Itchin’ on a Photograph – Mixed CD

This is mixed CD #2 I’m posting here. I felt an itch to make another one and figured I’d share it again. I’ve noticed the themes aren’t trans related (compared to my last mixed CD) but are just related to my life. It’s reassuring that I’m more cemented in my identity to focus on other issues in my life.

1. Keep on Knocking by Death

Death gets two songs on this CD. I watched the movie about them after hearing a few songs. I very much like the style and can’t help by play the air guitar to this song. Good way to start off a CD.

2. Itchin’ On A Photograph – GROUPLOVE

I just found the band GROUPLOVE in the past year and didn’t originally appreciate this song but now that I hear what they are saying it has even earned it the title of the CD. The theme of this song is a theme I’m embracing in my life right now, as I grab the past and remember who I was and try to let it go.

“I’m giving up on looking back
I’m letting go of what I had.”

“I’m letting go of all that I had
I’m living now and living loud.”

3.From Now On – Delta Spirits

This band is near and dear to me. A friend in Philly bought me a ticket to this band, the first concert I ever went to. I felt torn after realizing they seemed to be Christian Hipsters w/ their support of Invisible Children (and they even claimed to support them from the beginning at the concert I went to) and some of their lyrics. But I can’t stop liking them and I no longer have any desire to. They rock and from now on I’m gonna love them for who they are and try and extend that to everyone else.

4. Pulsewidth – Aphex Twin

Aphex Twin is my staple ambient and electronic band. Chill beats to just help you let it all float away. This helped me calm down and just ride many times.

5. Clark Gable – The Postal Service

The Postal Service also gets two songs. A week before making the CD they caught my ear and I couldn’t pick which one. This song caught my ear because of it captivating and descriptive story.

6. The Perfect Life – Moby

I can’t help but listen to this song, close my eyes and imagine the perfect life. Then I open my eyes and smile as I ride my bike along, listening to this song with a big smile on my face. I needn’t imagine the perfect life, I just have to take it in.

7. Shadow People – Dr. Dog

Dr. Dog’s falsetto crackled voice is just what I needed the past few months. That and his somber singing about being hopeful and hopeless. “Hoping these cigarettes will save us… as I cross the path of a friend of mine, I know what that look on her face was – something was gone from her eyes”.

8. Tous les memes – Stromae

The video with this song explains a lot, and don’t forget to push the CC button on the bottom of the video for translation. My friend Big S sent this to me, last time I’ve heard from her for a couple months. The video does a great job of showing both male and female perspectives of relationships as he switches which side of his face you see and the lighting changes from green to pink.

“All the same, all the same, all the same, and we’re fed up”

In my understanding of the video he is complaining and singing from both sides meaning we’re all all the same and we’re all fed up (not just men or women – as though there is a difference)

9. Uptight Downtown – La Roux

Not sure what to say about this one but she and this song has been in and out of my life for a while, this time she made it onto a CD.

10. Shake It Off – Taylor Swift

I love dancing to this song. It is sooooo good. She has such a good message. I could care less what people say about Taylor Swift, I have found so much glee in listening to her songs and often relating to them. Whoever writes them does a great job and I love listening to Taylor sing them. The playlist has something other than the music video for this song, is has Sean Stephenson dancing – I couldn’t resist plugging his awesomeness again.

“Hey, hey, hey, just think while you’ve been getting down and out about the liars and the dirty dirty cheats of the world you could’ve been getting down to this sick beat.”

11. Politicians in My Eyes – Death

This song so eloquently speaks of Politicians and what they do. My crazy politics seem to be getting uncovered yet again, beware :D.

“Reaching out, shaking hands
Making friends and other plans
Some will rise, some will fall
Some won’t even answer calls
Look a here, see them fight
See the twinkle in their eye
Politicians tell me why
Can’t you hear the people cry”

12. Second Hand News – Fleetwood Mac

I love this band, love this album and I felt this song. Also on an interesting note I just heard radiolab compare Fleetwood Mac to WWE Wrestling. We love watching/listening because we know there is truth in the stories we just aren’t sure what is truth and what is fiction.

I know there’s nothing to say…

I know I got nothin’ on you
I know there’s nothing to do…

When times go bad
when times go rough
Won’t you lay me down in tall grass
And let me do my stuff
I’m just second hand news

13. Take Me To Church – Hoozier

Not as good as Sinead O’Connor’s song with the same name but this also caught my ear. And the video caught my eye as it talks about gay rights in Russia.

14. The District Sleeps Alone Tonight – The Postal Service

They just tell such interesting stories, I can easily relate to the feelings the singer is singing about.

15. The Man Who Sold the World – David Bowie

This song simply caught my ear. And I love the album cover, man dresses.

Responsibility

What is your responsibility as a person? I have always felt that I was responsible for my actions and how the affected people. In time I extended this and became responsible for partners’ emotions, other’s feelings and much more. Through talking to others, reading and witnessing different events I’ve begun to realize the most important thing to be responsible for is your own well being. Without that you will struggle taking responsibility for anything else and will have a hard time caring for yourself.

This realization was cemented this weekend when my friend and roommate, Mouse, was having a very difficult time. We went to a state park to celebrate Mouse’s birthday and on the second day he found himself haunted by traumas, depression and suicidal desires. His partner Q was there and became agitated when they found out he had isolated himself when what he really needed and wanted was companionship. I tried my best effort to talk it through with him and to help him let go of the black dog’s grip. But it was to no avail, he was stuck.

I left our conversation and felt weighed down and wanting to cry, just as he was. Q felt responsible for Mouse and Mouse felt like he deserved Q’s help. I decided to let go of any obligation and sadness I felt. I put it back in the room with Mouse. I decided to be responsible for myself. I looked at Q and Mouse’s relationship and saw a codependent relationship that I had been in time and time again.

Being responsible for your own feelings is extremely important. People, even partners, cannot read your mind. They can hear your words though, especially when you say your emotions and ask for things. I’ve been taking the hard steps recently to express these to friends and have had great responses. Most people do not intend to harm others and apologize when they do. The worse response I’ve received is being told that I’m overly sensitive. To which my response was, “that’s how you made me feel.”

I spend hours out of days figuring out what to say in certain situations. How to engineer it to make it go the best as though it is a chess game that you have to plan 10 moves ahead. My most relieving responses thus far have been what I felt at the time. Not chess moves, feelings and what I feel in the present moment.

This is why I’m writing to suggest being open and honest with yourself and others and being responsible for yourself and your well being. The two go hand in hand and asking for what you need is an essential step in being able to help others with what they need. We need a world of strong, emotionally independent people if we expect to build the wonderful world we dream about.

Employ-ability

After 7 months of unemployment (vacation) I have decided to return to the job world. Excited to be truly ready to be who I am and work a job that I find much more satisfying. I also am assure enough of who I am and am prepared to deal with misgendering and transphobic people. I started applying in the social services field specifically mental challenged adults. I’m still waiting to hear back from a few but hope to be employed soon.

Applying as a transperson confused me at first. I wasn’t sure how or who to apply as. At first I applied as my legal name, then I had second thoughts. I talked to a translady who suggested doing the same thing that I was thinking of: apply with your legal name and once you get hired tell them your taken name. Something about that left a bad taste in my mouth. I decided to be upfront and apply as me, the person I am all the time, a person transitioning to be the woman she is.

While it’s impossible for me to say how this has affected my employ-ability, I would say it hasn’t much. I’ve been upfront and brought up my transition to every employer applying with my legal and taken name in quotes. To my surprise I had responses that were so nice and truly respectful. One person even said it was nice to meet me a second time this time saying my taken name instead of my legal name. The best part for me has been feeling very comfortable and alright with myself.

I am amazed at how okay people are with me. Too much reading made me feel like I was a freak I’m happy to say actually going out in the world makes me feel like myself. I also can’t help but be reminded what my roommate always says, people are a reflection of yourself. I am frank with myself and other about who I am and am shameless of that fact. I’m a woman but my body is still catching up (as is my mind too!). Once can expect as much after 25 years of living as a man. I understand confusion by people, I understand slip ups and misgendering. I wouldn’t say I’m entirely a man or a woman right now. Simply put, I’m transitioning.

To my amazement and despite dress wearing, bra wearing and extra femme bangs, I have hardly had any bad encounters. I don’t use beard cover, have yet to put much effort into changing my voice pitch and am clearly not a “woman” under a not-so-close inspection. Yet I have only been harassed, unsuccessfully, once. Which was by a creepy old guy trying to hit on me. After being frank with him about transitioning and correcting him that my parents were in fact proud of me for being who I am, he became frustrated. He seemed to be questioning his sexuality because of me and unsuccessfully put this awkwardness on me as he walked away muttering, “you’ll always be a man.” To which I responded plainly, “I tried that, didn’t work out.”

The power of positive thinking is amazing. It makes you feel great and that feeling is quite contagious. I am waiting back on hearing back from a few jobs this coming week. If not I’ve got myself another round of applications to put in. Hopefully employment will start soon and health insurance after that. I’m ready job world, so employment world get ready for this little lady!

Moving Towards My True Self

While hormones, electrolysis and legally changing my name are inching me towards my true self that alone will not get me there. Yes I will be a woman, but I won’t be who I truly am. To go on that path I need to recognize great things about myself and I have resumed working to achieve this. I don’t pity myself but love the opportunity I have been given and feel great great power in it. I have also taken up meditation and mindfulness to help me better deal and live in the world as it really is.

I have been on this quest before, becoming a woman has only allowed me to begin it once again. On it thus far I have utilized many great resources to continue propelling me. The first one is the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. This book is a great place to start and I have personally read it front to back at least five times. It helps you better understand the world we live in and give you strategies to start with. This alone will drastically alter your life for the better if you let it, and in addition with other things you will be much more happy, present and yourself.

Next I took up Transcendental Meditation. This is a sitting practice where you focus on your breath, quiet your mind and try to let go of your thoughts. You you may think meditation is crazy but it has been consistently proven to be helpful for many things. In one inner city school they even used it. They started doing two 15 minute sessions of meditation. Four years later the school moved “from the bottom of California’s academic ladder to the upper middle rungs.” With a 75% decrease in suspensions and a .4 increase in GPA, not to mention a large affect on students lives.

I’ve been meditating for about two and a half months and have felt great results. It has helped me better see what is going on in the world and what I am doing in it. Bodhi Kjolhede likened meditation as helping you use the mind better as a flashlight so you can better direct your attention(flashlight) to see the reality of the world around you.

To better utilize meditation I have also worked on being more present or mindful in my daily experiences. I want to better utilize my flashlight to see the world as how it is and enjoy every moment of right now, because what do what have other than this minute right now? The book, 25 Lessons in Mindfulness by Dr. Rezvan Ameli, has helped me in these goals. This book walks you through a 25 week course on being more present. Being mindful is letting go of your thoughts and trying to be present in the moment.I am constantly realizing how up in the clouds I normally am and have been struggling and succeeding in getting myself out of them. Instead I have begun to enjoy my life as it happens, the pain and the joy.

My best moment with mindfulness was when I was drenched and walking my bike up a never ending hill. I had just backpacked for 3 days and was trying to get my car to go home. I was tired, hungry and over it. But I tried to stay present in my suffering and realized it wasn’t unenjoyable at all. In fact it was amazing. I got home and was truly present for the next 24 hours and have quested to get that feeling back ever since.

The final book I have found extremely helpful is Start Where You Are by Pema Chodren. She talks in an easily understandood way and helps you utilize painful moments in your life to grow enormous amounts. I have greatly appreciated her book and all the slogans that she has shared in it.

I now will leave you with a moving TEDx talk by Sean Stephenson on pity and power.

Informed Consent Hormones Pennsylvania: Second Puberty

Hey all! I’m writing this post for two reasons to list the resources I know about for Informed Consent Hormones in Pennsylvania and to tell y’all about my experiences thus far. If you don’t need those resources skip below, if you do enjoy.

So far I know of a few places that have informed consent hormones and a list more that may or may not be specifically informed consent in Pittsburgh in Garden of Peace’s website.
The ones that are informed consent in Pittsburgh are:
Metro Family Practice (which in my experience take most if not all insurances despite facts otherwise. I go here and have felt utmost respect as has my non-binary roommate Jamie who is going there too [they are super cool about the non-binary stuff])
Stacy Lane at West End Health Center(I heard from one person that a questioner they filled out had questions that felt like Dr. Lane may be gender policing a bit, asking whether my friend wore dresses or not.)
East End Community Health Center, which I have heard nothing bad about from the person I know who goes there.

In Philadelphia I only know of the Mazzoni Center. They also have great other resources online about name change etc here and I have heard great things about them, though have no trans-specific information.

Finally I know that there is someone in Harrisburg that according to a friend of a friend, “give [hormones] out like candy.” So if you want me to look into finding out who this doctor is let me know and I’ll ask my friend for more details

I feel that it is very important to better share information in the trans community, especially when this information is essential to new comers. I will be attempting to share information I am finding and cataloguing all the details of my name change for people who are excited about that lengthy exciting process in the coming months. This is also meant to motivate people to not give up hope because I almost drove to Philly before realizing there are 3 informed consent clinics in the city I lived in.

Now to the exciting stuff, changes I’ve felt on my two weeks on estrogen!!! Well first off I’d like to say how validating and exciting this has been for me. I felt torn about taking hormones for a while and was scared of possible side effects. I weighted positives v. negatives and found that there were hardly any negatives and a lot of positives and was compelled to take them and right my body.

The first thing I felt was headaches the first few days. I also got really somber and felt very lonely one day. I ended up going on a long walk and going to a friends house. This feeling passed quickly, though it ended up feeling validating, especially when my roommates just told me I was having my period for the first time (ha).

I have been taking NatureDay supplements for 10 months now and will continue to. They have caused a small amount of breast growth – significantly more after I started using the soap and moisturizer. The introduction of estrogen on top of that has caused noticeable breast growth, even by friends who can feel it in hugs and visibly see a small change in only two weeks!

But the most noticeable thing for me is an increased energy level. Before I struggled to feel a desire to do much of anything now I feel happier and more productive. I don’t know if this is estrogen specifically or simply my body/mind response to it. Either way it feels nice to be even further from the weight of depression.

I also recently talked to a translady who had been on hormones for just shy of a year and she showed me her results at a dance party we were at. Woah. Her breasts, and hips were much much larger. And her face feminized more than I expected not to mention her super soft skin. A week ago I got nervous not being able to pass but after seeing her changes I’m sure I’ll look a lot more effeminate and voice training will certainly help the disconnect I feel with my body. I’m really excited for the year for so many reasons. Haven’t felt that a while so I’m pumped for 2015!

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

MLK day is an extremely important day to me. It’s a day I listen to at least one speech by MLK and at least one by his counterpart, Malcolm X. I’m going to post those videos here and highly encourage you to watch them and remember these astounding men on this day.


This is his most famous speech that highlighted his work and set him apart as a leader in the civil rights movement, his “I Have a Dream” speech. This is one of his more moderate speeches so I always make sure to listen to one of his more impassioned speeches – one of the ones that got him killed.


This is his final speech, “I Have Been to the Mountaintop.” This speech is a speech to the sanitation workers as they struggled to unionize in Memphis, Tennessee. MLK wasn’t killed for his views on voting rights and black’s freedom, but his views on their economic rights, on peace and justice. MLK was a radical man that shouldn’t be remembered with a national holiday. Which is why I listen to his speeches – to remember the man he was not the man they try to paint him as.


A speech by Malcolm X. A extremely powerful figure who was gunned down for reaching across the isle to fight with not against the white man. Malcolm X is remembered for who he was not who he became. After he left the Nation of Islam his views changed and he was no longer censured by the Nation of Islam. If he had lived only a year longer I’m sure his views would continue to evolve to the point that he would have been fighting hand in hand with MLK.


Finally a movie trailer for Selma. It has a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And the film is directed by a black woman who normally directs Indy films. I haven’t seen it yet but it looks like one truly amazing film.

Falling Up

About every 3 to 4 months for the past couple of years I’ve made music CDs that catalogue what I’ve been through and what songs took me there. I’m posting this one online to share it with y’all the music that’s been in my head and to give you tidbits about what these songs have meant to me in the past few months. Songs to me are time markers, they are pages from my diary that I cannot erase.

1. She Don’t Use Jelly – The Flaming Lips
This song has been stuck in my head for months. I don’t know the words beyond the first verse but I’ve liked it for a long time. I honestly think part of the reason I like this song is just because I like saying she in reference to myself. Either way this has overlapped Let Me Go by Cake as my song to sing absent mindedly.

2. Mozart’s House – Clean Bandit
When I was running I listened to this song a lot. I almost went to Toronto to see them with some good friends. “So you think electronic music is boring. You think it’s stupid. You think it’s repetitive… well it is repetitive.”

3. FuckMyLife666 – Against Me!
Laura Jane Grace has been a hero of since she came out as a transwoman. This song helped remind me that “All things meant to be destroyed, all moments meant to pass.” I was grasping for relationships and moments to stay forever. That never happens. In this song Laura is singing about her marriage – they seemed to be staying together at first, but her wife couldn’t do it, seeing her transition was too much. It hurt me to know that, now it is a important lesson to appreciate these moments when they are there.

4. Take Me to Church – Sinead O’Connor
This song is so powerful. The video of her famous song playing over top of it is so powerful. “I am the only one that I should adore.” Lessons I hope to live by.

5. Habits – Tove Lo
I originally didn’t want to have this song on this list. I don’t like what it says, but I feel what it says. I listened to this song on repeat for days. Sometimes it is hard to keep people off your mind, they just become habits.

6. The View – Modest Mouse
I like this song years before, but it began to ring true recently. “As life gets longer awful feels softer. Well it feels pretty soft to me. And if it takes shit to make bliss, then I feel pretty blissfully.”

7. Paralytic States – Against Me!
I feel the lyrics of this song. I feel her dysphoria. I am not quite the woman I wanted to be.

8. Dust Clears – Clean Bandit
When I first listened to this song I imagined that certain parts of my life weren’t true. One of those parts was that Big S wasn’t real, that I was making her all up in my mind. Interestingly I have come to realize that is somewhat true. I mistakenly made her into more than she was and succeeded in messing up that friendship and messing with my own head for months.
The song also reminds me and makes me happy when it says, “It may get harder, cause you’ve just restarted.” Because I felt that, I am changing my sex and how I view myself. It was harder, but I am just restarting.

9. Sky is Broken – Moby
This song is epic. I listened to Moby over and over again when arriving to visit Philly for the solstice. This song makes me think of the x-files (this song plays in it) and reminds me of Moustache. Moustache and I love Moby and would listen to him as we both got somber while working on bikes in Philly.

10. Cow Cud is A Twin – Aphex Twin
Aphex Twin is very calming and I listened to him to take a break. This song is especially head nod friendly. This album was on repeat for a relaxing few weeks.

11. Reflektor – Arcade Fire
Reflections, that is all things are in this world, reflections of reflections of reflections. We don’t see what is really happening, only a reflection of ourselves. We see in others what we have in ourselves.
Not to mention, “Thought you were praying to the resurrected, turns out it was just a reflektor.”

12. #1 – Moon Hooch
I listened to Moon Hooch on and off during this time period. I decided to finish the play list very happy, because that is what is happening. As days go forward I feel myself shedding layers of baggage and smiling more and more.