Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve 2K9

this page won't load, won't let me see your face
it might be digitized but at least its
inches from mine
and this place
this place
scares the hell out of me
somehow i wish i could be here a little more
something to stay for
i didn't know life had this many edges
for me to live on

i told my doctor yesterday more than
afraid to hear his reaction
but he assured me,
hugged me
for a long time.
and said it's not a matter of right
or wrong
but what you need
to do for yourself

merry christmas

it's good i guess if good is
as much as we pretend it to be
if fake things can be
just as good
if you don't make any more
out of anything
than you absolutely have to
if you forget
that there's another life out there
while you sit around this tree
if you forget your gift to yourself
to belong with them on christmas eve

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's cold in this house. I'm sitting at a chair in my "dining room" with a blanket wrapped around me, and for those of you who may be wonering (since the timestamp isn't quite accurate for these entries), it's two in the morning. I came home early to deal with my family--to deal with what financial matters regarding school and my apartment and the like. But we've barely talked about that. It took maybe 30 minutes to sort everything out and for them to tell me that they weren't going to do anything like that at all. So now I'm wondering why I had to leave Pittsburgh so urgently. I'm wondering why they made it seem like they needed me to be here and why I had to miss a very important camp weekend. Things are very weird here. My parents are acting like nothing has changed at all, which I suppose is good in some ways. Perhaps that means they will realize that nothing about me is going to change at all through this process. But I have this horrible, wrenching fear that they are just ignoring everything that is happening. They are pretending that our conversations over this past month have not even happened, and there have been no more questions asked, nothing even hinted at. I worry so much about this. I think it only adds to how I feel when I am at home most of the time. I'm stuck in a time warp in this place. I come home, and most things are exactly the same. My parents redid the living room, but it's still the same place. It looks a little different, but not that much now that I think about it. The furniture is new, but it is all laid out in the same way. I always feel terribly lonely in this place. I sort of felt that way the last year or year and a half that I lived here anyway. I never wanted to be in my own house. There was nothing that interested me here, and somtimes I just felt uncomfortable. But I'm not really uncomfortable now. It's a feeling that I can't quite place yet. It's definitely feeling more like home than it has in the past, and that might have something to do with how it felt to come home with both my parents and to see my mom for the first time in months, after she had refused to speak with me for so long. In a way, it's nice to know that things can be okay, but at the same time, I want things to be okay for real. I don't want to have to pretend. I want them to at least acknowledge that some things will be different or discuss them with me or something. I want them to give a crap. I want them to care about me enough to be interested. I hate feeling like I'm the kid that's just not as important, when so many actions of theirs indicate that it's actually true. I'm not going to go into that right now because that would be really depressing. And maybe they don't even realize what they are doing. I remember being given a particular excuse in the past that Darrell just needs more attention and more guidance/watching over or whatever because we know you'll be fine no matter what. I can understand this in ways, but that doesn't mean I haven't felt abandoned at times. And that doesn't explain preferential treatment when we're both dealing with pretty serious situations. And to be honest, his is way more stable than mine right now. They knew Cinci was the senior game too. I mean, it sucks that I missed it, but they were visiting my brother that day. They could have done it any day, really. They see him every week without fail. They haven't come to a game of mine in 2 years. I really don't know what that says. Maybe nothing. But a lot of the time, it's not what you mean that matters. People never really see what you mean, only what you do. And that's all we have to judge by. Can you blame someone in light of that? Can you really blame people for misconstruing situations every now and then? And perhaps there are some people who get particularly offended by this because they try to project a much nobler image than they truly embody. People do shit, pretending to have good intentions. We all do that from time to time, but don't we all get a little ticked or unnerved when someone finds us out? I really don't know why brought that up right now, and very few people know what I mean anyway since I actually do have specific instances in mind, but I think it's better that I keep those to myself. Some things just aren't worth it anymore.
I don't know. What the hell was I trying to talk about? This place. Or maybe another place. You know what's great about gyms? No matter where you go, they are pretty much the same, and pretty much the same dynamic exists in every gym. You don't have to worry about feeling the place out as much as you do any other place. You know how things work, and you know how you are supposed to fit into that environment. It's no surprise why I'm attracted to them or why I feel so comfortable when I'm working out. And it's really not about anybody else. You're in your own world when you're working out, which is good somtimes and not others. You can sometimes bring another person into that world, but each group of people even is a little universe. Nothing else that anyone does really matters. It's an escape. I obviously went to the gym here today and felt more okay there than I have this whole time I've been here. But it's not that I'm not okay at the moment. I'm just less so, comparatively. I had a feeling I would be rambling a lot tonight.
Other things. I rode a train for the first time in my life, and I am fairly confident that I am never riding a bus again. Three times as much leg room, outlets, and a dining car. And a view of snow falling all the way east. I didn't get those feelings of panic in my stomach that time. Bus rides usually cause me a lot of distress, probably from being so close to random people. I'm sure there are other reasons as well.
I suppose that I just don't like feeling like things haven't changed at all. I don't like feeling the same as I did when I was 16 in this house. I want to know that my life is different and better. I want to know that we all aren't stuck like that. Sometimes there are hints that we have all grown, but a lot of the time, at least here, it feels like nothing has changed, as I said. I mean, sometimes that's nice. Nostalgic perhaps. But not about the important things. Maybe change isn't the right word in that case. Maybe evolve?
I read Maniac Magee for the first time in ten years. I think I like it even more now. And I think I realize more than ever how important that book is for kids to understand. It's hard to explain how much of an impact a book like that has if you haven't read it--if you didn't read it back when you were just about to enter middle school or a little earlier. The funniest thing is that, when I first read the book, it seemed like way more time had passed in the story. It seemed like several years from the start of the book to the end, but obviously that's not the case. Weird shit.
I don't even know if I have anything else that's meaningful to write about. I want to have something meaningful. I want to throw some brilliant shit out there, but I have nothing. This place doesn't do much for creativity. It's a black hole. As my father and I were driving up the road that leads to my house--the main road in Edwardsville that turns onto my street--I took in the view of the dirty sidewalks and buildings alongside, almost as grey as the few souls hobbling about in the cold--and I just threw my arms down into the seat and said, "This really is the town that God forgot about."
I love how I can feel tired one minute and wide awake the next. I make no sense. I should probably sleep, but I don't get the point. Not now. I have nothing that I really need to do at all. It's weird. It's not even that I could do anything. Too cold to walk anywhere, and I can't drive. I'm kind of stranded. I hate that. That's what I hate most. Even if there is nothing to get away from, knowing that you can get away is important. It lets you know that you are in control of the situation in some way. And I am clearly not in control of my situation right now, and it is a situation in which something bad may happen at any moment, and I know that I will not be able to get away from it no matter how much I want to. I tried to exercise control by taking that train home instead of waiting until Sunday when things could have been way worse, considering the conversation Friday night. But maybe coming home early was more like giving in than waiting it out. I don't know. I never know what I'm supposed to do. I just do what I think is right, and most of the time, that's what you have to do. But sometimes people are just wrong, and there's no way to know it. I know I'm not saying anything terribly profound here, but give me a break. It's like three in the morning, and my body and mind are probably a lot more tired than I believe.
I'm afraid of going to see my brother on Christmas. This will be the first time speaking to each other since my whole family found out. I have pretty bad feelings about this building up in my stomach. I almost wish something would happen while we are there because then things could just move forward. I hate purposeful stagnation when there is no point. I hate putting things off, especially when they are important. And I hate not knowing things, and there are so many things that aren't being discussed, and there are so many unknowns in the future, and no one here is helping at all with all of this stress I'm dealing with. They act like this is easy for me. And they think that pretending that my life isn't happening is going to make it easier on me? It's insane. I don't understand how people can operate this way. I don't understand how you could live your life like this, ignoring all of the things that really matter and obsessing over stupid little things you hear on TV and can't do anything about. And there's no way to make people see what's really important. Granted, not everyone finds the same things important, but I assume that there are certain univerals, more or less. Like family. And things happening to immediate family members. But maybe I'm wrong. It's amazing that my brain has survived all of this. And yeah, it is kind of amazing that I came out of this place. Maybe I'm not as much of a fuck up as people thought I was going to be. As a lot of people still say or think I am. I mean, most people think I'm a complete moron when they meet me, which is normally fine, but sometimes I just wish I could get a little bit of respect for my intelligence. Whatever. I hate being a little bitch and being all pompous about being smart. Everybody's smart, pretty much. Everyone's good at something. Yes, these are things to be proud of and to be celebrated, but you don't have to go shoving your 4.0 in people's faces when there's just no reason to. I'd rather be known for being an awesome person who is there for his friends than for being smart. That doesn't mean that I don't value my intelligence. It's also an essential part of who I am. It's just that I don't really like to brag about any quality of mine. I think just doing the things shows way more. It's really hard to explain this without sounding like an arrogant douchebag. But I don't intend to, and most of the people that I know aren't arrogant bastards. I just know that they are out there, and I'm probably just reiterating things that people already know or feel about them. I'm sure a lot of what people perceive actually comes from the fact that I say stupid shit because sometimes it's really funny.
This might be the most ridiculously random post yet.
My chest hurts again in that same spot. I wonder if I should be worried.
I guess things are winding down. Either that or my brain has giving up on letting me get its thoughts out.
I need random topics to write about. Anything really. Could be something you don't even think people should be able to write about. It might be fun. Or I might fail, and it would still be funny. Serious shit is acceptable. Absurd things are always welcome and greatly appreciated. No politics. Can't stand that shit.
I have to close with a quote. It was just too perfect:

"Inside his house, a kid gets one name, but on the other side of the door, it's whatever the rest of the world wants to call him."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I was walking home from class around dusk. The streets were darker than I had ever seen them. Absolutely no light except the slivers from the sky, barely breaking through the clouds, frozen magma overhead. And the wind didn't just howl. It moaned. And it squealed. Then it whispered, fading into apocalyptic silence. I didn't pass another human being the entire way down Atwood street, and as I descended with the landscape, my only company being the sneakers swaying overhead on electric tightropes, I felt my insides rise up in exhilaration. I might have begun to sweat, but fear played no part in my autonomic response. This was the body's way of responding to something it has never experienced before, and will likely never experience again. It was my body's way of tuning in to the physical world--of realizing just how beautiful that world can be when stripped of its material "necessities".
I made the tedious journey through the impenetrable darkness of the winding staircase leading to my third floor apartment, finding the proper key by the feel of the cool metal ridges against my skin, perfectly attuned proprioception allowing me to unlock the deadbolt almost effortlessly. A few steps in, I grabbed the large white candle atop the bookshelf in my living room, hopped delicately over the various articles of clothing strewn about the floor, and made my way to the stove. I turned the dial on the left-hand side of the range and waited for the subtle hiss of gas escaping the valve to evolve into flame before thrusting the cylinder of wax head-first into the inferno. No blaze of glory, just a flicker in the darkness. Just enough to let you know that everything is going to be alright.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Waffles on Thursday

my week can't have begun
a week ago
more like thursday
different kind of meeting
than i'm used to
even though i should
have seen it all before
new people
to try their luck at doing
that matters.
if only everyone knew
what that used to mean
how it felt to find something that matters
and stick your soul to it with rubber cement
now more like a post-it note with the glue just
flaking off maybe it'll stick if you hold it there
but people will get tired of holding your hand someday
but i guess it's only paper anyway and paper
doesn't care
i don't know what i felt walking out
maybe it was nothing but i wanted
maybe just something
to be different
because everything
was starting to feel the same.
the same sitting on the couch and looking forward
to nothing but a night barely
sprinkled with sleep
and another day of hiding
my face in books.
let's drive. fast. and far away.
running away from the rest of my life
is perfectly fine from time to time.
pretender. back for class at nine.
it's that feeling
of being in motion. and being
in control of that motion.
moving you forward
throwing you back
at the same time.
singing along to a loud song
on a midnight highway is like
having a conversation of a whole new kind.
voices harmonizing
at just the right time
and glances that meet
in the middle when you know
you're thinking
the exact same thing.
and you still don't know where you
need to go
but that's not what matters
so why not cross state lines
for breakfast
in the middle
of the night?
west virginia waffle house and a wild
that might not even have been real
i wonder what that woman thought
when she heard us talking
about driving all that way
to sit in her diner
and feed
our emotional gluttony.
and walk out with a hash brown too.
and why not take the chance
while your at it taking chances
find out just how far
you can push you car
without filling up
end up
in the wrong county
too far north of where
you need to be
missed the mark
by a long shot
and didn't even know
didn't even think
just drove.
and it was okay.
it was dark. foreign. but
track 12. home.
but we weren't even close
but depending on your definition
of home
maybe we never left
the comforts of our fortress
and hey we even had that cozy fire
somewhere in the distance
behind the tangle of trees which might
have hidden beasts or bodies or a better
way out of there.
missed the tunnels.
came in from the wrong side
but no matter which way you look at it
it's damn beautiful
too see this place at night
lit up
light you
to see the mirror on the surface
of the water
and the metal threads of the bridge
you're wrapped in
and it's hard to imagine
another life
anywhere else
at any time
because how could you have
how could you ever
live without this?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Don't feel like I'm feeling anything. Tried writing some poetry but it didn't work. Maybe it's the fight I'm having with my eyelids. Maybe it's the one I'm having with mom. I'm not asking for permission, which is what I think they think. Do I really feel like talking about that now? Life needs a pause button. Not even all of it. It's like I've got 4 or 5 different screens playing. I just can't watch all of them at once, and I hate it when I miss things. I need to Tivo my own life. Too many things to worry about. Not enough things I can do about any of them right now. Focus. Enough for a few more weeks before I crash. But the ball's going to keep rolling right on through the end of this semester. What the hell am I even saying? I hate having to use expressions like that. It makes me feel lazy. I don't like when words don't mean anything anymore. I want something evocative out of what I read (and write). You can't give me a good mental image with some trite expression, but sometimes, that's the only thing that works to convey meaning. It's only surface meaning, though. To do the job right, you need more than one coat of paint. Each layer builds upon the next, ultimately leading to that seamless, shining finish. It might take a little longer, but the end product is definitely worth it.
I don't always do that here because sometimes I just need to vent. Sometimes I just need to get the mixed up feelings out of my system, and whatever words those feelings find are fine. And those feelings are mine, so why should I worry about the criticism from outside?
I'm really getting in a rut here with these random rants and disconnected postings of mine. It seems fitting, considering the general pattern of events occurring in my life right now, and by pattern, I mean lack of a pattern.
I really wonder if my mom still reads this. I wonder what she thinks of me as a human being after having seen all of this. Maybe she hasn't even read everything. Maybe she only managed to read it that one day to find the worst things I had written about my family in my entire life. I'm not going to be ashamed of what I wrote that day. Everything I said is true. And feelings are neither true nor false, and since I was feeling those things at the time, I see no reason to have to erase them and pretend that that part of my life didn't happen. I acknowledge both the good and the bad.
I'm not making any sense again. Maybe I just needed to feel like I did something important by writing something down.
I had a not-so-productive conversation with my parents tonight. I was at the gym when they called, and there was no way I could go back to working out after I got off the phone with them. Bad things would have happened. My mom is convinced I'll get cancer or something horrible will happen to me as a result of T. My dad expresses similar concerns only because my mom was able to find something on the internet that indicated the risks ( most of which/the major ones I believe she failed to recognize as extraordinarily rare). They also think the situation is identical to that of bodybuilders injecting themselves with shit-tons of it so they can be freaks. I tried explaining that there is completely different reasoning there, but they seem convinced that I'll just keep wanting to take more and more. I don't know how to make them see that these situations are vastly different and should never be equated. Oh and my mom thinks that it's going to fuck with my brain. Now she's even more convinced that my decision is irrational. I can't believe she doesn't think that I understand the risks. I've been looking at this for way longer than she has, and I've talked to way more people than she has, yet in finding some random shit on the internet over the course of only 2 days, she thinks that she has it all figured out. Now, I know that I don't know everything, but I'm pretty sure that the mortality and morbidity rates for trans people are the same as in the general population. I'm also pretty sure that there have been studies done to prove that testosterone actually increases working memory by a little bit. I feel like they're going to go crazy over these things. I don't know how to alleviate these concerns. I hope that they are just that--concerns. I hope that they don't go nuts over trying to change my mind. I wish they could just express concern without having to insult me or demand that I do something different. It's really aggravating.
They keep trying to change my mind. I think my dad sort of got the idea tonight. He said that it seemed like I was going to do anything to defend my position and not listen to anyone else. I suppose that's partly true. They aren't going to change my mind. Only I can change my mind. I understand the risks, and they are risks that I am prepared to take. My mom even accused me of not knowing what will make me happy. She said that there is no way that I can know that. I asked her if she knows what makes her happy, and she said that she doesn't all the time. When I told her that I wasn't talking about transient happiness, she just started evading the question. I ended up pointing out that maybe she should start thinking about it. Why is it so damn hard for people to think? I know what makes me happy. And I do know what I want. Why can't people accept that? Why must my parents try to diminish that? It's a very good thing to know what you want out of life? Am I supposed to wait until my life is half over before I start to live it? I don't see much sense in that. I don't see much sense in waiting years and years to do something that I know I will do anyway. It's not like I'm going to start T tomorrow either. I have already explained that I need to talk to a professional about this for a while before I do that.
There's no way to convince my parents, it seems. Everyone I talk to has to have an agenda. That must be it. I need to talk to independent people who don't have experience with this because those who are gender therapists or trans endocrinologists are biased and they'll tell me anything. That seems kind of ridiculous to me. I hope I am not the only one. NOT EVERYTHING IS A CONSPIRACY. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a doctor is a doctor who will tell you the facts. And sometimes they recognize what risks are worth taking. If you're going to decrease someone's chances of suicide by 2000 percent by doing something that will increase one's chances of having liver cancer by less than .5 percent, well...The choice seems obvious. That's the way most people see it. What's the point if you're not going to be happy with your life anyway? What's the point of any of that health if you can't enjoy it because you make yourself sick all the time worrying about this? The risks are there. I am not denying it. But they aren't at all common. And I wouldn't be stupid about it. I'd get checked out all the time because that's what you're supposed to do. If you don't, you're an idiot. I've always been extremely concerned about my health and wellness, and it bothers me to think that my parents don't believe that I have considered that at all. I don't think they get it yet. If I weren't 100 percent sure of this and 100 percent ready to deal with everything, I wouldn't have decided that this was the right thing for me. I wouldn't have said anything at all. This isn't some game that I'm playing. And it's not just something that's going to go away. I keep getting frustrated by the things they say to me. I feel like they just want me to get tired of arguing with them and give up on it. But that's not what would happen. I would get tired of arguing them and do it anyway, and I don't know what that would do to our relationship. But I need them to understand that I am not looking for their approval here. I'm looking for them to attempt to understand the situation. And part of that is understanding that I don't need them trying to force me out of this every step of the way. Part of that is understanding that this is my decision and that I do not need them assaulting me with their opinions of it constantly. I'm reaching my limit with that, and I'm generally a pretty patient person. I can wait a little longer for them to understand that, but I have no idea how I can explain that to them if they don't figure it out for themselves.
I will make that call in the afternoon tomorrow.
And why is money such a huge concern when there are way more important things to be worrying about in this situation? They keep asking me where I am going to get the money for this, so I assume that means that they won't be helping me out. I'm fine with that. I have a plan.
I don't know. I'm just sick of always being on the defensive about my own life. I'm sick of my parents not respecting and/or trusting my decisions. They do this all the time, and I don't know why I expected it to be different this time.
I have a lot of things to do tomorrow. I need to get my act together and really focus during these last few weeks, but that seems impossible with all of this happening. I seriously think the best thing would just be to not talk to them until the end of the semester, but I know they won't react very well to that, and I feel like things aren't exactly in my favor right now and don't want to push the balance further away from me.
I should probably go to sleep considering I have class in 6 hours. I had planned to study for that class tonight, but every time I talk to my parents, I lose all my focus. I just get so worked up about things that it becomes impossible for me to do my work. That's really a problem. I need to explain this to them, but again, they aren't very likely to understand that either. While I can slack off most of the time, there are just some things for which that doesn't when I have to turn in something instead of just studying for a quiz. I need the time to work on the shit. I can't fake that. Argh.
I don't know. Maybe I should just read some more. I say "I don't know" way too often. But it's true. There are a lot of things I don't have answers for. And I feel like that isn't always my fault. A lot of the time, I do have answers but fear that others may see them as the wrong ones. But with this--with being trans--it's completely different. It's something that I just don't worry about when it comes to the opinions of other people. I know that this is what is right. This is what I want. I can't stress that enough for my parents. This is who I am. If they could only see how living like this has improved things for me, then maybe they'd get it. But they are stuck several hundred miles away and have been for the past four years, so it's easy to see why they think that this is unexpected and doesn't make sense. I don't think they understand that I am definitely not the same person who left for college several years ago. How do people forget things like that? Were they really the same people as they were in high school when they graduated from college? They might have been. My dad never left home. My mom transferred from Michigan State after a year. Maybe they never changed. I don't know. But I grew up a whole lot when I realized what kind of world was out there. I had an idea, but I really didn't know what to expect. I knew things would be different. They were. And things just started to make so much sense. I am so much happier now than I have ever been. I can honestly say that. As lame as it may sound, I've finally found myself. And that just kicks ass.
I feel like I repeat myself a lot. I know I do. But sometimes I need that. Sometimes I need to remind myself that I'm the one that matters. Sometimes I worry way too much about how other people are doing that I forget to take care of myself. I guess that's the vice of my chosen profession. If it's not, it should be.
It's past 4 AM, for those of you who REALLY need to know. ;)
I ended up at Eat N Park tonight with good people. I had a great time, even though I barely said anything all night. Just being there was enough for me. At first it didn't feel like it should have been. I felt like more should have been going on between people. But that's not what tonight was about. It was about being part of that group. It was about just being together without worrying about saying anything or doing anything. It was good. And I'm glad I was able to recognize that.
I'm getting a little tired. I should probably sleep. I know I keep saying this.
I have no filter right now, it seems.
Right now? lol
Yes, I rarely use knives. I'll stab a fork into the meat and eat it like that. It's not even something that I think about, unless I'm in some really fancy restaurant where I have to be all self-conscious.
I'll probably say something that's completely inappropriate in the context of the conversation, and I may not pick up on forced subtlety. However, I am great at picking up the things you DON'T know you are conveying. It's easy to tell with things like that because you can't hide them. They are pretty much the same for everyone. You can't hide things like that because you have no idea that you are doing them. It's kind of cool, the science behind body language. It's a valuable skill. Yet I still manage to mess up basic things from time to time. It happens.
Oh yeah, and sometimes I just have no idea what the fuck to say. A lot of the time. Small talk is almost impossible. But there are some times when things are completely fine and I can talk about anything.
I'm sure there are other ridiculous things that I do that I'm just not remembering. Nothing to worry about, really. Except those random panic attacks, but that hasn't happened in a while. I'd like to think that I know why.
Alright, I'm actually going to be now. I think I need something profound at the end here.

You have a choice. Live or die. Every breath is a choice. Every minute is a choice. To be or not to be. --Palahniuk