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Category: Misc

Goodbye 2017

I’ve been putting off writing for some reason. I’m not entirely sure why. Some of it is probably just burnout and exhaustion from school, processing a lot of the things that happened and got stepped on over the last semester that I didn’t have time to get to. I survived my first semester though! I got all A’s and B’s even, I did well in math even though it was dicey there for a second.

I’m proud of myself. I made a bunch of metal things and I really just want to get back into shop. Classes don’t start again until the 22nd (which fees like an eternity), but then I am in school from 8a/11a – 7:30p/9:30p Mon-Thur until the end of May.

It’s going to be an intense semester. Next week I suppose I will work on finding out what kind of things would be helpful and hit up some of the campus services. I have a hearing test on Monday because hearing people talk over the machines is really hard and since starting testosterone, the quality of my hearing has decreased. My dad and papa both have hearing problems so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a genetic thing. I’ve always had trouble with phones and white noise but it’s gotten noticeably worse, so I’m hoping that I can get hearing aids, really. Because it’d be helpful to be able to hear the lectures while watching the machine demo.

I want to talk more about all of the buttons that school pushed and navigating college while dealing with C-PTSD, but I don’t have the energy for that right now. I’m still living it, I guess.


My doctor is going to see if we can get a hysterectomy done by going the endometriosis route instead of the gender dysphoria route because 1) it’s extremely likely that I do, in fact, have endo, and 2) you don’t need any letters for that which would save me a lot of leg work. Apparently not only does insurance require you have two letters from mental health professionals, they will only cover one provider (making you pay out of pocket to meet their requirements), and require that one of the two recommendation letters is from a PhD (sessions cost more than people who are not PhDs).

We agreed that it is complete bullshit, so I just have to remember the utter agony my periods were and convey that to people. I remembered yesterday that the entire reason I have a 3DS was to survive the week my periods made me unable to move, so…I should be okay there.


This year for Holiday I went to Los Angeles. LA is a complicated city. Us two Oakland Queers were the queerest people I saw, and I did go to West Hollywood where I saw one other queer at Meltdown(!!!) but other than that, it was oddly normcore. It is incredibly difficult to get around by transit if you don’t live literally downtown. I wound up walking about 20miles a day out of necessity because I didn’t bring my bike and the bus stops are far apart and a bit infrequent. There’s not much that is walk-to-able. Walking half a mile before you reach coffee is a hard ask.

BUT.

I WENT TO HOGWARTS and it was everything I hoped it would be.

Actual magic happened on New Years Eve (we stood on a bridge over the LA river and were surrounded by fireworks from all over the area with no one else in sight).

Santa Monica is gorgeous.

I hung out with some friends!

I dabbled in photography:

SoCal 2017

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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.

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Post-YIMBYtown brain dump

I have a lot of things swirling around my brain that I need to process, and flesh out, and give words to but I haven’t had the mental energy or focus to do so. YIMBYtown took a lot out of me and I have like three things I need to write up about that because holy shit your boi here accidentally ran an international conference. But I haven’t had the energy to do that either.

The world got a lot dimmer this week. I don’t know, it was like something just flickered and died. I can feel it in my soul and it’s discomforting and weird. Trauma has a weight.

The trauma I carry, and the trauma others around me carry, they have weights and we can sense it. Mine is carried in the small of my back, like two granite stones. If I’m not careful they’ll pull me into a spiral. I’ve noticed that my trauma likes to hang out with other people’s trauma when we’re in groups and sometimes it takes me longer to recharge from that.


I enrolled at Laney, I have classes and everything. Tomorrow I go to schedule the Compass test for math and hand in my “I actually live in CA, please let me pay in-state tuition” papers. I’m taking what is basically Intro to Machine Tech, Arithmetic (unless I place into algebra), Spanish, and Jazz (dance) on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

In addition to my activism work. So I need a way to afford school which is where the crossroads lies, but……..if I’m really honest, I already know the answer.

I could try to get a part time job on top of full-time school and activism.

Or, I could hustle the shit out of myself and freelance.…which is what I’m actually going to be doing, even if I do toy with the idea of not having to be tracking work down all the time.


Some of the things I keep wanting to write about but haven’t been able to get out of my head:

  • Why cities are important to me after being isolated in suburbs as a child (and related to that: how being in a suburb and not rural nowhere is good for child safety)
  • Why I YIMBY (and how the intersection of homeschooling fits into housing politics)
  • Shit I learned doing YIMBYtown
  • Some of the things I’ve learned about my trauma and how I have to take care of myself
  • All 10 of the mountains I just climbed to enroll in the Machine Tech program and do trades and science and math…

I also want to make some shorts with pockets, and if they turn out to be okay, I might sell them.

I also have a few more pieces for Autostraddle in my pocket that I need to be able to write down.

I’m really tempted to start dabbling in local journalism doing more than writing press releases.

But I only have so much time in a day, and my energy is being eaten by existing this week. I feel like we’ve all aged about a decade.

 

This has been a rambly update, but now it’s out of the way so maybe I’ll be able to write something more cohesive later.

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CDMX 2016

I lived in Mexico City for two weeks and it was fantastic. I managed to get around successfully (with help) in a country with a language I barely spoke, and watched Fireworks on New Years. Made a lot of pupper friends, learned a lot of things, and admired a lot of art. Now there are pictures.

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feels

I cringe when I open my email

I’m dreading tomorrow

I spent today putting out fires that all happened at once – insurance expired, I needed to re-order court documents, and set up a consult with a lawyer for the roommate situation.

I looked at affordable housing orgs and realized I’m tech support for at least one of them, and had awkward and hard feelings about that, and not being paid enough to be able to find housing without assistance through one of my company’s clients. It’s a weird feel.

I’m so very very tired.

 

I feel like a failure for not being able to make it on my own. fighting internalized stigma about getting help. Everything is hard.

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Depression and Therapy and Burning Man (maybe)

It’s been a long month of more new scary things. Started a job being a glorified receptionist with the bonus skill set of being able to translate people’s computer problems into useful information for the IT people (and no, I don’t get paid more for that skill). Had housing fall through on me twice, the second iteration of which I am still currently fighting to get my deposit back. My potential roommate has been unreachable for the last two weeks so I’m starting a Small Claims thing on Monday and hopefully someone can find her. The lease demands she pay me back within two days if the move-in didn’t occur, so legally, she’s obligated, it’s just the tracking down that’s the problem.

I’ve been in an awful depressed spiral because of that + utter stress of a new job where people are grumpy about their computers at me all day and the hours are not conducive to my mental health or productivity (and the company documents I was handed use air quotes around mental health, which, as someone with intense mental health problems, does not make me feel safe at all). I managed to push through September, I did everything I needed, I started a job, I got to work every day, and was chained to the phone doing the best I could working between sobbing from the sheer overwhelmingness of everything.

I started seeing a therapist on Thursday (funnily enough the first day in like 2 weeks I was able to get through without crying or intensely passively wishing for death) and I told her about the overwhelmingness of everything and got to hand her my brain and be like, here, you hold this now. Someone who is not me is aware of the mess that is happening inside and is equipped to figure it out.

So I started off by explaining everything that’s happened since May. I’m trans, I’m divorced, a different partner broke up with me shortly after I moved here, I only recently got a job (that inevitably wants my soul), and even working full time I don’t make enough to afford rent, and I don’t have benefits or PTO. The stress is eating away at me and pulling at my soul through my back and everything compounds in on itself and I can’t handle it alone anymore.

And she looked at me and was like, so it seems like a lot of new things have just happened all at once and you’re doing a lot of transitioning right now and it’s stressful.

And I was like, yes.

 

It’s not bad. Just new. and a lot. and I can manage new.

 

I feel so far away from everything I want to do, but as I listed them out (CRHE, art, tech, learning shit) and she asked me if I’d stopped or been unable to do those things, I realized I hadn’t, the capacity just changed. It’s just new and adjusting. I haven’t stopped.

 

I feel like I’m in a rut or a dead-end. I need to forge my own path out. I know what I want and don’t want, I don’t know how to get there yet.

I don’t want to stay at my new job forever, the stress is a lot and not worth the not-being-able-to-pay-rent-or-get-sick deal. I want to work somewhere that I and my health are valued, and that pays me enough to afford to live out here. Somewhere I don’t wake up dreading. Because while I am fucking fantastic at my job being a translator receptionist, I prefer to not have the entire bay area and misc parts of California thrust upon me in an afternoon. I am a hacker and I can singlehandedly take care of the entire internet-based infrastructure of an organization. I am full-stack for myself and that’s a useful skill.

Taking messages for problems doesn’t give you the same feeling that solving a problem does, either.

Anyway, what I’m saying is, I need something better, but at least I have a stepping stone now, and I know that I have a lot more to offer than what I’m being paid (poorly) for. I don’t know how to make that happen yet.

 

She asked me if I liked the Bay and I told her I’d never intended to be here, I just wound up here because it was a place available to me when I needed it. But now that I’m here, I have that same feeling I had about Burning Man – there’s something for me here, something I need to do or be a part of, and I don’t know what it is, but it’s not time to leave yet. She asked me if I found that at Burning Man and if it was intuition or not – it was, on both counts. I found out a lot about my own strength at Burning Man, a lot about myself, I let go of a lot of things and it was what I needed. I don’t know what the next step out here looks like, but that same instinct is keeping me here, so I’m going to follow that and see what happens.

She was impressed that I was so in-tune with myself. I guess that’s what happens when you self-therapy until you just can’t anymore.

 

I’m writing this now from my other partner’s couch, watching the sun start to rise, and freezing. Life is fucking terrifying but I think I’m going to make it after all.

 

I made it out of that spiral, I can make it out again.

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Rising From The Ashes

My life lately has been incredibly roller-coaster like, not necessarily in the fun way, but always in the make-you-stronger-or-die way. I guess that’s also not so much lately as a recurring theme, but that’s besides the point. While I was waiting for divorce paperwork to go through (still am. SOON), going through an additional breakup, and job hunting while scrambling to find a place to relocate to, I decided that going to Burning Man would be a good idea (it was).

I decided to go to Burning Man because I needed to prove to myself that I was strong enough and capable enough of a person to be able to survive the desert; and if I could survive an arid climate where nothing heals and nothing grows, then I could probably get through all this other bullshit life likes to toss in my direction.

And over the course of the 10 days I….actually managed to impress myself. Turns out, I am capable as fuck. I can carry a stack of metal 2x my height on my shoulder, I am incredibly prepared, and able to handle whatever random shit happens that I can help with. I can survive the desert. I can build infrastructure for people to occupy. I can get along with other humans in a desert. I can save a cabaret from being a flop (I think. At the very least, I had a blast). I can hold up the insides of a geodesic dome.

I am actually really quite strong – on all the levels that the desert is designed to bring out your weaknesses, I managed to be actually be okay.

 


The Temple Burn

Every year at Burning Man, we burn The Man, obviously, but there’s also a temple burn.

The Temple Burn has a sense of solemnity and it’s own atmosphere that’s radically different than the rest of the playa. The Temple opens earlier in the week and people walk through it and it becomes whatever it needs to be for them. As I walked through the temple I saw and felt the entirety of human existence and all of the hard and intense emotions that we face all culminate in one place. The altars and letters and tear-stained pieces of wood were full of love, anger, grief, loss, sorrow, guilt, hope. I started crying within minutes of stepping inside. It’s just a temple, it doesn’t mean anything – except that it means everything that you need it to mean. The Temple was more sacred to me than I thought it would be. It was a place to heal and face all of the things I haven’t processed fully. I picked up a piece of wood and wrote down the names of my dead family: my stillborn siblings, my gramme. I grieved their deaths fully for the first time, accepting the loss and allowing myself to shed the tears I wasn’t able to before.

I wrote the names of my living siblings  – the ones I raised and feel responsible for, the ones who’s fates keep me up at night. I wrote that I love them and will always.

I wrote a note to my parents, grieving the loss of a relationship that I’ll never have and never had, but always wished for.

I wrote a note to Matt and processed the loss I still feel sometimes from that.

I wrote my deadname on a block of wood, saying goodbye to everything I was told to be, all the limitations placed on me, and all the lies they said.

When we walked to the Temple Burn on Sunday night, it started before we reached it. Smoke billowed up into the sky, over us, reaching beyond us towards the moon in the horizon. Embers hung in the air against the smoke and slowly, gracefully, fell down to the earth.

The phrase that got stuck in my head enough to write it down a few times at the beginning of Burning Man was rise from the ashes, and as I put my old name in the temple and while I watched it burn, that’s exactly what I did. I lit my old demons and fears and everything holding me back on fire and watched it die in a surreal moment of light and smoke and embers.

I picked up some bits of ash on the way back, pieces of the burned temple – and when I have a place again, they will be part of my altar. Reminding me that I’ve left everything I needed to behind, and am now able to be a completely, wholly, unhindered me.

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blurb

I keep writing and erasing. I want to write but I don’t know what to say.

 

I know what I want to do with my life and it’s the thing I’ve been doing for the last 3 years.

Art. Lots of Art. CRHE. Programming. School.

 

I want to be able to live off of what I already do. That is my dream.

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Random update 2k16

This is going to be all disjointed and rambly.

I’m feelsy and tired. Things are good and scary and new.

I can take ABE courses again this fall, which is helping my brain in a lot of ways. I feel like I sort of have some semblance of a direction now, instead of a confused puddle.

I’ve sent out more job applications than I can count, trying to make art on the regular because it keeps me sane. Feeling lost on E.R.A. – I’m not a huge fan of my current set up for it, and Manga Studio 5 on my new macbook is hard to adjust to. I’ve been using MS5 on my Surface lately, so maybe I’ll switch to that for now. But deeper than that, I’ve been lacking the motivation and energy to continue writing. Depression induced apathy really sucks, and as much as I need E.R.A. to exist, I need to be in the headspace for it to make it what I need it to be. It’s hard to muster up the energy to do that when you’re calling it a win if you get out of the apartment this week.

I want to write more code than I’ve had the energy to (read: any). This all piles up and I feel like a failure of a human being.

But I’m going to get there, I’m going to be okay.

This month I’m making it a goal to get out on my own for a few hours a few times a week and explore in between life & adulting. I bought my own copy of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and I want to go through that again. And fucking code. for the love of god please let me code, brain. I’m doing 30 in 30 again, and these are all really good things.

I’m going to make it.

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A Reinvention of Myself

This space over the last 7 years has documented my journey from newly married, just-out quiverfull daughter, to outspokenly queer, artistic, techy, advocate for making homeschooling better for homeschooled students. This blog is where I came out as agnostic, bi, & nonbinary; this is where I posted the process of learning who I am and what that means. Chronicling what life looks like for me outside the bubble I was raised in. This has covered a lot of firsts – all the firsts since getting married 7 years ago, actually. Art, cars, moving, college….I’ve documented my growth publicly because I need to be reminded of where I am, where I’m coming from, and where I hope to go. I need to allow myself the authenticity, honesty, and acknowledgement of self that I was never allowed as a child. I need to show myself that it’s okay to be open about flaws, mistakes, and sadness – that it’s okay to get angry and have emotion, and I hope that by doing so, others will take that as permissions for themselves too.

 

I’ve been processing and re-evaluating everything I was taught here. It’s here that I face the stability of the past with the uncertainty of the future. I have uprooted my life and everything I once knew, I’m starting fresh and reinventing myself; sharpening my tools and forging ahead.

 

You’ve likely noticed the name changes that have slowly been taking place over the last few weeks. I’ve been paused, unsure how to talk about what I’m about bring up. Slowly rebuilding and re-naming pieces of my life that have been home since before this blog started. I don’t know how to change course subtly…

I’m getting divorced.

 

There are a lot of weird feelings associated with that, that don’t actually have anything to do with the divorce itself, but everything to do with the things I was taught about marriage, love, and relationships. Bridging the Gap is about evolution – getting from where I am to where I want to be. I won’t be going into reasons or details about the divorce more than to say: we still get along amicably and Alex is a good person who deserves good things. Forever is a long time and sometimes things don’t last through eternity, and that’s okay.

 

The last 7 years I’ve been wearing a name I happily adopted, the 18 before I wore a name I inherited, now I wear a name of my own making. I’m Kieryn Fin Darkwater, and I’m venturing into uncharted waters guided by the stories in the stars and the compass in my soul.

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