another_constellation: A white man smiling at a laptop (Default)
2011-06-06 03:29 pm
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(no subject)

Matthew asked me my old name. It makes me feel very far away when people do that. That name hurt me a lot. He was very nice about it. He has a friend who just came out as trans and is trying to find a new name. He wanted to know how people get new names. He said "what did your name used to be, if you don't mind me asking?" I shook my head very tightly and he said that he was sorry and it's okay. Another roommate asked me who was the first person to call me Eli or when I started using that and I explained a little*. That is an okay question to me, because it is about me and now and the choices I made.

I don't really understand why I am crying. Something just hurts a lot right now.

*My old name started with an L. When I was trying to figure things out, I used el, because it's the same sound, then e, then eli, then Eli/Elijah.
another_constellation: A white man smiling at a laptop (Default)
2011-02-19 01:23 am
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(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 (Default)
2011-01-07 04:16 am

Continuing work stuff.

So T has asked a couple times about my transition, which feels nice right now. I know that at a time, I would have really been defensive and felt that my shit was private and not open to discussion or generally been closed off, but it feels nice ot have someone asking questions about this stuff. I'm at the point now that when someone finds out I was raised as a girl, it's clear enough that I am a guy that that information doesn't change a lot. But as a result of this, I never get to talk about what that experience felt like and feels like. It's so weird to me, especially at school (where I'm getting a Master's degree in Gender and Cultural Studies, hich I mention because, it makes t suck more) that people never ask me questions about it.

I don't remember if I talked about this before, but last semester I took a class on white anti-racist activism and justice work or, as one Kenyan woman in my program described it, "how to be a good White person." The class kicked my ass every single week in more ways than I would ever have thought imaginable. I cut again, a few seperate times, after probably four years without it, but I can't say much about that. I never realized how much all of this stuff (race, gender, sexuality, sex, BODIES, disability, language) was bound up together for me (and most people). It was a really, really painful class, but also very valuable. Anyway, the professor, B , was really great, and I went to see her in office hours a few times, which is something I never do. I was , talking about my depression because I really need to be in thrapy right now, but I can't bring myself to go because I'm depressed and my life is totally off the tracks, and that brought up my transition, which she actually asked a couple questions about, as well as made a couple statements that didn't jive well for me. But at one point she was referencing all these people and I thought maybe they were theorists and she asked if I knew them and I said no. She aked about a couple others, then said they were all really active in the Boston trans community. I said I don't really like being in trans spaces, because people look at me like they know something about my life in a way that makes me feel incredibly invisible, and di don't lik that, feeling invisble while people look at me and think thyeknow me. She looked at me for a very long time.

more when I'm not crying so much
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.