Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sunset in July

I just opened my old journal, which I had found while visiting my parents but haven't had a chance to sit down with until now. It was from when I was twelve years old, and I am pretty amazed at how far I have come in the last ten years. I guess it's that whole growing up thing. My obsessions were pretty apparent, as I referenced them in almost every single entry. My handwriting was even more atrocious than it is now, and I really didn't seem to talk about anything other than facts and very basic statements of the emotions I was feeling. Learning how to turn even those basic feelings into words took me until high school, it seems.

I haven't taken my shot yet, and I was supposed to do that last night. I just completely forgot about it with starting my new job and being mentally prepared to convince people to buy shit, which means being mentally prepared to have conversations for eight hours a day. That's the part that makes me nervous. The other stuff is easy. I actually reorganized the entire stock room today, and my co-worker for the day is pretty sure that our manager is going to piss himself when he sees it. I think they were expecting me to just leave the place a mountain of cardboard boxes and crap thrown wherever it would fit while placing even more items in what little space was available. It was actually easier for me to just overhaul the entire room. Then I could know exactly where everything needed to go.

There are quite a few things building up inside of me right now. I'm at a very strange point of being in between caring and not caring about feeling attacked. I'm naturally pretty combative. When I feel that I am being attacked or that my friends are being attacked, I get intensely protective of them, meaning I will do and say things that exist ordinarily as passing thoughts. I also need to be sure that I'm not feeling attacked because of a combination of small things that have happened over the years. I want to try to separate those instances from the current situation. As I do this, I'm seeing that this in itself really isn't something I should worry about either. People are going to say what they have to say. They're going to say what they need to say in order to find happiness. The human brain is partly so fascinating because of its ability to rationalize irrational thoughts and behaviors so that it can continue functioning properly. It prevents errors from occurring by fudging the numbers. Your brain is 1984, basically. You don't even know what's real anymore, do you? And you might even be clever enough to come up with an argument about what constitutes reality in order to distract yourself from the terrifying possibility that your consciousness is built upon a rather shaky foundation of falsities.

I am angry. I am hurt. I feel a sense of betrayal unlike anything I have known previously...And I've been betrayed more times than I would like to admit. But temperance is the virtue around which I aim to center myself. I will let my anger dissipate. I will express what I need to express. Only then will I be able to forgive. But I honestly may fail this time. And I don't think that's ever happened before. I do not like what you have tried to turn me into. I will not be bitter. I will be free from this sinkhole and all its negativity. There is no blood on my hands. This is my return to purity. I will not run.

Envision my eyes, harboring depths so great that they seem almost black. But they are not cold, even to you. I am fire, while you are ice. I may melt you down, layer by microscopic layer, warming all those around with my presence. But this is always at a cost to myself. I will burn out. And you will be a puddle on the floor. We are elements that have been thrown out of balance, not meant to exist in the same circle in this age.

My sadness for what has been lost is slowly dissipating as well. The happiness of the memories that remain has begun to fill me up again. My brain will remember things as it needs to in order to progress along this journey, as will yours. But I still acknowledge the point at which happiness left this relationship, leaving behind a much more sinister core. And the fight against reality was causing the pain. I'm allowing myself the chance to be real now, and this upsets you. Your words will never bounce off of me but always flow through me, penetrate me. It is a connection I cannot sever, no matter how hard I may try. Even now, I spare your feelings by saying these things alone. You must realize--see it in my deep brown eyes--that I know exactly how to make you hurt from within. This is my last act of unselfishness--that bit of holding back. That not giving in to the anger and pain you have made me (and others) feel.

I am not immature. I am not inadequate. I define my own manhood, as always. I will not be brought down into that again. And I am guilt-free in saying what I must, as are you, obviously. There is no reason to hide these feelings now, and I'm not sure there ever was. My brain and heart have found a way to protect themselves: You're already gone to me. You've been gone. And shortly after I allowed myself to discover that, my life improved. And I began to feel happiness again. Real happiness.

I am real. I am not the source of your ultimate frustration. I am only a target, and I can only hope that that hasn't always been the case. You will need to find a new soul towards which you can project this negativity, if you cannot allow it to simply yet painfully pass through you. Choose wisely.

I don't expect I'll hear from you or see you again, and I'm working on how that makes me feel. I don't think I'm feeling anything either way right now. And I think I'm happy about that. That doesn't make me a terrible person. It just means that all of my feelings, positive and negative, about this entire situation have been exhausted. Now the healing can begin, and the truth will flow freely and unfiltered by such intense emotions.

I can only be a little sad that there are still some truths you (and all of us) are not ready to hear. Give it time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Something Like Home

I've cleaned up most of the drag-vomit nightmare that happened on Friday when we needed to find another outfit for a last-minute second performance. Unfortunately, the portion that covered my bed has yet to be organized. More important things have been happening over the past week. I've only slept in this room one night since coming home on Wednesday evening, and even that was only for a few hours. My back ended up aching madly throughout the next day. I suppose I had gotten that used to the comforts of sleeping in a real bed.

Home is not something to come back to. It's someone to come back to. I always feel my most adventurous when I have a companion. Why didn't I want to leave Pittsburgh just yet? I was going to be alone in a new place, and that was going to be terrifying. It's actually much more complicated than that, but I don't know if I have words for how I feel about eventually leaving the city. I don't think I want to do that just yet, as I've said in the past. I may want to make this place my home for the next several years. It may be my home forever. I'm certainly not even in the financial position to leave. But why in the world would I want to? Everyone is here, at least for now. I can feel what I have done resonating through the city, and though it's a small ripple in the ocean, that makes me feel like I have roots, ties, influence, or whatever you want to call it here. I feel like I am as much a part of the city as it is a part of me. I'm kind of a nobody, and I'm kind of a somebody. And the view is nice. I like going to places where almost everyone knows who I am, even if they don't talk to me. I like that feeling of being surrounded by the people who care about you. Those last two aren't always the same, obviously, but I have both of those things here.

I don't feel the need to run away from anything. Not anymore. In order to be free to wander, I need to have stability. Part of that is establishing this place as my real home. I'm going to get a place here, and I'm going to make it mine. I'm going to have a puppy and nice things. I'm going to write my shopping list on a little piece of paper and hang it on the fridge. I'm going to have my mail sitting in a neat little pile next to my keys on the kitchen table. I'm going to have a couch that's always open. I'm going to have candles. I'm going to have a big boy bed with lots of pillows and some magazines on a nightstand with a clock and a little lamp that gives off just the right amount of light for bedtime reading.

I wanted to write a little more tonight, but I kept getting distracted with that whole actually-living-my-life thing. I suppose I do have a few minutes, though. I feel so sorry for angry people. Anger is normal and healthy, and sometimes it is a very good response to have. But anger as a state of existence must be full of sadness and resentment. It's one of those things I'll never really understand. I can only be angry for a brief period. I found out that that period is a little longer than I had originally thought, but I cannot stay angry. I cannot stay bitter. I can be sad. I can be happy. But I really, really can't be angry. And I like this about me. Sometimes it makes me too nice of a person, though. But I've learned a few lessons about dealing with people.

I'm allowing myself to be a less nice person to those who are less than nice to me. And I'm finding that slightly comforting. I'm not going out of my way to be mean, but I'm also not going out of my way to be nice. I'm freaking out much less in recent weeks, and I know that my decisions have had a lot to do with that.

Speaking of meltdowns or unpleasant reactions to things, I almost had a situation last night. But it was over in probably five minutes or less. I thought I had done something to upset him. I thought for sure he was very hurt by something I had done the night before. I know I ended up face down and stretched out, stiff as a board. But there was silence. He just sat there and waited. He just knew what to do without ever having had this conversation with me. And things were fine. I sat up, put my glasses back on, and slowly looked him in the eye and told him I was fine. It was comparatively...easy. It's amazing how comfortable I've gotten in such a short amount of time. I've been able to do things with him I wasn't able to do with others until several months to a year into the relationship. It's just that easy to be myself. And I still find it hard to believe that I'm having trouble sleeping without him next to me. It just seems like it's the right thing. I've never been able to be this open about myself so quickly. That alone makes me insanely happy.

We played in the park last night. We lay on the ground looking at stars and just talked. I didn't want to be anywhere else. I don't worry about things when I'm with him. Stupid shit just doesn't bother me or stress me out like it usually does or maybe should. I just need to find that balance now because I haven't really gotten a lot of work done since I've been back. I think tomorrow is going to be that day.

I brought back a lot of shit with me from the Valley. There aren't places to put things. And there's still even more crap at my parents' house. I used to have more stuff than this, but then I kept moving around so much that I needed to leave so many things behind each time.

My thoughts are starting to go in different directions, which means I'm almost done. There's crazy lightning happening now. I love storms...except when gunshot-like thunder wakes me up and scares the shit out of me. That happened this afternoon for the first time in my life, and I can now understand why some people don't enjoy storms.


Monday, July 11, 2011

This is Your Forever

Think about that. The next step you are taking. The older you are, the more likely it is that it will be. This is your forever. Remember that when making decisions about your future. End unsolicited advice.

A few days ago, I received an email I had long been awaiting. I didn't get a chance to read it until today, mostly because I've been avoiding my email since it contains a lot of business-related things, and I'm on vacation. The response I got was neither the best nor the worst it could have been, and I appreciate the honesty with which he confronted my seemingly random initial message. There are some points I'm definitely going to address when I find my own right words because I still need to explain a lot of what was going on for me at the time and why I didn't pursue other options. All of those feelings I began to have out of nowhere were not just my imagination. I was sensing something. I knew that there was pain on both sides of this relationship, and I could feel BOTH sides of it. And I knew that the next move had to be mine. I realize now that I skipped a few steps in the beginning, and I could have avoided all of this, potentially. But I also realize that I am where I need to be now. And what happened in the fall needed to happen one way or another, and maybe it needed to happen the exact way that it did, regardless of how ugly or painful. You're never done learning how to be a man. Lesson learned, again. Some wounds do take longer to heal, and that's something I respect more now than ever. It's something I haven't always understood. I don't think I really understood until I had to go through that process myself. I had to be ready to let some people back into my life, and I was still being rather cautious about it. I can only respond and allow the time to pass. I will be ready now. I can only hope that he reaches that point.

I want to say more. I want to pour everything into this and get feedback on what I'm saying, but he deserves more than that now. This is a mostly private matter for the time being. I'm sure when the final resolution occurs I'll have more to say, but for now, you'll have to be curious.

It's almost 8:30 in the morning, and I haven't slept. I was avoiding a situation earlier by wandering around Edwardsville at 2 in the morning. I talked with Jon on the phone until it died sometime after four. I came home and tried to sleep, but that was no use. I can only blame so much of it on the raspberry lemonade and Life Savers. My sleep schedule has been pretty terrible entire life. Maybe I'll figure it out one day.

I got an email about a research technician position at Children's Hospital. I will most likely be doing a phone interview tomorrow or the next day. I'm scared that this will indeed be my forever because what if it's not what I want? I am interested in doing the work, yes. And I do need a job. But what if it IS my forever? Forever is just a concept that seems so permanent and terrifying. It's so terrifying that I can barely move in any direction these days. I'm being pulled in so many that I'm just staying still.

I'm trying to regain a friend--a person I once considered family and still do in many ways. And I'm also coming to the realization that I've lost a friend, probably forever. Some people do leave your life as quickly as they came, and it is true that I will never be the same because of this person, both directly and indirectly. And I'm mostly okay with that, at least in this case. It does suck, and I wish it didn't have to work out this way, but again, when something causes you more pain and frustration than happiness, you have to ask yourself if it's worth it anymore. And I didn't feel that it was. I might be wrong. I'm always open to that idea. I'm still a pretty stubborn asshole. I mean, I operate under the assumption that I am right. I think we all do.

In reading this email, I realize how much the last year has changed me, socially. I do feel like the shy, awkward person he was referencing was a completely different person. Because that person wasn't all that real. And I think that was the point. No one could get to that. I couldn't even get to that. I'm still somewhat shy (but not in the ways that he was referencing), and I'm terribly awkward, although that's more of a fun game to play with my nerdiness than anything. But I feel that most people would say that I love to have all eyes on me when I'm doing my thing, whatever that thing may be. I used to freeze a lot. A lot lot. That never happens when I perform now. Never.

My life is different. I'm still not normal. I can never be normal, for various reasons, and I'm okay with that. My abnormality may prevent me from ever being able to drive a car (or it may not...I've just been too terrified of finding out that that is the case to do anything about it), from holding down the kind of job I want, etc, etc. I was never meant to be normal. Maybe people expected that I'd be a "normal" guy when I decided to transition. I didn't meet people's expectations. Maybe people thought all of my problems would go away and I'd be easier to deal with, but the first thing they tell you when you go in for hormones is that this isn't going to cure you of the issues you may or may not be dealing with. Everything else is still going to be there. I was still depressed. I was still trying to figure out how to deal with society (and still am). Maybe that's something I need to explain better. Maybe that's one for the book too.

I wonder if I was hoping that someone would say something. I skipped topics a bit on this one, but I know what I mean, and that's all that matters. I kept going. I kept waiting for a phone call that never happened or a meeting that never happened. And no one came to me. I figured all was lost. Miscommunication perhaps? I've learned over the last several months of being involved in HMH that miscommunication can cause irreparable damage. I don't want that to be the story of my life anymore because I have a long history of issues with that particular area. I'm not blaming myself for all of them. But I want to be able to handle things in the best way that I can.

It's still hard to deal with the fact that sometimes there just is no right answer.

I still have those fears about being too fucked up for anyone to want to be with me. I need to make sure I don't sabotage this relationship. How do I know if I'm doing it? I'm afraid of so many things. You'd be amazed.

I want to get my football tickets. I want to go to the games. I want to see my line play and not feel like shit about it anymore. I know that I need to keep going with this whole healing process thing. I shouldn't deny myself the thing that I'm so upset about having lost in the first place. I wish I could say that that bit of phrasing was original, but I stole it from a Christmas episode of The Real Ghostbusters. Yes, the nerd inside of me is still alive. Don't let the gold booty shorts fool you.

One of my goals in life is to try not to be evil. I have to work at that sometimes. I will admit that I have mean thoughts about others. We all do. But I monitor them. I analyze them. I need to figure out why I'm thinking what I'm thinking, and I need to plan out an appropriate course of action. There are some cases where this is easy. In other cases, I'm really struggling. There is a little bit of ruthless asshole in me. You can only push me so far before he comes out. And then we're all in trouble. Fortunately, I've only been pushed to this point two or three times in my life. And I don't see that point occurring again any time soon. I feel like I'm slowly losing a grip on what I'm saying.

Almost nine now. I'm sure my mother has already left for work. My father will be working from home today. I'm hidden away in my room, which actually used to be my father's office about fifteen years ago. I remember loving this room because of its location (downstairs next to the garage, quite separate from all the other bedrooms upstairs) and because of the ridiculous lamp that stems from floor to ceiling. I don't think it works anymore, but if someone could make it work again, I would really owe them. Well, when my dad got a job working from home, he needed a bigger office, so he took over the entire downstairs living area, which is two thirds of this floor. And I got this room. It's my sanctuary, even now, when most of my shit is gone and my mother's craft supplies have invaded my desk and shelves. It's a cave. I needed that growing up. I spent a lot of time down here and in the garage. I spent a lot of time by myself, really. I don't regret it. I was telling someone earlier that that time alone made me very good at a lot of things. I practiced a lot of skills that are now quite useful to me. I still enjoy my alone time, but I now realize that you can indeed have alone time when another person is there. It just has to be the right person. And THAT is a sign of love to me.

My nephew came over yesterday (still feels like today). I was so nervous about talking to him that my heart was pounding. He didn't recognize me at first because he asked my name. I told him. I'm Dylan. I'm your uncle. Do you remember me? He paused for a minute and said yes. Then, that was that. We just played for three hours. He didn't care, and it was just that simple. I really don't think he has any concept of gender, though. It's kind of awesome. I was the same way. It didn't hit me until much later. I should explain a bit. My nephew has Asperger's as well. He is six, but his social skills are probably those of three year old, maybe. And there are some things he just doesn't understand yet. However, he can tell you all of the NASCAR drivers' names, numbers, sponsors, etc. Spell anything. Tell you where which president was born. It's really adorable. Just don't expect him to really initiate a conversation with you unless he wants something. There are moments when he does, though. Just rarely. He's so adorable. I wish I could see him more often.

I'm going to be a great dad. I know this now. I would have been a shitty mom, but I'm going to be a wonderful father.

Devon (still deciding on spelling) and Jordan
gender-neutral children's names. enough said

My life is a fucking roller coaster. And I doubt it will ever change. That's unsettling in a lot of ways. I'm just saying things now. Maybe it's time to stop.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fire and Flames

"I know y'all know what I mean when I say that I'm waiting for the day when those who are so full of shit finally reach the explosive diarrhea stage of life. ::smiles::"

It seems like a fitting status for Facebook at this time. I'm having trouble sleeping, even though I'm exhausted beyond comprehension by the events of the last 24 hours. Briefly, I was right to worry last night because, yes, something did happen. And I don't want to talk about that right now. It's the same story again and again.

I might as well talk about another story that seems to repeat itself in my life. But I know I'm not the only one.

Let's talk about fake people. And fake compliments. Fake personalities and people who stab you in the back when they think you aren't looking. Let's talk about all of the smoke blown up some people's asses when they barely deserve a head nod and a handshake. So much of social interaction is fake, and everyone has a different kind of fake they want to show all the other fake people with whom they've surrounded themselves. It's seriously incomprehensible to me how you can live your life that way and not be screwed up. Fortunately, I've never met one of these fakesters who hasn't been fucked up by their own facade. But I don't know if that's justice enough for me.

And you know what really fucking sucks about all of this? I have to be a little bit fake too. I have to play these games, but at least I recognize that I'm playing them. At least I know it's not real. At least I know I can go to a part of myself that is real when it matters.
But I have to play along. Otherwise, it's social suicide. I can't say everything I need to say to everyone I need to say it to, and I definitely can't do it here. So I'm being a little bit subtle. I'm lying by omission. And that's really not something I'm that great at, so I'm sure that my fake subtlety is not fooling anyone. And I think I'm okay with that because I really do want people to know the truth of my existence, even when it is ugly. Even when it involves anger and hate and bitterness.

Maybe I'm bitter because it isn't fair. Because I'm too nice to ruin another person. Even though I know exactly how to do it. I'm smart and observant and I know very well how easy it would be to shatter this glass in just the right way. And I could watch you fall. And then you'd probably ask me for help.

But I'll never be able to do that. I will never go out of my way to hurt another person just because. But I'm also not going to help you. And I am speaking in generalities here, again, because I need to reference multiple people in one post, and I have the feeling that my generalities are assumed to refer to very specific individuals. The reverse is more often true. Keep that in mind. You can interpret "help" any way you want.

I keep trying to tell myself that this will all be over soon, and I'll never have to worry about it again. But fake people are going to continue to be a part of my life for as long as I choose to be a part of this society. At this point, I don't have that choice.

I just want to scream to the world, "Can't you fucking see past all of this bullshit? Look at it for what it is already!!"

I'm not the one who wants to hurt you. It's from a song.

Hallmark should really make FUCK YOU cards. I need a couple of those right now.
Writing is the best therapy I've ever known.

I will dance in the flames I go down in.

Slime. Fucking Slime. Let it hit your ears as hard as it can. Let them bleed. Can you feel the heaviness of the word? The cold stickiness that wants to trap you, right there in that "s"? The pressure of the "m" trying to crush you? The [lai] in the middle? The lie in the middle.

I will dance.

Friday, July 8, 2011

NEPA Vacation

I've been home for about six days now. It feels like it's been both longer and shorter than that, and I have a lot to say, and I think I'm in one of those moods where I'll actually be able to say the important things in important-sounding ways. We'll see about that, I suppose.
I want to start with some background information. The whole story of my existence is embarrassingly complicated, and although that sounds like a very hipster thing of me to say, I can't very well deny the complexities of this twenty-two year journey into myself. I don't remember a time when my father did not drink a large amount of alcohol every night. That's just the way life was for me, and there were nights without sleep in cars in parking lots in a nearby town. We'd wait for the sun rise to drive back home. We'd check to see if the lights were on. It might have been a school night.
Sometimes the fights would be verbal. They were loud and angry. And it could have been any one of us. I didn't know any better when I was younger. I didn't know when you weren't supposed to argue with a drunk person. The answer I've learned over the years is, of course, NEVER. Sometimes I tried to fight back, but it only made things worse. My brother would never back down. My mom would get between them or between us. Or maybe she'd be the target this time. And sometimes, people got hit. And I didn't think too much of it for the longest time. And I'd believe her when she would say that she was going to leave when we both went away. But now I know better.
I'm leading you down a different road than I thought I would be at this point. My intention is not to garner sympathy or anything of the sort. It's not to worry you at all. These are parts of my past that I acknowledge, still reluctantly, and that is perhaps because I know that no matter how much things change, there is always the potential that it will all come crashing back to this.
Another piece of the puzzle...I come out as trans. My brother has been in prison for over four years at this point. My mom is at her heaviest. My father is getting heavier, and it seems he's getting sicker. My life is an emotional mess. I'm on my way up. I'm on my way out of a lifetime of pain. I'm working through things I'd avoided for years. Meanwhile, things are getting worse for my parents in so many ways, and my coming out didn't do a lot to help. It might have been the breaking point, and the fights on the phone and in the car and almost every time we saw or spoke to one another almost killed me. And probably them too. But maybe that almost was just what needed to happen.
I'll bring you back to the present, where my mom has lost over 100 pounds. She lifts weights, does Zumba, goes to kickboxing. She buys clothes that she likes and has friends. She's happy. She's not just existing. She's living. And it is so amazing to see her like this. I hated to see her cry and torture herself about her weight. I hated watching her sink into depression from afar. I'm crying right now because I'm so proud of her. Because SHE is my inspiration, not some roid monster on the cover of a magazine. When I am feeling lazy or like I don't have to try as hard, I think of my mother and the drive she finally had to get out there and take command of her own body. And I cannot pretend that my coming out and my physical transformation had nothing to do with this. But I think the final straw was when I would no longer engage in the destructive and abusive conversations that were driving me into a state of almost constant helplessness and anxiety. I decided to let go. And we did not speak for 4 months, perhaps longer. And when I did let my family back in to my life, I did it slowly. Coming home this time around is coming full circle, allowing them back into my life fully and completely.
My mom took this time to really look at her own life and what she wanted from it. And every time I saw her, she had lost even more weight. I loved seeing how happy she was. I still do.
Where's the downside? Well, what about my father? My mom is going out more to work out, to be with friends, etc. She's not content to just stay up late with him while he drinks, to make him food at 2 or 3 in the morning just because he wants it. My dad is lonely. Craving social interaction or something that can be his substitute. (I don't think I ever remember my father having friends as long as I've been alive, and that actually doesn't seem to bother him. I suspect he is much like me in more ways than he realizes...)
So his drinking gets worse. And he's getting sick. And the situation almost explodes. I only found out after the fact that my father had atrial fibrillation. And that his heart is still not healthy. He wasn't breathing well and was swelling and couldn't move much. He finally saw the doctor in January. I don't know how, but he talked enough sense into him to get him to stop drinking. And he just did. He quit without hesitation. And he began to drop weight like crazy. He's lost about 60 pounds so far, and I suspect that he will lose a bit more because he also walks for a little over an hour every day. However...
I got some emails from him about a month ago or so. I knew they were composed when he was drunk. And then I got the apology messages the next day. I wrote to my mother. She was so upset. I know there are things about that night that she isn't telling me, but apparently it was at least verbally abusive enough to make her feel that way. He just drank almost a case out of nowhere the one night, and she had to deal with that. I wish I could have come back to get her away from it. But I could only be helpless. The talk went on for a little longer this time about separating. But in the back of my head, I knew it wasn't going to happen. She loves him, and he is a part of her life. I don't know if she would know what to do without him--without having someone need her like that. I kept worrying about this and thinking about it. But things eventually went back to normal, whatever that is.
I came home last weekend. He was drinking. That was his one night. My mother wanted me to stay in her room until he came to bed, just in case. I didn't have a problem with this. But she eventually left. He came in and thought I was her. He touched my shoulder and I jumped back in fear, and when he yelled at me, he still thought I was her. I immediately left the room, still in shock about what happened or what almost happened or whatever. I went downstairs to my room to try to sleep again or at least calm myself. But I was followed. He was still drunk, it was light outside, and I found myself in a position where I could not get away. I didn't want to talk about whatever he was saying. I didn't want to talk at all. I couldn't slow my head down enough to explain, but I do remember saying that I didn't want to talk at the time but that I would be happy to later. But he kept going. And he kept making accusations and just talking at me. Sometimes it got loud. And there were so many, and it was so random that I just couldn't handle it. I remember turning on my side and squeezing up against a wall as tightly as I could while he sat on the corner of my bed. And I know I was making some noises and banging my knees against the wall for almost two hours. It went on for almost two hours. I was in a serious meltdown, and my dad didn't understand that. And he was actually trying to make it worse it seemed. My mom knew that she needed to get me moving. She asked a direct question with a yes or no answer: "Do you want to go for a ride in the car?" I shook my head yes and fumbled around with my shoes, and twenty minutes later or so, I was mostly okay. I wasn't great, but I was okay. And I've been worrying.
It's a week later, and he chose tonight to drink. Today was a strange day for me in general. I've been pretty antisocial all day. I just couldn't get myself to talk to other people without discomfort or irritability. And I knew that that was a bad thing to combine with my father's drinking. So I came down here to my room to be by myself, which I needed anyway. I wanted to avoid a situation. I just don't feel like dealing with that stuff anymore. And it breaks my heart to know that there is now one night a week where my mother potentially has to deal with this shit again. And I won't be here to help. But it's not my life. It's not a choice that I can make for her. And I fear that she will never make that choice. It's still really early, and he may or may not "start something" tonight. That's always how it's been referred to around here. It's funny how things like this become normal.
I'm not really afraid of him. He's much more of a nuisance when drunk than anything, but there were occasions where things did get out of hand. And you never know when that is going to be. Drinking almost killed him in the first place too, and it baffles me that anyone would go back to what has essentially poisoned his body to the point of incapacitation once already.
I think I am most worried about my father messing up what my mother has going for her. I wonder what that says about me.
I want to make something clear, though. I don't hate my father. I actually really love him. He's the one who has been most accepting of the person I really am since coming out the first time. I really do believe he understands a good deal of what I've been trying to explain to him and show him in the past few years. He's seen my performance videos. He's asked questions about what spirit gum is used for and things like that. And he's happy for me when a show goes well. I've been getting closer to him over the past few years. I never really felt close to him when I was younger. I think I really did hate him. There are a lot of things I don't like about him, even now, but I understand him much better these days. He is a genuinely good person at heart, but he is not the same person when he is drunk. I'm sure that's why my mother has a hard time with all of this. I don't know if I can say much more about this right now.
I don't know how I feel about this next part yet. It's confusing to me because of the context. I do remember my father using my name during that two-hour meltdown. He called me Dylan. He talked about me as Dylan several times. And as much as I hated a lot of what he was saying, at least that came through. I'm still turning it over in his head. I keep wondering if he would have said it if he were sober. Maybe it's better not to question.

At the beginning of the week, I went to Zumba with my mom for the first time. Of course, I am the only boy in the room, and everyone is curious. The instructor knows my mother pretty well now, so she asks who I am. I introduce myself as Dylan, and my mother adds..."My son."
I wanted to cry right there. It was so simple. I mean, you could tell she was a bit uncomfortable. Well, I could. I don't think anyone else noticed in that tiny little interaction. But it made me so happy. I told her about it when we got home that night. I told her that that's all it really is. A few words are different. Our relationship is still the same. I would argue that it's even better now. Her response was mixed. But it is progress. "What else was I going to do?" followed by "I still think it's a mistake, but..."

The only people I've really talked to in person this whole time are my parents. It's been pretty weird. But on Tuesday, I will be seeing my ex-boyfriend from high school and the beginning half of college for the first time in about three or four years. We have a lot to talk about, obviously. I'm nervous. More nervous than I should be. I guess I also still wonder how he explains the whole my-ex-girlfriend-is-a-man thing. And I wonder what he thinks. And I'm also generally curious about what has been going on in his life because we were also best friends.

So much left to talk about. So much already talked about. So much left unsaid.

I talked with both of my parents separately about possibly going back to school for graphic design/advertising or something along those lines. My mother feels that my time at Pitt will have been wasted if I do that. I have two responses to that. First, the skills I have learned in college can be applied to anything that I do. I do not have to be working in the field I studied in undergrad for that to be true. And the most valuable things I have learned did not come from the classroom or a textbook. An education, though, is never wasted. Second, if I do go into a field or a job that I'm not happy doing day in and day out for the rest of my life, the REST OF MY LIFE will be wasted. My father agrees with me on this. I'm still thinking about it. I haven't made a decision yet. There are so many things that I could do, as I've said before. But I've always gotten a ridiculous amount of satisfaction out of completing projects. I love creating things. I feel very powerful after having done so, and I can work on these projects for hours upon hours without wanting to slit my throat. I don't feel drained after working for 3 or 4 hours on a design. That's definitely a plus. This is going to be hard. I'm not sure what to do.

I have a new boyfriend. And I'm so fucking excited about this. He likes to PLAY. He understands what it means to play, and he actually likes the weird things about me. We've been texting back and forth the entire time I've been away from Pittsburgh, and we made it official (on Facebook, of course, because it seems that's the only way anything is real anymore) the other day. I absolutely cannot wait to get back now. He gives me that feeling in my tummy. That lightness. The one where your entire body feels like its melting away. Like its diffusing. It's been so long since I've known that feeling.
I think that the moment I decided to let go of the elements of my past that continued to hurt me, I was able to feel again. Who knew it would take so long to say goodbye and really, really mean it? I guess you really have to know when to stop letting people and things hurt you. And that's not always easy, as I have found. There's a connection here with something I was talking about earlier, and I hope you understand it without my having to explain it.

There are no final words in that situation. The resolution is as simple as the choice not to engage. And I feel like this is where adulthood begins for me.