Sunday, December 30, 2012

The End is Near

A friend of mine is having a slight mental breakdown because she is turning twenty soon, and her life doesn't resemble what she had planned for herself. She told me of how she wanted to be married and have children by 25. She thought she would be engaged by now. I remember when I first went away to college, thinking I'd come back home to marry the boy I dated in high school and immediately start having kids, though the last part always worried me a bit. I never thought about the details. I never thought about how I would get there. I just knew that's where I wanted to be without knowing why. She's looking around her, since all of her friends seem to be my age or even older, and we're both noticing the same thing. None of us are where we thought we would be, especially in terms of our romantic relationships. Most of my friends who are getting married are at least 26 or 27. The whole conversation doesn't even seem as important to me as it once did. I used to worry about the exact same thing. I wasn't where I wanted to be. I was alone. And I felt like my life was just passing me by.

And this wasn't even that long ago. I'm sure the drugs helped a bit, but something else has changed since my coming back here. I can't figure out exactly what yet. I feel more responsible for my own life. I feel more grounded. I feel less pressured to jump into something, even if I know I want to do it eventually. I'm taking my time getting to where I want to go because there are things that need to be done now. I want to take care of the present person that I am without completely throwing my future away. I now recognize that I don't have to sacrifice one for the other.

I'm going to be 25 soon. I feel a disconnect from the number just as I used to feel a disconnect from the gender I was assigned at birth. It doesn't seem to fit. But unlike my gender, my age doesn't affect very many things I do in my daily life. It just doesn't matter. I hear so many people my age complain that they can feel their bodies getting older, starting to break down. I don't feel that way at all. I feel like I'm always getting stronger. Maybe I'm losing more hair. But I can live with that. And then, when I have the money, I can change that too, if I decide. I somehow feel more grownup than when I left Pittsburgh, even though I live in my parents' house and frequently get mistaken for a high school student.

I'm starting to believe that I can make important decisions for myself. I'm taking the risks associated with making those decisions. I'm living with the consequences. I'm not asking for advice as often when I already know what I should do. I'm taking responsibility, it seems. But I still can't seem to keep my room clean. I have a few theories about why that is the case now. It's a different reason than before, and it involves not wanting to go upstairs at certain times. As a side note, Christmas by myself was interesting. And it really didn't bother me. Everyone expects me to be upset about it. You're supposed to spend Christmas with your family. But Christmas happened a day early for me, so I didn't really miss out on anything. I almost started to get upset just because people thought I was supposed to be.

Time to watch football again.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Unnecessarily Bored

The good news is that I am not feeling shitty about life anymore. The bad news is that I'm pretty sure my body isn't absorbing the nutrients it should be. The weight loss plus a few other not-fun things worry me, which is why I'll be talking to my doctor this Thursday about starting to taper off these medications. I don't want to be dependent on them, and I don't want them to get in my way of doing what I want to do. But I also know that I really did need a little help getting to an okay place. I feel like I might be there, but I worry that something serious will happen if I stop altogether. I wish I had health insurance. That's also not helping my situation.

It's my day off today, and it's been so long since I've had more than a few hours to myself that I don't know what to do. I feel restless yet lethargic. And I'm watching a show about snow monkeys.

I am not sick. But I am sweating, and I have been tired for quite a while now. And it's not a normal kind of tired. Ordinarily I would say it's due to my working 60 hour weeks, but this is a different feeling. Again, it's probably time to stop all these drugs.

New show: How they make light bulbs.

When I have a day like this, and I know I have so many things to do, it seems like they're all in a pile on the floor. I'm told to find something, but I don't know what I'm looking for, so I just keep sifting through the same crap over and over again.


Monday, December 3, 2012


I've been writing on paper for much of the past few weeks. Dozens upon dozens of pages. I needed to say things I didn't want anyone else to hear. But there are some highlights that are worth mentioning. Life is changing, and I'm still scared, but there is so much more to my life than fear or anger or depression.

November 3: "I don't want to kill myself. But I don't know how long I can safely say that. Even now, I am becoming frighteningly detached from all emotion surrounding suicide, especially my own. I want to believe that life has meaning. That MY life has meaning. But I'm just going to fade out like the rest of the world. And no one will care about my existence, so why should I? If life is all about the pleasure of the present moment, and there is no pleasure to be had, wouldn't it make more sense not to feel at all? If this is the way things will be forever, why not just stop it before more pain results? Why does it seem so logical? I would never have allowed myself to entertain this kind of thinking before. But now it's a part of who I am and I cannot prevent it. I am afraid of myself."

November 9: "I feel disgusting. In so many ways. And I have no idea why. Something about existence just sickens me. I feel like I'm doing it all wrong--this life thing...I want to breathe air and not pain. I don't want to feel this in my stomach every second of the day."


November 13: "I do not feel like the person who wrote the last two entries. I feel more like my old self, but not entirely. I feel capable. I feel that what I have learned will be useful. Today, I have hope...Something about life feels beautiful right now, and I'm happy with that. I don't even need to try to explain it. The rain against the window and the soft scratching of the pen in my hand an even how the whole world seems to encompass no more than the hundred square feet of this room. It's all beautiful and right and perfect."

November 15: "I am so scared. But it doesn't hurt like it usually does. I wonder. Is it the hope or the medication or does it matter at all? I'm thinking it doesn't really matter why I feel good; I need to enjoy it while it lasts. Sometimes things just are. As a scientist, that's hard for me to live with. As a nutcase, it's even harder."

December 1: "I LOVE WHO I AM. No reason. It was just there. I can't even explain. It just exists, and I know that means this treatment is working--that I'm getting to that point of being okay."

December 2: "I am still afraid to look back at my last few months of writing. I'm not far removed enough to feel comfortable reading about my thoughts of despair and suicide. I fear that reading about them will cause them to resurface. I'm still moderately afraid that this is only temporary and that I'll never really be able to escape feeling miserable in the long run. But even if that is true, I'm trying to enjoy it while it lasts."

December 2, again: "I'm going to get my name changed soon. And my tattoo, probably before the year is over. I'll be able to see those words every day for the rest of my life, and this particular idea for my first--maybe only--tattoo. I always think back to how it changed my life the first time. And then kept on doing it afterwards. It sounds so simple, but it is one of the most meaningful things I've ever heard. It also serves to remind me that even the best of things will fade, including relationships. Will is no longer a part of my life, but the memories stay with me. They were good once. That's what I hold onto. It's hard to let go of pain, but I'm learning. I feel like I'm starting all over, and that used to upset me. It paralyzed me. But life is full of that same process. And this won't be the last time I say hello or goodbye. I will enjoy this for as long as I can. Because no matter what happens, I will miss it. I will miss you."

END OF NOTEBOOK from August 14, 2010 to December 2, 2012.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Welcome to Now

With all of the goals I've set for myself to accomplish before the start of 2013, and after just having completed an eLearning on time management, I find it funny that I would disregard certain things I have learned in order to do this--to write. Writing is clearly one of the highest priorities in my life, and it is a long term goal of mine to leave a piece of myself behind, virtually and otherwise. Words aren't meaningless to me. Even when I feel like I don't have any and even when they are lost inside my head, they mean everything. Even when they are not spoken, they mean everything.

Side note: A Deaf man came in, and they called me to the floor to help him. I felt useful once again, but I also noticed how much I had forgotten. I didn't remember the sign for Christmas until I got home. That's probably something I should have thought about as the holidays started to get closer, and I of course feel silly because it is rather easy. I also felt pretty bad because he asked if we had any Wii U systems, and I don't believe we are getting any until after Christmas, which is what Nintendo always does. Then he asked me about when the new X Box was coming out. We can only hope that it is next year. By the way, I still HATE those controllers. Side note to the side note: Working in the warehouse is actually kind of fun on days when there is a lot to be sorted. I am very efficient, and I now know how to delegate tasks when I have other things to do and no one else is busy. I think someone actually told me to slow down at one point. And for once, I was able to listen and just try to enjoy the side conversations while managing my work. And it wasn't that tough.

I don't even know how to get back on track from that. I'm not sure there ever is a track when I write these things, and that might be the nice part about them. I'm not writing about misery and wanting to kill myself either, which is also pretty nice. My feelings of sadness and regret are much less intense, and I'm not obsessing over them as before. These are good signs. The little things are good signs. Like being able to start conversations or smile at strangers. Like not having to worry about getting overstimulated at work with all of the TV's on and all the people rushing about (fingers crossed).

I like knowing that people trust me and take me seriously at work. They think what I have to say is important. I like knowing that I'm actually good at what I do, and I think that's because I have to really try to understand another person. I don't take it for granted. I'm a conscious observer of unconscious cues, and that really matters. When you have to spend your life playing catch up, sometimes you end up surpassing the people you're trying to catch up to. I love watching people interact. I love to observe and to analyze. I've always been a scientist.

A combination of things helped to increase our department's performance by quite a bit in just one week. I think one of the biggest things was resolving a conflict that involved some coworkers by pulling someone aside and having a chat. He wasn't even aware of what he was doing. It's amazing what getting along can do to boost your job performance. Since my supervisor has been out for over a week, the computer supervisor has been filling in somewhat, but it's also made me feel like it's time to take what charge I can. It may not seem important to some people, but I like being involved in what I do to the fullest extent. I can't help but care.

Alright. Now I'm going to go on a rant again, and it's something everyone has heard me say already, but seriously...What the hell is with people buying their kids 400 dollar iPods for Christmas IN ADDITION TO A SHITLOAD OF OTHER THINGS? This isn't always a bad thing. Maybe the kid has earned it. But so many of these are purchased for kids under the age of 8. Do you know what I had when I was 8? Fucking legos. And I loved it. Legos, crayons, and books. Lots of books. And when you tell me you won't buy the protection plan when you buy your six-your-old an iPod touch that's less than half an inch thick and has a glass screen, I will judge you. And when you tell me that you'll just buy another one if it breaks, it makes me want to scream. Appreciate what you have. Really stop and think about what saying that to someone like me means. I don't make that much money in a week, sometimes two depending on the schedule. And there are people who are far worse off than I am. A lesson in humility is something I believe many people these days need, and it's not just the kids. I am now reminded of the time when some guy reporting on alligator wranglers in Florida remarked that they ONLY make 25 dollars an hour. The report was on Fox News, if you hadn't already guessed. That's all that's ever on in here. It's why I don't often go upstairs at night. I think I'm done with the ranting paragraph now.

I don't think I've got anything else right now. I'm just excited that I can see a little bit further into the future, and I don't feel as pressured to make a decision. I know what I want out of life. Things might distract me from that from time to time, but I always come back to the same place.

It's about that time where so much stuff starts floating around that I can't come up with anything else, so bye for now.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


When you ask a straight girl on a date, and she says yes. More importantly, when you feel confident enough to ask a girl you've liked for months. This has been a great day.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

More of the same

I feel like I am ultimately fighting a losing battle. I keep struggling to regain control, but I'm in no better shape now than before. I honestly can't make myself see the purpose of my life. I can't even invent one. I feel like I had lived in a bubble throughout college, and though I am grateful for the things I have learned in the past two years, I long for that kind of safety and security again. I want to love the way I did before. I feel like I've turned completely cold. This isn't the person I know I can be. Maybe there's no way to ever be that person again. I used to be happy. I used to be excited about life, and though I was anxious, I never remember living in a constant state of terror and misery for such an extended period of time.
I wake up, and I immediately think about the day ahead of me. The only thing I can think about is crawling back into bed At the end of the day so I can stop experiencing reality. And I would rather die than exist like this forever, or until it is too late.
There are good things happening in my life. But I cannot appreciate them. I understand them and know how I should feel. How I would feel. But I don't actually feel any of it. I experience only transient pleasure. And even in these experiences, the pain is still there. I am always hurting. And it's been well over a year. I remember having trouble before that, but it's been about that long since it became inescapable.
I truly don't know if I have enough energy/strength to continue on this course. I keep thinking about ways to die, whether on purpose or by accident. I keep thinking about other ways to just destroy my life. I see myself committing terrible acts of violence and cannot help but visualize every gruesome detail.
I want to fight. I want to just push through and come out clean on the other side. But that attitude has only made me more miserable. I've said it before, mostly about life in general, but it applies to depression just as much: There is no other side.
I have only this existence to work with. And I am fucking it all up. I don't know how to navigate through all of this, which seems frighteningly new and endlessly the same. Everyone else seems to be doing at least okay. What makes me so unable to do it? And by it I mean life. What am I not doing that I could be? And why can't I do the things that I know I should be doing but am not?
My breath is forever stuck right above my sternum. The pressure. I just want to be rid of that feeling. To let my arms fall limp at my sides and melt into the world around me.
I caught myself daydreaming About what it was like to hold him. I saw and felt it all over again. And then the memories kept taking me further back in time, further into my mind than I ever want to be any more.
I feel like a black hole.
I don't know why I do anything anymore. I am only pretending to know what the more stable version of myself would want out of life. I don't want to make decisions in a state like this, but what if not making them is worsening this condition?
I feel like I am becoming so bitter and resentful. I cannot escape thoughts about all the people who used to be a part of this life of mine. And I know I mean nothing anymore. I want to feel like a ripple in the pond sometimes. Instead I feel like a drop of water taken captive in a syringe.
I want to be able to experience the world with other people at the same time. I want to feel like something matters. I don't want to fake it anymore. I want certain people to understand this pain. I want them to see what their actions continue to so to me, but maybe they'd be happy and think I deserve it. And I may. I may deserve all of this and not even know it.
But then my rational brain tries to sve the day, and it only succeeds in making things worse. We never get what we deserve; we only get what we get. And then we must decide what to do with it. I don't know if I'm doing anything with what I have been given.
I'm terrified. But I think the very best thing would be for me to go where I can truly start over. But I don't want to admit that the rest of my life is lost. I can't. Something will not let me leave certain parts of my past behind. I have chosen to follow my instincts. And I hope it works. I just want to be able to survive long enough. And I'm getting more and more convinced that I will not see this through.
I have thrown away or sold almost everything I brought back with me. I feel like I am already dead. I really don't feel like I exist any more than a piece of furniture.
And these thoughts are all I have. I am obsessed with my own misery. I cannot escape myself. It's probably why I've been drinking more. Never alone and never without occasion. But it's more often than I ever did in college.
I want to stop looking.
I want to feel.
I just want to be okay with myself and my life.
I want to stop writing about this. I need real fucking help and know I will not be able to get it. And I wish somebody actually cared to acknowledge that there is something wrong. I'm not sure if my family has given up on me. or maybe the same fantasy as always applies yet again. and maybe that's why I am so fucked up. I don't know how to be anything other than a robot. I don't know how to manage any of my emotions. I want to be able to experience emotions and function in my life at the same time. But that may be too much to ask.
I don't even know why I write anymore if this is all that I ever accomplish. Maybe one day ill be able to see the change in my words. Maybe I will one day see happiness on this screen.
God, I just want to die. Really. I'm just too afraid of living. I'm too afraid of an endless now. I don't want to be broken. I don't want to go through life like this, an maybe that is why I don't have any motivation. Maybe my brain is trying to make the wish a reality by refusing to let me participate in my life.

Hope has failed me.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wine Drunk

I've had about six very large glasses of wine this evening, in addition to the beer, of course. I also happened to have a brief yet intimate trans-related conversation with a room full of fairly straight/heteronormative people tonight. Along with all of this, I've been thinking about the Asperger's blog I've started following. And since I'm drunk, I'm probably more inclined to write about that particular part of my life. It's funny how that is more uncomfortable for me to discuss than being trans. I think this is because I came from a subculture that more easily understood transgender issues than autism issues. I do very well at "hiding" my differences. So most people don't think there is anything wrong with me, to use their words. To use my own...I don't think there is either. But there are just some things I cannot do. I have my limits, and I have learned more about them in the last five or six years (since my first "official" yet second actual diagnosis). But that can be good and bad.

When I used to have meltdowns as a child and then a teenager, I never knew why. It felt like they just happened out of nowhere. The remedies were always lying down in the car, letting the motion calm me and chugging water till I was about to explode. My mom would hold me and get me away from what was happening if she were around. If not, I would just freeze. I would not speak. I would not move a muscle. I felt like I was watching everything happen to me, and no matter what I could tell myself to say or do, my body would not listen to my head. It just couldn't. It was then that all sights, sounds, and physical sensations started to become so intense that I could not tolerate them. I wanted to explode out of my body, and I would try to squeeze myself as tightly into myself as possibly because it felt like every molecule of my physical being was being pulled in a different direction.

My whole childhood consisted of this and of not knowing how to talk to people at all. I could talk to family members and maybe find one kid who would tolerate my seemingly incessant monologues, but I just didn't associate much with other children. I didn't really have a friend that I could truly relate to until I was thirteen or fourteen. And I screwed up those relationships horribly. This continued throughout high school and my first year or two of college. I just didn't understand why I always had to feel so disconnected from the rest of the world. I didn't get why I couldn't just learn the way other people did or see things the way they did. Why were things so easy for them? Why did I always get lost when more than one person was involved in a conversation?

The first time I heard the diagnosis was in high school. But I rejected it, thinking that it couldn't possibly fit me. I only knew of severe cases of autism, and for some reason my therapist just went with whatever I said, and she said I had panic disorder. So I was heavily drugged, and I really didn't show much improvement. And I remained mostly alone until my nephew was diagnosed with Asperger's around age two or three. I revisited the idea.

Suddenly things made sense. Aware of my situation, I was able to piece together how I had learned to cope in a neurotypical world. I thought that everyone had to learn the way I did. It didn't hit me that my view of the world was so fundamentally different from that of most people until maybe five years ago. College was a very serious game of catch up for me. But I was funny, and my acting ability got me through a lot of situations. I could pretend to be normal. I could pretend to understand what was going on. I could just fake it until I made it.

But it's so hard to do that. And I guess what I want to convey is that most people don't understand what it is like to have to deal with that almost every minute of every day. Let's just say you are bad at test taking. Imagine a near-24-hour rendition of the SAT or MCAT or whatever...every day of your life. You can do it, of course. But you're slower than other people. You don't intuitively understand it, but you have learned enough about it through practice. You may even like the subjects you're being tested upon. But at the end of the day, you just want it to be over so you can recover. You need time for your brain to rest. People do to my brain what games of chess and logic puzzles do to the brains of others. It's not that I am not interested in being a social person. I am very much interested, and I am now extraordinarily aware of how much I desire companionship. But it's hard. And I need a break.

A lot of this is for my new friends. And I wish I weren't bombed while writing this because I'll probably miss a few important things. When I am okay, you might not know that I'm that much different. But when the bucket is full and I can't quite take anymore, I lose every coping strategy I've ever learned. I become a non-functional human being. And people are scared of this. I try to run away from everyone when I know this is about to happen because I'm afraid of letting people see me get this way. I don't want to be judged, and I don't want people to believe that I can't manage my own life, even if I feel that same way at times. I am so afraid of people seeing this version of me that I am super polite around everyone. I laugh at almost any joke. I sometimes have to fill in gaps with jokes or think heavily about what's going on in a conversation. I've learned to be pretty quick with this. I'm fortunate that I'm as smart as I am. I'd never get away with this otherwise. But sometimes, that's the problem. I take in way too much information for my brain to handle at any one time. And then all the lights on the switchboard are on at the same time, and I just crash.

So I'm drunk. I can see less of the picture this way. But I also am less inhibited, obviously. I say exactly what is coming to my mind as it comes--the parts that can be translated into words at least. Weed is much better at making me "less autistic". I'm not sure it works that way for everyone.

I don't even know why I'm writing this. I'm just tired of having to keep up pretenses all the time. I almost cried the other day because I think my parents are starting to finally acknowledge this fact about me. My brain is different. Sometimes I just need to be left alone. Sometimes, I need to be talked to in a certain way. My mother is learning to avoid styles of conversation that make me more and more anxious or overload me. She told me to not go to this new job if it was going to put that much stress on my mind and body. And she has never done that with anything before. I wanted to cry. But at the same time, it made me want to be able to push through or at least make the effort because someone was making that kind of effort for me.

Yes. Sometimes I am terrified to admit that I don't understand things, especially things that other people seem to get instantaneously. I wish I could also explain my relationship with touch, but that's challenging. If I am not comfortable with you on the deepest level, I cannot be touched by you for any extended period of time. I get ridiculously uncomfortable in situations that involve hugs, complex handshakes, even sitting next to people touching me. It makes my skin crawl. I start to develop blinders and hide inside of myself. But I'm trying so hard to open up to the people who care about me. And it's even hard to believe that people here do care. I always get scared that if people really knew me, they'd never like me. It seems to always work that way. Or they just realize I'm not worth it.

Tonight was a huge step forward in a lot of ways. I still always ask. But I am getting more comfortable being touched. And it felt comforting in a way. Maybe I was able to lift even the tiniest amount of weight off my chest. But I still felt a difference. But it was unusual for me, so it scared me. And then I knew I needed to come home. I was going to just sleep there, but too much change in one night can mess with me, and after a weekend of hiding from the world and wishing I could hide from myself, I knew I couldn't take it. Learning my own limits is the most difficult part of this journey.

I don't know what the point of my writing this was, and I doubt I will remember much of this tomorrow. I just wish it were easier to talk about for me. I wish I weren't so ashamed of talking about why I switched to front lanes. I wish I could bring up that I would probably be alright going back on the floor now that the environment is not so new to me. But I have such a difficult time starting, ending, and even sometimes maintaining conversations. That's when I turn on actor mode. I have to place myself in a role. I have to define the character. You get used to that after a while, and then you realize that you start doing it when you don't have to. And that overloads you as well.

Tastes, certain types of touch, certain sounds, certain things that people say.


Sorry. But I get pretty ticked off at out-of-shape people who think they can take me. People who've never fought, run, or worked out a day in their lives. It is worse than people making small penis jokes, which have actually become funny to me in recent days. I feel that people making comments like that about me is equivalent to making comments about the weakness of women because they are women. The weakness of small people because they are small. You don't know what people are capable of by looking at them. I've seen 300 pound drag queens that can jump nearly three feet in the air in heels and break dance and do splits, etc. Bodies can and will surprise you. This is one of the few things I actually still take personally. I am trying not to. But fuck you if you're going to try to make me feel inferior.

I realize that I've been writing for about forty minutes now. This is going to be fun tomorrow. But I rarely write when I'm drunk, so it will at least be entertaining.

Shifting gears again...
I read a few of those blog posts last night. About face blindness, reading comprehension, pain tolerance, etc. All of them seem like they could have been written by me. I identify with so much of what this person says. I cried once because I felt like I had found someone who understands. I only have had one other very good friend diagnosed with Asperger's, and that was when I was in high school. I really need to give him a call sometime. He also came out not too long ago. Surprise, surprise.

Crushes on straight people are hard. I don't know how to deal with it. I want to ask her. But I'm terrified. I don't want to deal with that sort of rejection. I've dealt with it from gay men before, but our conversations were just about one night stands and things like that. But...fuck. This is new territory for me.

I legitimately forgot what I wanted to talk about. Oh yeah.
I know what my first tattoo will be. I just need to find the perfect spot. I know because it is the one thing I have kept coming back to through every difficult part of my life.
And those are the colors I want.
This will happen before I leave the valley.
I wish you could be here for that.

Also, damn, now that I have more piercings, I feel like I want even more. Welcome to that rebellious phase that everyone already went through ten years ago.

I'm getting excited about my future again. It comes in cycles. But this time, I feel more confident. I know it's going to be okay no matter what I do, but I need to DO SOMETHING.

Ummm also...please buy election shirts from me. They are awesome. yay.

New job in about six or seven hours. New people. New job isn't scary. New people = very scary. My brain starts to go in so many places that words don't happen anymore. This is why things are very fragmented near the end.

Another thing. I am literally ALWAYS anxious. I wake up, and I am terrified of the day, and I go to sleep this way. It is a constant fight against this, against confusion, against overstimulation, against managing more than one emotion at a time, and against navigating a social world.

Thanks to everyone. And I hope I don't scare you away too.

I'm probably going to regret this soon.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Knew It

Now, no matter what I decide, I will have to deal with the pain of losing people again.

Friday, October 12, 2012


One step forward, two steps back. If that's the way it works, my creative solution is to face the opposite direction so I can get there faster.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Being Okay

I came home seven months ago against my will, without knowing anyone here other than my parents. I suppose you could count the people I used to know in high school, but I'm sure none of them really exist anymore either. I even got to know a few of them all over again. In so many ways, this part of my life is the low-budget sequel to my high school experience. I make just about the same amount of money, spend a lot of time wondering about the future all by myself, and I live in the same room. Best Buy is like a giant high school (many, many of them actually went to my actual high school) as well, complete with relationship drama, cliques, and house parties. And because of those house parties, I actually have friends I trust enough to randomly text or maybe even call (gasp) whenever I need something.

I find it interesting that I make friends with military guys so easily. I'm sure that says something about my personality, perhaps about my general lack of concern for holding my tongue when it would otherwise be appropriate. Also pretty sure the obsession with physical fitness has something to do with it. But it's not just that I can chat with them or find common ground. There really is some sort of deeper connection I can't quite figure out, like they would be the kind of friend that I try to be, because when it comes to putting your ass on the line for your fellow man, they've pretty much done that for a living.

I read something that made me angry the other day, but it made me happy as well. And regardless of which emotion I ended up feeling throughout the night, I cried. I wanted to be angry at her, but I was really angry with myself for being so hurt by something that has nothing to do with me. That might actually be why it hurts. I am not ashamed to admit that I am envious of your life. But I am not upset. I am happy, and I am thankful that you understand how unique your position is and how many lives you have the ability to affect from it. And I hope those lives are affected in positive ways, and instead of harboring this negative energy and having it seep out into the real world, I have no choice but to let it go. I'm on my way to being happy. And you are already happy. And we had nothing to do with each other's happiness. And I am learning to be okay with that. I'm learning not to be sad. It's hard to forget about the moments of the two of us that I can still see in full color--about how you were part of what changed the course of my entire life. But I understand that I do not have to, and the beauty of my life is that I don't have to play by the rule that says I need to be the jealous ex-boyfriend. I can just be an old friend. And maybe a new one, one of these days, if our paths ever cross again. Awkwardness is just going to be part of this whole experience, but we don't have to try to force it out of the way. Let the awkwardness come and go as it pleases, and it'll probably depart sooner rather than later.

I was so worried about never finding another soul that fit quite as nicely as yours, but then I did, in the most unexpected of places. And now I feel the same way about him. I can only assume that the same thing may very well happen again. But I am still young, and patience is a thing that is relegated to certain scattered aspects of my life. The pressure is on to settle down and start having babies, as every day I see new notifications about who is engaged, married, or pregnant. I see their wedding pictures. They're looking into each other's eyes like the world could be burning down around them and they wouldn't care. The power of the camera to capture the aura of two souls wrapped around each other--two spirits blending together and radiating love--is something I have always respected. Their pictures more than anything make me feel exactly what it is that I do not have in my life. And then the pain becomes very real.

I do wonder if I will ever feel such an intense love again. I wonder if I will ever be able to look into another person's eyes and truly believe that I'll be doing the exact same thing thirty or forty or fifty years down the road. I wonder if someone will ever see past the broken parts of me or maybe even love them just as much. I wonder if the person I may find will be able to take me at my worst, which is something that no one else has been able to do. And I wonder if it will be my fault if they can't.

I'm scared of losing things. I'm very scared about life right now because I may be at a point of no return, if such a thing exists. I'm still scared of making the wrong choice, even though I know that there isn't one. I may have made the wrong choice a few years ago when I decided to pass on medical school, but it was something that I had to do, and the only reason I would even argue that it could have been wrong is based on information I obtained after the fact. I was going to say something about having learned some very important things in the past two years, but that is actually just as meaningless. I am here now. It is so easy to forget that this is my present experience. That it matters too. That I need to make it matter by continuing to do things that matter. I may not be where I want to be, but I do have at least some ability to make this more like the place in my life I DO want to be.

Where am I? I am in my old bedroom, but it is not the same. I changed it shortly after moving back home. I repainted the walls, removed the old posters, eliminated boxes and boxes of useless junk and filed the rest of it away under "memories". It looks very modern, organized. Everything matches in here, as opposed to the chaotic assortment of patterns and colors I amassed between moving into this room for the first time and moving away for college. I still do not feel like there is enough of me in this room to make it more than a comfortably decorated room in which I am staying. I'm a guest in many ways. I'm trying to make this place feel like it belongs to me, but it does not. I am in my parent's house, not mine. Nothing can change this back to what it used to be. And I'm not just talking about the room.

My favorite holiday was his favorite holiday too. I watched him get excited about decorating the house and scaring away little children. It looked spectacular, and I remember getting off work and trudging through the cold and the light misty rain after getting off the bus just to make it back in time to see the last of the trick-or-treaters heading home. I remember playing with the puppy in the yard and watching her grow enough to be able to climb the stairs without being terrified. When I went back to get my things last month, she was even bigger and now more fearless. And when he hugged me goodbye, I didn't want to let go. I never want to let go, and that's my problem. I could keep going further and further back into the past, getting caught in memories of getting caught in moments with people who aren't just blips on the radar. I'm so scared that I have lost the ability to feel the extremes of felicity, perhaps because of my frequent mental excursions into the past.

It may not seem like I'm ready to deal with my life yet, but I feel that I am getting closer. And it all started by taking the risk of going over someone's house a few weeks ago. I get more confident each time, yet I am still fearful of making mistakes. I am probably going to be okay. I might even be more than okay, but right now, I've got a space heater, a brand new computer, fifteen pounds of muscle I didn't have 6 months ago, and football drinking buddies. I'd say that constitutes a little bit more than being okay.


I might actually have friends, and that is scary. Having friends makes it that much harder to leave. I know from experience.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The T in LGBT

Why is the T in LGBT when it has nothing to do with our sexuality? I've seen this question arise in a number of support groups for trans people, and I really think we need to look at this from a different perspective. We don't need LGB people to help us or fight for our rights. We need to fight for theirs. Allow me to explain, briefly.

Trans people live in contrast with the binary model of gender/sex that exists in our society, and what we are fighting for is the recognition of our gender identities as valid and the right to express our identities in whatever way we choose. And that is not a right that we alone deserve. All people deserve this right, and I believe it would greatly benefit the people in our society to not have to conform or face social isolation, among other things.

Much of the violence perpetrated against LGB (and T) people, from the time of childhood, is based upon behaviors, mannerisms, preferences, etc. that heteronormative people associate with the "opposite" gender. There is the pervading belief that real manhood and real womanhood are observable and quantifiable, and that one is less of a man or woman if certain criteria are not met. This greatly affects LGB people because society characterizes people who don't have a certain number of manly or womanly traits as gay without hesitation. Well, not all gay men are effeminate, and not all straight men are macho. I'm not even arguing for the idea that many trans people first find acceptance as members of the gay community. Aside from this, we are fighting for the same rights. As a transman, I am fighting for acceptance as a real man just as much as a so-called effeminate gay man. I'm not in the we're-just-like-the-rest-of-you-straight-people camp. No. We are different. We don't have to pretend to be straight or act in heteronormative ways or have body parts that are heteronormatively associated with the gender with which we identify in order to be considered real and granted the real rights we deserve.

And since sexuality, sex and gender are so linked in our society, homosexual behavior is considered a transgression of gender norms as well. We're all breaking the same rules. And we are fighting for LGB people, trans people, and straight people, and everyone else to be able to express their sex, gender, and sexuality in whichever ways they choose. Do you know how many times people have commented to me that certain people just "act too gay" for them? We're fighting against that mindset. People seem not to have an issue with gay people as long as it can be ignored or hidden, but when the gender transgressions occur, it cannot be ignored. Many young boys learn to fear and hate gays because, as they grow up, they are fighting to attain manhood/masculinity, which is incompatible with any sort of feminine behavior or transgression, which homosexuality is again a part of. In fighting for our rights to express our own gender identity, we are fighting for gender justice for all, to quote the IDKE slogan from 2010.

Now I think I will go post this in response. I never do that, but I think this might be one of those important times where people might actually get it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Winter, Interviews...Winterviews?

One of the reasons I dislike winter so much is that it becomes much more difficult for me to walk to places of necessity. I feel even more trapped than usual, and while I love hockey and playing in the snow, I tend to hate cold weather because I'm apparently extraordinarily sensitive to it. Winter's coming soon, and that means all of the above and most likely, worsening depression.

I was asked if I had achieved any recent goals of mine in my interview today. I couldn't even make something up. I said no. And I am still struggling to find an answer. This also leads me to another point. Interview questions tend to stack the cards against people who are depressed or atypical. Thinking of an answer to that particular question would probably have been easier if my brain were primed to see the positive in things, but I'm constantly fighting to avoid negativity (and often failing). Regardless of whether I had achieved a goal or not, which actually would be indicative of success, the question is more telling about my perception of my success, which in most capitalistic contexts is irrelevant. Also, if you've ever taken one of those silly assessments that asks about what you would rather do or how likely you are to feel a certain way, you've probably encountered questions that seemed like they had no right answer. Sometimes, I want to pick strongly agree, and sometimes I want to pick strongly disagree for the same question. It depends on the day. Asking about whether I prefer to work with people or figures? Is that really a fair question? The only thing I could do was be honest and explain that it is not a matter of preference but a matter of comfort, though I most enjoy a context in which both opportunities are present to some degree. But many times I don't have the option of explaining myself. I think some people believe that because I need to work harder at these things, I'll be worse at them than someone who is naturally bubbly and extroverted. I would argue that my awareness of the situation gives me a more realistic perception and that I may sometimes surpass an individual that remains blissfully ignorant. But then there are times that I will not, and are those few instances what my entire life will be based upon? Again, I keep wondering how fair this is.

I was proud of myself for not completing falling apart after not doing so well at answering the first question. It was one of those questions that is probably meant to break the ice for most people, but it terrified me because I had no idea how to answer it. It was just too vague. I was faced with either saying nothing or perhaps going on for way too long. So I stumbled through an answer that didn't make much sense, now that I think about it. What was this prompt? "So, tell me about yourself."

I'm bothered by that question because no matter what answer you give, you're still giving an incomplete picture, unless your answer happens to be a novel.

(Distracted by the little gray dots on the whiteboard in my room.)

Monday, September 24, 2012


I've recently decided that I might want to move back to Pittsburgh. I now know why. I spent a weekend with the right people and kept my attention focused on that, instead of worrying about how miserable I might be on the off chance the wrong people confronted me. Despite a few unhappy looking glances in my direction, they seemed to be relatively easy to ignore, almost like they weren't even there. I've already lost my home to ignorant fucks on more than one occasion, and I don't intend to make a habit of it. Perhaps I am so drawn back to the city, not only because it is home but because I also have a lot of unfinished business to tackle. If I am going to leave somewhere, I want to be the one to decide that. The way things went down, I feel as if something has been taken from me, and I don't think I'll be able to live with the feeling of letting go so easily--of abandoning something I wanted so much and was so close to achieving. I wanted to establish my home out there for a reason, and that reason has not changed, and many of the people that helped me make that decision are still out there. I feel bad for not making them a bigger part of my life when it turns out I could have used them a great deal. I think going back would be very different this time around because I know which people are worth the time.

My brain definitely has a funny way of doing things.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I finally figured out how to write the introduction to my book. And I'm feeling pretty impressed with myself because of my opening analogy. I feel like the hardest part is behind me. Hooray for progress!

Monday, September 17, 2012


I am an awkward hugger. Hugging most people makes me uncomfortable. How I know that I really love someone--I can feel it in the hug. Those are the ones I wish would never end. It's so rare that I can find someone with whom I can share that much. If you can make me feel that comfortable, chances are you've got a shot. But good luck because the list is pretty short.
On Sunday, I just didn't want to let go. I wasn't sure until that very moment. But now I know that I really did and really do love him, in spite of everything. And once again, it's too late.
It never gets any easier to deal with this kind of pain.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


It's over. I'm completely sober, and I don't even think I'm tired. But my reign as Mr. Cattivo is over. I cannot even believe how much has happened in these last twelve months. But I think I said that already.

Everybody surprised me tonight. I really am proud of these guys for how much they have grown.

Let me also just say that I absolutely loved being in the backstage dressing room with Lady Rose and Tamara. That was perfect planning on Renee's part, and that definitely contributed to reducing the awkwardness that could have ensued.

What was awkward was staring out and seeing the first few rows of people giving me death glares the whole time. It's surprising how easy it is to ignore people who hate you when you just have to look beyond them to see the smiling, screaming faces.

But everyone was professional. It was nice. The way it should be.

And of course I cried, but I don't think most people noticed it. I don't think many who did had any idea why. And that's fine with me. Only I need to know.

I'm proud of what I have done. I need to keep thinking of it that way. I just hope it matters.

I'll probably have something more coherent to say when I've processed everything. But this is all I've got for now.

It also feels funny to try to congratulate someone who has blocked you on facebook, so you can't tag them anyway. But still, nicely done. And congrats to everyone.


Saturday, September 15, 2012


Sometimes I am scared that what I am doing will not be good enough. But this one isn't meant to be like that. It's more for me than for anyone else, and I'm hoping that people will understand that. At least one of them is flashy and nuts, though.

It feels like it has been way longer than a year. I can't believe that much shit can happen in twelve months. It makes me wonder what the rest of my life is going to be like.

The crying will definitely happen tonight. 12 months or 24 years worth. Not sure.

Roar. I guess I should continue to do things now. Why am I so nervous? It seems silly. Maybe it is because this is how people will remember me. Or maybe they won't, and that's a little scary.

I don't have time for this depression nonsense.

Second night

I consider it a great accomplishment that I didn't break down and cry in the middle of the bar tonight. Too many different emotionally complicated situations were happening all at the same time. I can't imagine what tomorrow will be like. I guess I almost hope tomorrow never comes. after Sunday, it'll finally be over for real. And I just don't want that. It doesn't make any sense at all. My heart keeps on finding new ways to break. Why am I even trying?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Return to South Oakland

Quite frequently, I get the urge to do something really nice and thoughtful for someone who absolutely doesn't deserve it. This happens with people I don't even really like all that much, but I am reminded of better times and of something that would make them smile, something that would be important to them. And I always want to be able to give that to people. I feel like this says way more about my personality than it should, and I'm not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

I'm staying with friends in Pittsburgh, and I do not feel pressured to party or be crazy or do anything I don't actually feel like doing this weekend. I feel like a guest coming in for a visit, not a freeloader or someone who just needs a place to sleep. I'm going grocery shopping with her tomorrow and helping out a little, not in return for her letting me stay here but because that's just simply the right thing to do.

It's strange how college apartments can feel like real homes. And then how some real homes will never be anything close to that.

I want to have the kind of home where my friends will always feel welcome. I want to be that safe haven for someone who really needs it. I want to just sit and be in the company of people who can live together as a family, who can be with each other in a room and not be strangers. I want to have the ability to control that about my place--the ability to open up my home to the people that matter to me.

The little things about people's places get to me. Seeing silly things like certain dishes or a Brita picther or even just movies on the rack instead of in some garbage bag three hundred miles away or shoved in a bin somewhere. Things have their place in a home. But I almost feel like I don't have one in mine. I think a lot of that has to do with my fears about January and my fears about my father. There are times I do want to just go upstairs and hang out with my mother, but I just don't want to be in the same room with him. I keep trying but it's so hard to get myself past what he's done and will inevitably do again. I don't know how to deal with this at all. I am learning a little more about how to deal with the good and bad sides of people (and that everyone does indeed have both), but what happens when the bad seems to outweigh the good so much? Is there a logical answer to this, and why the hell am I even trying to quantify good and evil in the first place?

More people getting married. Having babies and real jobs. And here I am. A wanderer with no sense of home or purpose. I wouldn't mind if I didn't feel like I were actually lost. I'm scared of not knowing. And I know I've said that too many times already.

I'm happy that I am right here, right now. As far as this present moment is concerned, there is no other place I would rather be. And I feel like I really will be able to fall asleep like a normal person tonight. I enjoy hearing laughter upstairs rather than crying or screaming.

I want my house to feel like home. And it doesn't NOT feel like home, entirely. There is just something missing, and maybe I just feel out of place. I feel like I don't really belong there. I don't even have a door to my room. I know that it is because I am still having trouble seeing this part of my life as anything other than a stepping stone to the next part, which may mean that I am afraid to make the place feel like home again. You can't miss home if you don't have one. I'm not sure which of those feelings is worse. I want to be able to feel the emotions I need to again.

Love. And the feeling of real friendship. Just having the touch of a human being mean something more than an accident or something that I have to do because it would be rude not to.

I don't think I have a calling. I don't think I am supposed to be doing anything. I'm not one of the lucky ones who has it all figured out, and I really thought I was. So what does that mean? Do I just decide to do something and see where it takes me? It's obvious that something will have to be left behind in order for me to do anything more with my life, but what will make me the happiest? There's no way to collect data on this one. There's no way to do an accurate calculation. I hate taking chances. I don't even buy lottery tickets.

I remember when I got lottery tickets on my 18th birthday, like it meant something. Now birthdays don't mean anything. How do I make this meaningful, this getting older thing? I don't want to be okay with the idea that I'll be alone for the rest of my life, but what if that is what I need to do in order to get out of the head space I'm in now?

I just feel surrounded by so much hate most of the time, and it's nice to be in a place where that isn't the case, if only for a few days. But I will probably feel that way on Saturday too. I don't even know what to expect. I guess I'll be crying either way.

Why is it so easy to be calm in South Oakland? Very odd.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Present

This January, I will leave this town. This will be my present to myself, whether I have a job in another place or not. This is my next step, and I know I won't be able to do or decide on anything else until I am in a better place.

I want a home. So I will make one for myself.


I don't want to make a decision based upon the fact that I'm in a shitty place in my life. I want to know that I would make the same decision if I were in a better place.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Why I'm Probably Not Doing Medical School

I've recently started rethinking my decision to rethink my career plans, but the more thinking I do, the less feasible the idea seems. I spent nearly twenty years of my life in school, always preparing for something and always making sacrifices for the future. Well, the future that I planned for never really came. And there's no guarantee that it well next time either. Medical school, from what countless doctors and medical students have told me, requires even more such sacrifices. You leave school with more debt and the prospect of at least five to ten more years of little to no sleep or social life. And you have little time to pursue other interests until you are older. I don't want to wait twenty years to be able to do the things I like to do because I may never get there. Going back to school because I don't know what else to do is a stupid idea. Going to medical school because I'm a smart person and that's what everyone else thinks that smart people do is stupid. I don't want to grow to hate people or to live with the harsh reality that doctors just don't have time to treat their patients the way they really deserve to be treated. I'm interested in the biological sciences and am fascinated by how things work, particularly the human body. I'm also interested in helping people live healthier lives, etc. And helping people in general. But is it worth it? I keep asking my self if medical school and the chance to be a doctor are truly worth it. And my gut just tells And I feel like a part of me has known this my whole life. I don't want to live for someone else anymore, and the sad truth is that doctors spend so much of their lives going through the machine that they become a part of it. I don't want that to happen to me. I don't want to lose my humanity. So many reasons not to do it, and not really that many to do it that can't be satisfied in some other way.

I've also decided that going back to school is really stupid if I am not entirely sure that I'm going to be pursuing a lifetime of research, etc. If I am to go back to school, I want it to have some relationship to what I will be doing. I've heard even more stories about people who go through graduate school and wind up in the same position that I am now, so what would be the point in driving myself further into debt?

So, I have no idea what to do yet again. I want to believe that this phase of not knowing will end at some point, but there's no way I can be sure, which is actually pretty funny now that I read back over it.

Going to DC made me realize that I do love seeing new places and meeting new people, especially in the queer community. Maybe it's time to reconsider where I'm truly needed and appreciated.

I keep crying over all of this. I am trying so hard to enjoy just being where I am and doing things that I'll never get to do again. But it's almost impossible when you want so much more from your life. I don't want to be waiting to die, and I have days where I feel like that is all I am doing. I come home and don't know what to do with myself and just wait to fall asleep, sometimes literally pacing. I can't concentrate on anything that I do need to do, and everything just makes me anxious or frustrated. All I want to do is following the schedule of make money and sleep.

Personal training is looking more and more likely because I enjoy working out like nothing else. It's one of the only things that has been constant in this entire psychological journey of mine, and I think it's one of the only reasons I'm still here. And I like being in charge of my own money. And I know that I take a different approach than most people to what is healthy.

And then I keep thinking about counseling again, after another conversation with a friend, after two more conversations of being able to take people from the pit of despair back into a state of comfort. I wish I had someone to walk me through this. I wish I could just know. I want to know when I will know. I want to know if any of these doubts are unfounded.

I don't want to feel like a failure. It's been drilled into my head that success means reaching the top. I know I'm smart. Really, really smart. And part of that sucks because people expect you to want to do what smart people always do, and they also expect that smart people just don't do anything else.

If I'm going to make a difference in this world, it isn't going to be through being a medical doctor. It's not going to be in some lab. It's going to be with real people, being a real person. I keep thinking back to what she said to me. And I just didn't understand it before. I took it as an insult, as a smart person might be expected to.

"You'll never be great. But you will excel at doing ordinary things."

And maybe that is some sort of greatness in itself.

Maybe going back to school isn't the answer. And if it is, there's always time for that. There isn't always time for a lot of the things I want to do in this world, however.

I don't need to be like everyone else. I thought that meant not being like every other doctor. Maybe it means that I don't need to be like every other smart person. I keep feeling like I'm wasting my intelligence by not going to medical school. Like I'm disrespecting the gifts that have been given to me. But there are other uses for intelligence. And I have much more to offer than my skills of logic and memorization. And maybe those aren't even the most important things that I can offer. But they will probably help me in offering what I can.

This is crazy. I never thought I would end up here. And I know I have said that before. But even if only slightly, the realization that I don't HAVE TO do anything has taken some weight off of my shoulders. What if there were no more schooling to be had? What if I just considered this to be living? What if I just started moving forward now, planning for the things I really what and consider important instead of planning for more sacrifices? It seems insane. It seems to go against everything I've been taught. But as I have learned so many times before, much of what I had been taught goes against the very nature of humanity itself.

I don't want to live without my dreams because those are the things that make life worth living. I honestly feel that my experiences in the queer community have helped me and those I've met more than any of my scientific or health-related endeavors. I know I have reached people, and I continue to get messages from people who want to thank me for just being me. And that feels amazing. I don't know if this is supposed to mean something yet, but it probably does.

So, if I am not going back to school...Well, start over. I'm not in any hurry to go back if there isn't something driving me (other than the pressure of time and not having money or not knowing what else to do). So now the planning for a real life can begin. I don't want to feel like I have to run back to school to escape my own life. Going back to school would be just like going back to Pittsburgh. It would be safe and familiar but it probably wouldn't help me at all. It might only put everything I'm dealing with right now on pause until I'm a little older. And that, as it turns out, isn't such a good thing. Because now I feel like a child in an adult body, and everyone else is leaving me behind. I've felt like that most of my life, and I know that's because I really am a little bit developmentally behind, at least in some areas. And that sucks to have to admit, and I'm embarrassed by it because it's just something that a lot of people will never understand. Mostly because I can pretend to be normal.

I knew there must have been some reason that damned Good Charlotte song kept coming up on shuffle. The universe does provide me with at least a few beautiful coincidences to keep me smiling.

Maybe my goal in life should be to keep doing things that make me smile.

I can't believe I am actually considering this, but teaching came up as a possibility. I think there are more than a few teachers in my family, and I absolutely love kids. And my presence would definitely mean something. I am just getting a lot of things flashing through my head right now. Maybe this is something, maybe nothing. But there is time. I need to calm down and keep reminding myself of this fact because not knowing it makes me feel like I need to do everything right now, and having that feeling shuts down my entire body.

I'm sure I will cry just as much when I finally figure all of this out.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Pouring Out My Brain

Today is a heavy sigh kind of day. It's Friday night, and I'm a little worn out from a double session at the gym today, preceded immediately by 6 hours of torturous work in a retail environment. I'm not in the mood to go out, but I wouldn't really be opposed if I were to get invited tonight. But that call will never come. I have a few things that need to be done, but it seems so late already that I'm afraid to actually start anything. And maybe I'd just like to relax and enjoy some time to myself, though not really to myself since my parents are upstairs, and I don't have a door, meaning I can hear everything that's going on up there anyway. I don't think I get a chance to really be alone very often, and maybe that would help me to feel less lonely. It sounds strange, but being by myself gives me time to recharge and to process what has happened. I feel like I can't keep up with my life when I don't have this opportunity. There are other things that interfere as well, but this might be the most troubling one. I seemed to be doing a lot better when I had my own place and could make my own rules about my living situation. And I didn't have to worry about someone being there when I didn't want them to be. I could know what to expect when I got home, recharge for even a few minutes or an hour, and be ready to go about my evening. Public transportation here is almost non-existent, so I literally always have to get a ride to go anywhere other than the shopping plaza near my house, which is still probably a little over a mile away.

There is no sense of community here either, not in the way that I need it. It's weird not having any trans or queer friends. I have what I would consider gay friends and acquaintances, but they don't quite get the concept of queer. As far as I can tell, I might be one of the only people in the county who does. Probably multiple counties. I miss being able to talk about queer things and am just bored by conversations and jokes that rely on stereotypes about men and women. And yet I am sometimes forced to use this same stereotypes to make connections with customers when I could honestly care less.

I think I lied. I forgot to mention something, so I didn't do it on purpose. The other day, a transwoman came into the store. I needed to use her ID to look up her credit card and complete the purchase. The ID was still in her birth name, and I treated her just like I would have any other woman coming through the line. I know she may not have noticed. She might have prayed for things to go smoothly, to not get any weird looks, to just be able to get in and get out without having someone questioning her identity or mocking her as she walked away. I know the look that someone gets in these situations. I wish I could have told her that I understand. I wanted to have some way of sharing with her that I got it and that there was someone else in this fucking shithole town who deals with the same thing on an almost daily basis. But I didn't want to draw attention to her. And I don't think she would have wanted me to do that either, but it still might have been nice for both of us. This is what I meant about losing my queer visibility. Not being able to make that instant connection. Not being able to look at another short-haired, obviously female-bodied person and exchange stories without saying a word. Just blending in and exchanging glances with people whose eyes have no stories to tell, who don't want their eyes to have a story to tell.

Without a whole community of transmen and people who get them, I find myself very lost up here. I'm all about education, but I don't want every interaction I have to be a lecture on gender theory. Sometimes I just want to be in a room full of people who get it. It's like trying to play a game of basketball but stopping all the time because your teammates don't really know the rules. There's no flow. No rhythm. And it's awkward.

It's not even ten o'clock. If I were in Pittsburgh, I'd be with my trans friends, most likely, or sitting next to the boy who wouldn't have broken up with me because I moved away. Because I wouldn't have moved away. I hate doing this to myself. If. It doesn't exist, so there isn't much point indulging in fantasies about a life that doesn't exist, at least not anymore. I would probably be having an easier time if I had been ready to leave. But there was so much that I didn't get to do. I was in the middle of so many important things. And I got blindsided. I had to leave against my will and with virtually no time to get my shit together. Maybe leaving home for college was so easy because I had all that time to get ready. Maybe planning to leave was easy because I would have been ready. I would have found a way to become ready. That never happened, and I still don't know how to handle it. I don't know how to get past what I assume is the feeling of regret/loss. I have a hard time letting things go. And an even harder time letting people go. I don't want this to be the end of things. But it just has to be. And it hurts every single day. I keep seeing and thinking about things that remind me of my friends and my old life. And I don't even feel like I could possibly be the same person, with the life that I am living now. I get tastes every now and then when I visit. It feels like the city is calling me back and telling me that everything is waiting for me to pick up right where I left off. It feels like everything will be the same. The comfort of a warm blanket and the arms of people who know you intimately, who can know you when you are unable to know yourself. I wonder if I will ever have that again, but more importantly, I mourn over the fact that I will never have anything like it ever again. Because each hug is different and each person radiates something different into my life. I can still feel the ripples, but they are fading, and I fear that I won't remember how beautiful it is to be loved.

I am losing my understanding of the experiences of love/intimacy because I live without them. I'm afraid that I will be so damaged by the experiences of the last few months (and years) that I'll never be able to fix myself, meaning that moving to a new city will leave me feeling exactly the same.

I'm still toying with the idea of going out tonight. But I'm leaning towards no because if I were to go, I'd really like to be able to do it myself. Maybe this thought kept coming back to me because my brain is trying to tell me what I need to do. But not all of my brain is telling me this. Other parts are afraid of going out. Am I afraid of going out because I have no connection or because I don't want to have a connection to this place? Will not having one make it easier to leave? It's ironic that misery can be comfortable. Or at least more comfortable than some things, like the unknown.

I just want to have a real conversation with someone again. To feel like we are really communicating something to one another instead of exchanging pleasantries and talking about things because we are afraid to be silent around one another. I won't go out tonight. Maybe I will next time, but I think I always say that. I don't want to have to pretend when I go out. Maybe I don't have to. But I'm always worried that a problem will arise, and I won't be able to get out of it, and no one else will know what to do. Or maybe I'm just fishing for excuses now. That last part sounds like something my brother would say.

I'm worried about stopping the writing again. Silence. Nothingness. Moving on to doing nothing. At least this might serve some purpose. I can't even tell if I am more or less agitated by doing this, writing when I can't stop thinking and/or when there is nothing else to do.

"do" is a word that made the list of jobs/career paths I've considered in the past year and a half flash in front of my eyes. PA, teacher, pharmacist, doctor, researcher (in different fields), personal trainer, businessman, entertainer. over and over again. i'm pretty sure art school was in there somewhere too. Social work. You name it. I have probably considered it. I don't know what the fuck to do. I wonder if I am any closer. I need to do something soon. If I don't, I may never do anything, and I would like to believe that doing something is better than doing nothing. Something queer. That always comes up as well. I wish I knew what made the most sense. I wish this were a decision based on logic or some magical equation. But life just doesn't work that way, or maybe it does and I don't know the equation. I suppose most people factor in money. And maybe time. But then everything kind of ends up the same when I think about it. I need to stop thinking about everything, all the time. There's no time to live with all of this thinking.

There's no time to live with all of this thinking. Interesting.

I'm terrified about having to take the bus tomorrow because I think I will miss it. And I don't know which route it takes or how early I need to be there. What will most likely happen is that I will leave ridiculously early and still be paranoid. And then I'll be too stressed out from the ride to handle a 5-hour shift on a Saturday night. I wish I weren't able to predict this. At least buses here are cheap, even if they only run until 4 PM tomorrow. I don't exactly hate this place. I just hate the way it works. And how people are morons. There seem to be way more of them here than anywhere else I've ever been. I'm honestly not surprised, but I wish I didn't have to deal with them every day. Morons with a lot of money, talking down to me. At least I treat them with respect. Even in real life, I treat idiots with respect. Idiots can still be nice people. (Please see the sarcasm here. I'm not really this much of a jerk.) I think I only use these terms when the combination is mean AND stupid. I suppose I get upset when people yell at me because of THEIR OWN dumb mistakes. It's fine if you yell about mine. Well, no it isn't, but at least I can understand that.

I have that feeling in my chest again. I think it has been there all day. But it's like something is sitting on my chest or compressing my insides. All the fucking time. And I know this isn't normal because I have a fading memory of the few weeks where I didn't feel like this. There were probably other times years ago, but those are difficult to recall.

I don't understand my own feelings all the time. I spend a lot of time trying to figure them out, and I get worried that this means I don't really know who I am. Then I think to myself, who does? This is really all over the place, isn't it? Makes sense to me.

I might not even be done tonight, but I think I am for now. Maybe I'll find something else to write about when I can't fall asleep later. When. Not if.

Monday, August 27, 2012

On Journeys...and some other stuff

I think I am in the process of learning that whatever is happening in this present moment is important. More specifically, I am learning that life--or any part of it--should not be treated as a means to an end...since, really, that means you are just preparing for death. I definitely grew up always looking ahead to something, feeling like I would finally arrive at "where I am supposed to be" right on schedule. What seems to be making this part of my life tolerable is this knowledge that what I am doing now is important, not because it is aimed at attaining the next step in the journey but because it is an important part of that journey itself. This part of my life does matter, and I've probably had such a difficult time with all of it because I don't believe I've ever lived without believing that what I was doing was all just to get somewhere else. Maybe things will be different if I start doing things to be here instead, metaphorically speaking.

I need to remember it, so I might as well say it again. No part of your life is simply a means to an end. Even a simple shower, which most people would say is aimed at getting you clean and ready to go out the door in the morning, can be an experience. What if it were just something nice that you could enjoy, without having to worry about what comes next? Why does it matter what comes next? Why would it matter if you were to treat every stage of your life like it means something and is where you are supposed to be? I've spent so long dreaming of the future. I've spent so long being depressed over not having that future, when I haven't even gotten through the present or taken the time to understand what I need to be doing in it. This whole thought process is what I need to be doing.

And there is no next step, at least no clearly defined next step like there had always been. I'm sure my peers had this figured out a few months after graduation...or maybe they still don't because they are still going through steps. Still jumping through hoops to get to where everyone has told them they want to be.

My trip to DC was incredible, and I learned exactly what I needed to learn from it. It was a test, and I think my friends knew that as well. It was so easy to talk with people there. It felt like living, if that makes any sense. I got to see the power of real friendship again, and I miss that. I got to see people going out of their way to be a friend to people that really needed it. I got to be a part of a community that was ready to accept me without hesitation. I got to be a part of a drag show with hundreds of lesbians in the crowd, with a few in the front row literally screaming and grabbing over the railing at me. I got to watch a video of my performance for the first time in so many months without feeling like I let myself down. I hadn't felt such a tremendous surge of positive energy about performing or even going anywhere/doing anything in so fucking long. I felt like I could handle the whole process of moving and starting my life. I felt like I could tackle anything, even something I've been afraid of for the past two years, something that I didn't think I'd ever be able to do.

And now I'm questioning things yet again. I just want to be sure. I had a talk with Aidan about why I didn't go to medical school. There are a few reasons I've only recently discovered, one being that I didn't want to admit that I wasn't ready for that level of maturity at the time. But I've honestly been terrified that I wouldn't be able to do it and live a full life outside of my career. I want to still be able to do all of the things that I enjoy, and I've again learned that that might be possible. I don't have to do it the way everyone else does it, and that is interesting. I have also been afraid that I just won't be good at it. Or that I won't be capable of handling something like that. But maybe not knowing is worse. I know that this just pushes my decision back again, but maybe it's worth thinking about. Maybe it would also allow me to do all of the other things I enjoy without struggling so much. I'm not done thinking about it. That's another thing I've had to learn the hard way--that you can't always find an answer. I want to be able to go to sleep knowing that things are solved, but that's not possible, and it's kept me awake for over twenty years. It probably won't stop, but I think it might be getting better.

Ken Las Vegas said he looks forward to the day when he can meet me in person. That was probably one of the best compliments ever, and it makes me feel like I am doing something right, finally. I keep wondering if I'll ever be able to have that kind of effect on people or if I already have. I'm positive there are people I greatly admire who have no idea how important they have been in my life. I've never even met some of them. I hope they know somehow.

The dynamics of any work environment are also extremely interesting. In a few months, I've gone from a know-nothing to someone who can be trusted with quite a bit of responsibility. I am taken seriously, and I am also invited out to join a group of co-workers for drinks, parties, etc. I managed to successfully integrate (I first chose the word infiltrate since it seems like there is some deception going on whenever I successfully accomplish a social goal) into both environments. I belong. And it's crazy. I very rarely get to feel like that. There were years in drumline where I never really felt that way, but then again, some people were trying to make that happen. So maybe that wasn't my fault. I'll never really know.

I don't feel ecstatic about everything in my life. I'm not manic right now. I don't feel like I can conquer the world, but I might be able to do the things I want to do. And maybe not feeling like shit and not feeling terrific, being somewhere in between, is being normal. I feel like I'm seeing things as they are without passing judgment. The essence of mindfulness. I guess it can be learned.

Monday, August 13, 2012


I've discovered what might be a large part of the problem, but maybe it's also a solution. My refusal to be ordinary--to accept that I'm just another average person destined to live a life of mediocrity--is killing me. If I were okay with living like this, being in this place forever, maybe I'd be happier. If I simply realized that I'm never going to be anything great, I could let go of my emotional baggage and get on with that being ordinary business. But I still believe, for some reason, that if I let go of this desire to do something somewhat important or meaningful, it'll never happen anyway. Or maybe it'll be like getting a free dessert when you're not even hungry. I don't know.
I may have come entirely full circle. Or not.
This indecisiveness is a trap.
I hate this because now I don't even care enough to continue writing about everything that's happening in my head.
I cannot see good things. Every time I think of anything in the future, I am immediately hit with dozens of negatives, and even if I try, I can't see the good in any situation.
But I guess you don't get over depression just by trying harder. It doesn't just get better on its own.
I need to stop all of this nonsense, but I can't.
I'm trying not to let this invade the one thing that makes me happy, but I feel like it's already starting to.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I see the difference in tone in my writing between the medicated and non-medicated portions of my life in the last 8 months. I guess I really wasn't as miserable.


I'm scared of leaving, and I'm scared of not leaving. I'm terrified that I'll leave and not know how to handle it. I won't know where to go, and I'm worried that I'll be too overwhelmed to even try to go anywhere, meet anyone, do anything, etc. I'm worried about moving in with people I've never met before. I'm worried that I'll be even more lonely than I already am. As far as staying here is concerned, I'm worried that I'll never leave. I'm worried that something terrible will happen in January. I'm worried that I'll snap before then. I don't know if I can do this, and I don't want to be dealing with it at all. I wish I had words to describe the combined physical and emotional feelings I'm fighting right now. I just don't want to do any of this anymore. I very rarely feel any sort of positive emotion. I keep asking for help. But it doesn't matter. I can't even keep my thoughts straight enough to finish a sentence here without pausing and having them wander all over the place.

I don't want to be here in January because I don't want to have to be afraid of two people I'm living with. I can barely handle the one. I ended up breaking the bathroom mirror yesterday, and the only reason I can come up with is that I was going to end up doing something much worse. I don't want to be in a place where I have this little control of my circumstances, but I don't know if I'll ever be able to get to a new place and have it either. Control needs to be gained in every situation. It's not something that's just there. And if I'm not in the position to gain control, I'm screwed.

I just keep getting the feeling that this isn't going to end well. I'm not even sure what I mean by the word "this". It could be a number of things, but I don't have very many good feelings about anything. I keep coming back to the realization that there is something wrong with me that cannot be fixed and that I'm never going to be okay. And I wonder if I will be able to live the rest of my life knowing that about myself.

Every time I even try to pursue a line of thinking to get me out of this mess, I end up stopping myself because I feel that it just doesn't matter. There are so few things I care about right now. But I want to care. I know that some part of me does, but there is a part of me that's making me not care or that feels like it useless to care. There's the part of me that keeps saying I'll get over it and tomorrow will be better, but it never really is. Maybe I'm fine for an hour or two or when I can find a way to completely forget about my life, but I cannot honestly think about my life in any way without feeling terrible. And I go through my day feeling terrible and questioning every good thing that happens to me.

I'm trying to remember if I really did feel better on medication. But I don't know. Maybe I was feeling better because I was in a better place or because I had something to consume me, but I don't know. I was still on medication the first two months or so I was here, and I really felt like I was making progress. And then I stopped. And then I just started to feel worse. I don't know if those two are related since a few more shitty things happened to me around the same time I stopped.

And now I am worried because I don't have a doctor for my T, and I don't have one for my fucked up head, and I can't find either or afford either.

I don't want to be this. This isn't right. It isn't fair that the only thing I seem to be able to think about is my misery. And it pushes everything else out of the way.
I feel like I'm always struggling to breathe, like there is always a tremendous weight pressing down on my chest.

I get the feeling that I won't be able to leave here until I have this under control. But I don't know if that's possible.

No matter how much I want certain things, I can't have them. I can't even try to have them. I've given up on so many things because it's better than just wishing and hoping. I've trusted too many people to help me that promised they would, and I just don't believe it anymore. I don't want to care about these things because I just keep feeling disappointed. And I end up feeling more trapped.

Trapped. Anxious. Terrified. Restless. Angry. Frustrated. Miserable. Lonely. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

I want to stop pretending to be okay and actually be okay. But if I stop pretending to be okay, even more people will hate me, and I've already found this out through experience and am still fucking dealing with the consequences of allowing myself the one fucking time to completely break down and try to put my life back together.

I really just can't do this myself, and no one here seems to be able to care about that. No one seems to want to see what's really happening to me.

Like the time my brother told me, drunk and sitting down in the bathroom, that he was going to do something and he wasn't going to be able to stop himself. I told my mother. She refused to make anything of it. And now here we are.

I looked her in the eye the other night and told her I was serious over and over again. I know I was begging for her to just get me some help already. But it's never going to happen. I guess I understand not wanting to believe your son is fucked up, crazy, and will never amount to anything because of it.

I wonder whatever happened to all of that potential.
What the fuck is happening and why?
I keep thinking that this isn't normal, but maybe it is for me, in which case there is really nothing anyone can do.

I really wish I could focus on something else. I want to write about something else and really feel it. I don't want to be teased by one or two good days just to be taken down even further than before.

I want to throw up all of my insides.
I want all of this to fucking end already.

No matter how much I know that people care, I don't feel a god damned thing. I can't feel anything but pain. I'm just fucking numb to happiness and love. I keep doing the things that make me happy and trying to be around the people that care, hoping I'll be able to fake it till I make it or something like that, but I end up feeling so much worse because NOTHING IS WORKING.

And I am writing this because I need to show somebody. And there is only one person I can think to show this to, other than the people already reading it, and I know she's going to feel like shit reading it and blame herself. I want more than anything in the world to be okay for her and for everyone that cares about me, more than I want to be okay for myself. I'm not sure I care about myself at all. I don't hate myself. I just hate my life. And I don't know if that makes sense. Or maybe I do hate myself and don't know it. I used to be able to name things about myself that I liked and be able to smile and understand why they were true. But I name the same things and only become miserable because all of these things have gotten me absolutely nowhere. I might as well never have tried. I might as well never have been any sort of special.

I came back here to try to start over but I ended up back in the past and more miserable than ever, and things looked so promising a few months ago. Now I'm questioning whether I want to even mention this to anyone else at all. I don't want to worry someone over something that probably won't improve anyway. You kind of have to be in an environment that's conducive to improvement. And while there are a few wonderful things about being here, there are a few terrible things too, and I can't fix any of them. And I feel worse and worse every time and more desperate every time.

I keep writing, hoping I'll feel better, but it never works.

How much more of me is there really left to destroy?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Starting to Do Things

I don't know how to write a statement of research interests and goals. I should probably contact people from the specific schools to which I am applying because I have no idea if I am doing this the right way. I just needed to do something, and I think writing this has allowed me to step back and figure out why I want to do what I want to do and why it makes sense for me to go for this degree. Technically, it would be in Kinesiology, but some schools don't have programs in that, and everything would fall under the Neuroscience heading. Anyway, I started writing the story of how I got to this point and how my interest in research has been somewhat rekindled. I'm not sure if there needs to be more or less of anything, but I like it. I'm sure it will change, but I don't know where I need to go from here with it.

I began my journey into the healthcare field without much of a thought. Everyone always assumed that I would become a doctor, and I did too. I was smart, and I had a passion for science and helping people, and that was enough for me at the time. Everything was going fine. But then the questions came. But these weren’t questions about the career I wanted to pursue. They were questions about my core identity as a person. Suddenly, all of my plans for the perfect future began to unravel.
In my medical school personal statement, I made a remark that sent up a red flag to my advisor: I said I didn’t want to fix people. I want to be able to give people the tools to claim agency in their own lives—to take control of their health with their own hands as I had done. A few more conversations and dozens of pages of introspective journaling helped me discover that medical school wasn’t going to be right for me, at least at that point in my life.
My original goal was to take a year off from school, save some money, evaluate what I wanted to do, and then go on my way about being an adult with a fancy degree, etc. But the job never came, and the more options I discovered for my future, the more paralyzed I became. I was frozen. My circumstances, combined with constant worries about my dwindling finances and personal relationships, eventually disrupted my ability to function entirely. I spent four days in a psychiatric ward under constant supervision, and there was no great epiphany when I left. I felt better, but things were terrible, and they continued to be terrible. A month or so after losing my job, I lost my home. After six years of independence and building a life and a community for myself, I left Pittsburgh with nothing but a few garbage bags worth of clothes and the random trinkets I had amassed from college. I moved back home with my parents, into the same bedroom I swore I would never inhabit again six years earlier. I took a look at the college degrees that had come in the mail. I had never seen them in person until that point. I wanted to burn them.
Every week or so, I would have a new idea about what I wanted to do with my life. But each time, I would find dozens of reasons that I would fail, whether it be my Asperger’s or this or that limitation I have in my background. But my not-so-glorious revelation came to me in little spurts, over the course of the months I spent getting to know my family and my hometown all over again.
I realized that through all the turmoil, two things had remained constant, though the depression played a significant role in delaying this realization: my passion for the science of the human brain and my obsession with physical activity and movement. When nothing else mattered or made sense, science was still beautiful. When I could not force myself to speak to another soul or look my own boyfriend in the eye, I could take my body to the gym and lose myself in the rhythm of my workout. I did not see it at the time, but these are the things that have given my life meaning ever since I can remember. I defined my college days by my involvement in drumline—the study of music through moving and feeling in perfect synchrony with my peers. And my fondest and most vivid memories from childhood are of playing sports, climbing walls, and just moving my body—pushing it—as far as I could.
In January, I met a man who helped me discover the impact that my experiences have had on my own thinking. I began writing articles on mind-body fitness, among other things, for immediately after returning from my stay at Resolve Crisis Center. My own writing about the brain’s ability to influence the body, positive psychology, meditation, and even my pieces on the basic biology of exercise and the human brain acted as the first bit of therapy. The words I found to relate these ideas to others helped me to see how much I believed in them myself—how much I needed to believe in them in order to keep living.
When I lost my home, I felt like I had lost everything. And it took until what most would consider a short time ago for me to pick up where I had left off. My mother, down nearly 150 pounds from her heaviest weight only two years ago, has learned to embrace the challenge of exercise in precisely the same way as I have, and it moved me to tears when I started joining her in her own exercise routine. We work together, challenge each other, and my experiences with my first individual trainer have been absolutely inspiring. And when I am inspired, the nerd in me rejoices and cannot be tamed.
I began to think further about the ideas I had been developing with What if we were able to design a personalized exercise program that used data from the client’s own functioning brain? Obviously, this would be an expensive approach, but more realistic research questions and practical applications can definitely be drawn from the initial question. If we knew more about how the human brain responds to exercise in the long term and the short term, we could develop more effective training programs that not only target the muscles of the body but help to enhance the function of the brain as well, creating a positive-feedback loop. The impact of exercise on mood, longevity, and life satisfaction is well-known, but unlocking the minute details of how we attain these results will be the key to unlocking many more mysteries of brain function, perhaps the most promising of which are adult neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. My specific interest is in learning about how the various mental, physical, and social components of human physical activity influence brain function over time in normal versus diseased populations, emphasizing the role of exercise in inducing neurogenesis. I am also interested in the neurological basis of health behaviors, and whether certain neural profiles are more likely to result in a physically active lifestyle. Exercise has been a release for me for as long as I can remember, and I have long believed that the symptoms of my Asperger’s syndrome are much more manageable because of my active lifestyle. Exercise is about coordination, concentration, completing specific tasks, and in many cases, becoming a part of a group and learning the social rules that go along with membership in that group. It would be fascinating to take a look at how the brain of an AS person responds to physical activity in comparison to that of a neurotypical individual. Research into this area might unlock more about the mystery of autism as well as provide valuable data to inform future treatment plans that include exercise therapy as a physical and social aid.