC offices and meetings while the Student Center is inaccessible. In the meantime, Follow me on twitter or watch this page for updates about when/where the next ASLC meeting will be held!

Semester No. 5

My semester begins tomorrow. I’m very anxious. My body has been tense all day…all week, really. I’m not anxious about my classes – I’ve re-evaluated them thrice now and I’ve taken my health and spoons into account so I’m only doing one in-person class (US Government), and two online classes (English 5, and Cultural Geography) in addition to my Student Government & Laney Queers organizing and my independent study (which is essentially writing down what I learn in the student senate).

I’m anxious because this is the first week of school and on Wednesday I get snake cameras and sedation instead of doing fun Welcome Week activities, on Tuesday I meet with my department chair and have my first class while on a liquid-only-diet and then get to drink the colon cleanse “juice”.

I think I’m more irritated that my first week as a senator is going to be interrupted by being sick and there’s nothing I can do about it than anything else. I’m realizing a lot of my life is going to continue to be interrupted by being sick and there’s nothing I can do about it and it’s really just…. quietly devastating.

That knowledge hangs on me like a heavy jacket twice my size. It’s with me every moment of the day. It envelops me when I struggle to put together a meal because I can’t get out of this fatigue and brain fog regardless of how long I close my eyes. I’m quietly haunted by my own ghost that I can’t figure out how to release.

I don’t know how I’m going to get through the next semester. I don’t know if my body will hold together or if I’ll have to drop out. Everything feels so precarious and I’m so so exhausted.

So tonight I managed to make myself some Gluten-Free low-ish-fodmap peanut butter energy bites so I can at least have something to munch on during the days I can eat solid food. Doing post colonoscopy Kieryn a solid.

ha.

ASLC Meeting 8/16/19

Today we held a special meeting off campus at 2044 Franklin street (my default-world office). We appointed Armani Taylor to the position of Vice President, settled among ourselves which of us will be tabling during welcome back week next week and when, and designed a welcome back week survey that will guide our priorities for the year.

We will be distributing the survey on Thursday during the party on the quad! We’ll also be holding our regular meeting on the quad rather than our room on the 4th floor of the Student Center.

Welcome Back Week will feature a movie night on Monday, Taco Tuesday, resource fair Wednesday, and the party on the quad on Thursday.

I will be on the quad Monday morning from 9-10, and that evening from 5-6:30, Tuesday from 12-2, and Thursday from 12-2! Come say hi!

ASLC Meeting 8/2/19

Today we voted on allocating funds for Welcome Week, sponsoring students to go to the Congressional Black Caucus in September, contributing to the Peralta District training in two weeks, and approving Queer Brunch for the 2019-2020 school year!

On Monday, August 5th, we will be meeting to discuss what materials to get for Welcome Week, and that Thursday at 12pm will be the next regular ASLC Meeting.

Whirlwind

Everything has been a whirlwind since school let out for the summer and it starts up again in 3 weeks but I am still reeling.

The rug was pulled out from under me in June when I went to the ER and was diagnosed with Colitis but couldn’t see a GI Specialist until the middle of July. As it stands, I have an endoscopy & colonoscopy scheduled for my first week of school when I’m supposed to be doing Senate-y things, but it was the soonest they had available so here we are.

My new PCP is helpful and working with me on the diet changes through this process, I am emailing her a weekly check-in on symptoms which is very helpful considering her next available appointment for a followup is in September.

I have learned that, apparently, what my body needs right now is to be Gluten Free, LowFODMAP, and vegan….which feels impossible even though it isn’t actually. I was miserable all last week because I stopped eating normal bread, but on Sunday I found some ($$$$$$) Gluten Free bread mix (and then had a minor breakdown because needing to be GF is breaking my budget). The bread I made (with this recipe from the bag and some rosemary) turned out surprisingly well and now I need to acquire better baking equipment and supplies so I can get through this semester in one piece.

On top of that fun health spiral, my degree program is unlikely to survive, and all of my degree classes were cut for this semester. Additionally, Peralta is not doing well financially so most of this week I’ve spent in a mild panic talking to Deans and coming up with a plan for graduating by next December.

I even made a spreadsheet for it

After talking to the Dean of the department I’ve decided to switch majors from Labor Studies to Political Science, this way I can get my AA and transfer to a 4-year that has a Labor Studies equivalent.

My next steps are: Meet with a counselor to get an updated SEP, and then meet with the Department Chair to go over both an Independent Study plan and figure out how to get my LABST classes to count towards my Political Science degree.

Aug 1 is my first day of being an ASLC Senator, which is a 2 semester term. I’m having a lot of feelings about changing majors, and being a senator, and gender feelings about how my problem was immediately addressed without my having to over explain the situation entirely because I was being read as male, and being sick and how that’s going to go down this semester (and how am I going to get through the first week of school while doing colon prep?), and and and…. I want to write more about that later but I am too exhausted and more importantly….

I HAVE ADOPTED A FURCHILD.

Peridot the cat sleeping on my bed

Peridot is a 2 year old tabby mix who was described as dog-like and is utterly perfect. Peridot even has an instagram so go subscribe for some good catte content: https://www.instagram.com/peridotfiercewater/

View this post on Instagram

Yarnz r mine

A post shared by Peridot Fiercewater (@peridotfiercewater) on

30 Months on T

Last March I wrote a 15 month synopsis of what it’s been like on HRT:

I wanted to write another in December when I hit my 2 year anniversary but that occurred over finals week and never happened, so here we are. 30 months on T!

Weight Changes:

After my Hysto I lost about 4lbs, and have been hovering between 104lbs and 110lbs since, partially due to my testoterone being too high. I really don’t like being this weight. I’m trying to gain but can’t put any on – although that is not entirely the testosterone’s fault and may have more to do with whatever is behind the colitis diagnosis I got in the ER last week.

Mental & Emotional Health Changes:

I’ve continued to become more at home in my body in some ways. Getting my uterus out did worlds of good for my dysphoria. It was like this war that I had always been fighting suddenly ended. This introduced me to another war that I didn’t know I was having between my body and my brain and trauma which is good, unrelated to testosterone, and really difficult. But what is amazing is having a base-level of okayness with myself that I’ve never had before.

I see myself as objectively hot, and kind, and confident, and smart, and capable. Which are things I struggled to see myself as before when I was so caught up in how wrong I felt. I don’t have that as much anymore, and it’s wild and liberating.

Puberty Changes:

My voice deepened by at least 3 octaves after my hysterectomy. Apparently removing all your estrogen making components will do that to you. My skin has also become rougher and dyer (which also makes it greasier, weirdly?!). The angst is also a thing that comes and goes and is really irritating and sometimes jarring.

Hair

Immediately after my Hysto, while I was taking 150mg of T a week, my hair spontaneously created cowlicks e v e r y w h e r e. It became utterly ridiculous to shave. After dropping my testosterone this year, the cowlicks have calmed down a bit and now it’s only the usual bit of unruly instead of intensely absurd. Overall, it’s also thickened quite a bit (I didn’t think it was possible but here we are), and my beard is coming in nicely. It almost reaches around from my ears to my chin, but not quite. There’s also a set of patches on my cheeks that are trying to be mutton chops but haven’t quite figured it out yet.

All the rest of the hair on my body has also intensified. When I shave my legs or pits (never super close bc the growing back period sucks) it looks like someone has sheared a poodle in my bathroom.

Muscles

I dropped out of Ballet before midterms but, damn my legs. My body grows muscle like no one’s business apparently. Just doing floor and barre stretches for 6 weeks really strengthened my core and my legs in heels are fantastic. Most of the growing pains have subsided, though my hips are still trying to shrink.

Junk

I have zero tits to speak of. I keep thinking they can’t get smaller and then they do. I can actually get away with going topless which is wild.

My dick can reach things now(!!), and I have more pubic hair than is reasonable. I am actually considering laser on some of it because it’s just….not okay.

Voice

Listen to episode 1 and episode 38 of Kitchen Table Cult and you will understand.

Perception Changes:

People almost always see as a dude and it is still a mindfuck. Probably time for another post on that soon.

Dosage Changes:

After my hysto I started dropping my dose from 150mg/wk to 120mg/wk, then in February all hell broke loose because we never checked my hormone levels after removing the estrogen producing organs. My doctor at the time put me on a schedule (after initially making me drop from 100mg to 50mg) to drop by 20mg every two weeks starting at 100mg. I literally couldn’t show up to school more than half the time for like two months. In May I found a new PCP who has me dropping by 10mg every 6 weeks. I’m currently taking 80mg/week after self-dropping on my own for two months based on what felt better.

I was unable to gain weight because my body was just feeding on the testosterone and I wasn’t feeling hunger. So I’ve been using “feeling hunger” as my signal about whether or not the dose I’m on is low enough. 100mg turned off the hunger feeling, so I dropped to 90mg and stayed there until I stopped feeling hungry, and now I’m at 80mg.

I still desperately need to switch to patches, that’s what started this whole thing to begin with. I’m hoping to talk to my PCP about that at our next appt.

Injection Changes:

I’ve been having friends do my injections for the last year and a half. This is why I desperately want to switch to patches, but in the meantime, I’ve been using 5/8″ needles (basically insulin needles) and doing an IM injection into my thigh because I have zero fat. This has stopped the nerve poking which has also made me realize that I’ve had chronic leg pain unrelated to shots which is it’s own thing entirely. Such fun.

Tips:

  • ALWAYS CHECK YOUR TESTOSTERONE especially if you remove both ovaries
  • If you don’t do close shaves, you can have all the joy of less hair without the aggravation of it growing back
  • Moisturize

Ballet

As I’m laying in bed to write this I’m warding off an anxiety attack, nausea induced by adrenaline, and so much adrenaline. I started talking to myself a few minutes ago when I felt my body go tense and my chest tightened and I decided to take a hydroxyzine, take a hit, and use my inhaler to give myself a chance to breathe deeply and stop for a second (Still no luck finding a psychiatrist, and I really need some kind of anti-anxiety med right now).

I got freaked out because I have been a spiraling mess since I had to email my ballet teacher about not being able to perform and told my classmates in case my teacher missed the email. I’ve been out of class for a whole month because I have not had the physical capacity to practice or make it to class at 10:45am.

I realized I was getting anxious while I was trying to go to sleep tonight because tomorrow is Tuesday and I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it in again. I’m worried and anticipating that I’ll have to drop the class, the last day I can drop with a W is April 26th. I’m worried about what this means for my financial aid since that would drop me to 8.5 credits. I’m taking 9.5 this semester which is ~3/4 time…(I wonder if I could get my student organizing job to count as like 3 credits for union organizing, and then I’d be more okay?) I need to talk to disability services about that this week.

I’m really devastated that I can’t perform this semester. I’ve been wanting to get back into ballet for years and never had the opportunity or ability to do it until this year, only to have my body nope out on me. Ballet has always made me feel strong and graceful and grounded. The stretches are meditative and something about moving in unison with a group of people on stage is just satisfying.

I love how doing ballet feels. I just wish I would stop waking up too tired and in too much pain to be able to do it. Some part of me feels like I should just go do it anyway and push through the aches, but my body feels so precarious right now with my hormones and health and immune system up in the air.

The other portion of this anxiety is worrying about what happens if I show my face again. I’m embarrassed that I’ve missed so much class and been such a flake on the ONE THING I TOOK FOR SELFCARE (and at this point my back is starting to ache as if I am literally a hitting a nerve). I’m really angry about it. I feel betrayed by my body and disappointed in myself and I know it isn’t my fault, but I feel so ashamed.

I don’t want to face the reality of my meatcage right now, or ever, really. But if there’s one thing I learned over spring break (which was bookended by health problems) it’s that my body currently has no chill and it is running on almost nothing.

So maybe what I do is give myself this week back, to try and get into the groove of school (and queer prom!) without pushing myself (read: going to ballet in the morning when I need to make sure I’m still sleeping and eating). Then, maybe with my body’s nutrition getting sorted, some of the pain will subside enough to do ballet again next week?

This was a long way to get to talking myself out of pushing myself tomorrow, because it feels like pushing right now, and honestly…I need to not. MAYBE, just maybe, that makes me smart and not bad.

Talking About It

I have been sick all year.

I’ve been pretending I’m not because it’s the only coping mechanism I know and if I don’t stop doing things then I don’t feel pain and everything is fine.

Until it isn’t.

At some point I crash and my immune system disintegrates and I get sick with one thing after another. Not helping is that insurance is requiring me to lower my testosterone level in order to even try patches instead of injection, which meant that right after school started my Doctor had me lower my hormones.

First the nurse told me over the phone to decrease my dose from .5ml to .25ml which doesn’t seem like much but that takes me from 100mg to 50mg in one fell swoop and need I remind you, testosterone is an anabolic steroid? That sent my body into withdrawal for 3 weeks. They called me the next week to correct it after I complained about dying, and I was to lower my dose by 20mg every 2-3 weeks, so .4ml for 3 weeks, and .3ml for 3 weeks. I got to week 2 of the .3ml right over midterms and it was h e l l.

That was a mistake. I went in to see her two weeks ago after being so out of it I couldn’t go to school half of of the time and at that point she said she was going to consult with someone who had more experience with HRT. Turns out that I’ve felt so shitty because my hormones were dropping too fast, so now we’re back up to what I was taking for another 6 weeks and then dropping by 20mg for 6 weeks and then I don’t know.

More than that, I’ve been seeing my doctor about the same Auto-Immune-ish symptoms for over a year. I’ve been fatigued for as long as I can remember but that is intensifying dramatically. As is my Raynaud’s, dizziness, brain fog, muscle spasms, and insomnia. My bloodwork isn’t really telling us anything, but it’s triggered by stress and my cortisol release mechanism is on a hair trigger.

All of this has been making me super anxious which just compounds all of those problems (I can only laugh at the hilarity of stressing out about my stress disorder, IF ONLY I COULD STOP I WOULD BE FUCKING FINE. OMFG). So much so that for the last week and a half I’ve been beside myself, unable to sleep, unable to cope, just feeling like my body was made of adrenaline, until I managed to take half a xanax and have since started to slowly crawl back to okay.

Now I desperately need a psychiatrist and a doctor who can refer me to a rheumatologist.

I’ve been so devastated because two weeks ago I started really, understanding what it means for me to be disabled and sick. I dropped out of performing at the spring ballet recital because I haven’t been able to make it to practice due to pain. I have to manage my physical energy spoons judiciously and I fucking hate it.

I’m so frustrated because I’ve FINALLY gotten to the point where I feel alive and like I’m doing the things that bring me fulfillment and joy, and I am NOT casually okay with being dead anymore, and NOW my body is trying to murder me? NOW?!

R U D E

who gave it fucking permission?

I don’t have a resolution to this other than: I’m currently switching Doctors because like 8 people have told me I need to, including my therapist, and I’m working on finding a psychiatrist who can help with the anxiety spike, and I’m not dropping out but I am worried I’ll have to if I don’t get better.

I’m just so angry and hurt and feel betrayed and I feel like I need to grieve for myself but that’s a really confusing feeling. I have therapy on Wednesday at least.

10 years

The 28th marks both my golden birthday and my 10th escape-versary. I’ve felt the amount of introspection and existential questioning I feel like most people reserve for their 30th, but this year feels more significant somehow.

Ten years feels both like an eternity and also yesterday. I’ve spent a lot of time talking about where I came from and how I escaped. I haven’t really talked about what spurs me forward – all those things I told myself I’d never forget as a child.

The other day I was taking stock of where I am now, the choices I made to get here, and how they line up with the promises I made to myself when I was young and powerless:

When I was about 12, burnt out by losing myself to yet another pregnancy and overwhelmed by everything it meant to be the oldest daughter in a large family, I promised myself I wouldn’t forget what that felt like.
I promised myself that I would never inflict that feeling on other children and I’d stop it from happening if I could.

In 2013 I helped found the Coalition for Responsible Home Education to raise awareness about educational neglect and abuse in homeschooling environments and create protections for homeschooled students. We’re making progress.

When I was 17 I promised myself I would never birth kids, and that I would somehow become sterile before age 30. Last July, almost exactly a decade later I did that.

After I worked through the trauma of being told as a toddler, adolescent, and teenager that expressing anything but joy was wrong, I promised myself that I would stop hiding from my feelings and accept all of myself.

In 2013, I came out (publicly) as bi, nonbinary, and agnostic which was only the start of this journey. In 2016 I started seeing an actual therapist and started HRT. I’ve written and continue to write extensively (mostly on social media) about the battles in my brain because of this promise.

I don’t remember when, but I remember getting fed up with people I was surrounded by being resistant to personal change and growth. I promised myself I would always evolve and not become stagnant as I age.

I’ve torn my world down and rebuilt it from the ground up more times than I can count. I’ve gone from sheltered homeschooled girl who got married immediately after leaving home, to….a divorced, polyamorous, transmasc enby with…actual confidence. In 10 years.

When I was 17 and my parents pulled my college application out from under me, I promised myself I would at least try school someday.

In 2015 I stuck my toes in the water with Seattle’s ABE program, and in 2017 I enrolled full-time at Laney College. Now I’m just-shy-of-full-time in the Labor Studies program, creating institutional queer-supportive infrastructure, running for student senate, and working as a (paid) Student Organizer.

I don’t believe there’s a point at which I will be completely and fully healed from my childhood trauma. But 10 years of distance has brought a lot of growth in more ways than I thought possible. Life is really hard sometimes, but right now I’m appreciating exactly how far I’ve come.

I take it for granted that I have done a 180 in every way imaginable from the world I come from. I forget that’s not an experience many people have the impetus to go through. I see how far I have yet still to go, I see how much more I have to learn, and how many ways I could be better, and I know I’m not there yet.

But damn.

I decided to live the life I imagined.
I believed that I could, so I did.
I replaced my fear of the unknown with curiosity
And when I looked around?
Life was pretty amazing.


ETA: if you want to celebrate this milestone with me, you can help me meet my $1k/mo goal on patreon http://patreon.com/kiery, send a present http://a.co/7w9xQgD, or buy me a drink https://cash.me/$kieryn!