Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Don't Know What the Date Is

I finally got reimbursed for my Pitt Drag Show expenditures, so my bank account will remain above zero when my credit card payment goes through. I don't even know why I bother paying them anymore at all. It's never enough, and the way things are going, it's never going to be enough. I don't even want to think about it. I avoid about ten phone calls a day. I'm not going to argue about options that just aren't going to work for me. I've given up trying to stay ahead because I know I'm not. I'm just trying to get by, and sometimes, it's just trying to find a way to eat the next meal. I hate asking people for money. I hate taking things that aren't mine. Don't get worried. I have enough cheerios and packets of tuna to coast on for a while, but sometimes I just want something more. I'm feeling better, but I'm tired, and I'm losing weight. I've been scared of doing my shot all day because I know I will be even hungrier. I'm pretty sure if you told me I had to walk an hour for a few slices of pizza, I'd do it without thinking. You can get a hungry person to do anything. Really.
I think I will clean and write letters tonight. I need to write another coming out letter. It's been a while since I've done that. And I should probably write another one to my brother and one for my grandmother. I've even been thinking of writing my parents by hand. I wonder if that will make things easier for them. Maybe it will be more real for them.

I did a hot spot last night when I really shouldn't have, but I think I managed to push through to the other side somewhere in the middle of my number. It was an interesting night all around, and I don't have it all pieced together yet. And that's making me a little nervous, but I've discovered that almost everything has some sort of effect on me. I cannot remember a time when I wasn't anxious or nervous, generally speaking.

I'm not wearing pants. And this is fine.

I'm trying to be positive about my life and find reasons for things. I need a way to deal with it. I need more single friends. Or I need to start asking my friends to do things without feeling guilty or like I'm wasting their time. I've slowly begun to do this, but I don't have too much luck because almost everyone I'm close with is seeing someone and spending most of their time with that person. It's insanely difficult for me to make new friends. I mean, I can be friendly with anyone, but it takes a lot for me to feel a connection with someone. I think there's something about trust involved. And maybe I need to know that the other person can understand me without my having said a word.

There are people that used to be a big part of my life that I still see, and I see some of them pretty regularly, but I don't feel really connected to them anymore. One of those connections has been slowly fading over the course of a year, while another seemed to vanish almost instantaneously. I think I'd feel better not seeing them anymore because when I do, I am reminded that my memories are real, and I start feeling happy for a minute. But that goes away pretty quickly because all I end up thinking about is how those feelings just don't exist for me anymore. Out of sight, out of mind, I suppose.

And now I'm worried about losing people before I even have them. And I hate being timid. I hate feeling this out of control.
Someone asked me this question the other day: "Are you sad?"
I didn't even think about my answer. It just came out. "Usually."

It's not like I'm in a raging depression all the time, but that does happen occasionally. I'm just sad. And it won't go away.

I keep going back and forth on this. I want to believe that everything's going to turn out okay if I just keep moving forward. And the more that I believe that I am not even in control of this, the worse I feel about myself.

I just heard fireworks outside. That reminds me that the fourth of July is coming soon. I don't know what I'm going to do. I may not be able to do it this time. I'll be alone thinking about it, most likely, and I won't have anyone to distract me because I'm sure everyone's going to be all coupled up. Maybe I can try to sleep through the whole thing. Sometimes I wish I could have normal holidays again. Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. I haven't had a real Thanksgiving with my family since just after turning 16. I am starting to forget what that even means. I've spent most of my recent Christmases traveling about three hours to the prison, staying for 12, and then traveling three hours back. And I am thankful for the time I do get to spend with my family, for the most part, but sometimes I want things back. And I'll never be able to have them again. I have never figured out how to deal with loss appropriately. I react the same way whether I lose an object or a human being. And that really sucks when all I want is my damn fire extinguisher pin.

I really tried to start writing something positive. I've been writing a lot lately. Most of it seems very whiny, and that usually annoys the shit out of me, so I can imagine how everyone else must feel about this crap. I do apologize. But maybe this will help.

It passes the time, and it gives my hands something to do.

I think I'm going to look at apartments on Craigslist and give myself something to look forward to if I can manage to find a fucking job. I'm serious in that if I don't find one soon, I'm going to have to leave.

Yet More Gender Shit

I'm a transman with a very low tolerance for people within the community who feel that, in order to affirm their trans identity and represent it to the rest of the community, they must rely on binary stereotypes. I do enjoy a great many stereotypically masculine things, but I also do some very stereotypically feminine things, and those things are just as much a part of me as the others, and I am not ashamed of them. I'm trying the best I can to prove to those around me that these things we call masculine or feminine are just attributes that cannot be partitioned objectively. My "feminine" attributes are included in my own personal definition of masculinity. From a lifetime of experience, I feel that my essence is masculine, and anything that comes from it, regardless of how society may label it, is rooted in my internal sense of masculinity. I do not need to reaffirm my masculinity by using external definitions to shape my behavior, and I do not need to represent it to the rest of the world in stereotypical ways.

Another person may describe hir internal essence as feminine, a mixture of the two, neither of the two, etc. To me, it's the same sort of issue I have with arguing that they are still men's clothes when a woman is wearing them.

My head seems to be all over the place tonight, but I have to say this as well: I know what it is like to not feel masculine. There are times when situations arise to disconnect me from my internal masculinity, and this masculinity is NOT replaced by femininity. It is an emptiness. A feeling of nothingness. Femininity is not the absence of masculinity, and again, this is known from the inside, not the outside.

I've been ranting about gender a lot lately, and I'm glad. I was having a lot of doubts about feeling disconnected from some of my friends because of the way I view my own gender, but when I opened up, I found that there are many more friends of mine who actually share similar ideas about what role labels play in how a person is represented in the community.

Shifting gears just a tad...

I don't think that I believe that I should have been born male. (I'm still working on this one.) I don't generally believe in the phrase because things either happen or they don't. Oddly enough, that's one situation where the binary thing kind of works. Perhaps the only things that "should have" happened are the things that DO end up happening.
I was born in a female body. And perhaps there were things already in me at the time of my birth that would lead me to discover this trans identity of mine. I think this is the body that I was meant to have, and I think I was meant to make this decision to change it. If I want to use the same old terms, my body and mind didn't line up, but I see nothing wrong with that, just as I see nothing wrong with making the decision to align them. Believing that there is something inherently wrong with being a man born in a female body seems insulting to those who do not choose physical transition. For me, I knew it was wrong to stay. For me.

I'm going to have to develop this further. I have so much to say about this because of a few recent conversations that have really helped me get closer to a person who is remarkably like me, as I've been privileged enough to discover over the last several months.

I don't know if I need to say something else tonight. Today. I mean, it is almost six in the morning. If I do, maybe it should go in another post.

Body Developments

I caught myself looking at my hands earlier today. I saw the veins that weren't visible just over a year ago, unless I had just finished working out. Now, they're always there, and I feel like new little branches find a way to surface every now and then. I remember literally feeling the expansion of my vascular system during the first few months. It feels like a tiny pop in your arm, with a little bit of a slap in there. You feel like you just missed rupturing something. I keep wondering if anyone else knows what I mean.

I've said it before, but it's extremely difficult to remember what it was like to have a different body. I can see pictures of what I used to look like, but I can't FEEL it anymore. And that is very strange to me because I am very, very good at feeling things when given any sort of stimulus. When I sit here and look at my arm, I can't replace what I see with what used to be there. It just feels like it's always been that way. I see pictures and wonder how I could have ever been that small or how my hips and ass could have been so big. I never felt small. And, for a female, I definitely wasn't. I mean, I was small in certain ways, but I think you all know what I mean. I can only attribute this to the fact that I tried to ignore my body for so long. I avoided being alone with it and wanted to separate myself from it any way that I could. I would cover up the parts that bothered me the most.

Just now, for the first time in over a year, I caught a memory of what it felt like for about 0.5 seconds. And then it was gone. I was standing in my underwear, looking at myself in the mirror. I turned around. I wanted to cry. I was disgusted by the lower half of my body. Nothing I could do was going to change what was there or make my clothes fit better or make me feel happy. The only thing that made it better was to cover those parts and forget about them. To have the lights off during sex so I didn't have to think about what the other person was seeing--didn't have to think about what I was seeing. I would try on clothes in dressing rooms, thinking they'd be awesome, but I'd leave with nothing except the urge to cry again because I was there with nothing but those bright lights and a mirror to show me nothing but the truth.

The most ridiculous part of this to me is that I know that people found me to be an attractive woman. And I can understand why looking back at these photographs. But at the time, I just couldn't get it, being immersed in a body that I really wasn't that happy with. There were things about it that made me happy, and those were the things that I had managed to change or was fortunate enough to have been born with. I have very broad shoulders and a great back. I've always had these attributes, and it made it almost okay for me to look at the upper half of my body. My chest has been hidden behind this little bit of breast tissue for a while now. I wish I could know what it will look like. I still look in the mirror sometimes and feel terrible about it. I'm getting more comfortable, though. I can walk around the house without a shirt on sometimes, but that is still a little tough. I think people might find that surprising considering how naked I get during some of my performances. Yes, I am more comfortable with my body than I have ever been, but I have a long way to go. It's not a bad thing. It's just where I am at, and I know that I will get there. I was terrified about the gold booty shorts. I would NEVER have worn something like that as a woman. I would have tried to cover as much of my lower body as possible. I would have felt fat and disgusting. And I hadn't tried anything like that at all in several years, and I was worried that wearing them would make me feel all of those terrible things again. But it didn't. And looking at the pictures, I know that they looked great. I'm proud of myself for being able to do that.

It's now light outside. But my mind wants to keep going. I think I'm starting to get better because I'm really starting to think again. I just need to be careful not to push things too soon.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Why We Do

Whenever anyone asked him "why?", my dad had a habit of responding with "why not?"
He may or may not realize how profoundly a statement like that can affect someone's life. It's a question I learned to ask in almost every situation I encountered, and I've gotten my share of looks over the years because I frequently do and say things that make absolutely no sense to other people. "Why not?" is not an apathetic response uttered because the speaker couldn't think of anything more clever to say to a potentially offensive question. Rather, it's an assertion of the idea that certain dichotomies like right/wrong, appropriate/inappropriate, masculine/feminine are ultimately arbitrary and subject to interpretation. In looking at the same situation, the two questions can be posed simultaneously. The key to making the best of a confrontation like this is simply (notice how I didn't say "easily") to understand what makes one person say "why?" while the other says "why not?"

Drag--or gender performance, I should say--is a subject that often enters into my first encounters with fans and friends-to-be. Many of my trans brothers and I are asked why we are not drag queens because drag is "supposed to" be dressing up as someone of the "opposite" gender. Some more traditional performers continue to criticize us for "cheating" with the use of hormones and surgery. But "why not?" is the response, explicitly a question itself highlighting the pure absurdity of the original interrogative, that seems to make my conversational counterparts pause, at least for a moment...

"You're a girl. Why would you want to play hockey?"
"You're a boy. Why would you want to wear a dress?"
"You're a butch. Why would you want to wear a dress?"
"You're a transman. Why would you want to do drag as a boy?"

Those who ask why we perform our chosen personae fall into the trap of using heteronormative assumptions to define a community of performers whose mission has always been to challenge those assumptions. All of the sentences above begin by affixing a label to the myriad factors, situations, and attributes that have interacted to develop the complex human being standing before you in the present moment. We are not--nobody is--as simple as the label you may want to attach to them.
We perform to tell the stories of our experiences, to make you keep questioning the boundaries between what is "real" and what is not, to introduce another small slice of the world to the idea that any BODY can be the vessel for any story, that any person has just as much right to that stage as the next...Just like any person has the right to love whomever s/he wants, just like any person has the right to be masculine, feminine, something in between, or neither one at all, whether on stage or off.
We take these challenges to the stage, sometimes making you laugh and sometimes making you cry. We keep putting ourselves out there, and everyone in the community knows our names. We take on the burden of showing you the truth as we and those we represent see it, regardless of its beauty or ugliness. We are the the most vituperated of villains among those who transgress gender barriers. Misplaced masculinity and its feminine counterpart are cited as reasons for physical and verbal assault, rape, and murder. We fight this battle every day, whether we are in transition or not, whether we are on the stage that day or not, because we believe that everyone-- from the straight guy down the road who loves romantic comedies to the over-the-top-fierce drag queen walking home alone on a Saturday night--deserves complete and total liberation in terms of gender expression.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Head. Ow. Sick. Fuck.

These are the times I realize how alone I really am. You can say all you want about having close friends and people that care about you, etc. But most of you aren't in this position at all. Most of you are sleeping next to someone who cares about you more than anyone else in the world. What do I mean by times like these?
The times when I'm sick like this and just want someone to be with me through it all. The times when I can't sleep and just want to hold or be held and talk to someone. I know this must be getting old because even I have trouble not being able to get past feeling like this. I keep wondering if there's something genuinely wrong with me or if maybe I'm just supposed to feel like this.
My head really hurts. The pressure is so bad that my eyes keep watering. I'm sitting here in nothing but my gym shorts, but I'm dripping sweat all over and sticking to everything. My ears feel funny too, and I have to keep stopping because reading hurts.

I keep getting the feeling like I want to try something with someone soon (and no there is no particular person in mind), but it's almost impossible for me to feel that way about anyone else right now. I may get transient crushes or feel like I really have something in common with a certain person. But I always worry about fucking things up or just being too fucked up. And then there are times where I have completely normal reasons for not wanting to attempt relationships with people. But sometimes the reasons get a tad mixed up, and I always end up feeling like it's my fault.

I don't want to just get by anymore, but there's no way for me to fix that now. I keep wondering if I made a mistake.

For as confident as I have become in the last few years, I am still one of the most insecure people I've ever known. I feel like if people really knew who I am, they'd run away instead of try to chase after me.

People who are very obviously flirtatious make me really uncomfortable, and I have no idea how to respond appropriately. People say that I flirt with people all the time, but there are very few occasions when I consciously attempt such a thing. I just try to talk to people the way they want to be talked to. And if I am saying or doing something flirtatious, it's usually so extreme that I can't take it seriously, even if other people do.

No matter what I say at any other time, I will say it here again. I can't be with another person right now, no matter how much it hurts to be by myself. I'm worried that that won't change, but I also worry about rushing into something because I want so desperately to be out of this situation.

I'm getting dizzy. Time for more juice and sleep. Ugh.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

For the Book, Perhaps

I meant everything I said last night. I never really felt sexy until I got to be Dylan for the first time. I mean, I know that other people may have perceived me as such at various times in my life as a female, and I was aware of that. But I couldn't feel it. That was a very external kind of sexiness that didn't really belong to me, and it always felt like coming out from under water when it was finally time to take it off. I'm not the first person to say it, but drag was my gateway drug. It was when I realized that my drag persona felt more real to me than the person I was trying to be in real life that I knew something big was on the horizon. Drag wasn't so much about doing as it was being for me.
It wasn't an instantaneous realization. And it wasn't an entirely pleasant experience. Dylan had to be yanked out of me, and there was a time when I fought back with all I had just to keep him inside. I was terrified of losing everyone and everything. I was terrified of being a freak. So I slid myself into genderqueer, attempting to believe that I could fluctuate between man and woman as I saw fit, but each time I gravitated toward the masculine end of the spectrum, I was better able to see the emptiness of the person that existed on the other side. The thoughts kept coming back, and I would just cry as I watched video after video on YouTube and began to realize that this was REAL. I opened the book signed by Scott Turner Schofield, made out to a straight tomboy named Elise, and let the tears come crashing down onto the pages. I sat on my bed for a long time staring at the graffiti my girlfriend and I had painted on the wall, words uttered by an estranged drumline instructor named Will: "Nothing worth having is ever easy."

It would still be months before I could bring myself to say the words. But they were there. And I could feel them rising from deep down inside, rising into my throat and getting stuck there. When they and I (and he) finally came out, she told me that she knew this day would come. I think we all did.

Mr. Pittsburgh Pride 2011

Mr. Pittsburgh is over, and while I didn't win, I pretty much did everything the way I wanted to do it, minus a few dance moves I wasn't exactly comfortable with. I mean, if the worst things you can say about me involve my underwear showing when I kick my legs over my head and that pink paint was peeling off my ghetto-ass spraypainted shoes, then I'd say I'm doing just fine. I just wish I were better at speaking. One judge seemed to think I was particularly terrible at it, but I knew that part was really going to get me, and I know what I need to fix for next year. I'm a bit sad that I won't get to do this outside like I wanted to, but I'm still really happy for Britton and Skyler. And that's about as far as I've processed things. The old me would have been quite upset about not winning and probably would have taken it personally. But I can tell that I have grown as a person and as a performer because of my reaction to all of this. Quite a few random people came up to me last night, saying things like, "You should have won." The only thing that I could respond with at the time was "I'm still happy, and things happened the way they needed to. And that's what I really wanted from tonight." I proved to myself that I don't need a crown to feel validated as a performer--that I can be confident, even when I'm absolutely terrified.
When I saw the look on his face after the contest, I knew I had done it right. He's helped me so much through all of this, and that includes dealing with my random bullshit moments of panic and trying to convince me not to quit when something wasn't going the way I planned. And I will let you know that he wasn't lying when he said he felt like he was going to cry. And when I looked in his eyes and saw how genuinely proud he was of me, I felt the tears coming too.

I paused to look at the pouring rain, and I am somehow at a loss for words. I guess that's another thing. Even though I think I could have done much better with the question (I did write my answer in JJ's apartment just hours before, after all), I couldn't have been happier with the way I handled it. I could tell it was going to be difficult because the crowd didn't seem very interested in serious things, especially that late into the evening. But I didn't stutter or stumble. And I really didn't even use that cheat sheet. I'm proud of myself for actually going through with this. Every time I step outside of my comfort zone, it gets easier and easier. I can't wait to see where I am at this point next year.

As much fun as the whole experience has been, I'm really glad the competition is over. It was intensely stressful, and whether I was actively preparing for it or not, it was the only thing on which I could focus, and that was definitely starting to get to me. I didn't enjoy feeling like I wasn't going to be prepared enough, like my costumes were going to be too ordinary in comparison to my friends', like I was just going to look like I didn't belong up there. But I think I proved myself wrong in a lot of ways, and I was approaching the point where I absolutely needed something to make me realize what I have to offer and why people enjoy watching me perform. I'm still wondering what comes next. Should I keep trying this competition thing? Part of me wants to say yes because I know it would motivate me to step it up even more, but this shit costs a lot of money that I don't have. (I'm kicking myself for not splurging on those damned pink shoes.) And as much fun as bragging rights are, I enjoy entertaining people more than I do winning. I know I'm not the only one who appreciates that, and I am starting to think that my energy would be much more beneficial to the community if directed toward creating a scene for younger performers. There's something about helping other people discover things they didn't know they had in them that's incredibly rewarding. And I know how great it feels to be on the receiving end of that.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I need to make a list of things to do today in order to get it all done without wanting to punch walls. I mean, that was yesterday.

I need to shower and shave, more than just my face.
I need to remove extraneous glue from clothing and seal some beads.
I need to find my green tie.
I need to work out a little.
I need to make yet another set of lists of all the items I need for tonight.
I need to pack my drag suitcase.
I need to try to get this song on my iPod.
I need to go tanning and get a haircut.
I need to eat one last time before the pretty pretty princess diet begins (P3, for short).
I need to find a quiet place and write something out.
I need to mail these two fucking letters that I've been trying to get rid of for two weeks now.
I need to meet JJ at Cattivo.

"It's just drag. Life goes on."

Moving On

And when you leave that place, it will finally all be gone.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Call the Zoo

At some point, I told myself that I would start writing here more frequently again.
But I might have been drunk.
I don't think I've ever actually written anything while intoxicated, though I managed to pump out a good chunk of a nine-page letter before succumbing to the effects of a massive dose of some serious cough syrup. EPIC cough syrup.
I didn't intend to get drunk last night. It just sort of happened, and I know I did some really stupid shit on facebook and private messaged several people. Then I ate some toast, and the next thing I remember is waking up in my bed with all of my clothes on, drenched in sweat and smelling like a gay bar. What a lovely start to my day, don't you think?
I don't know why I felt off today. Little things just bother me more when I get this way. For example, people getting sidetracked often upsets me when there is clearly something that needs to be done. I tend to get anxious and easily frustrated.

Mr. Pittsburgh is next weekend, and I'm extremely worried about it. I don't really enjoy competing against my friends, for one thing, and that has more to do with the fact that I'm actually ridiculously competitive, and I can be a monumental douchebag. More than anything, I am discovering how limited my resources are and what that means for me. No matter how talented I am, I'm definitely not going to look the best. Things aren't going to be extravagant and over-the-top. I'm just going to do what I know how to do. And I'm starting to doubt myself and worry that that just won't be enough. I keep trying to answer the question of why I deserve this just as much or more than anyone else, and it's getting really difficult. I'm generally a pompous asshole, but I get in these annoying little ruts where I lack any self-confidence. I remember having this same sort of crisis right before helping out a friend with her own pageant. When I was facing the prospect of competing against one of my best friends earlier this year, I started feeling the same way. I know that I do. I know that I don't need expensive shit or fancy props to win. I know that I can carry myself to a victory even if I'm butt-ass naked, which I'm sure would make some people happy, at least. But there's that weird space of difference between knowing something and feeling it in which I'm finding myself. I feel stuck. I've felt stuck--in so many aspects of my life--for several months now, and I want to believe that the nice weather will turn things around for me.
I'm going on an unintentional diet for the next few weeks. It's reminiscent of the poor-kid diet I went through in October. I'm still a little freaked out by those pictures. Anyway, I had to spend at least a little bit trying to get things for this contest, and that tanked my already meager bank account. I have $1.16 to my name right now, and I don't have much food left in the house, and I feel like a jerk eating other people's stuff, so I eat my packets of tuna and have some cheerios. And I drink water. It's not like I'm terribly unhappy with it. I'm eating healthy things, but I never feel like I'm satisfied. I am always wanting more, but I know there is none. And that's depressing. I'm getting paranoid about not finding a job. I think that will be my biggest project tomorrow, other than heading to the bank to see how they will deal with a check that's made out to Dylan and not to Elise.

I got a letter from my brother today. I didn't really know how to respond to it. It's not an angry letter. He took his time with this one and really thought about what he wanted to say. I can understand exactly why he feels the way he does and the processes he used to rationalize his beliefs. But it just made me...sad. How can he expect to ever be close to me again? As much as I do cherish my past and everything in it, clinging to it in the way that he envisions would annihilate the possibility of ever becoming close to the person that I am now and will be in the future. I do not exist apart from my past. I have in no way attempted to erase the person I had been for 21 years. I still can look at those pictures and say, "This is me."
I want to be able to explain that those memories are not invalid, though my experience of them was much different. Being a little girl wasn't fun for me. It wasn't cute. It wasn't something I cherished or wanted. It was something that I wanted to ignore at the time. It was something that was there just as a word and nothing more. The word was nothing to me until it became a prison, until I couldn't ignore it any longer. Until I had to fight to be seen for who I am. When I look at those pictures, I don't see a little girl. I see me. Looking back, it's easy for me to recognize that I really have always been a boy, not because of what I was wearing or what sports I was playing, but because of how I felt inside and how I related to other people growing up. I always wanted to be in that role and be treated like the others, and I would kick and scream about how I wasn't, and I had NO IDEA why. I just don't think I'll be able to convince him that he's always had a little brother, really.
He's having a problem because these words aren't just words to him. They represent enormous constructs around which his entire life was based growing up. Changing them, in his mind, would mean having to alter the past--alter what he sees as the absolute truth of the universe. The past cannot be changed, and attempting to change it is living a lie. I can understand this logic perfectly, and perhaps this is why it is not a problem at all when people say she/Elise when referring to the version of me that existed prior to my transition. But there is more than the past. The present is NOT the same, and the future won't be either. But that's not going to negate what has already existed. He has attached our relationship directly to the words used to describe the relationship. Can I blame him? How many people today can really even begin to separate language from thought? In order for him to understand and accept the person that I am now, he's going to have to detach all of these aspects of our relationship from those words and transfer them to new ones, and I wonder what that will take for him.
I can't separate the pain from those words. So I guess I can understand a little bit of what he's feeling. I am not okay with being disrespected by people whom I've told why it's so important to me, and I don't think that I should have to be as a compromise. This isn't a compromise about terms used. It's a compromise of myself, if I choose to make it.

So I was feeling kind of shitty and off today, and maybe that's a little bit about why. I thought I would have stopped feeling overwhelmed after graduation. The fact that I have not has contributed to my overall state of unhappiness because it makes me believe that I will never stop feeling this way. I'll never be a calm person. I'll never just be content and easy-going. And that sucks. Again and again, I say it. We can't be anything more than what we are.

Transition made it possible for me to start dealing with all of the other shit that's been buried inside of me for the past 22 years. Everything else was being masked by the fact that I absolutely needed to do this in order to move forward in my life. It was do or die for me, really. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't think. But now I'm starting to actually face some of the shit that I should have confronted a long time ago. I'm not in a good place with it right now. I feel like that mountain of shit is just too much for me. I can't see to the other side. I feel like I may never be able to get past some of these things now that they are in the open. And I wish I could talk to my family about it. I wish I could talk to them about so many of the things that I am going through right now, but I am so afraid that they will think that the transition has caused these problems. I know it hasn't. I know it hasn't because these problems have always been there. I can't hide from them anymore because of my transition. And while that does suck for me in some ways, it's probably a good thing. I wish I could FEEL like it is.

It's hard to even remember what it felt like to be in "another body". This is my body, and it feels like it's always been this way. I don't feel like my face has changed. I think I've always seen myself this way, regardless of what other people saw. That's why it is so easy to accept the physical changes as they come. That is why it is exciting. You'll have moments of seeing yourself as being different now and you realize that you really are physically becoming what you have always known yourself to be internally. I'm trying to think about what I used to look like. I'm thinking about my legs and how I looked at them with disgust. I thought they looked fat and gross, and I never wanted anyone to see them. I would look at my chest in the mirror and look at my hips, seeing this fat that didn't belong there, and no matter what I did, it was never going to go away. I would smile, and it would just seem awkward. I couldn't look at myself and be confident. I'd have my good days, of course. But I wouldn't be able to take my shirt off in bed. Sometimes I wouldn't take any of my clothes off, and when I did, I always had to put them right back on. I couldn't stand being in that body. I couldn't stand someone else touching that body. I wanted to hide it, even from myself. And my voice...I couldn't even stand listening to it when people played it back for me. When I spoke, I would hear a much deeper and smoother voice, but whenever I found myself listening to a recording, I wanted to cry. I couldn't believe that that squeaky-ass nasal sound came out of me.

My train of thought just crashed. I think it hit another train. And now there are dying thought children. And they are on fire...Sometimes, I worry about myself...

I don't know if I would like it to stay this quiet or for it to get really loud right about now. I'm getting uncomfortable. My stomach is starting to bother me. I wonder if someone is here.

"The further you go, the less you know."

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Love and Graduation

I actually couldn't wait until I could sit at a computer with a proper space bar, but I'm getting quite used to pressing this little circle when I need to separate my words. It's funny what we can get used to, what we let ourselves get used to. For the past several months, I let myself fall into trap after trap in both the beginnings and endings of relationships. I've said it before, and it's not going to surprise anyone that I've had difficulty being single because I haven't been alone for this long since I was fourteen. And things were very different then.

I don't miss going out on dates. I have plenty of people that want to go places and do things with me, and I mean, I've also got plenty of people who want to fuck me. But that's not what I want or need from someone at this point. Maybe this is what the older folks refer to as wanting to "settle down", but what I miss most is having someone with whom I can be absolutely...ordinary.

I miss the warmth of the body that hits the snooze button just to spend five more minutes wrapped in my arms, the piles of clothes here and there that remind me that this space is not yours or mine but ours, the other toothbrush, going to the grocery store, sitting on the couch in my shorts and being content to never move again because everything I need is just right there with this other person.

I miss being loved more than everyone else. I miss being able to give that to someone else too. I miss the secrets. I miss the games. I miss being able to come home to something. I miss having that someone waiting.

And I worry now that I am too broken for anything to ever work again. Time after time, I've had thoughts that I'm just not cut out to be in a relationship. It seems silly when you look at all of the asshats that end up falling in love, getting married, and spawning more little asshats. But maybe my understanding of love is different from theirs. Perhaps it's a really strange understanding. Statistically, I should be able to find another person who shares that understanding. But what if I don't even LIKE them?

What I'm doing now isn't working. I need to know where I stand with him. I don't think we feel the same way. And that's fine. I just need to know what this even IS. I don't do well with my feelings if I can't categorize them in some way. In order to respond appropriately, I need to know exactly what my relationship to this person is. It's formulaic, yes. But this is pretty much the only way I can function.

Maybe I'm stupid for even getting myself into this. For someone who has struggled with his body his entire life (you can't be surprised by this, really) to enter into a sexual relationship with someone who has a physical aversion to even touching certain parts of him, he must be a fucking desperate idiot, right? But I like him. And I thought that would be enough. But seeing that look on his face makes me want to cry. It makes me want to stop everything and forget I even wanted something for myself. It makes me so aware of what I am and what I am not. Of what I can and will never be.

I feel shame and need to cover myself. I need to hide.

Things are different now. Before, we learned how to handle this together. It was new for both of us. Now I'll be forever teaching my partners what it means to make love to this body and this person. But how many of them will really be able to do that? I keep having horrible thoughts about it. Maybe I've created something that no one can ever love. Maybe I've always been unlovable anyway.

And that's the loneliness I'm feeling. I said the other day that I was never sure I was really okay for any considerable length of time. I'm still trying to get over the most recent bought of being brought out of being okay. I was more than okay. And being able to start this transition made me truly happy. But that didn't change how I would react to having my heart broken over and over again in the months to follow. And I haven't fully recovered. You can't weather this kind of storm. I should have learned my lesson from the first time I had pneumonia.

School is over. I'm done. I am officially a college graduate. Now what the hell do I do? I'm most likely going to be getting a full-time job in the next few weeks. That's the start of "real life" for me, I guess. I'm excited. But there's another part of me that thinks things aren't going to change enough for me to be happy. But I know I can't run away or anything like that because that's too much change. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this graduation thing in the weeks to come since I can't appreciate it at this point. Everything still feels the same. It still feels like a summer vacation about to start. But there are things that will never be ever again. And that terrifies me too. I hate losing things. Maybe that's why I hate things to change when I don't want them to. If I want them to, it's like giving something away, not losing it. You still have to prepare for it, but it is much less painful.

I can only be what I am. I've said this a lot recently. It is both liberating and depressing. And that's how I feel these days. Liberated. And depressed.

Words are still coming. But they will have to come out differently soon.