It’s All About Control

I’m sitting at my desk at work shaking because I feel out of control. My legs are tapping so fast that I my upper bodys shaking. I just listened to a This American Life podcast about pedophiles. This wasn’t my intention, the podcast is called Tarred and Feathered and the first half was not about pedophiles. When the pedophile part came on and I thought I could make it through and didn’t pause it. I wanted to face it I wanted to be okay with hearing about it. And I am in comparison to months ago when much less triggered me to hide in the basement (pictured below). I got through almost the whole podcast before taking a break to cry in the bathroom, I’m still here, I’m still working (sorta), I’m relatively all right.

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It’s hard to look at something so triggering to me, something that is actively haunting me today. I hurt there, I still haven’t accepted how being molested has affected me. I’m realizing how much it makes me struggle with control and feeling powerless, I’m realizing how being molested stole from me my ability to feel like I control myself.

That’s why two weeks ago I cut myself. It’s the first time I really did it after a decade of thinking about it. Over the past couple of months I had run dull objects over my inner to help me concentrate, specifically when making art, I tried a experimental cut with a sharp blade and didn’t like it. So when I needed to feel in control I knew what I was going to try, cutting myself. After calming my paranoid controlling self down I needed to find a security blanket to protect me, I needed to cut myself before seeing my friends.

I grabbed my nail cutters and ran the nail cleaner over my inner forearm numerous times until it started to bleed a little bit. Why? Because I had marked myself like a cattle with a piece of ownership, I cut myself because I was my own property not anyone else’s.

Immediately I feel overwhelmed with shame and guilt about doing this. I don’t want anyone to see this, I don’t want people know what has driven me to this point. I don’t want people to be concerned about me. That is of course what cutting yourself accomplishes most, garnering attention. I showed Spaced, and Jamie found out, we talked about it and now I don’t feel as uncomfortable about it. Instead I feel defiant pride, the kind of pride that says, “Yes I cut myself, do you have a problem?” The kind of pride where I explain the cut as a reflection of the my inner chaos finally being reflected upon my flesh.

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But that’s not why I did it. That’s not why I don’t know if I will stop cutting. I don’t want people to worry about my cutting, I can’t go too deep (because the object is too dull) and cutting is just a symptom. I want people to be worried about the problem, I want people to know why I cut. When saying this to my therapist she pressed me on what problem I wanted them to know. I hesitated and realized that I cut for control. Not just control over my body and situations but that is my problem, control. I need people to know how much being molested fucked with me and disabled me from having control over my life.

I don’t have control in my life, I often just go with the flow and have difficulty expressing my opinions. The worst comes in sexual relationships. I can’t say no. I can’t even figure out if I want to say no. It’s a scary feeling. In these relationships I often just trust the other person on how far or how fast they want to go and mirror their actions. Especially with new people I’m unable to discern what level of intimacy I want. Of course afterwards I know if I went to fast and I end up feeling awful and have numerous times.

It’s scary to watch it being played out with a friend, Spaced. We make sexual jokes back and fourth but at a certain point I can’t discern if she is joking or not. And I’m scared that something will happen and I feel like I won’t be able to stop it. It’s like suddenly the ground is gone from below me and I’m are floating down river with nothing to hold onto, only my trust in the other person. I trust her and don’t think anything is going to happen but still felt the need to make sure she asked for consent before doing anything, explaining that I can’t just say no or stop. And since telling her this she has said she’s going to stop the jokes until “I feel like I have more control.”

[Edit]

While this isn’t technically and edit since It is coming out in the original post I find it important to separate this from the post because this conversation came after the post was nearly finished.

I talked to Chem (who until yesterday had been distant while she dealt with some of her own boy issues) and told her about my cuts and she really pressed me to come up with a game plan when I feel the desire again. I struggled to come up with effective strategies and then finally said what I’d been wanting to ask from people for a while, to expect a call when I feel this way. The only problem was I didn’t feel right putting that burden on another person and felt I should deal with it myself.

Chem gave me a good insight into another couple thing I have going on. She talked about community as a fabric and as with any fabric when someone isolates they affect those around them, which turned my action that I thought of as not burdening people to something that very much affects people. She also helped me better grasp something that Charlie’s teacher in the Perks of Being a Wallflower says, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” I understood the part that says we accept the love we think we deserve, but I also have come to realize we only accept the love we think we deserve. I accept bad love from people and I don’t accept good love from people. I’m a great supportive friend and will do anything for a close friend and need to remember to expect and accept more from people.

What About The World? 2016.1

Here is my first mix of the year! I had a lot of free time, listened to a lot of music and popped this out a little earlier than I had hoped. In the last mix stated I am who I am, so the next obvious question in my mind was well what about the world? This mix answers that question, promptly.

1. Worst Behavior – Drake

Memory: Saturday is a hard day to motivate myself to do much of anything. I spent the last few Saturdays trying to go shopping before having panic attacks. Today is much the same. I feel the world crushing me, hating me, gawking at me so I don’t leave the house. Finally I realize I need to get out and go somewhere. I get dressed up all fancy, I put on Spaced’s green dress, a brown skirt over top, and knee high tan boots on. I get in the car and drive to REI listening to this song on repeat screaming, “Mother fuckers never loved us.” My hatred of “normal” people is overwhelming, I guess you could call this confidence but it felt more like hate. Either way I strutted my stuff and loved myself despite the world. And I am reminded of Kendrick Lamar when he sings, “I know you hate me just as much as you hate yourself.”

And in another positive note after realizing how defeated I often feel I did one of my rituals. Get all prettied up and go shopping. A big "fuck you" to the society that gawks at me.

And in another positive note after realizing how defeated I often feel I did one of my rituals. Get all prettied up and go shopping. A big “fuck you” to the society that gawks at me.

2. Tell Your Friends – The Weeknd

This guy is a dickhead, but he hates everyone and does whatever the fuck he wants. I like his style. Fuck everybody and go ahead and tell your friends about it. I’ve cared too much about what other people think about me.

“I do shit like I want, don’t need no blessing”

3. Hold On, We’re Going Home – Drake

Thanks for calming me down there Drake, I was getting pretty revved up. I listened to this guy for a good while, I would’ve put the song Hotline Bling, or Energy, or Started from the Bottom but this one caught me the most.

4. Borders – M.I.A.

M.I.A. challenging us on all of our shit. Ask yourself, “What’s up with that?” The video features Syrian Refugees and is stunning to watch.

5. How Much A Dollar Cost – Kendrick Lamar

Memory: Walking home with my longboard on New Years Day I’m feeling this song, I’m singing this song on repeat. Then someone yells, “Walk of shame baby!” I uncontrollably turn towards his direction and have a strong middle finger pointed his general direction. This only increases my passion in singing. And it reminds me,

“You’re lookin’ at the Messiah, the son of Jehova, the higher power
The choir that spoke the word, the Holy Spirit, the nerve
Of Nazareth, and I’ll tell you just how much a dollar cost
The price of having a spot in Heaven, embrace your loss, I am God”

All the freaks, the queers the homeless people are god. You shit on me and you are costing yourself a spot in heaven. Embrace your loss, I am god.

6. Black Me Out – Against Me!

Memory: I’m on a long overdue backpacking trip. It’s been months since I’ve gone and I’m feeling super anxious and struggling hardcore with depression. I wake up on the first morning, make my breakfast, struggle to eat it and then I lay my body on my knees. I feel a 400 pound weight on my back. I can’t move I can’t do anything even though I’m in the beauty of nature. Eventually I find the energy in me to go back to bed. I’m laying on my sleeping pad trying to find the motivation to wake up and it’s just not there. I turn on my phone and since I’m way to close to Johnstown I have service so I peruse instagram. Then I text Morty lamenting the situation I’m in. Finally I put on some music in hopes that will stir me. Two sam raging arongs later I ound the camp site screaming this song. My depression has turned to pure hatred and I’m so pissed off. I dance through the campsite to this song a few times before getting on my way. I’m depressed, but I admit it, I’m pissed off but I felt it.

7. Tellin’ The Mind – Delta Spirit

I love this guys. I spent some time going through all of my mixed cds and making sure I had a backup of them and I realized just how many songs by them I had on various cds. That’s when I finally acknowledged that I really like them as a band, and I feel glad that I didn’t brush them off as Christian Hipsters as Mustache did before he deleted them from his computer.

Memory: Standing on the balcony of Union Transfer I looked out on the band. This was my first real concert, this was my first time getting out like this and having a good time in a while. I’m standing next to a new friend of mine and I’m so happy she invited me, I’m so happy to be living again and being happy. I felt lost in Philly post “divorce” but now I’ve found friends and some happiness.

8. Scott Get the Van I’m Moving – Cayetana

These ladies rock. I listed to them a lot when making art, and even made art specifically based on their music. This song in particular sticks in my head because I made a piece of art for Cha’s going away present to this album. I showed her it as it was dripping and played her this album. A bunch of others enjoyed it as it finished dripping and then this song played. Someone pointed out that this is the perfect song, and it was.

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9. Your Lips Are Red – St. Vincent

This song takes me over. I can feel myself shaking right now to this song. I can see my mental state quickly changing as I navigate through Giant Eagle to this song. Suddenly everything is much more harsh, I feel obstinate towards the world. But then I remember, “your skins so fair it’s not fair, your skins so fair.” And I calm down. Also important to note this is the song that helped me finish the piece called, “Suicide Note” featured in the last post.

10. “Heroes” – David Bowie

This song is significant in two ways. This song is the song that Charlie, Patrick and Sam listen to when going through Fort Pitt Tunnel going into the city. Sam is standing up with her arms out stretched and Charlie says, “I feel infinite.” I watched that movie this month, as a freshman in college I read the book 6 times. I related a lot to Charlie with my friends who were seniors, having been friends with druggies but not doing drugs, but I had forgotten he was molested. I watched the movie and cried through the whole thing. I found myself realizing what I had yet to face. I was distraught and found myself obsessing over the movie for the rest of the day until. Spaced talked to me that night and I slept on her couch. It was a hard day but I got it out. (And yes, that day I drove through the Fort Pitt Tunnel with this song blaring)

The second memory is to a different version of this song, it’s the Philip Glass Remix that is excellent. In it I’m a junior in college and I’m with Smiles, one of the two people I’m seeing. I introduce this song to her and dance and sing along while it is playing. I’m having the time of my life, I’m immersed in this song. I point out the lyrics, “Nothing will keep us together,” because it makes me feel free and amazing it also speaks to the nature of our relationship. “We can be us just for one day”

11. Later – Dr. Dog

This song feels like Philadelphia. It feels like the Schuylkill River bike path. It feels like wandering the streets in Philadelphia. It feels like Smiles. Reminds me of the pushover I was and still am, cause “I’ll sit around and wait for you, I guess I really will, sit around and wait for you.”

“It never works, you said you’ll call me later
And then you never ever do
I just can’t sit around and wait
Can’t sit around and wait for you
Now I’ll just have another cup of coffee
I’ll sit around and wait for you”

12. 8 Good Reasons – Sinéad O’Connor

Memory: I am having a difficult night and having trouble getting to sleep. I am distracting myself on the internet when I stumbled upon the news that Sinéad had tried to kill herself. She left a message on facebook saying she was going to do it and she was found in time to save her life. Then I felt compelled to listen to her most recent album and found this song. It hurts every time I listen to this song I can’t help but think about how she tried to kill herself, it puts this whole song in a much different light.

13. Asleep – The Smiths

This song is from the Perks of Being A Wallflower. I could never listen to it before because it was too sad. But once watching the movie I found it irresistible.

Memory: I have just watched the Perks of Being a Wallflower and I’m balling, it was hard, it hurt. I’m driving around town and I am listening to this song on repeat. It’s funny because at first I don’t realize that it’s a suicide note of a song at first. The song makes me sad, but it more calms me down and becomes ambient music in the background. It’s a soothing song, a song I listen to when I can’t get to sleep, a song I cry softly to.

14. Wild – Beach House

This song is the perfect picker upper after Asleep. I spent days listening to this album and this song soothes me into a dance turning around my downer mood to a content one.

15. Amor Fati – Washed Out

And finally a equally soothing even more upbeat song to get you on your way.

Suicide is it Just a Coping Mechanism?

Suicidal thoughts, I’ve been plagued by them for years. I first felt them in 2008, my sophomore year of college, since then they have become a regular part of my life. The idea of not having suicidal thoughts is unfathomable, I mean what thoughts do you have when you’re really stressed? But after staring them down via art I’ve realized how hollow they are, how they are just decoys to distract me from the real fears I have. This had left me feeling relieved and light but with the knowledge that now I have the real boss ahead to fight.

The piece that helped me explore suicide is called, “Suicide Note.” It’s text in the shape of a building, on the right side it says, “Jump to freedom.” and the left side has a story about the time I got closest to actually jumping off. Finishing the piece was very difficult, I got half way through my first attempt with the help of whiskey and then didn’t touch it for a month before starting over. During the second attempt I took my time, I carefully drew the outline, I slowly wrote the text, taking breaks to distract myself from the theme I was staring at. The story I wrote is an embellished version of a flashback I wrote in my journal in 2012 to a time I realized I actually wanted to jump off a parking garage. Prior to that I would simply go to the top of parking garages and look down and everything would become real, this time the idea of jumping is what became the most real.

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If you click on the picture and then on the next page click again it again you should be able to actually read the story.

The story at first argues that my suicidal thoughts were just a coping mechanism, but then it ends with the time I scared myself by actually wanting to jump. I showed it to Spaced and she liked it a lot, though she disagreed with my conclusion. She pointed out that my fear of jumping made it clear that I didn’t want to do it, that from her vantage point this was also coping. I had just needed a even more real coping mechanism than simply staring over the edge and having my fear of heights kick in. I needed to actually hold my life in my hands because when you are feeling completely powerless what act is more powerful than saying to yourself, “I have control over something, I can take my life.” I wasn’t ready to delve into these thoughts at the time, I was crying out the reality that I just stared suicide in the face and I think I won.

Since then I have started having self-harm thoughts, when I get overwhelmed my mind goes to cutting myself and how scary that is. It was really not good after I watched the Perks of Being a Wallflower. I loved the book in freshman year of college and read it at least 6 times. I related a lot to Charlie and being a wallflower, but I forgot the major theme of the book he is realizing he was molested as a kid. This was very triggering and I spent the whole movie crying and then immersed myself in the movie culture afterwards: driving through the tunnel he drove through (it’s filmed in Pittsburgh), rereading the book, listening to the music from the movie on repeat (namely Asleep by the Smiths), and thinking about cutting myself. I talked to Spaced that night and she said I give this stuff too much power, suicide, cutting, n’at.

She’s right, I do. I do it because my mind finds those things and freaks out about me possibly cutting myself or jumping off a building instead of what I’m really worried about, essentially it’s misplaced fear. So I looked straight at thoughts of cutting myself and realized how hollow they are, suicidal thoughts held weight, I’ve had those for years and needed to work through them but cutting myself was completely hollow, it was a substitute for suicide but without the personal connection. Then I looked and it was glaringly obvious what I was afraid of. I sighed and admitted that I still haven’t accepted that I was molested by Diane, it fucks with me too much, it wrecks my history and takes away too much from me. I know it happened I know it’s true I believe it, but I haven’t accepted what that means.

That’s my current journey, no more distractions, no more getting caught up in worrying about killing myself or cutting myself. I’m not actually scared of doing either and I have a support network that is fucking amazing, both in Pittsburgh and beyond to support me in actually dealing with my shit. Knowing and embracing the fact that I was molested, possibly for several years, that’s scary, but it’s something I can handle. Remembering that I just got past suicidal thoughts that have haunted me for years, that’s a good feeling. That’s just the momentum I need to take on my next challenge.

So happy to have grown so far and to be strong and ready to grow more. I must pause and be humbled by my support network and by my progress. Looking back I am reminded that 2015 was the best year I’ve lived, and 2016 is looking like it’s going to be so liberating.

Run, Run, Run Away

You do this all the time Jen, you get caught up in people, you get caught up in their problems to avoid yours, you become so reliant on them that you feel like you need to share all of your emotions with them. You don’t even want to have emotions when they aren’t around. But then I must ask you what is the point of life? what is there to do when I’m all alone? There is nothing going on and nothing to do when they aren’t around. I just feel my emotions overwhelming me I need to exercise that’ll numb me, that’ll stop my racing thoughts.

I just want to run, to run away from everyone I can’t do this I can’t deal with getting sucked up in these people. I can easily put my phone on airplane mode so I can still listen to music and just bike, just hide in the wooded areas of Pittsburgh. It’s cold out but I’ll be able to hide for a little while and then I can go to the library to get warm. I just need to get away from all of these people. Wait! This is just more running. I get caught up in people to run away now I’m getting caught up in running away to run away. What am I running from? Why have I refused to meditate for the last two weeks? What am I scared of?

It must be from being present, I tried to meditate recently meditate and was quickly overcome with tears. It makes sense being present in the moment takes a lot of energy and courage, right? No, that’s not what it is. I know what it is but I don’t want to say. I know what it is but it hurts to know, it hurts to admit it. I’m running from myself. I’m running from her. Her blank face staring back at me, oh how quickly I can see all of her faults. I hate her, the way she stares, the way she looks. I can’t face her. NO!! I won’t I can’t I’ll cut my wrists, I’d rather hang myself then have to look at her and her blank stare. I can’t, I don’t want to see her! I need to take refuge, I need to call Spaced and see what she says about this. I can’t handle this myself. I definitely can’t do this myself. Spaced will give me advice. She’ll… I already know her advice, I’ve heard and given her advice thousands of times by hundreds of people. I have to do this alone. That’s the whole point, I know what I have to do.

I spent New Years Eve running from her. I burnt out from too many emotional conversations I longboarded for hours to find her, to run from her. I wanted my emotions back I wanted to know why and where, I wanted to know what was going on. At 3am I found her. Spaced was falling asleep and there was nothing I could do but cry to myself. That was a hard day, but it was a good day. I got through some shit I had a good time I hard a fucking hard time. But on that day when I was longboarding I felt compelled to listen to Vagabond by Wolf Mother. Listening to this song I danced while riding my longboard. It felt good. It was my pleasant reminder that I can “tell you everything about being free.” because that’s what I’m going for. I’m working on “becom[ing] so absolutely free that [my] very act of existence is an act of rebellion.” -Albert Camus.

It’s hard because I get caught up in hoping I’ll change. I tell myself I’ll love my face, my body once hormones have their full effect. I tell myself I’ll love my face after I have electrolysis finished. I used to tell myself I’d enjoy my body naked after bottom surgery. Putting it off for year after year because I will change and then I will be able to love myself. Where did this type of thinking get Cait Jenner, someone who has unending money for such surgeries? It’s got her worried about looking like a “man in a dress.” Then I think to Spaced and how often she says, “Jenny, you’re the best.” I enjoyed hearing this at first, but now it hurts more and more each time. It hurts because I know it’s true but I don’t believe her, it hurts because I know she can see it but I still can’t. I know I’m being my best to her but I’m not being my best to me.

Now that I’ve calmed down, how do I stop running, and how do I change this? I always think a radical change will help me but I know it’ll just create more problems. For starters, keep up with 3 meals a day, good sleep and start drinking more water. Get back to daily meditation and quick self love session each morning. Also keep checking in with yourself and act upon your urges and feelings, not in an impulsive way but in a I’m going to treat myself right way. And most importantly be easy on yourself. If you’re having a hard time let yourself do something you feel guilty about but don’t feel guilty about it. You don’t harass friends for relapsing you just harass yourself, stop that. You are a work in progress and progress is only made by continuing to work on yourself, not through self-blame. Just keep on in writing in your journal instead of trying to lose all of your time on the internet. Reflecting and appreciating how far you’ve come has been essential in your journey and still is. Keep it up you’re doing great, just keep on keeping on. You’re on the right path and have been for years. And as a good friend said, “If it’s not hard, you’re not gonna grow.”

Surgery, Hormones, and Our Heavily Gendered Society

This past week I was having a conversation with my friend Spaced about bottom surgery. She couldn’t understand why I wanted to have bottom surgery so we had a little discussion about it. I said things about not wanting to have this thing between my legs bothering me, and how I always felt uncomfortable penetrating people during sex (I’ve only really felt comfortable in a submissive position). Basically I just felt bothered and outed by my penis. I always worried about it being seen, noticed or felt by people. Having a penis made me feel uncomfortable and not like a woman.

Her response was first acknowledging how that must feel uncomfortable, but then saying that society has shaped my image of what it is to be a woman. Society has made me feel uncomfortable about my genitals. Society has made me want to surgically alter my body to have different parts that match the gender I am so I can prove that I am a woman. I continued trying to explain my reasoning but was caught by hers. All I could say was I was uncomfortable, I didn’t like tucking, it got in the way. She said society made me feel that way, it made me feel like I shouldn’t and don’t exist. The next day I told her I changed my mind.

She felt tickled that I had listened to her. I felt tickled that she had succeeded and that she seriously thought about this as a cis-woman. She asked me to explain why I changed my mind and this led me to think about my history of struggling with society regarding thoughts on hormones and bottom surgery. I’ll quickly sum that up. When I first announced myself as a transwoman I said I wasn’t going to do hormones, instead I had been taking supplements and using various devices to extenuate my breasts (It wasn’t until several months later that I decided to take hormones). I was also adamant about not getting bottom surgery and frankly terrified of even considering it. It wasn’t until Andreja Pejic came out and announced that she had received bottom surgery that I changed my view. Her and Laura Jane Grace were my heroes and having one of my heroes announce that changed my view.

Spaced and I’s conversation that followed began to ask the larger question that I had forgotten about, what if our society weren’t so heavily gendered? Would I want long hair? Would I be wearing a skirt right now? Would anyone want to use chemical hormones to transition? I agreed with Spaced on the first two decisions and said definitely no. The third one caught me and my gut response was yes, trans people are real and chemical hormones aren’t something bad they are taking. Then I realized I was wrong. If gender were free of sex then penises would be free of men and boobs free of women. It wouldn’t just erase gender it would erase sex (since the two are so reliant on one another or basically synonymous), finally trans and intersex people would once again have a society they could live in. This world is impossible for me to grasp. A world where feminine and masculine have no bearing on gender, sex or sexuality. Everyone could be who they actually are. I could not grasp this world, so it was hard to respond to the theoretical questions about it.

I kept thinking about it and realized my gut response felt ignorant and was coming from a place of fear. I have felt pressure to take and not to take hormones. And I felt a lot of guilt at first after deciding I’d start taking them. So I validated my decision saying I needed chemical hormones, that I would even need them if I weren’t in this fucked up society. This isn’t true. Our society and the way it interacts with gender is the problem. You have to fight with our society to find a place you are comfortable and you feel like you have your identity. Some people are comfortable without medical intervention some need full medical intervention. There is nothing wrong with this, this is coping. I am coping with living in this society by taking chemical hormones others cope by getting bottom surgery or top surgery. None of these people deserve any shame. What deserves shame is society for making this people have to do this just to be themselves. People should feel the right to be comfortable with who they are, but they shouldn’t be coerced into receiving medical intervention, surgical or chemical.

Calling chemical hormones and surgery for trans people coping is an accurate description of it’s effect. It’s what it’s intended to do. Doctors, therapists and allies cannot change the world we are in, but they can help people cope with it. They help them cope but helping people “pass” more (I’m using the loaded term “pass” because that is exactly what’s being attempted, people are helping trans people “pass” for what is “male” or “female” as though there is a checklist to be a “normal” male/female) We as a society aren’t doing what is necessary to address this problem we are putting all of the problem on the individual. This is wrong, but what else can someone do in a individualist society like ours? It is only the responsibility of the transperson because society has rejected it’s on responsibility and impact on this. What needs to happen is for the gender binary to be destroyed all together. The binary system we have doesn’t make any sense and helping trans people navigate from one end to the other is avoiding the problem which is the gender binary.

Take whatever hormones you need, have whatever surgeries you please, be happy in your own skin and don’t let anyone shame you for needing surgery to cope with this fucked up society we live in. But do make sure to love yourself. We can’t change society but we can change ourselves and that will affect the people around us. Slowly but surely the future may hold a society where gender is once again a spectrum and trans people can be who they are from the start, not after they’ve had surgery and years of chemical hormones. A society where you needn’t transition because you are always allowed to be who you really are.

In the mean time before society changes I’m going to try and take Albert Camus’s advice
Albert Camus

Winter Solstice Card 2015

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Dear Friends/Family,

This past year has been an amazing and challenging year. I started hormones on January 9th and legally changed my name on May 6th. I’ve been meditating for over a year and 6 months of it has been at a Shambhala Buddhist meditation center where I have learned a great deal. I started working again as an organizer, field director and currently doing data entry and just about everything else at SEIU.

During this past year I’ve also struggled with depression and anxiety. A week after my name change occurred I realized I was molested as a child. But from these experiences I opened up and finally asked for help. I have had tons of support from all I have told and found a strong bond with friends new and old. I have accepted and learned so much about myself and am appreciative of everyday I have. My life is so much more wonderful than a year ago, than a month ago. I’ve grown a huge amount in that time and looking back is a truly humbling experience. Thank you for being in my life and if I don’t regularly I hope to see you in the next year.

Love,
Jenny

This is the solstice card I sent out to family and friends and that I extend to y’all. This year has been an amazing year. One that has been terrific, horrible, freeing, paralyzing but despite all of the things that have happened this is the happiest I’ve ever been. Looking back on every other time of good feelings I can see that they are filled with feelings of despair, depression, and suicidal thoughts. These haven’t gone away but I’ve accepted them and started to address them. Knowing it has gotten so much better is relieving, because day to day I often only recognize problems that arrive.

Currently I’ve been struggling with how to relate to friends and what I want from them. But I am struggling with this because I am not just being what other people want from me I am figuring out what I want from other people and figuring out how I want to interact with them. Essentially I’m struggling a lot because a lot of what that I’ve “figured out” is wrong. I figured out how to serve and please other people now I’m figuring out what pleases me. I’m taking missteps every step I take but I’m learning so much from them.

I’m trying to be me. I’m focusing on me and it’s not always in a good way. I’m more selfish, impulsive, self-centered but like how a pendulum swings back and forth before reaching it’s center point. At least I imagine that is what I’m doing. It’s hard to explain it’s hard to understand I’m not sure exactly what I’m doing but this is how I conceptualize my current missteps. I am over being hard on myself, I’m over hyper-analyzing myself. Instead I’m letting myself do whatever I want and I dealing with the response in the moment, I’m relearning why I act the way I do. Is it for others? is it for me? Am I doing this to please people? or to please myself?

I don’t feel completely like myself but I feel like I’m becoming free. I feel my sense of obligation diminishing and my sense of commitment to being who I see myself as fading. I’m Jenny and that person knows who she is. I needn’t incessantly analyze myself I just need to do what feels right, and that what I’m doing. And all the while I’m trying to work on communications so I express why I’m doing what I am and how I feel. I’m just trying really hard to be me and it is a confusing disorienting journey. I will slight you on the way but don’t hold it against me, I’m pretty sure you won’t.

Who am I? I’m Jenny. What does that mean? Fuck if I know.

High All The Time

“Anybody want some?” asks Clean Grin.
Chemistry shakes her head as does Spaced.
Spaced says, “I feel weird about it because I could be drug tested any day at work. If a workers comp related thing or accident happens they drug test me. If one of the kids bites me or I got in a car accident and had to go to the hospital and I wouldn’t have the time to buy someone else’s pee on the way.”
A few people laugh.
“You know you can’t just say, ‘Wait! before we go to the hospital I need to go to the head shop to buy some pee,'” says Spaced
More laughter occurs and Clean Grin turns towards me, offering me some. I shake my head.
Then I think, “What do I have to loose? I feel impulsive, nobody else is doing it, sure yeah, you’re right.”
“Actually I’ll have some.” I say to Clean Grin.
Clean Grin turns back towards me and hands me the one hitter and I take what I thought was a short hit that is much stronger and longer than I expected. I cough immediately but this is nothing new.
“Someone get her some water,” says Clean Grin as I continue to cough uncontrollably.
“There’s some water right over here,” points Spaced.
I grab the water and drink some and my coughing begins to slow.
Then I start to realize I’m going to get solidly high, nothing like a good cough to tell you that it got in your system. Then I begin thinking, “I need to make sure to stay grounded, why did I do this… being high is not a grounded feeling but quite the opposite. Well to late now, time to try to focus on remaining grounded.”
I begin to focus on the ground and send waves of tingly sensations from the top of my body to the ground. This is helping a lot, especially considering how overstimulated I’d be otherwise. I mean I’m high, I’m obviously going to be overstimulated.

Why am I so focused on being so grounded you may wonder? Well that’s because of an intense conversation I had with Spaced and Chemistry. I told them about my struggle with depression, why I’m so protective and controlling over spaces I’m in, and how traumatizing being trans is on a day to day basis. The conversation went good, but I was still going camping with people I didn’t trust. I have spent the last year plus hanging out with only trans or trans-friendly people. These were the first cis friends I’ve had and then are bringing their cis friends that I don’t really feel comfortable around. It worried me but having Spaced and Chem know where I’m coming from calmed me down. I just had to do my best to prevent myself from becoming anxious and overwhelmed, thus why I was trying to remain grounded. In my mind if I remain in my body I can’t get wrapped up in my anxiety like the past four weekends have gone.

I can’t say I stayed grounded but I stayed comfortable and felt safe so anxiety never took hold. I made a few awkward high moves but overall this ends up being my best high experience, and I’m left with a truly good experience of being high instead of an uncomfortable one. But this feeling doesn’t leave in the morning. In the morning I’m still high and I wander around camp very high. That evening I’m also still high. The next day at work I’m still high, and the following evening I am still high. 48 hours have passed and I’m still high. It’s startling being this spaced out, but familiar.

I’m very ungrounded normally. And it wasn’t until I started doing grounding meditation every morning for the past few weeks I realized how bad it was. For 30 minutes I feel fairly grounded, and even briefly afterwards I’m not completely lost in thought. Though, not much later I become suddenly aware that I’ve been spaced out for quite a while. This meditation grounds me but more importantly it shows me know how ungrounded I am, and being high has helped me realize that I’m essentially constantly high.

Via http://shadotheonlyfriend.tumblr.com/post/92806770692

I believe that feeling high is a coping mechanism of mine, feeling high is as Tove Lo says, “to keep you off my mind.”

Towards the end of this experience I began to accept that this is my new reality – I will always be high, I will always feel spaced out. And as I said this isn’t far from the truth. I do always feel this way. I can finally tangibly say that feeling high is my reality. I get fixed onto certain objects and thoughts and I can zone out everything else that is going on which leaves me feeling dizzy when I encounter everything around me. When I’m high this feeling is more extreme, but this is nonetheless how I feel all the time. I’m not sure how I feel about this, but I think this is a huge step the right direction. I feel dizzy and spaced out all the time, but I actually feel it now.

This has been my reality for most of my life and now I’m finally recognizing it. Jamie felt a similar feeling for years and would get high to escape it. Now they no longer feel dizzy. I’m hoping I can be more present in my body and the present and not chronically lost in thoughts. For now I’m going to accept how I feel and focus on trying to get grounded, what happens will happen but I hope it gets better. I hope I can stop getting lost in thoughts all the time and enjoy the present.