Kitteies in my dreams

Hi folks, so I’ve been gone awhile – busy with school.

I dreamed last night something significant – about a kitten.  Whenever I dream of kittens, I know that they are actually about me.  So.  There’s this recurring dream where I cloned my favorite kitteh, who was named CrackerJack, or maybe mated him and adopted a dead ringer for him.  This kitteh in my dream is the dead ringer type – green eyes, fluffy red hair, just a little fuzzball.  Plus, adventurous, the way Cracker was when he was little.  It wasn’t the instant bond that I had with Cracker, though.  This little one is very independent.

We were for some reason at a zoo/pet shop, and I was holding Cracker #2 (didn’t have a name), and I let him down for a minute because I felt bad for a tiger who was in a pen with nothing, and wanted Cracker #2 to be able to meow or roam, unlike the tiger there.  So he did, but he took off!  He went in between the pens/cells (I don’t like zoos, but that’s a whole other topic) and the area where we could see him, so he was kind of like a kitty superimposed on all of these wild animal cages.  I kept calling “Cracker!” and went up to someone who at a refreshment stand, petting a white lion (or something like that), and asked her to call a zookeeper to help me reclaim Cracker #2. While up there, I noticed that all of the people working at the zoo were middle-aged women.

So I tracked Cracker #2 and someone else, I don’t know who, was calling him too.  Occasionally.  I eventually found a way into the area that he got into – in between the pens and the glass that zoogoers look into – and retrieved the kitteh.

Then we were outside a huge electronics store, and there was a dog(?) and Cracker #2 in our car.  He kept wanting to get out, and my mom left a window cracked for him, but I could tell that he could escape.  So I called my brother to get my mom (she had the keys) so we could close the window (dead kitteh, I know), and keep him in.  My brother showed up with the keys, and I caught Cracker #2 just in time before he escaped from the car.  Then my brother saw a decorated paper plate that had scribblings on it that as like, “In memoriam of grandpa” and contained “agender” “transgender” (knew I’d throw the trans* stuff in here somewhere 😉 ) and other terms.  I had decorated the plate before, and it showed up here.  My brother said he was going to the store to get samples(?) of food for our holiday meal, and needed a plate.  I was like, “Told you I was obsessed!”

So that’s about it.

I know that it has to do with me, and I think it has to do with my being kind of a “new soul” in the school department I’m at, and wanting to roam intellectually, not be penned in.  I wrote an essay that kind of played to my prof’s interests (don’t we all do that sometimes?) last time, and felt a little bad about it because I should be writing what I think and not just slacking and trying to get an A.  The trans content – I guess I was talking to my best friend yesterday, who was a little freaked out by my super-short haircut, and who said, “Your boy side is showing up more” (haircut???), “and I’m uncomfortable with that.  That’s my shit, but I thought you should know.”  Which, to me, haircuts are haircuts.  Short is short; convenient is convenient; it doesn’t have much to do with gender identity/expression, but then again, I don’t have to look at myself when I’m talking to people, so maybe I’m in a privileged position to say that.  I’m still unsure of what this dream means, and I thought I’d write it down and process a little bit.  Hopefully, I’ll see Cracker #2 in the future.  Maybe this was an introduction dream!

Family Secrets – A Tribute to Ivan E. Coyote

Something I’m working on….haven’t figured out the right ending yet.

Family Secrets – An Homage to Ivan E. Coyote

by Sam Allen

I’ve always wondered who I got it from.

Not like a disease, but a flower that someone gave to me a long time ago, pressed in between the pages of an old photo album. A flower that I discovered late in my 20s; a symbol of love and endurance.

My uncle? Nah, a bad candidate. He was a child taken too far away too early, to a dark place full of urges that he was taught to indulge, and abuse.

My grandfather? Who knows. My aunt Betty tells me that he didn’t like his penis, the thing that most men (I’m assuming) take great pride in. “This thing,” he called it.

But still, what did I know back then, when she was trying to tell me something important?

Now I know that it’s because it was still too far removed. Not intimate enough to be like sleeping in the same bed with your childhood best friend, or making puppets with your stuffed animals during sleepovers. Girlfriend close.

She. Or they, or he. It’s still hard to fathom a pronoun change for this love. Someone who cooked me dry beef patties and carrot and raisin salad when I came over from seventh grade, intentionally missing the bus again so I could spend time with her. Grandma.

A safe haven like no other world could be.

Grandma who didn’t know her grandparents, to the best of my knowledge. Just like my dad.

But she persevered nonetheless, taking class after class at the junior college and having her work published (stolen, actually) in a professor’s writings. According to her.

Mom says that she always felt she had a penis.

We were talking about family gays, and how I didn’t have many, in one of our evolving conversations about the nature, and mom’s feelings, about, my “homosexuality.” I call it queerness. 🙂

And suddenly, she says, her eyes casually off in the distance, “Well, one time granny told me that she always felt she had a penis growing inside of her.”

I stop.

Yeah, Granny had worn men’s BVD’s. She said they were more comfortable, and was once aghast that an ambulance crew had discovered her little-concealed secret. Cackling like only she could to recall the story.

And yeah, she also hated to French kiss men, or, rather, be Frenched by them.

These things my aunt had pointed out were emblems of her possible queerness. But I wanted more concrete evidence.

Something like this…

“But her brothers raped her when she was little,” mom says. I know that doesn’t explain it but I have to consider her argument respectfully.

“Well, gender identity and body image are things that are innate. Like, at 3 or 4,” I say.

Body image in a way that I can relate to if not exactly have. Maybe she was trans*, maybe not. She may have been right in the middle, just like me. Maybe not. I have to resist making her in my own image.

But this revelation gave me a possible, unexcavatalbe ground that I can stand on and return to. Talk to in times of trouble. Stories.

My grandmother was like me.

When I came home from Portland, I spent so much time plumbing my dad’s memories of his brother the child molester. The gay child molester. A baby boy of 15 probably committed suicide because of what he did to him. He was repeating what an uncle had done to him when he was only 12. Later, dad’s brother had relationships, and my dad recalled softly how Uncle Richard had come out to him before Harvey Milk made it a thing. Or maybe while. While they were backpacking through the mountains, something that I still cannot at all imagine my dad doing or wanting to do.

As for Granny, she came to me in a dream once when I was having a horrible time with agoraphobia and a fear of, basically, everything.

“Ooh! People!” She cackled. We cackled together.

I know that others search for their queer ancestors. I I follow the matriarchal line, holes and missing male relatives and all, on ancestry.com out of a rejection of the patriarchy. Ireland! Ellender! Exactly what I hoped for!

This is different.

It’s a portrait of complexity. Did she tell others about how she felt? I can’t shut up about it to the people I’m close to. Was she ever in a relationship with someone who affirmed what she felt? Something many people search for.

I should have been looking closer. Somewhere where “women” tell their secrets to others who look and feel like their own kind. Maybe.

This is How Work Should Be

So I started a new job about two weeks ago.  It’s fast food, which requires precision and, well, fastness.

I was nervous at first because the last two similar jobs (similar meaning minimum wage) that I had had rampant sexual harassment, not just of me, but of several women in the store.  I didn’t know if I was up to the challenge of keeping my cool while someone was insulting me again, but I decided to give it a go because a) I had been hired (woot!) and b) I was desperate.

Much to my surprise, I found some really nice people at the place where I work.  Everyone tries to keep it a positive experience, and a manager was actually called out by another manager for being too aggressive and bossy during my last shift.

I was frying stuff and thought, while a co-worker complained that his order hadn’t been called yet, that this is what work is supposed to be like.

At those other jobs, I would have been constantly looking behind my back to listen for the latest slur or jibe, being supremely distracted by it all.

Here, I just had to hurry up with my work – not small task either, but one made easier by the knowledge that no one was talking about me.

It’s weird, actually.  People kind of like me.

But you know me, I’ve got something to worry about anyway.

I promised myself that I’d cut my hair short again (FREEDOM!!!) once I got my first paycheck, and that date is coming up on Friday.

I don’t want to be treated differently by my co-workers and managers, though.  I’m nervous!  

What if I do uncover some latent homophobia or transphobia in the fast food and supermarket world?  What if it does make a difference?

I know that I need a haircut anyway, and I need to be myself again.  Hoping that the dysphoria won’t increase with short hair, since I’ll be seeing all of my face.  Nerves nerves nerves!

What I’m thinking of doing is slowly easing myself back into a short haircut.  First, I’ll get it short on the sides and long on the front a la queerbois and Macklemore so that I can still have bangs.  If I feel it needs to be shorter, I’ll go the fauxhawk route.

With this mask of longish hair, I haven’t gotten the societal crap that shorthairs get regularly for about a year now.  And I like that.  But at the same time I’m dissatisfied because it’s not me.

Just wish we could all be the same, and good!

Another Therapy Appointment

Well, another therapy appointment.

This one went about the same.  I feel like I’m having to teach her about non-binary genders and substantiate my identity through argument.  Which is not what I signed up for.  She has my best interest in mind, but I think she has been influenced by the whole “Gender role = gender” (second-wave feminism?) construct and I keep telling her that I have no interest in gender roles.  Even in, especially in, romantic relationships.  Ugh.

But she’s helping me, and has helped me, with my longer-term goals like agoraphobia and stuff, so that’s good.  I honestly thought when we were talking that I might need to see another counselor who’s more up with gender identity and genderqueer things for the genderqueer on T (or maybe not?) issues.  But that could get really complicated because their perspectives would probably be worlds apart (she’s a behaviorist, which I really like and need, but I just want to stop arguing.)

I think I had the upper hand, though.  Which I shouldn’t think about in a therpay session, but that’s how it goes. I told her that I never had an interest in gender roles (thanks in part to who I am mentally, and thanks in part to my dad and mom who eschewed them pretty much all the time, especially my dad) from the start.  And that makes me independent of all of the gendered bullshit that I have to consider about transitioning.  This doesn’t sound quite right, but I’ll go with it since it’s early.

She said that my gender presentation is pretty in the middle, reflects my non-binary identity, but at the same time, I a) don’t know what that means (should have asked her but I was trying to counter something she said) and b) I’m unhappy with my appearance at this point because by body appears way too feminine and I feel like I’m “passing” as female.  But that could have been different from what she was thinking.

One point that she made that I need to think more about is whether I’ve internalized at some level the negative images of female masculinity.  I was talking about Hedwig and the Angry Inch movie’s Wig in a Box and the shot where after Hedwig has transformed herself into these fabulous people, and then looks in the cut mirror, and is like, “Wtf?  Who the hell am I?”  I’ve always thought that was a brilliantly empathic piece of understanding by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask etc. to understand how some trans people feel – go to great ends to make themselves up into something that they can accept, nay, celebrate!, and then look at themselves from a new angle in the mirror and they’re still, in my case, female, and so, wtf.

I felt good about being a kind of gender shape-shifter, read as male a lot but not all the time, when I was skinnier.  I reminded someone of his dad who had passed, and I took that as a *huge* compliment.  But have I internalized some piece of societal crap that says “women” (etc.) shouldn’t “do those things?”  I don’t know.  I worked through that when coming out b/c of who I was, and had a lot of pride in my appearance, and thought changing both by my own means and surgical/biochemical means was reasonable and maybe in the works, if I wanted/needed it at the time.  Optimisitic is what I would say about my take on my body.  Even though I’ve always had a little bit of shame about being chubbier in the thighs and stuff than I thought I should be.  Still, general positivity.

So that’s what happened at therapy regarding T.  She’s done a lot of medical research on the side effects of T, and called it T in her email to me, both of which I really feel appreciative about.  Like she’s meeting me on my level.  I haven’t picked up the Genderqueer: Beyond the Sexual Binary book yet from my dad’s house, so I haven’t sent her that essay that I want her to read (with a disclaimer, of course, to mention that I’m not trying to tell her that she’s policing my decision (although kind of is) the way that the doctors policed the writer’s decision while they/he/she/ze was trying to go on T.

She’s an excellent therapist, but there’s a learning curve here.

What I still feel is that I need a change.  In the gender arena, or otherwise.  I know that’s vague, but that’s how I feel.  More understanding to come.

I don’t feel like she’s oppressing me but…

How do you counter someone who has doubts about your want to go on HRT?

I have doubts myself, and my therapist, whom I trust and like as a person (she has the bestest laugh!) thinks that I should think about whether I’m imposing unattainable male images onto myself.  Or was when I was skinny.

It’s something to think about.

I remember wanting to look more like a guy when I was in Portland, but too scared of all of the other changes that would happen.  So I didn’t go on T.

I’m still afraid of the changes that might happen, even if I go on a low dose of Androgel – I don’t know if I want to think more like a guy.

At the same time, I feel like I need a change.

Is this the change that I want?  It scares me.

I don’t know how to explore if I’ve internalized gay male images.  I said I wanted to look like a young gay boy, which is only partially true, but it was a red flag for her.  She’s done work, I take it, on male and female body image and pointed out that a lot of women want to look either like a 12-year-old girl (androgynous, no hips at all, angular face) or a young gay man.  she pointed out that most modes – male and female – have eating disorders to acheive that no-curves look.  She’s new to the whole trans* thing and I can teach her stuff.

But the thing is, it’s my face that I want to change.  I know that I have some shitty body image issues that are related to being fat / being too curvy (in the past), but I don’t really regard my body with the same kind of ambivalence that I do my face.  

Like I said in an earlier post, I want to look like Mark from Rent.  I think that’s a healthy face aspiration to have.  He’s not overly skinny but still has a male jawline and cute hair like mine.  Same for Trey Anastasio.

I’m thinking, though, that I should wait and lose some weight before I make a final decision to go on T.  That’ll clear up a good portion of the body image issue that is just really intertwined with the wanting to look more like a boy issue.

It’s funny.  “Would losing weight clear this up?” “Would a more masculine haircut do it?” These are the questions that I regularly ask myself.  I haven’t done either, but since they’re so pervasive maybe I need to address them first.  How much is enough?

I know that I’m going to have to educate her on genderqueerness – that I can not want a male body but still want to be on T – in the long run. She said that I’ll have a few weeks before my next appointment to research. And I think I’m gonna do some research for _her_ – get and print out an article or two from my Genderqueer: Voices from Beyond the Sexual Binary book for her to read.

She’s open-minded, but needs to know a little bit more about where I’m coming from. What’s better than an article or two to supplement what I’ve already told her?

 

 

 

LGBTQ* History! – Interview with Margaret Baker-Street

LGBTQ* History! – Interview with Margaret Baker-Street

So my friend, the life coach Margaret Baker Street, interviewed me for her podcast Coming Out Alive.  It’s on queer history. You can access it at the link above, or below:

http://loaradionetwork.com/margaret-street.html

 

 

Dream 1 – Rainbow baseball bats and a toothy fish

So I had an interesting dream last night.

I had fallen asleep in the living room listening to NPR’s “Latest Stories” and this dream occurred there.

I remember a drawing of a two-headed fish with teeth, or maybe a shark, like a child’s drawing.  Done in a colored ink.  It was kind of janus-y, with one side reflecting the other, except that one of the heads was full and clear, and the other was a little shrunken.

Then we went on to meeting with Joe Stevens of Coyote Grace (I recently contacted him about doing a workshop at a conference I’m involved in; alas, no deal, because I did so prematurely without realizing that there wasn’t enough time for him to do his thing).  Anyway, I met with him, and he had a multicolored small baseball bat, with streaks of purple, yellow,and orange snaking down the length of the bat.  He taught me how to color my own bat that way – a rainbow-colored bat.  We didn’t use the bats for hitting things, just swung them.

Then during that swinging session, a tall man in all black, kind of like a menacing cartoon character, intruded into my field of vision.  Started walking towards me. It was so scary that I woke up and screamed.

******

I’m thinking that this dream has to do with gender.  The two-sided fish could represent my gender – one side is fine, and to be complete, the stunted side needs to grow.  I like the idea of gender as a circle, kind of the way these fish appeared (or maybe an oval), and to be full, that other side, whatever it is, needs to be complete.  Or maybe it doesn’t – maybe it’s my perception that it needs to grow.  

I’ve been thinking a lot about my hair lately.  It’s one of the reasons why I get read as female, and maybe as straight, most of the time these days.  It really bugs me, but I don’t want to cut my hair short again because I’m going to Idaho with my dad this summer and really, really don’t want to get harassed and stared at.  I want the passing privilege that my long hair gives me even though I hate it.

The compromise that I find could be to cut my hair shorter, but still below my face, and layer it in a way in which I could part it sideways, thereby giving me a more masculine look.  That’ll help as I begin to (fingers crossed) lose weight and genearally feel better about my face, which, to my eyes, is really fat now.  There’s nothing like looking in the mirror and not seeing what you think you are.  This is only exacerbated by the weight gain, and I also hate it.

The bat sounds like something phallic.  Maybe.  Or a way of relating to the world – reaching out, and swinging back in.  Being taught by Joe Stevens is significant because he’s an important singer to me – his songs have helped propel me to Portland, console me when I came back.  Transitions of all kinds aided by him.  Rainbow means I can do it in my own way, my queerish way.

So that’s my dream.  I thought I would put it up on here as a record, and also so people could offer their thoughts, if they have any.

“Nobody Likes to But I Really Like to Cry”: Daily Prompt – Singing the Blues

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/prompt-singing-the-blues/

 

I write when I’ve got the blues.  In fact, I’m trying to train myself to feel inspired at times other when I’ve got ’em.

I guess it came out of my Trauma Time (vaguely Hunger Games-ish, is it not?) when I had to get it out or burst.  The feeling in my stomach, the place that felt the injury the most from, would intensify, not a hardness or a pain, but a deep and pliable softness.  Like I was ready to give birth, maybe.  And then I’d write.

And I would feel better afterwards.

This is when I had faith that I had something to say.

At first it was a trauma blog that I maintained on OkCupid, a letter to the city that hurt me.

Then I extracted some of that, a fable in particular, and felt that I needed to write like that.

Bad idea.  I was high on Adderall when I wrote that story, and it just didn’t come in the same way.  The Adderall writing was like a tingling in my head, intense and focused.

What I feel now is more fluid, following a feeling inside of me instead of in my skull.

I’ve gone through a rebirth of sorts.

For years, I couldn’t write.

I was a cocky kid, thought I was better at this than anybody else.

Until one day when somebody smacked me, and knocked me off of my tiny wooden pedestal for good.

“Amy the Wunderkind! Hahhahahahaaha.”  Admittedly, I’d called myself a prodigy and needed a little bit of chastising.

But not like this, not from her, that bitch whom I had tried to befriend.

She fancied herself a writer too, and like a lot of formerly bullied kids, had absorbed the viciousness of their taunts to make her her own private bully, and a bully to others.  To people like me.

I guess we were the same, really.  Formerly taunted, snickered at, talked about.  High opinion of ourselves that hinged on only one thing.

For me it was writing (oh thou god of Demons) and for her, it was finding victims.

I still think that I reminded her of herself, which is why I became such a target for her.  A sick dualism.

I hadn’t learned how to let certain people in my bubble, and then let them out again if they had done something hurtful or threatening.

In fact, because I’d had a love-hate relationship with certain people (students, teachers) in high school, I pursued excactly the people who were bad for me.

Her words still sting to this day.

But maybe what I was undergoing at the time that I lost my writing ability wasn’t a loss, but an evolution.

I fell in love with music.  Hard.

I had the biggest collection of pirated mp3’s in my dorms, with a heavy dose of show tunes and live performances.

I eschewed things like Ween because they were so damn popular.  Fucking snob.

And that’s what led me here, and to Portland, and to the music classes where I felt I could write, even in a slightly more clipped version (clipped wings?  I don’t think so) than I had earlier.  It’s what led me to play Mumford and Sons over and over again, both in the Trauma Time and in my Recovery.

“You are not alone in this.  You are not alone in this.  As brothers, we will stand, and we’ll hold your hand.”

I remember singing that line from Mumford and Sons so much during the hard times.  Somehow it played on the nightly radio station and I latched on.

What I needed back in those days when I was ridiculed by the bitch is more of a spine, more of a sense of humor.

Maybe more Allen Ginsberg.

“You want me to be a saint.  It’s sinister.  There must be some other way of handling this.”

I don’t know.

Now, I like to remember the revery and the books I read, the lectures I attended, the free writes I did (which were still pretty damn good).

I don’t like to think of the academics because I fell from grace.  From a star to someone who could barely fashion a sentence.

Academic writing still dogs me.  And honestly don’t know if this is because I’ve undergone a brain change or if I just lost my confidence and feel blocked.

What I do know is that I’m smart, and that I can write.

And that will get me into, and through, the blues.

 

With every person I tell this is becoming more real.

That’s all, really.

I just emailed my friend from PFLAG and added it to the bottom of the letter.  Wondering what her (supportive and fabulous, obviously) response will be.

Is it okay to be uncertain of some of the changes, even if I want my face to change?  Like, I’m genderqueer, and I like parts of my body.  I’m not sure if I’m going to be okay with everything but I hope it will balance out in the end.

Nervous about using mens’ restrooms already, if I go that far that I pass.

Needing to Process

Buck Angel is okay, but I don’t want to be like him.

I want to be like Mark from R.E.N.T. – quirky (already), nerdy, with a striped scarf hanging from his neck.

I remember sitting on the light rail train, and the woman next to me tapping me and saying, “You know who you look like?” Smile.

“Who?” I squeaked out.

Her eyes got big.  Her face blushed.  She had thought I was a guy.  “Nope.  Never mind,” she said, smiling.

Now was curious.  “Aww, tell me, please?”  Let it be Anthony Rapp (Mark from R.E.N.T.)

“Nope, not gonna happen.”  She grinned.  She was embarrassed.  Couldn’t get it out of her to tell me who she thought I looked like.

We sat there in happy, although slightly befuddled, silence until the next stop came up.

“Bye.”  “Bye.”  Grinning both.

 

“Dad.”

This is what an Irish American man said to me when he saw me get on the bus from Winco.

“You’re the spitting image of my father, except that you’re a lady!  Oh, I’m sorry!”

“No, it’s okay!  It’s flattering!”

“No, you’re not an ugly guy” was his message.  It never stops confusing me when men consider themselves, even the handsomest of handsome, unbeautiful.

 

Now I want to be in that state.

I’m getting read as female 100% of the time, and it bugs me.

Part of it is from the weight gain and subsequent boobage, but maybe there’s more?  Will my face continue to feminize itself if I don’t do something about it?

I want to be like Anthony Rapp.  A cute, nerdy, bespecacled gay boy who can belt out showtunes wherever he damn well pleases.

And that, my ladies and folks and gents, is why I told my best friend today that I want to go on T.

Actually, decided to go on T.  

I told my dad and everything.

But now, in the quiet house, I wonder if I’m just playing.  What if I don’t want that after all?  After I’ve told everybody?

I know that I’m tired of being jealous of one-month before and after shots of folks who have gone on T and have a slightly handsomer (to me) angle to their face.  

I want my face to shine through.  I want to be able to see it and not just superimpose it on myself when I look into the mirror.

I want to look at myself and feel better than I do right now.

I want to look like Anthony Rapp.

I’m a little bit more scared of how the way I think will change; I’m just getting used to, and starting to like, how I think now.

Men are different, my dad tells me.  You’re going to change.

It’s been years since I’ve felt fluid and a gnawing to write.  What if that goes away, or changes?

I know that I will be jealous of before and after / 1-month shots.  And I also know that I need to lose weight.

There will be time to do this as I save up (I don’t even know what T costs, or what it’s called medically, except for Androgel) for my scripts.  There will be time to build up an arsenal of information to tell my mom.  To come out to the rest of my friends, and to get support.  Lots of time.

I just can’t believe I’m doing this…….that I’ve made this decision.

Anthony Rapp.  Anthony Rapp.  Anthony Rapp.

I guess I’m still conflicted, aren’t I?  Does that ever go away?  Do you usually feel scared and uncertain before starting this, even as you see visions of a more masculine self and more masculine-perceived ways of doing things (I’m already kind of a show off, when no one’s looking) around family and close friends who are, in essence family.

So many questions.