Category Mental Health

221 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).

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.

This is Your Brain; This is Your Brain on ADHD Meds.

After 2 years of fighting to get tested and treated for the sheer inability to focus when I need to on the things I need to, I finally found a psychiatrist who listened to me and prescribed me the babiest dose of Strattera. I’ve been documenting it, as I do:

This is day 2, and my brain IS SO QUIET. It feels like a relief.

Yesterday I caught up on projects that I have been putting off for months, and today…I have nothing? on my to-do list? And the constant nagging anxiety about forgetting something has been muted. Such that I feel like I can actually enjoy the fact that today is a quiet day, without guilt?!

It has been such a long and devastating fight to get here, and I’m so relieved that I could cry. Instead I think I’m going to actually relax this afternoon? for possibly the first time in my life?

Ramifications

I’ve written before about the financial decisions my parents made and how that impacted me as a child who was taught that it was better to suffer than be happy. To the point that to voice the desire to be happy meant your faith was questioned.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
— Matthew 5: 11-12 (KJV)

Or, in my parents translation:

You’ll know how good (#blessed) of a christian you are by how hard your life is: how much you’re being persecuted, and how many people are angry with you. If your life is full of suffering, that’s god showing his love to you. Take joy in that suffering because you will have the most treasures when you go to heaven.

In practical, lived experience terms, this looked like watching my parents choose homelessness because they believed god told them to pay a friend’s mortgage and they couldn’t do both. God got the credit for my grandparents saving us by pulling some strings for a place the day we had to move out.

This looked like being kicked out of churches every 2 years after leaving the cult because my parents would get in an argument about faith healing with the pastors and swiftly shown the door. This was proof that we were right and doing the right things.

This looked like watching my parents make financial decisions based on how much stress it caused them, which they interpreted as a sign from god that this was his way.

Heavenly treasure isn’t really a comfort to a child who instantly lost contact with every almost-new-friend they were making. It does nothing to quell the anxiety about how to keep track of 4 siblings on the streets. That promise felt more like a curse as I aged, but I was never able to see it that way because to do so was blasphemy and called my eternal salvation into question.

It’s not that it didn’t occur to my parents that maybe the choices they had were ways to provide for our family and live in relative security and comfort (which is also blessed by god!), they believed that was sacrilegious and we were called to suffer.

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”
— 1 Peter 2:21 (KJV)

Or:

Because Jesus suffered for us, we are called to choose suffering; so we can be an example.

Add that to being raised inside extreme gender roles and taught (+ reinforced by experience) that it would be sinful for me to pursue a future that would make me happy, a future where I had autonomy and independence. Not only would that be sinful, but my life would be awful and my salvation rescinded, which makes for some really interesting results in adulthood.

By interesting I mean, the struggle is extremely real and it never had to be, but that was out of my control as a child and now I have to live with those consequences.

This is the crux of what I’ve been working on in therapy for the last 3.5 years now.

Between Spiritual Abuse and CPTSD, getting divorced, moving out on my own with no education or much in the way of job experience, life has been hard. Harder than it should be.

Magnitudes harder than it is for folks whose parents didn’t intentionally stunt their education to force them into a life of 1950s-meets-1800s in the 21st century after looking at their infant’s genitals and deciding that’s all they were good for.

I turn 29 this month and I feel like I’m suffocating from shame at my lack of education and abilities, and poverty; neither of which are my fault, but both of which I get to carry because of choices that unlike my parents, I did not get to make.

My parents chose to put me and my siblings at risk, they chose to keep basic life necessities out of reach, they chose to shame and guilt us for expressing needs and wants, they chose to punish and squelch any form of independence including employment, they chose to reinforce that my time and my energy is worth nothing by making me return payment to neighbors who wanted to hire me to watch their kids, they chose to spend 18 years of my life telling me that I am worthless and deserving of nothing.

And here I am at almost 30, working my ass off and making my chronic illness worse just to survive and yet constantly getting in my own way because the instant I make a decision that would better myself I panic. I internalized all of their choices because I had no exposure to anything else as a child, so clearly I was the one in the wrong.

Those lessons that my parents taught me? About how I need to follow in their exact footsteps, give to the point of harm, cast aside my dreams and stay at home to support other people? Even though I am extremely aware that they are all 100% lies, 100% abusive, and 100% meant to keep me in line with their plan that never ever included me? are still there.

They’re still powerful and strong and loud in my head every time I get rejected or ghosted on job applications. Reminding me that I wasn’t “meant” to do this. I wasn’t “meant” to be self sufficient, I was trained to be a helpmeet with no needs or wants.

I know better now, but those beliefs are still stuck to my core.

So it’s really devastating that when I do make choices to free myself (getting divorced, moving to CA, starting HRT, starting school, applying to jobs, doing the hustle), I spiral and fail because I haven’t yet learned the skills required to succeed. Unlike people who went to school and had jobs and income that was theirs to manage before being thrown into adulthood with debt and bills.

I am so good at what I do, and it’s so difficult to be able to survive well enough to do it. I’m trying to do all the right things, I go through the right motions – I apply to jobs, I write really good cover letters, I volunteer, I make friends, I was a year out from getting an AA! I have multiple income streams between patreon, and podcasting, and freelancing gigs. I work until I am exhausted and I am nowhere closer to being able to provide for myself let alone support others the way I desperately wish I could. *

*this also probably has to do with things I internalized as a child being taught about masculinity that I also need to hash out, but that’s a different topic for a different day.

Which is where the lies come back into play: that there must be something wrong with me or something I’m not doing, or maybe my parents were right all along, and maybe I am worthless and only meant for domestic duties because that was all I was ever allowed to be. I’ve been out for almost 11 years, and I have grown so much, but I’m still so far behind my peers. On bad days, I can’t help but wonder if that’s because I’m still wrong somehow, even though I know that’s a lie.

Every time I get close to “making it” something happens that strips it away. My politics aren’t pure enough, or my health plummets and ruins my ability to work and even function, or fascism intensifies….it’s a struggle to not see those coincidences as signs confirming my parents’ worldview.

When I get scared and triggered in the same way I did as a powerless child, I find myself defaulting back to those thought patterns…everything bad that happens to me is a punishment because I’m out of alignment with “gods will.” If I were in-line with “god’s will” then….these things would still happen (per my parents’ view) but I would be less scared about it?

Fry Shredder GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

The faith arguments really don’t hold up for more than 10 seconds after I start thinking about them, but that doesn’t make them go away and it doesn’t make them feel any less real.

That is the most insidious part about spiritual abuse: just because the faith has been left and the arguments don’t hold up against basic questions, doesn’t mean that the roots of these beliefs went away. Especially if this was instilled through the entirety of childhood.

Simply knowing a belief is wrong doesn’t magically vanish it. Which I find rude.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in the almost 11 years I’ve been deconstructing here it’s that all of these have to be fought, and it’s not a one-time thing, they come back. For me, fighting looks like this. Exposing these lies to daylight by writing about them candidly weakens their power. Something about seeing them outside of my head makes the beliefs easier to let go of.

Maybe it’s a professional mistake to be so open about this type of fighting, but silence hasn’t saved me (or payed rent) and if I were to guess, I’m not the only person facing this type of dementor.


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!