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.

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.

From nihilism to a meaning

As many already know, in Philadelphia I truly embraced nihilism. Nothing made any sense. Nothing was right, everything was wrong. There was no purpose or meaning and no inherent value or worth to anything, both in my personal perspective and my perspective of western society. Nothing is sacred, nothing matters. Nihilism made sense because nothing made sense. But as soon as one thing makes complete sense everything else becomes glaringly wrong.

I look back at this time and it all begins to make sense, all of my past makes sense and is all foreshadowing what is happening today. Philadelphia was part of my boyhood campaign to try to be a boy. I gave up all that I was and killed off my soul, she cried everynight and I thought I was a boy. But after months of hearing her cry I began to accept her and began giving her freedom, now her freedom is most of the world. Soon second puberty will hit and she will be intergrated with my body.

Through this acceptance I have become significantly happier but I have had many bad times and stressful times. Most recently I started freaking out about where I am going in life. What I’m going to do what I’m supposed to do in life, what the purpose is. And suddenly I realized that I was finally free.

For the past many years I knew the answer to these questions, nothing made any sense so whatever anyone else told me made just as much sense so I did that. Now I am free, it is truly terrifying. I’m an adult and making adult decisions I’m making decisions like growing up to be the woman I have always been meant to be. I can finally choose the future by myself. I get to do whatever I want to and there is no one to look at for direction.

As I walk the line to becoming a woman at times I am paralyzed with fear, overwhelmed with decisions and how they will change my future. I am walking uncharted territory with my advice coming from youtube videos and forum posts. My anxiety disapates as Big S takes me shopping, now her nickname makes even more sense as she acts like my big sister picking out clothes and giving advice on how it fits. Then I remember who I am, what I’ve done and stop thinking I’m lost in an endless ocean. I’m just exploring a new land, but it’s only new to me.

I feel like so many of my blog posts start from a beginning you all have already heard about. But each and everyday I look back at my beginning and it makes a little more sense. I understand why I was so torn up inside when I was harassed for wearing a purple backpack on my first day of class, I wasn’t allowed to like purple because I wasn’t a girl. I wasn’t allowed to play the flute because I wasn’t a girl. I wasn’t allowed to hang out with my friends in the girl’s bathroom because I wasn’t a girl.

I am a girl and I’ve been one the whole time. Me, my soul is a girl and she always will be. She is trapped in the mind and body of a boy, but she’s coming to terms with it as my mind comes to terms with it. She’s kind of excited because she’s a pretty big tomboy and what better way to be a tom boy than to be a boy an then a girl. Adventure and play with the freedom that boys get and then hit second puberty, grow some boobies and get a butt. And now my story seems to be helping me figure out where to go next, go to school become a therapist and help others be themselves, help others through these same problems. Maybe now it makes almost too much sense.

It’s Time to Leave

I just spent 5 days in Pittsburgh staying at a friends house. I was excited to come home and sleep in my own bed, have some good solid alone time and see my friends and roommates. But it just wasn’t what I had dreamed about. It wasn’t an exciting goodbye-jam-packed-weekend, the people weren’t energy filled they were just like they always were. It helped remind me why I’m leaving Philly: to live my happy life again with my friends.

When I got to Philly I first went to Smiles and enjoyed myself there. Then I went home and my house was empty. I had already told myself that I was going to spend the night with my roommates, but I hadn’t told them and wasn’t sure what we would do if we did. I was super energized and excited to see everyone, but it was hours before anyone came home.

Finally the first one came home and she said, “hey.” I was bursting with excitement for all my future plans (I’ll got to them in a minute) but she was giving off much calmer vibes, and didn’t seem super excited/excitable. It reminded me of why I thought about moving out a while ago.

Don’t get me wrong I really like my roommates as friends. But they are just very boring sometimes. I mean this one time the kitchen light magically became a strob light (it eventually just plain stopped working). So like every sane person would: I ran up stairs, got my ipod and started blasting Justice and danced in middle of the kitchen. I got all of my roommates downstairs but they simply stared at me. They all stood outside of the kitchen and stared as I danced. That describes my roommates. Instead of letting go and going crazy they kind of mope around awkwardly stared.

That vibe as well as the fact that I found few friends in Philly really brought me down. I don’t want to make it out like I’m blaming them for my bad time here, I just feel like my life took a downward turn and became a lot less exciting. I became calm, reserved, boring, essentially I was a normal person. I’m not a normal person, I need to be free and crazy. My friends in Pittsburgh and simply the new start will let me be who I am again, craziness and all.

Luckily my plans regarding moving to Pittsburgh are beginning to fall into place. I met two people through craigslist and we are going to live together, the one is very high energy, shes from D.C. has travelled and bike tripped all around and is going to work at a bike rental place. The other is from Virginia, she’s more calm, she has a dog she really likes and she used to be a Commercial Truck Driver.

We just filled out application for a place in Garfield, a up and coming neighborhood. The block is very clean and nice, and the house is huge. It has 3 large bedrooms and a huge finished Attic. The rent is $900 and we’re at least going to have a 4th person move in, so rent is super cheap.

As for work, Trek told me that they still needed to talk to the owner, but I was their top candidate. If that doens’t work out another bike shop called me back hours after handing in a resume and wanted me to come in immediately. I couldn’t because I was already leaving town, but I’m going back on Tuesday to sign the lease, have the job inteview and I expect to hear back from Trek as well.

So excited for Pittsburgh.

Snow

I’m sitting under a bridge in filthadelphia. This city is covered with asphalt, concrete and trash. It’s littered with skyscrapers, high-rise and over a million people. But today is different.

It’s 4:53 pm, rush hour on a Friday. Everyone is getting out of work early, but to no avail. For this Friday is different because a soft blanket of snow is coating this entire city. Attempting to rejuvenate it, to cleanse it, to take it back.

And for a day, for a couple of hours, it seems to be succeeding. The gears of the city slow, the cars come to a stand still, and the people look as though they are being beaten down by this snow. Instead of seeing asphalt, concrete, steps, or roads all you see is a soft blanket of white.

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The street lights turn on, glowing orange, trying to fight the soft blanket of white. But the snow increases, making it impossible to see over a quarter of a mile. All but defeating this orange glow, by simply surrounding it, by muffling it, sedating it and leaving the calm quiet sound of snow falling.

I look out on the city on this night and see a victor, still coating the entire landscape. Roads, roofs, cars, all with a dusting of white. In natures futile attempt to take back this city. To remove all that has been made, by covering it up with a blanket of white, white indifference.

But in the morning everything will resume. Cars will be brushed off, roads will be plowed, sidewalks will be shoveled and city life will resume as usual. But all this work is not in vain.

For as I sit under this bridge I feel at home. I feel at peace in this city. I feel like I belong here more than ever. Tonight this is my city. Thank you very much snow, I needed that, if only for a couple of hours.

Dumpster Dive Philly

I have made it a goal of mine this winter to touch most dumpster in the Philadelphia area. To travel to suburbs like ardmore and media and explore their dumpsters. So since I’m doing this and I needed a way to keep track of how good dumpster were I decided to create a map marking these dumpsters and ranking them from inaccessible to great dumpster.

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I only have 30 markers down so far and most of them are for inaccessible dumpster, but I’m adding dumpster almost daily. I hope to fill in a bunch of dumpster in the city, Ardmore and Media in the coming month. I’m pretty sure I’m also going to broaden the map to include State College, and any other dumpster I find along the way. Adding of markers is welcome!

https://www.zeemaps.com/map?group=461701#