another_constellation: A white man smiling at a laptop (Default)
2011-04-23 12:56 am

(no subject)

Trigger warning: cissexism, violence, rape jokes, bullshit


References to a transwoman in a McDonald's getting the shit kicked out of her so badly she seized while a number of McDonald's workers looked on/filmed it are making the rounds. I posted a link on my Facebook and I wanted to say something like "please, if you are not trans and/or not a violence survivor, please watch this. You owe us being a witness to this." But that seemed pushy, and I don't know what everyone's triggers are, so I didn't say it.

A few minutes later, my sister commented to say "Just reading about the video made me feel sick. I could never watch it , but I like to think I would have stopped it, had I been there." And my first thought was how? how? Please tell me, because I wish I knew. because if I were there, I would have been too scard to stop it. I would run away or shut down, pretend not to see it, maybe scream, maybe call the police, maybe appeal to the people who were watching, but I don't think I would have known how to stop it.

My second thought was "how do I tell my own sister that she owes it to me to watch this? That if this woman could get her head kicked in, the least we can do is be witnesses to that?"

I took a shower and the thought came into my head, the thought around which I think a lot of my reaction to this event was centered:

How can they expect me to leave my house tomorrow?

But then:

I was talking with my roommates today, before I saw the video. I have had a few days off, and I am starting to feel human because I have barely left my house. Andthey were making rape jokes. And I kept thinking, how do I make this stop? What can I say to them that doesn't give them too much of myself? But which is still enough that they won't debate me. I came up with nothing, and so I was silent until explictly asked my opinion about the "cis men can't be raped by cis women" thing, when I pointed out that we are having the Wrong Fucking Discussion

After my shower, I was trying to figure out what to do about my facial hair situation. I keep getting she'd and "person"ed, purposely not gendered. Which doesn't bother me, but bemuses me. Pretty much any gender people give me these days bemuses me. All I can think is "is that what you're getting from me right now?" I like to have some facial hair, because otherwise the "she" is too easy, and I don't want it to be too easy for people right now. I am enjoying my body and enjoying my femininity and I don't want that to be too easy for people, because it's not easy for me.

So I was trimming and shaving and thinking:

There is so much of my life that I cannot explain to [straight people, cis people, non-mentally ill people].

And I understood in a new way the need for woman-only spaces, people of color-only-spaces. But where do I go? Where are my spaces?
another_constellation: A white man smiling at a laptop (Default)
2011-04-15 06:41 pm

(no subject)

My campus was doing Take Back the Night tonight. I've never been and wanted to go, but I had to go to a lecture that went long and I didn't know where people would be. The lecture put me in a bad head-space. The lecturer was talking about actual, physical blindness, as well as metaphorical blindness, but managed not to talk about impairment or disability, which I found sort of puzzling. She talked about what she called geographic privilege, which she discussed as the privilege not to see something. Her examples were a DC Congressman who claimed to see no evidmence of the slave trade in DC in 1847, when right across the river in Alexandria, VA was the HUB of the coastwise slave trade. She also talked about Bertha in "Jane Eyre" (she didn't make this first point exactly, but in order to make Bertha stop existing, Rochester has to stop seeing her. He deals with the pain of colonial money and white racism by stopping seeing this Creole woman whose money gives him the privilege not to deal with colonialism. He stops seeing her by locking her in the attic.) She was making a lot of interesting points about how blindness creates a rupture in "Jane Eyre" and EDEN Southworth's "Retribution," EDEN Southworth having gone blind (temporarily) as a child, and in that Congressman's life, but she wasn't talking about disability or real bodies. At least I don't think so. But it was sort of hard for me to tell all the time because, ha-ha, I'm losing my hearing, and I'm losing my mind, so tracking a complex aural argument is sort of hard.

So I had a lot of things I wanted to talk about in the little reception afterwards, but I couldn't think how to say them other than "how can you give a lecture about blindness and colonialism and gender without it being about bodies?" Which seemed pretty rude, so I didn't. And anyway, it's the same question I have wanted to ask after every lecture for the past two years.

I started walking to the bus stop and half a block off, I heard screaming and chanting. It was Take Back the Night. And it scared the shit out of me, like tears-instantly-in-my-eyes, how-do-I-get-away-from-this, trapped-rabbit scared. Because I couldn't understand anything they were saying, and it was fucking loud and that is not a safe combo in my head.

And that felt really lonely to me. A couple nights ago, I was waiting for the bus at about a quarter of midnight when a guy came up to me where I was sitting. He gestured to my legs, which were tucked under me and said that he thought I was "an invalid." I didn't like that, but I didn't know what to do, so I just said no and went back to reading. He asked me a question I couldn't hear, so I made a "no" sound. Then he said that he was gay, and I figured he was trying to cruise me so again I sort of made a discouraging sound. And he said "so you must be a lesbian, right?" And I was surprised because I hadn't shaved for a couple days, but also not surprised, and didn't like any of the options this dude had given me in the conversation, and didn't want to have a discussion, and also figured that, yeah, as far as he was concerned, I'm a lesbian. I said something like "uhhh. Who can really say?" He said "I can. I'm gay. You can tell from a mile away." And I sort of just sat there, too bothered to even understand.

I haven't done testosterone since September and my face is definitely feminizing, and my chest is getting more solid and more difficult to bind and I also don't really give a shit about binding too much right now. And as a result, I'm starting to get nervous again when I am walking home late at night (I work until midnight and take two buses home around 12:30/1am four days a week). A few weeks ago, it was dusk and i was walking to a bus stop past a guy who was leaning against a building and thought "oh shit. he's going to say something about my body now."

All of this to say that it felt so lonely not to feel safe with Take Back the Night-- but I didn't.

At the bus stop the night the guy was talking to me, a woman had also been trying to chat with me. I just was not in the mood, though she seemed friendly enough. After the guy walked away, she said "people always ask me questions about my accent, but I can't imagine the kinds of questions you get." I just wanted no one to speak to me (because why to people always need to speak to me when I almost always just want for them to be quiet?) and I wanted a minute to think about how I felt about what he was asking, and why I disliked it so much, so I didn't really respond to her (I said it was "mostly confusing") but in retrospect (how  form 90% of my emotions), I really appreciated her saying SOMETHING to acknowledge that his questions were invasive and not okay.

There's the word! Invasive! I felt his words on my body, and I did not like any of them. I did not like the options he was giving me for talking about my body and my experiences. He asked questions like he knew the answer, and the way he asked them made my participation unnecessary. I did not like their shouts being in my head without me being able to understand them, I did not like the lecturer talking about people's bodies without talking about people.

All of this is so clearly what I need to be writing my thesis on, but where to even begin. Here's my intro:

I have some thoughts about bodies, and silence, and legibility, (and MY body and MY silence and MY legibility) and I need you to sit there and listen with an open heart while I try to untangle them for you.
another_constellation: A white man smiling at a laptop (Default)
2011-02-19 01:23 am
Entry tags:

(no subject)

I don't have a tone of language right now, but there;s some stuff I need to try to articulate
Okay, so I got my period today, for the first ime in four years, and i feel like dying.
The two are, I think connected, but in hard to figure out ways. I wanted to kill myself today before I discovered I was menstruating, so discovering that helped to contextualize how terrible I felt, and also that the only things on my "things that do not make me want to kill myself" list were foods. That's a joke, but also true.
I thought yesterday, sort of dimly that I should put an Instead in my bag for today, but didn't. I don't remember what made me think I should do that. I had slight cramps today, but nothing like what I remembered. When it came, I knew it was happening. But there have been many times in the past few years when I was sure I was menstruating, but was not. There was someone in the men's room for at least a half an hour, so I had ot use the woman's room to check. Which was weird, and made me have to fight back tears and an implacable panic, but good in that at least there was a ton of free tampons in there, one disaster adverted. Also, I was running the store today.
I had such a bad day. It started with my clothes refusing to iron, getting over-dressed for the weather, barel missing my bus and waiting ten minutes for the next one, only to discover I didn't have my bus pass. I paid with cash and it spit out a paper card for fifty cents. I had to run to catch my transfer. The train ate the paper card but didn't credit me for it, but I wouldn't have had enough cash anyway. I was on the verge of tears and the driver let me on. I was late and hot and kept dropping things and mostly just feeling dizzy and migrane-y and like I wanted to die. Kept tearing up at odd moments. I don't remember periods feeling like this, hormonally, but my hormones are so different from the last time I got my period and the problem with a mental illness is that it's also hard to figure out where feeling are coming from: if it is something external, internal, or just the madness.
At verious times overthe past few years, especially the past year or so, when I got really lax about my testosterone (I havent taken it for about five months), I have wanted my period to come. Mostly, I think, because I wanted to know that it was something I could live though. At some moments, I imagined that it might make me feel powerful, that I could do this and not die. That i was in touch with my body. That I was having a particularly female experience. That I wouldn't have to keep waiting to see if it would happen and what  I would do when it came
So I am still alive, but sad and heart broken and crying occationally. It this momen, i don't feel closer to my body, but I also don't feel like I need to destroy it, the urge to destroy my body being different than the urge to kill myself. Both are disconcerting to me, but the former more so. I have lived many times through the urge to kill myself. I have failed many times to protect myself from myself when the urge for destruction comes on.
So /I will probably hurt myself in a fairly mundanre way as compromise, and to try to stop these feelings, which I feel that I have still not fully articulated. I jsut don't know how to explain how terribly, terribly alone and vulnerable and stupid and wrong this makes me feel.
another_constellation: A white man smiling at a laptop (Default)
2011-02-02 02:36 am

(no subject)

Another day, another VP post that boils down to my own reminisces about my body and sexuality. But I hardly ever feel like there is a real place built for experiences like mine, which are so tied into so many big categories. Sex, gender, body, upbringing, abuse, depression, mutilation, dissociation... these moments all bubble up for me in ways that are really impossible to lay out neatly and clearly but some times I just want to hug everyone in the world and tell them "you're normal: you're not!" Not even white men are The Man, there is no spoon.

I think that what I was trying to say in my previous post is that the more we all recognize the shifting sites of oppression and privilege in our day-to-day lives, the closer we get to an answer. I roll, you roll.

Life makes more sense in retrospect.
another_constellation: A white man smiling at a laptop (Default)
2011-02-02 01:07 am

assorted thoughts on activism

This post at ADeeperCountry has me thinking a lot right now. I already wrote a comment here, but it is starting to gel for me a little what those sites are in my life.

Namely, I don't know what my place in activist spaces (which for me are usually shaped by women, feminist in background, and often feminist-/queer-/disability-/race- focused is as a person who is white, who presents as masculine and doesn't call himself a woman but feels very closely linked to all things woman, is trans, is queer, is mentally ill, believes himself to be non-neurotypical, but NOS, able-bodied but whose body acts up a lot). The contridictions are all up in there, but one I have been thinking about a lot lately is the gender stuff. I haven't taken testosterone since September, which a) probably has a lot to do with why I've been so depressed, b) has feminized my face a lot and firmed-up my chest, c) has made me spot once, possibly twice, d) made me feel very confused about a lot of things (for example, how can I not know if I am spotting? The injustice and pain of this is so incredible I don't know what to do or where to go with it How can I know all these things about other people's bodies and not my own? Is it because it never feels like my own?).

I guess b is the easiest to talk about, because in a way, it has the least to do with me. My voice has cracked several times. I've gotten she'd many times, and purposely not-gendered many more. Part of me feels like I need to stick out in order to have any credience in queer and trans places. Part of me feels like I want people to see mememe and that means knowing how I was raised. A lot of me feels like I want people to stop acting so smug when the clock me. Because they aren't clocking me, they are picking up the signals I am sending out, and also, stop being a dick. I sort of don't give a shit right now about how people are gendering me. "He" is easiest because it's most consistent, but also a sort of amusing surprise some times.

These thoughts all seem barely connected, but I promise, they all are so intertwined.

I think what I really want to express is my desire for new words, new vocabularies, new categories that speak to MY experiences.

So that brings me back to the post that started this train of thought. I wish it were more normal to tell people exactly where you are. I wish it were okay to talk about the places where you had to cover, the times you could not, where you are right now, what it feels like to be there, and what it feels like to be where you are from. I carry around so much trauma simply from all the depression and all the harm I have done to myself, from living such a complicated life in such silence. I think it is that way for most people. It starts to feel like the only way to live honestly is to live with painful visibility (see: this journal) but we cannot be the only ones. The system hurts us all. The colonized cannot undo the work of the colonizer while so many of us continue to replicate these systems not even knowing.

I wish it were okay to tell people what you need. Because maybe then some day you might get to stop looking for it alone.
another_constellation: A white man smiling at a laptop (thinking)
2010-12-13 05:54 am
Entry tags:

(no subject)

So I'm thinking that the weird, persistant, burning mostly-joint pain I've been having for the past few months is likely linked to cold/damp weather. My knee was pretty stiff yesterday and today it was pouring and the usual joints hurt (knee, ankles, wrist, elbows, fingers). On the one hand, it's a comfort that it's most likely just normal joint pain, the likes of which many older people experience. But I'm not "older," I'm twenty-three and it's time like these that I am reminded of with how little care I have treated my body. It is a cold comfort to know that many others treat their bodies with similar disregard, and some even with more open animosity than I. I basically need a shit load of therapy regarding the great psychic divide I have between my mind and body and the tenuousnesss with with I mediate their interactions.
another_constellation: A white man smiling at a laptop (Default)
2010-11-30 02:15 am
Entry tags:

Memory fragment

I got shampoo in my eye the other day and started seeing geometric patterns of yellow on dark brown. When Bekky and I were little, we would press on our eyes until we saw these shapes and tell one another we were seeing Jesus. The memory was so powerful I didn't wash the shampoo out right away, just had a moment of deep nostalgia.

I find myself missing Bekky and a few people from high school, but I think what I really miss is the ability to go home, and to be legible to others. I have been living stealth; whether intentionally or not, I knew what I was doing. And as I result, I feel cut off from myself. I no longer invent a male childhood, as I once did, and my expression feels extremely feminine. I haven't done a shot in a few months, no real reason, it was just getting harder to do so and my prescription ran out and I have been feeling a bit self-destructive. My gender these days is a quagmire-- that's literally my gender identification. I identify so strongly with women, but not as a woman. And I don't think I want to be a man, a monolith illegible even to myself. I think I spotted last month or the month before, and to my shock, the world didn't end. Part of me wants to push this, too see how far I can go.

The good part is that I am okay with this. The bad part is that I am not speaking it to anyone.

I rarely speak these days.

This cycle is so familiar to me. I know it is ultimately not the healthiest thing for me, but it doesn't feel half as bad as it once did.

Today, I float.