Category COVID19

4 posts

COVID Log 4

One day soon I will have the bandwidth to sit down and write out the things that are stirring me lately, but in the meantime here’s the cliffnotes of the last since April, I guess.

The neighborhood group I’ve been organizing with since Shelter in Place started, Alice Street Mutual Aid, had a really successful food drive a couple weeks ago! 

I spent about two weeks organizing it with my neighbors. Everyone who participated was really touched and grateful both to have something concrete to do and also to have an immediate need met. I got to meet some of the folks I’ve been working with on slack and seeing on my screen for weeks in person (safely, masked, 6′ away), and it was so lovely.

If this is something you have the capacity or desire to do and want to talk about how to make happen I’m always down to talk shop, just leave a comment/send a message/DM me on twitter.


I stepped down from CRHE (and wrote about it, of course) to give myself room to grow. I’ve been focusing lately on my work on the ground, working with my Tenant’s Union, ASMA, East Bay for Everyone, and doing mutual aid work wherever I can.


My partner and I made history (on 6/9) by becoming one of the first nonbinary trans couples to get a Registered Domestic Partnership in CA. Up until Jan 1 of this year, in order to get a Domestic Partnership in CA you had to be same-sex. Sen. Scott Wiener (the same senator who authored the law that allowed me to change my gender marker to X on my license in Jan 2019) authored the bill to change the law so it’s not a question even asked anymore, which meeeeeeeeeans

We have all the rights of a married couple recognized by the State of California in areas such as: healthcare (and taxes and etc). A Registered Domestic Partnership is different than a marriage (legally) in that it is easier to undo and not federally recognized, so we’ll cross that tax bridge with an accountant when we get there.

On my ever growing list of topics to write about is how an RDP is different from being married for me, and how it’s healing and also an example of how our social structure is fucked up but the meaningful part of this is:

Neither of us have to worry about our families of origin having any say over our healthcare if bad things happen, AND more importantly that also means *drumroll*

I have access to Kaiser’s trans clinic. 

These last several months have been legit nightmare mode for HRT + my general health. I feel terrible and am so tired, but I found a doctor at Kaiser who seems like a good fit and Kaiser just blanket covers the kinds of HRT I have been fighting so hard to get for the last 2+ years. I’m overwhelmed and relieved.


As Shelter In Place continues I feel so listless. I miss going places, I miss making plans and then doing the plans. I miss being around people. I miss hugging my friends. I’m grieving because given how poorly “reopening” has gone I don’t know if I’ll be able to see friends outside of my immediate vicinity or even leave my city before next March.

Along with the existential dread, my depression is making a comeback which I think is related to the fact that I stopped taking bupropion to start Straterra in February. Straterra has been super helpful in enabling me to actually get anything done during these plague times, but trazodone is not strong enough for the depression and CPTSD flares that come with being a responsible human bean in the middle of a pandemic.

A lot in my life is looking up right now, despite the plague, but it feels so distant. All the things I usually do to help feel pointless and hollow; which is a sign to me that I’ve kept depression at bay on my own for as long as I can and it’s time to get help for it. Thankfully tomorrow is my first appt with the new Kaiser doctor so hopefully we can figure something out.

COVID Log 3

Things haven’t gotten any easier in the last month. Every week feels like at least a decade, and I’ve been dealing with blow after blow, just trying to roll with the punches.

But I am exhausted. I tried to take a Quarancation last week but it didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. A young, queer, badass organizer acquaintance of mine got caught in some gunfire in SF and didn’t survive, social media was particularly toxic, and I had two interviews (no luck). It’s been rough inside my brain lately.

I feel lost and at loss.

It’s hard to fight existential dread with hope when hope is hard to come by; and I keep failing in my attempts to reach some kind of financial stability. It feels easier to give up. To resign myself to the exhausting freelance hustle that I’ve been doing for the last 4 years instead of continually trying without success to get hired in a traditional job with hours and benefits and a fair wage. But I don’t want to continue this dance with the abyss. I want pay and benefits and reliable hours. I want to be able to provide for myself and my family, it devastates me that I can’t seem to hack it.

I feel like it’s a failing on my part that to even get to the point of an interview I have to work through decades of trauma and lies my parents told me about work and relationships and whether or not I am worth being paid for my time and energy.

When I interview and get rejected, even nicely, it feels like they were right:
Maybe I am worthless and undeserving and unskilled
Maybe I don’t deserve stability or self-sufficiency
Maybe my lot in life is to suffer at the base of the hierarchy of needs for ever, because that’s all I was ever equipped to do – that’s what years of not being allowed to accept pay for labor, belittlement for external success & competence, and suffering the consequences of bad financial decisions at the hands of my parents has conditioned me for.

But I don’t want that to be true; I just don’t know how to make it untrue.

In these plague times, I and my partner(s) are high risk, so it’s not safe for me to get a job at a grocery store or coffee shop where I’d be interacting with the public at-large who somehow don’t seem to understand that the mask has to cover both nose AND mouth to be effective.

I’m just exhausted and sick with anxiety even though today, I’m financially okay. There’s no guarantee that will be true in a month or two. I’ve applied to work the census and be a contact tracer, and have heard nothing on either front. I know the answer is to continually apply and interview and send resumes to everything I see because maybe there’s a chance, but I am out of hope that a chance like that exists for me right now.

I know that depression is a lying liar who lies and I am competent and good at so many things from websites to grassroots movement building, I’m hard working and driven and self motivated, and yet. Everyone is happy to benefit from my labor and zeal but I can’t get hired to use or grow these skills and stay afloat.

I keep organizing because that’s how I move. It doesn’t pay but it’s something to do that can eventually improve the quality of life for myself and others. I keep doing the hustle because I need to survive. I somehow make an impact and impress people with my ability to get things done, but can’t consistently put bread on my table without help and after a while, that just gets to me.

It’s a trigger because it makes me feel like that the work I do is appreciated, but I am somehow not worth the monetary investment in sustaining myself or developing my skills. I know this is a lie because my patreon exists and I am eternally grateful for everyone who is able to continue supporting me there, as that has been the most reliable stream of income I’ve had since moving to the Bay and I wouldn’t be able to even survive without it (so thank you).

But sometimes life just hurts and lies feel like truth, and I’m feeling that a lot right now.

COVID Log 2

I’ve been managing okay focusing on creating resources and organizing my building and my block…until today.

Today I feel sideways and depression is loud and all encompassing and I am tired despite not doing much. I lost my balance while doing a grocery run today which was the first time I’ve left my apartment since Friday night at 9:30pm, which kinda just added to the chronic pain flare I’ve already been managing.

In therapy I keep coming back to discovering trauma I didn’t realize I had around Y2K and how my parents’ lack of survival preparation due to desperately hoping the rapture would happen wound up affecting me. I wasn’t allowed to feel all those fears and the angst and even the anger about not-so-subtly being told that life isn’t really worth living at the age of 9. If the rapture will probably happen tomorrow, then there’s no reason to think about the future.

Turns out, that’s a whole lot of bullshit to not be allowed to process when you’re 9. So, cut to literally 20 years later and uh I’m finding myself fighting the urge to kinda curl up and do nothing and also this endless anxiety driven desire to run myself into the ground fighting. Somewhere, there’s a middle ground but today has been a complete physical and emotional crash from that realization.

I’m grieving a lot for the 9 year old me who was handed all the worst ideas and shut down because the dissonance was too great. I’m angry that she had to carry the weight of feeling guilty about wanting to live. I don’t really have the energy to work through it all right now, it’s just so much.

Instead, here’s what I have been doing for the last 3 weeks:

Making art

Drawing my (partial) D&D Party

I also downloaded a coloring app called Pigment and have been coloring on my phone whenever I need something else to do besides look at news and twitter.

I (dramatically) read the Tell-Tale Heart

Setting up CRHE’s COVID-19 Response page(s):

https://responsiblehomeschooling.org/covid/
Landing hub of all our resources, advice, etc.

https://responsiblehomeschooling.org/covid/studentresources/
Specifically for students who are experiencing emergency homeschooling.

https://responsiblehomeschooling.org/covid/resources/
A compilation of resources for parents and students homeschooling through COVID19.

Please share these widely, and if they were useful to you – consider setting up a (tax deductible) monthly donation so we can continue to offer support and create resources like this.

Mutual Aid

Together with my fellow tenants and neighbors I’ve been working on organizing mutual aid infrastructure for my building and block. We have weekly zoom meetings and everything. It’s been super helpful to work with neighbors (some of whom I haven’t met in person yet!) to build something that y’know, we feel like we can count on given that the federal government’s response is lacking and bureaucracy is slow.

I definitely recommend joining your building’s tenants union and your neighborhood group (or starting one!) if you have the spoons but haven’t yet. There are so many ways we can help eachother even without getting our molecules close together.

Here’s what we’ve been doing to organize my block:

  • Started a public facebook group for our neighborhood
    • Facebook is the resource sharing/info hub
  • Posted flyers on the block to raise awareness and get members
  • Started a slack for folks who wanted to help create infrastructure for a proper support network
    • Weekly zoom meeting
    • Currently working on: setting up values/code of conduct, communications (email, google voice number), website, paypal, neighborhood census (google form for facebook), building organizing letter/census templates (google forms & printable doc)

Here’s what we’ve been doing in my building:

  • Building a tenant’s email list through writing letters and slipping under doors
  • Using the listserv to share news, resources, check if anyone needs groceries
  • Regular zoom meetings to discuss rights and recourse as tenants and how to help each-other with the bonus of cat interruptions

And, like everyone else on the planet with a Switch, I’ve been vanishing to my not-at-all-deserted island called Interriver and building ALL THE THINGS.

Image

And the most exciting bit of news: I finally. started. Androderm (patches).

Not okay

I’ve started and stopped more posts than I can remember in the last month since COVID19 ate everything.

I’m trying to find humor and light to what feels like my religious upbringings’ flavor of tribulation coming to pass in real time.

I can’t. I’m not going to try anymore. Today I am angry and hurting (stress migraine and raynaud’s flair and cptsd is locking all of my muscles so tightly) and I just cannot.

Everything sucks. The world sucks a lot. I want to be writing more eloquently about what sucks and why it sucks and how we can make it stop sucking but I can’t.

Oakland has been observing Shelter In Place since the 17th. I’ve been working on CRHE’s COVID response, joining the mutual aid network developing on my block, checking in on homeschool alumni who are all just as triggered as I am, building community on discords and slacks, and trying to navigate my own healthcare on top of this (which was one of today’s many nightmares).

Despite all of this, doing all the right things – staying in, organizing online, staying 6′ away from people when I do need to go out, having zoom calls and hangouts, playing animal crossing – I feel so lost and tired and a little hopeless.

I still cannot get my testosterone patches that would make the next indefinite period of sheltering in place manageable. I have two backup plans in the works but they still involve injections and I’m so tired of fighting this battle. It should not be this hard and I am so stressed out.

CA does not have statewide renters protections yet and rent is looming. Newsom talks a big game but his actions amount to less than helpful.

Oakland and Alameda County have not fully stepped up to plate for this either. First steps are coming on Friday for an eviction moratorium that does not suspend rent (to my knowledge).

Kaiser (the biggest hospital group in the east bay, based in oakland) is threatening to fire nurses for bringing their own PPE to protect themselves so they can treat COVID patients.

I want to be able to be sewing masks but the brain fog from cptsd flare makes understanding instructions impossible and I hate it.

I cope with trauma by out organizing it. I don’t have the capacity to out organize this fucking pandemic and that’s fucking with me.

What I am trying to remind myself is that it’s okay to not be okay.

I’m not okay, and that’s okay.

If you’re not okay, that’s okay too.