Fear The Future

The recent anti-Semitic shooting in Pittsburgh has left me feeling rattled, sad, scared and fearful for the future. In large part it’s because it was so close to me, I know dozens of people who personally knew those killed in this hate crime and it was in a community I was on the periphery of. It’s clear once again that being in Pittsburgh doesn’t isolate anyone from hate crimes. Important to note the number of anti-black hate crimes that have happened here recently, from the stabbing on the northside, to the guy who was beaten by a group of white supremacist at a bar in Avalon. According to Southern Poverty Law Center there are 36 hate groups in Pennsylvania.

This isn’t news, it isn’t news that they are being emboldened by heinous rhetoric by Trump, and the GOP. And it shouldn’t be a surprise that this increasing hateful rhetoric is having a corresponding increase in hate crimes that have risen for 3 years straight and are at an all time high for the decade. This scares me for my friends, for Pittsburgh and our country. It also brings up a related fear that I’ve been tracking for several months that directly affects me, the government’s attempt to make America inhospitable for trans people.

This has been done on many fronts, but has reached a concentrated assault recently. The ADF has been working to undue the judicial wins by trans people for decades and the FRC has been working tirelessly to change laws to allow religious organizations to discriminate against trans and queer people. Recently with the GOP administration considering legally define both gender and sex as “either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with.” and within that same week the U.S. Health Department and Office of Civil Rights removed all language refering to transgender people.

I’ve been watching this for many months, mostly by reading things from someone I follow on facebook, Brynn Tannehill. She is a writer and worked as a senior defense analyst, she has a great ability to analyze situations and make prediction about different possible outcomes. I remember looking to her to see who was going to win, Hillary or Trump at 11pm on Election day. Since then I’ve read many posts by her warning of trans peoples’ possible erasure from American Society which is a process that is well under way, and there is a good chance it is a history that is already written.

The article that caught me the most that she wrote was a month Before Brett became a Supreme Court Justice entitled, “The SCOTUS Event Horizon for the LGBT Movement.” In it she clearly and systematically lays out a explanation of what will happen and how. This includes the loss of Title VII protections or protection from employment discrimination, right to discriminate laws or the ability to ignore civil rights on religious grounds, and a possible nationwide ban on trans people using bathrooms.

And in this article a lot of it is her talking about the Supreme Court, which isn’t something that is going to have a significant change in makeup for probably 15 to 20 years. So here we are, beyond the horizon, beyond the point of return. A friend described it as purgatory because these cases are inevitably going to make it to the Supreme Court and inevitably be ruled to make America increasingly inhospitable for trans people. But until that happens we just wait. Wait for the inevitable, struggling to keep our rights in the mean time. Sadly I have very little hope that our struggle will accomplish anything. I feel hopeless and yet I want to protest and go through the motions to fight back even though I see no way for this to work out I don’t want to give into the hopelessness of this situation but I look at it and only see hopelessness.

Someone else I know has been researching safe places for trans people to live. They’ve said that Canada would be a location that is decent but potentially only as a stop over spot with New Zealand being a location that is more safe in the long term for trans people. Turns out a friend of a friend lives in Christchurch, New Zealand. Which is a country I only learned how to spell correctly as I was writing this article! Thinking about potentially moving there leaves me hopelessly frustrated. I love Pittsburgh, I love Pennsylvania. I don’t want to have to leave this country or this state. But I can’t in good faith not consider the possibility that I’ll be compelled to move over the next year or two and that fact terrifies me, and hurts me.

I don’t know what to do. I’m a very flexible, understanding person with few needs. Often all I need to be happy is to adjust my expectations of how certain situations might go. But recently I’ve found myself adjusting my expectations to include having my friends in the Jewish community, LGBT community and Activist community be harmed and even killed. Because if I tell myself it could happen, at least I won’t be surprised if/when it does.

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How I left

I left my home on August 18th around 8:30pm. I had planned to leave, I had planned to go visit my friend Grease. They were a friend I didn’t know that well, but always felt a connection to. The plan was part of my bi weekly hangouts with friends. Most Wednesdays I’d hang out with Library and then on Saturday I would find a different friend to see. I leave around 8pm and come back around 3pm the following day. But leading up to this event Clarity crossed a boundary of mine I wasn’t okay with. My plan was to leave and return, but my plans changed and this became my first day on my own.

She had started seeing a guy on Monday, I made space for her to see him and it made her truly excited. She came back after seeing him and talked about how great everything was going to be. How despite the fact that I was moving out in 8 days that it would all work out great. That she still wanted us to be a family unit at some functions, that she didn’t want to add anyone to the family and wanted to keep raising the kids with just me, just have me living somewhere else but giving input and such. It felt great, Clarity just seemed on top of the world.

I saw Library Wednesday night, per usual. I left her house and met the family at their school’s open house. Clarity was so stoked about this guy that she was staying the night at his house on Thursday. Unbeknownst to me the night with her ended by him hanging out with the kids for an hour before they left. He wooed them, and generally frustrated me. I think it’s fucked up to have your kids meet someone you’re dating, especially someone you’ve known for such a short time. It was also uncomfortable to me because I didn’t even know this was going to happen and just two days prior Clarity had said she wanted the last week for me to be special and make it more of a celebration. I’m sure it was part jealousy, but this just felt like the opposite of how I’d like to spend my last week with the kids, hanging out with Clarity’s new boyfriend as the kids fawned over him.

On Friday she went to work and I got a text from her saying, “Jenny [boyfriend] said he will bring [me] home and also cook dinner.”

I texted her saying, “If you are saying your boyfriend is [coming] over I’m not into that.” Adding, “If [boyfriend] is coming over I’m leaving. I’m not getting involved in your dating world. I’m good. I have 6 days left. Id appreciate if you at least have the courtesy to replace me after I leave.”

She responded, “There is no replacing you.” and then pressed me about why I didn’t want to hang out with her boyfriend. Dredging up old topics she texted, “you also chose to leave. Why are you opposed to someone else joining the family?” She kept asking for further explanation, at one time saying, “I am repeatedly asking why?”

Finally I clearly stated, “I am simply stating I don’t want to have him over tonight or in the last week with the kids. I’m not talking about anything else. I’m not dredging up tentatively connected topics. Just talking about this.” I didn’t find out he wasn’t coming over until she texted me making it clear she needed a ride to get home because he wasn’t bringing her home.

Friday the youngest was sick, and I stayed home with her as Clarity took the other two to go shopping for back to school. They all got back around 6pm and by that time I’d already signed up to take the oldest’s to his friends house. As soon as Clarity came in the door she got on facetime with her boyfriend and had the youngest, who was laying sick in her bed chatting with him. Then she said something about him coming over while I was taking the oldest to his friend’s house (90 minute journey in total that she pressed me to commit to), to which I mouthed, “that’s fucked up.”

"6 days ago you told me all this warm and fuzzy stuff about how you don't wanna add anyone to the family and how you still wanna do things as a unit. Yesterday you literally texted me, "why are you opposed to someone else joining the family?" What the actual fuck is going on? Were you just high from Fucking [boyfriend] when you told me that shit? I'm glad you changed the plan but i have to ask what does it actually take for you to hear and respect my boundary? This isn't new. This is a large part of why I'm leaving.

C: He's not coming over. I am respecting your wishes.  J: Not by your choice. Barely. And only if I constantly reinforce them. There is nothing respectful about that.

I took the oldest to his friends house which was a 30 min drive there, 30 minutes of him getting to see his friend and 30 minute drive back before it was time for me to leave to go visiting my friend Grease. Everything changes on my way back.

I went home and her boyfriend was still there. Every time I’ve seen him he was super confident, well dressed and clearly in charge. Today he looked terrified. I calmed my anger when I saw him, he wasn’t the person to blame, it was Clarity. It was Clarity who continuously walked all over my boundaries, it was Clarity who didn’t listen to me. He broke the silence between us by awkwardly asked me how it was going as I walked past him. I continued and said, “alright.” then half turning my head around I said, “I’ve been better.”

I secretly gave each kid a hug and told them I’d see them on their first day of school. I didn’t want Clarity to comment or know what I was doing. I knew I had to cover my bases and do this right, even though I was being forced to do this so wrong. I loaded up my bike with slightly more things than normal and with Clarity’s boyfriend still there I biked off.

As I was biking to Grease’s house at 8:29 pm I called Majesty and talked with him for over an hour. And I think the feeling I was left with was pride. I was proud that I left finally standing my ground, finally standing up for myself. I hoped this would be a new chapter of my life, one where I stood up for me, not everyone else.

April 13th

This is a piece that I wrote on April 13th. I put pictures to it and put some of the text on pictures as well as adding some text but it is a piece that lives in a certain time and place, I can’t relate to all of it, nor do I want to. It’s a sample of where I was two weeks before I tried to off myself.

This is a picture of my room when I was living in Brookline, I lived in an unfinished attic.

Thank you, that was in the womb of my mine for 2 years before I awoke to see it on my wall. I lived with it for 3 years and then I tried to cover it up but it’s still there. I have a photograph of me trying to close it up. I have proof. You can’t see it anymore but the hurt person who lives in that room feels it every night and it watches over the horrors they see helpless to do anything.

I think if I were born elsewhere, another time or another place I would be called magic. Instead I feel like I don’t belong here like a splash of red in a black and white movie. A friend who sees me for who I am calls me witchy – they understand who I am. For there is a reason for all the things if you let there be and a way the world will take you where it wants if you just let go.

These are my middle child’s shoes tied together, something she requested while we were at the gym.

The nickle plating on the outside edges is covered up with grease and gunk so you can only see splotches of it and there is a dark brown red covering all the silver that shows. The inside is black with a tint of red. There are chunks of food in there and I know the pan is hot when it begins to smoke. The inside of the pan has a figure 8 shaped wet spot in the middle where the seasoning on it has been heated to a liquid. I turn of the burner and hover my wrist about 2 cms above the edge of the pan as I try to line it up so it is a horizontal line straight across. My hand is flexed upwards away from the pan with my fingers drawn in with the second knuckles showing.

I press it down and it is hot, I press it down harder to get a larger area a longer line. It begins to really hurt for a split second, I hold it on the pan for a short while before a jerk my hand off of it. All that I feel is pain. Searing pain for that split second and then a short time afterwards I feel the pain of the burn strong and it focuses all of my energy and all of my thoughts on my wrist.

This is the place I wanted to cut, I wanted to bleed but no on can see that, that cannot happen. So I do my best to make there be few burns and make it be hard to see. But in the end I have one on each hand, the one on my left is a 2 inch long line.

My thoughts are about being an imposter, being too much, and coming into my old self. And suicidal thoughts that left as soon as I had the time to embrace them. And it was a flooding of bad feelings that I didn’t have space to feel over the past few crazy months.

Healing is never done, but that’s how it goes. I think we’d miss it if it ended and we would prolly just look for things wrong and drive ourselves crazy.

Summer Solstice Gender Realizations (How I got here part 2)

The next part of my story follows what I realized in therapy, something I knew I had to do, I had to leave our family home. And the struggles that re-emerged regarding my gender. With an attempted attempt at suicide under my belt I realized I no longer had a choice in the matter, my body knew what I had to do and I had to leave unless I wanted to die. Hence me writing the nicest letter in the world to Clarity, a letter certainly inspired by my desire for it to be over and no arguments to come from it. I very much feel the lyrics of the Against Me! song: Even At Our Worse We’re Still Better Than Most.

You can have it all, I ain’t got the heart to fight, no,
Total exhaustion, complete breakdown. For the asshole I am
Apologies in full, please leave me alone
Pull over the van, let me out.

You all saw my letter to Clarity, she took it pretty well. We talked about how we could make this work for everyone and how this was something good, something we all needed. I pledged to stay on until the kids started school since I had been involved in the conversation about the kids not going to camp over the summer. Instead they would be with me, because, well I knew they would want that. There were only a few weeks of camp that she had booked and by the time we had this conversation and I told her I wanted to leave all the camps were full, at least all the cheap ones.

I ended up negotiating two nights off during the week, and we talked about how that number would increase over time so that the kids would see less and less of me and I would successfully transition out of the house. Those nights off became my respite and a haven for me. I got to see friends I hadn’t seen in years and restore myself more as a person. At the same time I reduced things I did in the house and stepped back from my care for our dog instead focusing on not overloading myself anymore.

This new time and freedom made me begin to feel like a real person and also opened up a space for things I hadn’t struggled with recently to come to the surface, notably the gender dysphoria that I was so terrified of. By the beginning of June I would go up to my room and feel compelled to tear of the skirts I was wearing. At this point I’d been wearing skirts 99% of the time for 3 years and that’s after not wearing skirts 99% of the time for 6 months (and really only wearing skirts and dresses occasionally for the 6 months prior to that and hardly ever before that). I didn’t have enough time to really delve into this, I was getting off one night at first and I was still spending this time with people so I never really let myself idle in a real way, I would rest for some of my day following my sleepovers when the kids were at school but you can only do that so much when you have to pick them up at 3 and be prepared for the coming night and dinner and such.

It reached it’s peak when I went to my littlest’s preschool graduation. The night before I stayed over at a my friend Library’s house and as soon as I got there I threw my skirt across the room and told her, “sorry I just can’t wear that shit anymore.” The problem was I didn’t bring a change of clothes so I had to wear this same gorgeous skirt the following day. And this skirt is just so pretty, it’s a vintage styled skirt with an beige ruffled under layer to make it poof out and the outer layer was beige, a linen type material with these gorgeous large black flowers covering the skirt. I got compliment after compliment walking around the halls of the preschool, all while being disgusted that I was wearing this truly pretty skirt. I didn’t know what to do or what to wear, I had recently been talking in therapy about gender and wanting to wear less feminine clothes while still being gendered properly, and that was exactly why I wore the skirts as a protection against misgendering.

On the summer solstice I cracked. And two memories helped me get there. The first is buying a jean jacket and trying to navigate which one to buy, a men’s jacket or a woman’s. Did I want to look like a tomboy or did that just look like a boy’s jacket. I went back and forth finally settling on this great women’s jean jacket, but not after contemplating something I’ve neglected, something I’ve refused to contemplate for years, me being a tomboy.

Here is a picture of my new jean jacket, and not wearing a skirt!

The next memory is an interaction between me and my oldest that Clarity interjected into. My oldest was talking about how he was bored and didn’t know what to do (because he wasn’t allowed to play on screens). I told him I understood I remember being bored a lot as a kid because I was only allowed to be on screen or watch screens for a short period of time each day. He said, “No, mine is different, I’m boy bored,” and explained further to assert that ‘boy bored’ meant he had energy and was bored. I told him, “I was a little boy too and I had a little brother so I know all about ‘boy bored.’”

Overhearing me Clarity interjected and said something to the effect of, you weren’t a little boy because you’re a girl, and you’ve always been a girl, so you were a little girl. I shrugged in frustration and said, “yeah, whatever.” But that felt like a mis-telling of my story. When I was a little kid I was a boy, that’s what I remember being. I felt frustrated but didn’t have the time to think about it or understand why this co-opting of my story to validate the identities of the little two (both trans girls) felt so frustrating.

A few hours later I went to see my friend Library and as I was about to leave she called to warn about the heavy rains and that there would be flooding on my route and she suggested an alternate route. She said she wouldn’t be talking to me on the phone or texting her it was very important I focus on driving. I said, “Fine but I need to tell you something real quick first… I don’t think I’m a girl and I’m pretty sure I’m not a boy.”
She calmly but clearly startled and aware of the weight of what I said told me, “We’ll that’s something we’ll definitely get to talk more about shortly.”

I began to drive in the pouring rain, with some streets turned into rivers and proceeded to call everyone who mattered, Majesty, Heart and my friend from Philly. No one answered but I roughly told all of their voice mail boxes with increasing confidence that I wasn’t a girl, that I wasn’t a boy and that I think I’m something inbetween. I told them I might change my name but I was unsure of what to, I might change my pronouns but I wasn’t sure about that either. And I told them the two stories above to explain why I had come to this conclusion. It felt freeing and nice.

When I got to Library’s house I excitedly texted Clarity and told her the news too. Library was tired and a little irritated that I was texting while I was there. But I was budding with new found energy and excitement over my gender. The excitement lasted for a little while and then fear erupted. Fear of what that meant, fear that I needed to change my name or my pronouns. It became terrifying. I talked a bunch to Library about this before she got tired and Clarity told me she would call me tomorrow to talk about it and that she was excited for me. She said it was an exciting new chapter of my life. I went to bed in more a state of panic of not knowing who I was or where I was going, calming myself down in time.

I was scared of the journey I was about to go on, scared of being misgendered and not knowing what gender I even wanted to be gendered as. I initially clung to a gender I had previously identified with in the spring of 2010, 4 years before I came out, genderfuck. Genderfuck is someone who fucks with gender in an intentional and often political way. I liked it because it made gender something political that you could fuck with people’s understanding of it, and thus originally it was more of a protest than my own identity. Now it felt like a bit of land I was on, like I was out of the murky mush and on ground that wasn’t where I wanted to be but it felt more secure and was honestly a good place to rest. When people would stare at me confused I could take that as an affirmation of who I was instead of an affront to who I was. I began counting their WTF looks with glee instead of with hurt like I had before.

April 27th (How I got here Part 1)

On the night of April 26th I was feeling distraught in a very particular way, I felt the same energy that is present in my poem, “Today’s the day.” To shake myself of this feeling I utilized a powerful but rarely used coping mechanism that I have, writing a suicide note. This time the note felt stronger than normal, there was a clear reason I felt suicidal but it felt harder to argue with. Normally these notes highlight fears, this one felt like it highlighted two large difficult struggles I would have to embark on. This note I wrote felt like it prescribed the answer that is denoted by the name of such a note, suicide.

At the time I was overwhelmed with stress from the family and a lack of control. These stressors continued to grow and I began to fantasize more about my back up plan. My backup plan was to leave the family and resume some “semblance of coherence to a former self,” (Against Me!’s song Problems) But as I looked more and more into this fantasy I began to find a large wall of stressors there too. These sterssorts were, dypshoria. I have been long well aware of having dysphoria that I had not dealt with and was running way from those feelings by joining this family. They helped me mask and not deal with many things troubling me.

Then came along Against Me!’s song Searching for Former Clarity. I found it while embarking on my quest to listen to all of their old albums and then reread Laura’s book, “Tranny.” This song perfectly described feelings I have had and feelings I had at the time. It was describing gender dysphoria, 7 years before Laura transitioned. That song sung directly to those feelings and had me writhing around on the ground, kicking and screaming as I was overcome with hurt. The song is about Laura thinking she’s dying and the doctors telling her otherwise. This is exactly what gender dysphoria feels like, dying with no death in sight, just dying.

I began to realize my back up plan was as fraught with problems as my current plan, meaning, I had no backup plan, and my stressors were increasing by the day. Penning that note solidified my options for me, death. By the time I was done with the note I had expended enough energy that sleep was close upon me. I made a note to call my therapist in the morning and turned out the night.

After I dropped the kids off at school I drove to a nearby hill and figured I’d longboard for a little bit to brighten my day. But I got caught up with feelings and thoughts, some of which I tried to write down. I ended up laying on the ground and a picnic table before returning the longboard to the car and searching the car for some rope in vain. Today was the day, I told myself. A good day a happy day. A day where I say that was full life. A day where I say that was a good life. A day where one tear escapes my left eye and runs all the way down my cheek until it reaches my chin and then it hops off to land on and be absorbed into my shirt. A day where that tear has to run past a smile before I knock over my stump.

I put in my headphone and put the song Searching for Former Clarity on and began to walk with purpose and meaning. I walked the paths of Schenley park searching everywhere tirelessly for some rope. There was no tears, or hurt, there was no anger or fear, there was only drive. I continued to solidify in my understanding that today was the day. With Searching for Former Clarity on repeat playing in my ears I smiled and one tear escaped my left eye and had to run past a smile before it reached my chin and hopped off to land and be absorbed into my shirt. “Not yet Jenny,” I said to myself. I needed to be assured that today was the day and like the poem, my version of perfect would be no tears until I was atop a stump before knocking it over. .

I searched meticulously over the hills and in the valleys, all around the creeks until finally I reached a medium sized white tent set up for an event near a coffee shop. “That!” I realized excitedly. As I got closer I decided which ratchet strap to take of this 3” wide “rope” that I had found. I decided the back corner would be the best spot and that although this wasn’t the ideal rope I think one or two of them would be enough to get the job done and at this point after walking for 2 hours I just wanted the job do be done.

Right then my therapist called. I was clearly frustrated and told her so, that “she had called at the worst time I had finally found a rope,” I continued to be openly irritated with her as she talked to me. I explained that while I thought this was supposed to be an irrational act I was the most rational state I’ve felt in a long time. She talked with me for 45 minutes before tiring me out and convincing me to drive to her office for an appointment.

By the time I got there I was giggly and goofy, nearly all of my suicidal energy had been drained and I just felt the prosperousness of the moment. I wondered if anyone at her office knew that I was here for a special “emergency appointment” because I was trying to kill myself and I laughed at that prospect. I also thought it was hilarious that this is what happens when a therapist cancel for an “emergency.” I felt like I was mocking all of reality and in my conversation with her I promised that I would not kill myself before my next therapist appointment.

I proceeded to make deals with myself in the following weeks where I would not kill myself for blank days if I could… This often revolved around suicidal tendencies things like buying rope to hang myself with, or keeping rope to hang myself with in the car. The Rope was too expensive and I couldn’t find climbing rope that I was sure was in the house and would be my ideal rope to hang myself with. I started even getting fussy about it and wanted to make sure I died being hung by a nice cotton and polyester blend rope around my neck not some shitty big box store’s plastic rope that would be rough on my neck.

Face Skirt

Face, Skirt
in the neighborhood grocery store
Face, Skirt
in the nearby drugstore
Face, Skirt
in the kids ballet studio

I maintain prolonged eye contact with them
my face clearly irritated as I wait for them to notice the person they are staring at
sometimes they turn away, sometimes they turn away and then turn back again

I keep staring trying to hurt them with my eyes
instead of baring my teeth
instead of balling up my fist and readying to swing

This is where I live
my partner tells me I should shop in the east end
saying I’m there most days anyway

Face, Skirt
at the gas station
Face, Skirt
at the hockey arena
face, skirt
at the craft store

I need somewhere to shave
I was too rushed in the morning
I didn’t have time to shave, I didn’t have time to shit

Face, Skirt
Face, Skirt
Face, Skirt

They keep staring at me, I’m just trying to find a bathroom
single occupancy with some hot water
shaving cream is already smeared over my purse getting impatient while waiting to get used

Face, Skirt
Face, Skirt
Face, Skirt

I leave the sink I found running for 3 minutes while I shit
it’s still cold
I splash the water on my face – really cold

Face, Skirt
Face, Skirt
Face, Skirt

I find another single occupancy bathroom, the sink is motion activated
I struggle trying to get it running
The water is just as cold and I struggle even to keep it on

Face, Skirt
Face, Skirt
Face, Skirt

So I drive back to the east end, I have to be there in an hour anyway
My friend told me there is one place that’s reliable
one place that I am welcome, invited to do it.

I park the car two blocks away
the parking’s free over here and I haven’t got but 2 quarters on me
I was gonna skate and listen to Laura, but I left my board at home

As I walk to the library there is two dykes in front of me
one butch, one femme
I go into the library

I sigh a breathe of relief
thank fucking god, thank fucking god!
there are other weird people here

Face, Face
Face, Skirt
Face, Face

Thank fucking god!

Face, smiling Face

I smile back
I pull out a book and turn the page to Queer Heartbreak
I hand it to her and say, “you should read this.”

I go into the bathroom, turn on the water
*sound of sink running*
It’s hot, it’s fucking hot!

5 minutes later
clean face
new woman

Smiling Face, Smiling Face

Searching for a life that fits

Been thrifty my whole life, eating out of dumpsters digging through people’s trash. Pieced together how I should act from the letters they threw out.

Must’ve been 10 when I started thinking of bulk trash day as a holiday. Taking people’s furniture trying to arrange my room like theirs.

Too scared to be myself, too worried what others would think. So I borrowed someone else’s life, they had an extra room.

Living in their attic wasn’t bad, I can be myself in one room. Too hard for the mom to climb up so she hasn’t seen the new window I put in.

Breathe in deep every time I climb up, finally feel at home in a house I spend all day as a homemaker in. Wondering if it’s the cleaner making me not able to take a deep breathe in the rest of the house.

I thought I’d be alright, the life fit okay, ’til it gave me a rash around my neck I couldn’t stop scratching. When I realized I was itching for a rope I knew something had to change.

Done tried this before, wearing some boy’s clothes for 25 years. Found myself on the edge of a parking garage, convinced if I was flying they’d fit right.

But here I am again, smile popping on my face when they call me mommy on accident. Thinking about how I should’ve been a mother, should’ve been a wife as I tire of being a true trans soul rebel.

Saw you and thought you needed a side kick and you were an impersonation I could do. 19 months later I realize I’m just kicking myself right now.

Know how to be that kind of mom but I know it ain’t me. Digging through your change purse trying to find someone else to be.

Now I got three kids staring up at me asking what’s for dinner. Ain’t cooked nothing for myself in months, been starving myself with gummy bears and ice cream.

168 hours later I don’t think I can keep it up. Catch myself staring at the sheets counting how many threads, wondering if they’ve been washed in the last 4 days.

Peering in the garbage cans as I walk into the kids fancy preschool wondering why I’m here. Hiding the dirt under my nails only to show the scars on my forearms.

Screaming punk lyrics alone in the car dreaming of being homeless. Wondering what the future smells like searching for convertible tights in the kids section of target.

Trying to piece together which way to go. Feel like I’m juggling chainsaws but I ain’t got the certification to even turn one on.

Got 5 people talking to me making sure I don’t practice tying knots. Wondering what’s the point in not cashing out now.

Can’t make sense of what else I could do. Trying to play poker by myself because I’m tired of solitaire.