Category HRT Adventures

24 posts

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).

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

Recovery Update

I’m 10 days post-op, the stabbing sensation has largely subsided. I’m still spotting a bit, the incisions ache if I move or stretch too much, but I’ve been fine with two ibuprofen 600s (one around noon after I eat, and one after dinner/before bed) for most of the week, and I haven’t needed Percocet since Sunday. 

the Cowlicks have Cowlics

I haven’t been hit with menopause (no backup ovary + HRT), but my body is freaking out at the sudden ONLY TESTOSTERONE nature of itself.

My voice has dropped a ton since surgery (listen to the last episode and next week’s episode of Kitchen Table Cult and you’ll notice). My hair instantly started to curl and now my cowlicks have cowlicks. My smell is changing a lot, the pheromones are intensifying, and I sweat easier? My skin thickened and became extremely greasy. I need to shower every day or my skin feels like there’s just a weird film over it. My acne feels like it’s buried deeper in my skin, and some of that is ingrown beard hairs that want to sprout. 

I’ve ordered tea tree oil and a cream that my brother recommended. I’m using Differin on my face at least once a day, followed by argon oil and aftershave and that seems to be helping there. But all the rest of my body also has skin and it’s the weird hand-grease that is really obnoxious right now.

The upside, I suppose, is that it’s really easy to keep my incisions clean since I constantly feel in need of a shower. 

I went to see my Doctor on Monday because my throat hurt and I couldn’t swallow. I was worried I might have caught strep but apparently I have a canker sore on my tonsil (and that’s just a thing that happens?!) so I’ve also been going through all of our salt doing gargles so I can stay fed and hydrated while I’m recovering. 

The most annoying part is the lack of energy. I guess it’s also good because if I had a lot of energy I would be using it and not resting and letting the stitches in my belly button heal like I should, but my peak awakeness being between 9am and noon, and then needing to nap until 3 gets old quickly. 

Today, I’m compromising by doing some freelance work or playing games on my laptop while reclining instead. So my body is resting, but my brain doesn’t have to shut down.

I am extremely looking forward to: 

  • Laying on my stomach
  • Stretching my stomach
  • Walking more than 5 blocks without becoming exhausted
  • Riding my bike
  • The crusty skin glue getting out of my belly button
  • Not having ghost cervix itches (internal stitches/whatever suuuuck sometimes)
  • Being done spotting
  • Being able to fuck again
  • Being able to lift things over 20lbs (but realistically like, 5lbs)
  • Being able to swallow
  • Scratch itches on my stomach

uterus = null

Monday I had a complete hysterectomy. I got to Mt. Zion hospital at 5:45am, surgery started around 8am, I was out at 11:30 and discharged around noon. Then I went on a really bumpy car ride to Concord, where I am resting and marathoning Harry Potter all week.
My surgery was laparoscopic so it was less invasive than it could have been and since we took out literally everything there was no need to carefully comb through my ovaries looking for endo.
I stopped bleeding yesterday, right now the most discomfort that I’m in is from the gas that is still in my body from surgery.
Being on testosterone before getting a complete hysto worked really well, I think. Because I have hormones in my body I’m not going into surgical menopause (plus I already went through menopause when I started T) and I feel like this helps make recovery easier too.
I didn’t really feel different as soon as I woke up, I was mostly just foggy and in pain, but after the drowsymaking painmeds wore off, I noticed that like…all the tension in my body around my uterus was just gone.
I feel right.
I feel whole.
I feel like the Thing That Was Incorrect Is Gone (because it is) and now I’m just me.
I’ve instantly stopped being at war with myself and the change is almost disorienting. I knew my uterus was where my dysphoria lived, but I didn’t expect it to go away so quickly. That was the first thing I noticed when the fogginess wore off.
I’m. not. at. war. with. myself. anymore. 
I feel present in a way I’ve never felt present before. Not disassociating is easy now? I’m so used to being disassociated by default that I usually have to actually work to be in my body, but now it’s like I’m home?
My energy levels are still real low, I haven’t showered in days, but holy shit.
I did it.
I don’t have a uterus anymore
I cannot reproduce
I can never have a period again
I will never need another pap smear
I will never have to worry about an ectopic pregnancy
I will never have to worry about not having access to birth control
I don’t have to worry about going back to being estrogen based if my HRT gets taken away (it will just suck to have zero hormones, but at least I won’t bleed)
I was raised to be a wife and mother, to train an army for god.
And I just took ALL OF THAT out of my body.
I’m reclining with a heating pad and blankets and liquid feeling slightly achey and really gassy, but I’ve never felt better or more at home in my skin than I do now.
 
 

Just T Things: 15 Months HRT

I realized it would probably be helpful to me and other people if I started documenting what HRT is like for me somewhere more findable than twitter.
It’s been almost 15 months now, but I haven’t detailed a lot here so I’m going to attempt to categorize the various points of change.

Weight Changes:

When I started Testosterone in Dec 2016 I weighed ~140lbs. I weighed ~120 in May 2017 and have been hovering around 110 since July 2017. I lost ~30lbs in 7 months and it was (is) really disorienting. Since then my body has also been losing all of its curves, and machining has eaten whatever fat reserves I had and converted it to muscle. I wasn’t expecting to lose so much weight so quickly, and since fall my body has really fucking hated this.
I can’t retain heat, and the sudden loss of fat has seemed to make raynauds worse and is probably something I should talk to my Doctor about because I keep forgetting. Cold has become agony, and I think in no small part due to suddenly not having anything between my muscle and skin to keep me warm. 🙁

Sense Changes:

My hands are rougher now, so soft things feel exponentially softer than they used to. My plush bathrobe is fucking heaven. My hearing has changed? I’ve noticed it change. But I went to get my hearing checked and my ears are great, however we noticed one place where my ears diverged on what they heard on which side, and my guess is that maybe that’s the change I noticed happening.
The men on my dad’s side of the family are hard of hearing, so I don’t know if it’s a testosterone thing, or an I’m-in-my-late-20s-thing.
I no longer hate all melons??? My tolerance for spicy things has stayed about the same, but suddenly cantaloupe are fine. It feels almost blasphemous. I also need a lot more protein whenever my dose changes, so I will become a carnivore for about a month until my body goes back to not being a fan.
My tolerance for things like alcohol has gone up a lot.
My smell has changed. There’s more musk to it (I’ve been told) than there used to be. Less sweet, more bitter. I shower with shea butter body wash that smells like flowers, so I always smell like flowers, citrus, and boy, and I’m a fan of this.

Mental & Emotional Health Changes:

I have somehow grown the level of confidence of a teenage boy. I think it’s because I feel more at home in my body. Taking testosterone has stopped that constant internal war with myself where my body didn’t feel like it should have. It’s hard to describe…you know when you pull something out of socket? you can still move and function and stuff, it just hurts and it feels like it’s just fundamentally incorrect as it relates to you?
My internal existence and relationship with my body was like that, constantly. My body just felt incorrect in a way I couldn’t put a finger on, until suddenly it had the hormones it actually needed and I felt normal. I didn’t know how much that was eating at my existence until suddenly it wasn’t there anymore.
I am able to see things coming and roll with them, I can face hard things better. I can be depressed and upset and still know that I can get out of this and be okay, and that I will be okay in the end. I can actually handle and identify my own feelings and get less absorbed by everyone else’s. Testosterone has made it easier for me feel things, and make sense of my head. Feelings used to be chaos before, and now they have names and things.
Anger is new. I feel it in my veins, it surges, I become more assertive and I push back. There’s a lot of strength in it if I channel it right, otherwise it can be really overwhelming. I don’t become yelly or violent, I mostly silent scream into pillows or vent, but my words are sharp and cutting. I get really wordsy. If I’m in a city council meeting where my anger is extremely useful though, I give amazing speeches that make people feel things.
Angst is a lot, but not much different. It feels more present in my body but that might just be because I disassociate less.
I feel right, and myself in my brain, I’m not repressed anymore.

Puberty Changes:

My body thinks it’s literally a teenage boy. So. Puberty. All of it. Growing pains, constant horniness, voice dropping and cracking, acne, hair literally everywhere.

Hair

No really, my body is extremely excited about this hair shit. I have become a thicket. You could brush my leg hairs with a comb and tbh I probably should. My beard is coming in beautifully, I have a full on happy trail, my arms and legs are trying to go for the werewolf aesthetic, and my chest is full of hair. The butt hairs though. THERE ARE LINES. So I need to replace my electric razor and become a contortionist. I suspect that by this time next year I will be indistinguishable from Beast or at least Wolverine.
Also, I discovered aftershave, and my mustache got itchy.

Muscles

I get a lot of leg cramps so I try to eat all of the bananas all the time. Sometimes for a few days after a shot it feels like I’m too big for my skeleton and if someone could just like pull me, for a bit, that’d help. It reminds me of growing pains. I just need some skelegrow, because if I could be even 3 inches taller, it would make using the mills so much easier.
All of the muscles in my body have rearranged themselves. The first couple months I was on T my back hurt a lot because there was just, always a new muscle. It’s settled down a bit now, and most of my muscles seem to have been moved to their new places. Mostly packed ridiculously onto my back, shoulders, and arms. I have muscles for days instead of curves now, I suppose. I really like it. I like this new shape.

Junk

I really miss having tits some days, and not having hips anymore is still hella disorienting because I don’t know how to carry shit without them.
Oh yeah, my tits! They have been eaten. I don’t know what the fuck happened or where the fuck they ran off to, but I went from being 34DD in Dec 2016, to…I don’t think my tits have been this small since I was just starting to grow them? They’re mostly just a weird pudgy skin flap now, covered in hair. My ass also has the same problem, it’s just……so small and square, and fuzzy. IDK. But I can be shirtless now?
In addition to my tits and ass vanishing, my body realized it could grow that dick its always wanted and I’m so here for it. Sex makes sense now. It makes SO MUCH SENSE. Sex when you have the right hormones is great. A+ do rec.
In fun dick related adventures, over the last year I learned:

  • I could sit on it while biking
  • it gets caught and twisted in fabric (wtf)
  • EVERYTHING IS STIMULATING OH MY GOD WHY ARE THERE SO MANY NERVE ENDINGS
  • If it does not get enough pets my uterus will decide to cramp which is disorienting and not helpful
  • If I lose 5 vials of blood, I’m out of boners for a week
Voice

My voice has dropped a lot since I started testosterone. I didn’t know what voice dysphoria was until I didn’t have it anymore. It’s largely stopped cracking now. It’s deep and booming, but gravely. Whenever I project in class or make a public comment I literally surprise myself for a second because I didn’t expect my voice to be that deep. It’s not as deep, I feel, when I’m having a conversation as it is when I’m projecting. OR, if I’m in a room with another dude who’s voice is also low and booming, then somehow my body is like now WE have to be low and booming too! Then my voice just progressively lowers and it’s this weird subconscious thing and I have to stop myself.
Here’s a good example of before and two months ago:


 

Perception Changes:

People started seeing me as a dude most of the time around October. That’s been a weird adjustment. It’s still not consistent enough that I assume everyone thinks I’m a cis boy yet, but I’m aware of it enough that going to the bathroom on campus feels increasingly complicated. I’ve gone back to getting more people confused about placing me since I put my earrings back in though. My body changed so quickly that while school was going on I didn’t have time to notice it and then over break I was really disoriented by how masculine I was being perceived as, so I put my earrings in and it’s helped my brain adjust to my new face/body/etc.
People listen when I speak, and I get talked over less now. Which is hugely disorienting since I’ve spent my life having to speak up over people to get heard. I find myself inadvertently speaking up over other people because I’m not used to not having people constantly talking over me. This has been a bit of a mindfuck actually.
I don’t have automatic solidarity with afab people in cis dude dominated spaces anymore which is also a weird thing to adjust to, as a transmasc machine student. I don’t look like a girl anymore really, so unless you knew….you wouldn’t know.
I feel like I have a much wider understanding of existence now – being perceived one way, and then another, countless times in the same day will do that to you. It’s jarring.
I don’t know if I see myself differently, so much as I see myself wholly? Before when I would be introspective, I would see all the things I felt I couldn’t be, that I wasn’t, that I was somehow unable to become, and now…now I see all of those things, and they’re all growing and I am evolving into that better version of myself. I feel like I am different only in that I am finally able to be all of myself, instead of a shell.

Personality Changes:

I’ve become more confident and assertive, more sure of myself. I’m at ease with myself in my body most of the time and I feel like that translates out.
I can be aggressive when I want to be and use it as a tool. I’ve realized that I don’t have to be timid out of safety anymore because I look and carry myself differently, people make different assumptions. This is something I’m learning how to navigate.
I take up space, and don’t try to shrink into myself as much.
I feel like I am generally more emotionally stable.

Dosage Changes:

I started taking 50mg of Testosterone Cypionate every two weeks for a month, then 100mg every two weeks for 3 months, then 200mg every two weeks until October, then I started doing 175mg every week.
175mg/wk worked alright for a few months but then it felt like it was too much. I was anxious all the time and grumpy and my uterus started writhing weirdly. When my labs came in my T was extremely high, so in January I started altering my dose to slowly bring it back to 100mg/wk which is the equivalent of the last dose I was on. It’s been solidly that for a month now and my body already feels better, and I haven’t dreamt of bleeding in a few weeks.

Injection Changes:

After a year of self-injecting perfectly fine, I developed a trauma response to it. I don’t know why, and I’ve tried everything to calm myself and be able to do it again, but I get 1/8″ away from my thigh and suddenly my body nopes out and I freeze. I sit there and I cannot will myself to move. So I have had to make accommodations around that which involves friends who will be my backups and asking if it’s alright to go into my clinic and have a nurse do it. This is what I’ll be doing for the rest of the semester and hopefully I’ll be able to self inject again. I’m not sure.
Another development was that due to the loss of weight and fat the 1″ needles that I’d been using to do intramuscular injections became too long (less fat to go through so it goes in way too deep) and painful. I kept pinching nerves and my leg would ache for three days after. So I talked to my doctor about shorter needles and they suggested SubCu which is supposed to go into the fat. I tried that the first week and we were too shallow on the injection so what I wound up with was 3 days of feeling like I was having an allergic reaction on the inside of my thigh.
Which is what brought me to asking if I could just go into my clinic to have a professional do it. I have yet to actually make it into the clinic because I will be waiting in triage for idk how long and I had no spoons. But knowing it’s an available possibility has helped.
In the meantime, the injection solution we’ve come up with has been to just not go in the whole inch.

Tips:

  • The faster you inject the less it hurts
  • Do not inject while standing
  • Eat all the food all the time
  • Do things to stretch out your muscles
  • Use a foam roller on your injection sites
  • Always carry a snack with you
  • Skin Care routine is your friend

One Year Post Burn

It’s been almost exactly a year since returning from Burning Man. I learned a lot about myself in Black Rock City. I learned that I’m strong, capable, and so very very very trans.
I had felt reserved about being more masculine for some time before becoming one with the playa last summer. I had been actively repressing those pieces of me that wanted to escape and when I watched the temple burn I set them free.
While Victoria and I drove back from Reno in the rental car with the AC on high, dancing to chip tunes and The Black Keys, I wrote a list of things I wanted to do post-burn.
On that list was:

  • Switch off Lexapro
  • Start T
  • Remove Implant

I forgot about this list for several months, and rediscovered it shortly after starting T and tapering off Lexapro. Three weeks ago I got my implant removed because it was reacting with the testosterone and I was having hot-flashes constantly bookending my shot days.
This morning, the Sunday before labor day….or the day the Temple burns, I woke up, pulled 1ML of testosterone from a small vial, and injected it into my thigh. I remembered then, that it’s been a whole year since I really came to grips with the masculine aspect of myself, and I’ve just run with it.


I went to Burning Man last year and discovered I was trans, and it’s totally okay to be exactly who I am. Today, I took my 17th shot of Testosterone.
I’ve come so far since I burned my past in the Temple, and it’s been good.

Avocado Toast

It’s 12:30am on Thursday. My body has decided hot flashes every 10 minutes is a Fun Thing To Do, so I’m awake. I haven’t written here since the end of March. I’m currently waiting for hopefully the last edit of a hyperlapse for YIMBYtown – the housing conference & unconference in July that East Bay Forward is putting on (go sign up!)- to export. FCPX was not meant for an underspec’d macbook, just saying.
I’m terrified that suddenly I will lose the ability to write and everything of mine will just suck. Because writing for 17+ years is obviously how you lose talent, not hone it. Also, my ability to draw and do anything creative or worthwhile. Somehow making progress also gives me a boatload of imposter syndrome.
I also had the realization that as an adult, I have what we called “fiat power” in speech and debate over the things I control. Which means, even if I AM actually pulling answers out of my ass, those are the answers we have and that’s okay. I’m still coming to grips with this.
I applied to the Machinist program at Laney College for the fall, which I’m really excited about.
 
I’ve been spending all of my time doing activism in one form or another and practicing selfcare. I’m really stressed about making ends meet. I feel like my time is needed in activism but activism isn’t paying me enough to keep me housed and fed sustainably. I have this recurring existential crisis where I weigh my failure in a capitalist system vs the Actual Work I Am Doing. I spend more time doing work than I’m getting paid for, and it’s work I love doing, but I need to figure out how to make it sustainable. Spending more energy than I am getting in return as far as work input for the ability-to-live-without-anxiety-output is not great long term planning. In that vein, I’m hirable, supportable, and fundable. My current situation is: I have a lot of things that are breaking or important (my cell phone, my surface pro, clothes that fit) that I just can’t afford to replace and still be able to make the minimums on my bills and buy food.
My taxes are still currently stuck in the IRS, and I have no idea when I’ll get my return. I filed in February. I called the number, it was the same exact thing as the website form but with a robot voice. Anyway, things are both terrifying and exciting right now. I am learning that it’s really hard to value my time, but that I have to or I’ll starve. yay capitalism.
 
I meant for this to end cheerier, but I accidentally had avocado toast this week and ruined my future.

Hiatus

You may have noticed that I really haven’t been able to do much of anything for several weeks at this point. My brain checked out two weeks ago thanks to burnout and I’m only slowly getting it back. It’s really frustrating because the world is still going to shit, I just am powerless to do anything about it because all my spoons got eaten. So, to try to recover my brain and restore my energy I’m taking a solid two weeks off activism and anything work-like.
I spent the last few therapy sessions talking about burnout and resting and how hard it is to do. Resting starts a constant internal battle where the physiological need to rest is actually a traumatic minefield because of how often I would be punished and put to work if I was caught resting when it wasn’t the designated time. I wished once that I would get sick, just so I could rest, because that was how exhausted I was and how much I was not allowed to sit down as a kid. So resting is actually a fuck ton of work. Resting is more work than activism and working, but I run myself ragged and then go splat when I forget to rest or don’t feel like fighting that day.
But at this point, for the last two and a half weeks, my body and my brain have just been screaming at me that they need to rest and recover. I need to reset. My therapist told me that working – in activism or otherwise – is an exchange of energy, and you need to be able to balance it, because if you give more than you’re taking in, it’s not healthy. Taking a break is important to restore all of the energy I’ve been spending and not replacing, and this will enable me to then have energy for things again.
Obviously, I guess. But it helped to hear it out loud and that sort of calmed the part of my brain that is still a teenager who’s freaked out about taking a break if they aren’t actively vomiting because someone will come yell at them for being lazy and unproductive and they should ignore, y’know, anything less than death-bed levels of damage and keep going.
So, I’m taking a break. I am going camping for three days after I take my shot on Sunday and I think the being in the middle of the woods with no internet to remind me the world is falling apart will be really really helpful. Beyond that, my plans for the two weeks are to: go through Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain again, play through some video games, and maybe bike a bit.
Hopefully I’ll be able to come back in full swing, because there’s shit to do, I just can’t do it right now.

On Kindness and Transphobia [TW]

Someone from my past emailed me a few times this week. Claiming they were good listeners and wanted to have a relationship, “one soul to another”.


They then sent two emails following that, The first, on valentine’s day, defending my parents by saying they were merely imperfect and I’m overreacting about the abuse I suffered at their hands. The second, this morning, telling me that I will regret being trans and we should have an open discussion about my identity.


I told her to kindly fuck off, and she didn’t understand why I was mad and unkind.


When you start off a conversation with someone by saying their lived experience and identity isn’t valid, you lost the pretense of kindness and politeness and the benefit of the doubt. It doesn’t matter how “nice” you are when you say people are wrong for existing, it isn’t nice, it isn’t kind, it isn’t polite, and you deserve nothing less than the full wrath of whoever you told that to.


I’ve translated today’s emails so you see what I hear when I read this.

I asked her not to contact me after the first email. For someone good at listening, she doesn’t seem to understand boundaries. And this is a real-life example of how you don’t have even footing against people who spend their time dehumanizing you.


The reason I am posting this is because it helps me to dissect it and show you what I hear/see when people send me things like this and how cruel and dehumanizing it is. How pointless it is to try to convince them of my validity when they start from the place of trying to convince me not to be who I am.


I am kind, but I will not rollover for abuse, I will fight back, and then I will post the shit and explain what it is for everyone to see.


If you start off disregarding people’s existence as valid, you have waived your right to any benefit of the doubt and subsequent kindness.

I’m not even going to unpack how cruel that first email was in the first place, anyone who isn’t cis understands that by default and anyone who is cis, should go read about transphobia and how it effects people. I’m sure someone in the comments can get you started, but also google.

To Do List

Shit I need to do today:

  • news interview
  • testosterone shot – make sure PCP knows which dose is correct, also, now that insurance exists, belated bloodwork, figure out how much anxiety is the lower dose of bupropion vs fascism keeping me awake at night, also make sure she fixes the script for syringes
  • get in touch with lawyer who wants to take on Rawstory pro bono
  • eat/make a grocery list bc we’re out of bread
  • write article #2 if the interview hasn’t drained me completely

What I want to do today:

  • curl up into a ball under blankets and sleep forever and never leave.

but that’s the exhaustion and depression from the exhaustion talking, and I should let myself buy a coffee and a bagel.