New Work, New Me, New Year

Sorry for the distance between posts, recently I’ve been considering deleting this blog. Turns out more people read this than I thought. This feels odd because it is where I share lots of deep emotions and inner thoughts. I’ve received pressure from my family who have had people directing concern for me at them. I don’t want to be pressured to take this down, this blog means a lot to me and has been a great coping mechanism in the hard times in my life. I do want to let all who read it know that this is NOT a blog I use to update folks on my life, in fact the opposite probably happens. I normally go on here to process deep and difficult emotions. When I’m having a good time I just feel too busy to write (this is my main reason for the distance from the last post) and therefore you will primarily see bleak things being expressed often months after they’ve happened. Frankly it’s odd to hear how many people are reading this as it used to be an anonymous blog that few read. But until I decide it’s time to shut it down it’s gonna stay right here. I hope you enjoy.

Picture of the service area of the bike shop after being thoroughly cleaned.

Picture of the service area of the bike shop after being tidied up.

This past month has been a roller coaster I didn’t expect but it’s been a great ride. Lots of things changed at work. Trek Bicycles, one of the largest bike brands, bought out our struggling, underfunded store allowing the previous owner to retire and us to get the finances and support we need. I’ve also come to better understand my personality and how it has changed as I’ve come into myself. I’m not the introvert I thought I was, instead I’m an emotionally intense extrovert. I’ve been having a grand time extroverting around, going to shows, and just having a good time being me.

So first, comes first, the good news at my work. The previous owner of 5 bike shops in the Pittsburgh area let go of the stores that he had long prior stopped caring about. I’ve worked in this shop for over 2 years, 6 months recently but I also worked here about 5 years ago before I transitioned for a year and a half. The descent from good bike shop to chaotic bike shop started happening shortly before I got there. The well-known service manager stopped caring and eventually left to pursue another career, I left a few months later to transition. Since then it was understaffed and I was brought back into this chaotic scene that needed some serious organizing and was filled with shitty attitudes because of what the staff had experienced.

Trek has come in and turned that around – we cleaned up the shop, reorganizing and reduced the clutter everywhere. We got rid of lots of products that simply weren’t selling and got in new products, new bikes and generally got the place looking a lot nicer. We are all working full-time, which is absurd for winter and really exciting. The three of us who remain at the shop are learning and adjusting to the expectations that Trek has for us and are generally excited for the change I think all of us are. From what the Trek folks say to us we are the store most excited for the change. Being able to switch to positive, hopeful attitudes is really really nice. As is getting new cleaning supplies, tools and soon new work benches and training. I just gotta navigate getting myself a raise too.

They also are employing all 3 of us full-time. This has me excited and kind of dumbfounded. I’ve never worked full time in the winter in a bike shop, that’s a privilege afforded only to management. But here I am trying to adjust from working 16 hours a week to 40 while having to figure out my company health benefits. I’m really glad for the increased hours, while I was starting to figure out how to deal with working so little now I feel more productive with my time and I don’t have the luxury to constantly analyze and second-guess myself. This combined with the positivity of Trek and helped me break out and be more my authentic self.

Being myself didn’t start just cause of Trek but it certainly pushed me along in the process. The first time I really noticed it was on New Years Eve when I was at a party with my friends. The venue was some rich guy’s flat with an eclectic group of queers and friends, music profs, and generally fancy people. I disliked some of the people there but acted as though I liked them. Even engaging in polite conversation with some of them. This got to me and just before midnight I lost it and felt a strong desire to flip tables and destroy things. Instead I went on a walk. It wasn’t until afterwards that I realized that I was frustrated because I was holding myself back from being myself. This led me to more realizations about exactly who I am.

The first thing I stumbled upon was a webpage talking about people who are emotionally intense. I realized that I am emotionally intense. Not long after realizing that I took the Meyers Brigg’s Personality Test. I hadn’t taken one in years but for the longest time I was INFJ, or Introversion, Intuition, Feeling and Judging. I had even read the book, Quiet by Susan Cain about the power of introverts. I strongly identified as an introvert one who got energy from one on one conversations but still needed to retreat and be alone. The test revealed that I wasn’t INFJ anymore instead I’m ENFP. Stunned that two letters changed I discovered I’m more extrovert than introvert and I’m not judging, or structed to perceiving or open and flexible.

While I was always on the cusp, especially for introvert/extrovert, embracing that I’m an extrovert (and not just a cusp extrovert) felt terrific and made so much more sense. I have noticed that I love being the center of attention, I’ve noticed that I’m high energy and I don’t need as much time to reflect as I ended up giving myself. Instead the alone time would make me feel bad, as a thirsted for interaction. It’s so relieving to come more and more into myself. I no longer feel the need to ponder over my actions and to have a 1 or 2 second delay before responded as a figure out how I feel. Now I just respond. I’m certainly not as calculated as I was but I’m so much more authentic than I’ve ever been.

Two weekends ago I really thrived while being one of the most authentic versions of myself I’ve ever been. I went to an after party from 1am to 4am and danced and partied in ways I never have before. I felt free – I lacked the normal self consciousness I have. Instead I felt like I was care free partying like I was in my early 20s. After the party me and my friend, PunkRock, had brunch at 5am at the 24-hour diner. We were both in awe of the previous few hours and that it was 5am. We lost most of the next day as we slept until noon and avoided the light in favor of chatting in the dark and watching Face/Off. I think we both just felt like we were truly living our best lives. I still feel like I’m living my best life 9 days later. Here’s to 2019, as I’ve said to myself for the last several years – 2019 is looking to be the best year of my life thus far.


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.

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.

Dear Clarity

Dear Clarity,

I love you and the kids with all my heart. Nearly all of my energy over the past 20 months feels like it has been dedicated to healing you and the kids. It’s been rewarding and satisfying to watch your growth. It hasn’t been sustainable or healthy for me. As it continues it also doesn’t seem healthy of helpful for any of us.

I got to watch the littlest child come out of her shell, watch middle child emerge from the boy she was, watch the oldest begin to verbalize his emotions in a way that few adults can. And, of course, watch you grow immensely as you shed years of trauma and break through old patterns as you begin to remember the real you. You all are hardly the people I met, it makes me cry tears of overwhelming joy and hurt to think about it. I think I can confidently say there isn’t much I would trade for that.

All the while I have pushed and pushed myself to do my best, better than my best to show up for all of y’alls healing. This has caused me to deteriorate. Suicidal thoughts and self harm was nearly gone from my life but has now reemerged and is stronger now than it ever has been. I spend hours some days unable to move as I collapse on the ground, feeling like there is someone standing on my chest. Irritable, depressed and apathetic, I’m starting to see the kids trying to avoid me, trying to get away from my angst. I am starting to see this not only as unhealthy for me, but unhealthy for everyone involved. As I snap at you, as I distance myself from you, as I am unable to show any love towards the 4 people I love so much. Instead I feel myself growing increasingly irritated with you, and increasingly view y’all as burdens.

As I take a step back I realize just how overwhelmed and stressed I am. I step back and realize how unhealthy this is and how I have immersed myself in your family’s world to the point I feel like I have almost ceased to exist. This isn’t a new struggle, it’s an old one that’s tied in with being trans. It’s a clinging I did and still do to other people and getting lost in them and their problems.

I can’t do it anymore, I can’t do this anymore. I wanted to be everything you needed to help you grow and get better, I wanted to want to be a caregiver, a parent, to have 3 kids and a dog. I wanted to want all of these things I was given and all of this security. But I don’t, I just want me, I want my life back and I want you to be in it, but not be it.

It’s not about holding out for the next time we move, or the next routine we develop, or that break through in therapy or that new job. It’s about me needing to be Jenny, a person that has only existed in name for 4 years. I am not ready to be a parent. I’m not ready to have 3 kids a wife and a dog. I have so many dreams of my future and what it looks like. This life feels suffocating and I don’t want to have people I love so dearly feel like they are just burdens suffocating me. I want them to bring joy and desire to see them, I want to have glee playing with and seeing y’all. This is something I haven’t felt in a long time.

Now, I’m sure you want to talk logistics now that I got my feels out, you want to understand what I’m even asking for. I don’t have a solid grasp on a healthy and thoughtful way to make this transition work for everyone but I know what my soul needs and I need a break before I can plot out long term logistics, otherwise I’d be planning based on my current desires to be around y’all. My end goal is to be an auntie and a nanny at times. I love you all so much I can’t imagine being happy not seeing y’all.

I know I’m going to be needing days instead of hours. I know I desperately need to heal to feel like a person to have time to connect with my people. I don’t want to disappear. I want to step back and become less involved. I think that would be the healthiest thing for all of us. I don’t have a timeline, but I do know I want to live elsewhere within this year.

I hope you understand how much this has torn me apart thinking about how I do and don’t want to do this. But I know in my heart that this is what is the best for me and what i have to do. I think this will also be great for y’all though it’ll definitely be hard at first but it’ll allow for a lot of much needed growth.

I want to talk more about this and can whenever you’d like. I was hoping to share this info last Monday at our group therapy since that didn’t happen I had to write it out. I will always love you in a way in a way I have never felt before.

Love, with all of my heart,


Who’s supporting who?

you promised you’d care for me
you promised I’d be fed
you promised you’d support me
while I supported you

we’ve got a lot of healing
we’ve got a lot of work
we’ve got a lot of kids
just got a lot to do

don’t matter if it’s paper of plastic
don’t matter how we get it
don’t matter why we need it
if we need it for the healing work we need it

I’ll cover this
I’ll cover that
I’ll cover anything
Anything for healing cause that’s what we’re doing, plus you say you’ll make it right

you’ve got a plan to pay em off
you’ve got my trust it’ll happen fast
you’ve got a way to make it happen
so I gotta believe in you, gotta focus on the work we’re doing, even as the numbers grow

Turned over my bank account when it dipped below four hundred
you spent that four hundred promptly and never did a thing

three months later my bank is calling me
they say they ain’t my bank no more
they say that I gotta pay them quick
they say they’re gonna send it to collections

You said you’d sort it out
you said you’d pay the bank
you said you’d make it right

all I see is you making off with
everything you can carry
everything you can haul
everything you can imagine

you’ve gotta fill this hole
you’ve got a lot of loss
you’ve got so much need

you fill it up with household goods
you fill it up with clothes for kids
you fill it up with lots of things

For the kids, for the house, for the future, for the past, you got a lot to make up for, and you ain’t gotta make up a thing to me

now we ain’t got nothing
now we hit the top
now they’re all maxed out

we were spending all our future
we finally spent it all up
we’re living with what we make today
and today we ain’t make much

Now there isn’t a bill to share between the two of us, pinching pennies constantly, I even had to beg for gas

Can’t trust me with the money
can’t trust me with a bill
can’t trust me with what I buy

so here I am driving around on empty
so here I am 3 kids all hungry
so here I am with 25 dollars, wondering what to do

wondering how I’m gonna feed them
wondering how I’m gonna make it home
wondering how it’s gonna work out
driving home on fumes, I spend my last money on getting these hungry kids some food

isn’t ’til I pull up the reality dawns upon me
new curtains, new pillows, and new cushions too, new rugs on every floor and new clothes to boot

wondering why I was pinching pennies
wondering why I’m driving on empty
wondering why the fridge is still empty

wondering if we’ll make it to the next payday like this
wondering who’s money we’re even spending
wondering if there is any hope to remedy this

go home and check my voicemail
go home and check the mail
go home and check my accounts

Just crossed the 20 grand line, came here with 6 thousands, saying you’d be supporting me
when I look at my accounts, it says I’ve been supporting you

How to Change Your Name

A while back I posted a blog about how to get a court order for a name change in Allegheny County, which is fairly applicable for all of Pennsylvania. I also made a post talking about all there is to change. This time I’m going to walk you through the actual steps I had to take in order to get everything changed and potential hangups.

First off congratulations if you have gotten your name change completed. This is not an easy task, but this is also just the begin. While the following isn’t hard you can see from the extensive list that it is just a lot of stuff to change. But I’m going to break down this list so you know what you have to do first and how to begin the process. Don’t worry with slow steady effort you’ll be done in no time!

First off I would recommend that as soon as you get your court order to change your name to go get your new drivers license. To do this you need DL-80 (if you just want your name changed) DL-54B (if you want to update your picture too) for your name change, DL-32 filled out by a medical or social service provider (this is fairly lax in Pa, I got my therapist to do it but I think any social worker or doctor would be able to sign off on it) to change your gender. Then you just have to go to your local Penn Dot station wait around for a bit and get yourself a brand new drivers license, something which is essential to getting many more documents changed.


The next one I would recommend tackling would be your Social Security Card. For the Social Security administration they need your stamped court order the form SS-5 and updated drivers license. In order to change your gender marker on your Social Security Card you have to have a letter from your doctor that has wording that says you “had [past tense is essential] the appropriate gender treatment to (current gender).” I got such a paper from my doctor and was able to fully update my Social Security Card.

Now that you have those two you can pretty much change everything else! I would recommend trying to change both your name and gender at the same time. I’ve found that there are a lot of companies who have a gender marker for you so you might as well just give them a copy of your court order and your doctors note saying you have transition(ed).

The next thing I changed was my Credit Union/Banks and Credit Cards.
This was with varying degrees of success, I got forms from most of them and mailed them in with the two documents (attach a copy of these even if the forms don’t ask for them). Then I had to call each of them to confirm they got it and new what to do and to send me a new card.

If you happen to have a Paypal account, you’ll start to love Paypal. This is the easiest of all my accounts. You simply upload your files and the change your account over for you within a couple of days.

-Health Insurance Card (you need to do this to change medical records, doctors office, etc.)

-Doctors Office
All then need is show your insurance card to match your requested name and they promptly changed it for me.

-Dentist Office
I would assume this is the same for the Doctors office but I have yet to go

-Birth Certificate
I was born in Maryland and they just updated there policy for this here is the form for that, you need to fill it out and have your doctor sign off on it.

As of currently you can change and update all of your info and your gender. I would direct you here for more info.

-Vehicle Title Registration
This is super easy all you have to do is mail in form MV-41A (link below) with $51 and your court order.

-School Records/Transcripts
The best way to go about this for K-12 is to just call one of the secretaries ideally in the records and enrollment. I got transfered to someone who asked that I mail her a copy of my court order and form from my doctor saying I’ve transitioned along with my SSN and something saying my past name and current name.

-Degree (ie college diploma)
I went to Penn State and they have a handy little form here and for $40 you can get yourself a new diploma with your new name. You have to fill out a form for both the name change and the form to request a new diploma.
I filled out my application for insurance and saw that I could simply change my name. I felt too lazy to go through all of the work required and hoped I didn’t have to. Sadly when I got my first bill from Highmark I found out they have my old name on it.

-Credit Bureaus (click here on a link to a page that explains how to do this)
This doesn’t actually seem necessary, but it is really easy! Two of the three got back to me and asked me to fill out forms for them and mail them back. I got an update from those to with my credit report. I didn’t hear back from Equifax at all. I’m sure they’ll realize though once all of my credit cards and credit union accounts get updated.

Phone Company
-I’m not the main person on my phone plan so I had a confusing time with this one. I was trying to upgrade my phone but Jenny couldn’t upgrade her phone, only Chris could. They asked me if I had a drivers license with my old name on it. They wouldn’t take my court order as proof so I had to wait for my parents to call in and update that Jenny had permission over the account. I think the informality of this made it more complicated

-Landlord or Deed to House
I have a landlord so this one was easy. When I got my checks with my new name on them I simply mailed him a letter explaining that I had transitioned and attached a copy of my court order and new drivers license. I didn’t hear anything back so I can only assume I’ve done my part

-Sperm Bank (if you froze sperm)
This is so easy. All I had to do was contact them

This was harder than I imagined. I could change anything but my first name in store, they refereed me to their member hot-line. When I called in their member hot-line I got a snarky response from a lady who said we don’t transfer accounts there is no reason you would need to change you name. To which I responded, “How about a court order?” That got me transferred to someone real quick and I simply sent in an email with my court order attached.

This is really easy you just go with your court order, they may ask to see your license but any librarian is capable of changing all of your details including your gender!

I gave my parents a heads up when my name would be changed so that they could change my name in their wills to make sure that nothing wonky happened. Not sure how to do this but it didn’t seem too hard.

Other stuff you may have to change that I don’t have comments on:

-Voter Registration
-Internet Service Provider
-Insurance provider(s)
-Cable Provider
-Selective Service (Draft)
Unless they expand the draft to women and they become okay with trans people (both seem like they could happen soon) If you’re trans you don’t qualify for the draft but you will have to do some paperwork if you are under 25.
-Legal Documents (power of attorney, living trusts, contracts)
-Deed to House
-Retirement accounts
-Professional Licenses
-Employment Records
-Car Towing Company (i.e. AAA)