The Feelings Part 2

I’m feeling many ways about my disabling illness. There’s a good bit of anger, a lot of exhaustion, 6 feet of grief, and a lot of anxiety around whether or not I’ll get better.

There’s a part of me that has resigned itself to this new normal and a part of me that really wants to fight it. But the biggest part of this equation is my complete exhaustion.

Cortisol labs were inconclusive so I have to do the entire test again and follow it with an 8am blood draw to confirm whatever the results are from the spit test.

My doctor did say that it seems like I have IBS (shocking I know) so she gave me some Omeprazole and Dicyclomine to help with digestion (and I have since eaten 3 meals without feeling nauseated!) and Banophen so I can sleep. I’m hoping with rest and the ability to digest food my body will calm down a minute but I’m not sure. Everything went extremely downhill after my endoscopies and I don’t think my body has recovered from that trauma.


I still feel very lost. I’m trying to focus on making art because it helps, but I miss school, I miss all the things I was doing on campus. Being relegated to the couch all day because I ran an errand the day before is really demoralizing and upsetting.

I’m very sad because I feel like I’m missing out on so many things. I feel like I’m letting people down when I flake because my body just decided to quit at 4pm. I’m sad I can’t be doing all the things in all the ways I want to be. I’m sad that this is so hard and it takes such a toll – not just on me, but on everyone I care about. I wish it didn’t. I wish I could live my normal life but instead I don’t know that I will ever get that back and it’s terrifying. The FOMO is hard and real and I don’t really know how to cope with it.

Having an invisible disability on public transit is really hard. I know I look healthy and young and spry, so I don’t sit down when I should because I don’t want to deal with people judging me, despite the pain. I don’t want to ask for help because I look like I shouldn’t need it. I still try to do as much as I can by myself because I don’t want to believe I’m not well. Which is really counterproductive.

I realize that I need help if I’m going to make it through the recovery process without drowning in debt or dying from financial stress, because being sick like this makes looking for a job completely infeasible.

I live off my patreon, the podcast and a side gig which totals to about $900/mo….in the most expensive part of the country. 75% of my income goes to credit card bills and the rest is divvied up between transit passes and groceries. There are supplies that I need to make cooking and baking (mostly bread and hummus) possible so I don’t have to take a bus to buy a very small very expensive loaf of gluten free bread, but I can’t afford those either.

If you’re interested in helping me survive this terrifying journey there are a bunch of different ways to throw money at me and get varying levels of art in return (along with my undying gratitude):

  • Support me on patreon! Patrons get access to download the files and behind-the-scenes updates – there’s currently an exclusive video of me reciting this poem. If I can reach $1k/mo on Patreon I will be able to sleep better at night and not feel like I should skip eating to save money.
  • I listed some of my paintings for sale on Etsy
  • I have an amazon wishlist of supplies that would make my day-to-day easier and enjoyable.
  • I can be cashed or venmo’d a cup of coffee or gluten-free groceries.
  • If you need a professional cat-herder to help you organize remotely or set you up with WordPress, I’m also looking for work.

My plan right now is to lean into art and let that bring me life while I continue to play this constant testing and waiting game of 3rd dimensional chess.

The Feelings Part 1

Shit has been rough.

Up until last week I was able to use school as a distraction from the mystery that is rampaging my body. I sent out letters to everyone over last weekend saying I’m dropping out but staying around until the end of the month to tie up all the loose ends. I have since lost most of my fucks for meetings which is both good and bad. Good because it keeps us moving along and productive, bad because I forget that this is entirely new territory for the rest of the student cabinet and I want to be much more patient than I feel like I am. Although, people have been thanking me later for my tension diffusion skills so maybe I’m just really hard on myself.

I am really hard on myself. I’m even harder on myself now that I’ve dropped out of school, as if dropping out somehow nullifies the health issues that required this decision in the first place. I’m not instantaneously better after removing the stress of school (which is obviously a ridiculous expectation), and I feel like I’m getting worse. But is it worse because it’s worse or worse because I’m finally staring at it?

I think some of this is that since since I’ve removed my consuming/enabling distraction the only option left is to look this problem in the face and confront how bad it really is.

I feel like I am losing so much that is important to me. Even though it’s my decision, it doesn’t feel like a choice (which in a way is its own progress). I’m so tired of fighting for e v e r y t h i n g only to have it fall apart.

I’m losing my memory, and it’s gaslighting. I can’t remember a story I heard, or a story I told 10 minutes ago. I can’t remember words or how to give directions clearly, I can’t remember where I am in space or what I was going to do 10 seconds ago. I’ve always had this occasionally, but it’s been really bad lately. I’m frustrated with myself because I see these things happening and I am unable to stop it. I can’t remember the word that’s on the tip of my tongue, my body and my brain are so disconnected right now.

I haven’t slept well in ages, which is likely a contributing factor to the memory and spatial reasoning. I’ve also been in a CPTSD flare for months that is really hard to come out of, because the dietary restrictions I have now taste like the cult. I want to take the test for a motorcycle permit but I don’t feel like I can rely on my memory for a quiz right now. That’s how deep in brainfog and fatigue I am.

Meanwhile, every single test we’ve run so far has come back normal. I have lovely, photogenic, nonproblematic organs that literally cannot digest food without immediately making me nauseated if I forget to take an enzyme.

As much as I hate it, my body is at least proving dropping out so I can navigate this shit was the right call. I have so much anxiety about all of this too, but that’s another post entirely.

Pause

I sent all the emails on Friday that told everyone who needed to be told that I’m dropping out for my health.

I’m too sick to be in school and on campus so I’m dropping out. I have been stuck in a shame fueled depression since I made this decision even though I know it’s the right one. School has been so hard but also so good. I miss it and I feel lost. I have other projects but my depression ate my motivation and I need it back.

Most of last week I spent trying to come to grips with it, and talk about it in a way that wasn’t utterly depressing. Everyone at school has been super supportive and not angry at all, which is the anxiety that was eating me alive. But I’m still really sad and really devastated about it.

I don’t have the energy to get into those feelings right now, but the words will come soon.

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!

Taking Good Care of Myself Means Not Starving

I’ve been trying to take good care of myself over break, which has also meant trying to get my health situation in order. I’ve been dealing with chronic pain directly related to chronic stress since…for ever. We don’t know what it is, just that something is there.

Additionally, I haven’t stopped losing weight since starting testosterone. So I went to talk to my PCP about why my cholesterol is so high when I keep losing weight and don’t eat meat and the working theory is that my body is in starvation mode since HRT has made my metabolism skyrocket but my diet and eating habits haven’t changed to match. Pair that with being unable to eat when I’m stressed and forgetting to eat because of untreated ADHD and we have….where I am today.

The soonest time I could see a nutritionist is March so my therapist helped me come up with some plans, and then today my family took me to CostCo and now I have a drawer of snacks for the semester, and extra staples that I can freeze so there’s always a backup.

I realized while talking to my therapist how many layers of complicated my relationship to food is.

The Problems

First, there’s resentment. A lot of resentment. As the surrogate mom I was eventually the cooker of all meals and I hated the feeling of how my entire existence revolved around preparing meals, serving meals, and cleaning up after meals, for.ev.er. When I feel like I always have to cook or think about meals I start feeling trapped again, like I’m in a wheel I will never escape and I can never escape because for some reason bodies need food even when I get bored.

(I’m realizing now that I read this back that a lot of this is also similar to the ADHD thing of not being able to do things that aren’t interesting. This also explains why my desire to bake bread has come back with a vengeance but the thought of cooking 3 meals a day 7 days a week makes me hate life.)

Second, is fear of scarcity. My family gave so much to the church that we were often in short supply of food, especially as the family grew. As the eldest and the one with responsibility to make sure all the other children had their needs met, I always ate last, often after I’d dished out seconds to the other kids. When food was tight I ate less than I wanted or should have because it was more important that the younger kids ate (they were growing but somehow I was not). It got to the point where when the fridge was empty I would stop going into the kitchen because I couldn’t deal with the anxiety. I still do this.

To this day I have to always have ingredients for peanut butter and jelly available, and when I don’t I turn into a huge anxious ball until that’s fixed.

I also do this thing where, when I start getting low on something I’ll stop eating it so I don’t run out. I do this because I never felt secure in knowing there would be more later. The part where this gets me is that it’s often still my reality. I’ve spent a lot of time this semester trying to grapple with the fact that since getting bumped off CalFresh (which I’m re-applying for now) I have been food insecure and that’s contributed heavily to my lack of actually eating. Feeling like if I run out of something I can’t replace it means I will try not to run out of it, even if it means rationing or saving it until I’m at a place where I can replace it.

When you’re poor as fuck and your bills take 80% of your income, not eating seems like a smart, money saving choice. It’s just a really really bad one.

I think the food scarcity fear is the hardest obstacle because it’s escalated significantly by the reality of being poor. I know people have my back and will not let me starve (this is literally why my kitchen is stocked to the brim right now) but that anxiety, paired with the capitalist pressure to not spend money, and the lack of funds to even buy food anyway, just converges into a mess that fuels and justifies this eating disorder, and reinforces that I deserve this (I don’t).

Third, it’s self harm. It’s a way to take out anger or disappointment that doesn’t negatively impact anyone except myself (or that’s what I tell myself anyway). This is also often paired with the Scarcity Implosion, but sometimes I’m just angry, and when I’m angry or disappointed at myself (because I don’t know how to be angry at other people) I take that out on myself by not eating, because it’s somehow what I deserve for fucking up or not being good enough already. I also know this is bullshit but tell that to my brain when it’s livid.

Lastly, I just get distracted or don’t have the executive function to stay on top of it. Making food is boring when I’m working on literally anything else. Sometimes I’m just exhausted and I need food but I don’t have the actual capacity to choose a food to make or put into my face. When I get back from a day of having new information dumped into my brain, I’m not…in a state to prepare or even think about cooking a meal. I’m just exhausted.

What happens most often of course, is that all of these intermix and collide in a bunch of really exciting ways at any given point throughout the day, so all I really know is that I need help, but I can’t actually give much direction on how that isn’t “please move inside my brain, thanks, the galley is downstairs.”

The Plan

My therapist suggested I get “more food than I’ll think I’ll need”, and one of my friends shared the idea of having a backup stash, so I always have that backup and don’t have to worry about getting low. Something I also have a hard time with when I’m low spoons and tired is just coming up with something to eat, so the other day I sat down and made two lists: one for meals, and one for snacks. All things that are really low spoons or easy to make in bulk for heating and taking to school later.

I’ve also set reminders on my phone to eat every day at 9am and noon, I downloaded the Streaks app just so I can check off eating meals (because my brain loves getting points for shit, so if I can gamify something it will help). I also downloaded a food-diary app that also has a health/meds/activities log called mySymptoms. Because my Raynaud’s has been in a flare since May I added a Cold level to the symptom options and that’s been helpful. This doesn’t work super great because I suck at remembering to log things in the apps, but knowing that there is a log helps me remember to do things?

I’m also gonna try to make a sensical description of my income/expenses and apply for CalFresh again this week. If I can afford groceries without worrying a lot of the other things will be less intense.

(If you wanna be part of the Kieryn Doesn’t Starve Or Freeze Club, you can join me on patreon or just donate towards snacks on paypal or square)

2019 is for Self Compassion

Something my therapist has been encouraging me to remind myself of is that I deserve to take good care of myself.

So I’ve decided that in 2019 I’m going to take everything I’ve learned from this year and try to take good care of myself. I’m emphasizing good because if I just take care of myself I get what I’ve been doing all year which is giving myself enough love and sustenance to survive but nothing more than that. I’m here to tell you that was a terrible decision and it sucks and I deserve better from myself, so I’m going to try to do better next year.

For the first time in a while I actually have Specific Things I Want To Accomplish next year, that fall under my larger goal of taking good care of myself.

I want need to be able to pay rent.
Financial instability sucks and since I lost my contracting gig last January this year has been incredibly hard with being in school full time. I’ve been getting by between my patreon, side-gigs, and school scholarships, but none of those combined have been enough to cover more than my bills, groceries if I’m lucky. I’m stressed to the point of sickness and I haven’t been eating to save on going shopping, so that has to change this year.

Some of it already is, I have a part-time minimum-wage ($13.23/hr) job on campus doing organizing work, and I have another long-term side gig lined up, but neither of those are going to be enough to contribute to rent so I have to come up with something to do in between to make ends meet (while also in school).

My goal is to get my patreon to at least $1k/mo this year (in addition to working multiple jobs while in school and organizing). I don’t currently offer many perks besides warm fuzzies of knowing that I won’t die while working for social justice through art/writing/podcasts/on the ground activism, but my patreon is the reason I’ve been able to manage at all this year so the help really goes a long way (and I super appreciate it).

I want to stop being consumed entirely by school.
I feel like I lose myself and stop existing and being a person when school starts and all I can do is think about homework and worry. It’s exhausting and I don’t like it. I’ve worked so hard to get here and I have to climb so many mountains and I’d really like not to sacrifice my humanity for education, you know?

I’m laying a lot of groundwork for that with on-campus organizing, to make being there less stressful (bathrooms should be ready as soon as Peralta finds money for a locksmith), but I think what’s more important is what I’m doing around school, so my vague plans are these:

  • Have a bedtime routine – skin care, teeth, read something fun (not homework), unwind
  • Have a morning routine – Actually Make Breakfast while the coffee brews, have a lunch plan
  • Block out a time for homework on my calendar – then it will happen and I won’t stress about having time to do it? maybe? we’ll find out.

Along that vein my goal is to eat and rest better.
My sleep has been fucked all year and so has my eating (for various and somewhat entirely self-inflicted reasons) so I talked to my doctor about getting a nutritionist and doing a sleep study this year. I don’t know if I’m just stressed and that’s all or if there’s something bigger at play. I’m also not eating enough to keep up with my apparently skyrocketing metabolism and I’ve been losing more weight without even trying (I weigh the same as I did 12 years ago now and I’m not here for it). I’m hoping a nutritionist can help me figure out what I need to eat so I don’t inadvertently starve because my body thinks it’s a pubescent boy.

I feel like if I can get my sleeping and eating sorted that a lot of the other things will be able to get better from there?

I want to have more sex with more people.
I’ve been in a weird headspace all year with it and also with dating and I had an epiphany a bit back that none of that actually really mattered. I want to unpack more of that in a post of its own but the synopsis is: it’s a mindfuck going from being perceived straight, to lesbian, to straight again but this time it’s you who’s getting the checks, and also like, NONE OF THOSE PERCEPTIONS ARE TRUE (bi erasure ftw). But that’s not even the point really, the point is that it’s a weird mental place to be, between being socialized one way and perceived another – neither being correct -, and I talk over people because I’ve been shouted over for so long and it’s so weird being suddenly assigned a male space when that isn’t…. anyway.

I miss having fulfilling romantic relationships with more than one person and the people who I would want to date are the kind of people who already understand me. I don’t have to date someone I need to handhold through my transness. it’s fine.

Additionally, I can sex people and not have to date them???? This is something I want to also…try..more.

I haven’t started anything this year because I was eaten too much by school to have the time and spoons to invest in another relationship the way I would want to. This year my goal is to intentionally make room for that to happen.

I told my therapist about some of this earlier today, especially about how what I really need is rest. My homework this week is to spend the next 3-4 days doing nothing but resting and learning how to ask for help.

In 2019 my goal is to learn to be compassionate to myself in the same way that I am for other people.

And also maybe look into a metoidioplasty.

One Year of School

I have survived an entire year of college. This semester has been especially challenging, in more ways than the previous two were. I learned a lot about my limits and that just because it only takes 6 weeks to heal your stitches does not mean that you are better 6 weeks later.

I am currently exhausted, sick with some kind of respiratory virus that my doctor hypothesizes is likely from the push-crash of finals (apparently pushing = immuno-compromised and it happens a lot with people in school :P). But I’m also really fucking proud. I’ll write later about all the things I learned this year and what’s next and all that, but right now I want to talk about some of the things I’m really proud of.

  • The Lavender Project – this is the group on campus that consists of student(s – me, mostly), faculty, and staff that is dedicated to institutionalizing queer support structures at Laney. We planned Coming Out Week this year, where we had a ton of events and basically launched the Queer Brunch. We’re working on changing the bathrooms (just need to pay the locksmiths?), and I help by offering suggestions of things that are easy but super helpful (maps, for example).
  • The Laney Queers – I started the queer club this semester! Right now we basically just do brunches and trips to the museum. But we have a code of conduct, the constitution for our doocratic consensus based club is on the website for other clubs to borrow from, and I am compiling a list of counselors that are LGBT affirming.
  • The Social Justice Cohort – Laney announced a Labor Studies track (to learn organizing) and a Student Organizer job with the Student Justice Center. I’m one of the people in the cohort now! We are going to be focusing on ways to lower the barriers to education for undocumented students and will be going to workshops on DACA and AB540. We’ll hold educational workshops too and probably partner with the Laney Queers and The Lavender Project on events! The other cool thing is, this is a paid student worker position so I will get (more) job experience doing that thing I always do! I’m also working with an amazing group of people who appreciate my pup accessories so we’re obviously going to be great friends.
  • I’m building a coalition on campus. In some ways it feels like I’m starting something big. I’ve made friends with culinary, facilities, and the nurses. Everyone on campus is tired of how communication within peralta sucks and we all want to work together. I’m part of making that happen. It feels really good.
  • I’ve figured out how to navigate the bureaucracy and where some of the levers of power are. Mostly by running into walls like a roomba. I learned how to use DSPS this semester, so now I know I need to get a NEW accommodation letter before next semester. 😛
  • I’m proud of myself for leaning in to that thing that I am driven to do instead of trying to force something else to happen (Labor Studies AA instead of Machine Tech AS). I feel a little insecure about it still, but it also feels right.

Future.

Since the last post I’ve been able to sit with myself for a few minutes and think about where I go from here. 

I’ve decided that I am definitely going to focus on Labor Studies since Coming Out Week went so well and I got an email about the Student Organizing Cohort that the Ethnic Studies Department is doing at school (I have an interview for that this week). 

I have a meeting this week with Disability services to see about getting a medical withdrawal from shop so my incomplete does not give me an F for just not being physically capable to machine safely. As it turns out, losing an entire reproductive system takes a lot out of you even after your stitches are healed. Mixed with stress disorders and trauma it’s just…not happening.

I met with a counselor about changing majors, and ever since I decided to act on it, I’ve felt more at peace and in alignment with myself. I feel like this is the thing I should be doing, and I feel centered when I think about it. 

I also feel a bit nervous because I think it will be really challenging in good and frustrating ways, but hopefully in ways that I’m a little more equipped for.

Honestly after the news this week, going to school for an organizing AA, organizing on campus and in the East Bay, and doing the work to at least make this portion of the world less hostile is how I’m keeping myself from melting into despair.