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Tag: This is my Life

27:9

A cake and cupcakes with blue icing. The cake has the ratio 27:9 written in white frosting, and the cupcakes have rainbow sprinkles

I meant to write a retrospective before my birthday, but 2018 has been one hell of a year already, let me tell you.

I got distracted going through my instagram account and watching the story of the last seven or so years unfold in the archives. I look so radically different now than I did when I left home, I am radically different now. And what’s really interesting is all the ways I’m still the same.

I feel the most me-ish that I’ve ever been. I’m not repressing entire swaths of my personality or identity anymore. All the juxtapositional parts of me can just be themselves, like they wanted to all along.

All of the little parts of myself that I caught glimpses of and wanted to unearth when I was stuck at home as a kid are now able to actually bloom and come into fruition. I can be good at science, and organize communities (outside of some old man’s authority), I have the wherewithal to be assertive when I want to be, I bend metal to my will (:3), my body makes sense, I’m in school, I have friends who I see in person on a regular basis. All of this seemed impossible and unattainable years ago, I wasn’t ready yet.

I look different, I sound different, I carry myself differently – I take up more space than I ever have, I have a base level of confidence, I’m happier, I feel capable. I’m taking on things I didn’t think I’d be able to.

I’m really proud of myself for getting this far, and even on my bad days, I know I’ll be able to come out on the other side better than I was before. Having learned something, if it’s just “this doesn’t work”.

I wanted to go into more details and get lengthy, but I am exhausted.

I have a full day of homework tomorrow, and organizing if I can finish all my other things. My life right now is school, organizing for housing, and organizing for a homeschool statute in California. Therapy is keeping me sane, and one day I will have the words and the energy to write all the things that are building up in my brain.

But not today.

Today I’m just happy I’m here, and surrounded by people who care deeply about me. These are the things I cling to when I get overwhelmed and life gets hard.

Oh, but the ratio: I’m 27, and it’s been 9 years since I escaped. In 2011 I found a poem that’s stuck with me and became advice I took.

She decided to start living the life she imagined. She believed she could, so she did. She replaced her fear of the unknown with curiosity. She looked around, and life was pretty amazing.

And then I became a boi.

And I looked around, and life was pretty amazing after all.

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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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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.

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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.

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Birthday Feels/Survival Anxiety

Holy shit.

In light of everything else happening, like fascism, it seems silly that the thing plaguing my mind would be my birthday. On one hand I feel like I shouldn’t even bother celebrating something so frivolous because, fascism. On the other, I have this unshakeable feeling that we might be in nuclear fallout by the time it rolls around, and if I survive to my birthday, that will be An Achievement.

Although given the last year, making it to my birthday already feels like An Achievement. So much has happened. The floor has fallen out from under my feet too many times to count, I barely know which way is up. All I can manage to do is keep fighting and finding new ways to fight for the future that I want to exist.

Nothing feels stable. I feel like more shoes could drop at any minute and leave me homeless, bankrupt, or starving. There’s nothing in my life that is actually pointing towards this happening, it’s just that everything feels so topsy turvy right now that it’s playing on my survival level anxieties.

I re-evaluate my life and the past year around my birthday. February is basically an entire month of introspection with the hope of some kind of party with booze, cake, and people who love me at the end of it. I can celebrate the fact that my existence continued and the people I care about also care about me.

It seems silly, but it feels really important.

If we even get there.

I’ve come so far in a lot of ways since last year, so much has changed – personally and in general. This time last year I was starting ABE classes and actually learning algebra for the first time. Today I’m writing articles about how to combat fascism, talking to reporters and city council, and getting the next dose of testosterone while trying to remember that I deserve to be paid for things I do.

I’m completely me now, and it’s great. I guess that’s worth celebrating.

 

Remind me of this when we get to my actual birthday.

 


I’m worried that I’ll be killed having helped nothing.

I’m worried about my chosen family dying or disappearing.

I wake up to this anxiety and go to sleep with it.

it’s really hard.

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Holy Shit 2k16

Guess I’ll just start off with a list of Things I’ve Done this year and then talk about how I feel about them/the world in general, because holy fuck 2016.

  • This time last year I’d just enrolled at North Seattle and was starting ABE where I learned I’m actually good at math and I learn quickly, I thrive in school, I am Hermoine, and I aced writing while I did it.
  • uh, i got divorced and moved to California. Sometimes I feel like it’s somehow less valid because we’re still friends and still care about eachother deeply, it was just time for me to go and explore the things I needed to, to find myself.
  • I went to Burning Man and found myself. That was when I realized the truth about my trans-ness that I’d been fighting for so long didn’t need to be hidden anymore. That it was worth acknowledging that and doing with that….whatever I needed to.
  • I got swindled out of a home & I’m still fighting to get the deposit back, and also started and quit a job in a month because burn out.
  • I kinda help East Bay Forward run a little bit now.
  • I started Therapy, and that was a really fucking great decision. I feel like I’m finally starting to heal some of the bits I was too afraid to touch before.
  • I started HRT. Asian Pacific Wellness Center in San Francisco if you’re trans, poor, and uninsured. Also if you’re trans and fine and insured. They’re wonderful. I got a blood test (to check for HEP A&B immunity) and started T in the same week (!informed consent!). They have a sliding scale and I literally paid nothing for my shots. <3 <3
  • I traveled out of the Country for the first time. I’m on Holiday in Mex. resting a bit before wandering out to watch the fireworks. It’s beautiful here, and also everyone thinks I’m a local and then I disappoint them by not knowing Spanish very well.
  • I met some amazing people and love so many people and grew my chosen family by a lot.

Things I learned, or proved to myself, or things:

  • I am really fucking strong. On a lot of levels. Impressively, I’m actually strong physically which I learned at Burning Man when I was carrying metal around like it was nothing and single handedly holding up parts of a geodeisic dome. But also, I’m just actually a strong human. I’ve been through so fucking much, and the last year has had me scared shitless because I faced so many things for the first time: being on my own, being almost homeless, not having any other income to rely on than my own, getting on MediCal, starting a small claims case, figuring out T….
  • Transitioning is a good idea. I’ve never felt this much myself before. I have a body that is a barrier between me and the outside world and I have starting and endpoints, my body is….less of a prison now and more…mine? other things include feeling emotions infinitely more intensely but being able to handle them and push through things. I have so much more ability now, I feel like I’m the version of myself I really needed this year. The version of me that is wholly myself and seen.
  • I’ve been through a lot of legitimately hard shit and it’s okay to feel that.
  • I am valid as I am, and no one can take that from me
  • I am actually fast at learning
  • I can actually do anything and do it well – or at least well enough to get by
  • I’m really bad at asking for help, and I’m not that much better at taking care of myself
  • my needs are important too

Things I want/to do/etc in 2017

  • To be financially stable – because my credit score is sad and debt is not cool, but at least soon all of my health things will be covered including therapy, so that will make it easier
  • To get back into school, take more math and writing and science – I qualify for in-state tuition on June 8, assuming we still exist then.
  • Get some (paid) articles published
  • Take charge on a lot more things
  • Make art regularly
  • Fight Fascism where I find it (lately every time hate speech occurs at my bart stop I’ve been cleaning it up. I’d like to do more)
  • Get into photography/filmmaking again and scultping
  • Go to Burning Man
  • Go to 34C3
  • Do more professional writing
  • Actually make those projects I keep meaning to
  • Bike more and get less scared of rodes
  • mebbe abs

Things I really want but probably won’t happen:

  • A smol floofy doge.

Good things:

  • loving, healthy, autonomous relationships
  • taking care of myself
  • chocolate therapy ice cream with sprinkles after therapy
  • my own bed and stuffed animals
  • the terrifying freedom of being on your own
  • trusting my instincts
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burnt out on week 4

“It is important for me to take care of my mental, emotional and physical health at work”

This was the takeaway from therapy last week. I don’t know that I’ve done particularly well with it so far.

I learned one of my coworkers supports Trump and I would be lying if I said that didn’t bother me and loom over my shoulder in the back of my mind all day every day. I try not to let it interfere, or get to me, or otherwise influence how I interact with him, but the fact is, it does bother me. I work remotely so I don’t have to see him and am guaranteed some kind of safety through that, but it’s still a lot…on top of an already demanding and stressful job where people have FEELINGS at me all day.

I am starting week 4 and burnt out as fuck. I’m unsure both how to fix it and if I want to spend that energy. My work sets us up for failure before we start every morning – as the story goes with a small, understaffed IT firm, I guess. We’re booked and every day there’s more. They changed how our ticketing system works so it’s even more obvious how utterly impossible it is to keep up with requests and clients and communicating. It makes it hard to feel like there’s any headway, and when a client loses their shit at me, it’s my fault for not calming them well enough.

There is only so much that humans can do, and the expectations here aren’t able to be met by mere mortals. It’s triggering and reminds me of my childhood where I was expected to be capable of more than is humanly possible and reprimanded when I failed regardless of how much I’d gotten done already. My parents set me up to fail in life and my work is setting me up to fail every day before it even starts.

It’s grating and draining and not tenable.

It’s hard and I’m tired and I just want to flip tables and run away.

But I can’t.

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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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