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,

Jenny

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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

Short Post

I am going to do a short update right now because I’m clearly having a hard time writing a longer post. I have one in the works but I’m not sure what the conclusion of the story is so it feels weird finishing it. So far I have two different conclusions to the story that are drastically different and I expect another ending to emerge for said story. So instead here is my short update that is vague but will hopefully give you the essence of where I’ve been over the last 5 weeks.

My life recently has been all out of sorts. I’ve had tons of drama with numerous friends and I’m still trying to sort out what is and has happened. I am not talking to Spaced right now, my relationship with Chem feels somewhat tenuous and I had a big fight with Jamie (but we are cool now). Everything I thought I knew about my main group of friends was thrown in the air. And I’ve realized I haven’t been the person I want to be or the person I know I am recently. I was sucked into an alternate reality and during that time lots of things happened that I’m not proud of.

But now I am on my way out of this world. I’m still scared I’ll go back to these bad habits but they feel farther away everyday. I’m surrounding myself with people I trust and people who truly and always have my best interest. I’m trying to get solidity in my reality but it’s hard. That, you see, is the crux of the problem. I’ve struggled with what my reality is for a while. I used to love getting caught up in other people’s reality. I mean, it’s not hard for me, I don’t believe in my reality. In my reality my history makes no sense. I lived 25 years as a boy but I wasn’t one the whole time. On top of that I was molested as a kid and discovering this information has really fucked with my sense of reality. My history all seems invalid and I can’t tell what things affected what has happened in my life and why I am the way I am.

This all feels very doom and gloom but as with all of my posts, and the way I am in general, things are good, things are getting better. I am getting through bad patterns in my life and have begun to rely upon good people in my life. People I can actually trust, not just people that I do trust. I feel much safer and want to give a shout out to Majesty, Vonne and Heart. These three have helped me deeply in my time of insecurity and I feel a amazing trust for them. Vonne has consistently helped me realize my thoughts aren’t that unreasonable and has just always been there and been present in a truly amazing way. Heart has helped me feel, especially in the hard times and is someone I trust. And Majesty, who is my champion. Majesty is the person who I imagine when I’m scared, he guards me from my molester, he guards me from bad friends and he is an amazing voice of reason. He has my back 100% and I love him so deeply.

And beyond being around people life is tangibly better. I enjoyed my birthday for the first time in so many years. I cannot remember enjoying a birthday, my earliest birthday memory is realizing how much it sucks to have your birthday on valentines day and that was when I was a freshman in high school. But this birthday I was self confident, surrounded myself with friends and was the center of the party. I got pied in the face, made people eat pie off my knees and got friends to lift up me and the chair I was in. I had a blast and I went to visit my family and ended up having the best birthday ever. And I got to spend it with two of my favorite people, Majesty and Spaced.

I’ve also decided to broaden my social horizons and try to find new people and just hang out with friends I keep missing. One more super exciting thing, I finally feel confident enough to go dating. So far I’ve been on one date and have another one tonight. I’ve never gone on dates before, I’ve always just dated friends. This is an uncomfortable scary experience, but I am doing it. And I feel good that I’m in a place where I feel comfortable putting myself out like this.

Things are scary, unsettling, hard, stressful, anxiety provoking, rewarding, relieving, exciting, humbling, and my life is moving forward not necessarily as I hoped, but probably faster than I’d imagine.

Winter Solstice Card 2015

57 solstice

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.

The Holidays

This holidays, since I’m still not working, I travelled all over and had a great time seeing everyone. Firstly I went to Philly, then State College and finally a solo backpacking trip on the Laurel Highland Hiking Trail. I’ll briefly tell y’all about all my trips and show some pictures.

Philly was nice, I saw all the friends I had hoped to and updated them all about my news of going on hormones and that (starting this Friday!). I also got to tell my Aunt and Uncle I was transitioning who were quite supportive. I even got to see a good friend from my first year of college and spent the solstice sunrise with her.

Sunset in Fishtown, Philadelphia

Sunset in Fishtown, Philadelphia

I spent the solstice in Philadelphia and spent most of my time in a brick cabin of sorts called “the compound” owned by Half Dread. It has a rain water collection system, electricity and a wood fire to heat it. The day of the solstice I spent time at Philly Aids Thrift and lots of time meditating in the sun. That evening I was with Guac for a while and even got to see Juju briefly. Anxiety overtook me that night and when I saw the sunset I felt myself working through and flushing out old problems. It was a cathartic experience and has made me exciting for 2015 a year of powerful enlightenment, awakening and openness.

Sunrise in Philly - exhausted and relieved

Sunrise in Philly – exhausted and relieved

Next was State College. I saw mostly my immediate family, it was especially nice to have my brother there. He missed x-mas last year, which while it’s not an important holiday for most of us it felt like the conscious choice of work over family. My family worked on calling me my new taken name and worked a little on using female pronouns too. This felt validating as though I was transforming into a woman in their eyes, and in my own.

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My final trip was to hike along the Laurel Highland Hiking Trail (LHHT). It’s the same trail that I hiked over Thanksgiving and I was happy to hike it again. This was the most intense of all the experiences. Including two opposite by equally astounding experiences.

The first being hiking two days to come upon a winter paradise. Suddenly there are houses covered in snow, even their roofs (there was no snow to be seen where I was hiking). People are skiing from house to house and then I see a ski lift. I’m at Seven Springs Ski Resort. I laugh and take a silly selfie and continue hiking. Whereupon I realize this is only the beginning, the LHHT cuts directly across multiple ski slopes. From serene woods to dodging skiers and snowboarders. I hike across the slopes taking a couple of pictures as I laugh at the insanity of what I am doing. Finally after 20 minutes in this winter paradise I quietly return to the woods.

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Now my third and final day. I decided that morning to cut my trip short early because there is freezing rain, I forgot my rain pants and I’m running low on food. I spent the day wandering adjacent trails in Forbes State Forest. The weather is beautiful with everything coated in a thin layer of ice. After hiking for several miles I realize I want to bike back to my car (I dropped of a bike two days hike out so I could ride back to my car). I also realize that I am lost and can’t comprehend where I am on the map. Luckily I see my footprints in the ice and simply retrace them. Three miles later I make it back to my bike and realize I have 20 miles left to bike.

At this point I am tired and woozy and have been for the last two miles of hiking. I eat two chocolate bars and start biking. First I bike down Laurel Hill, peak elevation 2,994ft, on Route 31. Next I bike up and down a series of hills on some back roads before turning onto Route 653. At this point I am exhausted and my pants are drenched, I can even feel the water sloshing around in my boots. I reach pinnacle after pinnacle as I climb the mountain where I parked my car. Having just read Start Where You Are by Pema Chodron (I’ll talk more about this soon) I try to stay focused on the present and not let my mind wander.

This experience is wet, exhausted and laden with mild muscle pain. Not as bad as I imagined. The whole experience was actually beautiful, being present in the now even if it is miserable it calming and fun. After miles up hill I start seeing fog and familiar signs. I make it to the summit in a state of serene peace. I was very present and remained so the following day.

A wonderful end to my trips and a great memory to have as I embark on my job search and continued quest for my true self.

Winter Solstice 2014

Happy winter solstice friends, family and readers,

I hope everyone had as heartwarming of a year as I did. My friends and my family has gone above and beyond and helped me more than I ever expected. I feel truly humbled and extremely happy to write this. The last two years can best be summed up by two tarot cards I drew last new years. One was for 2013 one was for 2014. My card for 2013 was the 8 of arrows, struggle. My card for 2014 was the 9 of arrows, dedication.

Tarot Reading 2013

Over the last year I went from slowly dying and saving money to buy a house in Pittsburgh to quitting my job and working on being happy now. I vowed to spend my savings on things that made me happy and in becoming who I truly am – a woman. In August I went on a bike trip to remind myself of who I was and to start telling other about who I am.

Along my trip I had great responses and lots of support. I don’t know where I’d be without all my friends and family. The people near and dear to me stood by me and offered more support than ever. They picked me up when I fell and urged me to keep moving forward. Thinking of them and their unwavering love and support makes me feel free to do and be who I am no matter how scary that seems.

This past year was hard, but rewarding. I struggled but I found myself. I kicked depression and started meditating and being more mindful and present. I haven’t given up on anything but fake me. I left the bike shop world for good and am about to try to get a job working with mentally challenged adults. After that I plan on going to grad school to become a counsellor. My life is coming together and next year is setting itself up to be an even better year than this one.

Planned for next year is a solo backpacking trip to kick it off. After that I have an appointment to get hormones on the 9th of January. Second puberty here I come! I can’t wait to have my body fit my view of it. The next two years will be an exciting long awaited feminizing of myself. All the while I’ll be continuing to find my trueself and find love and happiness within myself instead of in others. As Arcade Fire says, “it’s never over” but that doesn’t mean that everyday it isn’t getting better and better.

My Family

When I came out to my parents they were both hesitant. They said they wouldn’t and couldn’t financially support me (they’re about to retire) and they are still coming to terms with who I am and supporting my journey. But when I talked to my family (close friends) the support was unconditional. I’ve long dealt with distant and detached parents and have called my close friends family. I talk to my close friends the way some people talk to their families. The actions of my friends throughout this was so unconditional and even more so, I am humbled and reminded of how lucky I am.

Throughout this evolution I have continually leaned on and talk to friends about what’s going on in my head. They have loved and supported me unconditionally, period. They fought and fight long and hard for me and are the only people who see me as a woman, something I am still working on seeing. They give me the hope and the courage to move forward and support me all the way.

I’m writing this to thank all of them and let them know how humbled I am by their support. I am truly appreciative and honored and feel extremely privileged. My counsellor expressed concern about being trans and how hard it is, I said that I have a pretty good support network. And I do, everyone calls me she, everyone is there to talk to and I know that my friends would want to fight anyone who wronged me.

I want to give a special shout out to a few people who have been outstanding supporters. Majesty, who may not be able to relate but knows how to listen and be there. He has helped me for years and years. Danedane, an old roommate in Philadelphia, who has loved to hear my transformation from depressed boy to strong woman and has helped me push forward and think about where I’m going. Big S who I have leaned on so much. She has been an extraordinary help I don’t know where I’d be without her. Red Beard, my long haired, big bearded friend from USAS who’s all clean cut now. He has been there for me and recently pledged to fund the entirety of my sperm banking. A move that reinforced my belief that my friends are my family and truly moved me beyond which words can describe.

I am pressing forward with the support of friends who are beyond supportive. Friends who call me Jenny and she before even I am ready. Friends who support me and look at me with awe of the amazing journey I’m going on. One even said to me, “Do you have a mentor?” And was in awe that I didn’t and had only just recently started going to a counsellor. I have my friends, correction, I have my family. They support me, give me the courage and the strength and help me through hard times.

And I know I deserve every ounce of support because you get what you give, but the support I’m getting is humbling and truly amazing. I am so honored to have the friends in my life that I have, both the once mentioned and the many out there that I didn’t. Thank you.