Who doesn’t want to be the victim?

In the past weeks I’ve hard a hard time keeping myself upbeat. Small problems would down trodden me and I let others comments hurt me. The weight of my transition is heavy and the struggle for my correct pronouns continues. Suddenly I began losing the battles. I began letting people write my story, and waited for salvation in the few who got it right. I would cry on their shoulders about how hard it was to be me. I made myself a victim and failed to assert my identity. I became lost in a food fight of identities being thrown all over me by everyone and I retreated seeking help from those who knew me.

I hid from the food fight, and declared that I had a hard life and became the victim. I waited for help from others and cried to myself in the mean time. But this was only weighing down my days and increasing my suffering as I waited to be saved. I felt powerless, but was at the same time the most powerful. I knew I was the one who could change this but I couldn’t figure out how.

My transition was troubling me and weighed heavily on my shoulders. My Dad has disacknowledged the whole thing as me trying to find a purpose and meaning. And countless other people have a hard time fully acknowledging my identity. While I certainly don’t pass for a straight boy anymore few people identify me as a woman, if I’m lucky I get identified as a trans woman. And this struggle makes me question myself at times, I look around and wonder do I really want to do this?

And the answer is no, I don’t want to go through all of this, I just want to get there. The fight I fight goes on nearly ever waking hour. It’s an uphill battle and always will be. Many people never even think about their identity, I have to fight for mine. And I realize that I may always have to correct pronouns, there may be some douchebags who choose to refer to me as my birth sex despite appearing like a woman.

To some people I will never really be a woman, I will always have been a man and always be trans. I will slip between this binary like Brynn Tannhill talks about (starts around 14:00). She says, “How will I feel when I am told that I am not a real woman? … If I am not a real woman, then I’m certainly not a real woman. If I am neither than I am nothing, an it, a thing, a non-human.”

This fight for labels, for identities is tireless. I am fighting for my identity to be a women, I fight tirelessly to be called “she,” because as Brynn says, “I am real… and I am a woman, just one with a different history. Though I lived behind a mask, one fastened to me at birth.” But right now for me it is a tireless fight, I don’t look enough like a woman right now to pass by anyones standards. Then I look around at this food fight I’m in and realize everyone is throwing labels and identities on everyone else. No one is accepting of others unless they choose to. My identity is mine, and I won’t let others throw theirs on me, I am a woman, and I have always been.

Finally I feel empowered to own my own identity. To correct people who use the wrong pronouns. I don’t care why people are using the wrong pronouns I care that they do it. Why they are using the wrong pronouns is their problem, not mine. Maybe the slipped up, maybe they are an ass. But I’m going to correct it and move on with my life. I am going to see myself for who I am and stop caring what everyone else thinks.

I’m going to get up off my butt and go for things. I’m going to look back on my life and remember the meeting I had with President Spanier (President of Penn State University), the second person I hated. I hated him for disrespecting me so horribly. I’m going to remember how he tried yet again to talk over me, but I had done my research and I wasn’t about to be talked over. I didn’t let him spread his lies and I didn’t let him talk over me. I stood up to the President of my University. So I’m going to stand up to Joe Schmo who calls me a man.

I’m going to remember where I came from and I’m going to remember where I’m going. I’m not going to let people persuade me or push me, because I know who I am and I don’t need anyone to tell me that. I’m going to stay strong, because I am strong. I’m going to fight for what I deserve, because that’s what a student activist does, that’s what Yeti does! Why did I ever stop? because I didn’t feel like I was worth it, because I felt unsure and unconfident, because I was afraid to stand up for the most important thing in my world, me. To stand up for who I am.

I stood up for sweatshop workers across the world, I stood up to Presidents of universities and to CEOs of Brands. I stood up to my Professors, to my peers, to my parents and friends. I fought the good fight, but then I cut out early when I had to fight for myself. I’m going to remember the awesome person I was, that I am, and I’m going to keep moving forward. I’m not going to let others define me. I am Yeti, I am a woman, I am trans, I am a lesbian, and I have a ways to go but I’m not stopping anytime soon.

As the song Ambling Alp by Yeaysayer says, “Stick up for yourself son, nevermind what anyone else does”

States that begin with an I, and some that don’t

Captain Andirus and myself recently went on a trip out to some of the I states. Crossing through Ohio and West Virgina, we finally made it out to visit Anthro Cook, Majesty, The Durn and an unexpected trip to Madison. The trip was quick fun and relieving to finally see this farm of sorts that Majesty works on. Everyone seems to be doing pretty well, everyone was very welcoming of the new me, oh and I can’t forget all the delicious food.

Our first stop is Anthro Cook who now lives in Champagne Illinois with his wife who both work at University of Illinois. They got lucky and found a program that hired the both of them for the same department. They live in a pretty nice house in suburbia right now until they feel out where they’d want to buy a house. Champaign/Urbana is very nice, wide streets, nice campus, but there isn’t a hill in the entire place. No, not even a little one, it is flat flat flat. This is where my dad went to town and while he loved the program he was in he hated the town. I think the town has improved somewhat since, but it certainly hasn’t gotten any hillier since then.

And of course can’t forget the most important part about Illinois, corn. Like the Morrow Plot the second oldest continuously used crop rotation plots, first planted in 1876. Corn matters so much here that then built the library underground because the didn’t want to shade the Morrow Plot.

Morrow Plot

Anthro Cook caught us up on life in Canada, South Carolina and expressed much more glee in living in Illinois, not nearly as cold or racist. And he obviously didn’t and never disappoints with the food and cooked us both delicious food that filled us to the brink every day. It was great to see him, hopefully it won’t be another three years before the next time.

Next stop was outside of Iowa city, The Durn’s house. A favorite, awesome anth professor of many and his equally radical wife who was managing editor of Voices of Central Pennsylvania (progressive magazine in SC). I also hadn’t seen them in 3 years and was happy to know that I was one of the several students The Durn had hoped would visit him. He was on some medication for a recent brain surgery and was a bit slower moving. But he gave a couple of impassioned rants and his wife made up for him by being super talkative and a great tour guide of their property. The property was very cool and large. They are working on bringing back some prairie land from invasive species and planting some fruit trees and a nice garden. We had a great time with them, spending our first night drinking with them and some other middle-aged ladies, wasn’t even a tad weird rather it was a great great time.

After a night and day at The Durns we finally saw Majesty, who (to our relief) wasn’t starving or beaten down but happy and upbeat as he planned his housing situation for the winter in Iowa. The stories of Versaland got scary the closer we got, describing a Lord of the Flies type farm with everything but the pig heads on sticks. The following day we saw the school bus Majesty was living in and all the trailers and all the trees that had worked to plant at Versaland. We met their fearless leader, The G Man, and all the other guys staying on the farm.

The farm was very nice, with a lot of cool projects being headed up by The G Man. The two other farm workers were very nice and friendly and The G Man was very intense but cool, the type of person who would buy a school bus and let Majesty live in it. Sadly our schedules didn’t align so we only spent a little time with The G Man but he certainly has a bunch of innovative projects going on there, and most of them are right up Majesty’s alley.

Versaland Parking

Bus

1006141027

Our furthest destination was Madison, Wisconsin. This is where Big S went to school and I completely understand why she tried to go to grad school there too. The town is very spacious and not at all cramped like State College. There are tons of bike lanes and even more people biking around. I swear they even have more trees than Dark Forest, or at least just as many. And then we stayed at Nottingham, a coop on the edge of one of their two huge lakes. The place is beautiful, so beautiful. I even considered moving there for a couple of days, especially after hanging out with the people at Nottingham and after being offered a job at a bike shop that was a huge version of the shop in my basement.

On the way home we stopped at Anthro Cooks again, and made it back home to Pittsburgh the following night. What a whirlwind of a trip, I must say that Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin have it going on. Though Illinois is really really really flat, and most of Iowa isn’t to hilly either.

From nihilism to a meaning

As many already know, in Philadelphia I truly embraced nihilism. Nothing made any sense. Nothing was right, everything was wrong. There was no purpose or meaning and no inherent value or worth to anything, both in my personal perspective and my perspective of western society. Nothing is sacred, nothing matters. Nihilism made sense because nothing made sense. But as soon as one thing makes complete sense everything else becomes glaringly wrong.

I look back at this time and it all begins to make sense, all of my past makes sense and is all foreshadowing what is happening today. Philadelphia was part of my boyhood campaign to try to be a boy. I gave up all that I was and killed off my soul, she cried everynight and I thought I was a boy. But after months of hearing her cry I began to accept her and began giving her freedom, now her freedom is most of the world. Soon second puberty will hit and she will be intergrated with my body.

Through this acceptance I have become significantly happier but I have had many bad times and stressful times. Most recently I started freaking out about where I am going in life. What I’m going to do what I’m supposed to do in life, what the purpose is. And suddenly I realized that I was finally free.

For the past many years I knew the answer to these questions, nothing made any sense so whatever anyone else told me made just as much sense so I did that. Now I am free, it is truly terrifying. I’m an adult and making adult decisions I’m making decisions like growing up to be the woman I have always been meant to be. I can finally choose the future by myself. I get to do whatever I want to and there is no one to look at for direction.

As I walk the line to becoming a woman at times I am paralyzed with fear, overwhelmed with decisions and how they will change my future. I am walking uncharted territory with my advice coming from youtube videos and forum posts. My anxiety disapates as Big S takes me shopping, now her nickname makes even more sense as she acts like my big sister picking out clothes and giving advice on how it fits. Then I remember who I am, what I’ve done and stop thinking I’m lost in an endless ocean. I’m just exploring a new land, but it’s only new to me.

I feel like so many of my blog posts start from a beginning you all have already heard about. But each and everyday I look back at my beginning and it makes a little more sense. I understand why I was so torn up inside when I was harassed for wearing a purple backpack on my first day of class, I wasn’t allowed to like purple because I wasn’t a girl. I wasn’t allowed to play the flute because I wasn’t a girl. I wasn’t allowed to hang out with my friends in the girl’s bathroom because I wasn’t a girl.

I am a girl and I’ve been one the whole time. Me, my soul is a girl and she always will be. She is trapped in the mind and body of a boy, but she’s coming to terms with it as my mind comes to terms with it. She’s kind of excited because she’s a pretty big tomboy and what better way to be a tom boy than to be a boy an then a girl. Adventure and play with the freedom that boys get and then hit second puberty, grow some boobies and get a butt. And now my story seems to be helping me figure out where to go next, go to school become a therapist and help others be themselves, help others through these same problems. Maybe now it makes almost too much sense.

Trans Conference

This past weekend I had the great joy of attending the first annual Transpride Pittsburgh National Conference. There were about 30 to 50 trans people in attendance and we heard speeches and were education on topics from passing on a budget to trans laws. I met a whole bunch of trans people and grew a lot from the experience. Notably I have begun fully embracing my trans identity and have started identifying as a trans woman, including going by my new name and female pronouns (as I did the whole time at the conference).

The education sessions were fun and educational. One of the most relieving things to find out was that I cannot legally be fired for being trans. The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) in a landmark case has extended the definition of sex to include gender and gender identity. I can be fired for being gay, but not trans. I also learned all about gender confirmation surgery. They are doing some cool stuff, especially with making penises out of clitorises or even thin air.

I also met a lot of trans people and felt very comfortable in the space. It was cool to get to know the community and very cool to go to a drag king show afterwards with Big S (her first drag show). I’m even hung out with one of the trans women from the conference outside of the conference. Spending an entire weekend with trans people really made me feel at home. We all know what we’re all going through and make a huge effort to support one another instead of question one another. Though I can’t say I haven’t felt an equal amount of support from almost every person who I’ve come out to (just more questions, which is understandable).

The most exciting part of the whole conference was coming into myself and feeling more comfortable being me. I love going by my new name, it makes me smile every time I hear it. If I could I would walk around saying my new name constantly (I figured that’d be a little weird). I just love hearing that name. I’ve begun getting over what other people think and I’ve begun to realize that I can be a trans woman without doing anything. All I really need is myself on board. I’m very excited about living as a trans woman and excited about now.
Before I was eager for the future when I passed more or had breasts, but I’m excited about everday. I’m at trans woman now and I’m out and I’m proud. It just feels really good.

I’ll leave you with the best speech from the entire weekend.

And feel free to ask me any questions. As Brynn said, I am your trans ambassador, probably one of the only ones you’ll ever know. We are great people I would say we are even more accepting and understanding that most.

How to get there

As I mentioned on my bike trip post I had the joy of telling everyone I was going to be transitioning. I told everyone I was going to get electrolysis to get rid of my beard hair and I was going to go on hormones. I since have become less sure of how I’m going to get to where I want to go, but am no less sure of where I am going.

My quest has me figuring out how far to go to become who I feel like I am. My roommate Jamie identifies more with masculinity and struggles to be themself through dress, dreams of breast removal surgery and fights the gender binary. While on the opposite side hero Andreja Pejic recently got bottom surgery and is very happy with herself. She took androgen blockers starting at a young age and passes fairly well as a woman, and a gorgeous one. Now the question for myself is how far do I want to go. With surgery available to change everything from my breasts and butt to my vocal chords, what is a lady to do?

As you know I have been taking steps, slowly working on getting breasts, dressing and acting more femme. And quite recently I’ve begun going by different pronouns: they/theirs/them and among some people she/hers/her. This slow forward movement has helped me realize that the largest part of transitioning is transitioning your mind, accepting yourself for the gender you are.

But when you get out in the world, people are always staring, confused and sometimes downright rude. I’m been told by strangers numerous times that I’m a boy and some have even told me I’m a gay boy. I’ve even been harassed by a gaggle of 5 year olds. While the battle is internal it is also very external. Being comfortable with yourself makes the external battle easier to handle, but it doesn’t make it go away.

This stress of being in public and harrassed got me caught up in trying to convince society I was a woman and forgetting about convincing myself. That is why I wanted hormones, I just wanted to be accepted for who I am, but doesn’t everyone? I will never say that I’m never going to take hormones but I will say I’m not going to take them now. I don’t want to, I want to be me I don’t want to be what people think I’m supposed to be. I want to live somewhere in the middle right now and I desperately want to live and be accepted as a woman.

This struggle and tension between these two sides stresses me out but there are many people in my life to remind me to not get caught up in it. A very sweet person who reminds me is Big S. She doesn’t care that I have stubble, no breasts, wide shoulders and no butt. She sees me as beautiful lady I am, which confuses this previously straight cis-woman quite a bit. Reactions of supportive and accepting people catch me and remind me to be me and to feel like me and not fight to have others see me as me. Others will never see me how I do, but I can see myself how I am and my close friends can and then and only then will others begin to see me for who I am.

My current plan is to get electrolysis on my face, chest and stomach. I plan on going to therapy to talk to someone about all this. I don’t plan on taking hormones, or getting any sort of surgery in the close future. Instead I plan on being happy with myself. My shoulders are to broad, but so are other women’s shoulders. I have no butt, and so do other women. I am hitting second puberty and my breasts are begining to bud. And like every lady out there I am not perfectly beautiful and never will be, but I can be happy who I am – that’s all you can ask for.

Recumbent Bike Tour 2014

A lot has happened over the past month and a half. Most notably I quit my job at the bike shop and went on a 3 week bike tour from Pittsburgh to D.C. to Philadelphia to State College and back to the burgh. I visited lots of folks on the way and told them about the amazing journey I am about to embark upon and remembered the amazing places I have been. The trip was humbling and showed me who I was and who I am. This was an amazing experience to have prior to going on a journey where you become the person you have been on the inside on the outside too.

I’ll touch briefly upon that too. I’m going to be taking steps to get electrolysis to remove my face hair and begin going to counselling. It will be 3 months of counselling before I can go on hormones. I am truly honored and deeply appreciative to all the amazing people in my life who love me and support me so thoroughly in this journey. Special call outs to people who have made a huge impact recently: Mother and Savages who both helped right me after I told my parents (they took it hard and are still trying to comprehend and come to terms with it). And Big S, who is a friend, ex-coworker, ladyfriend and truly loving inspiring person who has helped me feel comfortable and reminded me of who I am.

Finally here are the pictures and some choice ones below


Big S and I standing next to our bikes

Matthew Silver

Matthew Silver, The Great Performer, is a street performer in NYC. He plays the roll of a town clown or joker and tries to reveal the hidden truth behind the world. He tries to make people know we need to live in the now we need to free ourselves of stuff. We need to be free and we need to have fun, we need to love and we need to enjoy life.

His video reminded me a bit of an earlier version of me and the share-it-blanket. Those weirdos giving out free stuff on Penn State’s campus while having a blast doing it. Breaking down barriers of consumerism and society and pushing people to have a great time. I’ve gotten lost on this and tried to be a normal person but now I’m beginning to return to what I know and who I am. One of the inspirations is Matthew Silver: