Monday, June 27, 2011


It's not that I'm fighting to stay awake; I'm fighting to stay upright. I will probably lose consciousness if I put my head back down again. I feel uncoordinated and limp. Lethargic is the proper term here, but as always, I'm looking for the reasons behind it. I woke up around two in the afternoon, wandered in the direction of her house to recover my wallet only to find that--because of my inability to rise before most people's workdays were coming to a close--it was already too late to get it that day. I felt a little off at that point, but I decided to try the GLCC after getting a phone call from Lyndsey and taking a few minutes to clear my mind. I suppose I just didn't feel right because I only stayed for about ten minutes. I was lucky to have gotten that transfer from the trolley driver. Otherwise, I would never have been able to get back to Beechview. I turned on the TV and lay down on the couch. No one else was home, and it was really nice to just be there curled up by myself with a cool breeze coming from the other room, even if it was artificial. Something about it seemed nostalgic. It reminded me of a time when I felt like I was in control of many more aspects of my life. Maybe it was peaceful enough to put me back to sleep, and maybe my desire to capture the energy of that moment was enough to make me want to stay asleep. When Lyndsey came home, I literally had to force myself to sit up. My body was trying its best to disobey me. And my whole day has been wasted because of it.
No matter what the reason, my mind always goes back to the same thought: There's something wrong with me. Some people will say that there is, and some will say that there really isn't. I'm not so sure what the right answer is these days. There is merit in believing in both. But I can't live by either one of them alone, which is what I have tried to do for my entire life. I've lived according to the idea that I'm no different than anyone else--that I can do anything and everything and nothing can affect me so much as to prevent me from being a completely functioning and capable human being. And I've lived believing that I'm broken and incompetent and that no amount of help can fix me and that I'll be this way for the rest of my life. And there have been a lot of people who really want me to live in accordance with the latter belief, though they may say the exact opposite. I think that I am learning that there is something wrong with me, and I need to accept this, but I'm also learning that it doesn't matter. The people who really care about me will understand my limits, and they've often been the ones to recognize them before I have. Everyone has limits, and everyone reacts differently when pushed to those limits. I react in a way that is different from most, and it's not normal. And maybe that's what I mean when I say that there is something wrong with me. It's the definition of the external world that gets applied here, and fuck, maybe that's the problem. I've never used the world's words to describe who I am in any other respect, so why should I apply them to this part of myself? Part of myself? I act as if I can separate this little piece from the rest of my soul. I remember doing the same thing before I came out as trans. I believed I could live my life as genderqueer, going back and forth between man and woman, and while this works for some, I couldn't live two separate lives. I couldn't box up the pieces of my identity and put labels on them because I would always end up with some items that didn't belong in either box. And now here I am trying to decide what pieces of me are normal and what pieces are not. Normal for whom? This is the only me that I have ever known. And when I became aware that other people didn't think and act this way or didn't see things this way, it was a pretty overhwelming epiphany of sorts. I'll never know how it feels to not be this way. I think I did once, but I was on some serious drugs. As fucked up as I was, there were moments of clarity when I almost cried because I kept thinking: This is what normal feels like.

This is what normal feels like.

I remember having that same feeling another time, actually. It was very shortly after I started T. I started to feel balanced in a physical sense. But it's not the same. And maybe the drug-induced realization wasn't real. I don't know. I'd like to think what I have is real. Wouldn't we all?

Maybe this is what normal feels like.

I feel like I'm in the eye of the hurricane when it comes to deciding the who and what of my life, and maybe I've been so paralyzed because I recognize the importance of this point in my journey.

Some things are meant to stay in the past. Some people are meant to stay in the past. I do realize my own limits these days, and maybe I overestimate them at times, but I think I have this one right. I am no longer willing to expend unnecessary energy on certain people. My life has no room for this negativity, and I will not engage in this behavior or these conversations any longer. And that should be enough. I will no longer play a part in the destruction of my own self, and I cannot allow anyone else to do the same. End scene.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Various Points

What the fuck am I? And that’s a question that has nothing to do with my gender identity whatsoever. My friend pointed something out to me last night that I probably already knew, but it’s quite different when someone else can say it, has noticed it, and hasn’t been fooled by your trying to hide it. Graduation didn’t alleviate any of my stress or solve my problems. It only magnified them because it terrified me. No longer subject to strict deadlines or specific goals, I’m floundering out here in what most people would consider the “real world”. Not having something around which my life can be structured is really getting me down, and it’s making me much less productive than I’m comfortable admitting. I’ve been looking for external sources to provide me with enough stability to manage my life and the issues associated with it, but he is right in that I really should have an internal source. But I’ve just gone without so many of the things I am used to and “need” that I’m not sure how to get back to the point of having an internal reserve. I’m always fighting to keep my tank above empty, and I do indeed remember times when that wasn’t the case, and it makes me feel like crap to know that I have let myself get to this point. I have let myself become dependent and have sought out relationships in which that is an acceptable form of behavior. I know that I need to be able to survive on my own, but perhaps that isn’t enough. I need to be able to thrive on my own, and that isn’t happening. That’s far from happening. I know I need help, but I am never able to express myself this way when I have to speak to another person, so I feel like I’m never really getting the message across when I talk to my therapist. I want her to know everything, and I know that isn’t possible, and the things that I do pick sometimes aren’t the right ones.
Learning the difference between being aggressive and assertive…
This is tough for me. I used to be a much more aggressive person, and I was very proud of the fact that I believed I was right, would say so in less than tactful ways, and it didn’t matter how anyone else felt about something because as long as I knew I was right, that was all that mattered. Truth was valued above all else, even the people with whom I was closest. I still value the truth. I still value the right thing and doing the best that I can, but I have a different appreciation and respect for the feelings of other human beings these days. But I think that when I realized how my aggressive behavior was affecting the people around me, I shot so far in the other direction—became so passive—that I almost never said what I needed to say. And people began to take advantage of that, and I let them because I thought I was being a nice person. I was irritated when no one listened to me, but why would they? I didn’t have enough confidence in myself to get others to have confidence in me. And I let that go on and on. Over the past two years, I’ve gotten much better at being assertive when I need to be, but I haven’t been perfect, and I know there have been really important times when I have failed, and I have let myself and others down. And people find it hard to trust me because of these mistakes, I assume. I know that I’m getting there. But it’s slow, and it’s painful, and I could use a little feedback every once in a while. But I don’t have that. I don’t have that other person, and it all goes back to the dependency thing now that I think about it. I need not to need that.
It’s hard to drag myself out of bed when I don’t technically have to be anywhere. That seems like it fits more with what I was talking about originally, but I don’t feel like moving it. This is just how things happened, and my writing is going to stay true to that.
I want to write letters. But it’s hard to write them by hand. But I don’t want people to feel bad because I’ve typed them out. I’m not saying that I would do that all the time, but I feel like I can be much more personal this way, paradoxically. I spend less time thinking about the writing of the words when they come out so quickly, and my thoughts just flow better. And it might be easier on the eyes anyway. My handwriting does deteriorate pretty rapidly when I get so far into a letter.
I wonder if my parents are disappointed in me for not going to school any longer. I mean, I probably will do more in the future, but I don’t think that has to be right now, but it seems like everyone else thinks that. I don’t know what my life is going to be. I know I’m going to be letting a lot of people down. What am I now? I’m a stage performer. And I’m broke. I have two degrees in ridiculous disciplines, and I have not been able to use those skills at all in a way that employers would find marketable. I’m not in med school, grad school, or working some snooty academic job.
Should I be?

Monday, June 20, 2011


I've been surprisingly stable throughout certain events of the past week or so that have done a great job of dragging me back into memories that I've been avoiding, whether consciously or not.
I think it started during a group number rehearsal with HMH, and I didn't like what I became during that particular rehearsal. I fell back into not saying anything, and I'm still not sure if I did the right thing or not, but I do feel that there just wasn't room for any more tension in the room at the time. Someone needed to be quiet and calm. I wasn't calm, but I was collected enough to know what needed to be done, and I think things worked out as well as they could have. But I was taken back into a submissive state that made me feel really helpless. I think the way I reacted to it was more upsetting to me. I wanted to stand up for what I thought was right in that situation, but I could only be silent and watch. And that was really frightening. I felt like I was ten years old again, watching my family fight and trying to get up the courage to say something, but maybe I was afraid of having something bad happen if I finally did. That would only make sense.
Then I performed one of the most difficult numbers I've ever attempted on Saturday. It was extremely personal for me, and it really took me back into that space of being tortured as I went through school. That experience very well could have been my reality. I remember my brother and I being beaten and humiliated and threatened every single fucking day. I remember what it felt like to be so fucking alone and depressed that I just wanted to die, and I wasn't even a teenager yet. I never brought a gun to school, but I could have been that person. And that's terrifying. My brother was beaten almost to death by five people on his first day of senior year of high school. They ripped out his insulin pump and left him there to die. And that's the point at which his life started to really change. After years and years of dealing with shit from people, he just couldn't take it anymore. He never really recovered after switching schools, and he stopped caring about himself. And I remember what it felt like to be a new kid in 4th grade, not allowed to sit with the girls because I didn't look like them. And when I wouldn't leave the boys' table, a few of them decided to pick up my chair with me still in it while another took my head and smashed it off the corner of the table. So I would sit by myself at a cubicle-like desk that had been placed off to the side of the lunch tables. And people would still find their way over to mock me and scream inches away from my face. I remember having to be dragged out of the car kicking and screaming, getting stabbed in the face with a pencil, having my shit destroyed, getting ice balls thrown at my face, having to eat in the bathroom to avoid the people who always tried to put things in my food. You can only take so much of people thinking you're retarded or inhuman or an IT before they break you. And I was broken for a really fucking long time. And I know it seems like I am ranting about this for no reason, but I want you to get the idea. I want you to know how it feels to be in that situation, even though you may never fully appreciate its intensity.
I don't think I went a single day without crying. I remember my mom coming back to the car and finding me with an open container of anti-freeze. That was the second closest I have ever been, and I still can't believe it.
I have taken a lot of shit in my life. I have the ability to deal with a lot of shit. But that doesn't make it okay.
I don't know how else to say what I need to say. Tonight bothered me so much because I saw an insanely strong person cry for the first time. I know what it feels like to be pushed to that point--to just not be able to fucking take it anymore. I almost lost it then because I literally felt the same pain, and I didn't expect it, and I almost didn't know what to do with it. Sometimes teasing isn't teasing. And a side comment with even a hint of malice in it can be the one thing that pushes someone over the edge. You have no idea what the fuck is going on in someone else's life at any given moment, which is exactly why you need to be aware of what you are saying and doing. If you want to talk about what it feels like to be in a room full of people and feeling like everyone is laughing at you or hates you or doesn't take you seriously or doesn't even think you have human feelings, then believe me, I know all too well what that is like, in more than one circumstance. And I was taken back there tonight, after just revisiting a lot of my most traumatic past experiences, and I absolutely cannot sit back without saying something, even if it is to an internet audience, even if I am dismissed in person. And I want the whole world to know that I don't think this kind of thing is okay. And it really, REALLY hurts me.
When you can't even have an iota of compassion when seeing someone react like that, I have to question what else you are capable of. I was disgusted. I cannot hide how I feel about this.
I'll give you a relevant and recent example--one of many. I put my heart and soul into the drumline, but no matter what I did, there were always a significant number of people who were never going to appreciate me and who did their best to take shots at me whenever I was out of the room and sometimes even when I was sitting right there. And I was always fighting a losing battle. And I had to go back every day for more of that. But I kept going back because of the few people I really connected with and because I absolutely loved what I was doing musically. And I desperately wanted that connection with other people and had no idea why the fuck they kept shutting me out or what their problem was. The biggest problem seemed to be the confidence I had gained in myself. I would not be quiet about things that were important to me, and I began to voice my rather strong opinions. And we obviously saw how that worked out. (I'm still working on coming to an adult resolution to that situation, and I hope for the best, but there are some ties that will never be able to be repaired, and I am still feeling the pain from that.)
Even if you don't like a person, nobody deserves to be treated like that. We all fuck this up, but when we do and are called on it, we had better feel SOMETHING unselfish in that situation.
I know I'm probably going to get shit for this. People might think it's immature to write about it on the internet, but I think the broader message is really important here, and it's really quite simple. Treat other people like people.

What else?
Never take yourself too seriously.
Move forward.
Act with purpose.
Listen to the e's. (ask if you don't understand)
This is supposed to be FUN.

I need to come back to writing later because I'm getting worked up again. But I am glad I said these things. I am also proud of myself for taking five minutes for myself when I really needed it, and nothing bad happened. I was in control. And that was amazing. In the midst of chaos...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Boring Shit

I finally gained access to my grades from this past semester, and they weren't that great. Actually, they pretty much sucked, and by that I mean I got a few B+'s, an A+, and a D+. I've never done that poorly in school, and I don't give a shit. I graduated with over a 3.8 even with that hideous blemish on my transcript, and now I have two degrees that aren't really doing much for me right now, are they? I also managed to sort out the problem with the reimbursements from the Pitt show, which means I should have a sizable check coming my way next week, which will probably go to pay bills that should have been paid a long time ago, meaning I will still have absolutely no money.
I haven't really had a break from drag in weeks, and I really don't mind. I don't do much otherwise, aside from going to the gym and playing with my band once a week. When I go to practice, I am with my friends, and I feel like I'm doing something productive and being social at the same time. It just sucks when I have to come home and be alone again. Everyone else that was there tonight went to be with someone else afterwards. I'm getting stuck on that sentence--on that thought. I just want to cry. I'm a huge sap. What can I say?
Being by myself hasn't been all bad. It's obvious that I just need that sometimes. But I want to be able to choose it. I don't work well when that's my default. And there is a great bit of difference between being alone and being lonely. And I feel like I am lonely all the time or close to it. And it's not even overwhelming a majority of the time. It's just something that's always there. Just something that makes me sigh a little bit. Knowing that things aren't going to change any time soon isn't helping. Knowing that I don't stand a chance is definitely not helping.
Maybe it's living with other people when I'm alone that I am not good at. I mean, even when I lived with housemates before, I was with someone, and I had that connection. I wasn't really alone. We were together almost every night anyway. It's so weird, but I feel so much less trapped when I'm with another person. I don't know why I choose to keep writing about this because it means that I'm choosing to subject you to it again. I suppose this is just my way of processing, and I feel like the people who actually care enough to read this are the people to whom I need to communicate these thoughts anyway. If other people happen to read it, I'm fine with that. I do have my secrets, but I'm not afraid of the repercussions of revealing myself in this way. And I have been doing a lot better since I've been writing more. But no one wants to talk about it anymore. At the end of the day, I'm in my bed alone. And I wake up alone. And sometimes there's just no motivation to leave. I was supposed to get up early today again, and I didn't. I keep wondering how much of this being alone thing is my fault. I feel like I will know when I can be with someone pretty quickly, and I finally got to that point a few weeks ago (or maybe it actually has been much longer, as one of my friends believes), but now I am kicking myself every time I start letting my mind wander down that path. But I also feel that I'm terrible at hiding my emotions for an extending period of time, and I probably slip up a lot, and everyone notices, and then I look really dumb. But I look dumb a lot of the time, so maybe not.

I cleaned the bathroom today, and I actually felt really good while doing it. Part of it is having some clearly defined task and seeing it through to completion. But I think that reminded me of what it felt like to clean my own bathroom back at Dawson. I felt like I was home again for a little while, and it was extraordinarily calming. I get weird when cleaning because I like knowing that it's okay if I move or touch something that isn't mine. I think I have a really hard time accomplishing a cleaning task when that isn't the case. There is the possibility that I can move to a place that doesn't have any rent, which would mean I would feel much less guilty about my situation, but I fear that I would have the same issues, and this would be living with a person I just met and several people that I don't really know. That's going to take a lot, but I will be meeting them soon and hanging out with them. And it would be in an area that's much closer to everywhere that I need to be at any point in my current life. It's something I have to think about. And I guess I should probably see the place first. Maybe I just need to have control over something in my life. Maybe I just need to make that choice because having that ability would feel great. I don't know. I really don't know what I need right now in terms of a living situation, at least not entirely.

It makes sense. I don't entirely know what I am doing with my life right now. The problem is that I think I need to sort out the other matters before I'll really know that. And I don't know how long that is going to take. I really hope someplace just fucking calls me back about a job already. This is getting to be kind of absurd. I need to find something before the summer is over.

I just started thinking about how fast I was typing. I used to marvel at the way my mom could type. It seemed so fast, and I didn't understand how anyone could do it without looking at the keys. It took me a lot longer to be able to do that confidently, and I still occasionally look down to check myself, even though I probably don't have to. But it was just something that very slowly developed into what it is now--my typing ability. I probably type much faster than my mom at this point. I can generally move pretty quickly, no matter what it is that I'm doing, so that only makes sense.

I need to make some decisions. I hate that.

I don't know how it got to be this late. I'm freaking out about tomorrow because I need to run through a number with someone. I actually need to be awake early tomorrow. I should sleep then, it seems. Sorry this wasn't much of an interesting post. I'll think of something fun for next time.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Not Sure

I'm feeling pretty funny today. The day started off relatively well too, but maybe I should have gotten out of bed when I intended to this morning instead of sleeping until one again. I was late getting to Kat's house, which upset me, and then things weren't going well with the music and I felt like I was being a huge inconvenience because she had to get one of the songs from Amazon. Then we were late getting back to my house, which we weren't even supposed to be at anyway. And practicing in the basement is always weird. A lot of things just weren't lining up today, and I felt like I used up a lot of my reserve making that video earlier this afternoon, which I think went very well. I also started getting worked up trying to explain my plan for our number on Saturday, and I suppose that has something to do with the fact that the subject matter is very personal, and I don't want to make people feel uncomfortable in telling them what to do, etc. Or maybe I was just nervous a little too. I don't know. But now, I'm just feeling kind of down and not really into doing anything. I feel like I fucked up my social interactions for the day, and while I am eager to try to redeem myself, I don't know if I am entirely up for more of it, at least not with certain people, so I'm definitely feeling the pull in different directions.
When I start getting like this, everything begins to bother me. I start worrying about things that I shouldn't. I'm all worried about school and money and getting settled, which is normal, but the way that these thoughts are affecting me right now is getting to be too much. I need to be able to get myself back to a baseline, and again, I'm finding that more and more difficult. I just want to scream and cry and be held right now, but I am outwardly very calm and collected, just sitting up here in my room.
Being alone really isn't good for me right now, but there are very few people I trust to be with me in this state. And I can't really get to them, and I wouldn't want to put anyone through some unnecessary bullshit if something bad were to happen, so it's safer and less potentially harmful for these relationships if I just hide myself away for a little while. I suppose I'm getting used to it, and that may have good aspects and bad aspects.
Maybe I just feel really crammed in down in the basement. That might be a small part of it.
Sigh. Better than saying eh, whatever. Is there a difference?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Parts of Pride

Now that I have a spacebar, I can type ridiculously fast again, though I must say I was getting really good at hitting that little dot exactly in the middle of the two alt keys. You never know when a skill like that could come in handy...

The official festivities for Pittsburgh Pride have come to an end, though I'm still pretty overloaded with drag-related commitments for the remainder of the month. I'll be performing this Saturday, next Thursday and Friday, and July 1st. And for some reason, I decided it would be a good idea to do a hot spot on Friday. I suppose I thought that, even though I am already fucking swamped, not many people were going to jump on that, and although it's going to be a huge pain in the ass, it'll create less drama in the end if I just do it.

I don't know if I have processed everything completely yet. It all happened so quickly, and there was so much work to be done that I really didn't have a lot of time to think about what I was doing while I was actually doing it. And I'm not sure that I have that much time right now either, but I'm a little less overwhelmed than I was about a week ago. The boy band number went very well on stage, and aside from the adjustments I needed to make because of the stickiness of the stage in the beginning, I am extremely happy with how our side improved from the first time to the second. I have a lot of theories about why our side works well togther, and it is a combination of things, and the same is true about the other side. I'm speaking about sides in the number, of course, not in real life, in case anyone gets funny ideas about that. The whole number was well received, and I think we might see a lot of new faces at our next show, which is why I am getting a tad nervous about not knowing how much has been put into that show. I really want to get a jump on things so that we aren't always rushing to get things worked out a week or two before the show. I think that will come in the next few months as we wind down from pride, but it is going to take an initial push that might be unpleasant and exhausting.

It was ridiculous to see my name on that poster (which is now sitting in our living room) and to be on that stage. It wasn't the biggest crowd I've ever had, but it was probably the one that had the potential to be the most critical and least receptive to the idea of a drag king, especially one who identifies as a transman. And I literally saw their minds changing as the number progressed. I saw some heads explode, made some old lesbians blush, and definitely made an impression on Pittsburgh that day. Despite the change of plans and then the change back to the original plan, which probably freaked me out even more since I was already starting to get used to the idea of the first change of plans, I not only did what I needed to do, but did it without fear or hesitation. I don't think I stopped smiling for the rest of the day. Nothing was going to bring me down that day, and it was pretty sweet to have all these random people want to take pictures with you. I felt like a fucking rockstar. Someone came up to me after my performance and told me that I was just born to be an entertainer, and that really meant a lot to me. And I'm not sure where to go with that from here. It deserves more thought than I can give to it in one night.

The rest of Sunday was equally enjoyable. I showered quickly in order to remove random pieces of latex and extraneous patches of paint. Then it was off to Cattivo for food and beer and epic dancing. I'm not entirely sure how it was possible that I puked that night because I was just lying in bed when it hit me out of nowhere, but it does make sense given the amount of alcohol I drank and the rapidity with which it had been consumed. I've spent the last few days trying to get things in my life organized while also practicing for this weekend. I've really enjoyed that. These two days of practice have been some of the least stressful of all, and they've been pretty productive. I really hope we have a good turnout on Saturday because these performances are going to be awesome, and many of them are going to be on a different level than a lot of people are used to. I don't do very serious political things very often, but this is the perfect opportunity for me to use a cathartic drag performance as a political voice. I think, regardless of who you are, you're going to see a side of me that you've never known before. I really urge you to come (and to buy a cheap advance ticket from me!)

I really don't know what comes next. I've been busy living in the present for the last few months. That has both advantages and disadvantages.

I think my train of thought has crashed into a wall.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Three Objects

I was looking through the big green box today--yet another failed attempt at creating organization in my life. Somewhere near the middle of the box was a letter dated July 25, 2009. It's not even two years old yet, but there are a few small holes in the middle of the page where the paper had been folded over, and the edges have already begun to feel soft, like tissue paper.

I read letters like this now and don't understand why they make me want to cry so much. But I don't know if all that I am feeling is sadness. Nostalgia may not be quite right in this situation, but it comes fairly close to representing my feelings on the matter. But the words feel like lies now, and it's almost as if they are mocking me.

This isn't reality. This isn't my life anymore. In reading this, I am reminded of once being able to be something for and with someone, regardless of who that person is, in addition to specific memories triggered by the text. I feel like that specific kind of someone or something or whatever I was capable of being has been beaten out of me. And I don't think any one person is to blame for that. And I'm not entirely sure that there will ever be a way for me to get back to that. But things have been happening lately. In general, they are good things, but I am scared because I know there are a lot of conflicts that could arise. I know I'm not making sense, so I should probably back this up. I'm experiencing my first real crush since breaking up with my ex a little less than a year ago, and that alone has caused me to start feeling happy again--like I'm moving forward in my life. But that's about as far as it'll ever go, and that makes me really sad. I read this letter and get images of myself as being that person again. I can see myself being that comfortable with another person and can feel it happening. And that is both exciting and terrifying.

"I think about what could happen eventually, but I don't worry about What Comes Next. It is so easy to take things as they come with you, and so easy to believe that things will unfold as they should. I don't know what that means either, but it's so comfortable I can't imagine any reason for changing it."

I suppose that still makes sense. I do believe that things happen as they should, but I have a funny way of interpreting the meaning of that word. What does happen is what should have happened: It doesn't make sense to say that something should have happened when it didn't. Because what should have happened, happened.

Comfortable. It's a word I've been thinking a lot about lately. I miss having that as a constant in my life. I have managed to find a few people who just automatically make me feel safe and comfortable. And everything starts to be okay when they are around, even just sitting there in silence. I have met fewer than ten people in my life who have had this effect on me. But even fewer people have ever been the kind of person who is allowed to touch me when my mind has created a very clear barrier to block out the rest of the world. And this is something that is beyond my control. I don't know how it is decided that those three or four people can be allowed in when no one else can even speak to me without my getting more worked up. Their presence relieves tension I don't have access to. The connection is so strong that I can feel it even without touch, and it makes me feel so...happy.

But those kinds of connections can be broken. And letting people in, allowing them to be that for you and experience this with you, means exposing yourself to the pain that may result from a future parting of ways. Those are the most agonizing breakups. Those are the breakups that destroy pieces of your soul--the pieces so intensely connected to pieces of another that the split causes them to shatter. And it takes a long time for the soul to heal from something like that, and it can never be the same when it finally does.

I've been waiting for myself to heal this whole time, somehow believing that I could eventually get certain parts of myself back to the Dylan I was this time last year. I've slowly come to realize that this will never happen. Things are just different now. I am different, and I can never be that person again. I can't make anyone love the old me because that person doesn't exist anymore, and I can no longer shut out the rest of the world while I wait in vain for him to return. What you see now is what you get. I'm starting to expose more of myself to the people I value in my life and devote less time to the people who cause me unnecessary pain and stress. And I'm starting to feel happy and focused again, and I have a suspicion that a few people are actually on to this.

I have another letter here. It's very different, written instead in the summer of 2010. It is not handwritten but typed and considerably longer. I don't know what to think of it yet. I have to try very hard not to insert recent memories into the computations going on in my brain. This processing is definitely going to take a little longer.

Then I found a little green notebook, and when I opened it, it took me back to last July at Harris Grill. I have no idea why these three items were so close to one another and so easy to connect. I don't really know if I feel like thinking about it anymore right now. That's good. What's the past is the past, and while I recognize its importance, it's definitely becoming clear that it's over. I'm not feeling the same things I used to when I read these things now, but I am glad I have them. These records exist so that I may evaluate my own progress. Even this current record will serve the same purpose someday. I think I just get sad when I legitimately forget what it feels like to hold and be held that way. I sometimes do forget what love actually feels like. And maybe that's my brain's way of protecting itself.

I'm tired. Goodnight.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I'm on my way to being pretty fucked up, so I wonder if this will be coherent. After reading a comment on my last post, which was the extra credit assignment I pulled out of my ass at the last minute but ended up really liking when it was done, I started thinking again about where my life is going and how I need to figure that out soon.

There are so many things that I can do with my future, and I'm scared to choose. I wish I didn't have to.

I love cognitive semantics. If I were to pursue an academic career, I would most likely choose that.
I love performing. I could try to get into acting.
I love creating and designing things, so I could go to art school.
I love being physical. I love using my body in so many ways. I could become a personal trainer or an exercise physiologist.
I love making people understand things and allowing them to do things they never thought they could. I could be a teacher.
I could still be a doctor.
I could own my own club.

I've also toyed around with a few other ideas, but those have been the most stable.
Social work?
Public Health?
Police Officer?

I need to choose soon. And that sucks. The longer I stay away from school, the less likely it is that I will ever return. I wonder if I should apply for next year or wait the full two years like I had planned. Maybe I could take a class or two in the meantime.

Wow, I'm really starting to feel fucked up now. Need to get more of this stuff soon.

Other news? I have the first legitimate crush I've had since Kelly. I am insanely happy that I am regaining the ability to feel those things. But it's an awkward crush that really can't play out. I mean, I'd love to be able to explore it, but I don't think that's possible. And it's a baaaad crush. I wrote about it yesterday, and I felt like a fifteen-year-old girl for a little bit lol.

I have a lot more that I wanted to say, but I am losing the ability to keep my eyes open. All according to plan hehe. Will finish when coherent again.

"So...What the Fuck Do You Do?"

In the course of my undergraduate career, I have been asked my major literally hundreds of times, and each time, my response generates surprise mingled with a little bit of confusion. The average person is unlikely to recognize the connection between Neuroscience and Linguistics, but from the very beginning, I’ve been fascinated with how language works, and an integral part of understanding how language works is deciphering how language works in the human brain.
Throughout the course of my undergraduate research career in cognitive neuroscience, I have been attempting to synthesize information in the connectionist model of reading with a more general theory of cognitive semantics. Current models of reading suggest that written text is comparable to other objects in the external world, and perhaps the human brain learns to deal with them in similar ways. For example, Frith proposes several stages through which learners must progress on their way to reading proficiency. In what he terms the logographic stage, word processing has not yet become specialized, and individual words are represented as objects associated with their particular global features, meaning that there will be a high degree of inaccuracy if the font or pattern is altered. This means that a child may not recognize the word bat if it is written as BAT. In my eyes, this is quite similar to the concept of underextension: Children learning how to use their language in relation to objects in the real world often fail to recognize certain objects as belonging to the same class. In the beginning, learning how to read is very much like learning how to name objects appropriately: You need to know that a capital b is just as much a b as a lowercase b, just as you need to know that a poodle is just as much a dog as a cocker spaniel. Knowing the former is crucial to your understanding of the word form presented, and knowing the latter is crucial to your understanding of the concept of dog.
Briefly, the connectionist model of processing written (or spoken) language argues that there is a unified neural network that synthesizes information from phonology, syntax, semantics, etc. using statistical relationships. If we encounter a word, concept, or pattern of letters more frequently, some connections associated with this entity will become stronger for the next set of computations. Though this may seem like a unique way of dealing with language processing, many other mental processes are theorized to work in a similar way, such as object recognition as in the example above. I propose going further with this idea in the future because I believe object recognition is also intimately related to one’s internal language processing. The processes of language and object recognition may be tied together so well that we cannot wholly separate them at this point, however. I also believe that one can interpret the evolution of metaphor in a similar way. In the beginning, a metaphor must be explained and continually explained because the similar concepts that connect the usages are not as well defined, in reality as well as in the human mind. Once the human brain begins to associate the concepts, a connection is strengthened. It is further strengthened by repeated use of the metaphor, perhaps so much so that the original connections needed to sustain the metaphor are no longer needed. In this case, we may have a dead metaphor whose connection to the original usage is no longer apparent. (It is not to say that these processes are conscious. Our brains manipulate this information constantly and quite subtly.)
Inhibition and priming can also be related to the realm of language, though these are most often considered physiological processes that apply to other types of experience. When I understand the concept of go, I am connecting it to motion of some sort, and my brain starts to file through the different types of motion the word can indicate. Trying to define the meaning of the word without its context is rather difficult. However, when we place the word go in a sentence, the other words in the sentence will cause a particular set of neurons to fire, and these activated neurons will activate others that are connected to particular meanings of the word go and silence neurons that are connected to conflicting meanings. In this way, I can come to the conclusion that the meanings of go in I am going crazy and I am going to the store are not the same. However, when I am only presented with the word go and am asked to define it, what will I say? I will most likely give a response that is consistent with the most statistically encountered interpretation of the concept because those would be the strongest connections in my brain. This concept of strengthening connections is actually a very generally applied phenomenon known as long-term potentiation (LTP), and it is an observed phenomenon that is applied to all types of learning scenarios. But I believe that the concept of priming can override the statistically more encountered concept. If I have just finished talking about going crazy, and someone asks me what that word go means, the most recent example will most likely be the one I use to tailor my definition. Those will be the strongest connections in my mind AT THAT MOMENT because they have just been activated, and competing interpretations may still be recovering from some type of inhibition.
From the examples I have given above, it’s probably pretty apparent that I firmly believe in a more cognitive theory of linguistics (and pretty much any type of discipline that can be connected to mental processes). However, I do believe that formal disciplines offer great ways of modeling some of the more complex concepts. Drawing a syntax tree may be able to give us an idea of just one little piece of what information our brains may be using to process linguistic information, for example. But it is not an entirely accurate description of all the nuances of that processing. Chemical formulae are used as shorthand to represent much more complicated (and much less neat) chemical processes that occur in the real world, and perhaps one can think of formal semantics as adopting a kind of shorthand to represent an infinitely complex arrangement of neural processes that the realm of cognitive semantics is beginning to tease apart.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


I hate it when I leave my voice at home. Sometimes it’s really just in my pocket, but my pants are really tight, and I don’t want to embarrass myself by trying to get it out in front of all of these other people, so maybe I’ll just go over there by myself for a little while to make sure. But what happens if I don’t find it over there? I can’t go back. If I go back, they’ll expect me to have found it. What if it’s broken when I do find it? How do I fix it? Do I shake it? Do I send it back? Do I use gorilla tape? Gorilla tape fixes everything. Maybe if I just cover it up with enough gorilla tape, it’ll be okay for a little while. Things will be okay for a little while. I’ve done this a million times before, and now I can get away without using that much tape because I’ve gotten so much smarter about it.

Untitled and Possibly Unfinished

When I wake up in the morning I am poison to myself the bottles on the shelf self-help in a helpless jar empty like I want my head to be dead to me bled for me but the wound pours when I snore I miss going to the store and picking up chips and soda and assorted fruit snacks and toilet paper because you know you always seem to use up what’s left of mine. You always seem to use up what’s left of mine. You always seem to use up what’s left of mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. I don’t mind. No I don’t mind anymore I can snore as loud as I fucking want because there’s no one there to judge me in the night nudge me in the night or remind me to turn off the lights and check my pockets so now I always forget my God damned keys. The books in my bed become the books in my head and I sleep next to them and a pile of my dirty clothes and only I know just how long they’ve been sitting there. And I don’t have to move this and I can just step over that and I don’t have to move this and I can just step over that. I want to have to. I want to have to have to have to do something. Make me. Make me. Make me want to not want you make me because I just want to. I just want to. I just want.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Productively Queer, Queerly Productive

I had an extremely productive day, and I feel very good about myself. I know I need to go to sleep soon, but I don't want this day to end because I fear that I won't have another one like it for a while. I've been spending a lot of time with great people in these past few weeks, and I know that my growing relationships with these friends are the reason that I'm starting to feel happiness again. I'm starting to feel that human connection again, and I'm surprised at how quickly I became 100 percent comfortable. I guess I'm still hesitant to discuss this in detail because I'm afraid I'll screw something up in doing so.
Anyway, rehearsal went very well today. It went a little more the way that I am used to practices going. When you have to learn an entire ten-minute set of music and drill in four days or so, there's very little time for fucking around. Our practices were three to four hours long, and we worked pretty much the whole time. And that's how I'm comfortable when there's something that needs to be done. Interruptions usually agitate me. I mean, I love screwing around as much as the next person, but never for more than a minute or two in what is supposedly a structured rehearsal setting. Hell, I was that weird fuck who could keep going after a twelve-hour practice. I mean, this last summer proved a little different since almost everything in my life was going wrong, and I was on the verge of breaking down every night. But I get really focused and do much better in structured situations.
I'm sure that not everyone I'm working with right now has experienced how intense a rehearsal can get. Emotionally taxing is one thing, but I've been through some pretty physically and mentally painful practices. It's something interesting that I bring to the table. It's a different perspective. But it's good that there is a balance there. Someone like me is likely to go to an extreme that others may not be comfortable with, and working with these different perspectives has been really helpful for me. I need to learn how to do it, and I need to learn that other people have different limits in terms of attention, endurance, etc. But a part of me believes that I know what I'm doing when it comes to creating structure and organizing efficient practices. I'm an orderly and logical person, and this is something that I should use for the benefit of others as well.
I'm starting to step up, and I think that's doing something for my confidence as well. I still get a little irritated when people completely ignore things that I say. I'm not sure if people aren't hearing me, but then someone else always ends up saying the same thing ten minutes later. I shouldn't say that. It happens frequently, and that is frustrating. It does NOT happen all the time. But it feels terrible when it does. I am fine with people disagreeing with me. That's how things get done. But when it is as if I've never spoken, it's hard to feel present in the space anymore. I've noticed that I start to check out if it keeps happening. I've really been trying to make an effort not to do this to other people for the past few years, and my experience with Rainbow has definitely been a help. I've been working with HMH for about 9 months now, and I know that every person in this troupe has something valuable to offer, and I appreciate hearing all these diverse perspectives.
I need to trust that I know what I'm doing.

I think I'll say this to everyone:
The most difficult part of being in any sort of leadership position, officially or not, is finding that balance between being confident in your personal abilities and trusting that others are just as capable, if not more in certain circumstances. That's been difficult for a lot of us in this troupe. Many of us are still figuring this out. We feel that we absolutely know best sometimes and refuse to back down, while at other times, we stay silent and completely doubt ourselves, even if we have something important to contribute. I'm going to be honest because we all deserve that, at least. Monday was an example of what happens when we're all on the more confident end of that spectrum. And a lot of us struggled with going to the extreme of that, finding it more important to say what we had to say rather than coming up with a compromise as a solution. We eventually did, and I'm quite proud of the fact that we got through that. What tends to happen after such an incident is a proportionally extreme shift in the opposite direction. It's happened to us before. We've run into some stressful situations, where it seems like we are all fighting, and many of us have failed to speak up when we really wanted/needed to. But there are some people, in every situation, who don't shift as markedly. And that's something that definitely comes with experience. You learn your own leadership/cooperative style after a while, and you are more comfortable being consistent in how you express your opinions and visions. We are naturally going to come to a greater number of professional disagreements as these different styles develop. We will clash. It is important that we recognize that these are NOT personal disagreements and to also keep your own motives in check. Are you disagreeing with someone because you have a personal issue with that person? If your best buddy in the troupe had said the same thing, would you still be in disagreement? Sorry if this seems random to anyone, but I think it's important for ALL of us to work on that balance because, even though it is a very individualized attribute, a person's particular style of working in a group necessarily must evolve depending on the other styles present in the group. Keep this in mind when we meet in the future, and definitely think about how you worked with the group nine months ago versus how you do now. I'm definitely happy with the way I'm progressing, and I hope you guys are too.
Hopefully that goes well. Again, I have to trust myself.

I think I had some other direction to go in as well, but I don't remember now.

I'm glad that I am writing almost every day again. I feel like so much less is bottled up inside of me, and having people who care to read the things I am trying to relate is helpful. Getting that feedback is helpful.

Oh, I did that robot thing again today. I'm getting less afraid of showing that part of myself to people as well. I'm thinking of taking the tape measurer to the GLCC tomorrow to see how close I was with the room measurement. Haha...tomorrow. It's 6:30AM.

I remember. I remember getting angry after seeing a commercial for a popular sitcom in which the main character is going on a blind date. Now, most shows manipulate the blind date scenario such that the protagonist is paired with some comically unfortunate person. The audience is meant to regard the situation as one big joke being played on the protagonist. In this particular situation, the woman he is paired with happens to be transgender, or at least that is what the writers of this show would like to indicate by allowing a heteronormative male to create a stereotypical caricature of a transwoman as a man in a wig and dress speaking in a falsetto voice. This is fucking disgusting. Seriously. Would people fucking LAUGH at this situation if he were paired with a black woman? A disabled woman? (I hate to say it, but they unfortunately WOULD still laugh if he were paired with a heavy woman too.) I love how popular media still thinks it's okay to make a mockery of the lived experience of another human being. Do you know how fucking TERRIFYING such a scenario would be for a real transwoman? How trans people are affected by the issue of dating all the time? Is there not one person working on this television show for this major broadcasting network who might have seen some recent news about a transwoman being beaten in a restaurant?! Is there seriously not one person there who thinks this is despicably tasteless and completely inappropriate given the temporal proximity of the aforementioned event? Well, America, we have a long way to go. Sigh.

I'm sorry about the profanity, but this is something that gets me ANGRY. There ARE people out there who know better, but they refuse to step in because they want to put something out there for mass consumption. There are probably people working on this show that know better, but they are more worried about making a profit from this television program than anything else. They are making money off of the perpetuation of stereotypes and discrimination faced by our community. And that's just, well, SICK.

I want to live in a world where there's nothing out of the ordinary about that blind date scenario, and I wonder if I'll ever live to see that. I want to live in a world where people like me are not constantly the butt of the joke.

I can't stop thinking about this. But it's a bit of a jump from the previous topic.
I'm very happy that Chaz Bono has gotten media attention because of his transition because he has taken the opportunity to educate the people he does reach. His interview with Letterman was fantastic, for the most part. However, here is the sad truth. If this were a transwoman, the response would most definitely not have been as positive. The major reason that Chaz has been so well accepted is that he looks, sounds, and acts like a heteronormative man. Put a transwoman in that situation whose voice is masculine, who is 6-foot-6, etc. The negative comments would have been far worse and far more numerous. This is an issue that has been driving me crazy since I started this whole process. It hits me harder at certain times than others, but...I HAVE IT EASY. I can walk down the street, and no one would think twice about it. I have the choice to tell people about my history as a female. I have the choice to come out or not. Many, many transwomen never have this choice. And they must ALWAYS be on guard. ALWAYS live in fear. I can't even fucking imagine that, and I have so much respect for my trans sisters that I can't express it. They are the strong ones. They are part of the reason I will never be stealth. I owe it to them. I owe it to them to keep fighting until we can ALL walk safely down our streets.

And with that, I'm going to sleep for a little.