Saving Throw

By
Brenda Ellen Make

Dice Rolled Transgender Symbols and Not Skulls and Crossbones


Table of Contents

Subjective Rhetoric
Path
State
Root

Legal

Copyright © 1991-2004 by Brenda Ellen Make. All rights reserved. This book, in whole or in part may not be reproduced or distributed in any manner whatsoever, including printing, photocopying, electronic means such as scanning or over the Internet without the author’s explicit hand written permission. No other works may be based on this book including screenplays for television, film, or digital media.

While this book is as honest as I could make it, no main character names were used, and so any resemblance to any real-life person is most-likely a coincidence.

The opinions expressed in this book are not necessarily those of its publisher.

Other legal information is included in the preface of this book. I want the reader to read it.

Version 1.297


Credits

Proofreading:

  • Jennifer A.
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  • Maya C.
  • Brett S.
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Dedications and Thanks

Dedication

Rochelle

Thanks

Grouped but no order...

Jennifer, Miranda, Kim, Dom, Amanda, Perette, Amanda, Steph, Carolyn, Germaine, Tori, Maya, Dave, Tracy, Dean, Joanne, Toni, Leslie, Steven, Papa LF, Kathy, Jennifer Pete, Pete, Corie, Jim, Gina, Keri, Karen, Wes, Judy, Ann, Karen, Kara Anne, Jessie, Harriet, Jessica, Jennifer, Jennifer, Quentin, Jerial, Jamie, Michelle, Jessica, Alicia, Alicia, Tina, Aaron, Wynd, Sarah, Dennis, Melissa, Robin, Franci, Kim, Kristen, Kasi, Kim, Wendy, Lisa, Richie, Mike, Jane, Chris, Amanda, Gerhardt, Ruby, Bea, Joyce, Doris, Hal, Ivan, Kathy, Jack, Rae, John, John, Nancy, Cliff, Pam, Jeff, Eileen, Eileen, Bruce, Mary-Anne, George, Clinton, Kenny, Carol, Frank, Elliot, Kristina, Judy, Armond and Kathleen, Harry, Leia, Robin, Katie, Nancy, Mariette, Lois, Riki, Anna, Kara, Jimmy, Jimmy, Burt, Drew, Ralph, Connie, Jody, Brett, Marla, Doug, Norine, Justine, Tim, Imran, Amy, David, John, Mark, Brandon, Shane, Jose, Eric, Monty, Roman and everyone down South. Ed, Donald, Eileen, Ed, Greg, Abe, Susan, Martin, George, Lisa, Ludwig, Eric, CPE, Revel, Ani, James, Adam, Fred, Henry, Curly, Sandra, Louisa, Robin, Rick, Billy, Ann, Pat, Susanne, Tony, Steven, Stevie, Cory, Vernon, Vivian, Ronnie, Vangelis, Sass, Don, Paul, Jasmine, Tori, Tracy, Jane, Jody, Alan, Jody, Harry, Tim, Johnny and Wynonna, COS, IFGE, ISNA, Twenty, HBIGDA, GenderPac, CFS, Transgen, And... Petie, Tic-Tac, Gatesie, Mika, Pippin and Venoux, Patches, Bear, Lokie, Hopesie, Brenna DeFurry Meatloaf, Moura and Shamus, George, and Samantha.

I probably missed some too.


Preface

The greater part of this book was written for adults, and so, it may be unsuitable for children. If you are not an adult, please don’t read it. This book can wait.

This book was not written for those people who want to live closed-minded, sheltered existences. It was written for the few people who have been there, may be near, or just want the experience.


Introduction

This book is arranged in two main sections: Subjective Rhetoric contains some of my thoughts and feelings about transsexuality and politics. Path is my autobiography.

I have asked a lot of people, for a lot of permission, to write about a lot of things, but not all of what follows. It is my wish that these faceless and nameless people described in this book remain faceless and nameless. I have tried to describe only what I thought might help someone.


Subjective Rhetoric

Politically, transsexual people are just beginning to struggle for our very lives. A good amount of this book deals with gender and transsexual issues, but this book is not as significant as those lives that may be indirectly affected by it. I don’t want to be someone’s gauge used to judge all transsexual people. I will remind the reader: I am not every transsexual individual, and so I will try my best to speak only for one person, me.

As a human being, I have more than one attribute, and so, this book also deals with other things that could indirectly affect other groups of people. I ask for the same consideration I seek for transsexual people be given to these people as well. If the reader gets nothing else from this book, I hope the they keep an open mind about people, and remembered that I represent a count of only one.

Not being a doctor, I offer only observations and opinions. My goal is to provoke the reader into searching for information.

Taste Discrimination

As a transsexual person, I have met others. I have personally met someone who is a: doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, medical transcriptionist, musician, make-up artist, store manager, boat accessory maker, retail clerk, nurse, radio personality, firefighter, pharmacist, police officer, nuclear physicist, teacher, state/city worker, computer programmer, furniture refinisher, artist, architect, telemarketer, military personnel, x-ray technician, graphic designer, building-material warehouse customer service help, unemployed homeless person, electrician, pizza maker, bank clerk.

I could be any race, from any country, any religion. I could do, like, or dislike, anything or anyone. I am just someone that wanted to share some things with you.

In the workplace, I had hoped that people would be judged on their job performance, attendance, integrity, honesty, experience, and capabilities. At my support group, about one person a month, a real live person, was fired just for being transsexual. Maybe they were fired because they look a little different or act a little different. Maybe they were let go because, now they would be the only woman or the only man on staff. Maybe they are fired because they just need to be themselves. Maybe they look or seem gay or lesbian. I don’t think these are appropriate criteria for putting a worker on the unemployment line.

[At one support group meeting I attended, 3 out of thirty people had gotten fired since the previous 2 weeks, during a period of “economic growth.”]

Do we ask people to hide any of life’s other obstacles because they bring out our own insecurities, show us that we are mortal, or show us how diverse people really are?
Do we want to perpetuate this kind of shame?
Do we tell someone with a broken leg or scars, to hide their physical challenges for the distraction that they might cause?
Why should this be any different?
Is just being transsexual a valid reason for forcing someone out of their job?

There are not a lot of transsexual people. Most people may never knowingly meet a transsexual person. Yet, most people may have preconceived notions of what a transsexual person is like. Whether these images are positive or negative, this is the very nature of prejudice.

I think most people have only seen transsexual people on television, often being exploited for one reason or another. I feel the manner in which they are presented is often entertaining rather than educating. I think that most people have not seen what I have seen.

I think that local news coverage on transsexual people is often better on the average than what a talk show produces. The media seems to like to sell the story that people were one person one day and another the next. From what I have seen, transsexual issues and feelings are usually chronic and transition was something that some transsexual people sometimes ran from for years. Once they found they had to do something, transition seems to move fast, yet because of the Benjamin Standards the shortest route is at least a year. This contrasts what the media often portrays, man one day, woman the next—the shock of instant change.

Sometimes, in its quest for stereotypes, the media also does a disservice by portraying transsexual transition to potential candidates as a quick process as well. People may never observe things such as the slow time-lapse process of painful electrolysis that a lot of male-to-females endure. They may never see the growth and acceptance people find within themselves along the way.

[In the arts, I often see transsexual characters portrayed by people who are not transsexual. I don’t think I have ever seen a transsexual person play a transsexual person on television.]

The media once helped inform people, now I guess that has mostly faded. It seems people will pay good money to see a transsexual person deceive their mate by not telling that person, without ever seeing all the tears of a transsexual person or the cries from someone was tossed aside because they believed in honesty within intimacy, because they told. They never hear the long months or even years of lament, because someone doesn’t want to hurt their family or friends by daring to be he or she, daring for the first time just to be themselves, who they are on the inside.

[I had a friend who was HIV positive, and she felt it was more difficult to tell a lover that—than her transsexual status.]

They seem to want to see a transsexual person being sexually exploited, and may never see the ones that live quiet boring lives minding their own business and struggling to keep their jobs and families. How can anyone let themselves be understood as a living, breathing human being within a five minutes segment?

[Who would want to see a boring geekie transsexual person like me, dressed in jeans and sneakers, just trying to survive?]

Transsexual people are diverse, but media coverage of transsexual people, in large, is not.

One week, a long-term college administrator was fired for being transsexual. There was also another teacher attending our meeting that was worried about her job. Week after week, she related how she was forbidden from ever presenting herself as herself. She taught agriculture.

She was the kind of teacher who was so into agriculture that she even had little toy tractors displayed in her home-office. She dressed the part, usually coveralls and a flannel top. They “retired” her because her top buttoned on the “wrong” side.

[Some time ago, a high-school superintendent was arrested. While probably not transsexual, he was persecuted in most of the media and fired from his job because he was cross-dressed on his own time. It bewilders me how could his driving under the influence of alcohol could be forgiven and his crossdressing could not.]

How would you feel if you had to wear clothes of the “opposite” sex?
Who has the right to look at an inanimate object, a garment and decide, this is a men’s—this, or a woman’s—that?
What are social constructions, and what are not?

We went to the school board to speak on her behalf, there were students, faculty, and cameras to record this unjust event. The school board had walked in as one rehearsed unit. There were lawyers there, perhaps to ensure that no one on the school board spoke their mind.

People from the audience spoke profoundly for this teacher, parents, and students. Our support group members tried to reason with them. Newspapers and local cable cameras recorded this sad, obscure, little day in American History.

If the people that had founded this country, if the people that had lost their lives in wars, for the that there could be justice, that there could be freedom, maybe they would have cried.

[I plead, “I am not an employer. If I were, I would hope that I would judge my workers on their work. Just WHAT are people doing, if you run a business, any business, whether it’s a college or what have you, if you are not judging your people on their work?

What right do you have to know what a person’s genitalia are, unless you were going to be intimate with that person. What conceivable difference, would a person’s genitalia make in job performance? I was under the assumption that a person was there to work.

What if you are not clearly a man or a woman, are you not still entitled to the same basic respect and human rights that all of us deserve?”]

Students and parents stood up, stating that this was a good teacher. They asked the board to reconsider. Other transsexual people from our group stood before the board, saying very deep touching things. A college history professor pointed out that the board could make a positive change on this day. They threatened to remove one parent because he passionately indicated his disgust and mistrust with the school board.

The board marched out in single choreographed line. When they returned, they “retired” this person just because they were transsexual.

The headlines read, “School Teacher Retirement Accepted, School Board Lambasted

[My name and quote were in two newspapers. The meeting was on local cable access television. A person can out oneself to help someone, and not be negatively affected by it.]

I have a friend who had legally changed their name to a female one. When she notified her employers, they informed her that, if anyone at work found out that she changed her name, she would be fired. She was soon fired anyway.

For every transsexual person I have met who had problems with discrimination that reached the media, I have witnessed so many more who went without notice. Even if this discrimination is brought to justice and a lawsuit is concluded successfully, often it’s kept quiet. Even when people have won suits, they just wanted to keep working and be productive in their jobs, but a hostile workplace environment prevented it.

How can you survive in modern society without a job or income?

As far as contemporary culture goes, most people only have from the 1950’s on to have made some assessments about transsexual people. Not all that information is anything close to firsthand. Some people sometimes don’t have a clue how to react when meeting a transsexual person. They might be uncomfortable, they may have fear but sometimes it’s still fear and uncertainty, and not yet hate, because I think they haven’t yet been taught to hate. There aren’t very many transsexual people around to judge.

Though, sometimes it is hate...

There is a most hateful book, attacking anyone and anything having to do with transsexual transition. I wanted to read the book to be able to defend against this kind of thing. I read less than half of her book before I decided that I needn’t read any further. It was too easy and just plain to me. I know the clamor of hatred when I hear it. I think that there is sometimes need associated with hate as there is with love. If one pushes against something or someone, and that should disappear, then one falls. My belief is that, the author is simply sexist and their want is to preserve the necessary objects of her prejudice.

There was also a paranoid tone which seemed to suggest that transsexual people were going to undo everything that the women’s rights movement had worked so hard to accomplish. Didn’t she ever conceive that some of us would be fighting alongside other women for equality? I guess I have a lot more faith in women than she does, and as a woman, I do not want her speaking for me.

I think she only saw in life: man and woman. I couldn’t imagine there being any room in her being for an androgynous person. I don’t mind if people read her book, though I mind if they buy it. What I found sad and shocking is that a famous feminist, someone I and other transsexual friend both had looked up to, endorsed this book.

Does my still living offend you?
How politically correct am I?
Or could I be?
I may be a freak?
But, confront me, do you feel my heart?
A living person, I am.
See my eyes leak.

I ate at a nice little bookstore for the open-minded. I gathered some brochures to read while I ate. One of them was for a music festival. I love music, so I looked at it. It upset me in a political sense.

While I enjoy my androgyny, I am more female than male. To most people I meet I am a woman, and legally I am a woman. For some questionable reason as I write this I am forbidden to marry another person with similar female genitalia. I have even lactated, not much, yet I know what it is like to have milk come out of my breasts.

There was a line in the brochure for the event which read something like this,“...for women that were born women.” It was sad because there aren’t many transsexual people in the world, we are explicitly discriminated against. Another line in the brochure stated something to the effect, “...we can make special accommodations for those persons handicapped.

While I sat in the bookstore and coffee shop, I stopped eating, and put down my utensil. I noticed that by bending the paper just a little, I could make the two conflicting lines in the brochure touch. I smiled at this irony, showed my friends, and continued eating.

I am deeply upset by the violence against transsexual people, people who cross-dress, people who are lesbian, people who are gay, and people who are bisexual. Unfortunately heterosexual people get killed, but I think it is very rare that any get killed only because they are heterosexual people. One incident in particular hits home was a teen that was raped and later killed, I heard someone try to explain it by saying, “...was hanging around with a rough crowd....” My past shined on me and it just hit home further. It could have been me.

[It must have been difficult for my friend who worked at a convenience store. Someone had figured out she was transsexual. She started receiving death threats and at the end of one of her shifts, she came out of work and found all the windows smashed out of her car.]

A Short Story

One morning, a little fuzzy kitten woke up. She stared at a big person while they slept on a bed. That was enough sleeping, she though. She woke up her person by softly tapping on their face with her paw. The person made a noise that sounded like, “What do you want? Let me sleep.” When her person finally woke up, she was so pleased that she started purring.

After she ate some food, Kitten went outside. She heard lots of birds up in the trees. She jumped up onto a nice warm car hood. She wrapped her tail around her feet in a clockwise direction, and she cleaned her face.

After Kitten cleaned her face, she hopped off of the car. She did a big stretch and yawned. She walked into a grassy field. She could feel the dew from the night before.

Near some trees, she came upon this gray thing. The gray thing ate walnuts. It had little round ears and a big bushy tail that followed in its last footsteps.

Well, the kitten had never seen anything quite like this. She walked near the gray thing. She shyly placed her head between her front paws, but then she peeked with one eye. She said, “Hi.

Kitten stood up, and walked to look at the gray thing. She said “Hey, you don’t have pointy ears like I do...and your tail is different too.

The gray thing spoke, and said, “That’s because I am a squirrel.

She sniffed the gray thing once because cats can usually figure out how anything works that way. She thought a minute, and asked, “Do you want to be friends?

Squirrel told her, “Yes.

Kitten and Squirrel walked through the field together until they came to a clearing. They saw a plump thing with long ears right next to the hole dug into the ground.

They both came closer. Squirrel said, “What’s with this tail. It’s different than mine.” Kitten said, “You are different than I am, and you are different than Squirrel is too.

The thing spoke,“You both are different than I am, too.

Squirrel looked at Kitten, and then back at the thing. Squirrel said, “Yeah, I guess we are all different.

The thing said, “I am a bunny.

Squirrel said, “Bunny, hmm....” Squirrel and Kitten nodded. Squirrel asked, “We are playing together today, do you want to come with us?

Bunny said, “Sure.

Kitten told her friends, “I know where there are some caterpillars we could play with.” The cat walked, the bunny hopped, and the squirrel jumped away.

They went to a bush near some mossy rocks. They looked around, trying to find some caterpillars. All they found were these things that look like little shells. Kitten pouted, “I wonder where all the caterpillars went to.” She looked and looked, but all she could find were butterflies.

Kitten meowed to her friends to help find the caterpillars, but they just sighed, because they knew that caterpillars can turn into butterflies. Bunny and Squirrel explained to her as they walked.

Kitten, Squirrel, and Bunny came to a gurgling brook. They followed the brook to a quiet pond. Squirrel watched Kitten play with some pollywogs. Some pollywogs had feet, some didn’t, and some even looked like frogs. After Kitten pulled her paw out of the water, the water became very still.

When Kitten, Squirrel, and Bunny looked into the water, they could see their own reflections. They could see that they were all different. But then, Kitten looked to the side at Squirrel’s reflection. She tried to imagine what it was like to be like Squirrel and then she did the same to Bunny. Everyone imagined just for a minute what it was like to be the other.

Kitten purred, “I guess maybe you two aren’t so different on the inside.

Squirrel said, “Come on, lets go.

And so, they did. As Kitten left, she looked back at one of the pollywogs that were in the pond. She wondered, even though they were really, really, really, different on the outside, if somehow, they could be like her on the inside.

Kitten called out, “Hey, wait for me!” They all went off to have a good time.

Pollywog smiled and swam off.

Trust

The walls blind and silence.
The walls are cold.
They separate and keep secrets,
And it's both of us they hold.

For every stone we lift from the ground,
We leave a hole behind.
It takes so much to make these walls,
In price of body, soul and mind.

Footing choices dwindle.
We stack stones and make them tall.
The holes become deeper,
We now both venture to fall.

Distrust, Distrust...

Every once in a while,
Other fingers set a stone.
Why don’t we tear down?
Instead of adding to this pile?

Distrust, Distrust...

Oh, what we both endure.
We tread through the mud we make.
To build our problem higher,
All for nothing’s sake.

Distrust, Distrust...

We ruin our land.
The stones in the wall,
Could now better serve us,
For something on which to stand.

Will we both remove stone for stone?
Can we find faith within?
Can we heal the ground,
So that growth can begin.

Distrust, Distrust...

We do lack trust.
In truth we insure,
Count stones, but tear this wall down,
We must.

Do I trust? Do I trust?

We erase the wall to the course we first lay.
This damn odd stone,
Was here before starting.
So neither of us, did ever betray.

Trust, Trust...

Let's bury it in the ground,
That's what we do with the last.
Let’s not leave for two others,
Anything but this tale in the past.

“Ordinary” Discrimination

I have been talked down to by people at times just because my presentation is female. The moment that it happens it is so apparent that it bewilders me. I have found myself so fascinated by this that I even wondered if it was worth the price of admission as far as my transition is concerned. So few people have ever owned this unbiased observation point.

I have met males who had not ever worked alongside with a female, who had no clue how to communicate with females. Almost opposite this, I have worked with a male friend whose previous job had no other males, only females.

As a female who was raised as a male, I seem to expect more respect and freedom than some females are used to. This sometimes this causes problems for me. To some, I probably seem sometimes an aggressive pushy bitch. (Smiling.).

Whether biological, hormonal, instinctual, or through developmental behavior, often females and males seem to communicate differently. There is sometimes miscommunication. There is sometimes discrimination. I am wary especially when it is first introduced, but still more where and when it is accepted and commonplace.

[I read a contemporary article emphasizing the importance of self esteem as one grows—written using he, and not she. Would one have to assume that women are men too, or if one is a woman, self-esteem isn’t necessary?]

[After the optimism and denial had faded, and the weeks of careful watching had ended, my friend had came to conclusion that his refrigerator was not working well. Milk doesn’t last long at fifty degrees, so he had someone sent to repair it.

I talked to the repair person as they worked on the refrigerator, laying a small fan on the counter top. She had the refrigerator apart and back together quickly.

I asked her if she had any gender experiences to relate. She said that there were two incidents where the doors were literally closed in her face because she was female. One person who did this was a male but the other was female. She stated that it was usually older people who had more problems with her in her occupation.]

[When I volunteered for a project, I had hoped that I could offer creative input into the project in the same manner as some of the other volunteers. I notice that the acceptance of my input was very non-linear. Males tended to ignore me, be condescending to me, or pedestal whatever I said like it was the word of a god. I just wanted to have the same input experience as everyone else.

When I tried to explain my angst, the male people did not appear to believe the problem existed at all. One of them cited an instance when they didn’t want to do something without my approval. This further exemplified the nonlinearity. One female person laughed at me, saying, “You should have though of that before you had your dick cut off.” It is interesting how a statement can be insightful, humorous, malicious, and ignorant—all at the same time.]

While I haven’t devoted a lot of text toward the discrimination of women, I believe the weight and scale of discrimination that can be observed could carry itself far better than any words I could possibly write.

Gauss

There are lesbian, gay, and bi organizations which are becoming inclusive toward transsexual people. I am appreciative, and I thank you.

There are some groups which are not inclusive. While hopefully not the norm, some people in the homosexual community have been taught that it’s politically incorrect to accept transsexual people. Some people believe the existence of transsexual people has a profound effect on the expression of human sexuality. Yet, I believe that a lot of transsexual people are just doing the best that they can just to live their lives.

[I met a person who was living on the butchy area of the lesbian community. She was viewed as being very liberated, but when this person passed some imaginary masculine threshold, they found themselves ostracized and excommunicated.]

There are transsexual people whose identification is heterosexual. To some extent, I could understand how some people could be offended by being asked to welcome these heterosexual people. Though, those heterosexual transsexual people are people and not probably the people who would mean them harm. A person who would want to control, limit, hurt, or end another life just because that person is in a sexual minority—we probably have in common.

[I am transsexual, but part of my identification is bisexual/homosexual. To hear some thing derogatory at a /bi/gay/lesbian group against transsexual people would hurt me as much as to hear something anti-gay/lesbian at a transsexual group.]

I have heard more than a few transsexual people voice that they have felt slighted by some people elsewhere in the Rainbow. Occasionally, I have heard people work to dispel the myths about their sexuality—and describe exactly me. Realistically, I am a lot of people’s stereotypes.

I am the man with a feminine face.
I am the woman with facial hair.

I am the woman who likes motorcycles.
I am the man who likes flowers.

I am the woman with big arms.
I am the man who is slight.

I was the woman at the construction site.
I was the man in the dress.

I am a man with breasts.
I am the woman with a flat chest.

I look like what you may think a gay man looks like.
I look like what you may think a gay woman looks like.

I think that we all as individuals have it in us to either expand the human experience, or degrade it.

Going the Other Way

Most of the words I have wrote have been about male-to-female transsexual transition. The experience of a female-to-male person is better told by one that has experienced it than me. I can only relate what I have seen and heard and this is no substitute.

Female-to-male, F2M transsexual people don’t seem to as much press that male-to-female people do. They seem to get along in society a little easier than we do because some people view becoming male as a promotion, and becoming female a demotion.

The effects of male hormones on a female body seem to work very quickly. People have told me that their period stopped within a month or two, and clitorises can become micro-phalluses. After just months the voice deepens permanently and hair disposition changes, body hair becomes greater, though the hair on the head sometimes thins.

While the secondary physical characteristics seem to come easier; the surgery does not. This contrasts the male-to-female transsexual for whom frame and muscle, once masculinized by male hormones remains at least in part, while the genital surgery is much easier and less expensive. From what I have seen and heard the surgery is getting better.

[I heard one female-to-male person say he would rather spend the money on a car.]

[The transsexual support group that I attend was partially founded by someone who is female-to-male and so while the group mostly male-to-female they are always welcome.]

One of my genetic female girlfriends wished she were born a man. While she thought she should have been born a man, she didn’t want to change. When I first met someone who was transitioning from female to male. It was odd because he wanted to physically become everything I didn’t want to be. I thought, “You want a penis, and hair all over you, and you want to be bigger?” I have used this model to better understand what it is like to be a bystander when I tell them I am transsexual.

While there is this dichotomy of direction, there are a surprising number of things in common. Perhaps, the direction is different but the drive in itself, is the same. Being transsexual, regardless of the direction, is unique and most people don’t understand unless they have had the feelings themselves.

I feel a kinship with people that are female-to-male, I feel I have spent so much effort for years to physically achieve many of the same things they want, but it brought me little peace or happiness. Being male. just didn’t work for me. If that’s your thing then I wish you all the luck in the world.

Two friends and I went hiking, and I had a nice time. Later, we went back to my house for pizza. We sat and talked for a few hours. One of my two friends was a female-to-male person. It may be a cliché but I don’t think anyone could tell that he was ever a genetic female, even his hands looked undeniably male. To me, he is attractive physically as well as a person, and I thought that he made a lot better looking guy than I did. In some ways if I had been made more like him I would have been more comfortable living as a male.

I couldn’t help but notice his build. He was talking about T(estosterone) while I was noticing that his neck was a lot more rounded than mine. I felt some real sadness, and then smiled and pointed out the irony, “I would have to take “T” too, if I wanted to look like you.

I feel like I am an androgynous-to-male-to-female-to-androgynous person.

A female to male person attends and helps out at our meetings. He always seems to be somewhere doing something political to help not only transsexual people, but also gay, lesbian and, bisexual people. He was at the Rainbow Flag raising at the State Capitol. He was also attended a show of support for GLBT people when it was said that they shouldn’t be treated as equals in the church. It seems every time I turned on the television news, he was there. I have so much respect for him that I actually smiled and bowed before him, and then later I seriously talked with him to underscore that there was truth behind my humorous display.

Balance and Temperament

Ladies and Gentlemen,
A good man,
a good woman,
a good?

I very often hear the terms like transsexual, TS, Gay, Transvestite, Black, Republican, and Jewish without hearing the word “person” after. I can’t understand why or when a person being a person should ever seem redundant. On the way to categorizing and sorting every living thing out, I try to remember that there are very few absolutes. I don’t think people should be trusted to turn adjectives into nouns because when those nouns are placeholders for a human being. I am a person “who,” not a “this” or a “that.” I am more than the name of my biggest problems, more than my biggest achievements—and no more than you.

It can be confusing when someone changes their name during transsexual transition, especially when you have known them for a long time. Yet, whether it is spoken or written, a name is one of the most basic, fundamental, rudimentary forms of respect that you can give anyone. You meet someone, perhaps they say, “Hi my name is Jane/John/Jamie Doe.”

You tell them your name. You have given this person your label, your song, so that you will no longer be, no one in particular to them. You have offered them a way of understanding yourself. You have offered them a way of reminding them that, you are not a thing, that you are a living being, and from this we can choose to build on this, or not.

Don’t you want the same respect you have just shown that person?

If someone changes their name, I can understand the confusion because events were build on this name. Yet, I would ask that one still tries to accept change, in effort to grow—with, and not—apart. If someone accidentally uses the old name, I would hope that the person whom changes their name, would have as much understanding.

Why should this be any more complicated than when one changes their name because they got married?

In some states, a birth certificate is required to prove nationalization for employment. When transsexual people change their identification paperwork, it may show the old name or changed sex designation. This may help create an uncomfortable work environment. At this time, a card which is often required bearing apparent evidence that a person has changed their physical sex may place that person at risk. Owning such a small piece of paper may become such a great liability.

There seems to be no common androgynous pronoun for a person who excludes their sex or if it isn’t really definable using male or female in the American-English language. We can’t call people “it” because that usually only applies to non-living things. How can someone respect someone if they label that person the same as something that doesn’t live, doesn’t have hopes dreams, wishes, feelings? In American English the line between S/he seems to illustrate our continuing belief that one must be one or another.

[Personally I like these better: Sh-he or He-sh.]

Most people are born pretty much the same, having the same number of these and those, yet we are almost all made different. The relationship between females and males has been the popular subject for many books and the material for a lot of comedians. When I hear a term like “the battle of the sexes” it’s strange to me, if we need physical diversity to perpetuate the species, then who are the winners and losers? Some people want to believe that we can find life on other planets, others can’t even get along with what’s here. If I can settle things with myself why can’t everyone else? The battle is over; the bookstores and talk-shows won.

Some people seem to believe that there are only two distinct sexes, with variation between them. Though, because I see a continuum between women and men, when one points to two different places along the continuum, one will see and feel differences. What most people call “Man” and “Woman” aren’t as different as some people would have you believe, yet there are differences because we use “Woman” and “Man” to indicate that difference itself. It is sometimes difficult to say exactly what is a feminine or masculine not only because there are so many stereotypes, but also because there is variance in people. This variance I believe is often overlooked.

Perhaps sex typing will be always be a socially acceptable form of prejudice. Body appearance, names, pronouns, pink and blue, lace or leather, and to use my some variables from my life: cars and dolls and etc, are some of society’s accepted indicators of gender.

[I recall seeing a toy company on television stating that they did introduce gender-neutral toys, but few people bought them. To the best of my knowledge, most babies don’t ask for or buy their own toys.]

[A company sells “girls” and “boys” computers. Each is painted blue or pink and has all the software that a boy or girl should be interested in. Now the craft of maintaining socially constructed boundaries based on sex—can be delegated to a machine.]

The body is commonly thought to be the greatest indicator of a person’s gender. As living things, perhaps it’s natural to deeply react to another person’s body, yet you might find a most feminine person with a most masculine body, you might find a most masculine person in the most feminine body. This is fine, but what if the person wants to change one’s physical characteristics?

I believe in gender, but maybe I see it in a different way then most people do. To me, it’s not pink or blue or even purple. It’s not playing with dolls or toy solders. It’s not being a firefighter, and it’s not being a nurse. It’s not raising a child and it’s not fixing a car.

Why do we have a favorite color, why does this smell or taste good to me but bad to this person?
Why am I right-handed, and another person left-handed?
Why does this tickle this person, but hurt another?
How can we pet a cat or dog most of the time and know what sex it is without looking underneath?
Why are we sometimes wrong?
Why do I get cravings for lemons when I get sick?
Why does someone’s eyes get so big just before they fight or flight?
Why is this ugly and that pretty to me?
Why can’t we agree on even what color blue this is?

[Color, in a way, is not true, it’s an aberration. It is a hallucination, but a useful one. There are no real differences between the colors other than wavelength. If the wavelength is this large then it is more-or-less “blue” and if it’s smaller then it’s more-or-less “red.” The colors we see are as fake as those false colors in weather reports or in some music video, and yet they are real because we are physically wired for it. It is frightening that only those that are color-blind see things as they truly are, yet these people lack a tool that might help most of us.

I can’t believe that all of our eyes have the same amount and size of cones and rods, and so we probably all experience color a little differently. That’s why we need spectrometers to calibrate computer monitors, printers and scanners.

“Blue” could have been anything, but it ended up being around 450 manometers. It’s just another tool in our survival.

Using the color metaphor, sexism happens when we can’t see light and only the color. In sexist people, a tool only meant for communication and selection becomes the only gauge of a person. In sexist people, a tool meant for survival ultimately becomes a burden.]

I see gender as only the static and absolute, non-sexual relationship and interaction between our self/id/soul thing and our bodies and the relative dynamics that we feel with others.

To me, in an extremely loose way, gender is the non-sexual aspects of someone’s sexuality, loose because we commonly perceive the two upside down.

[I had a friend who is left-handed. When he was little, his mother tied his left hand behind him so he wouldn’t use it and he cried.]

Sometimes it feels like I spent half a lifetime with my very soul tied behind my back, tied by letting my peers tie it, tied by my own body’s hormones. My stubbornness, my continual need and feeling that I wanted my body to be tuned a certain way, is a static aspect of my gender.

One’s body shape and type affects almost everything one does in life, but it’s my belief that we are more than just a body and chemistry. I believe that one cannot choose one’s gender. One can choose one’s gender role or have one arbitrarily assigned by virtue of ones apparent genitalia, whether or not one can have any success or happiness in said role, and whether or not the role is appropriate would remain to be seen.

I think of gender as a broader more encompassing way than most people do, and perhaps include in it common attributes that some people would not.

Being a social creature, I have learned that people built like me may have to push on a door harder than you do to open it, but not as much as a person built like that. Because of the comparison, this is gender’s relative implication. I can change my size by working out too given the confines of my frame, hormone levels and development, and this adds a whole other dimension to it. How does something as simple as opening a door relate to gender? From what I have witnessed and experienced, I believe there are logical limits to what can be done physically and psychologically within hormonal parameters. What if I want exceed those confines, should I be allowed to do it? What would motivate me to change?

[Ending a statement in the form of a question or indicating a statement with some uncertainty is supposed to be a female attribute. People resourcefully find other ways of communicating ideas, such as diplomacy and leading the listener to the answer. I believe the reason that these skills are often more developed in females is simply because that on the average females are physically smaller than males, and use other means for communication.]

To me, gender identity also involves how a person feels about oneself and how a person reacts in one’s environment with everyday life. To complicate matters, how one intentionally presents oneself doesn’t always have anything to do with the person inside. One can sometimes find in a transsexual person who might truly posses a desire to transition, but because they were socialized and imprinted so deeply, they may not have a clue how to operate in society when they get there. Paradoxically some of these same people who perhaps continually get flak from their peers, perhaps snickers from children and adult(?) bystanders, continue to blaze a path for individuality.

To some degree one can package and present the same self in different manners.

Adding even more facets to the picture is that a person’s sexual preference, (if any) does not necessarily have anything to do with a person’s gender, but what in your heart you want with another for—might.

Who a person becomes intimate with may be affected by outside events and situation. A woman may only be with other women because she is afraid of men, perhaps because she has been sexually assaulted. A man may not be with other men because he is afraid of what other people may think. That does not negate that there is a range of attractions rooted off of true attraction.

If someone is “gay” when they are having sex, what are they when they aren’t having sex?

....I think they are still doing things in a manner dictated by their physical and mental wiring. I believe in gender and as an ideal it’s important because; in my heart, it’s just wrong to think about and label people on their sexuality. I think that is sexuality is not at the root anyway.

To me, sexuality is a child process of gender.
To me, sexuality is gender’s doing.
To me, gender is the foundation that true sexuality lies on.

There have been studies done concerning the bed of the hypothalamus, as well as those studies done removing gonads and replacing hormones at different phases of development, and those rats displaying lordosis and mounting behavior and other things like differences in the corpus colossum of the brain. Like the left-hand thing, sooner or later even later I feel this ignorance surrounding transsexual people will fade. I hope this knowledge won’t be used to hurt other people. I would worry if we could make a machine capable of seeing gender or one of its products: sexuality, because I feel the world is not ready for it. I also hope transsexual and androgynous people won’t have to be martyrs and continue to endure suffering and compensate just so there will be peace across what is falsely believed only two distant sexes.

Some of the psychologically oriented books that I have read seem to paint a very harsh picture of transsexual people. It should be obvious to almost anyone, that at one time there was animosity between transsexual people and the psychological / psychiatric professionals. I have read things from otherwise coherent psychological professionals claiming that, transsexual people are all prostitutes, always late, and other things. I learned the legacy that I had been left. The way I saw it...

Transsexuality has existed in many cultures throughout time. There was no hormone replacement then; surgery was only removal and not construction. In this country, before the 1950’s people who wanted to change their sex were often institutionalized, often given shock therapy against their will. It was found to be a mostly chronic condition. In the 1950s an endocrinologist Dr. Harry Benjamin, instead of trying to change who they are, tried giving them hormones. About that time surgery was starting to be performed and things had changed. Sexual reassignment surgery was performed in the United States at John Hopkins Hospital and in 1979 it was stopped there.

They claimed that post-operative transsexual people did not show and increase in salary, education, or adjustment. Some people speculate they stopped because they folded under political and religious pressure, and found criteria to justify it. What I believe is, their sampling was not that random. Though; within the support group I attend, most of the people find their way from referrals from healthcare workers, word-of-mouth, and lately the Internet. I know the distribution of people that come, and larger; those who stay at this support group is not random. Also given the time-frame in which it was performed, I also question the quality of their own surgery itself affecting their data. I have seen SRS improve in just the last eight years since I had it. Why is this relevant to me? Because some people and some textbooks still focus on this event that happened years ago. It also seems that some people want to hold up an example of an institution that stopped doing SRS, and ignore the others that (still do)/started doing it throughout the United States and abroad.

Other gender clinics appeared. The mental health care professional’s position were now gatekeepers regulating physical change. I believe that it’s difficult to put other human beings in a position of affecting another person’s destiny. I had heard of some other healthcare professionals who abused power by taking money from individuals without ever intending or consider helping them reach their goals because they didn’t believe in the transsexual phenomena itself, regardless of the patient’s appropriateness. Sociologically, some of the public wrongfully perceived transsexual transition as a “cure” for homosexuality or cross-dressing. Even some otherwise well-meaning practitioners demanded stereotypical “Stepherd Wife” behavior before they would be helped. If a person went in wearing slacks or jeans, or a suit or a dress, they would be denied. This helped perpetuate the stereotypes of transsexual people, and provide ammunition for people opposed to transsexual transition. Before a certain time, the gay transsexual; the person who would want someone of the sex they were joining was thought not to exist.

Ignorance has no bounds, even in science and the healing arts. I have met a psychiatrist that was forced from her job because she was a transsexual person. They stated that her presence might upset patients.

[I have met two of her (ex)patients who stated that they miss her, and also said that she was a good doctor who was compassionate and truly caring.]

I have also met of another psychiatrist at a well-known teaching hospital who had serious problems from the rest of the staff.

This reminds me that it was not a psychiatrist that tried to heal or see potential in people that would dare break social seals and want a physical answer to a problem that cannot be cured in the mind. Historically, it was an endocrinologist that initialized my liberation. Transsexuality in the physical sense came about, and I am transsexual, because nothing else ever really worked. I owe my very life to endocrinologists who had the backbone to help me.

To this day, I have not seen a single survey on transsexual people that didn’t center on sexual matters. In the quest for data whether someone is trying to help me or hurt me, no one seems to remember that I am human being. One can infer that being transsexual is not a social construction from this, but do transsexual people only exist to have sex?

[As a transsexual person, I feel that psychology wants to get right in my pants without ever getting to know me. No one seems to care that I like music, science, art, making 3d quasi-VR game editing, hiking, exploring scary places like abandoned army bases, raspberry tea, anime, banana milk shakes, raw chocolate chip cookie dough, cats, Indian food, and of course friends, because that would put a human face on me. I am not a work of science but more likely I am a work of art, whether good, bad, realistic or abstract. I am a work in progress. Sometimes the human factor itself must weigh into the equation.]

Your data is alive.

There is a point between when a transsexual person starts learning, and the point where one becomes enlightened. At this point a transsexual person is now aware of the sociological difficulties and perhaps has read a few books, not all of which are very positive. This negativity does reach some people and I feel some transsexual people, having learned this—perpetuate it.

[I watched someone who I respected and admired go through enough of medical training to become a registered nurse. This person seemed to emerge with an attitude that almost no transsexual person could even survive gonadal removal for long, yet when I go to a support group meeting, I can look around the room and usually find a transsexual person who transitioned decades back.

Because of my hypo-gonadal state of being “post-op”, for me, I believe hormone replacement has more benefits than drawbacks. I would rather have natural ovaries, but without, I opt to continue to take hormones for the rest of my life. I have even seen some people live quite easily without hormone replacement.

As for the person who I respect, it seems like in some ways that she was required to recant her transsexual status to become a medical professional. She also said she also has some degenerative arthritis in at least one knee. That may be indeed be attributed to the effects of hormones over time. She also is probably up on her feet for twelve hours a day, and a golfer, perhaps in the weekend warrior style too. And if I was doing research on an arthritis study I might exclude her as well as myself. She explained the inherent risks and dangers of transsexual transition to me when she was outside smoking a cigarette.

This person is the one “post-op” transsexual person who I have met, that I do know who wants to return to living as a male. Personally, I think there is something to be said about androgyny, why does this person feel they have to choose? I may not understand/appreciate the “why” but I will respect whatever this person does with their body as long as it makes them happy. This person probably doesn’t understand me, but I really care about this person—do you hear me?]

There is a controversy about hormones from natural sources. Estrogen has become a commodity, and there are reports of unfair and cruel treatment of animals. I am hypogonadal. I have not even partially functioning ovaries nor testis to supply me estrogen/testosterone at any level. Obviously I am no doctor, but I still believe that a therapeutic dose of estrogen in a hypogonadal person male—or otherwise would probably need to be higher than a genetic female going through menopause. I have been through very harsh menopause like states more than once when I ceased hormones for surgical reasons. But what concerns me is the long-term effects, like bone mass and cholesterol levels. Can synthetic hormones supply accurate replacement? I don’t know. Once again, as a transsexual, I feel I am right in the middle of a very large battle. There are other drugs for other ailments derived from natural sources, and should I deny myself just because the focus is on hormones. I do have an open mind about synthetics.

I have transitioned long enough ago to remember witnessing a major manufacture of natural estrogens, decimate and eliminate their generic competition. I have a friend who is female-to-male that had to face testosterone shortage.

I am sure there are medical journals with references to transsexual hormonal treatment. While there are enough transsexual people out there, and these medications have been, and will be used for the treatment of transsexual conditions, I am not aware of the any hormonal medications that include standardized indications and dosage for transsexual people at this time.

[When I had it, my Medicaid insurance covered hormonal treatment as far as estrogens are concerned because I am legally female. I also wanted to augment these medications with finasteride because I cannot tolerate aldactone. Finasteride is counter-indicated in genetic female because one might become pregnant, and there is a possibility of hormonally caused birth abnormalities. I was denied assistance with this medication because I am legally female, though it was offered to me that I could change my sex designation in the system and receive it, though that would eliminate coverage for estrogens.]

[I know of one surgical gynecologist who prescribed finasteride for genetic female patients who would unlikely become pregnant because of sterilization or being on the pill.]

I think that testosterone levels dropping very fast over a brief period of time causes some transsexual people to become depressed after surgery. In the male-to-female transsexual person seeking surgery, it seems that, if a lower dose of estrogen is used than necessary to sublimate the effects of male hormones in the body, then the person will lose the chance to really test to see if the chemically altered state is right for them, and then the hormonal trial would lose its effectiveness. A person can have entian an year to really try the effects of hormones on one’s body, or perhaps just one month after surgery.

[I know of a doctor who prescribes relatively low doses of estrogens for preoperative male-to-female transsexual patients. It’s just a theory of mine and I think the best hormone levels are the absolute minimum to get the job done, but I do worry that a lower the dose of estrogens preoperatively might mean a higher chance of post-operative depression.]

Hormones, including those naturally occurring in my own body, are the most powerful drugs I have ever experienced. All of my life, I have felt like I was belittled in the presence of hormones. I have never known another drug that could make or break my entire life. (Crying.)

There was a transsexual person who stated that all female-to-male transsexual people were either just homosexual or sexually attracted to themselves. The fact that there are transsexual people who prefer their own sex after transition would seem to deny this theory in itself.

If a transsexual person thought their original genitals were wretched, hated things, then once changed, I would hope that they would find pleasure in their own body and include themselves it in the storyline of their fantasy life. Is not this an indicator of healing? A transsexual person may feel more conscious of this inclusion of their own living body in their own fantasies. It seems that someone exemplified this inclusion instead of placed in the proper perspective.

Is it a disease to masturbate after transition?

I believe it rare that sexual urges alone would drive a person to transition and the test of time will usually filter that person out who is not appropriate, and perhaps that is the best that can be hoped for.

Even if there are some, some people are not thousands. While it a nice change from the “...every other transsexual is nuts besides me....” phase, it’s the “...I am crazy like every other transsexual....” phase. Only some transsexual people go through phases like these.

Some transsexual people that are just nuts, but being transsexual is not a prerequisite for mental illness unless you listen to those that have read in old books—much, and have spent time in real life—little.

I believe that sexuality is controlled by and is a function of gender, and not the other way around. I don’t believe that gender can be led by sexuality for long. I don’t think most people would go through 120-140 hours of painful electrolysis that some male-to-female transsexual people sometimes do, and possibly lose their entire family and all their friends, as well as the ability to have an orgasm—just for sex. Similarly, I don’t agree with Freud’s beliefs that children have sexual motivations for everything and I find a mind that would equate children and sex in such a manner frightening. Sometimes “sex” is just not sex.

There is even variance in what pronoun a person is referred to in medical, psychological write-ups and legal documents. Some may use he or she with indiscretion. I think there are three issues at play here. The first, as a friend wisely reminded me, “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck,” and so everyone is entitled to their own opinion. The second is simple respect, if you identified as a man, wouldn’t you be offended being referred to as a woman? If you identified as a woman wouldn’t you be offended being referred to as a man? Respect costs little, and I hope it enters the equation more often. Third, there will also always be some people that will never honor and will never respect transsexual people because of simple prejudice, and I find that that is just sad. Some psych-healthcare workers will never forgive us for choosing our method of treatment and having some say in our own destiny.

[I have met a person who has accused their psychiatrist even in more modern times of trying to cure transsexuality with shock therapy, then she was found to be XXY. Perhaps the reason or her gender confusion was that, she is not genetically the average man. It seems the psychiatrist covered up the genetic test until he could no longer be sued.]

Some critiques of sexual reassignment surgery claim that it is “mutilation.” Over the years perhaps I have seen some “mutilations”, but some good looking ones that looked very, very natural. From the transsexual person’s perspective; I believe that surgery and transition itself should be thought of as a absolute last resort, though, for the medical profession, I think both should be allowed to continue as an option, because I believe that it will bring many people closer to happiness.

Of the surgeons who I have met who perform transsexual surgery, one has as an objective, and even displayed great pride at keeping as much feeling, sensitivity, as well as function—as possible. He also stated to me that he looks at a patient’s happiness as a whole.

[If I take all my clothes off and stand before a mirror, I can feel and see the xanthomas, the five scars from my lung repairs, and the three from my hand surgery, the dog bite, and the burn that reminds me that two packs of matches aren’t better than one—long before I notice my eight year old muff.]

The penis, being what it is, is sensitive. I do wish I did have that level of sensitivity, but in female form. I feel that, this may not be possible because of nerve ending surface area alone, much less the effects of surgery done by human beings which may never really achieve what can be done by nature.

Transsexual is used to describe one who has changed their primary or secondary physical sex characteristics, unfortunately, this term, once the person has changed their physical sexual characteristics may not apply because it indicates only movement.

To call a transsexual person who hasn’t had surgery “pre-op(erative)”, is to place the expectation that they will have surgery. If we call that person “non-op(erative)”, is to place the expectation that they won’t have surgery. Although these are just words, beyond the words, maybe we should find expressions that are more open-ended.

Gender Dysphoria Syndrome would seem to suggest that I am not happy with my gender status. It may even be an abusive term, as it is projected that the person in question should not want to be whom the person really is inside. Gender Dysphoria Syndrome may also be a misnomer, as most people that have transitioned (from apparent gender role to another) do NOT wish to change their gender, but their primary or secondary sexual configuration and their apparent gender role.

[I.e. I am me, and neither pleased or dismayed with my gender, but, I wanted to change my body.]

I believe there are static aspects of gender which cannot be changed. It should not be projected that the person should change who they are and what they may not be able to. I think that sometimes the flesh bends easier than the self.

[Was it morally wrong for me to repair my collapsed lung or my broken ankle? How is this different?]

There aren’t many transsexual people in the world. What little research that is done seems to be used for ammunition for “The Battle of the Sexes.”

I don’t always rest easy knowing that my life hangs in the balance of what brands of psychology, psychiatry and physiology are fashionable at any given moment.

The way information is presented in DSM IV was under debate. Some people wanted the listing abolished, others didn’t. The listing helps some people, while hurting others. It helps some people receive counseling as it pertains to adjustment and difficulty, and to let them know that what they are going through is real. I feel a dollar will never fall on an illness that doesn’t “exist”, nor one that is possessed by so few people. It also hurts people because it can, and has been used to persecute, discriminate and even break up families and terminate employment. I don’t have answers. The people who write these entries must understand that people’s very lives hang in the balance, and they should choose their words carefully.

In study, I think transsexuality should be separated:

Sex State Dysphoria Syndrome (SSDS)
Primary as it pertains to genitalia.
Secondary as it pertains to body shape and habitus.
Hormonal as it pertains to hormone levels and their affects.

But now which book do we place this in, a psychiatry book or a physical medicine book?
Can we be so sure that the cause of transsexuality isn’t at least partially physical?

I think that it is important to make a distinction between gender and gender role. I dare state that with certainty; it’s difficult to tell what is or isn’t a social construction about being female or male, until the first successful year living across society’s “accepted” gender boundaries and observing one’s body change from season to season—then that’s just the awakening.

I think that: Gender Role Dysphoria Syndrome (GRDS), should be separated the above because it does not directly pertain to the body, is socially driven and psychological in nature.

There are licensed practitioners who still try to “cure” homosexuality. I can cite religious motivations for this behavior. Any reference was removed after DSM-II in the early seventies. Who knows how many people were discriminated against by it? I hope Ani Defranco will forgive me for quoting her, “Every tool is a weapon if you hold it just right.

To some extent, a woman can be empowered by her beauty, and a man his strength, but when a person is in transition one might not have either. There are few transsexual people and because the condition is difficult for a bystander to identify with, a person will not always acquire the same empathy, identification, and consideration that a person with either physical or emotional challenges will have. On the positive side, that person will not have the same sorrow forced upon them and therefore might become emotionally durable in a larger sense, but, why should we be made to suffer?

At this time, I think one has to have a thick skin to survive as a transsexual person.
At this time, a living transsexual is nothing to be for an insecure person.

Overall, I don’t know if the public pressure and sometimes persecution against being transsexual is a useful diagnostic tool for separating those who may or may not be serious, or just a meaningless shame. At the time this was written, if a transsexual person doesn’t feel some non-personal persecution, then they just aren’t seeing things realistically. The poor perception of transsexual people in society and the media, and their willingness to proceed anyway, is a good indicator that transsexuality is not a social construction.

I don’t know how many people left life behind because they were untreated transsexual people.

[I know would have had a better quality of life if I had transitioned sooner.]

A psychologist specializing in transsexual issues once told me, “We don’t loose very many (transsexual people in transition) but when we do, there is usually a close friend or family member who strongly objects.

[I knew a nice male-to-female person who transitioned and had surgery. She tried to hold on to a certain portion of her masculine presentation for some reason another.

I met her family. Her mother was pleasant, and supportive in a balanced way. She wasn’t pushy, just right, perfect.

She started dressing and behaving more feminine, and seemed happy. Soon after, we learned that she had taken her life with a prescription overdose. Her mother said her daughter left a note saying that she was in love with a girl who just couldn’t deal with her situation anymore, and left her.

At her funeral, words escape to describe how sorry I felt for her mother’s loss. I hugged her mother. She told me, if there is anything that she could do to help me, she would. I gave her thanks. I can hardly remember her face it’s been so long, but she will forever be with me. I wish you both well where ever you are. Oh my God! It has been so long that I didn’t remember how much this hurts. (Crying, lots!)]

Friends Like Tops

Try to spend time with, watch over, and listen to friends,
Because sometimes they need you.
Especially during growth and change.
Balance can be a difficult thing to keep,
When dealing with something new.

Sometimes, inertia will wane.
To not let any fall,
Every once in a while,
Match the center, give them a spin,
Before any stall.

Add new, but the more you have,
The less time you can spend with each.
How can they count on you?
When they are so many,
And you are out of reach?

Interaction isn’t your loss,
In common, it’s you they share.
As long they mesh, themselves they spin,
And by letting them,
You show that you care.

The more people there are,
The more things are stable.
In sharing this way,
Tops may cross to and from,
But they and you get to experience another table.

These aren’t the kind tops,
That one attaches strings.
Please remember that real friends
Aren’t to be thought of, fought over
Or manipulated like toys, or things.

Always look for the wide circle,
As they head for the edge.
Don’t guide very much.
Taking an obstacle out of their way,
Slows less than even the softest touch.

Beware of the wobble,
Please help your friends like the caring of tops,
Before one winds down,
Before one spins on the side,
And eventually...stops.

Balance and Temperament (Continued)

Money sometimes is the bottleneck in one’s transition.

[I have a friend who was a pre-op male-to-female transsexual person. Because she stayed at a homeless shelter, she was told that she would have to sleep with the men. While the people who ran the shelter didn’t respect her gender status, the people who occupied the shelter helped her make a cubicle out of blankets so that she could have some privacy...and they could too.]

It’s unjust that insurance industry offers little of no help in matters involving transsexual issues. Many insurance policies exclude anything concerning transsexuality. I have also have seen companies blame common ailments on a persons transsexual status, and flatly deny payment.

Are people often denied health benefits because they have issues that only pertain to either men or women?

My understanding is: the Harry Benjamin Association is a private organization for healthcare workers who work with transsexual people. I think it would be beneficial if there was a transsexual presence—a transsexual congress within the Benjamin Association. There are transsexual members in the Benjamin Association though usually only health-care providers. I do think the voice of the “average” transsexual person would be of value because I want to the focus of the healthcare providers to be on the “average” transsexual unless they are only interested in helping themselves and transsexual healthcare workers. I have heard quite a few healthcare workers complain that data on transsexual people is difficult to obtain. I also know of transsexual people who just want to be heard. I would like to believe that the potential for growth in the Harry Benjamin Association did not pass with him.

As far as the Benjamin Association is concerned, it seems healthcare workers can claim unequivocally whatever results they want, and not be challenged. I think for the people concerned, if reduced to nothing else, the raw data itself should be invited. One of the most positive things I have seen is a webpage which has anonymous surgical results doctor-by-doctor. I feel this type of feedback is invaluable, not only for transsexual people of the present but also for the future. It would have been nice if this was a Benjamin Association sanctioned activity.

How can someone be accountable if the voice of the patient is silenced and there is no official channel for communication?

[I have volunteered for a local branch of the epilepsy foundation, to the smallest degree I was tangible and could affect change in this group and I don’t even have epilepsy. Yet, as a transsexual person, I don’t think I would be welcome at the association of people that are supposed to be helping me.]

The Benjamin guidelines are permissive towards transsexuals, but they are sometimes shallow in focus, as they measure success with money and employment. I think success should be measured in setting realistic goals and reaching them. I think part of the reasons that the guidelines focus on such things is because transsexuality is still controversial, and people in the HBIGDA just wanted people to function well in society, and appear so. I do remember Dr. Harry Benjamin stating something to the effect, “If we follow the letter of the law, we have abandoned all common sense.

[My goal is, as for myself and any other: I want transsexual people to be happy, really happy or the best possible given the condition.]

I don’t want you spending effort with how things appear, I want you to be happy.

A person can have permanent changes made in one’s body that may affect that person’s life indefinitely. I can get several body piercings done and have half of my body tattooed and still have time for a tummy-tuck, a nose-job and while I am recovering I can overeat quite a bit. When it comes to genitals and hormones we seem much more sentimental though.

What feeds this?

Women sometimes take estrogen replacement therapy.
Men sometimes take testosterone.

Why is more complicated if a “man” wants to take estrogens, or a “woman” wants to take testosterone?

At this time, I think the Benjamin Standards of Care are regrettably necessary because I feel our culture is not capable of understand the transsexual person yet and science doesn’t seem to have all of the answers yet either. I can foresee a point where the conventional wisdom alone could help guide transsexual people as it guides people through most points or changes in life, but not yet. The information is just not out there.

I can’t see “surgery on demand” at this point because there is so much misinformation out there that I think the average person may not even really know what transsexuality is. I think that often people have nothing to base their beliefs from other than what was sold to them as entertainment.

One generalization I dare make is, most transsexual people I have met have felt discomfort since an early age and I think for instance, the average person couldn’t offer the advice of waiting a given period of time before having surgery. As far as the length of time before starting hormones or having surgery, I feel it should vary with the individual.

I would like to see a standard pamphlet and test just designed to make sure that people know the implications they are getting themselves into, physically, emotionally and sociologically. People should know all of the negative, as well and the positive effects of what they are getting themselves into.

Some transsexual people sometimes try to over-compensate in the new role, trying to become more masculine or feminine than one really is. Please try to remember: if one couldn’t get the girl out of the boy, one isn’t going to be able to get the boy out of the girl, and vice-a-versa.

With all the possible loss, I think that some transsexual people will also get a salt left over from transitioning, a different way of seeing people, a knowledge that is sometimes difficult for me to describe because right now, I think the language barely exists. I feel that most people are not very androgynous, and sometimes it is easier to see Woman and Man while not being there.

After time, one should drift or settle to find a equilibrium and balance. I believe that there is some loss for any gain, but ultimately the transition process should be a growing process instead of one of atrophy. You shouldn’t do almost everything that you did before.

Is the desire to change one’s body to become something else a disease?

Not necessarily. If you look for exception in anything, you will find it, but even with all the social pressure against it, it can be a very healing, growing, inspiring thing to witness as long as the change starts from within.

Is that desire purely psychological or purely physical?

No.

I am very comfortable that it’s both because I believe it is the very interaction between the two.

Why are people transsexual?

I don’t know. I understand it simply as a maladaptation between the mind and body, but where that maladaptation resides, I don’t know.

I have met too many transsexual people who were just on the edge of normality as far as their bodies are concerned to just ignore their differences. There would be something a little different here or there. How does one react to a pretty, small “male” person who had undecended testicles, or a genetic female that doesn’t look at all like a “girl” and who is large enough to “pull your arms out of their sockets?” What do say to people if they want to change their bodies to be their idea of themselves? Perhaps if you must change, I could understand. For some transsexual people I have met I would call transsexuality “an intersexed condition not otherwise specified”, for others I wouldn’t. I would consider people at the edge of normality as far as general affect and appearance a higher risk of becoming transsexual from what I have witnessed.

If a transsexual person has transitioned, and functions in society with little problem, I often feel heavy of heart because they probably didn’t function so well before. Personally, while seeing the growing, positive change, I also sometimes mourn for the loss of opportunity to ever have been ordinary.

In transition, I hope a transsexual person can love oneself and thereby be able to love others, try to deal with the past, do whatever it will take to heal, while not loosing sight of the future, all while participating in a great life change, a second adolescence, or a first right one.

Some people have little distance to move at all as they have always lived as their gender dictated and never really functioned as a member their expected gender. Others have considerable distance to cover whether physically or socially and may never even pass for themselves, may never feel comfortable enough to be true to themselves, and may never be hormonally and physically congruent. Whether or not these people should attempt transitioning is beyond my grasp, but hopefully not beyond theirs. While not limited to transsexual people by any means, overall I am surprised and proud that so many can withstand so much adversity and remain so warm, caring and human.

I perceive a person as having gender attributes instead of being one exclusively one gender or another. I feel that, while there is an unlimited variation of adaptation patterns, a great inconsistency of the “glue” that holds one’s self/id/soul thing in our bodies.

I also feel all people having some effeminate (male-femininity) and emasculent (female-masculinity) as well as feminine and masculine characteristics. I also feel, that which spans largely and equally has a unique, tangible quality in itself. Generally, as a music lover, to me, a person’s gender can be felt like a chord. It’s a chord that can be seen, a chord that can be heard, a chord that can be touched.

I haven’t learned the answers, only some questions. While knowing something doesn’t mean the one can change things, I just wanted to share how I model things for myself, because I feel it serves me well. Yet, if I let my subjective, visceral, carnal perception rule me, If I judge people on only this, If I can see no more than the unique perception, the fingerprint that lies between the soul and body—then I have lost.

So I see gender only as that layer of interaction between someone’s “soul thing” and their body. I perceive that layer being stacked upon life’s external interactions over the course of time. I feel to some degree, some of these things can “write” back into the self because I feel we sometime do learn about ourselves through interactions with others, yet some aspects of oneself seem more fixed.

[I have had all of my life not-to-deal or to deal with this problem. I kept those aspects of my life from other people because I thought they wanted me to and I was taught by society to. When I transitioned, those base assumptions were found to be different and now they share in what I have been dealing with all along. I could no longer protect that person from the truth, and they may share my pain. While that doesn’t negate me of responsibility, I thought I was doing them a favor.]

I feel that when a transsexual person transitions, from the observer those changes are pretty deep within the stack of experience and interaction. A friend of family member may base many things this from of these lower, deeper perceptions, but not what is at the foundation. There is sometime a period of mourning for the self that really never was, but more realistically, there was a deeper self than what was shown.

I presented as a male to the best of my abilities for years and some of the things that made-me me, made-me me. I believe an actor cannot act unless one finds that within oneself. I have lost people but maybe they wouldn’t have liked me anyway. Because I was affecting such a low layer, I had to be sure that, this is what I wanted. I also had to be sure that I didn’t want to change the bottom layer, because I can’t.

My identification was not with “men.” To me, I am very close to the, middle though more often with what you would call “women.”

This is my gender identity.

I was not a woman trapped in a man’s body because, for whatever reason I inferred that my body was not completely male anyway. To me, it doesn’t matter why it happened, only that it did.

I am only someone wanted to tune my body to a note more pleasing and less dissonant to me.

For me, I have witnessed, lived, and I believe in this transsexual thing.

Over and Under Partially

I had this friend, right? This person had such an attraction for silky things that whenever this person was in a store they couldn’t help touching anything that was silky or satiny like women’s panties, bras slips, anything that felt good to this person. This person would even go so far as to sleep with these things and touch them all night.

Perhaps you can just imagine what this person looks like...

This person was my friend’s 7-year-old daughter.

Does her daughter need psychological help?
What if she was a boy instead?

Tactile stimulation aside, my friend’s seven year-old daughter probably just wanted to be reminded of her mother, and the silky things reminded her of her. I don’t think that having a fetish is a sign of femininity, but I do feel that, in this society we feel more comfortable with females owning a fetish than males. I also think that, society tends to treat fetishes owned by males as more pathology than females.

I have another friend who has about forty pairs of shoes. This person loves high-heels so much that that they needed to have foot surgery, and then they still wore them. This person is a genetic female as well and probably habitually uses her shoes to match her idea of what attractive is.

And him, whenever he gets a chance he sniffs everyone’s feet and when he sleeps he likes to sleep with his face nestled in his friend’s armpits.

...This is my friend’s cat. Most cats I have met seem to like feet, cardboard, and tile and concrete floors. I don’t know as much about dogs though they seem to like licking people’s faces.

Overall I don’t think that the tactile enjoyment that people feel for some objects, or objectifying a part of another being is unnatural. Of course too much of anything can be bad. Also if one finds discomfort with a fetish or partialism, I think it’s more likely a social problem—than a psychological one.

At the time that I write this, I still see makeovers on television where parents and “friends” attempt to encourage a guest to adhere to normally accepted gender role presentations. I often see family members and “friends” who actually seem very relieved that the person who they are supposed to care about is getting a makeover.

Why should they be so happy?
What are they afraid of?
Why should the person who they are supposed to care about, give up a part of their freedom of expression?

Custom

It was not instinctual thing to have my ears pierced, it was a socially driven action.

There are things that I think are not based in gender. I don’t believe that people have an instinctual need to do a lot of things to their bodies that people do, yet I do think it may be instinctual to be expressive even if it extends to one’s body.

People have been getting tattoos and parts of their body pierced for a very long time.

What if someone wants to do ___________ instead?
Can modifying a human body be art?
What is art?

I believe that affection and intimacy have a basic living function and need. What if a person was more attractive to someone than a person who wasn’t physically altered? Then, was the altering a social construction or a device?

Some people would not be attracted a person with tattoos all over their body, others would not be unless they had them. So is the physical altering for attraction purposes only at face value or is a means of selection?

[I have also seen pictures/text of some genetic males who have their penises partially split underneath. One person who did it claimed that it increased his sexual stimulation more and didn’t affect his urinary stream or sexual performance. There was another that it would seem unlikely that the ordinary ideal of sexual intercourse would be improbable.]

Even people who do body ‘mods often state that it’s advantageous to wait a while and not just do something, anything permanent to your body on a whim. Modifying one’s body can be the ultimate expression of individualism or the ultimate expression of conformity.

I found something that was disturbing to me. It was a personal account by a someone who entirely removed their own male genitalia. When I was in desperation I foolishly risked my very life in such a way, but for the hormonal changes that I believed it would cause. It bothered me, because I can’t understand why anyone would try to do something like that, but without the same goal as I had. They also took pictures as they went. It might have been partially motivated for effect, shock value or attention perhaps.

Some things might be a social construction, some things might be a social deconstruction, but I think more worthy are those things that are done for art, as long as the human canvas does not become the canvas human, and the human clay does not become the clay human.

So where does it all end?
Who is to draw what line where?

Well Centered

Most people were taught that there are only men and women, that there are only two distinct sexes; this is wrong. While most people born are either male (XY) or female (XX), have endocrine systems that behave in a certain manner, and possess genitals of a certain characteristic, to assume that there is no diversity and that things are as simple as plain yes or no, is just ignorance. So if there are more than just men and women (and there are), to have that knowledge and force a continuum of people through a sieve of two makes little sense and is perhaps unjust.

[When a baby is developing, up to a certain point it’s difficult to tell whether the baby is male or female, at this stage a baby’s sex organs are very ambiguous. To some degree, we were almost all women, all men. It’s not my concern whether or not one believes it because the are books are out there.]

There are chromosomal variations such as Turner’s, Klinefelter’s, and others, where cell for cell, what we define as conventional male or female is not so clear. There are also hormonal variations out of the range of ordinary, sometimes just natural, sometimes caused by prenatal medications. Sometimes a penis might have a slit for a urethra, sometimes labia may close.

Are these people broken?
Is their condition a syndrome?
Exactly how big does a clitoris have to be to be a penis?
How much mammary gland is necessary for a breast?
How much tissue is necessary for a surgeon to alter a human being?

Should we change them?
Should we let them decide?
If not why?
If so when?

This may introduce discomfort but I will field it...
Can we be so sure human evolution ends with just Man and Woman?

At one time, doctors surgically altered people who were ambiguous to one sex or another, believing in their heart, that they were doing what was for the best. At one time it was even thought that one could be assigned a sex very early on, and the mind would just magically grow into it and the person would enjoy a blissful happiness.

Intersexed people are just starting to be heard, and I don’t think we can rest too comfortably in early surgical intervention in people too young to give consent. This also gets complicated because what if someone really wanted a baby of this sex or that sex? Does the creation of a new living person weigh more than their parents’ egos. I think as a group other intersexed people should decide their fate, not sexed people. Forgive my cliché but this is a really slippery slope.

It’s my personal belief that, given informed consent someone who has a hormonal, genetic or developmental intersexed condition should be able to have reassignment, like transsexual people do, but as an option—as choice. As in transsexuality, at what age can we be sure that this decision is not motivated by external influences?

Some people buy things or paint baby’s room pink or blue and it’s a pretty good indication that it seems pretty natural to force; gender-specific behavior on their children, perhaps surgery too.

So why am I, an ordinary transsexual person writing about intersexed people? My sex organs were unremarkable and within the range of “normality”, but my body’s secondary sexual characteristics such as size and proportion, I felt not what I thought the average male was. From the start, I looked “queer” because I was made that way. People take me as female now almost explicitly in spite of my toying with presentation, and yet people have always interacted with me like this in some ways. Becoming more feminine brought discomfort because of the familiarity implied.

What am I?
And
What was I?

As a transsexual person, sometimes I look for something to validate my transsexuality, but as a living thing more often I look for the source of my androgyny, my lack of identification with others, and to explain my suffering.

Why me?

Centrifugal

To me, Dr. Benjamin’s scale varied across from surgical desire to non-surgical desire (transient, constructed and fetishistic). It didn’t, however seem to vary with desired/ideal/targeted outcome as far as physical status.

It’s apparent that the usual transsexual transitional process overall is—geared toward and has the expectation that one will within reason complete a transition from female-to-male or from male-to-female. People seem to be more sentimental with traditional female and male bodies and genitalia.

For this reason, I wonder about the proportion of surgeons who would perform surgery, to achieve an intersexed condition. For some female-to-male people not having complete surgery might be an attractive alternative as it is for some male to female people. Once again—we all deal with things in different ways. This is the reason why I am concerned when people stereotype genitalia as gender.

I do see gender as a continuum and so, I also believe in the transintersexual / transintersexed person.

If one believes that it’s wrong to have/perform surgery leading to an intersexed condition (IS-RS?), then aren’t we in some small way saying that an intersexed person’s physical state isn’t valid?

I have also been doing some reading on people who are modern eunuchs. This person had surgery done by someone who usually performs transsexual SRS.

It is fascinating for me because, this adds another entire dimension to both gender and more-so the physical body, not only where(?) on the continuum but: how much?

[It is ironic that person who claimed to have had an intersexed condition was altered as a child.]

Peace

I don’t have all the answers, only enough to get more questions.(Smiling.). The only thing I know for sure is what I don’t know and sometimes that gives me the chance to grow.

I know transsexual people from all walks of life. I have met transsexual people from different countries, different races, different religions, different education levels, different financial situations, different interests, different everything. One generalization I dare make is, transsexual people are—as few—as we are diverse. Our diversity within our community can either hurt us or help us. Many transsexual people have worked hard to make things as good as they are now, but there still is a lot to be done.

Please remember that in addition to transsexual people, there are gay people, lesbian people, bisexual people, people who cross-dress, intersexed people, as well as people who are heterosexual out there too. There are people of different races, beliefs and religions. I am reminded of this because I can find a little of all within me. There are also other groups out there too where their day-to-day lives are in question because they might be different or have a different take on things.

I can only speak with only a single voice, I can only cast one ballot, but sometimes it’s easier to create change from the outside, than from within, so if there is something I can do to I will try to help someone else.

Many people in many minorities have different methods trying to achieve the same goal, freedom. To have any kind of freedom, we must get along with one another better.

I want people to have freedom; this is my rhetoric.

Knowing that there are unprotected transgendered people in the world hurts me. If I could give me anything, I would give me the security of knowing that people like me would be safe, and some more time with all kinds of people.

Every living thing that leaves or is forced from this world leaves a void that will never be filled. Please don’t hate—enjoys life’s diversity. Please open your minds.

In fact, in truth:
People are more diverse than just male or female,
People are more diverse than just heterosexual.

I am sure that I am not the first nor will I be the last to know:

In other parts of American Government, there is a system of checks and balances and things are mostly just. In the matters I will speak they have failed miserably. The argument that the excluded minorities want “special rights” is pure sophistry, because there is great evidence of special discrimination. We are well overdue for an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America:

A United States Citizen shall have the right to be free from discrimination based on sex and gender.
A United States Citizen shall have the right to express sexual and gender identity as it does not infringe on another persons Constitutional Rights.
No law shall be written, enforced or remain that will infringe those rights.
A United States Citizen shall be free from religious persecution that would threaten or seek to threaten those rights.

I have a friend who I have the deepest respect for. She is transsexual, and was one of many fired from her job for only that. For some reason, she always carries a little pocket version of The U.S Constitution with her. Maybe she is a dreamer.

When I was in school they taught us about The United States of America, Democracy, The U.S. Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and of some of the people that have given their lives. We placed our hands on our hearts and recited a poem that ended, “With Liberty and Justice for All.

—Maybe, I’m a dreamer too.


Path

Metric Flower

There is a place for everything, and this book is my place for openness and truth. I have tried to give an honest accounting of my life, some of which is not that pleasant. I have tried my best to preserve the moment. If I sterilize it, if I compromise my writing, then things get lost, and writing ceases to be an effective art form. It would then lose any ability to be helpful to anyone including me. Some of the following may not be suitable for someone who is bothered by graphic details, someone who is undergoing certain kinds of counseling, or someone who needs it. This book can’t read itself and its cover also closes.

It is not my wish to upset the reader.
It is not my wish to shelter the reader.

Please don’t attempt to recreate anything in this book as there are some very vivid accounts of:

  • Gender issues, including genital surgery,
  • Human sexuality,
  • Substance abuse,
  • Street violence,
  • Being sexually abused as a child,
  • Risky, self-destructive behavior,
  • Questioning one’s existence.

....and, I hope, some strong language.

It’s hard for me to listen to my feelings and relate them at the same time. There are so many possible reasons why I could be the way I am that they don’t seem relevant anymore, because I know pretty much what works for me and makes me happy. I could not base my future on what-ifs and speculation. When I tried, I led my life to ruin. It is my belief that who, what and why I am, is more than my environment or experiences. I have no “control” me who had the “perfect life”, but who has the “perfect life,” and what is it anyway?

I started writing this as an initial introduction of sorts when I was going through evaluation for suitability for hormone therapy and surgical approval. I am a more of a theorist than a researcher, so my only obligation is to open my mind. If I’m lucky, in doing so I might open yours too—if it’s not already.

I am trying to be as honest with you as I am with myself, and some truths are not as easy to admit to even oneself...

The Change

When my mother remarried during the late nineteen sixties or early seventies, my mother, my brother, my new stepfather, and I moved to Texas for a brief time. It was there where my stepfather’s heroin addiction surfaced. He and my mother seperated.

A few weeks after returning to Connecticut we received a postcard from our old landlord in Texas. There had been some bad tornadoes near Corpus Christi, and one of them had ripped off my landlord’s roof. The trailer which we had lived in until a few weeks ago now laid in a small pond, upside down, one hundred feet away from its original resting place. My mother’s records and other possessions were still in it. We all probably would have been killed if we had stayed.

[Years later, someone would tell me that people shouldn’t be allowed to divorce. I shared this story, and I added that divorce saved my life.]

Sometimes change is good.

We moved to a small Central Connecticut town. We stayed there for a while, and then we moved to a larger post-industrial city. We lived in the upstairs apartment of a green asphalt-tiled house. Our rent was just okay, but there were pear and peach trees there, a grapevine and even berries growing in the yard. The downstairs neighbors had a gray and white ordinary-looking house cat named Petie. As a cat person, I have really only met two cats that didn’t like me. I am allergic to cats and I don’t really care.

Petie spent a lot of time with us, a lot of it on top of our refrigerator which purred and kept her warm. Petie would eat almost anything, including spaghetti. Petie saved me from having to scrambled eggs, even those with ketchup on them.

Everyone in our family thought Petie was a boy cat, until the first day of spring, when in our closet, the kittens started coming out of her.

Same?

My brother was three years older than me. He lacked a sense of humor, and he seemed to be angry most of the time. Even early on, I seemed to have the ability to unhinge his temper, an unremarkable feat which was easy to accomplish. Being larger, he possessed the ability to punch three of my teeth out at once. I lacked the scruples to resist bloodying his nose in his sleep for it.

I used to play with my next door neighbor. While it is stereotypical, she and I used to play with her dolls. The vinyl doll carrying case looked just like the one they used for the small toy cars. No wonder why I was confused. (Smiling). The reason I am mentioning it is because my brother used to tease me about it. I stopped.

I think he shouldn’t have teased me, but I should have had the backbone to stand up to his teasing.

I don’t put too much weight in boys playing with dolls, or wanting a toy light-bulb oven, or girls playing with toy cars, or some other sexist thing that has been passed from generation to generation. I played with toy cars too, and I helped build real cars, and look how I turned out.

I had a friend who lived next door in a brick three-family house. She was about the same age as I, but she was a little larger physically. Her parents spoke with a heavy Polish accent. We spent a lot of time together.

When I was about six or seven, she took me by the hand, and she led me into the bathroom right in front of her parents. I was uncomfortable because I felt that her parents wanted her to do this. As I watched her parents’ faces, the door closed.

When we got inside, we played show and tell. We carefully watched how each other peed. I remembered thinking, “You don’t have this, but I don’t have....” I thought she was “pretty like a flower,” and I wasn’t. I responded by trying to make her feel bad. I made fun of her because that’s the only way I could handle it—being six or seven.

I didn’t feel I was any different than her before that day, and now I was confused. Perhaps that’s why her parents wanted her to show me. It’s ironic that the very first strong feeling of personal awareness I ever had in my life, was that something was very wrong with me. I was broken from the start.

I know my first name, my last name, where I live, my age, and I know that something is wrong down there.

It was not anything that I ever was told, or that anything implied. No one ever dressed me up in girl’s clothes. I still have a lot of refrigerator art from that period, and I drew myself as I was then—nothing out of the ordinary, no breasts and no wheels for feet. (Smiling). My brother was a boy and my little gang of neighbors and I weren’t. It was as simple as that, but now I felt very different. I guess I was my idea of a girl. Gone were the innocence of such things as making lawn-clipping forts and painting a toy Jeep (and, accidentally, my downstairs neighbor) silver. I wished I had been born a girl, but I wasn’t.

[When I look back to when I was young, I have always used the term “kid” to refer to myself rather than “boy.” It catches my attention when my friends sometimes refer to their children as the “the boys.” That itself may not be interesting, because a lot of people do that. I seem to find it more relevant that their children are little people than that they are either boys or girls. Or is it instead that I am just projecting my own androgyny?]

I liked this boy in the neighborhood as much as the girl downstairs, both to the dismay of my girl-friend next door. I still don’t know if she and I were supposed to be in “puppy love” or not, only that we spent a lot of time together. None of these relationships were really sexual, but I still had feelings for all of them. The fact that one of them was male was probably an indication that I would be bisexual someday.

In school, I hated it whenever the teachers would split people up into two lines: one for boys, and the other for girls. I felt uncomfortable with the whole idea. Why should people be sorted out like this, like objects or things? Teachers questioned me because I enjoyed playing “house” in the neat little log-cabinesque playhouses we had in our kindergarten classroom.

I hope that teachers are less sexist now.

One year, our class won the best-attendance award. The prize was a field trip—to an amusement park. I had a lot of fun there. I went on a roller coaster with some friends. The person who ran the ride segregated another friend and I from our companions because we were both “boys.” I felt weird because I just wanted to go on the ride, and cared little about with whom, until then. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t supposed to sit next to this person. I didn’t seem to separate people into two lines as other people did.

Many years later, I was waiting for the bus and trying my best to keep my distance from an overly affectionate bee. I found that it was easier to see the shadow than the bee. In between bee visits, I was studying the construction of a nineteen-twenties brownstone school that had recently been converted to apartments for the elderly. As I was trying to break down some of the architectural detail, I was shocked when I noticed that there were two entrances, one marked “Boys” and the other “Girls.”

I don’t know how people of the day could have gotten an equal education, if the very doors through which they entered the building weren’t even the same. I feel in some way, they were discriminated against before they even entered. I don’t know what is worse, people remembering something like this, or people forgetting.

If you are going to sort people out like this, and I don’t want you to, then where is the doorway in the middle for me? I think that there is only one ideal female and one ideal male, and everyone else falls somewhere in between on a continuum.

Everyone is different, but wouldn’t it just be easier to treat everyone the same until you know them as individual people?

Expectations

I love my mother. She worked very hard to support me, but from afar. Later, she had a breakdown and was hospitalized. She had gone through some times that were too rough for her, and perhaps had some predisposition toward that kind of problem. My mother’s strong work ethic was passed down from her parents. It helped keep my mother and I apart. She believed that she must continue no matter what, and she didn’t seek or find help when she should have been taking care of herself and healing, so that she might once again reach her potential.

My mother likes reading, decorating, and music, but her singing is even more terrible than mine. She sculpted at one time. She has a good sense of humor. Acting probably would have been easy for her if she’d tried. She once had my friend believing that she cut out the letters in her alphabet soup by hand. When she was a child, she took tap dancing lessons. Though she is self-conscious, it still makes her whole being light up when she dances. If I could give my mother anything, I would give her peace of mind and some tap shoes that fit.

My brother and I were staying at our grandparents’ quite often before that period in our lives. I bonded with my grandparents as if they were my parents. It was something that I feel bad about, and have had trouble undoing. Perhaps my acceptance of this will bring my mother and me closer eventually. Oddly, though my mother and I find humor about our being two very different people, our mutual acceptance of our differences has brought us together.

My grandparents’ house was a nice middle-class house built mostly by my grandfather’s hand with some guidance from a friend. It was a white house sitting on a hilly banked lot with a maple tree in the middle of the yard, a few choke-cherry trees out back, and a row of pines that shielded it from the road. There was a large cellar workshop with plenty of tools for the young aspiring mad scientist. (Smiling).

My grandfather was a large man. His body was large enough to ensure that his fingers would almost always touch more than one key at a time on a pocket calculator. He was strong enough to put 5-foot metal compressed-gas cylinders on a truck very casually.

He was a truck driver by trade and a scientist at heart. Besides his family developing a few subdivisions of land where he lived, he also was a junk man who collected scrap metal for profit. He knew a lot about metals and gases and most things mechanical for that matter. When my brother crashed his car, my grandfather used a chainfall and firewood to straighten the car’s frame well enough to keep it from needing a wheel alignment. He also could straighten a bent bike wheel a lot better than I could.

When I was young, I would help put out the little fires caused by the cutting torch. As I grew older, I helped to load iron into the pickup truck, split firewood from the development, and did yard-work. I tried so hard to make him proud of me, and I don’t think I ever did or could.

To him, a thing’s worth was only its practical value. A few things escaped this sense of practicality, like driving in fishtails in the circle in the winter, and there were rumors that he had carved a propeller for a plane that he did not yet possess. He was a patient instigator with a good sense of humor, he would smile as he “supervised” his son (my uncle) doing things like working on his impractical sports car, knowing damn well that he was just making my uncle’s temper and the situation-much worse. My grandfather only hit me once in my life. It was when I got into an argument with my grandmother (his wife) and I told him that I hated her. I have heard that he was less patient with his own kids, so perhaps by the time I came along he had mellowed with age.

Everyone liked him. He would do his best to help anyone he could. Just months before he passed away, we visited where his daughter and her husband were building a house, and shoveled soil by hand where it was needed. When people asked him how he was doing, he replied, “Struggling, always struggling....” As my grandfather watched the evening news, it would have been appearant to anyone that he was very concerned about the Cold War. If someone could have willed the end of the Cold War, it would have been him. He was a chain-smoker, and smoking ended his struggle. He never lived to see the Berlin Wall come down. If I could have given him anything, I would have given him that day.

I still cry because I intentionally let him pass away without ever really knowing me. I reasoned: what practical value is there in my life’s path? The Berlin Wall was not the only wall that did not come down in his lifetime.

Before she retired, my grandmother had worked in factories doing precision inspection and assembling. She was well-read and had owned thousands of books. She was a good poet and her style is very warm, classical and pleasant. She had written a song or two, and I had seen an old aluminum demo record and a contract from Hollywood that she never completed. If she had not raised a family she would have been a songwriter. She was small in stature, loved dancing, drank an occasional glass of cheap wine, and broke words down into their permutations (anagrams) in her spare time.

[Years after my transition, the rest of my family told me, if she found out about me, that it would kill her. For some unknown reason I listened to them until she insisted on seeing me. When I re-met her she didn’t even recognize me at first. She wasn’t negative, just surprised, and couldn’t get the third word out, “Oh my....” She still slipped by using my old name once in a while, but I felt she understood me on a level that most other family members didn’t.]

While he was alive, my grandfather forbade my grandmother from helping her kids financially, so she would buy clothes and things on a monthly charge account, and then return them to give the money to her kids. My mother didn’t seem to have a problem with this, though she would buy things and just habitually return them. I am a third-generation dysfunctional shopper. I buy things and never want to return them. This puts so much pressure on me as a shopper, that I don’t usually like shopping, especially when I have to get something for an occasion. Women are stereotyped as good shoppers which puts even more pressure on me.

My grandmother mused that when she was a little girl she sometimes wished she were a boy. She told me stories about “poppin’ migs” (playing marbles) and how competitive she had been doing physical things like running. She also said that she knew there was something different about me, but didn’t know what.

Every few days, she used to walk a mile or two to the store. One day, she was hit by a car. The hospital released her without realizing that she was slowly hemorrhaging into her brain, which caused her to slowly lose her faculties. By the time her condition was recognized and surgically corrected, she had suffered heart attacks leading to her end. She had been so alive before that, and she seemed even more remarkable when we found out she was over ninety-two. If I could have given her anything, I would have given her a trip to New Orleans, the city she had written a poem about, and more time with my grandfather.

The Collectors and the Stray

I had very few friends when I was entering adolescence, and when I was twelve or thirteen, I didn’t come anywhere near “fitting in” at school. My mother was working two jobs to try to support us. Whenever my brother wasn’t picking on me, I seemed to spent a lot of time by myself. Back then, there wasn’t the level of awareness about childhood sexual abuse that there is today. I felt weird, didn’t fit in, and I would have done anything for a friend. I was a victim waiting to happen. Predators go for the sick, the injured, and the stray.

I had been approached by a stranger when I was walking down the street. We talked. He seemed friendly, was thirtyish and overweight. Later, another man, his friend came. He was about thirty-five, thin, just starting to gray. We talked, and then the thin man left. He went to his apartment across the street. I had no indication that anything was strange. The situation could have been an uneventful scene from a sterilized nineteen-fifties family show, but it would not be that.

It seems that people are expected to mature faster as the generations go on, though I was naive even for my time, and perhaps not very old for that. I was sitting on the wall still talking to the first man, while the thin one was exposing himself in the window. His actions were surreal to me. The thin one returned clothed to lead me into an apartment across the street. I should have never have gone with him. The first man left.

There is this need for love and attention in me. It keeps me as much as his corralling, manipulation, and shock.

We are playing a game. He is showing me his apartment and I am free to go anywhere in it, with the power of a stray kitten. I am very jumpy.

I didn’t know why...
I want go to the window. I want to look out, for a reason I would not understand for years.
I feel, I am conquering fear.
I feel, I am proving to the world that I am a girl.

Still being led around, I foolishly enter a room too small to turn without him being there. He is behind me, touching me. I can’t keep standing up. I am being undressed. He is not forceful, yet totally in control.

He moves me to the bathroom, removes the rest of my clothes, I watch him slide them over the tiny squares that make up the floor—too far away. I can really see how small I am compared to him, small compared to almost anything in the apartment. I am frightened and very alone with him.

He performs oral sex on me and is disappointed—puzzled (I know why now, because I had no erection.)
I don’t understand his fascination with this part of me,
I just ignore it, and wish it wasn’t there.
He tells me to suck on his penis.
He had been rubbing it against me.
He takes my head and guides me to himself.
I can smell myself on him.
I hate his too.

I can’t.
We argue,
He tells me to kiss him there.
I did.

He moves me into the bedroom. Everything in the apartment seems so far away and open. It feels like I am outdoors. My size seems even smaller, almost insignificant. He puts me on the bed and rolls me over. He gets on me, in me, keeps telling me how much he loves me. It was what I wanted to hear wasn’t it? He keeps telling me, “I love you...I love you....” The words feel more hollow every time he says them. He asks, “Can I come in you?” I have no idea what he is talking about. He doesn’t finish explaining. I have no idea if he did. Even when someone did explain later, the best I could comprehend was that he was going to pee in me.

The other man lets himself into the apartment with a camera. I feel that I am their little, scared, naked animal-like plaything. He takes pictures of me.

Those pictures could be anywhere today. For some morbid reason I wish I had them, only mine, only me. If there were just one picture of someone else, mixed with a million pictures of me, my heart could not bear retrieving it. I would also spend time in his house in his cellar apartment. I still can’t remember exactly what happened there, but I remember him being much rougher than the other person.

The one who had, me tells me to come back, I don’t know when or why, but I do. I no longer feel exactly mine anyway. I feel like I am his. When I returned he asks help with something, I help. He tells me not to tell anyone. He gives me money, I have no real need, but I take it.

I was unwittingly a twelve year old prostitute.

Sitting in a big round chair, he undresses me, puts me on his lap. He manipulates me, again is disappointed. His thing is between my legs. He puts my hands on his penis, puts his hands over mine and tells me what to do. I didn't understand and thought in fading....

I have no idea why he likes his...
I have no idea why he likes his...
I have no idea why he likes his....

I didn’t understand my body’s reactions to his touch for years. My body is very sensitive. I liked some of these feelings and the physical sensations that went with them, but couldn’t respect him or his actions and grew to hate deeply, both. If it were a male of my own age who really loved me, things would have been okay. This was not the case. He took a screwed-up kid and made me even worse. He showed me a whole other world of shame and hurt.

For some time, I wrongly thought that it might be better that it just happened to me, someone who wanted to be a girl—anyway.

In some aspects, being entered then would seem more natural than the first time I tried to have sex with my penis. I would not feel any drive to masturbate for two or three more years. I had tried to masturbate as he had tried to almost teach me. I tried to be “normal.” Instead of playing with (my) that...thing, now I often ended up, with my fingers inside of me. I used to cry and wished to die because I wished I wasn’t broken—more.

I still find it difficult to believe that an adult could have sex with a twelve-year-old, and that twelve-year-old was me. I am lucky he didn’t beat me or kill me. I am lucky I didn’t end up with my halftone picture on a milk carton. Years later, I would learn about people like John Wayne Gacey and understand that things could have been much worse.

Years later, while walking home from school one day there were some kids that were talking to me, and one of them remembered seeing me with the person who had molested me years ago. He warned me that that person was a Mo(lester) as if they were commonplace, and he also said that I should avoid any contact with him. I wondered if the knowledge came firsthand. While the person who warned me and I we were never close, I felt a loss when he died in a motorcycle accident.

[It is harsh reality there were enough child-molesters in my area to have a colloquial slang word or abbreviation for them.]

When I was in my teens, our “family” changed apartments. We moved into an apartment directly across the street from where I was molested, and next door to one of the people who took pictures of me. I was mortified, almost begging my family not to move there, and I was too scared to even begin to tell why.

About that time, I remember seeing two girls with one of the people that molested me. I can only hope that they are okay. While I did go to the police, I went too late to do anything. I will have to live with the guilt of losing my chance to protect other people from them, for the rest of my life.

A few years later, a friend and I were trying to buy some drugs. Through some twist of fate, a contact of his, a bodyguard, lived right across the street from me. There I was, I could hardly believe that I was in the very apartment that I had been molested in years ago. The apartment was redecorated. I was shown the bullet hole in the ceiling from when he had let his idiot friend “look” at his gun. Luckily, no one had been hurt. I looked around the apartment and through the front window at my house across the street. I looked at the window itself, the frame, and the woodwork.

My friend, his two friends and I went out to get some drugs in a 4x4 truck. One was a pretty big guy, the other was rather slim and annoying drunk. While we were driving, the large man said with concern, “Hold on.” He reached out with his right arm and barred both my friend and me as he slammed on the brakes—sending the annoying “friend’s” head into the windshield, making a loud sound. The other person became angry at his “friend” trying to injure him in such a way. He responded by yelling, “I told you I would hurt you if you didn’t stop!” He repeated it. Again the other person wasn’t prepared and his head hit hard enough that I thought the windshield would crack, but it didn’t. The driver was “stopping short” for no other effect other than to injure this other person. I looked at my friend; we couldn’t believe that he was that strong, or that this fight was going on like this. Yet I could hardly believe that this scenario didn’t make me as nervous as being in the apartment.

Many years later, I returned to that area. I knew it was safe there because I knew they were all long gone. The heavier man had lived across the street from the thin graying one. I heard that an old childhood friend, now in his thirties, ran a gun shop there.

I tried to explain things to him: first, I was his friend before, second, the people upstairs molested me. I added, while it was very significant, being molested wasn’t the primary issue in my life. He had problems recognizing me because I had changed a lot in the last twenty-five years, and we didn’t spend a lot of time together. He was very gracious, and he remembered the people that lived there too.

The heavier man who photographed me had a room down in the basement of the house across from the gun-shop. I could see the door to the basement, where I had been. I asked him if I could see the basement.

My childhood friend, perhaps not exactly knowing who I was, but taking my word for it, explained it was now an indoor shooting range. He and I walked down the narrow stairs to the basement, and then he showed me around.

I remember generally what the basement had looked like before. It was a dark basement storage area with loosely fitting lath-like boards. There was some attempt at covering the lath in an area, some carpet, and some shelves on one side. It was more fort-like than something an adult would make, and there was a bed...right...about...there, where I had been.

Now, the indoor pistol range had insulated walls, gun charts, and a steel and sand bullet-trap. My most profound hatred for this place, in the most ironic, fitting way, had become a reality. Exactly where it happened, is now a path where thousands of bullets converge on the way to the trap. It is similar to a nuclear medicine machine that centers a tumor and pivots on its axis. Bullets pass over where the bed was, through where he was, where I was.

It is as if...the very spot it had happened, is forever being killed.

Some people have a notion that homosexual men are the primary molesters of children. This is not true. While more men than women molest, more girls than boys are molested. The difference in numbers is not so great to explain society’s reaction to a boy being molested compared to a girl. I think that sometimes, to some degree, society has the same empty thought that came to me when I was twelve, when I felt that somehow I was consummating my femininity by being molested, or that it’s part of femininity’s function to accept the advances of a male, regrettably, regardless of age. I hope adults have more common sense than I did at twelve.

While frightening, this product is not as frightening as the thing that I see at its core. Some people would have you believe that the innocence and childhood of a girl is not worth as much the innocence and childhood of a boy.

When I was a teen, I saw a special program on television about other children who had been sexually abused. I remember seeing their faces. Their lost gazes will haunt me for all of my life. For a while after writing this, when I look into the mirror, I wear the same such gaze.

I had worries that I would someday become that adult. I promised myself that if that day ever arrived, I would take my life before I became the person I grew to hate.

If I were to be scientific, I would say that psychiatry books are filled by problems caused by childhood sexual abuse. If I were to get Judeo-Christian, I would say that the eleventh commandment should have read, “Thou Shall Not Have Sex with Children.

Children do not need sex. It is one of the most destructive forms of abuse. A child has a new body that is much too immature to process even the tactile information, much less the rest. It is not a social construction, or a religious belief. It is the truth.

The wolves always take the sheep just outside the herd. I guess I was one of those sheep. Take care of your strays, or someone else will take them.

Fit

In school, I felt like I didn’t fit in one group or another. It seemed that I was always hearing comments like, “...boys don’t carry books like that....”, “...you kick like a girl....”, “...you run like a girl....” Sometimes people would “help” me out. Someone taught me how to run without moving like a girl. I practiced and practiced. To this day, I have not invested anywhere near as much bother into trying to act feminine as I did to try to be masculine. I am sure to some people it shows, but to my surprise, to most, it doesn’t.

If I learn something about femininity, I learn about something like Suffrage or the first woman to do this or that, like the girl that masqueraded as a boy and won a soapbox derby—years before girls were allowed to compete. I learned something about growing, about some boundary expanding. For some reason, what I learned about masculinity was trying to become something I wasn’t, something to confine my soul, how to act. It was no dichotomy. There were two totally different planes of learning.

Having been abused, my distrust of authority figures is so great that it difficult for me to idolize anyone. When I find myself idolizing someone, I try not to. Yet, I find that still I need role models.

When I was a child, I wanted to become a figure skater like one who was famous. I read a book once called the “The Women’s Room” it had a picture on the cover of a restroom with the word “Ladies’” x’ed out and “Women’s” replacing it. I still keep an image of an independent woman that doesn’t have to live up to anyone’s standards of femininity except their own, close to my heart to this day. There also is a famous female scientist working with chimps that inspired me greatly. The first computer programmer was a woman. In a perfect world perhaps a woman achieving things wouldn’t be such a big deal, but the plate of recognition has been tilted for too long.

I still admire “Rosie the Riveter’s arms. There is also a little cartoon character that is to me, an ideal feminist role model, paradoxically she is a creation of a person who is male.

While there are a lot of stereotypical behaviors and social constructions, there became a point where constant correction and adjustment were needed to portray something that I didn’t think I was, or wanted to be in the first place. I try not to give in to those constructions, but I have noticed things that exist instead of them, that are much more subtle.

There were also these little things that gave me problems. I noticed that when I walked down the street and there was a male walking towards me in the other direction, as we pass, I would instinctually look down in what I perceived to be a submissive gesture. Even when I was young, I was aware that this might be some hierarchy thing, yet I could not correct it, so I taught myself to yawn instead. It was simple and the issue was avoided. I still do this sometimes to this day. In the male hierarchy thing, I cheat.

I noticed that some things that I could not touch up at all. I was doing my best at being male and if I got startled, the noise I made was often feminine sounding, or so I have been told.

My brother had gotten me into at least two fights to try to toughen me up. My brother and his friends were at least bullies, and the people that they would pick on were probably like me.

I also remember moments like before going swimming at the public pool, looking at my body and what was between my legs didn’t seem to match the rest. My body, my legs looked more like girl’s legs. I lay at the concrete poolside on a large towel with my belly down with my arms pretty-much trying to cover—nothing. I didn’t have breasts, so why did I feel instinctually uncomfortable? Most girls wore one piece bathing suits, I wished I could wear one because they really covered more.

Once, when taking a bath I noticed the thing between my legs. I remember playing with it like an auto-gear-selector. I remember calling family members in to share my confusion. Once again, the toy cars were to blame. (Smiling).

The “dreaded poker-thing” always felt foreign and then physically uncomfortable when I entered puberty. I had been circumcised a little too far. To me, it also felt uncomfortable where it went into me when I got an erection.

It took time to accept that my penis was made of me and I couldn’t just wish it away. If I had made me, I would have never included it.

I experimented with female attire when I was preadolescent but even by looking at old pictures I can not clearly assign ages or dates. I became aware that this might not be normal around the age of fourteen.

I tried on other things, but what lingers in my mind, is when I tried on a wig my mother’s had and laughed. Shortly after, when I had to get my hair cut, I cried and cried.

[Later, at twenty-six years of age, When I received some of my mother’s hand-me-downs, it occurred to me, my mother doesn’t always wear the most feminine clothes.]

In school, my hair was getting a little long. One of my teachers brought in a hairpin and put it in my hair so she could see my eyes. I was so embarrassed. Today her action might have brought a formal investigation. This was not a good thing to do, but I wasn’t born or going to turn out normal anyway.

There was a girl who pointed out I was really sensitive and boys don’t usually cry. I hope we know better today.

In the seventh grade, there was this kid who, for days had been calling me a fag, faggot. It was really bothering me.

There was this girl who was pretty, a little boyish perhaps, and really into gymnastics. I felt more accountable to females—than males, and I respected her. She and I briefly saw each other. I think that she was embarrassed of me, yet when we kissed she dropped her bike. It was weird that, even though I was biologically male, there was this almost lesbian-like stigma to our relationship. She told me that I should hit the person who had been teasing me.

During science class, he was sitting behind me and called me a faggot once more. He almost sang to me, “You’re a f~a~g~g~o~t.” I turned around to swung at him. He had asked for it, and knew it was coming. He saved himself by quickly pushing off the edge of his desk and tilting his chair back. His chair popped out from underneath him as I pushed his desk—books and all, over on top of him. The teacher turned his attention from the blackboard, sarcastically calling my name adding “Is there a problem?!” I told him, “No.” The taunter said that he was going to “get me” after school. When I left school, he was not there.

A lesser science student would have been sent to the office. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to continually badger and harass someone with it. While violence is not the answer, people should teach their kids to enjoy life’s diversity. Looking back at this, I feel sorry for any parent that would take his side.

Tormenting people is just wrong.

There was this boy in class who I got along pretty well with. Most people would describe him as handsome, bordering pretty. He was feminine looking and soft-spoken. Yet later on he, would develop into a person who looked more male than I. He would become tall, dark and handsome, but I would not.

I was a runt and I was teased and picked on school. At the end of middle school, somehow there were about four or five boys picking on me because they thought I was queer or something. They were all around me singing “We Will Rock You” by Queen. They must have felt proud that they were hitting someone for be being queer while singing a song sung by someone who was. Years later, one of them and I were talking and he said something to the effect that I was okay, but by then I really wasn’t.

I had been an A/B student with one C. By the end of middle school and the start of my puberty, I passed with a D- average with the help of summer school. One of the things we did in summer school was read George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” It wasn’t quite what I expected from the title. It was a tale about a group of intelligent animals that took over a farm. They hated humans so much, and yet ultimately—they became what they despised, human-like in their ways.

When I entered into high school I had already been drinking for a few years and smoking pot for a summer. They were rearranging the education system. The baby boom was over, and a lot of schools were shut down because there was a lull in the number of people concerned. One of our classes had no regular teacher for some time, and we had gone through thirteen substitutes. One day they had gotten the entire grade all together in the auditorium, to tell us that we were the worst students that have ever been in the school.

They had also wrongly blamed us for an unfortunate accident involving a false alarm. A firefighter was near-fatally injured as the engine swung into the school’s semi-circle parking lot when he lost his grip. The false alarm was caused by a worker’s saw setting off newly installed smoke detectors.

We also walked out because they wanted to send us to a rival school. I could pick my likeness out of a picture that ran in our city’s newspaper by my middle finger. In the end, it really wouldn’t matter to me, but we won. So I had fought to go to this school.

There were no windows in half the classes. The building itself was designed for southern climates. It was always shedding exterior tiles. There were often garbage cans in some of the rooms to collect water on rainy days. It seemed like every corner of the school contained a different minority that didn’t seem to melt too well with the rest. There was co-existence, tolerance perhaps, but sadly the melting pot dream wasn’t working too well here.

In drafting class, there was this guy who was more concerned with being cool than anything else. It worked for him as most people respected him, but I thought he was a jerk. He believed that I wore makeup, and in some way I felt that he was intimidated by me. Out of desperation I took a piece of paper, rubbed it all over my face and showed it to him. He was still not convinced. I wonder if he thought I was pretty in some small way? The same kind of mixed blessing and unease that I felt when the school health practitioner told me that she was jealous and wanted my eyelashes. I always felt physically that I was just a little different.

The person in drafting class knew the person who had teased me some years ago in science class. I wonder still more.

It was my third gym class. I was sitting on the bench again, I had heard that it existed, but I had never actually seen the gymnasium. I don’t really care anyway. I had never changed for gym, that’s why I was on the bench. The teacher was explaining why I was in trouble and would be sent down to the office for this. A naked male walked by us still wet from a shower. I looked the other way, while trying not to look like I was looking the other way. To me this was strange, bizarre. I didn’t want to be there.

Gym was the first of two-hundred and sixty-three classes and fifty-three days of the first half of ninth-grade I would not attend. At least this is what they told me at Juvenile Court. Because of my truancy, the court stipulated that I would have to attend sessions at a local counseling center to stay out of a detention hall. I don’t think that they noticed anything unusual about me. I can’t verify this because the records are too old to have been kept.

I had taken off, and on the third day of my drinking spree when the police handcuffed me to take me home. I shouldn’t have stayed.

I would go to the school building, and occasionally attend homeroom. I would find a party or a keg, and leave with them. Between each class people would clump into groups to go “party” leaving the school far behind.

My friends and I all dressed and behaved like some aspiring bikers in training. I remember this nice morning, we were in front of the school talking on and near a concrete retaining wall. I was having a cigarette. There was a person who was so intimidated by us that he ran by us whenever he had to cross our path. He was the same person who I had been in the clarinet quartette with some years back. He was the same person who just a few years back had said, “With your science and my math we could go places, do anything.” I tried to stop him just to tell him it was okay, but he just kept on running. We weren’t bullies, just delinquents.

One day I was walking down the street and an older woman crossed the street in front of me. I felt something funny, I turned and looked behind me and she was crossing behind me as well.

I also remember seeing the same girl who I had identified with a few years back. The one who had suggested hitting the person who was teasing me. She looked at me as she said, “I hear you are hanging out with a bunch of losers.” I think she had that backwards.

The last day I went to the building, it was a peaceful day. I was in back of the school building just below “pot alley.” I was smoking a joint which my friends had supplied. I took some in. A large gym teacher grabbed me and threw me against the wall. He yelled at me, “What the-fuck are you doing smoking that shit!” I told him, “I am getting high.” He turned to yell at my friends. I took off. He yelled, “You don’t stop and I am going to kick your ass when I catch you.” He could do both; he was a gym teacher. I stopped. He turned to do more yelling. I carefully snuffed out the joint. I looked at the girl’s locker room. He couldn’t chase me into there. It was too late, he was already strong-arming me down to the office.

At the school office, there was a woman questioning me. “Where do you go when you skip school...do you stay in the woods...do you live in the woods...you are going to to juvenile court, okay?” The last one was too much, I told her, “Maybe you want to go, but I don’t want to go.” While I wasn’t sure if she heard me call her a bitch on the way out, the court documents removed any doubt.

About the time when I left school there was scaffolding with a “danger” sign in front that gave me a smile. It felt like it was a sort of symbolic irony. That’s all I did at school was meet contacts for getting intoxicated. At the rate I was going I wouldn’t be around forever. I never planned on living past eighteen, anyway. From there on, I never even went into the school building.

Puberty was like my life’s end. It was the closure of myself and the end of days where I felt good about myself. I had become so ugly and distant on the inside as well as what I perceived on the outside. By the time I passed for a male I looked back and saw nothing but pain. I felt I was riding life out. It's a pretty big assumption to have called myself alive at that time. It was like I had blown off the whole idea of life, “fuck it.” It took so much energy to be something I wasn't that there wasn't anything else left of me.

“Sex State Dysphoria Syndrome” One on One, Puzzle-Piece, Moo, Tail Between, Unscrewed, A Piece of String to Forget

When I was young. I thought if I played with my (un)breasts they would grow, well, that felt okay anyway. I was so silly that I thought that if I put milk on them they would grow. I had reasoned they just need help getting started. That didn’t seem to work either.

I never masturbated as a male until I was just starting high school, my first orgasm was in a dream. I had never seen semen before that morning.

My forbidden thing that felt really good was to put a towel over the edge of the tub and just straddle it, and gently rock. I could feel—and was constantly aware where the penis went through my pelvis. The discomfort that I felt without sexual excitement felt better with it.

Occasionally, I would spend time looking at what was supposed to be my body. I would daydream and cry. I wished I could re-flower or something. After all plants can do it, why couldn’t I?. I would place the poker-thing facing the other way between my legs and behind me. I thought I would look very cute with a muff, but instead I looked....

I wanted that thing gone so bad.
I thought, I felt, I cried,
Oh, why did this have to be on me?!
Why did this have to happen to me?
I don’t understand...at all.

Somehow, I had learned how to undescend my testicles and pull back the poker-thing. I liked the way I looked without it. I spent some time like this, but if one of those things popped back down it didn’t feel to good. If I would press in the middle down there where a vagina would be, I noticed a change in the circulation and I thought eventually the tissue might change or just die. My fingers got tired so I found a blunt object, a nicely rounded handle of a screwdriver. I stopped this after a while because obviously it wouldn’t work.

I started crying and lost my patience.
I still had the screwdriver in my hand.
I turned around, pointed end just where my (sigh) penis went into me.
I thought, “I want an opening—here.
And, I felt that if I couldn’t live as a woman, I could die as one.
I closed my eyes.
I took a deep breath.

I hardly cared at the time, but didn’t anyway. Maybe I had a little foolish hope that today might exist someday. I don’t think my obituary would have included information impaling myself with a screwdriver.

I read a story about a man who did a circumcision on himself. By tying a piece of wire around between his foreskin and a brass ring just as some tribe had practiced. He had stated that it had worked in a week or so.

Needless to say, and proving once again that a little knowledge is dangerous. I was planning to tie the entire male stuff with a long neoprene O-ring. I know I would still going to have to pee, so I made a hollow flexible catheter. I had practiced twice inserting it in all the way into my bladder.

I can see the O-ring on the table from where I am.
Next time is for keeps.

I never did, because I was worried about infection and the chance of gangrene. I had a dream that the process worked and it was pretty gross, body parts falling out my pant-leg and all. Iiia!

I had been reading written erotica. I was starting to learn something of sex, whereas before I had though that someone got someone pregnant by peeing in them.

There was also a time when I had, sitting in front of me in an erotic-letter type magazine. There was an article about a man who wanted to become a woman and there was also an address for a transsexual information service called The Erickson Foundation. The address resembled San Francisco. I would never get that into the house unnoticed. I was so uptight that I didn’t want mail like that coming in. I didn’t want anyone to know.

I am a fool.

Perhaps things would have been different, if I had a hint of the misery that would come from not doing anything. Perhaps if I knew how much time I would lose trying to make something work that was never meant to.

First Love

When I was fifteen, I had met someone whom I hope I will never forget. She was half English as was her accent, and half Native-American. She ad the tiniest blood vessel that went bad on her cheekbone. She was within a year of my age, a little plump, very warm, insightful, pretty, and her voice a little childlike. She was extremely polite, yet when rarely angered, she could render someone emotionally incapacitated without ever having raised her voice. She was perhaps one of the most gentle unassuming people I have ever met, she was precocious and sometimes silly and yet I had almost never met another female that didn’t have this odd, almost subordinate, knowing respect for her.

The place known as the inside of my first love’s mouth had no ridges for mixing food. She could almost never be heard eating, or swallowing. I don’t know if this skill was manners or self-preservation.

After being with her for a while, I wanted to be closer. Her sister was perhaps more statistically attractive, yet, It was her I wanted to be with. One evening, I sat next to her and we watched television. I reached to her and she did something remarkable—she hugged me.

Within a month, I was in love with her. She said that she still loved someone else, and yet she loved me too. For her, love was forever and told her I didn’t understand exactly, but I would.

Each day, I eagerly awaited her tapping on my window. All my friends would do this so that they would be heard through all the loud music. We walked down the street hugging so firmly that we walked sideways. I could not help but give her P)ublic D)isplay of A)ffection (’s). We must have looked really silly.

One night, we were snuggling under a blanket on the floor with no clothes on. My mother came in and asked in a very angry voice, “What the hell are you doing?!” I must have left the door unlocked. I looked up at her and said, “What does it look like we are doing? (Smiling.) She left.

I asked if we could sleep with each other all the way, because that is what I thought I wanted. It took some doing because when I got excited my arms could not hold myself up. I was scared, pressured myself, and I could not maintain an erection. It didn’t feel natural to me. I knew I was supposed to. I had no need (hormonal, instinctual, psychological) for what I was doing (or failing to do) quite yet. I don’t know if every genetic male goes through this, or if I am just neurotic enough to notice it.

My girlfriend taught me how to make love. She replaced all the useless book learning that I had. She said I made sex fun again, which was strange for her—because she had been raped twice before, once when she was carrying her baby sister. She was also offered to a full-grown man by her father when just a child.

I remembered an old picture of her. She had this tough little look like she could survive anything because by then she probably already had. She had a bunch of little magazine clippings, anything that could be familiar, anything she could carry with her anywhere. This was like her real home.

She would do things like ask me, “If you were a girl I would still love you, If I was a boy would you love me....” My heart would stop on both parts because I had no answers either way. It’s not that I was especially homophobic, it’s just that historically males didn’t seem to treat me too well. She would sing Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” and when she got to the part where “—He became a she” to me, she would be smiling.

There was a custody battle going on over my girlfriend. When we got to court there was something wrong. The whispering lawyers had finally admitted that her father had beaten and handcuffed two officers who where trying to arrest him for something before they called for help. It took five police officers with clubs to bring him down. Her custody remained with her grandparents, but she ran away to live at our house. If my mother didn’t let her live with me we might have Romeo-and-Juliet’ed.

I met her father. If someone imagines everything bad about bikers, that is what her father was like, but he owned no motor cycle. Once he asked if I wanted to go shooting with him and my girlfriend was just shaking her head behind him, while silently wording “Don’t go, don’t go!

My first love and I broke up because I thought she wanted to leave, and she thought I wanted her to leave. A few years later, she came over, my body and needs had grown as a male. I was a jerk, and was forward. I don’t know to what degree, but I had become part of the problem. I wish there were some things I could undo.

I would drink wine in a sixteen-ounce glasses, and I would smoke ten-joint bell-bowls (pipe attachment) of pot by myself. I was pretty much hating life by then. It seemed my life was pretty much over and I could not ever imagine making it to eighteen.

Years later, her aunt and I became friends. She always said I was pretty. I liked that very much, and she said that around other people which I didn’t contest. We talked for hours at a time sitting on this office stoop until two and three am. At one time, we didn’t get along at all, but now, as she pointed out that we had made love...with our minds. In the past she had been a drug user and woke up in the park after losing days, she had been raped; as a result she was pregnant and infected with herpes.

One day, she was upset. She told me, “My husband came home smelling like little boys.” Her husband’s name was not so common, the same as the thin one I had mentioned earlier. I had hoped that it was just a coincidence. Life was cruel enough that we moved in right across the street from where I was molested some years earlier. Could it also be cruel enough that my friend would unknowingly marry the person who did it?

As for my first love, I will always have these fantasies that I would be older, grown up, and out somewhere public. I would meet a woman with a little spot under her eye—and it would be her.

From Close

I had lost my first love. I had never imagined, had never known such happiness than when she was with me...and had never known such loss as I felt in her absence. I was intoxicated constantly. I still had friends but inside I was lonely and grieving.

I live with a relative, he is older and more masculine than I. He tells me that he wants to have sex with me. I am fifteen years old, and I weighed one-hundred and twelve pounds, yet in a conditioned response I feel I am no more than last time, no more than when I was at twelve. It feels, already too late. I don’t even try to leave. I am compliant—trained.

He makes a genuine effort to try to entertain me, like this is going to be okay, like this is the first time someone uses me. There is some part of him that actually wants me to be sexually satisfied.

He tells me to take my clothes off. He takes his off. His penis is much larger than mine, looks different and is much larger than the thin graying man’s. My body is not as developed and has little hair compared to his. He is toying with me and wants me to enter him. Once again I have no erection. I don’t have a real physical need to do this to a girl (yet), why would I want to with him?

He is much larger, very strong, physically intimidating. In comparison I don’t feel like a real male. I don’t want to grow into what he is physically—hairy and all. (Sarcastically smiling.) Why are we so different? Is that how my body is supposed to be? With fear, I wonder, “What the fuck am I?” Everything just makes me feel bad.

I have no clothes on.
He is standing just in front of me, looking at me—getting closer.
He says with casual disapproval, “I can’t see what (first love’s name) saw in you.
Just hearing her name again is almost enough to make me cry.
I sink.
My legs are up over me.
I am so upset that I don’t even seem to care anymore, where I am, what is happening to me.

He is not loving.
He is not gentle.

In the past, there were actually moments that we actually got along. In rare occasion he was affectionate. These are not those moments. Maybe those distant moments somehow lead to this one, but now I can no longer imagine how. This is in no way what I wanted.

I am no more than meat to him. He wants nothing more than gratification though reciprocating movement. He almost only touches me with his genitals. It is as if the rest hates me. I can feel a mixture of lust and disgust from him, nothing more. There is no love, no affection, no hugs—just mechanics.

Later, he is holding my head between his legs. He offers me money if I swallow his semen. I can’t explain how rotten and worthless this makes me feel. I am: shaking, cold, incest, shame, dirty, little.... I don’t want money, and I don’t want to. I don’t want to be owned. Instead I want to bite its head off and spit it across the room.

Another night...
He is tapping on the door.
There is a common door between our rooms.
I tell him, “I don’t want to.
I hate so much the way he says “play.
He keeps scratching.
He keeps knocking.
He keeps scratching.
I open the door.
I’ll do whatever he wants if he leaves me alone.

Later, had asked me if I had done anything with (name: thin graying man). I can’t believe he knows him. I lied. I told him no.

He gets deep in me.
I tell him he is hurting me, a lot.
He is enough to send jabbing pains through me.
He doesn’t really care too much.
I try to keep him at a distance.
I place my hands behind me.
It doesn’t really work.
He is finished,
He leaves.
I go to the bathroom, semen and blood falls out of me. I am still shaking a little and I have cramps for a while.

He opens the door partway, throws my clothes in my room in a heap, and he slams the door shut. He locks it.
I am almost my clothes, I look at myself on the floor.
I curl up and go to sleep.

Chapter 17

I have been intimate with quite a few females, playing being dominant sometimes and hating whenever I really was. Males admired and respect me for my “conquests”, while I needed the love, in whatever form I was capable of sharing at the time. The more masculine I became, the more other people wanted me, but for someone else. It made me feel worse because I wanted to be feminine all along, and this was the cycle.

When I was seventeen, there was a girl whom I will always love. A friend and I were walking around the neighborhood. For some reason, we tried going down this street at the bottom of the hill. I met an old classmate there. She was nice, intelligent, sexy, cunning, and had dark blonde hair. She was always reading and listening to music provided by her pet boom-box sidekick. She was doing well as an assistant-manager of a drug store. When she wasn’t at work, she wore black suede shoes and flannel shirts. Viewed from the perspective of someone on the wrong side of the tracks; I was very proud of her.

I love her. When we were passionate, there was just something about her, I can’t explain it. Sometimes, when I left her house, my hands trembled. I was becoming driven by hormones. She didn’t seem to mind it, but I did. My affection was coming out as lust, and it made me feel like a monster. What I felt was, I was supposed to know better, after all I am a....

At the days went on, I felt I was losing myself. I was becoming a man. Part of my feminine identity was dying, and so was I. It seemed that I would never grow up into the person I always thought I would be. I also was becoming what I hated in men. There is a quote, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” From my perspective, I would express Lord Acton’s famous quote as: Power corrupts relatively, a little at a time, but thoroughly.

Within the span of a few short years, I went from being this very idealistic feminist—to a jerk. I actually thought I could be different. I tried to convince myself that there was some meaning to my suffering and that I could make my situation into a positive thing, but I was wrong.

The simple act of attempting to take her virginity led me to fits. She said she wanted to, at the time, or so she said. I am rationalizing, “This is normal for a male”, but not for me. I was not pretending. I always thought I would grow up to be this exotic woman, and now, I actually wanted to use the rotten thing between my legs. The feeling was too real, and I was not pretending. Nothing had prepared me for this.

I hate me.

We are naked,
I am crying, screaming,
Hitting myself in the head with closed hands,
Just as other had taught me.
She is grabbing my arm trying to stop me.
I can hear how hard I am hitting myself.
I don’t want to stop,
Ever....

It felt like my soul was being ripped into pieces. I had never nightmared that I would become like this. I will always remember this as one of the darkest days in my life. I broke up with her, for someone, anyone, anything, else. She will never know why. I tried to get back with her a few years later, when I thought I cooled down some. I glad we didn’t get back then because I was still a rotten person.

When I went out with someone else, our relationship wasn’t as heavy as the last, but that is what I needed at the time. There was one incident where two of her friends came over to aske me if I wanted to go partying with them. A few minutes later the police were searching their car. Baseball-bats were found in the trunk, and they were arrested. I had heard from a friend that someone was jealous and that they wanted to take me out for a beating. I suspect my girlfriend had called the police, and I also think she was the one that set me up in the first place.

She said she was pregnant, perhaps she was, but I doubted it was mine. One night, we got into a fight and she just kept on hitting me, and I held her just trying to calm her, not the smartest thing to do but it’s better than being hit. She was shorter than me. I was just trying to hold her arms to her chest. Because she was diabetic, I wonder if she had a reaction to her insulin. There was a blister-packed sugar-cube push-pinned to the bulletin board, and I must have failed her. She said she was going to go out and get stoned, which was a main feature of our relationship. That’s the last I saw of her. Some time later, I heard from friends that she said that I was trying to kill her baby by squeezing her. Later, I heard that she had an abortion.

Years later, I had met one of her friends. We talked and she said that she didn’t think that the person I was seeing before was cheating on me with any guys. The way it was worded made led me to think that she might have with females though. She also though that I had been set up because there was a jealous guy friend of my ex’s.

I had invited her and her friend up for a drink or two. We talked for a while and there was just some connection between her and me. I asked her if I could talk to her for a few minutes alone, so we went outside. I told her that I felt something for her, and she said that it was mutual. As we went back upstairs, we kissed and she looked at me and told me, not to tell her friend. I asked, “Why not?” She said, “She’s my girlfriend.

I let her use my phone to call her brother. She said that her brother wanted to see her. I didn’t see a problem—then. Her brother was entirely certifiable. I had never met him, so he knew nothing of me. I extended my arm in friendship, he related that he could kill me, “no problem.” Later, she told me that was so sick that he was thrown out of the Military during basic training. I tried to keep my temper calm. They argued, how she had shot someone’s window out, and had escaped from a correctional facility with her lover. The plot was too thick.

(This is weird, but I thought it was interesting...)

For many years, I had reoccurring dreams, in which I was traveling through this place that looked like it had been carpet-bombed. Miles of broken, busted things, barely a wall standing for as much as the eye could see. There was little intact. It was a pretty good metaphor for my life at that time. One night, in that same old nightmare, I saw an old cardboard box. Written on the box were the words “This box contains dead girl”, I searched and searched through the box, throwing junk on the floor as I went. Sure enough, I found her, I sadly put her down on some of the rubble, and turned away. When I glanced back, she was alive and we talked. I remember, in the dream, she had green eyes. When I looked away she was gone again, I got up to leave. I returned to this dream wasteland on many nights before my transition.

The next day, on the way back from the store, there was someone walking in front of me, about my age, blonde. She had a pony-tail, which I thought looked cute. I was a sex-addict, but for an abnormal reason. I had a male body and not a female body. For all my admiration of other women, I probably didn’t have the potential to love someone as much as I feel I can now. I think that I had developed the tools necessary to feed my addiction. I commented about her ponytail, she turned and smiled at me. I saw her beautiful face—and green eyes.

We went past my house to the park where we talked. It being a small world, she knows my ex that I used to party so much with. She didn’t like her much anymore either. While this is not the best basis for a friendship, what I felt for her was intoxicating.

When we were at my house, we became intimate and very affectionate. Time seemed to slow. Her body was almost without flaw, but I felt something unique and different. In street’ish tone she whispered, “fine boy” and then she seemed to convey that I was “pretty” or something. I couldn’t get enough. We were intimate for a while, I half-pleaded, “Oohh, go out with me?” She said that she had a boyfriend. I gathered myself. There was a loud sudden knock on the door. We had barely caught our breath, and we scurried to get dressed, handing each other pieces of clothing as we found them.

My friends always knew that I would try to be there for them any time of the day, I hope that doesn’t change in me. It was one of my male friends who was really upset. He brought some pot and a power-hitter (squeeze-bulb device that blows smoke). He wanted to go out in the backyard, get high, and untangle his feelings. My female friend was understanding. We had just caught our breath, and we were getting high too. It was too much, too soon, and we both fell to the ground almost collapsing after a moment or two. Later, she said that she had to go and I walked her to the front yard. Her line down the sidewalk wasn’t exactly straight. We were so messed up, and I really felt bad. I never saw her again. I can’t let my subconscious rule me, but as I as I thought about my nightmare...

If I found a girl that only lived for only a while outside a box...
Was it she, and was it also me?

Me-dia?

I thought I was the only person in the world who felt like they didn’t belong with their own sex until I saw the Renee’ Richards story. I knew what I was, but I was too immature, too conscious of what other people would think, and just too scared and without hope to do anything.

As for being transsexual, finding little nooks and pieces in art was all that I could sometimes find.

I also remember seeing a police show. There was a male dressed as a woman that really took their toll on one of the police officers in a fight. Sh-he lost but left a lasting memory in me. She was transgendered and strong-willed.

I also liked this Japanese Anime (animated program) that was repackaged for American audiences. It was really neat. It seemed like it was written half for males and half for females. There was this saga-like story, a really romantic love story, a backdrop of a space war, and very strong music ties. I though it had something for everyone as long as one had a little geek to be found in oneself. One of the characters was transgendered in some way, as were some in other parts of the series—I liked that. Some of the other males were not very masculine and there were women fighter-pilots.

There was a band that was very popular in the mid nineteen-seventies. I remember that the singer could just melt my heart along with quite a few other females and perhaps a few males. Some of the songs would make me cry, but it was not a bad feeling because he touched me inside. There was just something in his voice. He had a somewhat androgynous name. One of their songs mentioned a possible attraction to a transgendered individual.

Some years later, there was this song on the radio that I liked. All along, I thought it was sung by a woman. It was the same band from years before. It was the same person who I felt touched by almost twenty years before. When I went to see the band in concert, but I never got a chance to tell him. Even if I was way off base about all my thoughts feelings, he was a part of the oasis that kept me alive during some really difficult things. The band singer doesn’t write many songs, the guitar player does most of the writing and is really under-appreciated except at guitar shops, but the singer’s presence helped me. The fact that I never got to talk to him hurts me in a way that is maybe beyond the scope of being a fan.

There is another musician who touched me as well. He is not much larger than I and has this feminine feeling about him. I wonder about him and a few other people who I have not met in person. An imagination is a fun thing to have. Not to be patronizing, but he also serves as a role model, in what can be accomplished in the male form. I find him attractive and yet I have some identification with him, enough to want to meet and talk with him. That is a little confusing, but it’s okay. I am glad he can survive as a male because I could not. I even wondered if he would show up at the transsexual support group I frequented. I think any happiness of meeting him would be overshadowed by the sadness of knowing why he would be there.

There were also some movies that had some special meaning to me. One movie was a swords-and-sorcery kind of movie, in which there was a female pretending to be a male. On some level that is what I felt like and identified with, given my state of existence back then. There was a sci-fi story where a male character had come to a point in his life where he must pass tests and drink something that only women were supposed survive drinking, because he felt his life would go no further unless he did. I think I could understand that. (Smiling).

It’s nice to have access to more transsexual-type media now. People still have to be themselves, but it’s almost to the point as I am writing this, that a transsexual person can almost have a transsexual role model, instead of piecing one together form ill-gotten scraps like I did. Even now, when I think of my heroes, some are female, some are male... —and some are not exactly either.

Wake and Bake

I liked marijuana because it seemed like it was the only thing that helped my anxiety and situational depression, but I was self-medicating myself and over-medicating at that.

I was part of a group of quasi-nomadic teens who were always intoxicated yet usually avoided trouble. Because we traveled from area to area, no one really knew what a bunch of trouble makers we were. We all had places to go to sleep at night, but if it was so good, why were we out here?

It was Halloween night. Our group gathered from each side of town. One person (who was actually younger) looked of legal drinking age, and so, we had purchased a fair amount of alcohol; whiskey and beer. We drank and smoked as we walked, We procured a carriage from a grocery store we passed. We pushed it until navigating the park with it had become troublesome.

In true, misguided youth...

There was a mortar and brick drinking fountain in the park. My friend violently broke a board loose from a nearby park bench. My friend hit the valve with the board from the bench, cracking it and sending hissing spray of water out of the side. My friend’s second strike broke the chrome faucet and sent it tumbling and across the park grass making a dull thumping noise. A surprisingly tall geyser of water rose from the pipe through the oak and maple trees of the otherwise completely serene park. The city’s public drinking fountain had been sacrificed.

... misguided because my friend’s anger was really meant for his father.

[I remember my friend’s father’s yelling at him. I saw my best friend being thrown at a wall and over home furnishings. My friend’s father yelled at him, picking him up to injure him further. My friend’s father continued; yelling, hitting and throwing him around the house. My friend’s 6-foot-4 father, still holding his son by his shirt, paused for a second, looked at me and told me that he wanted me to leave, and I did.

... misguided because my anger is for my friend’s father and not myself for leaving my friend.]

We left the park and headed to the college dorms. Some of dorms we visited had up to twenty-five people partying in each.

After drinking and smoking at a college level, we headed further North. There, a police cruiser was making its rounds through the neighborhood. I had scampered off and hid in some bushes. I had this uneasy feeling. I turned around noticing that just further than the chain-link fence behind me and across a darkened parking lot—sat another police car.

The car’s dome-light was on, so I don’t think the police officer saw me. I reached into my pockets and gently took my smoking paraphernalia out and placed it by the fence in hopes that I may gather it at a later time.

After I thought I was safe, I slipped away and hopped down a retaining wall. I walked back the other way where I found my friends. I watched as one of them was explaining something to the police officers. He was propping the other one up, both physically and mentally, and yet they somehow left undetained.

There were some trails just over the town line. It was a decent sized piece of land with a brook and some small sandy beaches. It was a good place for us to settle down a little. When we made it there, we deposited our intoxicated friend on the ground in a heap. We separated and wandered around.

A little later, when we regrouped, someone mentioned that our large very intoxicated friend had passed out in the brook. My friend and I looked at each another, quickly coming to the conclusion and that if he sleeps in the brook, he will probably drown. We raced over the sand and through the tall grass. When we found him, we pulled him from the edge of the brook. He was conscious, but didn’t look well. We stood at his side holding him up as he knelt and plead, “Please God... (sick)... Help me! (sick)... Oh God! (sick)” As we looked away, we were surprised that we had easily out-drank him as his body-size was much greater than any of ours.

A few minutes later, another of our party got upset at the quandary of how we are going to get our large ill friend home. After vocalizing his concerns (whining) to a great extent, my other friend kicked him between his legs. I looked at him as he fell to the ground telling my friend that it wasn’t going to help.

I thought back to just a few hours before, when I was still having fun being so meticulously intoxicated that I needed assistance from my hands to navigate a flight of stairs. Now, there was a very heavy liability to bring many miles, one person rolling on the ground from pain, one person who I really cared about who was very uncharacteristically upset, and the last person just wasn’t much help.

I closed my coat tighter, looking up into the cold night air. I felt how entirely unglamorous this night had become.

One day, my friend and I had smoked most of an ounce of pot (about twenty cigarette-sized joints). We met an acquaintance on the East Side of town. He pointed out spots on the pavement where he said that someone had allegedly drunk most of a gallon of vodka by themselves and returned it.

[Our contact’s life was to get more complicated. Some time later, he accidentally shot one of his best friends with a .38-caliber pistol severing his spine, making his life—unbelievably more complicated. The person who was shot had previously burned me on a small dope deal, but seeing him pull himself up carpeted stairs in his home seemed to negate the animosity I felt for him. Perhaps I did a greater disservice by showing him pity.]

[Out of my assortment of jobs; was a piecework job at a rehabilitation center. It was a frantic job smoothing production out where clients sometimes couldn’t keep up the piece-count either. It was a depressing place to be in. The upper offices were plush, big and modern, the lower actual client work-area looked jail-like and it hadn’t been painted in years. The center did a good job of simulating a factory where the management didn’t give a shit about their workers. They moved into a new building and I hope the funding is spent a little more equally. Coincidentally, working at a bench, next to the boyish looking girl who I was flirting with, was the person our contact accidentally shot with the handgun.]

We bought a few grams of hashish, the hand made kind, not the water-pressed. We were smoking it nearby through a short bowl. We were coughing quite a bit because hash smoke is very warm and best smoked out of a longer pipe.

I was intoxicated enough to appreciate how crisp high-frequency sound felt. As our contact was leaving, an Auxiliary Police Van pulled up. In my heightened sonic awareness, the van had a horn/siren on it that sounded like death itself. He was close enough to have actually kicked the van, but we were escaping. We ran single file through backyards. I saw my friend duck as he passed through an old fence. I turned around and yelled “Wire!” It was too late, the person behind me had already been clothes-lined. We collected him and continued.

When I was hopping over a stockade fence, a woman threatened to call the police on us. I yelled, “Who the hell do you think is chasing us?” It reminded me of the time in school with the guards when they were saying, “Stop, wait, the police are coming” and I returned, “Yeah, right!” as we all disappeared over a steep sand-covered embankment. I don’t know why I found time to get into these conversations.

We were chased for about two hours. Where we were hiding, we could see police cars from a spot between some old fuel tanks. We moved on to the South Side of town where my friend’s girlfriend lived. Of course, they wanted to get high too, so we did, and then their dealer matched us, bring the total to sixty-three joints and the gram or so of hash.

We were doing “elevators” (hyperventilating and then receiving smoke forced through a pipe or joint by another person and then receiving a bear hug, please don’t try it...), only a needle is quicker. I knew I fell, but everyone told me that I had convulsed and they were scared (....that’s why). We were in a two-by-four fort wrapped in clear plastic. My friend started a small fire, nursed it, dropped the butane lighter in the flame and flatly stated, “If anyone wants to leave, they better leave now.” People took time to call him an asshole before they tore through every plastic panel trying to escape the impending little explosion. Towards the end of the day, my mind was so cooked I was stumbling and could hardly stand. As I was trying to get up with all the sureness of a newborn fawn, I sadly thought... “I wish I was a girl, still

I was now convinced that nothing could save me from myself.

I will always remember staring at the stars at night, night after night, wanting very much to just fade into blackness and die. Becoming intoxicated every day and seeing other people doing the same had a profound effect on me. To the uninitiated the drugs are the real problem. I know better.

Drugs are not sin, they are symptom.

They would have never gotten hold of a happy, well balanced individual, and they allowed me to continue living out the rest of my miserable life. That’s the problem, I could escape instead of dealing with anything. I didn’t have to do anything except shut myself off. I really never got addicted to anything, so each morning I would make the decision to start it all over again.

When healing, if you do all your work and everything just so, you will still have to face whatever was eating at your soul in the first place. Even if you did drugs because you were bored, or just wanted to be cool, those problems of not being willing to try new things and lacking backbone will have to be addressed sooner or later.

I remember a part of town we used to go where there was another group of people that we knew. We had a lot of light interactions; we were teenagers and trained to do just that. I remember being in the “party” bus. It is an abandoned lot with a bus hull that had broken windows. A piece of carpet makes it comfortable.

It was night. There were about ten of us, some boys, some girls, myself, and a large dog with black curly hair and a contact high. We were all exactly the kids that you wouldn’t want your kid spending time with. We are the kids that you have been led to believe are no good.

We were out very late. We were very intoxicated. We conned a girl into demonstrating how she can make it appear that she is talking about three-hundred words a minute, where it was just an illusion. We also knew a method of making someone’s eyes diverge, and a bunch of other dumb tricks that could be played on a intoxicated and challenged mind. We have an empty beer bottle to play spin the bottle; we are teens.

The radio was going, but it and everything else that was reality was just not that important. Nothing was distorted, it just took less precedence. Everything was just over there.

A song came on the radio; it was about child abuse. The name of the song was “Hell is for Children.” Everyone became real quiet, everyone stopped whatever they were doing, everyone just looked elsewhere. We softly chanted along with the song as if it was our national anthem and our country had fallen. The singer sang, “You shouldn’t have to pay for your love with your bones and your flesh.” This was yet another time where if anyone had cried, I thought they would have been okay. It is difficult to explain, but there is a level of suffering where people just don’t cry. I would not know how to explain the feeling to someone who could not observe or experience it.

There is crying, where speaking fails.
There is screaming, where crying fails.
There is this silence, where screaming fails.

As difficult as they were, they were a few good moments to try and understand some bad ones.

Most of the people in the groups I was in teased death, others just asked for it. I had another friend whose brother’s friends would almost always partied until something terrible happened. An overdose here, a part of the body that no longer responded to conscious thought, there. I went to a New Year’s party, there were thirty-five people stuffing into a little apartment. I was trying to play chess with someone. I am really terrible at it.

I left, getting sick as I did, and when I was in the center of town, it sounded if someone was emptying a semi-automatic gun into the air to celebrate. The sounds were too consistent to be firecrackers. I heard someone yell, “Hey you!” as I walked around the corner, I was thinking, “Nothing is going to make me turn around.” I walked faster, turned, and ran for all I was worth. A few days after the party the house was raided by the police and they got caught with a thousand hits of speed and the seven ounces of pot soaked with hash oil that my friend’s brother had packed into a fancy green bottle to amuse himself.

One day, I was at someone’s house who had a block of blotter-style (drug in heavy paperboard) acid big enough to be a ream of paper in their freezer. It was called “Dancing Bear” acid. Some time later, I heard that there was a potency problem; one was worth one, and another could be as strong as ten. People ended up at hospital and their minds were never quite the same.

I knew a girl and her friends who would boot (inject) anything into themselves. They would make homemade Benzedrine speed out of common drug store items with either an acid or strong alkali of some kind. Once, they made it to my house. The product was a fine powder scraped from a glass dish. They filtered it through a cigarette filter and injected it.

My friends and I still had a taboo against needles and we just watched. For this I am glad. This was at a time before HIV had become common knowledge. They shared needles, and blood did backwash into the needle. Perhaps they aren’t alive today.

About this time, my upstairs neighbor got hooked on heroin again. She came down one day anxiously stating that she would do anything for some money. I told her there was nothing that I could or would do for her.

I have also smoked something of a crystalline gift that tasted sweet and non-synthetic and a very small amount intoxicated three people. I believe this to have been heroin. I have smoked raw opium on a few occasions and I am lucky to have escaped without addiction where history tells me that so many didn’t.

Spiral of Death

/* Program does not check for escape */
/* Unaborted program sometimes terminates with a dead user */
/* There are moderate drug programs available that don’t kill user. */
/* Try to keep it readable V.S. prevent programmers from attacking me : ) */
#if SYSTEM == PREBRENDA
int maxproblems = 4; /* Really more, but these have an interesting relationship */
char* problem[maxproblems] = { “TS feelings”, “Obtaining_drugs risky”, “I R small”, “Need male image to obtain drugs” };
#endif
/* Use your own variables if you wish */
#if SYSTEM == YOU
int maxproblems = yourproblems;
char* problem[maxproblems] = { /* Do you really want to insert your problems here */ };
#endif
#include <drugs.h>
#include <everyday_variables_and_other_stuff_I_missed.h>
#define wasted ’0’
main()
{
int count;
char life[unknown];

/* A fact often obscured by liquid, ice and the bottom of a drinking glass ... */
drugs = drugs + alcohol;

/* Print warning */
printf(“error: you’re really fucked now!\n”);
printf(“Slowly Killing User ...“);

/* Waste user’s lifespan */
do
{
if (adversity == true)
drugs = true;
if (drugs == true )
{
/* Change no problem in the list */
for ( count = 0 ; count <= maxproblems ; count++ )
{
perceived_problem = false;
change_situation = false;

/* My friend didn’t understand what this line did... */
/* ...because he is used to code that actually does something. */
/* Change nothing */
problem[count] = problem[count];

life [day] = wasted;
days--; /* One less day */
}
}
printf (“.”);
} while (death != true || day >= 0);

printf (“ \n”)
printf (“ Done.\n”)
return 0;
}

Sample output:

error: you’re really fucked now!
Slowly killing User ............ Done.

There were too many instances to mention but, I have smoked an ounce of pot in one 3-hour sitting. At fourteen, I started drinking with my cousin. We drank pints and fifths of whiskey straight out of the bottle. In a box by the side of my bed, I had caps from malt-liquor which had little “Concentration”-like puzzles on the inside. Before I was sixteen, I had most of the one hundred and twenty or so in one series and some of the next—they they were all from quart bottles (predates liters in the U.S.A). I drank like an alcoholic, but I was lucky enough not to become addicted to it. I have talked with so many people who weren’t so lucky. I find it difficult to accept the hypocrisy that alcohol is legal and marijuana isn’t.

I didn’t care for cocaine or amphetamine(speed) much but that didn’t stop me from snorting it.

[In the mid to late 1980’s the United States seemed to tighten the boarders, making bulky drugs like marijuana much less common, almost scarce at one point. For a while, it was easier to find exotics like loose-Thai and hashish than cheaper, more common grades. The border tightening seemed to make small, expensive, compact drugs like cocaine much more common. Ironicaly, Cocaine seemed to become a status symbol, and it was probably what was targeted in the first place. The anti-drug policy of its day seemed to take cocaine off of Wall Street and make it more accessible to common people. It’s hard for me to comprehend that natives once thought of coca-leaves like a cup of coffee; they took the leaves and chewed them with lime. We processed it to its free-based crystal form and moved it a few thousand miles away—and people kill each other for it. I remember a business which paid its employees in cocaine at the end of the week. It’s sounds addictive, and it is, but it sounds like money, too. To try to make something rare seems to make it regrettably more valuable as well.]

[I recently saw a documentary on drugs in the United States. It seemed to suggest that some drugs were originally made illegal to control certain ethnic groups.]

I am not especially against drug use, but my problem with drugs is that it was all too easy to find something to make myself comfortable and perpetuate my suffering. For ten years, I anesthetized myself to excess and near demise on every possible occasion. I could always find someone else to party with who had just as little to live for, for whatever reason.

When you don’t want to live, there is no moderation.

I would rise in the morning and greet it with indifference. Using peer pressure guilt, and insecurity, I tried to become what I thought other people wanted me to be. I felt insecure in my femininity and then my masculinity. Apparently, things did not always work smoothly. Testosterone was linked with my own poor self-image, a troubled past and boundary problems. I had no idea how truly fucked up an individual, was I.

I remember the first person I told of myself to.

1 Quart Gin
1/5 of Gin
Lemon/Lime soda
+ Ice, (Stir well)
----------------------------------
- Two glasses taken by hosts. They left.

My friend and I finished the rest. I remember the horror of seeing the empty stainless steel bowl. It was not enough to put me at ease. I had scared myself straight in some respects. At 2:00am, I told a person I wanted to be a girl, anyway.

’Could Someone Get the Male?

I had one male friend who I partied with a lot. He was about the same age as I, had good sense of humor, was attentive, a little taller than I, very straight hair (like I wish I had, mine was very wavy.) He had an almost total absence of facial hair. He used to say that he would just yank them out.

A month or so after we met, he said to me, “I had a friend once, everyone thought he was gay. You seem cool to me. Some people think that you are gay, we can be friends, but I am not into...any of that gay...stuff.

I thought, “I never thought about it...till now.” I thought back to what my first love asked me, if I could love her as a boy. I didn’t think I could ever love a male, because of my past.

One day I had a friend over and he came over.
...He and my other friend are talking.
I was cleaning some pot in a tray.
I made two little diaper folds in a rolling paper, and put as much pot that could fit in the paper.
...I look up. They are still talking, current events and all.
I dipped my finger into a glass of iced tea to seal it.
...They are talking, blah, blah, blah...
I am carefully holding it over a lighter to dry it.
...They are talking, nothing personal.
I lit the joint and inhaled deeply.
Pretty much out of the blue he said, “—No one is going to fuck me up the ass.

I started laughing coughing to the point of almost getting sick. I looked at my other friend, we smiled and I related that, “I didn’t think that would be necessary.

We would go places. The way he treated me, sometimes it all was romantic. I was falling in love with him. I would have liked to have kissed him, or hugged him for a while. It all was pretty weird because I was physically stronger than him, yet perhaps very submissive.

One night, after we all snorted $350 (c:1987) worth of cocaine (~3.5g). I told him how I felt, that I loved him. Nothing physical ever happened. I feel he wanted me, but he couldn’t handle losing the false person he came to know, my alter ego. Who could know that I would feel male-type homosexual rejection, lesbian-type rejection, and two kinds of heterosexual rejection in the same lifetime.

One time, we had been smoking a lot of hash. Another friend had some of those holiday imported beer packs. He was carefully arranging assorted beer bottles in order of potency, from weak beer to dark ale. My friend and I were very patient and let him continue his culling.

We were crashing over because my friend was too intoxicated to drive. There was only one bed, and I think we both felt uncomfortable, but to my surprise, he told me something like, “If something you-know happens, it would be okay.” Seconds later, he passed out and snored all night. I slept on the floor across the room where it was quieter.

The next morning, I had fun sparring around a corner with a cat that lived there, I would attack, and then it would with little furry paws batting around the corner, trying to get me. It was so silly.

Front and Back Windows

At my friend’s house, his brother and I had gotten into an argument about a material possession. From his yelling it was apparent that he wanted a physical altercation to reclaim what he thought was a loss of respect. My friend’s brother had some really ill friends, and I thought them capable of almost anything. So, the person yelling at me wanted honor, but I feared what others would do if I was in a position of vulnerability. Perhaps seeing a local newspaper run a story about someone who was intravenously injected with brake fluid and antifreeze had gotten to me. I don’t hate my friend’s brother. I tried to explain that this was just a misunderstanding, but the others are encouraging a fight.

My friend’s brother hit me, sending me back into a television, knocking it over. I stood up, and he hit me again. When I stood again, I yelled back. Anger married fear, and imagination offered. He foolishly walked in front of a window that I can easily stuff him out of, to a fifteen-foot drop with a wrought-iron railing that would entangle at the bottom. I didn’t hate his brother, I just didn’t want to be tortured by the other two sick fucks. His brother’s anger calmed as mine grew. It was as if there was almost so much energy between us, and I was taking back my share, at least. As I left, I looked back at the railing. I noticed that a few of my molars were loose, but I thought it was worth a life.

Another day, when I arrived at my friend’s house, I had never seen my friend so upset. I have no words that I can paint on his brother’s friends. I don’t know the exact story, but the moment I walked into the hallway, it smelled like someone had slaughtered something. I could not believe that anything alive could have survived whatever had happened.

My friend said that when he and his mother came home, they found a girl, barely a teen, partially wrapped in some blankets, covered in her own vomit, feces, and semen.

I heard things here and there. It seems, four or five of his brother’s sick drunken friends had broken in the house after they had been told to leave. There was a pistol missing, and they probably had that too. I was a little worried about the pistol because they didn’t like me. They brought a girl into the house like a possession, got her intoxicated, and all took her at once. When they were through with her, they didn’t know what to do and were going to throw her out the back window. A few days later, I saw the girl that this was supposed to have happened to. I looked her in the eyes, but didn’t know how to approach her to talk about it.

Some of these people were arrested for drug possession, but I fear their real crime went unpunished. As I write, it is easy for me to have vigilante fantasies and the uncertainty if two wrongs make a right.

Eviction Sale

One day, my friend and I noticed that someone had moved out leaving everything behind. Someone was still taking boxes out of the house. The person said that the former residents were long gone and left all their things. As we rummaged through it, we looked for anything worth keeping. There were a lot of clothes. My friend was taking some for his girlfriend, or so he said. I was looking at him wondered if he was going out with anyone at the time, I was smiling.

That evening, we went to another friend’s house. When we were there, he took a peek at the stuff he got—including the clothes. I started laughing because he was holding this pretty sweater up to himself. I wasn’t laughing at him, and he knew that. He saw that I was being silly and he tried it on. We were both laughing. I had to wonder, and I will always wonder if those clothes were for him. Perhaps someday I will see him somewhere in the rainbow.

When he left my house, he was often intoxicated. I told him, “Watch out for the poles.” We went to another party with another friend. There was someone there who fought with another friend and me on separate occasions.

[I remember he, another friend, and I, were guests my girlfriend’s family’s house. He and another male were there too. That night, when my girlfriend and I were intimate, I noticed that her clitoris was almost an inch long. It was so cute. Meanwhile, this other kid had been mingling downstairs at this birthday party. I think he might have been jealous or an altercation might have happened downstairs. He was in a room with my girlfriend and me. He was a guest in someone’s home, throwing a knife into a nice hardwood floor rapidly saying he was going to, “...kill me a jock....” (from downstairs). It didn’t seem to matter which one. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this person wasn’t well.]

My friend and I both said that fighting with this person was not our idea of a good time. We told him that he was going to want to fight with him too because of his association with us. We both pleaded with him, but he insisted on staying, so we walked home.

The next time I saw my friend, he had been in an accident. He had been drinking, and hit a pole in his truck hard enough to push the engine back. My friend was pretty banged-up. When I looked at his face I could also see a cut that went from his ear to his mouth, that I believe didn’t come from the accident. I regret not dragging him out of the party with us.

As for the person with the knife, he allegedly was at a party down the street from where I lived. He said to some people, “Do you want to see something?” just before he shot himself in the belly. He went to his parent’s house, rang or knocked on the door and died at the door in his family’s arms. All the stories I heard didn’t exactly match, except for the part that he was dead.

Local

There seemed to be a lot of gang fights, or I was just privy to seeing it. Big fights, one town against the other thirty on each side. I tried to avoid getting into that kind of thing. Back then they didn’t kill each other in as much as they were happy just to maim each other. In my parents’ time I heard they fought with their hands, maybe a chain or a knife. In my time they fought with sticks, bats, martial arts weapons and shovels; now they just shoot each other. I wish they would keep it to themselves, leave the uninitiated, those who don’t want to play this sick game, alone. We are on top of the food chain, and the only thing that can get us is us, and usually just for the hell of it.

After leaving school, I lingered around my own part of town more. Most of my friends were still going to school but they would visit me a lot because my house seemed a cool place to hang out. I still was an active part of the partying group as well. Once we had a small, loud party at my house. I held this girl’s head out of the toilet while she explained that she was “allergic” to rum between getting sick.

We put her on a bed. She said she was very cold, so we piled on blankets to about a four-inch thickness. We thought this was comical because it was very warm out.

[This blanket layering reminded me of another person who took speed and stayed awake for a week or two and then went into an exquisite withdrawal, it must have been eighty degrees, and he said he was freezing.]

She looked so cute all bundled up in all the blankets. She would argue with anyone about drugs, and this was going to lower her a few notches, but not as much as her State-Trooper father putting a gun in her face and telling her that he was going to kill her, but not that night. We took the pictures. She told her boyfriend that the pictures were of her in the nude.

We are at the carnival. Carrying small weapons seemed a way of life, but the best thing that could come from them—is never having to use them. I had a pair of nunchuckusus and a small steel club that I had managed not to drop in any rides, my friend had a chain, another had a knife and so on. I was explaining to her boyfriend that the pictures were just of her cuddled up in a bunch of blankets with her mumbling poor excuses for getting sick. We said that we would show them to him later, and if it meant that much they could have them. Ten people argued in this carnival backdrop, but we weren’t the main attraction that evening.

There was an overgrown clique of people that was singling out people one by one and then attacking them. There were around thirty-five or so teens walking around the carnival with sticks and baseball bats. I was still arguing with my friend’s boyfriend. In the background, right behind him, as he spoke about whatever he was talking about, someone with a big stick had just broken someone’s jaw with an audible crack offsetting it.

All of our attention turned to the potential danger that was around us, and this sort of thing was also sure to attract the police and yes, they were on the way. The carnival emptied, we ran into the streets, potential foes now fleeing from an apparent greater enemy. A friend reminds adds, “...like animals fleeing from a forest fire.

It seemed that there was always something very wrong going on, somewhere in my neighborhood. It didn’t look like a bad neighborhood, it just was, or at least that is all I could see in it.

The land, like the buildings, holds no virtue, I am sure there is good in people that can be found here, but it’s difficult for me to find it. In the end I can only see where I am going, what I have become, and I feel powerless to change it.

Adversity blinds not from the front—but from the sides.

Perhaps, I used to go out looking for trouble, and now all I had to do was wake up, open the door and there it was...

I knew one man and one woman who have been dragged down the street on the end of a rope,
Talking with some person in town that might have killed someone,
Seeing someone choke his own brother unconscious.
On the street where I lived, a senior citizen was beaten for only one U.S. Dollar,
Having my house broken into, and almost the next week someone lurches from alongside a wall and grabs me by the throat and sends me to the wall as I enter my room. I grasp for my blade, and wait for my eyes and mind to check the scene only to find that it’s only my foolish brother. How can anyone be as stupid as he?
Constant motorcycle gang versus block punk skirmishes,
KKK pointing the finger of blame at my friends and Anti-KKK protester coming up my street chanting, Death to the Clan,
Just where did my girlfriend manage to find a Gypsy fortune teller in this city, and why is her husband trying to kill her? (We were hiding her.)
People across town burned down each other’s houses killing defenseless children,
Having people tell me that I was just like this person who I went to school with, and then hearing that he hung himself in local lockup.
Maybe that person who jumped naked to his death was pushed,
Watching someone shoot at a passenger train, because it was there,

...and the subtle things like...

Watching a young rookie police officer nervously unsnap his holster because this was perhaps his first family fight,
Seeing a neighbor save all his VA checks up to buy heroin,
Hearing that someone gambled away an entire motorcycle,
The moment that a crowd hushed when people knew that the woman in the half-flattened Volkswagen next to the burning fire engine was no longer with us.
Finally seeing a neighbor out for a healthy jog, being chased by detectives for robbing the package store across the street.

Even within my limited view, it is the sexual atrocities and the ones against children that sadden and anger me the most. I have shared painful experiences with people, and they have shared things with that have left me absolutely speechless.

I believe that being at a loss for words has reason as well as value. I think that sometimes the most helpful thing that could be said is the most difficult thing to say in the world—nothing.

I am sure Ward and June, Carol and Mike can explain this all to me, and it will all make perfect sense.

A man waved a blackjack in my face one nice morning because he thought that I would sell a drug instead of taking it.

Is this all there is to life?

Fallen Angel

My brother was buying a car from my mother’s ex-boyfriend. As a child, I had ridden in that same car at one hundred and fifteen miles an hour while going over a little overpass. My mother’s ex-boyfriend was an alcoholic who always kept three or four cases of beer sitting in the hallway. While he sat at at his kitchen table, I saw him drink most of a half-gallon of whiskey by himself. I had never seen anyone drink like that before.

He claimed his son was an “animal.” I think his state of mind was nurture or lack therof, rather than nature. When the father denied him access to the family car, the son kicked holes in the walls. His son was a drug dealer, and he died after hitting his head on a cement doorstep during a fight in a project elsewhere in town.

He told my brother something in another room which made my brother anxious. I think that he was just told of my sister’s existence. He told my brother that he would kill his father if he told anyone, he panned his gaze to me and looked me into the eye, and said, “...but not yours.” Was I supposed to take it on his suggestion that my brother and I weren’t related? Other than being an alcoholic, it was difficult to tell where the truth and lie parted within him, but I thought him capable of killing someone. He claimed that he almost shot my brother because he forgot to knock on the door before entering. I feel that this kind of vigilance is either from paranoia or someone who is just waiting for a visit, perhaps a mixture of each.

[It reminded me of this man called “Shotgun” because he just stayed in his apartment all night with his shotgun at his side waiting something to happen. I have never seen Shotgun’s apartment but the building was nothing to fight over. It’s bad enough to hear someone pee out of a window, but it’s worse to hear someone defecate out of one.]

My mother’s ex-boyfriend asked me to persuade through any means possible to stop the block-punks downstairs who were bothering his family. I felt I was in some ways controlled by him, but I didn’t get involved because I thought it was not my place and not my business.

His daughter was about five. She had some kind of hearing impairment. He claimed that his daughter never really communicated with other people and she lived in her own little world in ways. She never really knew me, but one day, she approached me. With a smile, she held out her hands. When she removed her little hands, two small pieces of porcelain remained in mine. It was a angel with the wings broken off. Maybe it was just like me. I smiled at her, thanked her, and I placed them into my pocket. I saved them for years.

Unmasked

There was an incident which was memorable. My male friend who I had feelings for, another person, and I, went out for a drive. We smoked quite a few joints. This other person took a card of blotter acid out of his wallet. I took one hit, my friend took at least one or two. I don’t know how many the other person in back took, but I would guess five or more.

At dusk, we drove to a lake where there was a keg-party. There were about thirty wild teen-agers there. The person in the back attempted to sell drugs to some of the people at the party. A card was exchanged to some people in another car. I mumbled to my friend, “I have a bad feeling about this.” Neither the card nor money came back. The person in back started arguing about it. I was scared. I told my friend, “This is not going to be good.” We were outnumbered ten to one. The person in back became louder. The people in the other car collecting themselves and fumbled for things under their seats. My friend was easygoing and an incurable optimist, I was not. I asked my friend to keep his keys handy. He did.

All the doors on the other car opened in unison. Other people at the party noticed what is happening. My friend might have still thought that this was going to be okay somehow. I told my best friend in the world, “You get us out of here or I am going to kill you.” God it hurt to say that. Did he believe that I would, and the drunken bored gang that just burned the kid in back on a drug deal wouldn’t?

I just couldn’t bear seeing us get beaten badly. With the car started, my friend began leaving. All that noise was not just gravel being kicked up by the wheels, but the rocks and bottles that showered the car. I made cowards out of them, but they lived to be angry with me. We would not end up at the bottom of the lake.

At dark, we were on a country lane. My friend thought that the car felt a little funny, but he continued driving. We were all very intoxicated, and he should not have been driving. At some point, my friend stopped the car. We had been driving on a flat tire for some time. They got the jack out, put it under the bumper, and started jacking. It was not a bumper jack. With this corrected, we got the tire off and the spare on. I talked with the other person. I was pointing out the art that the shit-car had become under the drug’s visual spatial distortion. My friend was heaving the other tire into the woods, for a reason unknown to him.

Acid places people on a different plane than most people unaffected by it. I realized that we are all “cued” in. We could understand each other—therefore everyone was probably as intoxicated as I was. I asked everyone to count the lug nuts. The “sanity check,” the count came out bad, three different numbers. I was concerned that there may not be enough to hold the wheel in place. I asked everyone to check them by touch. We left.

We made a turn, pulling into a gas station at speed. As we stopped, the car slid in with the tires screeching. An attendant came out. His presence startled my friend. He rolled down the window. “Can I help you?” the attendant asked. After insistence, my friend retrieved his wallet, and opened it. After two long minutes and some insistence, he handed the now inpatient attendant some money, said, “Five.” Somewhere along the way I stepped out of the car to get sick. Somehow. we made it to my house—alive.

The operating system of the mind was exposed for observation. Doorways were not corrected for field-of-view distortion. Time went by very slowly. We all needed and wanted to go for a walk. We were ritualistically repeating the process of leaving, checking, and rechecking. The drug and circumstances had made us O)bsessive C)ompulsive D)isorder ’ish. To me, it felt that we were in a little loop of time unable to escape. The thing in me that converts the time-space thing into a simulated linear existence was not working. We were reliving almost the same moment over.

What a night...

It would be an hour before they made it outside. While I stayed inside, my friend had jumped over a guardrail and had forgotten to lift his leg. He had made a three inch cut in his knee. While he examined the cut, he tried to make it talk like a puppet for everyone’s amusement. He doesn’t notice that he was starting to tear the corners, making it worse. I told him, “Hey, you’re tearing your leg!” he laughed, and said that he is just doing it for my benefit. He looked at the cut for a few more seconds, and realized that I was right.

The other person and I were talking while my friend was listened. He looked at me and very interested. He continued, “I know a lot about this, sometimes it makes people behave like they really are inside

My friend was concerned, looking at me. They were probably just toying with me, because of the car-line thing. Still, I was nervous.

I told him, “I don’t understand what you are getting at”, he said, “Look at you, you’re acting like a girl....

My heart is pounding,
They are staring at me.
I look down.
My legs are crossed.
My forced male body language is not there.
He says, “You might really be a....
I cannot find...
I do not dare go anywhere outside,
And I can’t remember how to act male,
Because for now at least...

I am unmasked.

My friend and I spent less time together. The last thing I heard about him was that he and some other friends were driving to a party. Both cars rounded a corner, hitting some horses which had escaped from a farm nearby. What was left of a horse had gone through the windshield of one of the cars. I know that one of the people had lost the ocular region of his face which needed an implant.

Put to Me

When I was in my late teens, I was at a friend’s house. I feel that I don’t know very much about kids because I didn’t seem to have much of a childhood. But, I tried to read to a baby. I looked down over the baby’s head as I was reading. When I finished, the baby looked up at me and called me mommy. We all laughed out loud, and the real mother told the baby, “Silly, he’s not your mommy.” It was funny, weird, neat, but it gave me lingering fear and uncertainty.

I had a friend that was discovering her lesbianism. I remember meeting her friends at a fast food restaurant. She explained that her friends were gay too. There was one very slight male there and one larger one. The slight one didn’t seem to like me much, he questioned, “So where did you find this character?” In anger, I stood up in protest, his boyfriend stood up in protest. We both slowly sat back down in a parallel manner. Looking back, he was right.

At one time, I was working with my girlfriend’s brother doing rather major car repairs for little money. My girlfriend wasn’t showing her insecurity much yet, the reality just hadn’t stuck yet. I was more relaxed as far as I had presented myself then and I know I didn’t appear very masculine. Her brother and I got along pretty well. At some point, when I had done something well, he would say, “What a man, what a man!” I had worked very hard to earn approval, and then when I received it, this isn’t the compliment I wanted, it just confused me ultimately made me sad.

[Years later, I would sometimes hear a split compliment like, “You did (something) well for a woman/girl.”]

On a lazy afternoon, there were two concurrent parties at my house. My ex-girlfriend’s parents were proud of their son’s return from the Air Force until they were driving down the street and saw him there passed out on the side of the street.

It is so easy and comfortable just waiting in my misery, teasing death every day. Almost no one really knows who I am and they believe what I want them to believe, because the truth, they would not want to believe.

There was this guy, he is a friend of a friend in the other party. He was relaxing, lying on top of his motorcycle while it was on its stand. I was talking to him. I had spent a little time with him. He seemed real nice. I would be warned that he was good for doing this kind of thing just when you least expect it. When I explained, she said, “Yea that’s him all right. He does things like that”, then she giggled and laughed. He knew me and did this to me anyway? He had some nerve. I respected and almost feared him.

He extended his hand in what seemed like a friendly gesture. With a sense of pride, he told me his name, he says that he is in the Reserve.

He asked me, “Who are you?

Parking Garage

Mottled gray, dirty and indifferent
I breathe stale air shared with machines.

Underground, spacious, secluded,
Open, offering me no hiding,
Closed, showing me no exit.

Metallic lights hum, cold and impersonal,
A single sound returns many.
Echoes last, nothing soft keeps.

Oppressive weight looms above me.
Little other than this place lives.
Time undermines strength,
Iron corrodes as stone weeps.

Transparent Mask

When I was in my early twenties, I had a motorcycle, It was fun to ride, and I found that I could ride pretty fast, especially because it didn’t seem to matter to me if I lived or not. One night, I was riding down this tiny quiet street. I opened my mind to prevent it from filling with all of the points I checked. It was a twenty-five mile-per-hour zone. The bike came-to-pipe again at around eighty-five. It was like running through a small doorway as fast as you can. The tears that stream off the side of my face were not just from the wind. I wanted to turn the handlebars, and lay the right-front side of my bike down under itself, and go to sleep, letting the ground and all the metal just pass through my body. I didn’t.

I took a lot of outdoor pictures. One rainy day, with my camera covered in plastic, I went to the park. I was fascinated by a technique that seagulls used to get worms in the wet grass. They would stomp their little feet on the ground repeatedly, perhaps to close the worm hole, and then snatch up the worms. I was good at photography because I was a good observer, but I was a lousy participant. Most of my pictures were nature pictures, and I didn’t take many pictures with people as subjects, then.

I worked at a camera chain wholesale department doing order picking and computer entry, so I could get my film developed inexpensively. The job didn’t pay very well, but it wasn’t manual labor. The people there were nice. I worked in a large cream-colored room with a gray-painted floor, rows of metal shelves, plastic bins, a computer here, a printer there, and about a quarter of a million dollars of cameras and film everywhere.

One day, two people came in. They started talking to the manager while I went about my business. I left to get a can of iced tea or cheese popcorn. When I came in, I saw a girl, sharing the terminal with the manager. She was shapely and leaning over the table. She turned around and looked at me, but she didn’t look at me, she looked through me. I looked behind myself, but there was no one else there. It was if I was invisible to everyone else in the whole world except her. I felt beside myself, my heart beating, with my male armor nowhere to be found by her. I felt she knew more about me than most of my lovers, without a single touch, without a single word.

The manager introduced her to me. When she left with the other person, I was still very curious, I asked the manager about her. With sensitivity, he said that she was transsexual, and possessed a female name and license. The assistant manager snickered uneasily a little, but not maliciously.

I had never met anyone that I knew to be of this. I had never had any hope. I saw transsexual people on television, but meeting a human being in person is different. She saved more than just my life, and maybe she will never know. I never got a chance to really talk to her, but for a single moment I was not alone. I was still scared and immature, so my mask was replaced, I would try to go on for a few more years, but the seed in my soul had been opened a bit.

I always had something else to place the blame on. There was always an excuse, another joint to smoke, something to drink, a pill to take, a distraction to get lost in, something to silence the inner child in me. I’m just going through a phase, I’m just messed up, it’s because I was molested, because I like guys too, I’m just crazy. It’s because of the drugs, it’s because I’m a runt. Everyone goes through this. It’s a phase I’ll grow out of I swear, because, because....

Because of a short illness, I was forced to live without drugs and alcohol. I tried to face my thoughts and feelings.

In the past, I had been self-destructive, and I had little respect for my own life. I treated my body like just any other machine. I have wanted to die more than live. Feeling like I never really lived my life to its fullest, I was never afraid of dying, perhaps just of being alone.

This may be shallow, but I have always felt very unattractive being a male and I want to be pretty, a forbidden word that gives me pleasant chills. Maybe it’s not the word, but the whole concept, a different way of seeing myself, or allowing myself to be seen as something other than masculine.

I met a person who was using a cutting torch to open the tops of empty fifty-five gallon drums. One of them wasn’t empty. It was full of gasoline, and he had been burned very badly. He had all the basics of what you would think a face would need, but just openings where ears once were. What he looked like before the accident lied further than my imagination. I didn’t want to be patronizing, or to let him know how he looked to me, but I wanted so much just to be able to ask this person how he could be able to deal with his disfigurement when I couldn’t deal with mine, and what made him want to stay when I did not. I couldn’t ask.

The very nature of my disfigurement was totally visible, but not readily apparent.

Crushed Orange

I was working in a lumberyard attached to a small building supply store. It paid little, but it was the only job I could get. As I looked down in the snow on the way to work, I was becoming more depressed. I was strong for my size, and I think my body had never been so male looking either. I could easily carry two seventy-five pound bags of grass fertilizer in front of me at once, or an eighty-five pound of concrete mix under each arm. That may not be much weight, but I was only one hundred and fifteen pounds. I didn’t like the way I looked, and my face was all hollowed out.

A Vietnam Veteran started working there. He showed me photo albums full of pictures he had taken in Vietnam. At his last job, he was a shop steward, until they closed the factory down. He seemed nice, was a hard worker, and it seemed a little unjust that he had a low paying job in this little lumberyard. Someone else there seemed really militaristic. For some reason, he came to work in fatigues, and one day, he wore a tee-shirt that had something about Vietnam on it. The person who worked with me in the yard got in to a heated discussion with him because he was wearing the shirt when he was too young to ever have been there. Most of the people that I have met that were actually in a war don’t glamorize it in any way.

I was really depressed. As the weeks went by, I spent a lot of time outside in the lumberyard shoveling snow, breaking frozen two-by-fours free, and helping customers. When I carried some bags to an elderly man’s car, he grabbed my arm firmly and said, “You are very virile.” I went back to the fence where someone asked me what had been said. Not admitting that I didn’t know what the word meant, I told him, “I don’t know.

I met a nice cute girl there. One day, she asked me if I wanted to walk her home. I said that I wanted to. We talked as we walked. We stopped by this little bridge over this little brook where we held hands and then kissed. It was a nice day and things seemed okay.

When I saw her the next day, she was upset. She said that she and her old boyfriend had gotten back together, and he wanted to fight me. I was upset and I felt like I was used for a pawn in their jealousy game, or was she just trapped? At the end of the day, her boyfriend was waiting outside to pick her up in this fast looking orange car. I walked up to his car. I asked him, “I heard you wanted to talk to me?” He said, “I said I was going to kick your ass.” I glanced at the short cut-off two-by-four pile. I hated his arrogance, I hated my arrogance, I hated what had become of my body, I hate this aggressiveness, I hated what I wanted to do to him. I looked at him, and I politely said, “I think it would be much harder than you think.” I walked away.

I live in a world in that neither friend or enemy are safe. I will never feel comfortable hating or being angry at anyone.

About one year later, the father of the man in the orange car committed suicide. When he heard of his father’s death, he slammed it into something and killed himself. The girl had lost it and had to be hospitalized. I hated him enough to entertain hurting him myself. and yet I felt bad when I heard of his passing.

Some women use the power in their beauty. For a few, it overtakes them. I have used the physical power in my body, and it overtook me. Every once in a while, there is a mind that perhaps shouldn’t be given what a male body brings, and I have one. I had choices, I could change, end my life, or just try to ignore the problem—everything.

Between customers, I stared from the lumberyard’s fenced-in area across the street to the oil company’s little fenced-in area where there was a German shepherd dog that looked back at me.

Floored

Something happened when I met that transsexual person. My eyes opened a little. I got just a little bit of hope. I also earned my GED. I stopped working out to try to make myself look more male. I had slowed a little in how much I anesthetized myself, but still did.

I worked in a large carpet store as a carpet cutter and warehouse person. Another friend helped me get the job there. He was already starting to talk about me like, “He used to be bigger, he used to party a lot.

In the morning, after getting a cup of coffee, we would load up all the installers’ trucks and vans with the cuts from the day before. Carpet is heavy and abrasive on the back, and when you lift it and really put everything you have into it, it bends instead of lifts. Being small, I relied on speed to get something going, and something like carpet just absorbed that and taunted me. I was so sore in the morning that I could hardly bend to pick up anything. I was starting to try to let myself stay small while doing this job.

I had just gotten a raise for more money than my friend did though and my friend had worked there longer. The district manager had bet me a raise if we could get a large shipping error offloaded and put away in time. I asked him to split the raise with my friend. He was hesitant.

One day, I was sitting in back on a large, firm demonstration block of foam. I was having a sandwich. Usually, by lunch I don’t hurt as much. My friend was driving a forklift with a ten-foot steel pole on the front. He is very angry.

A small forklift weighs almost two tons. He drove the forklift, poking holes through a wooden door in back of the building. While was busy fucking the building with the forklift, I was having my coffee and cigarette. I was becoming a little nervous when he made a hole in the cinder-block wall, still more nervous when the forklift was heeling over and almost tumbled end over, off the back of the loading dock when he was trying to break up an old display to fit it in the dumpster. Enough is enough.

[This was reminiscent of the forklift jousting I have witnessed in the light construction job I had in a frozen food warehouse, where we all became sick from carbon monoxide.]

One day, I was cleaning the tile floor in front. It hadn’t been cleaned in some time and looked bad. I started out mopping it. I got a scrub brush and started to clean it. I was almost on my hands and knees. The manager made some remark about me that I could only take as having a sexual undertone.

He was usually a fair person. It was not clearly harassment, just something subtle, under-breath. On a deeper level, I have noticed a pattern of normally “heterosexual” men being attracted to me. There was also a salesperson who was a real jerk. He actually changed his clothes in the middle of the store. He would have been fired a long time ago, but his sales figures were too high. I felt really uncomfortable because he was there when the manager made the remark.

Were they just bisexual? If they were, why couldn’t I tell? My girlfriend, who would have wanted to be a man can tell instinctually if a man is gay or bisexual and I could not? Some of my other girlfriends were bisexual, so it seems I could tell if a girl liked girls, but my girlfriend has to be the one to tell me that guys are checking me out at the mall? I don’t even notice? Most of the women in the media that I fantasized about as a teen turned out to be gay? I didn’t understand what was going on?

The last day I was at the carpet store, the manager wasn’t there, and the salesperson was all coked up again. He was on this big power trip. He told me to do the floor in front. I wasn’t even dirty, he just wanted to put me in my place or just leer at me. I started working on it anyway. He started picking on this late teen who worked there. He told him he was going to kick his ass. Later, he said he was going to kill this teen’s father. He was twice as large as any one of us, and he could probably do it.

The teen was upset. I was getting really angry. He told him he was going to kill both him and his father. He kept teasing him, “I am going to kill your father this afternoon when he gets here. You just wait to later.” I asked him to leave him alone. That is when he threatened me.

I was driving the forklift with the ten-foot pole in front. He starting to yell things for me to do. He is walking from me while blurting out all the violent things he has planned for me. He threatened the kid and me—and then dared turn his back on me. I slammed the pedal to the floor. It made a familiar metallic clank sound. The forklift picked up speed as I pulled the lever to raise the pole to the middle of his back. He was still ranting about what he is going to do to me as he walked.

I stopped the forklift. I can’t do this. This is not worth it. He was not worth it. Sadly, my co-worker was not worth it. I shut off the ignition key, turned and hopped off the forklift. I walked out and never went back. I could hear him in the doorway yelling, “You’ll regret leaving. I am going to get you fired.

In Trade?

For a short time, I saw a girl who was boyish. When I saw her last, she asked me if she could borrow my hooded “boys” zippered sweatshirt. When she left that day, she left behind a really nice purple “girls” wool sweater. She intentionally folded it, put perfume on it, and placed it on my bureau. Was she testing me, or was it for me?

She never came back with my hood.

Just Say “Hi”

There was a woman who worked at an insurance company. A friend and I used to meet her for lunch. She was really cool, and was probably bisexual. She was just a little older than I was. She talked like “Peppermint Patty” from “Peanuts.” We saw each other for a while. I tried to keep things light, but I really felt warm for her. She broke up with me.

Some time later, she came over to my house on my birthday. She, my other friends, and I drank a lot. We were intimate again that night. We had a big discussion because but she was the very first person I ever was intimate with when my legs were shaven.

Years later, I was seeing someone else. We were at a bowling alley. I saw my old girlfriend across the room, and I wanted to just say “hi,” but I didn’t because the person I was with was jealous and possessive. I wished I had talked to her when I had the chance, because, on the way to or from work, she died while driving intoxicated. (Crying.).

Limit

There was a racing car from the sixties which I thought was neat. I had read about it in books, but had never seen one and I thought that I would never would. As I was walked down the street one day, I walked right by one. It was not everyday that I saw a $125,000 copy of a $900,000 Lemans racing car. I was curious, so I snooped around. I knew something about cars, and I was hired as an auto fabricator’s assistant.

Because of this job, a lot of males respected me. I was in a relationship with someone. I actually had money in the bank. I had a lot of things that I thought would make me happy, so why wasn’t I? This is what I wanted, wasn’t it?

Day after day, I was slaving over this inanimate object. I put together body parts, making cardboard templates and metal parts, and trying to make sense of the ventilation system that was dumped on me. One day, I noticed that I thought the car was prettier than I. I thought of myself as less than the inanimate object.

My hair was long, my face kept shaven clean, and I was only large enough to do my job—which wasn’t too physically demanding. I had started letting my presentation drift a little. One of the other workers was the formerly feminine-looking, now tall, dark and handsome person from my past. It was like he turned into a guy, and in some ways I didn’t.

One of the partners of the company used to call me “cutie.” It wasn’t sexual, just affectionate. Someone who had overheard this asked another partner if he was gay, he said of course not. The person observing thought that this whole thing was strange. I am just used to it, yet offer no explanations. What am I supposed to say? “Oh yes I have met a lot of normally ‘heterosexual’ men that treat me this way.

One day, I was crossing the train-bridge on the walk to work. Two people walking from the other direction. I was in a rush to get to work, and didn’t yawn like I usually do. One of them said something to the effect “You better not be looking at me, you fag.” I didn’t want to believe what he said, and perhaps I still don’t. I was in a relationship with a girl, filled with turmoil, but sexually satisfying all-the-same; worked at this “macho” job.

The next day, we passed about the same place, but a little closer to work. One of them hit me. He hit me hard, and laughed. There were two of them. Alone, there was not much I could do. I looked at the other person. He knew that he was the reason that I had not fought the other.

My teeth had been loosened before, and three had been knocked out another time. I had been hit on the back of the head with a four-inch rock, hard enough to move my body before it hit the ground. In the past, I had almost been almost knocked out when jumping down a set of stairs, when I hit my head on the ceiling edge above and it had clothes-lined me and dropped me on the stairs below, demonstrating that: look before, but not necessarily while you are leaping. I had been beaten very badly by my brother on numerous occasions, but no one had hit me as hard as he did. He almost killed me with one punch. It had angered me greatly. I had gotten in a fight or two protecting friends, but never for myself in this way.

Yet, in this day of real and potential violence,
For the very first time in my life, I saw myself as a person.
For the very first time in my life, I thought I had some value.
I was no longer an inanimate object.

I had never been so angry. I ran away for the last bit to work went into the metal shop and took two small sharp metal pipes cut on odd angles from the pile. I left running as I put them in my jacket’s inside pocket. In the heat of the moment, I had thought that he couldn’t be allowed to do this to anyone unprovoked, even me.

I feared that we would all meet somewhere tomorrow, perhaps on the bridge over a highway, where there is nowhere to run. Whether it was realistic or not, I felt there was no way out. I ran as fast as I could, trying to catch him. I could not live with myself if I didn’t catch up with him, I could not live with myself if I did. One way or another, I could not face this the next day.

I was still somewhat strong and very quick because of all the stick and nunchuckus practice. The pipes I chose were sharp enough to make a tear in a car fender. I would give him a very bad day, and still hold off the other person should that present itself. I was absolutely, undeniably furious.

When I got to the center of town, he was nowhere to be found. Maybe I made a different turn? Why couldn’t things have worked out so we made different turns before things ever got to this point? My chest really ached from running. I was standing hunched over, panting, holding my torso up by pressing on my upper legs. I could not run anymore. In all my hate and anger I had not spared myself. In my quest, in my running, I had collapsed my right lung.

I think it was a gift, in that the only solution was not to be able to catch him. I cannot tolerate hate in myself. I will not ask for or accept forgiveness for giving into anger. It took years before I could even admit to myself, that given my appearance, this was most-likely a bashing of some kind. I don’t know if I can forgive him, or myself.

I finished working the day. I felt the pain grow as the hours went on. I went home and just lay there. I walked to work the next day taking another route, hoping I had made a good choice, because now I could not defend myself. I was thinking, at the end of the day either my girlfriend stops by to give me a ride or I will have to call an ambulance, because now, I could not breathe too well.

The year before, I had pericarditis (inflammation of the sack around the heart) and while I was coming home from another job, I was so weak I collapsed into the snow, expecting to pass away but didn’t. I thought it was my heart again. They took x-rays and they all crowded around the light-box whispering and pointing. A nurse lied to my face by telling me that it was not my x-ray. They put a chest-tube in. They said if it didn’t stay up next time, I would need to have surgery.

Threshold

My lung only stayed okay for a few weeks before collapsing again. It felt like someone was trying to rip my shoulder blade off with a crowbar. I could hear and feel the cabbage-like squeaking of my lung slipping around on every few breaths.

In the hospital emergency room, Two doctors confirmed that it had failed to stay up on its own again, my second spontaneous pneumothorax. I was going to need corrective surgery and in the meantime, another chest tube, I shook my head, “Oh no, not again.” These two doctors spoke in turn, assuring me that they did a lot of these, it was going to be easier, and to sign the form because with or without it I might not live.

I saw a shiny stainless-steel tray of sharp stuff covered with a green napkin. Nurses covered my face with another napkin. I hate having surgery when I am awake. I hated my life. Cold povidone-iodine dripped over me as I was told not to peek. Four people held me down, the Demerol didn’t help much either did the Novocaine as they cut, a nurse patronized me, “Look at his muscle development.

I felt so ugly. I was five foot eight and only about one-hundred and twenty-five pounds, yet I worked mostly manual labor jobs which were the only ones I could get. Someone used to call me mighty mouse, I have a twenty-seven inch waist and forearms as big as my neck. The only place where I had meat on me was my arms and back—no chest development. My body just stayed this size no matter what I did. An average meal for me was about over twelve hundred calories, one-half pound of hamburger or a whole box of Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese, and I would still be very hungry. I looked like a female body builder, and it just wasn’t me. There seemed to be a practical limit to how large my body became and no matter how much effort, I just seemed to increase my metabolism.

I nervously tapped the inside of my foot back and forth on the bed. At least, this time they went straight in, near the top-front of my shoulder. They made a cut. When they pushed the tube in, they put enough pressure on it to sink my body into the mattress. It was quicker than last time, but I screamed just as loud whenever the black-out-snow wasn’t there. Me and the vacuum-lock or coffee maker as I called it, were wheeled to a room. What a night.

That night I was waiting for surgery, I was lost on a wall, staring into space. I hated my life and I hoped to die. I was pessimistic about the outcome of the surgery, but I found some peace with pessimism. I was glad my life was over. To me, my whole life had been a waste. I took life by eating something that probably wanted to live, to live the life that everyone wanted me to live, except me. I wished the people who knew me had a puppet to play with so they can let me go.

When it was morning, I didn’t know if I slept or not. The anesthesiologist was really nice, answering my questions about, when I started to fall asleep my body just lurched into air. My legs were shaven; he must have noticed. We have been chatting for forty-five minutes. I wondered if he was really a counselor, or was he just being nice? I asked either him or my surgeon to try to make the scars small.

They wheeled me around for a while. I knew that if I lived, I would have to change my life. I couldn’t live like that anymore. I wanted to be a girl. One way or another, it was over.

I woke up in a hospital room, so the surgery must have gone okay. The vacuum-lock kept me company, gurgling away. I looked at the column of water and vacuum that held my lung up. I opened the hospital gown, looked, they moved the tube, more scars on my side. I saw the doctor; he said it went okay.

I had visitors, lots of people. My girlfriend came to see me. We talked, she brought a stuffed animal to see me. We had gone out for about four years then. She was a little older than myself.

[I remember talking when we first started seeing each other. I never really had much money, so we would always go shopping and never buy anything. We went to the park one night to talk. When she kissed me, I felt so giddy. It was something new to me.

Maybe it was that night, or one near it, when I told her I wanted to be a girl. She said she thought she should have been born a man. I fell in love with her. I loved her so much. I couldn’t bring her down with me, so I tried to get rid of her so many times. She just kept coming back.

She was a great lover, really the only person who I really let touch me and she was sometimes aggressive. Her touch made me jump a little, like a reflex. In spite of her skill, I found receiving oral sex to be nerve-wracking. I was just too sensitive. When I get nervous, I grind my teeth. I chipped my front tooth while trying to receive oral sex. It was what was supposed to feel good, wasn’t it?

Once in a while, we rented adult videos. Sometimes we would find one with a plot, though not often. One day, I rented one with he-she subject matter. I expected to be aroused, and I was. What I didn’t expect was to identify with the person in the movie, but I started crying.

At this time, I started imagining that I was with another female. I started having fun with the fantasies that I had tried so hard to escape from before. One time, she was on top ambitiously doing the moving part. In my mind, our sex parts are transposed, she looked down at me and said, “You want a man don’t you?” My arms were around her shoulders, I smiled and thought, “No, you are doing fine.” I was infatuated with my newfound “lesbianism,” but I felt she was not completely female either.

I didn’t like to have male parts, and doing the moving-thing just ruined it for me. I could not break the association. Semen was something that I did not want to produce and when I did, I often retro-ejaculated. Ultimately, I was barely capable of having an orgasm at all, by myself or with anyone else. This from me; someone who valued intimacy and that kind of interaction greatly. I wanted for my girlfriend to have orgasms, lots of them. I often helped give her orgasms until she said she thought she was going to have a heart attack with something I didn’t want to have. She would claw my backside, and then laugh when it was over. I still have a few little claw and stretch marks on the back of my legs. I was sometimes somber about the whole thing, and tried to make a game of it to myself. Otherwise, the touching and kissing were very good.

The clitoris and the penis are not that different. Some guys can find it, some can’t, and I am suggesting that others don’t really want to.

I lost interest in trying to play the man I was not. Unfortunately, the better I felt, the more insecure in her femininity she became. I brought out her insecurities. I hadn’t planned to fall in love with this person and tried to stop the relationship many times, but then I tried to be there for her if she needed me. It seemed I couldn’t do both.]

A nurse walked in. She was very pretty, carefully worded, her hair was French-braided. She was intelligent and pleasant. When she left, my girlfriend noticed my distraction, and she asked in an angry-sarcastic, paranoid-jealous tone, “What, is she your dream-girl? What, do you want to sleep with her?

Shaking my head I said, “No, I want to be her.

As she left, my “soul mate” as she called herself said, “I hope you fucking die in here.

It’s Not Okay — It’s Only a Dream

I still felt hesitation. I didn’t learn of any sources of information about transsexualism since I was a teen.

To my eye, genetic male bodies often become more masculine or lose some degree of femininity in their late twenties to early thirties. I didn’t want that to happen to me. Loosing my hair was confusing to me. I thought that males still looked male without hair on their head. I could cite males who were handsome regardless of the amount of hair they had, then why did this bother me? It may just be a social construction, but I was worried about losing what I thought was a symbol of my femininity.

[Many years later, a friend told me, “...but Brenda, you are the very essence of change....” I responded, In some ways, I did what I did, not to change.”]

I read the evening newspaper which ran a story about a twenty-something year-old man who had died. I thought that if I died, that was what would have been written about me, regardless of who I felt I was inside. I would be remembered as a male, as a man. I wondered, “Is that what I am?” My entire life could have ended without anyone including myself knowing who I am.

One night, I had a dream in which I looked under the covers. My body was female, very different than it was then. In the dream, I was so happy that I started crying; in real life I cried myself awake. When I was awake, I could not stop crying for what seemed like a long time, I couldn’t take that anymore. Reactionary or not, that day I went to try to find information. It would be a long time until I stopped regretting waking.

[Years later, I saw a documentary about someone who had a dream about a flying machine with a man in it. When he grew up, he went on to invent that machine. One day, when he was flying it, he discovered that he was in that very machine, and the man in the dream was himself. One can’t go around basing one’s whole life off of a dream, but maybe sometimes the subconscious shows something worthwhile. There is also a song called “The Dream of the Dolphin.” I think based on a Native American story. The last line is, “Man is the Dream of the Dolphin.” I am Brian’s dream.]

I called around hospitals and clinics. I was given a telephone number to a support group listing. I called. The person there read the listings to me, “Transvestite, cross-dressing, transvestite, here is one for transsexuals.” She gave me the number. I called, got the address of the support group that was with a clinic of some kind.

My girlfriend had come around again. I don’t remember what possessed me to be nice to her after the way she treated me. Perhaps it was that we had spent four years together, longer that any other relationship that I ever had. We exchanged words about the hospital and some other things. I still loved her very much.

I remember the last time she and I made love. I was on top of her lightly holding the back of her head in my hands. I watched her face as she broke frustration into orgasm beneath me. I took the moment in, this time, it was very sad for me. Tears started to blur my vision, and a bead collected on my lower eyelid. I thought, “This is the last time we will ever be intimate.” As I hugged her, I left the tears on the pillow beside her. The time between fights became shorter, and shorter.

What offends her?
Is it the part of me that wants to be a Woman?
Is it the part of her that wants to be a Man?

She decided that she wanted a man. I did not feel threatened by this because I knew that it was something that I couldn’t give her. One night, she was upset that her boyfriend was eating salad in a restaurant with his hands. It was hard for me to be upset by this.

It’s Nice Weather Outside, and by the Way....

I guessed that becoming a woman perhaps could raise some questions. I felt that telling everyone one at a time, from square one, would be unbearable for me. I prepared these little slips of paper which read:

For years I have not been truthful to myself and others. I have gender dysphoria syndrome and I want to be and live as a female for the rest of my life. I have given it much thought and I feel it is what I must do to be happy living.

Yes, everybody-gets-one. Feel free to talk among yourselves. This may both answer and create questions. If you have questions don’t be afraid to ask.

If you feel uncomfortable around me, can’t handle or don’t like the changes yet to come in me, no longer want to be associated with me, or seen in my presence, want to forget me, hate me, at any point, I will try to understand. This may not be a popular decision. This is my test, not yours and you don’t have to like me just because I want you to.

When my friends and family lowered the papers, they had looks of total disbelief in their eyes. I was prepared to try to be around for everyone. Assuming, anyone would remain.

You’re not living like that in my house. I didn’t raise you like that.” (mother)
I am afraid, I can’t know you anymore.” (brother)
If you had just died instead, it would have been a lot easier on me.” (father)
I just can’t accept this.” (cousin)
Grandma can’t find out, it would kill her.” (mother)

I would not see my father for over a year. My mother mourned my loss. My girlfriend of four years could not handle it and I still have not seen her, or much of another friend that I had known for seven years. Even my “well educated” cousin whom I had considered a friend spent the time to write me a letter pointing at every other excuse for not talking to me anymore. Blood is thicker than water, but it’s not as thick as estrogen.

...I heard you gave away a lot of your tools and stuff” (“friend”, wants stuff too.)
—So you want to suck cock and take it up the ass?” (father, is this all a woman is to him?)
When you get breasts, can I see them, but just as a friend?” (friend, he said it so innocently, I wish you could see him.)

Questions...

Although I know how I felt, but I tried to be objective and explore all the facets of what and why including:

Does this really matter?
Will I care at all about this when I no longer live?
Am I a silly person for wanting to change my body?
Do I want my body to reflect my inner being, or is this a shallow person’s quest for vanity?
Do I want to be someone I am, or am not?
How much does my body have to change for me to feel like I do on the inside?
If I am a cute male then, why do I feel like an ugly female?
Which would I rather be?
I could have died last year or the year before, and I have so much to be thankful for... and yet I cry just because my body is that of a man?
Am I unknowingly looking sexually for one or more parents affection?
Could I have been under— or over— coddled too much as a baby?
Do I want to become my mother?
How much and what am I suppressing in myself?
Will I ever act like I feel?
Do I think that it was all right to be a sensitive male?
Why do I feel so immature in regard to to my attraction for males?
Am I attracted to them or do I just want them to be attracted to me?
Can I, or will I want to live out my life as a well-adjusted bisexual or homosexual male?
Do I want to become a woman to be able to deal with being molested?
Because I am supposed to be intelligent and was molested, could I be schizophrenic or have multiple personalities?
Do I feel lucky that I was molested instead of someone who wanted to be a man?
Was I an adult and really not molested?
Why do I have to keep getting myself in life or death situations?
Why were most of my girlfriends previous rape victims and why did they feel so comfortable being intimate with me?
Am I a lesbian?
Is it possible to be a lesbian in a man’s body?
If I am, should I keep it to myself?
If I am not, should I keep it to myself?
Do I want to become the object of my own desire?
Could I have been looking to find in other females what I felt lacking in myself?
Why was the first guy I fell in love with kind of submissive like me?
Why do I feel I loved him as a woman would?
Why couldn’t our friendship overcome us being the same sex?
Do I want to do this because I felt rejected in some way?
Why didn’t anything happen physically?
Is wearing women’s clothes object fetish or instant femininity?
Why do I have problems with the terms and concepts “Man” and “Woman”?
Why do I use “guys” and “girls” instead?
Will I care if people will know that I was once a man on the outside?
What can I do to help myself?
Am I willing to gamble any credibility I have in the pursuit of happiness?
Is my past, present or future more important?
Do I have the right to choose my own destiny and be the judge of what will make me happy?
Should I be learning to adjust to failure or success?
Will I have to promise never to hug and kiss another girl?
What could I give to someone in a relationship, now and later?
Will this (has this) made me into a selfish self centered person?
Just how much affection and sexual contact do I want and need to share with other people?
Is this a need, a want, neither, or both?
How should it appear as?
Can someone love to others and hate themselves?
Was I capable of love before or am I just more capable of it now?
What am I?

I pleaded with the people at the clinic:

Becoming a woman is my greatest ambition and the most important thing that I may ever do for myself while I live. I have never wanted anything as much as this. I think my only regret will be not doing this half a lifetime ago. Even if I couldn’t ever afford the actual reassignment surgery, I do what I can, and take what I can get and give what I can give. This is what I am sure I want, or perhaps need to be happy and grow as a person, and to have some kind of LIFE.

Now Making an Appearance

When I was young, I saw androgynous person in the center of town. My heart beat hard, and my heavy feelings were inescapable, but what I was feeling then wasn’t really sexual in nature.

Years later, on a warm snuggly summer day during my transition, I woke up feeling really nice. I hopped out of the shower, got dressed to go for a walk around the park.

I shaved my legs on and off since I was fifteen, but this was really the first day I ever went out bare like this. It felt really good to me to have this nice warm breeze touching me.

After walking around the park, I went to a small local art museum, from there I made a few more turns and ended up in the middle of town. I was still a little conscious of other people, but no one seemed to pay much attention to me. I paused for a moment and reflected upon seeing the androgynous person when I was a child. I smiled.

Once, when I was at the store, I saw a six or seven year old boy with his father. He plead with his father about trying on adult “women’s” shoes. My whole world seemed to stop for a minute. I will worry about that kid for the rest of my life.

When I started my transition, I didn’t have enough money to buy clothes on a trial and error process, so I shopped for female clothes dressed as a male. At the time, this was empowering, but embarrassing. I took female clothes off the rack to try them on. On the way out, I said to the dressing room attendant, “At least you will have something to talk about over dinner,” and I smiled. She mentioned that I was not the only person who was doing this kind of thing.

I hope sometime in the future people won’t understand my discomfort as far as gender-typed clothes are concerned.

I went through a phase where I had wondered if I could just be a cross-dresser so I dressed completely with makeup and all. I dressed up in what I was taught was supposed to make women feel sexy. This drew some very negative attention from my girlfriend at the time and made her feel more insecure about herself.

I wanted to be a female, especially when I had no clothes on. When the clothes came off reality would strike, I was still a male on the outside. To me, I still looked too boyish and not curvy enough. I had no boobies. My blue beard bled when I shaved and irritated me when I didn’t. What was between my legs made me feel ungenuine. It was the flesh I wanted to change.

I spent less time at my mother’s house, just weekends here and there to see my “friends.” When I went outside one day, there were some teenagers out in front. One of them asked in a nice manner, “Are you a girl?”, another said, “It’s a transsexual. He had a sex change.” The last one cut like a knife, then. I knew there would be days like this. In a way I could stand up to someone saying “That’s a man” or “he,” but there is a part of me that did sometimes feel pain. My discomfort was compounded with the fact that not only had I let myself stop presenting as a male, but I was also trying to make myself presentable as a female, and early on, I was failing.

There were some days like being on the bus, right before or after electrolysis that I could have done without. I was being looked over quite a bit.

I was one of those people on the bus.

After a period of living androgynously. I came up with this “Moonshadow”-like way of putting this all in perspective:

If they are looking, at least they are not staring.
If they are staring, at least they are not pointing.
If they are pointing, at least they are not laughing.
If they are laughing, at least they are not in my face.
If they are in my face, at least they aren’t hitting me.
If they are hitting me at least they haven’t won.
If they have won, at least they haven’t killed me.
If they have killed me, at least I don’t have to worry anymore.

I starting receiving a different kind of attention from males—they were becoming more attracted to me. This guy was trying to pick me up. He was big, athletic, and his personality was very nice. I thought that if he knew more about me, he might want to kill me, so I tried to be nice yet keep him at a distance.

Using the bathroom was a source of anxiety. One day, as I left a bathroom stall, I noticed that there was the napkin dispenser on the wall. My face had facial hair on it because I had an electrolysis appointment coming up. I thought I was in the men’s room. I remember telling a friend I that I couldn’t live like that for long. I wish I could have, but it all was too confusing for me.

Of all the things I have/had to worry about, I used to worry about the sound I made when I peed. I still habitually try to make sure that the stall is all in order before I leave.

[It seems that women’s rooms are either really clean or really awful, but men’s rooms don’t vary as much, and are not usually as clean as the average women’s room. I have often marveled at the cooperation present in a Women’s room line. It was hard not to feel pride in participating in a team of strangers getting along in such a way, while wishing it weren’t necessary because of a lack of facilities.

It would be better if there was just one large waiting room and many small complete bathrooms like at home, complete with toilet paper and real doors, and they would be clean too. In the popular stark two-gendered world, I was always hitting myself metaphorically in the middle of the door frames.

I have a friend who had been on hormones for a while. Her face looks very feminine, almost childlike, but her voice is pretty-much male. As I write this, someone could stretch their imagination and just perceive her as a long haired geekie male, but not everyone does that. She was forbidden from presenting herself in a feminine manner at work, so she lives a more masculine role. One day, I browsed around the mall with her. When we used the restroom, we both went our separate ways; she went to the men’s room, and I to the woman’s room. I was done first, so I was waiting by the food court. As the minutes ticked by, I became deeply afraid that something had happened to her. I was relieved when she came out. One time, as she left the men’s room, a young man looked at her as he came in. He walked out muttering, “Oops! —Wrong room.” He must have been surprised when he went into the “right” room.]

I had a male friend who showed me how to put on makeup. He was an artist at it. He also helped me pick out some clothes even though I still looked boyish. He had no fear in holding dresses up to me. It was fun but a little scary back then.

He had a nice friend who was large compared to myself, and was in his fifties. Once, he told me that God didn’t want him because he had died four times on the operating room table during a heart operation.

He had a very loud flamboyant “stained glass voice” which he deliberately used to draw attention to himself. If you weren’t secure in yourself, he was the kind of person who it would be difficult to be around. He was the kind of person who some gay men don’t want to be around because he was too “gay acting.” He was exactly the kind of person I needed to be around in order to grow.

He house sat for the people who I did gardening for, so I met him during the commute after work. One day, when I was on the bus with him, one of his coworkers asked him, “She isn’t your girlfriend is she?” I smiled. He calmly said, “Oh, no, she is just a friend,” and then he giggled a bit. He was almost protective about his gay reputation, and didn’t want to be mistaken in any way for a heterosexual person.

One day, I was putting on some muddy clothes to go out to pull some weeds when he called to me. I knew something was wrong by his voice. I asked if he was okay. He said “No.” I ran down stairs where I found him sitting in a chair, trying to decide whether or not to call the paramedics. When they arrived, they said that he had been in arrhythmia for some time. They stabilized and took him. A few years, later his God did want him. I miss him.

Glass, Silver and Rain

I was at a point of great self-discovery. The possibilities of my actions were monumental. As I told my story to people, I listened to myself talk. I was realizing how self-destructive I had been. It was a difficult time not to feel sorry for myself, but at least I was becoming aware.

I made a small cute cat sculpture from oven-hardenable clay. I called it “Vague Cat.” At this point, I believe that I was internalizing that I had been self-destructive. I was internalizing that fear and now I was afraid of hurting myself, and of such things as holding sharp objects like tools. In making the cat figure, I left more than dust and clay chips behind. I left behind part of my fear of self-destruction, and with that part of the potential for self-destruction.

I was short on money. This was nothing really new, but progress was almost too slow and difficult to bear. For months, I was on the edge, not knowing how things could possibly work out.

Adjustment took time. For years, I was taught how to try to remove everything feminine in me, and what was left? How could I possibly stop being what I was taught and relax and just be myself, which was the most difficult thing for me to be? When I looked into a mirror, I saw the anger of knowing who I was but being born what I was. I could also see the pain of losing half a lifetime until my tears blurred any image away. It had occurred to me that it I might be too late.

Even to this day, it’s so easy to internalize all the hate that so many people have given me because I am different. I knew it would take time for this to melt. I try to remember all the love I have been given as well, but sometimes that’s the difficult part.

“In Transit”

I had left my job at the car shop behind because I thought that the air there wouldn’t be too good for someone who had a lung problem. I had a bad medical history as well as a spotty job history. I had blank spots where under-the-table jobs were. Few people would have hired me. I couldn’t function without getting much attention in society because I was so androgynous and strange looking to most people.

Someone at a city welfare office told that I would have to enroll in a work-fare program to receive assistance. Though, she said that I couldn’t work with the women, but also, I couldn’t work with the men because they would pick on me, and they would have to fire me. She gave me a respectable amount of paperwork to bring to a doctor to prove I was competent to work on the basis that I was transsexual. Legally, I felt like a non-person, I was very much on my own, and I was scared.

In the town where I lived, there were a number of homeless people who pushed around shopping-carts. One of them appeared transgendered. This person was in their mid-forties, dressed as a female, but they had long facial hair growing right through their make-up. The person pushed a shopping carriage with a dirty white stuffed bear in the top seat where one would put their child. As this person passed me, they talked to the bear like someone would talk to a baby. I didn’t know this person, their life, or their accomplishments, but the idea being a homeless derelict was ominous to me. I could fail in a big way, I could die and who would notice?

At this time, the illusion that life is non-volatile wasn’t there at all, not only because of my recent health problems, but also because I was pretty much homeless. I didn’t see how I would be able to bring much with me. I sold, gave or threw away almost everything I had. I had a few suitcases and some music. They became home instead of the more common apartment or house icons. I thought back to my first love and her magazine pictures of everyday life.

A friend tried to get me help with meds’, shelter, or anything I could from the city and state agencies that were supposed to help people who weren’t doing well financially. In frustration, stubbornness and generosity, he called me one day to tell me to meet him somewhere. When I met him, he offered to let me stay with him, in exchange for gardening. I didn’t know him very well, and I am timid and generally afraid of men. I had no other choice but to trust him. I thought about it for a moment, then gratefully accepted. I gave him the little cat sculpture I had made.

It wasn’t a full-time job, but the surroundings were nice and I was safe. Everyone there was friendly to me. There were cats there, too. One cat was found on a church step, covered with fleas. It was dipped and combed. It laid down the length of my arm, pink nose and bunny feet. There was a lot of house traffic, everyone would say, “Aww, she is so pretty.” The fact was, it is not a girl cat. The cat is now larger and no longer gets she’d.

There was a guy visiting there, good-looking enough to be a male model—because he is. He knew about me, and he was always nice to me. I have a picture where I was all dressed up and almost pretty with him standing next to me. He had a girlfriend, but wasn’t it okay to fantasize a bit?

One day, I was in the garden, I had been weeding and putting in landscaping edging. I was covered all in sweat and soil. I had facial hair showing because I had to go to electrolysis. I whined inside, “Why did he have to see me like this?

On Thursday April 18th, 1991, I was about twenty-seven years old. I had taken all the gender clinic’s tests except the one that really matters, the real-life test. That day at the board meeting, I remember being so scared that I felt faint. I cried quite a lot out of fear. If I had anything in life to gamble, I already had. I knew that I was at a fork in the path of my life. There had been questions raised because of my drug use. I tried to keep calm. What kind of life would I have left to return to if I had failed?

The next day at my friend’s house, in my pocket was a small folded “Congratulations Jamie” (me, at that time) poster with a hand drawn picture of a cat. In my hand was a glass of iced tea, in the other was a little purple pill. Papers which stated becoming a woman wasn’t a hobby would follow.

In the first few months, I didn’t seem to change much, but I had a warm feeling that things might be okay. The momentum of being born a genetic male had been slowed. I sighed in relief.

In a few months, I smelled more agreeable and I didn’t sweat as much. Being on female hormones felt like the brief calm feeling that I felt right after having an orgasm. I was now going for electrolysis and my face usually looked like one mess or another. When I checked my face for progress one day, I noticed something different. My face felt so very different, It used to feel firm to the touch and now it felt like a girls face.

Me?
This is me?
This is my face, mine?
Aw, yea.

I was losing muscle mass. Soon, I had byproducts of my transition, smile lines, something I would have never had to worry about before because I rarely smiled. I remember when someone at the car shop said to me, “I have never seen you smile.” My ex-girlfriend used to call me “doom and gloom.

One day, when I ran down the stairs, I noticed that I was crossing my arms, because my ittybittytittycommittee boobies were tender, and they still are nine years later. I had to get a bra.

I caught myself looking both ways when crossing the street instead of just going by the sound. I started caring whether or not I would be around. I thought, I will get over this. and it won’t matter anymore, but not when I am alive. I wanted to be a real girl since I was little. I started transition for the physical changes, and on the way, something wonderful happened. The real life test, was probably the hardest thing I could do, and yet, I felt warm, alive for the first time since I was taught by others to hate and be ashamed of myself. For me, the transitional paradox was, in my quest to grow on the outside, I had grown on the inside.

The theory of being confident enough not to change my body was better in theory than in real life. I didn’t have anyone left to prove anything to. I just wanted to be happier.

2 Steps Forward, One....

The subject below is not very pleasing. Please skip the next section if you are easily offended. I don’t want to upset anyone. While I feel it is not typical, I have heard of others doing the following, told in quiet hushes. I also don’t want to throw stones straight up in the glass house, or hurt the group I’m in. This was real and part of my story, and a branch I am glad I did not climb any further out on.

At the dawn of my transition, I had little if any money. I felt I was a burden to my friends. I could barely afford the estrogen I fought for. I was becoming aware of how trivial life was before I started transitioning, often without warmth, love, and respect for all life. How long could have I gone on not caring about my own live, and try to care about others? I was fearful of failure and worry of slipping backwards. I wanted never to go back. I thought that if I had no gonads and if things got worse my body wouldn’t slip towards maleness as fast. I also thought I might be able to argue that I have a medical necessity for estrogen.

I did something worthy in intent, but stupid nether the less. I felt that I had what it took to perform a self-orchidectomy. I thought I knew what to do, had the instruments, practiced tying knots with rubber gloved hands, and I had something to cauterize the tubes with.

I cut through the outer scrotum and was working on the inner.... Partway through, I had learned almost too late, only my patience could do what I had to do, but only my anger could tolerate the pain.

The volume of blood absorbed in the paper towels from such a small incision is significant.
Black snow is everywhere.
I don’t know if this is a failsafe in my mind or the real thing, but I know that I am losing consciousness.
I am not finished.
I am still open, bleeding.

I could not finish. After I put four or five small stitches in my scrotum, I got dressed, cleaned up, and cried. I released my mother’s cat from the other room where she was being temporarily detained for my safety. All her needs were provided for. She is one of the only cats that never liked me.

Afternoon light filtered through the blinds and striped the mission-style couch. I laid down crying as I wrapped my arms around a pillow. I failed. I couldn’t afford my estrogen and I didn’t want to go back. I was such a worthless loser. To my surprise, that summer day, my mother’s cat nuzzled up next to me. That would be the first and only time she would ever be nice to me, or perhaps anyone. (Smiling.)

If I had ended up at the hospital, I would have questions to answer. If I had accidentally left that day, I would have hurt a lot of people. I would not have known the days that would follow. I would not have known the people that I do, and I would not have experienced what I have since then. If I can find meaning in the attempt, It would be found by asking people not to try this at home. Scary stuff, astronomical implications. I’m sorry. I’m lucky to be alive to regret it. Don’t try it at home!

One person’s junk is another person’s gold.
For those that can afford,
Body parts, freedom and potential are sold.

What’s in a....

During my transition, I called myself “Jamie.” It was a good androgynous name, but I wanted a female name. I could pick any name that I wanted and no one could stop me. With all this new freedom came confusion.

For my amusement, I had the original list of names from when I was born. They were crayon scribbles on the back of my temporary birth certificate from the hospital. I had asked my parents if they wanted me to change my last name as well. For some reason, at that time they didn’t ask me to change it.

I had a list with ten names or so. It was hard for me to pick just one or two, because when I was born, I was just given one as a baby. I didn’t have to bear any of that responsibility. Even if my original name was strange, it still wasn’t my fault. I could blame it on my parents. Some names go in and out of fashion, and a flashy modern name could be noticed easily.

Before I transitioned, my old girlfriend and I had been joking. She had a friend named Brenda, and she said that Brenda would make a good name for me if I was a girl because it is like my old name Brian. (As I typed that I had to look at it for a second because I was not sure if I spelled that correctly, it has been some years since I wrote it. (Smiling.)

I used to watch was a television sit-com which had a feminine artsy character. She was written opposite another who was conservative, uptight, and totally out-of-touch of his feelings. I liked this dichotomy, the character, and person who portrayed her. I took Ellen for a middle name. I probably was that conservative, uptight and totally out-of-touch with his feelings character, before then.

One day, I gathered all the paper work that I could find from the clinic. On my way to the courthouse, I crossed the town on foot, going across a train-bridge which shaved some time off my trip. I had been jumped on that bridge before and I was still a worried to be around there.

As I walked in the center of the bridge where a train would go, I heard the dull metallic humming of running footsteps on the outside catwalk. The catwalk overlooks the highway below. Because of the way the old rusty bridge was built, I couldn’t see who or how many are on it. I had been attacked there before, and I assumed it was going to happen again. As I walked, I quietly collected large pieces of trap rock, placing them in my pockets. I tried to careful not to slow because that would give away the fact that—I had rocks. The footsteps didn’t split up or change direction; they passed me. I thought I could run back, but the bridge was much longer behind me than in front of me. I kept my hands in my pockets. People poured out and filled the end of the bridge.

When I saw them, I was so relieved because, they were the same curious teens I had seen the other day. The girl who asked me if I was a girl the other day was right in front of me. I held out my hand and said, “Hi, I’m Brenda.” The girl shook my hand and told me her name. The other teens were nervously talking out-loud of other things that they could do that afternoon. By the time they left, and I felt good. I emptied my pockets and went about my day.

I made it to the courthouse. I paid a more than token, yet almost affordable amount of money to the clerk. I went in back to see the judge. While it wasn’t the norm, I have heard about some judges not granting name changes for transsexual people. He was real nice about the whole thing, as was everyone there. He closed the door so things could be done discreetly. I raised my right hand, repeated chapter and verse, saying that I was not trying to do this to evade anything or commit fraud. I got a copy of my name change paperwork. They were really nice there.

On these office visits, I was the first transsexual person most people had ever met. I went to the Social Security office in person, filled out paper work. Two weeks later I received my updated Social Security card in the mail. The person number is still the same, but the name was palatable.

I went to my local Department of Motor Vehicle Office. I know some people who changed their names, only to come back later and claimed that the “M” for male, was a mistake. I tried to be honest, pleading that I was expected to live as a female and that it might be more difficult with a “M” on my license. It didn’t work. I left, crying all the way home. Everyone uses driver’s licenses for identification, how was I supposed to get a job? Why do they need to know what sex I am?

Some time after, I lost my license. It was perhaps an subconscious action. While I was at the DMV I tried again. I pleaded with the person there. I told her, “You can make this one small mistake today and it would be over today, but I have to live with whatever you put on that license for a long time.” I realized that I had asked her to compromise herself, her job, but I would not have asked if I didn’t think it was a worthy cause. Sometimes the world is not all that binary. Sometimes the rules must be broken, sometimes being human is more important. She thought not.

As she denied me, becoming very angry. I had enough, so I went to talk to the manager. When I explained the situation, she said that she didn’t know what to do. She called the comptroller’s office. I explained the situation to her, and we talked some. She seemed very nice. When she asked to speak to the manager again, I handed her the phone. She quickly looked at my person and then met me in the eye. She smiled as she said into the phone, “She looks like a girl.” After a moment, she put down the phone. She told me to go over to the desk station, the same station where I had failed to reach a human being before. She told the girl there to move aside, the girl stumbled for argument and was quickly placed by the manager. The manager processed my license. I told her, “Thank you.” I had gotten an “F.” I smiled at them both as I left, hugging my license as I walked down the street. I went back there with a greeting card to give to the manager there some time later, but she was no longer at that office.

One of the members of my support group, with the help of a lawyer, would set official precedent for pre-operative transsexual gender designations on licenses in our state. She has my respect, and she helped a lot of people that have enough of problems.

[As I write this, there are only two choices on my birth certificate, only two choices on my driver’s license. I don’t believe the government should be allowed to systematically place sex designations on official documents openly available to the public. I am here to work, why does someone need to know what my genitals look like? I am more feminine than masculine physically now, the “F” is more accurate and if nothing else, reflects the average truth of my altered body, but why does the law need to know this of me? How can justice not peek? I think that it can be a tool for discriminating against people from birth.

Someone can discriminate more easily if they have been given the tools to differentiate.]

Cats and the Cradle

I met someone who hosted cross-dressing gatherings in their home. The gatherings were mostly frequented by men who dressed as women. I went there because I wanted more interaction with people, which was difficult because I looked androgynous, and at the gatherings, I felt safe.

The person who ran the place was also a small-time bookie. So, I have this image of men sitting around dressed up in women’s clothes who bet on football. Strangely, sometimes I still associate the two. It’s difficult to pinpoint in words, but there was a wholesome “Tupper-Ware® Party” feeling to the atmosphere. As a purist, I like men to shave before they dress up as women, but some there didn’t. It’s wrong to ask someone to change their body in any way to please me, yet sometimes it would have been easier on the eye.

Quite a few people went there. Besides the person who ran the club, there was another veteran who had problems with his leg because his boat had been blown out from under him during the a war. A few of my friends also went there. One was especially nice. He was at one time going out with a transsexual person. He told me that he was “Just a garden variety cross-dresser.

He also had a problem with a person who was unrelated to this scene. He was being blackmailed by someone threatened to tell everyone that he cross-dressed. He intercepted letters to his parents. When I met the blackmailer at my transsexual support group, I knew something was wrong. This person had been written up in a local arts newspaper, saying that he only cross-dressed. Now, he said that had always been transsexual. The truth about the blackmailing surfaced, and the person was banned from our support group as well as another.

[This was the same newspaper issue that my old girlfriend had thrown at me when she discovered that the person on the front cover was transgendered in some fashion. It is a small world.]

The associated shame is not good, but being blackmailed for sexual purposes is much worse. This is one of the disadvantages of living the “stealth” life; it leaves one vulnerable to this kind of thing.

There were a number of photo albums. My friend kidded that, “if there were no cameras there would be no people that crossdressed.” The people in the pictures had really trusted the person who ran the place. He was really nice to everyone. He also showed me some pictures of this genetic woman who liked to get dressed up. He said that he thought that she was a little strange because “...she is a transvestite trapped in a woman’s body.

[A few years later, my friend would identify more with being transsexual and want those physical changes. She also is one of the few transsexual people I have ever met that openly prefers the intimate company of other transsexual people.]

There were also a lot of pictures of someone who had this Marilyn Moroe’ish persona. I thought that this person must be a little taken with themselves, but when I met this person, I really enjoyed talking with them. We talked about flowers—I was a gardener. I found myself very attracted to this person. Sh-he was basically a male who had some breast development from female hormones, and still liked living as a male.

I loved hearing this person’s voice, which was both male and female concurrently. Most of the cross-dressers there seemed to have separate “male” and “female” voices; this person only had one which was kind of androgynous. I was told by friend that sh-he had some really pretty girlfriends and that I was not in the same league.

Some years later, the person who ran the gathering was stricken with prostate cancer. It spread to some of his bones before anyone diagnosed it. By then, it was too late. A friend and I visited him in the hospital, and later at a hospice where he eventually passed away. At the cemetery there were a lot of other people from his other life.

The Marilyn Monroeish person was there as a male in a formal suit. I had never seen him as a male, and he looked good as a male, too. There was just something in his voice and eyes. But, that is not why I was there. I and everyone else was crying. Everyone hugged, but when I hugged him and looked into his eyes, for just that moment, for whatever reason, I felt okay. It has been years and I still haven’t seen the Marilyn Monroeish person. I miss him.

The person who ran the club was lowered into the ground. Solders and veterans in dress uniform fired twenty-one rounds into the air.

We were all invited back to the apartment the gathering was held in. We heard that the late crossdressing bookie’s divorce was really ugly, and he didn’t get along with his ex-wife. They had a son who was aware of his father’s crossdressing, but didn’t deal with it very well. I don’t think anyone cared for him much because he was not nice to be around.

He decided to keep the condominium. Ironically, it was filled with the inescapable artifacts of his father’s crossdressing. He placed a tape recorder on top of a table. It played “Cats in the Cradle” which was song about a father that didn’t have time for his son. I don’t understand why he wanted to prove a point to the very cross-dressing people he so little respect for—just like he had for his father. Tired, hurting, and confused by the day, he just sat in a chair and stared into nothing as the music played.

Boat People

I had a transsexual friend who owned a sailboat. Years before, she was a veteran helicopter pilot in Vietnam. She didn’t talk about her experiences much but she did say she was shot down once, and that auto-rotation isn’t that bad.

She had a nice thirty-five foot sailboat. She invited me to sail with her from Connecticut to Provincetown for a lesbian wedding.

It was nice that my presence didn’t seem to bother her much, and I appreciated the invitation because sometimes it takes a certain amount of ego strength for a transsexual person to hang around with another who doesn’t “pass” very well. Some transsexual people want a totally “stealth” life, and there is a formula that: the greater the number of TS people together, the greater the risk of unwanted attention.

The wind was not kind to us. Because of the wedding, we had time constrictions, so we had to “motor” quite a bit on the way there. After a while, I noticed that the Atlantic Ocean is very large and the boat wasn’t. We sailed almost all the way back. As fun as the trip was, it felt like a diversion to me because I felt pressured by own goals.

I took video of parts of the trip, and she took a silly video clip of me explaining the use of tiny maps found on taffy-boxes and souvenir mugs as navigational aids. I still have that video, and some of my close friends have failed to recognize the person in it as me. I loaned the video to my electrolysist, someone who stood over my face for hours on end. She failed to pick me out of the video. I guess this says something loud about the effects of hormones on the body.

When I first started my transition, I think anyone could tell from one hundred feet that I was a transsexual person. As time went on; it was fifty, then ten, then five. As more time past, it wasn’t a matter of distance, but time. First it was a moment, then a few, then mostly when I decided. I had reached a goal, I just wanted people to get a chance to know me as a person—first.

Places

A friend and I visited an inner-city female impersonator bar a few times. There were about sixty people there. The place was rough, but I thought it was a neat opportunity to meet people. We had fun watching the drag show. There were a few people who really sang and sang well mixed in with those performers who lip-synced. I thought the signs on the Women’s and Men’s rooms didn’t mean very much there.

Because I was tired, and I don’t drink very much, I asked for a coffee. It wasn’t the usual drink of the house, but the bartender was nice enough to make it for me.

As I drank my coffee, I talked to a person who appeared more feminine than masculine. She smoked a cigarette in a manner as elegantly as any person could. I thought that she might have been for hire, but I was not sure. She said that I was mysterious and that she was trying to figure out what I was. We talked long enough for me to feel a connection. When someone picked her up, I worried about her leaving with him. I worried more when we were followed to our car, and still more on the way home when at highway speed, a state trouper in front of us had decided to slam on his brakes hard enough to smoke his tires and yaw his car, to make a left U-turn, which used up most of his allotted buffer and almost four lives.

My friends and I went to a rather large local gay dance club. Hundreds of people danced there. We were talking to a nice woman. She was pretty, tall and had a southern accent. A man in drag walked by as we continued talking. She remarked, “...with some of them you can’t even tell.” While her comment wasn’t especially negative, I felt funny because, she was flirting a little and what would she think of me?

Once, when I was at a gay bar, I walked past two women who kissed and hugged as they sat on the sink in the restroom. I may have be startled to see a man leaving one of the stalls, but I was offended that he left the seat up. I thought, “Hey! When in Rome....

There is a cross-dressing group near where I live. It’s more social than the transsexual support group I attend, but it is still non-sexual. The turnout sometimes is surprisingly lower than the transsexual group—surprising because there are many more people who cross-dress than transsexual people.

The group warm and open. Sometimes the people from our transsexual group stop by to say their hellos. The people there seem accepting of us. I spoke to someone there who was accidentally outed in a newspaper’s social section as someone who crossdressed. She didn’t lose her job, but she could have.

The group was run by someone who crossdresses, perhaps bordering on transsexual. She runs the group well and has really good people skills when it comes to helping people. I once witnessed a panel discussion that she ran. I had offered something to the discussion, but she helped draw things out of me that helped me to heal in a really rare way. I am most appreciative for that.

[She now identifies more with the transsexual experience than one of someone who crossdresses.]

At large party once, I talked to a transgendered person who took street hormones without doctor supervision. He took 10mg of Premarin a day which seemed comparatively high. I thought that he risked stroke and liver problems. Also, in talking with him, he didn’t even realize that it could interfere with his ability to have sex as a male. I am surprised that some people will just do things without having knowledge of the consequences. At least I knew what I was getting myself into.

Stars

I met a lot of people at the transsexual support group. One of which was someone who would later become a president of that group. She was educated, intelligent, pretty, very reserved and was respected by most.

When she transitioned, one of her ex in-laws had objected strongly and decided to keep her child during a visitation, and they ultimately tried to seek custody for the child on the sole idea that a transsexual person must be a bad, unfit parent. She said her company was not doing that well and she had little money left for litigation.

As I listened to her, I could see the grief in her face and hear it in her voice.

We became friends, and I started doing a little organizing to help at her computer company for pocket money. When we would go places, she would often ask me to stay in the car. I looked really androgynous and she was too embarrassed to be out with me in public mostly because of her own insecurities. She had not had the experience that I had with the man with the “stain glass voice.” One day, while I waited in the car, I noticed some stars on the inside of the car door. They were like one would paste on school papers. She had taped over them to protect the symbols of the memory of her child.

She either saw potential in me, or was nice enough to give me a chance, and she showed me how to assemble and configure computers. I had some computer experience, but not with PC’s.

I started working there more often. We also became better friends, but also I was attracted to her. In casual conversation she told me that she wouldn’t ever want to be in a relationship with another transsexual person. By this time I was already in love with her, and hearing that hurt me a lot. Eventually, she did admit that she was attracted to me, but by then I had grown from her because of the isolation.

One is in love with me, I love, but I am not in love with her,
Now, there is nowhere left to grow.
There are only tears,
Two rivers I cannot cross,
Until the only path leads away from my best friend.

She took in a feral cat. She saved another from the pound that was overdue from the needle, but had been spared just because she was cute.

Some time later, we shared and lived in an office in back. There was no natural light back there, so I used a timer and a plant-light to try to make it feel like a place for living things. I was paid in electrolysis, estrogen, food, rent and surgical credit, but I didn’t have the independence that I needed to feel good about myself.

Each morning, I woke up, opened the door, made coffee, and did some customer data entry. I would put some computers together. One day, I dropped a tray of tiny screws. I got upset until I noticed it was a welcome distraction from my routine.

At that time, I had lost about everything, almost everyone in my “former” life. It was like I had died. It felt like, in the deepest of ways, that I operated in the world almost totally alone. There were almost no ties between my past and present. All my current friends had been strangers just a year before. Feeling isolated hurt me a great deal, but it some ways gave me a chance to grow. I no longer felt any need to oblige by presenting myself as I was before. I had a few CDs and tapes in a suitcase, and it was home, not so different than my first love’s. She coped with the same things I had to deal with, and at a much younger age.

Most of our business was from referrals, and the street the office faced was quite desolate. I could function pretty well during business hours, but at the end of the day, I locked the smoked-glass front door, got a cup of coffee, looked out at the sunset as it faded into the trees, and start crying. I held my stuffed raccoon. Stuffed animals never leave you all alone because you are different. The cats would sometimes snoop out to keep me company, but I wished so much that there was someone there for me.

I am or am I

(Loathing)

I wake and wonder,
How will I ever communicate,
How to give of myself,
Give something different,
Because that’s all that I am.

My heart beats,
Reach my arm, tremble,
I am not clearly male or female.
The depths I sync to,
A little for everyone,
A lot for no one,
No one for me,
No one I can see.

Where I’ve been and what I’ve done,
Am I still a human any more,
Or is being alive just the last sentimental attachment?
Yet another thing to be pried from the arms of a child.

I may never reach anyone,
And maybe no one will ever reach me.
Because they only seem to make one at a time.

I am, or am I?
On this fucking ball, alone.
I want to go more than words.
Come now, reap what you sow.

I’m so sad,
I’ve had it,
Sooner or later,
I’ll fix it.

I am something off the beaten path,
I am just another abstract creation.

I am Server 54,
Running, walled-in, and forgotten.

I am Lonesome George on the Galapagos Islands.
I am just another evolutionary destination.

I,
Just one of the same suit,
Just a careless mistake,
Just decaying momentum,
Just too stupid to die,
Just one of a kind too far,
But not living a lie.

I seem, to live only to get a favorable obituary,
And a few nice words on page two.

I’m myself again,
I have grown, learned,
Changed so much,
I am myself,
And not into anything anyone would want.

Maybe I had more than most people,
But I lose it all anyway.

It’s just a little more than one person can take.
People who I only seem to find—to lose.

Sync

I have noticed that transsexual people come in all shapes, colors, religions, sizes, and interests. I have also noticed that although I identify with most somewhat, I do not identify with many transsexual people deeply. We are that diverse.

In some ways, I have been fortunate that my body is feminine enough to allow me to behave as boyishly as I want in society without people questioning my femininity. Yet, this layered growing behavior can reiterate my femininity to some people, but it can isolate me from my peers. I have lost little other than physical strength, some people I thought were friends, and some family. I have grown beyond what I ever thought I would be. My body turned a little different, but it’s okay.

I feel that I have come all this way, done so much just to be who I feel I am on the inside, but in a very deep sobering way I feel very alone. I sometimes wonder if I had lost myself in all of this, but I don’t think I did. I have found myself. I look rather plain, yet when I look at my body I know that very few people in the world look remotely like I do. I behave like some lesbians and yet I am very different. My body is both a boyish woman’s and a feminine man’s. I am androgynous, and I know that very few people are in the center of the upside-down bell curve.

I dress kind of androgynously. I don’t wear very much makeup. It was my self-delusive desire to want to be pretty enough to get along without it. It is my fear that after someone sees me in it, I would not want to startle them without it.

I was at my counselor’s office with my friend. I met another transsexual person there who there for approval for surgery. She was really pretty, brown eyes, high cheekbones, lightened brown hair. She seemed nice, she described herself as a dykie TS. She was very feminine and just a little boyish, in a really cute way.

I had heard from someone that she wanted to talk to me. When I first talked to her we had company over and they were teasing me, implying that she wanted to be more than friends, I smiled, but when no one could see me. Regardless of her intent, I wanted her in my life. There was something unique about her, something I had never felt with anyone really before. Whether it was real or not is not known. I feel very un-alone with her.

We talked about a lot of things, work, relationships and stuff. She said I was hot, and coming from her, that made me feel good. She came over one day. We talked a bit, and we went for a walk down some railroad tracks behind where I worked. I enjoyed her company. I admit, I imagined us kissing while we were walking. If I can ever redo this moment I will try to kiss her.

When we returned, we were still talking. Her friend noticed that I was twirling my hair. In fact they both were doing some kind of pseudo-inventory on me.

While we were sitting on the bed and talking. She reached out to pick up my stuffed animal. My raccoon is very good to hug. I noticed how she held this stuffed raccoon. The movement of individual fingers, hands, the look in her eyes, how each muscle started and stopped its motion, I dared find it familiar. I have never imagined, had no way to prepare for this. I got more from just sharing this little very-nothing moment than having sex in half a lifetime, but now I was forever changed knowing that she shares my world.

Once a very great while,
I glance at tomorrow.
I am moved, though it’s so rare.
So quick and so deep the touch of you.

I couldn’t deal with her. I never anticipated meeting another human being in my life whom I would identify with. We talked a lot on the phone and said that she was attracted to me as well, but couldn’t deal with being attracted to another transsexual person. She said she talked to her mother, and decided that I wasn’t someone whom she wanted.

I was at her house one night for a party. There were artists in one room, geeks in another, and goths in the kitchen. I felt like I was the only other one bouncing from room-to-room, besides her. Someone made me a nice origami swan. Everyone was being matched up for pretend weddings, but it was her I thought about spending the rest of my life with, for real.

Years later, a friend said that she was at my support group one time with this person who I felt so much for and me. As we talked, we bonded as friends. I was talking about this person from my past. When she looked at me, she elated how I looked at this person. She said that she wanted someone to look at her like that, and that no one ever had, yet.

Echoes

You look within me,
As I look within you.

I listen to you,
As you listen to me.

You take breath of me,
As I take breath of you.

I touch you,
As you touch me.

As you think of me,
I think of you.

I feel you within my heart,
As you feel me in your heart.

I find this so...
Deep within deep.

Safety like...
Nest within nest.

Comfort of...
Hand within hand.

Magic of...
Box within box.

At awe of this...
World within world.
Echo within echo.

Could this ever be forever?
Could this ever be love within love?

“Pre-Op”

Living as a woman, but having male genitalia has its problems: bathrooms, hugs, clothes, and more so if the darn thing still works. At work I would be treated as such that I would forget I was a genetic male; at the end of the day, when I would take my clothes off to go to sleep, I would remember I was still only half finished. I would also cry in the mornings, especially in the shower. The dreaded-poker-thing looked stupid on me, but the other things were trying to undo all that I wanted to do. I felt that my gonads were the poison-producing things they were.

The voice issue was complicated for me. Once altered by my own body’s male hormones, my voice was forever deepened. There are surgeons working on ways to change this, but I have not personally witnessed results at this time that I would call successful and lasting.

I learned that the voice outside reflects to some degree the narrative voice inside one’s mind. When I couldn’t imagine myself talking at a certain pitch, I couldn’t speak it in real life. When I had been taught to suppress anything regarded as feminine in myself, it made speaking as a female difficult for me. I wanted to be a real person, but I also wanted to get along in society to some degree. I like to sing, so that is how I worked on expanding my vocal range. The range of the instrument I possess is in the range of a male, but I hardly ever get taken for a male over the phone.

After completing most of my electrolysis and living for a year in the real-life—real-life, I was given approval for surgery. This isn’t a test, it is real life. Half a year later, I had surgery. Surgery was just one more step but it was something that I had wanted to do since I was a child. How could it not have weight for me?

Looking back, there are things that stood out. I remember climbing onto the operating table and trying getting comfortable. I remember asking the surgeon to make me pretty, but I forgot that I hopped from the table onto the hospital bed after surgery Apparently, I asked everyone if I was pretty like a flower.

Recovering from surgery has all the (sanitary-pad consuming, go fuck yourself on the hour, betadine sitz-bathing, wash the plastic pokerthing, and try to sleep) glamor that one would expect from having your genitals rearranged with a knife.

My surgeon had left too much tissue in an area which interfered with dilation. This lead to vaginal stenosis. In time, I would learn that I calmly maintained my composure with grace at all times about the matter. While I was crying, I threw a dilator across the room, just missing a friend who rounded the corner. I could have another operation with a graft from elsewhere on my body, leaving quite the elegant scar. This was not very appealing. For now, at least, no. Even after six months, this still bothered me a lot. After ten years, it still bothers me.

In some of my dreams since surgery, I still have male genitalia. When it first happened I was confused because I never read anything about it. Where the dreams I had before I transitioned of me being female when I wasn’t were emotionally devastating, the occasional ones with male genitalia after surgery didn’t have as much an emotional effect. If dreams are supposed to be wishes, then how could I have two that differ? It fascinates me that I have dreams with female parts at all because I only had functioning female genitalia for about a month. I have never had a dream, or even a nightmare in which the rest of my body was masculine.

Exhibit T

I was invited to speak at an association for sex therapists and counselors. There were a few other transsexual people, some counselors and therapists on the panel. I was a little nervous at first, but once they got me going it was hard to silence me. I had lived all these years without anyone knowing how I felt.

There I was, telling a roomful of strangers things that couldn’t have been beaten out of me just a few years back.

As I spoke, I noticed that as my story flowed from me, the people in the audience were showing me, perhaps reflecting everything from laughter to tears. When it was over, they came to talk to me, and shook my hand. An attractive woman counselor gave me her phone number, so I called her. She was very interested in this whole thing, to the point of losing sleep, and she said that she was doing some research. (Smiling.)

I did public speaking at three universities and a medical teaching institution. I think the interaction is the most important part, because that is the part you can’t get from television. Some people at my support group sometimes wondered why I did it...

Because of the needless years of shame,
Because there are younger gender dysphoric people out there,
Because If I could help just one person not to hate themselves because they’re different, it would all be worth it,
Because I have learned and grown since then,
Because among other things...
I am transsexual.

One teacher who teaches human sexuality for health care professionals invites gay, lesbian, cross-dressing, and transsexual people to be her guests in her classes. She breaks the class up into smaller groups. We sit in a circle, and the students said their names which is required by the teacher. The general feeling is that we were to be treated like people. Each group has the opportunity to speak with one guest for a set period of time. I like this style better than the formal panel. It is more difficult to be disrespectful to someone’s face than to do so when hiding behind classroom chairs.

The first questions are often sexual in nature. After a while of talking to me, perhaps I am treated as a human being, but sometimes not. Some questions have the potential of letting me grow as a person because someone may see a different facet that I might have missed.

At one discussion I attended, there was a student who became anxious as I talked. When we had finished talking, he asked me my name. He said that I looked like someone he went to school with, and we even shared the same name. He said that this person was picked on by a group of males for being feminine/effeminate. He added that he was one of the people who picked on that person, and that he felt bad about doing it and wished that he could apologize to that person. He continued that, the person didn’t change clothes in gym class at school. When he first started his story, I even wondered if it could have been me, until he said that the gym teacher actually forcefully took this person’s clothes off in front of the entire class and physically threw them into the showers. I was shocked because this person was sexually abused by having his clothes ripped off of him. Whatever reason the person we were talking about had for not wanting to change for gym, was, with no doubt made worse by this treatment.

This story unfolded right in front of a class. I felt empathy with the person whom this had happened to, and confusion as how to respond to the person in front of me. There is another feminine person out there that had problems in gym and even shared the same first name I had. How could I not empathize? Now I had this person in front of me, almost asking me for whether or not he was worthy of being forgiven. He could have been without remorse, having learned nothing since, but that wasn’t the case. It was a deep moment for me.

Perhaps I needed to believe that someone from my past could grow to see me as a person with feelings, worthy of ordinary, everyday respect. Perhaps I needed a person, just one person, who could have grown as much as he did from my past, but he wasn’t that person. He was looking for this person from his past to apologize to, and I could have been that person, but I wasn’t.

After the class we talked and reiterated his involvement in teasing and tormenting this person. He seemed genuinely sorry for his involvement. While his treatment wasn’t insignificant, it wasn’t anywhere near to what the gym teacher had done, an action which I couldn’t forgive.

I told him that I couldn’t grant or deny him absolution, because it wasn’t me. I asked him if he would ever do something like that again, he said he wouldn’t. I pointed out that he had grown. I knew he could never repeat his mistake because I could feel that within him that let him grow. Looking back, in the moment, I neglected to tell him that if he was one of the people that picked on me, that I would forgive him. I forgive you. (Crying.)

NDT

I was lucky that there was information and books about transitioning. One would just have to know where to look. I knew there were health risks and trade offs. Ever since then, I have been getting my hormone levels, liver functions, retina checked for diabetes, cholesterol and other things checked every six months to a year by an endocrinologist.

I worried because I had a lump under my right nipple. My endocrinologist suggested that I have a mammogram, just to be sure. I am very tender there, as I think a lot of transsexual people are, which can be a bad thing at times.

I had a mammogram done. Any kind of x-ray equipment always seem to be ice-cold but it wasn’t that bad that bad, even for my breasts. The radiologist recommended that I have a needle biopsy. What little optimism I carried, was fading. I imagined biopsy needles larger than milk-shake straws. I imagined what I would look like with only one breast. I hate having surgery. I thought that if I lived as a woman, I could die as one as well. Now, something was different than before; the prospects of life and death were different to me.

I went to the general surgeon who was recommended to me. In the office, there were children playing in an area with toys near a window. There were venetian blinds with the string which was still not cut. I remembered once seeing my mother’s cat tangled, crying, hanging by her neck with one paw inside the loop keeping her breathing. I asked the nurse if she would cut the string or tie it out of the way so that the children could not get hurt. She became enraged at me, flipped the string out of the way. I don’t understand people sometimes, but it was safer, for now.

I told the doctor about my experiences with my lung. He was sympathetic and understanding. He had given me enough Novocaine so I hardly felt a thing. He said that it would take about five days for the results. I spent those five days and three more, waiting for my biopsy results to come back.

I was invited to do more public speaking at Yale Medical School, as a guest of a very nice psychologist. There was a small shell-like auditorium with green-boards and lots of curious students. I told my life story again, trying to keep it short because there were other people, and I talk too much. In the back of my mind, a backdrop of anxiety about the test, which still had not come back, I didn’t know if my life would end soon.

People speak about the “real life test” during transition. Along those eight long days of reflection, if ever I had any doubts, if ever I would not believe in myself or the choices I had to make, I would have seen it. Everything was completely different than before. If I had died soon after, I would have been sad to go, but I will never regret my transition. No one will be able to fill my head with doubt from this day, because my heart has spoken. I had passed the “near death test.”

In Others

My electrolysis was nearly done. I felt that I passed well enough to let people get the chance to know me. I did not feel the great drive that I once did. I was finally beginning to feel okay. I have almost the same chance most people have. At that time, my largest problem was trying to find a used car to buy.

Having survived the same day-to-day things that any other living thing has to, having survived a heart problem, a lung that collapsed twice, having survived ten years of days I didn’t want to live, self-destructive self-hate on every drug I could buy...I feel alive.I am no Freudian-Poster-Child, but I’ve been through a lot. I still have things to work on, some room to grow, and needs to attend to.

My body feels something like I did when I was a kid. Maybe it’s the hormones—I don’t know. My life’s third period seems to be reminiscent of the first. I feel I have tried my best to correct my path. I feel alive. I feel fortunate...

I could never forget those who did stand behind me,
When no one else would.

When I didn’t know if I would be around myself,
The people whose shoulders, my tears fell upon,
The people with whom I shared a thousand firsts,
The people who I shared a bit of joy with.

To you, thank you. I feel so very lucky.
I feel love.

I found that people could both know me and love me. To me, this was something to weigh the success of my actions against. What would it bring? Could I complain about the same things other people do? Could I be a real person?

Supportive

When I first came to a gender-dysphoria support group, I wanted to find someone who had a past similar to mine. Later, I wished nobody did. What people showed me ranged from extremely warm and friendly, to icy and indifferent. I noticed that most of the males-to-females were very much like women, and didn’t ever look like they ever could have been taken for males. People had accomplished goals outside the edge of even my imagination. I felt very inferior even compared to people...like me? Me, have peers? Me?

The similarities end here.
The distance is far.
I am jealous over jealousy
And even look for it to know when you are near.

For me to become jealous it takes two seeds.
Something I have not,
And someone that could be me,
Are the two things it needs.

In so many ways, some of the stories I heard could have been and were pretty much the same as mine. There was a wide range of people from various backgrounds with this one thing in common. I was cautiously asked many questions. I found it difficult not to feel like everyone was quickly forming opinions about me as fast as I could expel information. They were. I didn’t feel very confident in my ability to be understood, and if not, where else on the planet could I be?

When I first came to the meetings, I appeared male. For this, I feel I was given little trust. Some uptight heterosexual men worry about their girlfriend being transsexual; some uptight transsexual women worry about their peers being heterosexual men. I thought that just being open and honest was enough. I’ve been wrong before. I will always try to remember to temper my opinions, because, for me at least, this is about being one from the inside out—a skill honed in time.

A group called the Police wrote a song called “Message in a Bottle”. It was about someone who put messages in bottles and then threw them out to sea, until one day, a million bottles washed ashore. This is what going to this support group felt like to me. When I started attending, most people there passed through, not staying long enough to share their experience and knowledge with others once they had transitioned and had surgery. I am glad that has changed. Today we have a lot more post-op people hanging around than we had when I started.

I have been going for about ten years. I worked on the group’s newsletter for a brief time and was the group’s co-vice-president twice. I sometimes felt I was the group’s loose cannon. I am opinionated, and talk too much. I try to listen really carefully, though whenever this isn’t impinged by my talking. Oddly, people sometimes thank me for being open. I noticed that I was giving a lot of thought about meetings that were just a passing interest on the long road to physical femininity. The years spent without this group, as the only person who felt the way I did, will not soon be forgotten. Transition is something that one shouldn’t go through without a bunch of people you can count on. I had a lot of friends who helped me and I wouldn’t be alive without them.

I have seen things at this support group, some difficult, some touching and more day to day things than one would imagine. Sometimes people discuss medical issues, such as counseling, hormones and surgery. Other times, the group examines legal implications such as changing names, licenses, and birth certificates. Sometimes things get too cerebral or too political. What I feel is more important is just to be there and listen. People sometimes have problems, and sometimes lose family and friends to a lack of compassion and understanding.

The life stories I have heard tend to either make or break my heart. I know of one person who waited until their son graduated from high school to transition because they didn’t want to any shame to fall on him. I have seen family and friends come and be supportive to their loved one, even though it might be difficult for them to understand. I have heard about people struggling to just keep in contact with their children, and the only “wrong” they did was just being transsexual.

I think that transsexual transition can test love very thoroughly. Sometimes the strain is too much on the relationship, sometimes not. As early as the nineteen-nineties, there were legally married couples of the same sex because the surgeon was merciful enough not to require a legal divorce—for better or worse. People share their experiences, both the positive and negative, from the major to the trivial.

People have taken time to personally answer letters that were sent to the group by people who sought help. Someone donated thousands of dollars just to ensure that the group continued. People bring in newspaper clippings, poems, books—even music, as long as it has something to do with transsexual issues. People have donated their time by keeping up the webpage, running the meeting, and the most thankless task of all—getting refreshments for the meeting.

Somewhere along the way, I discovered that I had a conflict of interest. The group is non-sexual, almost totally non-social. I have not compromised myself or the spirit of the group, yet mutual things have happened. I think that sometimes it’s easier for me to be understood by, and I trust another TS person, more easily. The bottom line is: this transition thing is very difficult for anyone. I have to be sensitive because people there are sensitive. People remind me that I have the capacity to help as well. While I like whom I like, I can also just like. Still, after all these years, I just need to be around other people that have been there. There are also people there that have transitioned twenty-five years or more, and still stop by once in a while.

I like people who are androgynous, TS, TV etc. The problem is that I like people that are of this. I have had more than one relationship with other T* people. I have had relationships with non-T* people as well. I know that there have been others, but I am pretty sure I was the first TS whom I know openly admitted liking other TS people.

I have seen about eighty transsexual people at once, and another time I saw one hundred transsexual people in the same room. Once, the president of The Harry Benjamin Association gave a speech to our group. I also was honored to have lunch with her. In her speech she said that being transsexual doesn’t have to be negative and can be a positive thing. I don’t remember anyone else saying anything so uplifting before that. Even if it’s unlikely, I feel it was good for me to open my mind to the idea, that there could be some trade off.

I also have met people that have run two transsexual magazines, and quite a few health-care workers. I stand back sometimes and reflect upon a time when I was so ignorant and so alone. I can’t begin to explain how fortunate I feel now.

Some years ago, I saw a transsexual person on a television talk-show. She was attractive, and she identified as a transsexual lesbian. She presented herself very well which made it easy to have respect for her. Years later, I went to a play she did at a local theater. She played assorted transgendered roles. I just loved her voice, she almost sang the lines, the timbre of her voice I could feel physically resonate through me as she spoke as few people do. I went backstage to introduce myself and we talked for a few minutes.

A year or two later, she returned while doing a book signing. I felt she was attentive during her reading because she loves to flirt and that’s part of her character and her charm. After we talked, she said that her schedule was kind of tight, so she gave me her card. The friend I went with was jealous that she paid me attention, she could have been no one in particular at my support group and I would still have wanted to spend time with her. I wrote her a few times, admitting that I was attracted to her, but attraction does not obligate. I just wanted to spend some time with this person, and if she could actually be whom I thought, then physical intimacy could almost be redundant anyway.

Transitional Sarcasm

Please forgive this sarcastic rant about transition:

Start of Sarcasm (If you are too: tall, fat, bald, small, large, deep in voice, short in the hands, hairy, hairless, old, young, poor, rich, known, weak, small, then it’s really not worth it because one can never accept mediocrity. Do the best you can, and if you aren’t perfect, let it gnaw at you to the bitter end. Lift yourself by pointing out those things in other people that you think just aren’t perfect. Anything not done better than everyone else is just a sheer waste of time. Your personal happiness is far less important than your relative status. If anyone is fortunate for anything, hate them deeply for it. If someone doesn’t pass well, then they just aren’t gender dysphoric, are they? Ignore them or everyone will think you aren’t—either. If you meet another transitioning person, apparently newer, nothing that person has to say can be relevant or learned from. If you are at a meeting of other transsexual people and someone new arrives, don’t be the first to try to communicate with that person. If you are a woman, act dumb. Use excuses like it’s a woman’s prerogative to be late or change your mind, let the door slam in everyone’s face behind you, talk too much, get hysterical on occasion, check your make-up at highway speeds with bumper-to-bumper traffic. Let progesterone and estrogen be your excuse for everything. When using the bathroom, don’t check the seat position, and when you fall in, blame it on someone else. If you are a man, be insensitive, yell quite a bit, stay at bars until dawn while your loved ones are home worrying about you, don’t invite your wife on that fishing trip. Do strange things to prove your masculinity, make your wife a sports-widow, let testosterone be your excuse, and when using the bathroom, leave the seat up. Regardless, fill your trashcan with everything held dear until yesterday. Do what you feel you are supposed to, and whatever you do, don’t be yourself. If someone makes the effort to understand you, don’t meet them part way. Go through your transition, but do it to impress others, because you like guys or girls and you just can’t deal with that, because you like those clothes, for the increased wages, because you look like and would make a good (?), as an escape from daily pressure, because your friend did, or wants you to. Rest assured, hormones are just another recreational drug that has no side effects or inherent risks. Female hormones won’t affect your ability to perform as a man, and the breasts will just be re-metabolized if you stop. If you stop taking male hormones your voice will get higher, and facial hair will just magically fall out. If you are male-to-female, as soon as you develop breasts, be in at least one porno movie and three magazines using your male equipment like a male. Some books state, “transsexuals don’t get along with homosexuals”, “transsexuals don’t get along with transvestites”, so if you have any friends that fall into that category, discard them immediately. Some books also state, “transsexuals don’t get along with psychiatrists” so don’t treat them as living beings. If you are a psychiatrist and are gender dysphoric, there is only one honorable thing to do here. If you go on a talk show, do speak for all everyone, everywhere, because YOU ARE EVERYONE. The bottom line: CREATE AND PERPETUATE STEREOTYPES!) End of sarcasm.

Phew! Sorry.

Wake the Ancient Machine

My friend with whom I worked and shared living space, was deeply depressed. Where I stayed, there was a carbine that she kept just in case our place got broken into, and they wanted more than just things.

One day, my friend and her father were arguing in another room. This was not unusual, but then I was shocked to hear the gun bolt snap shut. I thought she was going to kill her father, perhaps me too. Scared, I ran for the door. Oddly, I stopped at the door, pausing. The shot never came. I don’t know why I stopped, but I thought it strange that she had well enough time, to do whatever she was going to do, including place a hole through my back during my moment of contemplation. I must have been wrong about her intentions.

I cautiously walked back in. I looked but could not find her. I looked back in the living room. There were roll-up blinds separating the room into two. I could see though the blinds because it was brighter on the other side. I saw the warm sun from the other side. My friend was there, she was dressed very nicely, her hair was immaculate, and there was the barrel of the loaded carbine in her mouth. “Don’t come any closer!” She exclaimed. While I talked to her, I drifted in. I knew that nothing I could say will be right, but I hoped nothing I could say would be wrong. I managed to talk my way closer. I gently took the rifle into my hands, willfully pulling it from hers as she cried. We struggled and fought. Only in my mind, I imagined the gun going off a hundred times. I searched shell and thread, looking for a reality that didn’t result in death.

I put the carbine down and away from her. We talked for several minutes, but then something distracted me, and she snatched the carbine. She ran, but I caught up to her in the next room. Having failed to reason with her, I wrestled with her and this loaded firearm while her father pointed out that my choice of words was “unladylike.” I was astonished that he could not really comprehend what was happening. I thought my choice of words was appropriate for fighting over a loaded gun. Being stronger and using my worst temper, I reclaimed the carbine, forcing my friend away. Coddling the carbine, I pulled the clip out of the bottom and unchambered the round, placing both into my pocket. The phone rang, I answered it like nothing had happened at all. I was more like a casual observer than a participant in myself at that point. I was depersonalized over dissociation.

I entertained thoughts of making her put the gun away herself, because perhaps that could have been closure and healing, but the moment was still too heated. I took the gun in the back repair area, collecting tools on the way. I reduced it to a cardboard box of assorted parts. I thumbed the clip free of bullets to further slow reloading, and I hid them where they couldn’t be found.

Her friends who had loaned the carbine to her, came over. She was very angry at me for taking the gun apart. She must have held me responsible for causing the situation. She hadn’t been there, and she didn’t know what had happened. I was still much stronger than her physically, and although this has changed, she could have offered little resistance then, but I had enough of violence that day. I kept her away from me, as the mouse yelled and followed the cat.

Later, one of my friends came over. In her company, I felt safe and secure. As I slowly explained the day’s events, she listened to me. Later, she accidentally dropped something metal which made a sound like the gun bolt closing. I fell on the floor in a little whimpering ball screaming for dear life. She apologized as she held and comforted me.

On that day, a very old mechanism had been unearthed in me. When I fought over the gun, and I answered the phone, my response was automatic, and totally dissociative given the situation. The whole thing did give me P)ost T)raumatic S)tress D)isorder which I have quite a bit of from my known past. Perhaps, fighting with the loaded carbine with my friend had opened things within me.

Soon after the incident, I moved out. My mother was gracious enough to let me live with her and her husband. I love my mother, but I wish I passed on the offer because we can’t seem to get along for any length of time. I tended to have my possessions lined up against the wall and I was ready to leave at a moments notice.

On day, as I was stepping into my car, I walked passed the automatic light controller attached to the garage at my mother’s husband’s house. I paused looking at the object with question. I thought that it was relevant for some reason but I didn’t know why. I walked past it shaking my head in frustration.

That night when I came home, I was greeted by the floodlight. I climbed out of my car, and I looked up at the light controller as I passed while sighing in resignation. I went inside to get something to eat. As I ate, I thought about the light thing and remembered the one I had played when I was a child, and the comfort it had brought me. I also remembered playing with the light controller when I was being raped as a child.

The memory was vivid, recorded in all senses, as were the pieces that would follow in time. I cannot confirm, I cannot dismiss. I found the pieces and simply cataloged them. My mantra is: I can try to fit the pieces together like a puzzle, but I cannot glue them unless I know things for certain.

I believe in myself, and I believe what my mind and body told me. As a victim of violence, molestation, and incest, and having those memories in contiguous form. I feel real trepidation of anything that is just too much for me to handle. I wondered, is it better to lose than find one’s mind?

I am really a person of science who seeks the truth. As a deductionist, all these little puzzle pieces draw a harsh picture that doesn’t want to fit into my consciousness. As an inductionist, I have a hard time because I have run out of other things it could have been. I must have the patience to live within my science and I must have the foresight and flexibility to cope with more than one possible past.

[Further, isolation and helplessness were components of when I was sexually abused as a child. I felt and was very alone when it happened. I know what it feels like to be taken somewhere, or wanting to leave and escape. Within me, I found some association between the other types of isolation and helplessness that people sometimes feel, and those harsh memories. This, I also must deal with.

There is a lot of talk about memory. I believe that there are people who are falsely accused of doing things as well as that there are guilty people who go unpunished like those who molested me.

[Even as adult, I have had people touch me that felt just awful. It was like empowerment was flowing from me across an invisible ether to them. One such person made a pass at me, as far as technical merit goes, it was a “good” pass. It was an inappropriate time, and a simple touch on my neck from someone no larger made me want to run for my very life, but I felt like I couldn’t. Some time after, this person was convicted for child molestation. I can’t act on instinct alone, but I feel bad for not listening to my feelings about this person, because maybe I could have prevented someone from being hurt.

One day, while driving to see a friend, I stopped at an ice-cream store. When I walked to the store, I noticed a man to my far left who stared at me. I have been looked at plenty, but there was something about him which gave me the creeps. He looked like me like he wanted to fuck me in half. I could not feel any affection, just lust and hate. As timid as I am, it usually doesn’t stop me from interacting with people. It doesn’t take much to make me shy, but it takes a lot to make me feel like he did. When I got to my friend’s, she said I was acting child-like, and that she didn’t want to be my friend anymore.

I explained this to a friend who had a horrific childhood, and was the one of only two people that I have ever met that were probably true D)issociative I)dentity D)isorder (formerly M)ultiple P)ersonality D)isorder). She calmly said, “Yeah, they were after your kids.” (or those parts of a person that are child-like.)

For now, our thoughts are our own, but she was amazing because she was one of the most sensitive, empathetic people I have ever met in my life. It was like every emotion that came off of anyone near her she could feel. Emotion was like a stone dropped into a calm pond for her. She still had those resources and facilities of a child which most people have been taught to ignore when we become adults. You can blatantly lie to a child, saying, “I am the president, and that is why I am happy.” A child probably will not know the factual, but might be able to return, “I hope you feel better Mr. / Ms. President—because you are sad.

I am fascinated by dissociation. I believe that it is a natural mechanism that seems to show itself at the edge of human functioning. In some people, it serves as a tool to survive through the moment so it can be later sorted out later. Perhaps if dissociation as a “skill” could be absolutely controlled, would have characteristics which I find desirable.

It seems that trance states and dissociation appear in many religions and rituals. I think that science has to be careful to remain scientific. Respectfully, I could also understand how the idea of a human who possesses more than one self could offensive to someone who believes that there is only one God. The media, in general doesn’t seem to know the difference between psychotic versus dissociative attributes/symptoms, and they often confuse a “split” personality and “multiple” personalities.

Dr. Braun’s therapy techniques may have been sloppy, but I tend to agree with the dissociative scale which spans across a continuum from light dissociative states like Highway hypnosis through Post traumatic stress disorder, all the way to DID, filtered though my manner of seeing things; as a varying series of attributes.

Psychological tools and behaviors which are unwanted, unused or inappropriate are neurosis. There are genderlogical implications. Being more than one entity seems more ingrained in womens’ culture than mens’ where it seems contrary.]

I rehashed my entire life looking for answers, but I found more questions. What it came down to is this: I wanted to be female for all of my life. It is in my heart, what I wanted to do. Oh it is a challenge! My life has been a lot better since I transitioned. I know that. Given what I know, what do I want to do? Why? Be happy? What would make me happy? I had already considered fallout from sexual abuses before I transitioned anyway. Myself as a child thought I was a girl until I was seven. I was raped at nine and molested at twelve. I think I have had a tough time.

I have met a lot of other people who were sexually abused as children, but aren’t transsexual people. I know a lot of transsexual people who were not sexually abused. Finding people who understand both, and are willing to talk about it is difficult. I tried to find adult-survivors-of-childhood-sexual-abuse type meetings, but they often seem to be segregated by sex—and I am not. With some time and good help, I am working through this other affectedly cold dark chapter in my life.

No!

Cds Cell

This piece is really, really, really explicit, please skip it if you are sensitive.
Okay?

(Narrative sections and raw tokens.)

CdS, small circle, squiggle line,
Smaller than a dime,
Tell the light,
When to light.

In store,
—been here before,
—seen this before.
With all of me,
—I know of this before.

Softly, quit,
Dimly, fade....

I know, I know, I know,
Wait—maybe 20 years ago,
Wired in the window,
When you hide it, even in day,
The darkness in front of the house, goes away.

Thing of comfort,
Electrical toy of fascination,
Symbol, marker, bread-crumbs,
Alice in wonderland disaggregation.
State dependent, lost page of life,
Visual kinesthetic dissociation.

Like Gnostic’s Eve’s tree,
The very thing,
To stash, (I (Me))
Child’s,
Thee!

Keystone,
Alpha-Token,
Revivification,
Abreaction-Cadabra.
I write and read, in object fixation!

My!
Mind!
Land!
Mine!

In me,
He is in me—
Ripping me apart.
...Screaming,
...Whimper,
...No!

Weak,
Knee fold,
Held up.
Carry,
Bed.
I am nothing,
—So, nothing!
Nothing—so him!
Can’t move,
Smell me, him.
Hear him,
Ear,
Breath.
Shudder shoulder.
Feel him,
Behind me.
Belly,
Hand between legs,
Holding.
I’m nothing.
Over mouth,
Face, Wet,
Tears burn!
Neck,
Fingertips,
Close eyes.
Black,
Fall,
Curl,
Bed,
Impale,
Arch,
Struggle,
Scream!

Through me.
I am all around him,
His.
Still,
Like killed?
My soul drift,
—Just pool of smoke!

He’s laughing at me.
Beg, plead, cry, con,
I want the light thing.
He ignores.
I, held back,
Not allowed to distract myself.
I try to get away,
He won’t let me go.
Arm under head,
Can’t pull through,
Pulled from my toy,
Child’s body,
Used for his.

Bed,
Struggle,
Screaming inside,
Let me go!
Get off me!

Like water and air,
My present and past might mix,
But my future, I want to fix.

My migraine eclipsed the sun.
I can make my head hurt,
But, I can’t recall again,
With all of my might.

This dam, I know, holds the truth.
I stand little before it.
I can’t take it any more!
I am dying of thirst,
Holding the sledge-hammer in my hands.

The strength is not in hammer the hand wields,
But the courage to let the stone yield.

Phase shift,
Upon, phase shift,
Within phase shift.
T i m e - w i n d.

Pressed flower,
Secrets I have lost,
—In the wind, I found.

A gravestone rubbing,
—In the gale, I traced.

My reflection was not grown,
This body seemed old,
Cloth failed me,
—In the breeze, I felt.

Thin gravestone rubbing,
—In the draft, I read.

In the calm, I know.
In the calm, I feel,
Mourning, and betrayal.
And with that I feel,
Anger, hate, rage, and sorrow.

He forced worry and doubt,
And a million other thoughts and feelings,
That I could have done without.

When I pet a cat, hug a child or a friend.
I’m afraid I’ll find his actions that he forced on me, with me,
Trying forever to poison the sweetest things for me.
Trying to make sure I have so much of nothing.

There are...
No words,
No screams,
No obscenity,
No fit,
No tantrum,
No act,
No bright,
No dark,
No color,
No scent,
No touch,
No sound
—No anything,
To describe how I feel,
No human way to tell how I feel.

How dare he,
Take,
Hurt,
Rape...
Kill a little of me!
I may truly hate him.

There is no one gently comforting me,
Lovingly reminding me...
—That no one is going to hurt me now.

If I could ever scream it outside me instead,
I don’t think I could ever stop...

No!
Let me go!
Get off of me!

The Untangling

There were some things about my family I wasn’t clear with. When my father and I met in my late teens, it was as a result of my brother almost dying from being struck by a car. I asked my father, “Are you my father?” While he said that he was my father, I don’t think either of us were sure. From that day, we started having more contact my stepmother seemed to be the one behind the family cohesiveness on my father’s side. She tried very hard to make a family out of the fragments, as if it we were her own.

Because I had hid things from myself, I asked my father if he did anything sexual with me when I was young. It was a very tense moment, but he said that he never did anything like that to me, and I trust him in that. While we talked, I asked him who had hospitalized him years before, with broken ribs and teeth. He mentioned a name, but I didn’t believe him; I thought it was my mother’s alcoholic ex-boyfriend.

I remembered a benevolent meeting with my father when I was a kid. I remembered that on the way to the store in his 55’ish Chevy, he gave me a set of Army Captain’s Bars. When we finished talking I told him that I had saved a pair of Captain’s Bars that he had given me for quite some time. My father said he couldn’t have given them to me, because he was an enlisted person.

My stepmother took me aside. She started talking where the other conversation left off. The person in question was my mother’s ex-boyfriend and also my step-mother’s ex-husband. She showed me a picture of a very thin man who I didn’t recognize. She handed me a locket, as I looked at the picture. It was the person I remembered as my father. He also did look enough like me to make me want a blood test. I do bear a resemblance to him as well as my father. She claimed that the person was her ex-husband, and that he and my mother were caught in a moment of infidelity.

I asked about my sister, but she didn’t really say much of anything. When I asked my mother, she said that my father believed the child wasn’t his, and so my mother had put her daughter up for adoption. My father stormed out. When he returned, he gave my mother money for cab fare and said, “Go get your bastard child!” My mother never did. My mother claimed that my stepmother’s ex-husband isn’t my father. Perhaps, he was just trying to be nice at the time of our interaction. My mother said that if I even mention this to her again that she would disown me as well; this is not my idea of love.

After that day my stepmother and I spoke, she started drinking again. Soon after, she was in a car accident. Some time later, I received a call from my mother, saying that she was leaving my stepmother’s house. She said that my stepmother had hurt herself somehow, and when they got there, there was blood all over the floor. The story was verified by someone else. It was a lot for me to hear over the phone. No one wanted to be responsible for anything. My father and stepmother’s house has a lot of firearms in it. This was not the place for a person who was depressed, had just started drinking, and hurt themselves. After looking at the possibilities, I made a decision based on what I could live with. I called the paramedics to check on her, and they picked her up. My father disowned me for the second time, stating more or less that I put the bottle in her hand. I could live with that, but I could not live with my stepmother’s blood on my hands.

In these family issues, mine seemed like the voice of reason. There became a point where I just started believing in myself as a person again. I am okay. I really am.

I tried reasoning with the adoption agency to let me leave a scrap of paper with them so if she wanted to find me if she wanted to, they denied me.

Sister, Sister,
This life,
I guess I missed her.

Years later, I made a “Bad Parenting Award” for my father. The framed award had my father’s name on it. It was in dishonor of a fictional character who was the worst parent I could ever imagine. While my father probably couldn’t ever live up to the image of such a well rounded bad parent, I felt he was on the way.

When I went to my father’s house, he seemed happy to see me, which seemed odd because he had disowned me twice, and he hadn’t made much of an attempt to see me in the last ten years. When I gave him the award, he looked so hurt and shocked that I was surprised. By the time I left, I questioned myself why I had gave it to him.

I walked down the street to wait for the bus. I had no idea why I did it. I just sat there at the curb, crying. I felt so selfish, but I wouldn’t have thought that he would actually seem to care. While I sat there crying, I felt that for just for one moment, I had a father—not a good one, but I felt I really had a father. It didn’t seem to matter as much if he was my real father or not.

Soda

I had a friend who lived near Boston who invited me to be in a Gay-Pride march. I didn’t think a march was the most effective tool for winning over people, but I thought it would be okay to do.

My friend was really intelligent. She tested people’s spatial abilities as rite of passage to her friendship. Because she was geekie, she let me feel good about my geekie attributes. She was a little taller than I, and moved very gracefully. She was almost fearless.

We left her apartment in the morning to take a few subways. We arrived at the home of the organizer of the transgendered presence in the parade. There were a few people who had already transitioned as well as a few who hadn’t. I felt something warm for something there.

We took another subway to get to the area of the parade. There were so many people there, ten-thousand I thought, one hundred thousand I heard. Hundreds of people were in the parade, but there were only eight transsexual people.

I took a free can of soda out from a barrel. I drank it while I enjoyed the sea of people, as well as their diversity. Someone from every state and color of the Rainbow there. I felt safe because a person who was perhaps one in ten in the general population, was on this place and day, nine in ten.

I looked at the floats. There was one near us with people who were into leather and S&M. On this particular float, some people had marks on their backs from being whipped. The thing that was weird—was it wasn’t that weird. They did what they did and were present of their own will. Before, I thought I would quickly, strongly object because their practices hurt living tissue.

This was perplexing to me because, in my mind, they were using their bodies as a resource. An athlete uses resources permanently, people’s eyes change when reading, we all use up our body by just using our time for anything and everything we want to do. How was this different? I was also reminded that life is not forever, their bodies are their own and will lie in the ground someday, and so, as long as they are willing, what is the real harm? Reexamining, what exactly is real harm?

[I was drawn to this puzzle because I do have masochistic tendencies. I definitely am not into humiliation, and/or I seem to get my fill with just my continued daily existence.

Sometimes, stretching calms me, like the morning when I practically fell asleep while stretching my leg over the ballet bar that I had. I had been almost put to sleep by my own endorphins. Sometimes, it stimulates me well beyond a simple yoga-like exercise to real sexual motivation and stimulation. Within moderation, my perversion offers me a healthier, more flexible body. I sometimes like when a lover is on the threshold of causing me pain, but not giving me pain.

I don’t like—what I don’t like, but sometimes I like what’s near it.

What draws me more is examining power and control, trust and boundaries. Society seems to imply that it was wrong to do this. Idealistically, perhaps it this is true, but I have not had an idealistic life. What they don’t tell you is, sometimes the only way to become unafraid of something is to experience it.

Once, in a loving environment, I wanted what’s beyond voluntarily relinquishing power to another person. The only binding objects used were human hands, yet I wanted to be held in a manner where I really could not escape. I wanted this person to assert their power. I wanted to relive some of the things that happened to me when I was young in a way to diminish, and in some way explain them, perhaps to myself, perhaps to my lover, “See this is what happened to me.” I am much stronger inside, yet a feeling came to me with dread and fear, “I can endure so much more than this, because...I have.” This edge of life carnal recreation was like the—nothing, I felt like, the first time I lost all power against my will. I thought I was going to push the envelope, when in fact I had barely opened it. It saddened me to be aware that all along I knew what it’s like to be scared in a sexual way—of death.

I also wanted to be able to trust another person in what I couldn’t trust one before. In an odd way, I found that trust itself is something that I can be sexually attracted to.

I have also seen people who represent S/M on television, subtle but very present is the amount of attention given to the masochistic person by the other.

In exploring my masochistic attributes, I had asked someone to become sadistic. I feel guilty asking someone to act this out because I don’t feel comfortable with those aspects of me. This is another thing that was taken from me. I felt I used someone to help heal me. As for the person I was exploring some of my masochistic tendencies with, I didn’t really discuss things really well. While not as physically extreme as the people on the float, my motivations were, I felt, not as honest.

I feel angry and cheated that the parameters of my childhood sexual abuse are far enough that I fear exploration that most people would take for so little. This exploration could either be medicine or poison to me. Obviously, not many transsexual people have to consider such things, but it’s difficult for some transsexual people to talk about things because they fear that it would be seen as a counter-indication for help.

My belief that being molested feeding my transsexuality was one of the misconceptions that led my life to ruin. If I can’t reach my full potential because of something someone thinks about me, having been hurt along the way, then the person who hurt me—has truly won.]

[While I rode in the car one day, a song came on the radio. The guitarist was good, but that’s not what kept my interest. I could barely understand this singer’s words, yet he was tearing my heart out. His tone, I could only describe as dropped, soft, sad, angry. I didn’t understand what I was feeling. I became anxious and perhaps obsessed enough to rush out and buy the recording. While art is subjective, but when I listened to it at home, and read the lyrics online, the singer seemed to strongly relate being sexually abused. What was I feeling, empathy?

A few years later, while I was shopping in the mall, I bought a leather collar with little rounded studs on them. I bought it because I wanted to suggest that I have explored my masochistic tendencies. I sometimes ask my friends if they mind if I wear it when I am out, because I don’t want to make them uncomfortable. I am not really a prop person, and the collar has no hardware attachment points. I scored the collar on the inside so it will break at a tug any harder that a jest. I don’t want what I believe is a symbol of growth to be the end of me. I find comfort in the irony that to some a sign of weakness is my sign of strength.]

The parade started moving. We all took turns helping carrying a side of the transgendered banner. In spite of our group’s tiny size, as we turned each corner, people started clapping. I recalled my youth, when I was young and people, teased, questioned, picked on, and hit me because I was different; now, total strangers were honoring me just because I was.

What was perhaps not to be the most powerful political thing turned out to be a powerful healing thing. I am glad I did it. Looking back maybe there was some value to even our diminutive presence, not to the spectators but the other people in the parade. Perhaps they grew as I did too.

I was seeing the friend who invited me to the parade. We shared intimacy. While there wasn’t ferocity in our chemistry because sexually she is pretty submissive as I am too at times. We slept together that night I don’t usually sleep well with other people, but with her I did. Though there wasn’t fireworks, there was so much comfort and ease. We woke up cuddling, holding each others’ hands.

I like music, and I often linger and loiter at music shops. Most of the people don’t seem to mind my particular brand of pestering. Most musicians are pretty open-minded, I guess there are some good ones that aren’t, but perhaps not that many.

Someone at a music shop told me that one of the people who visited the shop was closed minded and politically dissonant. They told me I would have to meet him to really appreciate him. After we were introduced, we talked for some time. He seemed nice in spite of these differences.

His attitude seemed similar to my uncle who had taught me how to work on cars, so that I had his model of communication which let me talk to him. I thought that if I could understand this person, I could understand what my uncle felt.

He asked questions leading up to the transsexual issue. Either that or perhaps subconsciously I had helped lead him there. Me being transsexual shook his whole world. We tried to talk some more and later he left.

The next time I came there, a friend who worked there smiled and said, “(He) has a big hard-on for you.” We laughed a little. I had been intimate with my friend, and he was really cynical and perhaps a little depressed, but this situation seemed to cheer him up. I was really attracted to this person who worked there. I told him about myself. Later he asked me, “Why did you tell me? I would never have known.” He was upset because I was honest with him. ’Would things have been easier if we made a game out of it? I have never been intimate with anyone since my transition and not shared this about myself. It’s not so much that I don’t want to get killed, it’s that I think intimacy should have some intimacy in it. While, we did sleep together, he could not get over my past. So the endearing smiles that I saw on his face when I arrived, were no longer there. He had a history of dating and being attracted to bi- and lesbian women and that is what he thought I was.

This other person came in the store. My friend said that maybe I should have a talk with him. I went over to where this other person was working. He was almost in tears. He gathered enough composure to say, “I really didn’t know.” I told him it was not my wish to hurt anyone, I just wanted to survive. A few words later, it was apparent that there was nothing else to say.

The next time I saw him in the store, a few people talked about him. I said,S “I thought he was strong enough and secure enough to handle it.” They laughed and said, “Not him.” He agreed with them. He took a sip from a can of soda, I told him, “That is the same soda they were giving away at the Gay Pride March in Boston.” He coughed just a little and put the can down and took a step back, as if it were the most horrible object in the world.

I asked him, “You can’t be so insecure in who you are that you can’t drink a can of soda?” I think he finished eating his grinder (hogi/sub/gyro) dry because he wouldn’t drink it.

I have bought soda of that brand just to replace the one he didn’t drink.

Chairman and the Speaker

I visited an old friend who seemed to be going okay with my transition. Her ferret was cute, and the iguana stayed in its cage, so everything seemed okay. Her friend stopped over. She warned me that he didn’t care for her gay friend much and he might not understand my situation, but she assured me that he was not going to choose her friends for her. I talked to him, and it seemed to go okay. She went in to the other room to talk to him. This is how she explained it to me, “He was sitting down, and we were talking.” He asked her, “There is something about Brenda—is she gay?” She told him the situation. She said, “We talked, and he just sat there just spinning in the chair for a while, and got up and left.” She ended up marrying him, so I don’t see much of her anymore.

The strangest reaction I ever got in my life was, “Hey! You can’t do that because...” Someone actually told me in a round-about way was that what I was doing wasn’t fair. This is the strangest reaction I ever got—jealousy. Why would anyone be jealous of me being transsexual? It’s enough to almost make my brain just lock up. Someone once mumbled under their breath, “Who the hell does she think she is’a man?” There was another person who yelled to his friends, “—Fucking white dykes!” Someone yelled, “Pervert!” at me one day when I was waiting for the bus. Someone also said to me, “You are the prettiest boy I ever saw.” Vanity wins out over insecurity in this case, though I found out later that he didn’t believe that I was transsexual, and he was just being sarcastic.

[I have had a surprising number of people tell me that I am brave for transitioning, even though it was an act of self-preservation.]

One day, while I walked down the hallway in my apartment building, an eighty-something year-old woman traveled towards me with her walker. An aide accompanied her, walking along her side listening while she ranted about everyone and everything that bothered her. She continued, “...And this one, you can’t E-VEN TELL if it’s a MAN—or a WOMAN!

Exception

In my hometown, there was someone special whom I had dated years before. We had broken up, but were intimate some time later. I can remember the last time I touched her face, how soft it felt was compared to mine.

Years later, I bumped into her at a country fair. She was engaged to be married, and she was expecting a child. I didn’t think her child was mine because I didn’t think that I was fertile. In the back of my mind I did some calendar math.

We lost touch of each other when I was transitioning, but I missed her. I tried to keep as many people as I could in my life, but it was difficult. I wanted to see her. I had seen this kind of thing on television; I called it “TS haunting.”

When I called her house, her father gave me her phone number, saying that she had moved out. I was scared but I called anyway. I didn’t exactly know how to introduce myself. It went well, and we became friends once again.

She went to the library to read books on transsexuality. I was taken back because I would have never guessed that she or anyone would have ever taken this much thought or consideration toward me—especially after the way my family had treated me. No friend, no relative, no one in my life had bothered half this much.

My friend likes giraffes, and she has hundreds and hundreds of giraffes in her house. She has giraffe plates, stuffed giraffes, giraffe dishes, giraffe sculptures—hundreds of giraffes. I gave her a few giraffes, so I guess I am an enabler. (Smiling.) Her refrigerator might have enough magnets on it to cause a navigation problem with planes passing overhead. She bakes theme cakes for everyone’s birthday. She has a little black and white cat that she calls a bitch when she isn’t affectionate, and worries when is she is.

We try to get out for hikes occasionally. While we walked along a ledge, I realized that she is a lot bolder than I am.

One day, she asked my why I didn’t want to be around her when she was pregnant. She probably needed a friend, and I had nothing to offer to anyone, but still I should have been there for her. It would be years later until I knew why myself. Well beyond the responsibility, I didn’t want to have any babies. I didn’t want there to be anything like me to exist because I hated myself so much.

Her daughter is a very nice person, very good natured. If I did have a daughter I would have wanted it to be her. I had changed my mind about the whole baby thing. I looked on myself like maybe it was okay for me to exist, and maybe a little person who was half made of me would be neat. I would have regretted not leaving a sample somewhere if I had one to leave, but I could never have imagined me stopping hating myself enough to want to reproduce. Yet I didn’t have much of a childhood, and so what role models did I have to work with, and what could I offer a child?

Because her husband died, she had to cope with not only her own loss, but also help her young daughter cope with the loss of her father. Her mother wasn’t around much when she was growing up. She is a really good parent, and I am very proud of her because it’s probably the hardest job in the world.

We are still friends after more than sixteen years (knock on wood), and she is a good friend to me. If I could give her anything, I would give her some more giraffes and give her the very career that might allow herself to be as proud of herself, as I am already.

When she remarried, she invited me to the wedding. I saw her in the restroom by the mirrors surrounded by a group of people who helped her get ready. She looked so pretty, but she was so scared. Her daughter was the flower girl. When the ceremony started, she walked down the isle throwing flower petals with such effort that she made little noises. I am glad that I didn’t catch the bouquet because her brother caught the garter, and he doesn’t care for me much because I am a transsexual person. That would have been a moment to remember. Yet, one day, my friend was sick, and I stopped over and dropped off a can of soup for her and some honey for her tea. Later, I heard that he said he wished he had friends like that.

She told me about an ex-boyfriend who was a friend of mine. He had told her at some point that I wore lipstick. I think that he got that idea because my lips are sort of reddish on their own. Back then I never wore make-up, and I don’t really wear much now. He never asked me anything about it.

One Halloween, she dressed as a man and her husband dressed as a woman. I saw the pictures. She looked so much like her father that I couldn’t believe it, maybe because she was wearing his clothes. She made a better man than her husband a woman. They went out for dinner like that too. I wish I could have seen them firsthand.

Recently she told me that one of her friends stopped being her friend because of me. She seemed to take this much better than I did, but I am still very sad about the whole thing. There is nothing I could tell her, except that I felt bad.

On the brighter side, we both have a mutual friend who just met me recently for the first time in eight years. I was a little nervous about seeing her because we were intimate at one time. After she took one look at me, she something like, “You’re not Brian.” We all went for a walk, and had a good time. I hope it works out okay.

She is quite a character. The last time I saw her she was intoxicated calling out my name at night in a sleeping quiet neighborhood. She started stripping, married a biker and she naturally went to college to became a literary major. While we were out on our walk, we talked about our teen years like a line drawn between a high-school reunion and what two veterans might have. We compared who died from OD’ing on what, who was MIA on what drug, and who killed themselves. As I looked at her I know that she was one of the ones who made it out.

Building Blocks

Conceive a wish.
Try to fit.
What doesn’t,
What isn’t included,
Tends to sink.

It comes from all sides,
I can’t stop the water,
Long enough to build anything to stand on.

The pieces not in hand, float quickly away.
They float out of reach in different directions,
Making me choose which ones to try to get first.

The more blocks I have,
The easier they fall,
And careless reaching,
—Is really pushing.

There is a point,
Before reaching turns to pulling,
There is no movement.
Only rest lies between the two.

Before I close my hand,
Can I trust that I have reached far enough,
Of fear that I am ever find myself unable to grasp,
For what seems like an eternity,
Or checking, looking to see,
If what I think I have, is really there.

Conceive a wish.
Try to fit.
What doesn’t,
What isn’t included,
Tends to sink.

Shed a tear,
Across my cheek,
Fall with all the rest.

Stand

I learned that the friend who I was staying with was secretly in love with me. I had grown so much from her, and now it seemed like we may not be able to keep either a working relationship or a personal friendship. I moved out.

My mother was more accepting of me now. She offered to let me stay with her for a while. I was having physical and psychological problems from my bad surgery results. Even as long as I stayed at my mothers house, it seemed like I never really finished unpacking. My mother and I just couldn’t get along, and I tried to stay at a friend’s house whenever I could.

My friend is very large. While raised Christian, he has read books on a lot religions including Alchemy and the Tarot. He is open minded with most of his faith and belief systems. He realizes the subjective over the empirical value. Fact sometimes varies from fact given its source. Multiple answers seem to upset him so. He wants to see the world in absolutes, with one absolute truth, but he knows better. He is a computer artist who has excellent instinctual and scientific knowledge of color. Within his sense of humor, he enjoys the shock value of pointing out things that one tries to dismiss or rationalize away from.

There is a toy that one usually makes when one is young. It’s a button threaded though and a piece of string tied in a loop. One holds the string in a cat’s cradle position, and winds up the string by swinging the button around string, and then one pulls the string tight and the button spins. We made a much larger, less safe version out of a piece of cardboard, and we wanted more weight on the circumference for a longer spin and so we added duct tape. The toy, the “Spizzie” as we name it, injured us both. We wrote warnings on it. The mad-science apart, this kind of irony is fun to share with him.

His girlfriend is shorter than myself. She says, “Being adult is overrated.” Her insistence that she doesn’t understand people allows her to exceed in it. She is caring, sensitive, and empathetic. Perhaps what troubles her is that she does understand people. She is a great and educated artist who works with colored pencils really well. Most of her art is of baroque and renaissance themes. She is excellent at drawing people and costumes. It would be tough to pass a reference past her, because her knowledge of all positive things geekie is almost unparalleled. She has a good sense of humor and natural acting ability. She could also be an excellent costume and clothing designer, as well as her other art skills.

My friends were so sweet. When it seemed I had no place to turn, one friend made a little bed out of blankets and quilts on the floor for me to sleep on and the other made macaroni-and-cheese for me to eat. I felt very safe, warm, and loved.

They continue to teach and remind me that there are special and simple things that I can enjoy in an otherwise complicated life. Once in a while, we go somewhere and play like kids because I don’t think any of us had much a chance the first time around. I love them both. If I could have given them anything, I would give them a better childhood, an outlet to show their art, and some time to work on it.

They say that hell is getting your wishes. While I think more that hell is getting your wishes and watching them slip through your fingers. I wanted to be physically female for so many years. I had now lost my vagina and perhaps the future potential to have one created. I was also having pain from a surgical error with my urethra. Walking distances and active exercises were sometimes painful and I sought help in getting surgically repaired. I was really depressed and I wanted counseling. I had more baggage than the belly of an airliner, more issues than a magazine stand, and if nothing else, I needed a neutral sounding board. I felt like I was carrying so many things with me that, if I didn’t address them I would never amount to anything. I went on Social Security Disability. Before that, I was on City Welfare and State.

A lot of people who needed state help had physical and mental challenges. There were other people there who just may never reach their true potential because of a lack of education. Some didn’t speak the language. Some were just there for the medical benefits. Some were just victims of the machinery that keeps the classes separate.

[A doctor and a dentist have yelled at me because I was poor and the state paperwork presented them with problems. Is this part of the system?

A receptionist at the state office yelled at me because I didn’t know where the bathroom was. There should have been nothing that I could say without attacking her person that could make her raise her voice. My “case worker” advised me not to pursue a written complaint, but I insisted. The receptionist is no longer there.

I have been treated with common respect at the City and Social Security level, so, why should I be treated this way? Was being poor a crime. Some people believe that an IRS audit is supposed to rank pretty high as far as potential life stessers, now try to imagine going once a month, or once a week.

At one time there was a sign at the Social Security Office which stated that it was illegal to threaten, injure or kill their workers. Since then the sign has been removed. It seems that almost all mail from State offices has something, somewhere about threatening to arrest for fraud. Poor may equal desperate, but people should be given the benefit of the doubt.

The systems are supposed to be more human than just survival of the fittest. Money might be the root of all evil, but maybe it’s more benevolent than letting someone starve in the streets. I was born into society and in this country I can’t very well escape it. If there were no such safeguards, then perhaps civilization as we know it might not be any better anything living in the wild would offer. I can understand people’s aggravation, after all if things are successful I will be competing with the very people that helped me, though I will be contributing as they did, helping my future financial competitors. I feel the system could be better, I hope I will be at least as tolerant as those people that helped me, and I hope that that someday will be financially comfortable enough to feed the system decently.]

I felt so beaten and depressed. My family has a strong work ethic, so I felt even more like a failure. I think that people at my support group had respect for me as well.

I failed to get an apartment opening in the projects, someone suggested trying this building for the elderly, so I did. The building manager wasn’t there when I applied. There was a man in his perhaps early seventies in the lobby. He invited me in. Within a few minutes he insisted that my hair, which was highlighted blonde at the time, was gray. We argued and contradicted each other for a few minutes and he said, “I like you, you’ve got spunk.” We have been friends since.

The building manager showed me a typical apartment. As I followed her, I tried not to cry. I had not called anyplace home for six years. I felt like I was looking at the grand prize, and I was a game show losing contestant. All I felt was, “Why am I bothering looking, so what of this?

I did get the apartment, I keep as few things as possible because I like the space and I want the apartment to be as adaptable as I thought myself. I didn’t finish unpacking what little I had, for over a year.

I have had several stress aggravated illnesses such as canker sores, TMJ, IBS, and excema. For the first half-year when I slept, I needed blocks under my bed because my chronic heartburn was so bad.

My job was now trying to get help, and get myself into the best functioning order I could. I squandered all the money I could having my tooth cavities fixed. I have had two surgeries, and did months of hand therapy on my finger that I had foolishly cut in my teens. I am daunting by how much I have grown to care about my body—even if it’s just a little pinky. I didn’t get medical attention when I cut is, and now I fussed over, and fussed over it. I have grown.

I wanted to go to counseling, and I needed it. I felt that if I didn’t make a stand and try to sort all of this out, I would not amount to anything. I wanted to have the same efficiency that I perceived in other people with less problems. I wanted to be able to reach or even expand my potential, reasoning that if I kept myself uncomplicated, I would be capable of more. I wanted to own my problems instead of them owning me.

I interviewed for a counselor at a well-known teaching hospital. They assured me that they were going to help me sort all of this out. I was optimistic until, they called me stating that they couldn’t because someone I knew was in therapy there and they couldn’t be sure to keep confidentiality. The counselor spoke for about two minutes and then she hung up on me without even as much giving me any referral or ideas. I cried as I put the phone down.

I was going another counselor who stated, by transitioning I didn’t go through the stigma that most gay people feel. I don’t think he could have ever imagined what I went through as I transitioned, because it’s one thing to act queer, and it’s another—to just exude it. A lot of friends thought I was queer anyway but it wasn’t until I outed myself with the gender-thing that they had problems with me. I have walked in public places holding another woman’s hand and even French-kissed another transsexual in a very public un-gayfriendly place.

While psychology is a science, I believe that the act of successful counseling requires those things in oneself which are organic, or one cannot offer more than a machine could, which is not much. There also can be a point where one is so concerned about liability that it renders one useless and unsure to do or say anything including have a presence. As far as I was concerned, I feel the other consoler so purposely tried to hide anything about himself, that subtly screamed and he made himself the center of attention. I felt like I was playing chess with him. I think a good consoler will listen more than they talk, but I find the refusal to speak just strange. I think that is supposed to be an interactive process. My friends helped counsel me while I went to this consoler. When there was a dispute about whether or not my time had value just like his, I found another counselor.

[I knew a psychiatrist who was fired from that same counseling center because she was transsexual. As a transsexual patient, how could I be treated fairly, if they couldn’t treat a transsexual caregiver fairly.]

There wasn’t anyone in my area who seemed to know anything about transsexual surgery. I finally found a surgical gynecologist who was willing to help, but then her office folded under HMO oppression.

Scaffolding

Plastic hides the restoration from those who pass by.
Metal-pipe scaffolding surrounds and climbs towards the sky.

Spatters, chips, and dents show what the pipes endure.
Yet, these bolts, braces, and pins of metal continue to secure.

Boards show the way during the reconstruction.
Ground covers and dumpsters fill with what’s shed during the destruction.

I sift though and salvage what I must.
Yet, still more crumbles and drops as dust.

Some don’t believe in me, or the effort I have spent keeping this place tall.
And aren’t as good at seeing me as having the value of the dust that I try not let fall.

Put-Out

Since my transition, I have had incredible urges to create and make things, to write poems, or just to write. I started learning piano and rekindled my interest in guitar. I like singing, and while I am really terrible at it, it makes me happy.

My need express is so great, that I am worried about finding something for employment that won’t leave me counting the moments until I could do something creative. I guess a lot of people feel this, they work at this, but they are in their heart, really that.

Even my job assembling and configuring computers seemed stifling to the soul now. For all of my effort there was that brief moment of joy when the machine came to “life,” but sadly most of the creativity was to be had by those who designed the chips and wrote the programs. To affectionately trash another proverb, though my actions were complicated anyone could perform them.

While watching television, I saw a sit-com character try out for a local play. It’s a little strange to see actors playing other actors, but acting seemed fun to me. I went to a small local non-profit theater to watch a play. It was really neat because it was so small, cozy, and personal. At the most, the place could hold only hold sixty-eight people. Almost the entire interior was painted black. Shortly after, I got involved by trying for a part in John Whitting’s “The Devils.” I got a small speaking part as one of the cloistered nuns.

One day, when I walked into the theater, one of the women was binding her breasts to play a male priest while a male person who was playing King Henry—some number or another was putting on hosiery. The other guys were at the mirror, putting on make up. I looked around and thought, “I like it here.” Our entire cast also went on a location photo-shoot to a college chapel so posters could be made.

I am not really a Christian, so I thought if I could play a nun, especially a cloistered one, I could act. I read a few books on Method Acting. To me, the books gave another way of looking at myself and in turn other people in general. In places, they read like a psychology book, yet from an entirely different standpoint.

The play ran a few nights a week, for about a month. During summer, it was hot in the theater because it wasn’t air-conditioned. We were dressed in nun’s habits or in heavy tapestry-like clothing, in the middle of summer, under hot stage lights. People brought Popsicles to try to keep cool, but they didn’t last long.

I felt I had some ability from trying to act as a male all those years. It seemed like “Sister Louise” had an easier life than I did, and her problems were different than mine, so it was really fun. I noticed how different I am than most people because I am just naturally different. When I tried out for other parts, I felt uncomfortable playing with other people who didn’t know about my past.

Playing a first-person perspective computer game is more satisfying to me than going to a movie because the player becomes an actor. I became interested in computer game editing. I see them as the next extension of a movie. The technology moves fast, making this a very fickle art. That is why people get paid so. I had decent computer graphics knowledge, and within a few short years I acquired a knowledge of game design. I created a webpage on a large game network. My game accessory files were popular because they like myself, are different.

Game editing was a good outlet. As an architect, I could walk in a room I drew the same day. As a director. it was challenged me because anything a player did had to be taken into account. I asked some friends to do some voice acting, and did some myself.

On my site, I included something about being an androgynous person. I didn’t want to come right out and scream, “I am transsexual”, though I wanted people to know that I was somewhere in the Rainbow. Usually when I gave people credit on my site for helping with things I would just put their last initial, so that someday if I really came out they could still deny that they ever knew of me, if they so wished. While this was noble, it was also sad, because if I had a broken leg or some other ordinary ailment, I wouldn’t show such shame. This is sadder yet because I need to protect the people that I care about from small-minded people in the world. Perhaps someday that will change.

In my heart, my real love is still music. It’s the thing that makes me go inside. I might not ever be able to truly express myself in this way. I am an artist, not because I create special things, but because I deal with things in my life through expression. Sometimes I store them in a thing like this book, other times I write into the moment like when I play music.

My transition opened so much of me up. I feel the need to express myself in so many directions at once that I may not go anywhere. Finding a balance may ensure my mediocrity, my obscurity, and my poverty. The pressure I feel from the glass of my life remaining feeling half-empty is hard to deal with. Even when I reach the top of the wave I can see the hollows in my wake. Being over thirty-five is terrifying because it’s over twice what I thought I would live. Sometimes it seems like a race against life’s winter.

’For Me

Can I touch the world,
In the way it touches me?

Do I live in a world,
Where dreams can come true?

Can I reach my goals,
before my life is through?

Is life survival?
Is survival my life?

Can it be something?
Something more?
Can I be anything,
Anything more?

Life holds no promises.
Life owes me nothing.
The unlikely chance,
is all that I may have.

Dare I ask,
Dare I plead,
Dare I take,
Dare I keep,

For me,
For me.
This time,
—For me.
All this,
—For me.
I want this,
—For me.
Before I leave,
—For me.

Will I ask?
Will I plead?
Will I take?
Will I keep?
—For me.

The Orient(ation) (Non) Express(ion)

Years ago, I came to the realization that I am bisexual, and I don’t think that will change. After giving it quite a bit of thought, I came to a realization that I am the queerest thing on the planet, with all the responsibility that the title carries. I choose—not to. After running out of concern I try to move on.

There is a great deal of controversy about sexual orientation and civil rights. Some anti-gay people seem to think that gay people are promiscuous, all the while, they work to infringe on gay people from being legally married. In the military, this posturing is called flanking and it is not at all defensive. I don’t think anyone can find a scientific reason why a stranger should invest the time and effort of accepting an inheritance or initializing hatred for me for my sexuality, but in some religions one might find a reason.

I had a friend who grew up in Southern Baptist and Gospel Churches, so he is very much a Christian. He reminded me that Christianity is supposed to be about love, and hate is not a Christian value.

He was a musician who had a good sense of humor and an even better ear. He was about fifteen years older than I was. Some of his female friends were bisexual bordering on gay. He was almost an honorary lesbian, yet his masculinity was undeniably intact.

One day, he showed me a few things on the guitar, I asked if I could give him some money for what he showed me. He said I could just get him something blue. I almost missed what he meant until I rediscovered I was wearing blue that day. I didn’t put weight on what he said, but I felt both cheapened in a way as well as complimented. I was attracted to his sense of humor and his honesty, but mostly his patients. As much as he wanted me, he was very patient. I found this attribute very attractive.

We saw each other for a few months. While his band played a cover of “Natural Woman,” I noticed, that is how he made me feel. Perhaps, physically he wasn’t everyone’s idea of a statistically attractive male, yet I felt what some transsexual people may only be able to imagine, and not live. I felt just like any other woman. I could have been the girl next door, and compared to him, for the time I was with him, I was. There was nothing male in me that he wanted from me. He was almost nonchalantly oblivious to those aspects of me. Strangely, he made me feel somewhat insecure in my masculinity. Even stranger, as far as being emasculent (female-masculinity) is concerned he was to some degree, a more righteous lesbian than I was, after all, he was seeing a bisexual woman (me) and I wasn’t.

As good as other forms of interactivity was, intimacy was challenging for both of us. It is what broke us up on Valentines Day. I will use his quote, “The intimacy thing just isn’t happening.” As I stopped crying, I smiled and told him, “Maybe I need a faggy-beginner guy.

I still wanted the relationship to work because of what I felt for him, but I had just found a border of my sexuality. Perhaps I am not attracted sexually to men who are very masculine physically. When that relationship failed, I also felt that maybe I am not destined to be the girl next door. Maybe I need and want someone to want all of me. I need someone more bisexual, and perhaps more androgynous.

I think intimacy can be difficult for transsexual people. From my experience, transsexual people are often asexual during transition, and some remain after. That intimacy, generally tends to be very far from genital centric. Some people say sex is all in the head, and there can be intimacy without genital contact. Sometimes being transsexual means that the eyes are the only thing that gets wet. Some transsexual people find intimacy too much to cope with. Many people fantasize about being with transsexual people, and this gives some weight to the old saying, “People want what they can’t have.

I have been in relationships with other transsexual people. Being intimate with another transsexual person can be wonderful for me, not only because I am bisexual, more so that I trust more and I feel understood more. It can also be complicated. Most of the transsexual people I have been intimate with have had individualized set “rules” and “guidelines” concerning intimacy and especially genital matters. While I am not every transsexual person, I am transsexual myself, and so I can understand the complexity.

I was intimate with someone before I had surgery. I didn’t have the same urges because the hormones weren’t there to move me as far as before. I was so scared that during the course of interaction that I would be reminded that I still have male genitalia, or that through physical interactions that part of me would be touched or just being reminded that my physical form wasn’t what I thought congruent. Whether I liked it of not, it was still part of me. Perhaps it is strange to like parts of your body but not others. I obsessed over this until I took my partners hand, and gently rested it between my legs. I forced myself to face this fear. It was still wired to me.

I could feel no more shame than this moment.
I will feel no more shame from this moment.
I need to know that I am more than this part of me.

[My compulsion reminds me of a sad but true story a friend told me. At a plant where he had worked, a person worked day after day with a potentially dangerous cutting machine. He never got hurt until the day he intentionally put his hands into the machine.]

Years after surgery, when I was intimate with another transsexual person, I related the same story. She did the same thing I had done. In reference to transsexual people who have not had surgery, sometimes it is said that if a person has a penis, that person is assumed to be a man. Paradoxically this is a much easier to cope with than what I have witnessed. I have touched a woman’ penis. Every other piece of flesh I have touched on this person before this has not been that of a man. Is that how I was existed before?

Please excuse my harshness, but If a lumberjack drops his chainsaw in his lap, is he not still a man? If a woman looses a breast or has to have her uterus removed because of cancer, is she not still a woman? Is there an absolute man, or absolute woman, with no part of the other? Are we no more than flesh?

Feel what I feel,
Know what I know,
I will not write to this to you,
Because you must find your own way.

When I had my surgery, I had it for me. It was the only way I wanted to continue. Thought the outcome wasn’t what I wanted, and I have not had an orgasm for years, I regret my choice of surgeon, but do not regret having surgery. In spite of everything, knowing me, though I may wish I was stronger, I probably would make the choice to have it again and I might not have survived had I not had that choice.

Physically, now, barring close inspection, I could probably be taken for what most people would have as a stereotype of a gay or bisexual woman. I know so many people who have pointed out that I am more feminine than masculine. Inside I am more female than male, yet the sum of our experience is different. This is what separates me, affirms what is androgynous in me, at least in a psychological sense.

Sometimes I feel thousands of people couldn’t fill the void because I can’t seem to find the one. I don’t know what is harder to accept that I may be some kind of quasi-gay transsexual or that, while not in habit, I may a polyamorous in nature. From experience, I learned from that I still do feel a special bond with transgendered people. I feel less a living-being because the need to find, love and be loved by and with someone I identify, has out-willed my sexual needs is some respects.

I seem to only meet a few people a year who I am attracted to. Since my transition, I have only tried perhaps two relationships a year. I have been with other women since my transition. My attraction is at least as real as it is for men. I could spend the rest of my life with either a female or a male, because I know it’s possible. Regardless of whom I am with, I want that person really to be bisexual because I feel that I have both male and female attributes and having accepted that, I want the freedom and ease to express myself. I also usually feel a greater attraction to bisexual people and there is a greater chance for identification with them. Ultimately, I try to look toward the people as a people, but I want them to want me.

I have this friend who tried to understand same-sex intimacy. He asked me questions like, “The thing I want to know is, which one is the woman, and which one is the man?” I tell him, “No-no-no, you’re trying to understand a homosexual relationship with heterosexual metaphors, it (usually) doesn’t work like that. This gay thing works on the principle that the two people are the same gender.” Sometimes, I feel hurt because most people seem to have a sexual preference one way or another, and because I don’t, it’s sometimes difficult for me to understand what they are feeling. I guess I have tried to understand (biased/unipolar) oriented sexuality to myself using bisexual metaphors, and generally, that doesn’t work either.

Being bisexual, I feel the term “sexual preference” also discriminates against people who are bisexual, but I guess you have probably heard that before.

Chain

(Trans-homo-erotica?)

As I close my eyes,
And drop uneven breath,
I dream of hold and held.

Of those I am with,
No one feels of this,
Or this does not happen,
At two places at once.

No idea of who or shape,
But for you I will look.

Please find comfort,
In the moments of our weakness.

Please still remain,
In the moments of our strength.

Please, let’s not speak in flesh,
Of ideas and thoughts.

Please, let’s not explain in words,
What only could be written in touch.

Do I also fail as I need you not to?

Is that my chain?
Is that your chain?
Is this our chain?
Is this that very chain?

Can we break this chain?
Each stand at a side,
Each work toward the middle,
Each place hand after hand.
This chain can fall!

At a link,
Weld breaks,
As crack sounds.
Link opens,
Spins, then drops between us,
Chain halves slip free.

And this chain falls!
This chain falls!

As we...
So-need room to grow,
Tumble away forever,
Both our walls,
Broken chains still attached.
Sounds, ringing of link,
After link, after link.

Our embrace still lives,
As sounds fade into distance.

As I wake with need and want,
As I fill of deep breath,
As I open my eyes,

I look for yours....

The Longest Moment

Driving on hills at the top of the city,
Blanket of light fills my sight.
Far away buildings’ windows look like stars,
And red taillight streaks paint the night.

I slow down and turn off the radio.
I’m looking for a safe place to park,
It’s sometimes dangerous in the city,
When you’re alone and it’s dark.

Iridescence, violet, emerald, and amber,
The colors that oil in a puddle contains.
My cheek is touched by the mist as I pass,
And I walk in the art on the sidewalk that remains.

I can hear only my steps in the street,
I see a very softened moon in a sea of blue.
I see black shadows of vents and rooftops,
And haze around the streetlights in my view.

I am going to see, and be more than a friend,
I am with fear that I leave myself weak,
Open the door enter the hallway,
Climb the stairs, it’s you I seek.

The longest moment,
Do I get close to another?
My life is too complicated,
How could I be anyone’s lover?

I knock on the door, too loud I feel.
The handle turns, the door opens.
I see you standing in the column of light.
Inviting words, open arms, fire in your eyes,
For once, I don’t feel alone, I feel all-right.

I hear breath in my ear, and I smell citrus and spice,
I feel flush, faint, when I am with you.
My hair is wet and my face is still cold.
But I feel your warmth, it feels so nice.
I feel so much comfort and love when we hold.

The Connecticut Driving Blues

(Sorry I can’t resist.)

I’ve got the...
Connecticut driving blues.
Get in your car, turn the key,
But if you leave your drive-way,
You’re go-ing to loose.

They put up billboards,
Just to confuse me.
There’s too much to watch,
Too much to see.

So many bridges and left-hand exits,
Bewilder the new,
This whole mess looks,
Like something Escher drew.

Three merges in a minute.
This drives me insane.
And there is almost six inches,
To the next lane.
From here on,
Ninety-one does go South.

Five cars stacked up one night,
Because they put up a tunnel,
Without a single light.

If you live around here,
Insurance bills are in excess.
And the companies themselves,
Helped create this fucking mess.

I have the...
Skidmarks leading to guardrail,
Jaws-of-life eating,
Ambulance parking,
LifeStar landing,
Sara Winchester House inspired,
Mianus Bridge dropping,
Connecticut driving blues.

I have the...
Route six gauntlet,
Route fifteen autobahn,
Eighty-four, ninety-one roller coaster,
—Paved death-trap,
Waiting to hap-pen.
Connecticut driving blues.

If you lost someone close,
My heart goes out to you.
When people work on the roads,
Why not slow down as you’re passing through?

Net Return?

When driving one day, someone ran a stop-sign. After I made sure they were okay, I related my amazement that they taken such a chance. He just couldn’t have looked. When we crashed, I tried to control the skid with my right foot, and tried to steer with my hands My left ankle took all the force as the cars merged at a right angle. I was shaken up enough to be walking around on a foot that I would be almost dragging around the next day. I was also shaken up enough not want to replace the car for some time.

I knew my car was totaled before it was taken away. I must have been sentimentally attached to my car because I felt hurt by watching a little red piece of it that remained in the road, continually getting ran over by cars. I went out in the road to get a little piece of plastic, while I tried not to embarrass myself by being hit by a moving car.

Where I lived, having a car was really the most practical way to get around. I became very isolated and lonely, even for me. I chatted on the Internet more and more often. I used to chat daily to my friend in a transgendered chatroom which she found. Some of the real-life people that went to my support group also chatted there too.

After working on some bizarre computer project or another, I logged on. The other names became friendly and familiar with time. I knew that not everyone represents themselves as they are, yet I tried to be open and helpful because I felt most others were.

On a few occasions, one person made hateful prejudiced remarks before they were subsequently banned. It seemed that they sought out this chat room with the sole purpose of venting hatred. At first it just seemed like little. As time when on, they started making their wish to harm people well known in the channel. I don’t have the logs anymore, but they said something offensive enough to make me want to speak up and when I did, they privately chatted me.

There I was, chatting one-on-one with someone who probably didn’t want me to be alive. For over an hour, I tried to communicate with this person, just trying to understand why they felt the way they did. They tried to nay-say anything I had to offer. This person ranted, and ranted to the effect that I wore dresses all the time. I laughed a little, as I tapped-out that I didn’t even own a dress, (then) and I was wearing a flannel shirt and a pair of jeans. This person didn’t believe me. The paranoia, misconceptions and misinformation kept flowing.

This person asked if I was happy, and I told them “no” and that I was sad. They asked why I was sad, so I typed that I didn’t want them to hurt any of my friends, acquaintances, or anyone for that matter. As I quit, they asked why I was going and I told them, “because I had failed.

Among the other people I chatted with was someone that was born male and had cross-gendered feelings of some kind. They just needed someplace safe to sort things out. This person related a devotion to their spouse that was touching to say the least. This person shared with me a letter that they wrote and even found a song that underlined their feelings.

This person felt a need to communicate with the person who was supposed to be their best friend, the person who they were supposed to spend the rest of their life with. This person would eventually speak to their spouse about it.

Their spouse was not at all accepting. She wanted a separation and ultimately a divorce just because this person had feelings, not that this person wanted to transition, just that they had feelings that they might be transgendered in some way. I, and, in fact, almost everyone else there basically told her, that she deserves to be treated better than that. For better or worse, in sickness and health but not in gender confusion? That was not my idea of love.

Among the other regulars in this electric place was someone I thought shared common interests. As I touched the keys, I found that characters were traveling in wires from my house to servers and routers all over the world, to her house, three or four blocks away.

She was enthusiastic about meeting me, and I would have been too, had I not learned that she was only eighteen. My thoughts were, I don’t want to be responsible for my own destiny at times, much less influence someone else’s. I am reminded that I am from, and very far, from the wrong side of the tracks.

My friend and her starting hanging out together. I saw a picture of her, the image didn’t seem particularly attractive, so that would not be a issue. The last thing I needed in my life was to be attracted to someone who is only eighteen. After a while I thought that things might be okay if I hung out with her as well. When I did meet her, inside, my initial reaction was nervous sarcasm, “Oh great, exactly who I am looking for, except too young.

She was one of the strongest willed, most mature people I have ever met in my life but it was not going to save me from myself, nor was not going to shadow the fact, I was undeniably very attracted to an eighteen year old person. I don’t even usually keep friends much younger than myself, perhaps because of my past. I couldn’t imagine myself ever getting evolved with anyone that young. It’s just that she was so special, different and mature. I met two of her friends they were very nice people, but just not yet adults to me. I would like to think that her maturity was a gift, but I worry that it is a result of pain, suffering, and experience. I had met her counselor in the past I heard that she didn’t care for me too much, her product seemed so together that I even rethought my opinion of this counselor. Her parents weren’t around, and she lived at her grandparents. A lot of my friends and I don’t come from the most stable homes, we’re meta-orphans and I felt a bond with her in that.

She was shorter, larger in thorax, her feet were a little larger than mine. I deeply feel there are only a few others in the world that I have met whose frames and muscle are similar to mine.

Her hands fascinated me. Other than her face it was what most attracted me physically to her. I only recall only seeing one other person, and only in picture with hands proportioned like hers. Her fingers were longer where a ring would rest and shorter elsewhere.

She was made different than I was, yet this was perhaps the first person I thought capable of touching my heart like this in quite some time. I told my counselor that only my life would be so cruel to find someone I feel this for and they would be this young. My friends also remind me to this day that she was of legal age. Shortly after I met her I told her that I had feelings for her.

There,” I thought. If nothing else, and perhaps nothing else, I was honest. If I love this person, then I want this person to be aware of the parameters of our interaction, as if she didn’t know already. While I found her attractive, there never needed to be physical intimacy. I had worked so hard to make sure we had some kind of future. I even try my best to keep my ex’s as friends because I believe that it’s the right thing to do, and perhaps the things that attracted me as a lover, I find attractive as a friend.

Later, she expressed that she had feelings for me too. I asked my counselor, “Now what am I supposed to do?” He replied, “Let her decide.” I needed to be sure. I love her and I needed to know that she understands, and I need it not to be in the heat of the moment. We were online when she stated that she did want to be intimate with me, but we had already been intimate in hours and hours of just talking face to face and perhaps things came across in hugs.

I moved slowly, but I moved.
I moved perhaps too far, but I don’t need to be here anyway.
Even when we were intimate I tried to make sure that she knew that, we could walk this same way but not as far, and that would be fine.
I just wanted her in my life.

It was so difficult for me. I examined, I soul-searched my past. I remembered the person who just used me when I was twelve. I was not that person and she was not twelve. I remembered an older woman whom I had been intimate with, and fell for when I was her age. Now I think I can better appreciate the dilemma that the older woman who I was seeing felt, but perhaps in a harsher way.

When I was with the older woman, I thought then that it then it was okay for someone my age to be with her, but because of the things that happened to me when I was young. There are too many people not to become. I felt very confused. Am I “Mrs. Robinson?” Am I my worst enemy?

I also remember myself, when I was in transition, when everyone I loved or cared about just let me go, when I didn’t really have anyone I connected with. I thought about the pain of rejection that I felt when one person who who would someday obsesses over me, and another that was perhaps very much like me, both didn’t want me because I was transsexual like they were. I even remember pain of finally having good things happen to me and having no one to share them with.

Of what value is anything I have to offer her?

In some strange, subtle way I felt like she might replace me on some level or another. I am not that old, but she will outlast me. I did feel sad at the irony of the whole thing. It took some time until I realized that what would be worse than the fear of her outlasting me, was the fear of her not outlasting me. I did my very best to keep from making the same mistakes that people made with me. There were so many people who had been in my life that I just didn’t want to be. I tried my best to sort through myself, find what I may, and just love her.

For me, being intimate with someone this young is one thing, but I had fantasies of being with her for the rest of my life, and I thought that was just selfish. I blurted something about this out to her in passing. I probably would have treated things different had I thought there was a chance, and I feel I was just trying to null my feelings. I guess she took it to heart because, one day while waiting to get the elevator, I was looking in an oval wood framed mirror. I lightly pointed out, “Hey, we look cute together”, she smiled and said, “Oh that’s just great, why don’t I just run down and get the license right now.

The things she said to me were really positive and really made me feel good inside. I admit I had a problem with the age thing but her words and actions made me feel okay about it. She said such nice things to me that I believed that I made her feel good. How could I say “no” when the person I am with is crying, looking into my eyes and telling me that when we are together physically, “it’s beautiful” to her? Was I so stupid to believe her? When we were intimate I tried my best, not to touch her as a male or a female, just a person, so she could find whatever she wanted within that. I did okay.

I thought that there was some meaning. I almost felt like part of me was waiting all those years, for someone like her, and it scared me to think that the person I was looking for could be her.

We went out to a cute restaurant. It was the kind of place where one sits in a couch, and the food is served on a coffee-table. We were waiting for our food and it so cozy we were just leaning against one another. It just felt so natural, simple and kind of cuddly/romantic that I lost any interest in the environment, and it was just like we were on this private island of the heart and mind. We were in a public place, we both looked androgynous. We could be taken for anything people want to see us as, not everyone is open minded as I wished, and we would have to walk out the door, leaving this safe environment behind at some point.

One day, my baggage crept into things. We were spending time talking and hugging. She has masochistic tendencies. She wanted me to hold her. I tried. During intimacy, I try to listen. I touch someone, as if they were I. She wanted me to hold her tight. I gave her what she told me she wanted. When I read from her I had become that scared little kid again. I was bitterly angry with myself, and it was me. It was like I was like feedback of a microphone or a guitar held too close to a speaker. Yet this is what she wanted to be happy.

This special person who made me happy and I love, wants me to find things myself that I cannot tolerate in myself. I can’t. I have been too much too far. I can’t act in this play, because for me, it felt for keeps, forever. I tried to keep back my tears. When I told her one day that I hope she meets a person who makes her feel like I do, but when I said that, this day was the last one I would wish for her. I hope she will not understand. Perhaps this could help heal both of us, but why her need? I don’t think I am up for the challenge. It would take quite some time to work through something like this.

There were good days though. Throughout our brief relationship there was more simple affection than, that which is more complicated. Admittedly she was one of the most physically feminine transsexual people I had been with. At times and I did get the one thing that I always fantasized about—balance. It was fragile because of the age difference, but still present.

I think one of the things I like about being with another transgendered person, is my perceived freedom to drift through the entire spectrum of existence. At one time the relationship might feel heterosexual and then gay and then lesbian, then labels seem meaningless because there is continuity and uniformity. We seemed to be balanced male for female, and I was a little more emasculent and she was a little more effeminate. I live for the occasions when, in myself those aspects—even that which can transverse the Rainbow, all becomes quiet because they were heard. In the past, I feel like I have chained and drowned myself by keeping any whim considered feminine only mine, degrading my quality of life below that of most. Now I feel like I have spread my wings and feel just a little more freedom than most people enjoy.

One nice warm summer night, we walked around holding hands. It was then that I realized that I was happy. My neighbors could tell I was too. So I am in love with someone in the present with no future.

She wants her options open.
I really love her, she is young and love unlike attraction sometimes obligates.
Her options must be open.
The only way keep my alignment is to keep my options open.

The previously obsessed other friend strongly objected to my relationship with this person and sent me hateful angry mail. She compared me with a child molester for going out with someone who was eighteen. If I had any residual doubts as to my nature, I worked them out when I was battling her. I rose from the match with confidence that the person I was seeing was mature for her age and my jealous, hateful friend, was not.

Word of my relationship had gone through my support group and some people were questioning my judgement because I had led her to an event designed for gay, lesbian and transgendered youth. I knew that she was in the Rainbow somewhere, but I needed her to see the whole Rainbow, to get as much information as she could before she transitioned. I still think this transsexual transition thing is tough and no one should do it unless they have to. I also wanted to get her out with people her own age, so if she was with me it was of choice not of necessity.

We split up when we arrived there. I found a room that had information people from a bisexual support group. Admittedly, the woman that ran the group was really attractive. When I was leaving I left through a set of doors not thinking that anyone was behind me, and I heard a soft thud. I looked behind me, seeing that I had let the door close in that same person’s face. I explained that that was one of the most embarrassing things that ever happened to me. I apologized and went to find my friend (The horror of pre-defined destiny. See: transitional sarcasm.)

We caught up to each other. We went to the auditorium where there was a series of people speaking and a set of short plays. I had tried to use care in giving her space so that she would feel free to do whatever, but she wanted to be close to me. So we sat there hugging and watching the presentation/show with a few hundred other people.

Because of the relationship as well as my prompting her to go to the youth-thing, I was no longer asked to do public speaking for my support group. I was now, way too controversial. I gave up any title I had there, reasoning that I didn’t need a title to do little chores I sometimes did. I love this support group and would do much to protect it, even from my bad reputation.

I happened upon another person online with a future with no present. This person and I chatted for about a month. She related some of the most touching things with me. I dare say I loved this person sight-unseen though being “in love” is a different matter to me all together. Another friend one put it oddly but interestingly, “How can anyone love someone without being able to smell that person.

I was still in love with the other person, yet then I felt like I was cheating when I was with her. I know I would have felt the same if I were with the other. I wrote her a letter explaining that some of the happiness that I felt, and I did feel happy then, which was astounding, was not from the new person but from the younger one I had been seeing. The other person was supposed to have money, and wanted absolute fidelity, but I wouldn’t have deserted my friend for anything unless she didn’t want me. For the first time I felt that my elusive, Utopian dream of concurrent identity was eclipsed by something else.

I did want to meet this other person. She related things to made me question that I might have found another person who I physically identify with like the one from some time ago. I told this person, “I love you and I never met you.” There was a website shrine to me and yet she resisted calling me. This made me increasingly suspicious.

About this time, someone emailed me. People had unraveled her webpage, the pictures were stolen—from here. Calls to real people at a university proved that something else was fabricated—there. I had grossly underestimated the depth of the muck.

Another close friend of mine had vouched for this person’s existence. So, if the new person were not real then, it would seem most likely that my close friend, who was previously obsessed with me—was that person, the same person who most strongly objected to me and my friend’s relationship.

This person chatted to my other friends online, as well as the person I was seeing. I felt I had dragged her into a horrible mess. In spite of my best efforts, I am a liability, through association. I felt so guilty. I gave the person I was seeing some money and asked her to see her counselor.

Word of this fake person went through the chat room quickly. Everyone else in the channel that this non-person had touched, was upset, some were scared and are, to this day. People were so scared and upset that no one even taunted me. When I last checked last, what was once one of the most popular transgender channels is all but dead.

Comprehension of a mind that would do such a thing to me is beyond my grasp. Someone manipulated me using everything they learned in an eight-year friendship. I wasn’t the only one scared. One friend temporally disowned me in fears of loosing her life, the other is still friends with the person believed to be the impersonator, but he trusts her little. I couldn’t prove that this person was the poser, but when the whole mess hit the fan two friends confide in me that she had willfully tried to discourage them from being my friend,. Although, she would still be my friend, and would seem to save the day; this is selfishness. I don’t ask for a lot of loyalty, but this kind of treachery is too much a liability.

The person I was seeing and I took some space from each other for things to “cool off.” I guess she cooled off more than me, and we weren’t getting along. I was loosing her for a friend, catalyzed by someone else’s intervention. I felt angry and cheated. Perhaps this was doomed from the start, but if so, it should have found its end on it’s own. I stopped contact with the person I was seeing.

I felt so violated, someone had so willfully and successfully tampered into my life. A friend was at my house when started crying really hard. As tears fell I sighed the words, “I am going to loose her for a friend.” I was so upset and frustrated that I hit the wall. What I thought a punch hard enough to tell me I hit something, was a hole punched through sheetrock to the concrete behind and black-and-blue’d two fingers.

I have talked to her once or twice since then. Once was at a support group meeting when she witnessed someone yelling at me defending the poser. I told her that I was so sorry for getting her involved into this big mess. As I cried, I took her face in my hands and told her, “I love you, you silly fool.” She felt sorry for me and got a stuffed animal out of her car and gave it to me.

[That was one of the things that attracted me so much to her, is that she cared about people. I remember when we were spending some time together and her friend cell-phoned upset that something bad had happen. She rushed to help her friend giving an apology to me that wasn’t necessary, because I would hope I would do the same thing, and I wanted her to be with her friends.]

Still crying, I held this little stuffed cat in my hands knowing that she didn’t want anything to do with me, but still wanted to make me feel better anyway.

I heard from a friend that she went back and talked to the person who had yelled at me. This person had at one time been a friend and even let me stay at her house when I was homeless, though I don’t think she could see clearly beyond her past attraction for my ex-friend the poser, who she insisted was innocent.

Some time later, my counselor suggested that if we went out and met at some neutral place perhaps she would be more comfortable. When I asked her she said she would like that, but that moment never happened, and when she told me that she was wrong and never loved me and didn’t want any further contact. I will respect that.

She said that things are going good for her, and I know that she is with someone her own age. I wish nothing but the best for her, because what I feel for her is love. In some ways it’s what I wanted, but it just hurt a lot when it happened. I miss her as a friend. I lost my perspective, but I never needed to keep it. I love her. I knew this would be difficult because of my attachment. It seems that the only thing that I had left to offer her is my distance.

It took an entire year for me to start healing from this whole mess. Seeing someone who was then only eighteen was not taken well with my peers. She seemed no longer my friend and that didn’t speak well for me. More importantly, there were so many situations that I wanted not to create, so many other people who I didn’t want to be. I tried to go through my entire being trying to find everything worthwhile in myself and give and share that to someone special to me... and I seemed to have failed. If I brought her happiness to her life, she would still be my friend. As for the person I was seeing, all I can say is I love her.

My other ex-friend, the poser, was still out there. She still seemed to continue to work her particular “charm” on other people, making things even harder on me. My counselor told me that I wasn’t going to be able to beat her at her own game, and I guess he was right.

I went to the hardware store to buy some things to fix the hole in the wall. The superintendent was nice enough to give me some wall compound and paint. I worked for a few days patching the hole that I had put in almost a year back, as well as a few other minor spots that had been chipped from everyday life. There was one spot where I leaned against the wall to move a piece of furniture to move it and sunk into the wall instead, proving: if you have your back against the wall, make sure it’s a strong one.

I sanded and painted the spots. When I showed the building manager that I had fixed the hole, she said, “You can’t even tell there was a hole there.” I looked back at the hole, thought for a moment, quietly sighed and said, “Yeah....

Opaque

I was excited to walk into the transsexual group. Someone had stumbled upon her, the transsexual person who I worked in the camera chain with. I was hard to believe. I brought a printed copy of a paragraphs from this book which had the sad ending that I never got to talk to her.

The beginning of the meeting was normal; preamble, current events, announcements, and then the floor opened up for discussion. We introduced each other. As I read the pages to her, tears started to fall out of my eyes. I explained who much I wanted to talk to her eight years before. I told her that just her living, helped save my life. The entire group clapped as we hugged. She said she wished she had talked to me then. She asked if she could keep the papers, so I gave them to her.

She explained that while she was a manager, the camera chain relocated the store, but not with her position because she was transsexual. We are friends today, I love her and I will always be grateful to her.

Too soon? — Too Late?

A few months had past since my last relationship. At a small gathering, I noticed that an attractive woman and I were other looking at each other. She is around my age, has long blonde hair, and an especially impish laugh.

She likes hiking as much as I do. She had a cat that would climb her legs as if they were just a scratchpost, and do so, so consistently that I could’t help but find it humorous to me. She has a good sex drive and decent amount of body hair which she might like to let grow if it were seen to her as more publicly acceptable.

She is great artist. She wanted a nude model as much I liked the attention, so she painted me. She said that she feels more masculine when she paints. She was so cute when she would lean from behind the canvas every few seconds to look me.

We saw each other for a few months. She is bisexual and dykie in a good way. With her, I felt a nice reawakening of my gay female side that slept for so long. She did her have strong heterosexual urges which made the lesbian feeling as frail as it was special.

As close as I felt to her, it was too early for me to get into another relationship. I still had some feelings for the person I was seeing before I saw her. Ours wasn’t a “bounce-back” relationship, but it was still just too early for me. It’s just that usually more time passes between relationships for me. I just needed a little more time to work through the mess I had just been in. It was difficult for me to trust anyone—especially after what had happened to me. Though there were some small chemistry issues, there were some dynamic issues that might have been able to be worked out, had I discovered them earlier.

Now, she is going out with a transsexual friend of mine. They seem very happy together, and I find solace in that. I hope I can keep them both for friends. Recently, they had a baby girl together. It’s a little out of the ordinary—my two ex-girlfriends had a baby together. I saw pictures of their baby. She is so cute. Her mother, my friend was sitting behind her and she looks understandably a little tired, but she is so proud. They made a whole person, (Smiling, tearing.) and I am very happy for them.

About this time, I had tried sending an email to a game company that was looking for work. They responded back and said that they were going to look at my work. They asked me to come to an interview, I had reconstructive genital surgery just four weeks before, but I hopped on a bus and went for it anyway.

I knew that I was in trouble as far as the interview went, I hadn’t worked a legitimate job in years, now I was trying to reenter the workforce with a large hole in my history. They asked, and I flatly explained where I had been the last few years. I didn’t need to honest but I was. I could have padded a resume’ with lies, but I didn’t because I have to answer to myself. I reasoned that if I couldn’t get a job on the merit of my work, I didn’t want it. I spent a lot of time just trying to learn the skills to enter this industry. I also knew that if they didn’t look really at my work, I wouldn’t get the job. I don’t think the president of the company did.

They questioned my stability because I hadn’t worked in so long. I had decided that I was either going to go to collage and get this job or just go to collage. This job though, had the potential to develop into the opportunity to do something creative. So it meant more to me that I had originally thought. Ultimately, I felt they did not want to hire me because I was a transsexual person. I was discriminated against. It was my fault. I was honest. Now, I feared that perhaps this was the last chance I would have of doing something normal with my life. I just need to believe that I have more time.

Neither

It was six years before I had my urethra surgically corrected. The only opportunity that presented itself was the original surgeon. He offered to wave most of the fees. A group of people graciously donated the rest of the money and travel expenses. I was a little nervous about having genital surgery under local anesthesia.

A friend took an entire week off of work to drive me to get my surgery. The drive though the fall foliage was pretty. We found the bed and breakfast in spite of the mapmaker who failed to include one of the largest streets in the city in the map listing. Our stay there was otherwise nice.

We arrived at the office an hour early, leaving me plenty of time to fret and worry. A few hours later I was waiting in a room. I had a shaved muff. I was almost wearing, a garment of clothing of questionable design that doesn’t really close. After being situated on the table, my feet were in stirrups with little booties on them. Whatever I was given something to relax me, had worked. I watched someone cut and sew between my legs for about an hour and half. I got dressed and left, and we left for home the next day.

I feel that the positive surgery results was belittled by the compassion and understanding that my friend showed me. My attitude is dicey at best when having surgery, and my friend’s affect was immaculate and very forgiving. I will always be grateful.

Post-operative maintenance became such a chore that I looked forward to the day when I would no longer spend so much time in the bathroom. While a genetic female gets her period for about five out of twenty-eight days, I only had to wear pads for two periods in my life, but for weeks at a time, and lots of them.

The second surgery was a positive change as far as my body imagery is concerned. It fixed the problems that I have had with my urethra. In spite of my best efforts, I contracted a urinary tract infection a few days after returning home. There also was an area that I feared was infected. I went to the hospital to have both checked and I knew there would be a lot of explaining to do. What the doctor and I had worried was infection, was just a blood blister that took some time to dissipate.

I have spent so much time at the hospital for medical problems that some people actually remember my name. In addition to sprains, my hand surgery, and other things, I was told by a surgeon that if I ever develop a bad cough, get some medical attention to avoid collapsing the other lung. They know me, and they have always been respectful to me, in contrast as to a larger teaching hospital that I once went to.

They gave me antibiotics for the urinary tract infection and I felt better in a few days. In passing, they, among others, have reminded me to wipe from front to back, which I always have. The thought of doing it the other way is disturbing to me.

A doctor had complimented me earlier in my transsexual surgery knowledge, but after so many years of hanging around support groups, one just learns. I asked for something to drink because I know it will make me feel better. She asked me what I wanted, I asked for cranberry juice, because it’s a mild diuretic. The nurse says a cute, affirming, “Good girl” to me.

Cranberry juice is too bitter to be something I like to drink. To me, the bitterness that not even sugar can quell. It causes me to make faces on just a thought, but I drank gallons of it to help me feel better. I rested for a few days.

I put antibiotic ointment on the external suture lines, because that it’s supposed to help with healing and prevent infection. I also took baths with a capful of provadone-iodine in the water after the surgeon said it was okay to take a bath. Things become so medically centered that, it took a while for things to get to the point where my own genitals are something that I would want to intentionally touch with a human hand.

After having the second surgery, I feel a sense of closure. I also feel for the first time in a long time like I am growing. I have more confidence in myself and feel just having the surgery a personal victory. I must have thought the previous one my own personal failure.

Dance

One day, when I was at the dentist, I noticed that one of the assistants looked a lot like the person who I went to a middle-school prom with. It is a rare occasion that I meet people with whom I went to school with, but I promised myself, the next time I saw her, I would ask her if it were she. I remembered her as being cute and pretty at the same time. I was such an awkward social misfit that she couldn’t have had a good time with me, but she was very pleasant anyway.

By the time I went back to have a cavity worked on, I had almost forgotten about her, but there she was, sitting at the desk. She hadn’t aged much at all. I offered a name, and I asked if it was hers, it was. The second one matched too. She said I looked familiar. I asked if I could talk to her for a moment after my cleaning. She said, “Yes.

While she prepared the room for my dental visit, she asked me questions. I tried to tell her that she might want to wait for a break. I tried to be conscientious because this was her work environment. She continued talking anyway. I told her that we both went to the same school, and that I liked her. The dentist walked right in after I said it. I was still aware that I didn’t want to cause any potential discomfort for her at work, so I try to be discreet and quiet. The dentist left. She still couldn’t place me. I told her that I was once male on the outside, and I the very person whom she went to the dance with. She remembered me. I smiled as I told her, “I am sorry, I still don’t know how to dance.” She graciously stated that she isn’t very good either. I looked to my immediate right. The dentist had been there fussing with something, and he probably heard everything.

While he dentist worked on me, I looked across the room, and into her eyes. There, saw the cuddly warmth that I remembered, reaffirmed why I was attracted to her in the first place. After my appointment, I asked her if I could talk a bit more. When I was in my self-destructive modality, I spent time with her brother. For whatever reason, he seemed to looked up to me. I felt bad because I was using a lot of drugs, and I was afraid that I had influenced him. I wasn’t the first person to party with him but I felt a contributor. She explained that he had a child, and he was still alive, but they didn’t have much contact. I tried to offer a word of condolence. I wished her well, and I left her to her work.

Bubble Memory

A friend once told me that when he was in the Navy as a Submariner, one of the tests he endured was being lowered in a diving bell to a depth of one hundred feet. He was then to swim out of the bell, and ascend all the way to the surface with one breath of air. I thought, “No (fucking) way ’I would try that.” He said that they told him to let out an air bubble and follow it up to the surface. In that way he wouldn’t get the bends.

Another friend and I went swimming at someone’s house. She seemed a little nervous because she didn’t know anyone there. When we got there I leaned to her and said, “...and this is a clothing optional party.” Then I smiled and said that I was just kidding. The pool was heated to womb temperature, and the water was clear enough to make me feel like I was flying over the bottom of the pool. I was having a lot of fun.

When I couldn’t reach the bottom of the pool, my friend commented that I didn’t stay under water very long. I came to a realization: even though it had been eight years since my lung surgery, I never overcame my fear of being short of breath. My friend told me that to get to the bottom it’s easier to let some air out as one goes. I watched her swim around on the bottom of the pool with cute dolphin-like playfulness. I practiced it for most of the day, in fact we swam for about eight hours that day. I sat near the bottom, looking up as I followed little air bubbles rise to the surface. It was hard for me to not feel urgency.

When it was dark, one friend who was there was trying to get people to go skinny-dipping. She asked people if it was okay before taking off her bathing suit. She asked me, and I asked my friend, if it would make her uncomfortable if I did. So I took mine off too. It was nice, a little scary, but natural.

The next summer, I tried jogging. It strange to realize that I was so afraid just to be out of breath, that it kept me from doing a lot of things. I am usually in pretty good shape from hiking, but I rarely get out of breath from that. I tried running up a steep hill one day, and it reminded me that I had not run in years. When I tried jogging, it was really hard at first, and almost as hard if I don’t do it for a while, which isn’t a good thing to do anyway. It was nine years since my lung surgery, since I even tried to run. When I first started my lungs burned so badly, or is it goodly? I am a better sprinter than a jogger, but it has reminded me that I can be out of breath and live to tell about it.

A Coffee Break

A friend and I entered escaping the fall chill through an almost hidden doorway. We passed a sign-up board covered in colored playbills, and then continued into the safety of a little New Haven coffee shop. We climbed the two creaky wooden stairs, and ordered coffee and bagels. We found a table near the back.

The greenhouse-like windows showed a secluded courtyard view bound with buildings and lined with trees. Light poured through, filling the room. It illuminated the bright yellow-green painted brick walls and archways of the old building. Iron brackets supported the large dark amber timber supports showing many years of nail-marks. Recorded classical guitar mixed with the hissing sounds of cappuccino machines, rustling newspapers, and friendly conversation. Almost everyone here was writing, reading, or studying something while enjoying their drug of choice—caffeine.

On my way to the restroom, a man asked me for a cigarette. If a smoker looks like anyone in particular, then perhaps I looked like that person, but more likely, I was just anyone who passed during his moment of desperation. I replied to him, “Not since I collapsed my lung.” I verified his shock, then I walked from him, smiling. I had left my little twist with this person, giving some depth to my light, quaint breakfast experience there. Perhaps I will be one of the first ones in my family who will not die a tobacco death. Perhaps I didn’t want him to die either.

Parting

I remember when I held my grandmother’s hand for what I knew would be the last time. I knew this was going to be hard for me, and I knew it was hard on her. She probably didn’t want me to see her like this, but I couldn’t let her go unless she was sure that she knew that I really love her. It wasn’t fair, I wanted to take her to New Orleans before she left.

She was the only close family member who never stopped believing in me, no matter what I was. She saw creative potential and ability in me. I just wanted to make her proud of me, maybe I was too late, but maybe she thought I was okay anyway.

I appreciated the time after my transition with her so much. It wasn’t exactly what she communicated, it was how she did. It’s just that she could reach me.

One of the most cherished moments in my life, was my grandmother holding me firmly by the my face, looking into my eyes and telling me to care of myself and how much she loved me—and meaning it. (Crying.)

At her service, I talked with relatives who I hadn’t seen in a decade. My uncle, who couldn’t deal with me, was in tears for his mother. I told him, “I am probably not what you would have wanted me to be, but I hope you remember that I love you.” Later he indicated that I could stop by sometime.

I saw my brother for the first time in nine years. There was no altercation. I saw two relatives who used to stop by my grandparents a lot. I approached them, and I said a hello, and I did explain who I was. I saw my grandfather’s brother, and I introduced myself, but didn’t really explain who I was.

I saw my cousins; most were really okay except one. On the positive side, another one who I was closest to talked. She said, “It’s a shame we lost touch with each other over the years.” I told her, “That is what you wanted.” She looked at me, and said, “I was wrong.” We hugged. Another cousin spoke to me, “Grandma was really cool with you.

I had no flower to offer, so the director gave me one. I placed it upon my grandmother’s remains.

After my grandmother’s service, my mother, her husband, and I cried as we walked back to the car. Someone stopped us. My mother introduced me. He said, “You look just like your mother did, a long, long time....” My mother interjected with a smile on her face. My mother, her husband, and I walked back to the car.

Not a “Dark Chamber”

In December, the transsexual support group hosts an annual holiday season party. During the winter months, the turnout sometimes gets small, but there were about thirty-two people there, a decent number. The director of one of the largest transgendered organizations made an appearance, too.

Someone was nice enough to take the time to make a turkey with all the trimmings. Other people brought in side dishes and treats. Someone brought in greeting cards for everyone because some people sometimes loose their families when transitioning, and it’s nice to make sure people have at least one card.

Besides the party, a photographer came as a guest speaker. I was a little apprehensive and protective because so many people have worked to exploit transgendered people. She seemed very nice. There was only one book and a photo on a display, so she was not there to sell anything. After the business and the usually current-events portion of our meeting, we managed to have decent support group time; the groups main function is people talking to one another.

The photographer brought a slide projector and some of her work. The lights were dimmed, and she gave her presentation. Most of her past work centered on people who cross-dressed, but she said that she was working on a book with transsexual people. I didn’t need to see many pictures to know that I had misjudged her. Her pictures were very tasteful. They showed her subjects as people. She had a few nudes toward the end which were nice, too. The print which was on display captured my interest. It was of a person in their late seventies who was cross-dressed, sitting in a chair next to a picture of himself as a child, cross-dressed.

I talked with her after the slide-show. I read through her book. It had been done in the 1980’s, and at that time was probably very controversial, and today perhaps it still is. It showed transgendered people as human beings. Her pictures saw beyond presentation and looked—into the self as a person. She seemed to spend a lot of time with transgendered people, much more than was required to do the book and it showed in her work. I complimented her on her work. I felt I could learn about her by seeing the world through her eyes as well her standing in front of mine. I teased her by asking if anyone had really taken pictures of her, because it’s a photographer’s paradox to be behind the camera and not in front of it. As we were leaving she gave me the one copy of her book that she had brought. I asked her to sign it, and she did. (Smiling.)

Every once in a while I meet someone that gives me some hope and she is one of those people.

The Peasant of the Ring

Where I lived, public transportation was possible but difficult. It took me six hours and three transfers each way, to get to a one-hour appointment twenty miles away. Most of the people here using these busses probably use them more out of necessity than environmental concern, and it’s just not glamorous right now.

I know that I am social-phobic, afraid of people, and I have always been. I blend into society much better than I did before I transitioned, but it is hard to heal. I am usually extroverted when I am out, not only because I like people but also I want almost everyone I come in contact with as my ally. Some of my friends don’t understand how I could be social-phobic because I have done public speaking. If I speak to a classroom of college students about the most personal aspects of my life, it seems no more stressful to me than going to the store to get groceries. I just don’t think that one of them is going to stand up and try to end my life while a lot of people are looking. It’s not like bus-hopping alone.

A man in his forties sat in front of me, facing toward the center of the bus. I sat behind him, facing forward. He spoke to me, explaining to me that he could no longer play baseball because his shoulder was bad. I remarked that he could still coach, couldn’t he?

After a moment, he grabbed at my hand with my Native American thumb-ring. He asked if I was Jewish. I asked him flatly, “What difference does it make?” He still held on to me by my ring. He repeated his question. I once again asked, “What difference would it make if I was Jewish?” He opened the top of his shirt, and pointed at a tattoo of some kind. He stated, “I am an Arian.” Now, I regretted suggesting that he teach anyone anything. I asked him sternly, “What if I was Jewish?” and then added, “I am part Italian, part Polish, part French, part German, part Swedish (part Native American?). I could very-well be Jewish.” I am not too fond of buses (trusting stranger to drive/authority figure/people/enclosed space/loud noise), and then when I meet the one who will probably want to hurt me real bad if he figures out what I am, I am too stupid to be scared.

I questioned him, “So what if you had relatives who were Jewish?” He said that he did, but he doesn’t talk to them. His words faded. I made some comment about it not making too much sense to me to hate people because they are different. He starts mumbling something else, catches himself, and lets the thread stall. A moment later, he asked me, “Do you have a husband?” He repeats himself. I offered, “No.” He says, “A pretty girl like you should be married.” I thought, “No, this can’t be happening. Please someone, tell me that this intoxicated or heavily medicated tattooed fascist, is not coming on to me, on this bus, today.

He looked at me for a moment, studying me. I could almost hear the gears turning, then he said, “You’re gay aren’t you?” I looked at him with quite some arrogance, and said, “A little.” He put his hand on my thigh. In shock, I lifted it off. I applied more anger, “That doesn’t mean you have a right to touch me!” I got off the bus; it was my stop.

....and every once in a while I meet someone that takes some of my hope and he was one of those people.

The next day, I talked to the bus driver about my interaction with the man from the day before. He said that man fell asleep on the bus and went all the way around. I smiled and said, “If you look back and find me dead, he probably did it.” He laughed and said, “Someone could write a book about people who ride the bus.” I asked him, “Why don’t you write one?

Big No-Peep

One-hundred and seventy five people resided in the apartment building where I lived. Most people were older and single, so the building just made sense to them from a convenience standpoint. For others, the building was a home for people who had medical issues that needed more attention than the average person needs, but could still live on their own. For some people, it was a hospice and the second to last place they would ever be. For me, it was a place to heal and remember what it was like to have both a future and a past, instead of just living in the given moment all the time.

Over all, almost everyone there was really nice to me. There were few people my age, and many people there could have been my parents, aunts, uncles, or grandparents. Sometimes I let myself imagined them as such. The myriad of images I received ranged from people who shared arts, crafts, cakes, and experiences, to ex-smokers tethered to little green tanks of oxygen, to alcohol addicted people who fell down drunk in the parking-lot.

There were many special moments there for me. So much that words would serve better to dilute than describe.

I am usually social, paradoxically brought on partially by my fear of people. When I first moved into the building, one of the people who I talked with was a man who was about fourty-five, very large, about three hundred and fifty pounds. Initially, I noticed that he was very intelligent, more than myself, but as a most unkind trade-off, he was also schizophrenic.

At night, in the building, either things would happen or when one could get caught up on gossip relating to those same things. One night, I was in the community room with the “night-crew” (a collection of nocturnal building residents). While I talked with friends, the schizophrenic man sat beside me. When he put his arm around me, it felt terrible. He had “the touch” which made me feel little in a really bad way. When he looked at me, his facial expressions were peculiar, unsettled, angry and disapproving, contradicting his apparent intentions. This is not the expression I want shown by someone who was supposed to be attracted to me.

From that point on, I avoided him the best I could. I don’t like being mean to people, but there were other times when I would see him and just leave. It was so hard to keep composure until no one would see me, and then I would run into my apartment and lock the door and cry because I felt safe enough to. Few people I have met in my lifetime could make me feel like this. I decided it best not to say anything to him at all from there on. It wasn’t his fault that he wasn’t well, but his behavior and methods socialpathic.

As time past, people started telling me that this person had been touching my car—in an inappropriate manner. At first, I flatly just didn’t believe it. When more people told me, I started to believe it. Well, what harm is it to me, but it is still weird to me.

One night, he showed up at my apartment. He said that he wasn’t feeling good. He explained that his blood pressure was really high, he was having chest pains, and didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t just let him die. I opened the door cautiously. I told him to go home and call an ambulance and I would let them into the building. When the ambulance arrived, the EMT people took him because of his heart and blood pressure.

Some time later, he was removed from the building’s Saint Patrick’s Day Party. He had a problem with authority figures, had a physical altercation with police officer, who in turn drew a pistol on him.

A neighbor said that this person was touching my car again, “It’s okay Brenda, (name) just gave it a little pat today,” meaning that he was feeling-up my car again. Hearing that kind of thing ruined my day. Another neighbor said that he was in love with me. People told me that he walked back and forth down the hallway where my apartment was—late at night.

While I slept, he put pictures of himself under my door. In some, he had little clothing. I tried to remain objective and play down the situation, calming my own fears, but there reached a point when that seemed unrealistic.

One of the reasons that I wanted to do counseling was to make sure my “alignment” was not to attract or gravitate toward potentially harmful people. I guess I still need work on this.

Some months later, he said, “Hi” to me when I came into the building. I didn’t say anything because that was the plan from here out. He said, “Aren’t you going to say hello?!” I asked him to stop bothering me. As confrontational as it is, I added that if he didn’t, I would get a restraining order against him. It didn’t seem to faze him in the least. I lived on the second floor and my stalker on the first. This was consistent for the three years I lived at the building.

A few weeks later, I woke up one morning to an insistent knocking at my door. I got dressed quickly as they knocked again. For some reason, I assumed that either the building manager, or my friend from upstairs was at the door.

I was still tired and still on “autopilot.” Foolishly not checking the peephole, I opened the door partway until I saw half of the face of the man who had been stalking me. I was absolutely terrified that he was at my door. In shock, I slammed the door with all my might, closing it only partway before it hit something solid. I reacted: he can’t be that strong; he must have “footed” the door keeping it open. He forced the door open. There is only one thin hallway in and out of my apartment, and blocked most of it. I felt trapped and helpless. Everyone goes through a lot of things in one’s life, but for some reason I thought mine would end. Oddly, I took in my surroundings...

I am going to die today,
Here,
In this place,
Like this,
Now....

I retreated a few steps as I grabbed a folding knife which hung by its lanyard from under the blue faux milk-painted kitchen organizer. I turned, opening the knife, putting the serrated blade in directly in his view in an aggressive manner at a distance of only one foot, violently growling the words at him, “Get the fuck out of here (name)!

He said, “No!

I couldn’t believe that he didn’t care about his life, not one single bit. I feared he would show me the same respect if I made any one given mistake.

I yelled, “I am calling the police!” hoping that there is any other way to end this. In calm, sad, very lucid, purposeful thought, he told me, “I don’t care Brenda.” I was heartbroken as well as terrified. I thought, “Something horrible is going to happen.

I retreated further to my bedroom, and I slammed the door behind myself. He pushed on the door, trying to open it while I was on the other side, trying to make sure it stayed locked. I didn’t know if I locked it of not so I leaned against it while I dialed the police from my big-buttoned phone I kept on the bedroom floor. The door bowed from his weight. I got through and the operator who asked me what the trouble was and I told her. She asked me where I was, I told her, “You know where I am!” The police in my area can I.D. any caller. I gave her the address anyway.

He was still in my apartment. Because some residents have health-problems, there were emergency cords in each apartment. I placed a oriental rug over mine, thinking(?) that I wouldn’t need it. I was still against the thin hollow door. I looked across the room behind me. If I go for the cord, the door would be unguarded. It was the only thing left to try. I looked back at it one more time and ran for it, pulled up the carpet and pulled the cord. I couldn’t hear the alarm bell. I think there was too much yelling and screaming, probably some from me. I traced the cord up to the switch, and tried that a few times. After a few seconds I could hear the bell, so I ran back to the door and braced it for dear life.

The sounds coming from me didn’t quite seem human, panting, whining, loathsome sadness, tearless crying. The was nowhere left to go, I thought, “If he comes in here, one of us is going to die and there is nothing I can do to stop it.” I heard someone crashing around with my venation blinds. I heard people yelling and then talking loudly.

I remember being back in the kitchen; the building manager was there. It was over. Moments before, the knife seemed a wonderful protective thing, now, it and those aspects of myself that were (hopefully) prepared to use it if it were no longer remotely desirable. I walked far around her, unclenched my hand, dropping the knife on the countertop. The building manager kindly hugged me in the kitchen as I cried in her arms. She and the superintendent left to go find him, reminding me to lock the door on the way out. I don’t even remember coming out of my bedroom even as I wrote this.

I locked the door and waited for the police to come. A few minutes later, someone rang my doorbell. I looked out the peephole and saw badge and blue. I let the Police Officer in. He nonchalantly filled out paperwork perhaps like he had done perhaps so many times. I signed it and the officer left to go find him because he was missing. A few minutes later, the Police Officer returned in upset state. I asked him if they found him. The officer said, “I found him and he’s only seeing out of one eye now.” He then explained that the person attacked the officer, and that the officer had defended himself.

After a while had passed, I felt safe enough to leave my apartment. I was walking shyly, cautiously down the hallway holding my forehead, laughing, ranting to myself, “But in the movies, they never come in the morning.” I saw five police cars outside my building. Later, he was taken away in an ambulance.

I learned that my next-door neighbor had heard the bell, and it was he that got the intruder out of my apartment. That was why I couldn’t hear the bell over the yelling. Later, I learned that the person who forced their way into my apartment hadn’t been taking his medication, had been drinking, and went on a psychotic rant looking for his radio.

I thought back to the venation-blind noises and the fact that they had been askew, and I guess he was looking in the blinds—for his boom-box. This spatial inconsistency, gave new meaning to abstract thought. My neighbor was really upset too because the person had physically threatened him before coming to my apartment. I felt bad about that and tried to just listen.

There were no secrets in the building. When I passed neighbors, they kept fanning the embers of experience, but perhaps that uses up the wood. I talked to some people on the fourth floor. One nice woman who I like told me exactly, “You know—when you were outside with your telescope looking at the stars, he was out there in the dark—where you couldn’t see him.” Hearing this gave me goose-bumps on a hot summer night. I didn’t even hear him. I thought of a visual metaphor, about someone who puts out a little stove fire in the kitchen and is relieved and everything is back to normal, the camera pulls back, and behind them—the entire rest of the house in engulfed in flames.

There are only two reasons why something horrible did not happen in my apartment that day: I rang the bell, and my neighbor came to help me. I will always be so grateful for him being there. While it is not constructive, sometime I wish that I had been spared from some things that I have been through in my life. I have replayed situations in my mind and fantasized about someone saving the day by rescuing me. After this experience, I appreciate the value of being spared from something in the present.

In movies, I see the hero portrayed as the image of great strength, like the Calvary who rides in to save the day. I guess sometimes, the real heroes aren’t like what we think we know.

Sometimes the hero is a meek neighbor who overcomes their own issues long enough to say a few choice exclamations, to distract someone from breaking down my bedroom door.

Thank You. (Smiling.)

A few days later, I talked with the parents of the person who had forced his way into my apartment. They seemed pleasant enough considering the situation. His mother state of not being surprised—took me by surprise. She seemed to still relate that her son had and could do no harm, despite rumors that even she was afraid of him. I wasn’t willing to bet my life on it.

I couldn’t help but feel pity for the person I had pulled a knife on. He went about his life, behaving what he perceived as normal; people retaliated with clenched fists, and drew guns and knives. Even with all his intelligence, he doesn’t realize or appreciate the implications of the threatening things that he does.

I tried to be patient with his mother. I suggested that her son’s life could have ended three times because of people who react to her son’s total lack of respect for boundaries, his aggressive nature. His life could have also ended because he didn’t know when to call for help with his heart. Everyone has right to their eccentricities, but as his neighbors mentioned, even as intelligent as this MENSA-class person was, he didn’t know when to come out the rain.

When I talked to the building manager, she pointed out that the apartment building where I lived was independent living, and he needed more attention than he could get there. He was in the local hospital for months so I didn’t have to interact with the person who caused me so much grief. I went to the police station to get a copy of the report. Because he was being held as a psychiatric patient, they wouldn’t release the records to me without a lot of red tape. I thought that seeing the whole mess on paper would help me make some sense of it.

I guess I feel lucky to see him as a human being. I feel lucky to see his actions as a result of an illness, but I also feel lucky not to see him or him see me, and if I ever do, I think I am going to run (Smiling.)

Two years later, I visted my friend who still lives at that building. The name of the man who had forced his way into my apartment came up in conversation. My friend and I tried to figure out how long the person had been in the hospital. Using a demeaning manner, my seventy-something year-old friend referred to people as who had been medicated into nothingness as “zombies.” This time, he looked in my eyes, he slowly shook his head, and said, “Oh Brenda, what they did to (him) in the hospital, you don’t even want to know.

Leave Two

Being very poor, and without transportation, my life seemed to be becoming stagnant. I had failed to obtain a decent job because I had been out of work for so long. When I worked, it was often sometimes under the table, or sporadically. I was very frustrated by having come all this way only to be living a life of mediocrity. The feeling was compounded by the lack of opportunity. I found it very difficult to go from such personal growth—to the feeling of floundering. Even my apartment which seemed like such a blessing a year or two ago, now seemed like a gilded cage. I still didn’t feel safe being in my own apartment, much less the rest of the building. Perhaps it was selfish, but I hoped the person who forced his was into my apartment would not return. He was given one more chance, and I hope he makes the best of it.

Since my transition, I had pride myself on not running away from my problems unless they were chasing me, but now I desired greatly a new start, or just a start.

I wanted to try going out West for some time, but I based a great amount of my success and happiness on the depth and number of friends that I have, and I didn’t want to give up my wealth. I also didn’t want them to see me going through such a difficult time. I didn’t want to leave my friends who I love so much. I didn’t want to leave the closeness that I had worked so hard to build up from the void from before. The thought of being away from friends who knew me and still loved me hurt me so much that I cry still.

I had caught up with an old friend who lived out West. To my surprise, she offered a job with a good amount of pay to me; someone who had a bad work history on paper. She requested an example of what I could do, and I obliged. She felt that I was qualified for the job and I was willing to work for a lower rate of pay than a lot of people in the area. It seemed like a good thing, and I felt grateful for such an opportunity and at a good time. I accepted.

My friends were understanding, and they offered any help that they could give. I spent a lot of time with my friends the month I left. We went river-tubing on the twice, and to a theme park twice. I had so much fun that I became exhausted from the activities. This additional surge of warmth and closeness made leaving seem unbearable to me. What made things harder on me was this seemed all too familiar. I felt like I have so many people I thought were my friends when I stopped living self-destructively, still more when I was seeing a jealous girlfriend, and the remainder when I transitioned. It is hard for me to take everything in stride, and sometimes, I can’t keep from lumping thing together in big ball of sorrow and self-pity.

Sometimes

Sometimes...

I check every door, trying to find any unlocked,
Trying to open the one that has tomorrow behind it,
While looking back to the one before.

Sometimes...

Distance tests.
It tries and taxes my soul.
It finds where seams meet. It checks along edges,
Always searching, and never rests.

Sometimes...

Even the simplest things seem to take so much,
I can slip into counting days and blessings,
Until I am reminded that it’s only...

Sometimes.

I am cautious that I might lead myself to a dead end.
I navigate with trial and error,
While learning to anticipate what is around the next bend.

Sometimes...

I try to walk intently, and not make a mistake.
Cobblestone is pretty, but it’s easy to trip on.
The subconscious can be a friend or foe,
And how far down any given street should I go?

Sometimes...

Anything is better than nothing.
Find something new.
Grab the frame,
And pull myself through.

Mile after Mile

We use inhuman ways to mark humanity.
We make electric constellations on the ground,
But our writing below, obscures that above,
Leaving only a starless sky to be found.

I glide, parting the sky in two.
The wings keep me company,
As the ground passes fast beneath me.

On this evening’s flight,
Shy waterways reveal themselves to me,
As they are traced by moonlight.

Mile after mile,
Without people.
Mile after mile,
Without forever writing into the sky.

Mile after mile,
Of untouched wilderness.
Mile after mile,
Of land that didn’t yet die.

I like people so what obscures natures beauty is:
Mile after mile of sadness.
Mile after mile of isolation.

We come to the city,
People firmly grasp the landscape,
And show their glowing fingerprints.

Mile after mile,
Of streets, buildings and houses.

But most importantly,
Mile after mile of people...
Mile after mile of people...
Mile after mile of people.

142

(I don’t think that writing about writing makes a good writing, though... )

I was in a local copy store printing the one-hundred and forty-second version of this book. Behind and to the right of me, a woman paged, counting how many copies she had made. Nearby, her child mumbled to himself, trying to keep himself occupied. The woman lost count, and she hit her child in the side of the head as she yelled, “You are talking too loud, and made me lose count!” He retreated under the table, and curled up occupying a small space.

She was much larger than he was. How can someone control how hard they hit someone else one third their size, when they lost their control in the first place? I think that hitting a child in the head, places that child at risk for serious injury.

How much force is appropriate force to strike a delicate, developing human being where the senses are centered and the brain lies? As a species, we don’t trust ourselves to consistently gauge the force necessary to tighten a bolt, so why would we think we have what it takes to consistently damage a human child—just temporarily, just for now, in the heat of the moment?

Personally, I cannot bear to see anyone hit a child. Maybe I could understand better if the child had placed himself or others at physical risk, or in rebuttal to a total lack of authority that may end in that.

I am not likely, nor can I go around hitting anyone who spanks a child, but when I saw her hit her child in the head it really bothered me. Having been abused, I don’t believe that I could accurately hit this woman in only a force scaled to that of which she hit her child. Even if I could, my example would be no better. When she got home, she might give him her displaced anger for me, just as she gave him her anger for herself for losing count, just as she gave him the displaced anger she feels toward her parents—when she hit him in the first place.

I guess it was really none of my business, but when someone hit a child in a public place in front of an adult who was hit plenty as a child, just how am I to react? What am I to do? Of all the possible things that could be said behind my back, “Don’t hit your kids around her,” would be the least offensive, because then maybe they wouldn’t. It was hard for me to think through what I was feeling.

I was so angry at this woman. I looked at her, saving nothing, firmly stating, “I didn’t think he was being too loud!” She paused for a second and blurted out some compromise that allowed her to do the action. I recalled a moment that a friend had shared with me, the day when the tables violently turn, and his father was sent to the floor and he would no longer be allowed to hit my friend. I looked at her and countered, “What are you going to do when he is bigger than you?

I finished up what I was working on while trying to keep an eye out for them. While she waited in line, she seemed more attentive toward her child. I was still untrusting and angry. When she was leaving, I said with no subtlety, “Excuse me.” She turned around, I looked her in the eyes, and said, “I hope you find the same patience with your child, as I have with you—right now!” She left.

The best thing that I could have done is call the Department of Child Protection, but in the moment, the most reasonable thing wasn’t apparent to me—this time.

[A woman told to me that her marriage had failed at least partially because she was physically abusive. Her parents were physically abusive to her. She told me that she didn’t ever want to have kids because she was afraid that she would hit them. It seems like she would have to continue to endure that abuse her parents had given her on another level, for the rest of her life.]

A woman helped me at the counter. I asked her, if she ever saw that woman and her child again, if she would look out for him. The woman inquired further, and I explained the situation. She seemed most sympathetic toward the child. Another woman joined the conversation, stated that she spanks her kids when they do bad things. She then pointed out the difference between that and undisciplined children running around in the streets. I also remembered my intoxicated friends sitting in a bus hull with broken windows, chanting a song about child abuse. I looked around the very business atmosphere of the copy center. In this place of business, I had created an open forum about discipline and child abuse. I explained that the woman in question hit her child in the side of his head—for mumbling to himself. You know, a five year-old’s version of baby-babbling? She thought that was different as well.

A few weeks later, I was in a department store. A woman pushed a shopping carriage with one kid inside; two others kids walking along side her. She was considerate, and she treated her children like little individual people, asking them how they felt about shopping for a while longer, and making agreements with them, perhaps manipulating them in the softest, most loving way possible.

At first, I thought it was just perhaps the exception, than the rule, I overheard her in the next isle, doing some really great parenting, when no one even looking. They all functioned in a team. I approached and complimented on her parenting. She seemed to be taken a little off guard, after all, I was willfully performing strangeness. I added that I wish I had a parent like her when I was small. She smiled. (Smiling, tearing.)

&#36;

I saw the computer industry grow at an incredible rate, from a business and science machine to kitchen appliance. I saw the Internet grow from a government and educational tool to a common everyday virtual place for the masses.

There had been a boom in ecommerce. Investors put up large sums of money just to “get in” before a company’s stock went public. Their goal was to sell out at a large profit. The typical dot.com’s financial modality was to work for high revenue, and worry about profit later. There was a lot of capitol floating around, and the companies worried about the large dollar, but not the small.

I had an Internet related job, doing ecommerce related work. By the time I got out West, I was told that no-matter how well I did, my job would not be permanent.

I tried to encourage the people there to shut off their computer monitors when they left at night, in an area that has a power shortage. People printed out black and white books on a colored printer which used expensive materials. No one seemed especially concerned about private calls on the company lines. There was a foosball table in the lunchroom. I imagine, historically a lot of companies offered a means of distractions to overworked employees. Here, the foosball table was almost never left unattended.

I had moved from safety and consistency to working a well-paying high-pressure job in a failing company. I was nearly living on the streets at night because there were no apartments available in the area. I thought to myself, “I am a dot-com’er” I made a lot of money, but I spent it even faster. I had to deposit a check for a over a middle-class income, and then try to find an alley or an empty room at work to sleep in because I had used my hotel allowance—all on the same day.

I had just signed a lease on an apartment, so things seemed like they were going to be okay, if I just could keep my job for a while.

The dot-com era was dying as a get-rich-quick thing for investors, and ultimately for me as well. When the day finally came, it was like I knew. There was a “network login problem.” Everyone’s computer just stopped working. During the confusion, managers and human resource people went around, taking people aside and laying them off. The “network problem” was most likely to ensure that no one sabotaged the company. I cleaned my desk and shed my last tear for this place.

The small dollar was little compared to the money they spent on image; everything was about image. They could just “coast” for a while and go for another round of venture capitol, because without the expense of employees, they looked profitable now. It was interesting to see people actually handling money worse than myself.

I walked with the fancy store-bought cardboard box they had outfitted me with. As I left, I reached in an empty conference room to shut the lights off. I smiled and thought, “A dot-com right to the bitter end.

They laid off sixteen people, but then they paid for a bowling party for whoever remained—in the same day. The party was a corporate chest-beating event to underscore their presence in the area. Remember? “A dot-com right to the bitter end.

This Time, I Ride

Creativity comes, but when it wants to.
I am still open to the things it offers,
And with me, I don’t think it’s through.

It could be a cloud, or wind in the ether,
I would release my talons and spread my wings.

But, usually it’s a small stream,
I gently hold out my arms and cup my hands.

Some search for creativity,
Others cannot escape it.

Creativity calls.
I need not answer, but listen.
Art answers for one who relates.
Art questions for one who observes.

Sometimes it’s an ocean or river.
I hold on, and enjoy the ride.

Open myself, ride with the flow,
It doesn’t seem fast enough,
For— the same direction,
We both now go.

At my job tomorrow—of myself I must give,
So that I have for me—a safe place to live.
I tell myself, “My silly dreams have to wait,
I can make time, on some other date.

Just this once, I climb back into bed.
Just this once, I can go back to sleep.
My dreams will wait for me...
Just this once, time’s mine to keep.

I am almost asleep again,
I smile, and know, in tears of joy.

Since I opened myself,
I have never given up,
The chance to create.
I have never given up,
The chance to share,

And this time I ride,
This time I ride too!”

Saving Throw

I had lost my job. As appreciative as I was when I got it, I didn’t know how much I hated it until I lost it—the highest paying job I ever had. Money has never been the center focus of my life, but now I was financially ruined on a grand scale. After a week, strangely I felt better.

There was one last computer game art project I wanted to complete before I left to go back East. I finished between packing to go—to where I didn’t know where, next. I used up all of my money except for my emergency bail out money. Just then, a game company contacted me for an interview.

I got the job. I moved again. Besides the obvious, it was difficult for me to move because I had made a friend or two, and I seemed to keep leaving people behind.

Everyone at my new job was into ’gaming in a big way, not just computer games, but every kind of game imaginable. After work, when there was an “after-work” (industry-wise there is a “crunch-mode” where people work around the clock.) you could hear a backdrop of many computer-game noises, but there was also a “board-game” night. A few people showed me how to paint miniatures on Tuesdays, while others shoot paintballs from guns, or race their cars on Saturdays.

I became interested in a role-playing strategy game that had miniatures. I like games that the player has to make life and death choices that are only pretend. I like this game because the rules are relatively simple, though unlike others, it has no “saving throw.” A “saving throw” is a roll-of-the-dice; a chance to not perish—like my transition was in real life.

My friends reminded me that I was lucky to have a job doing something creative and artistic for a day-job.

I am remind them that my true wealth is still the greatest wealth of all—them, my friends.

I love you.


State

Outer

There have been entire books devoted to the subjective observation of on particular part of a human body. I will try describing mine in one chapter.

Top down...

I am 5’ 8” about 138lbs.

I have some upper temporal male hair loss from before my transition, that loss has ceased. A few hairs near the edge of my hairline remain short because they do not reach a long length before being released. My hair, once very wavy complete with pipe curls, now is as completely straight as it was when I was young. Fortunately I have enough to get by without wanting a wig, and I don’t know if I would wear one anyway.

The muscles in my face are not individually distinguishable as they once were. My face is soft in flesh much like other women’s I have touched. It is now covered with fine vellos hair. My face in itself has become more sensitive to touch. I have little bony ridge over my eyes. The cartilage in my nose does seem to have been affected by testosterone (as well as an ice-ball strike). My face has zymphomas under my eyes (cells that have died from morbid obesity from either high cholesterol or hormone fluctuations). I have had these since adolescence since before I had any estrogens, most-likely they were a result of high-cholesterol diet during my losing battle with my fast metabolism.

The rear corner of my jaw is angular and the vertical part seems tall to me. My neck appears unusually long. I do have an “Adam’s apple,” while not immediately, it is noticeable. I had a chance to have a tracheal shave but I chose not to because I wanted someone to be able to tell close up that I am a genetic male, and I didn’t want to chance affecting my voice. Subjectively, the width of my tongue has increased at it seems more flattened.

I keep larger muscles on my arms and shoulders than I think the average woman has. I want to be able to protect myself. I am tall wasted and yet when bending to the side my hip can meet my ribs.

[It’s hard to find clothes for tall-waisted people.]

I have small breasts, relatively underdeveloped nipples for a female, and my breast size varies. I think my breasts aren’t as soft as the average females. Forgive the comparison, but my breasts are probably as sensitive as my former testicles were, and opening a car door with a framed window into myself is something that I would not want to do—again.

I can see faint vascular structures in between my breasts and the surrounding area. I have seen this in another transsexual my age, as well as a genetic female friend who is breast-feeding.

I had wondered if those structures in genetic females are kept clearer from plaque than males because of hormones and hadn’t been protected from that, or it’s just a combination of the fair skin in that area and the increased demands placed by breast development.

My mother has the same size hands as I do. They look large on her and look average to small on me. The index finger is slightly shorter than the ring finger. My upper arms have an average amount of hair on them for a female, though the lower is more than I think average. My nails are not as strong as they once were.

When I put on weight it tends to go to my belly. From the back I look very soft, feminine. The lower primary body hair is heavier than the average female, while my pubic hair has gotten softer, average for a female.

My legs still look athletic, but long muscled. In whole my body looks to me like a scaled up version of a woman’s gymnast who has let her self go.

My feet are Women’s size 8-1/2 wide, sometimes 9, (or Men’s size 6-1/2). The diameter of my foot at the arch seems to have gotten smaller with time even though I hike more than I once did.

My endocrinologist’s lab readings state the unlikely “normal” for their findings (Smiling).

I feel my sense of direction has faded much more than I feel it should have given my age. When not diving, I get nausea from being a passenger in a car easier unless the windshield is kept clean.

When I had stopped progesterone, it made my body feel like it had lost life’s cycle. My body felt very old or very young, I could not tell which. My chemically induced biological clock had stopped, but why did I feel it even with male reproductive organs? How could there be anything about having testicles that gave me a cyclic feeling? So it seems that I am a progesterone addict. I must take the good with the bad because I feel the need to trade short-term for long-term stability. Progesterone seems to “cleanse” me. I have gone through several menopause-like states being off of hormones at times. Once, I got hot flashes so bad that I actually caught myself saying asking someone out-loud, “Is it hot in here?” Otherwise female hormones gave me a life from what only seemed an ending.

It’s much more conformable for me within here. (Smiling.)

Sometimes, when I look in the mirror, I think and I have said out loud once or twice (when no one is looking), “It’s not often you see one of those.” Sometimes when no one is looking, I stand before the mirror and hug myself, and sometimes make silly faces. (Smiling.)

Aside from the physical observations.

Inner

As harsh and unpalatable as truth sometimes is, there many times that I thought and felt that it would have been best for me to end my life, but since my transition, there are many times when I am glad that I did not.

When I look back at my life, I have regret. There are so many things that I would change, so many things that I would do, so many things that I would undo. In my imaginary life navigation, I keep my mind open and I sometimes feel when I have the very chance to make to take a different path than I did before. The only solace I can find in some of my past, is knowing what mistakes not to make again. The opportunity to break out of a bad loop is pleasant to me. This is when I feel I can actually grow as a person.

I don’t think I am necessarily nice person, but I am okay. Often, my friends generously offer that I am a nice and I am too hard on myself. Maybe I need that from them in a way. I guess it’s okay as long to listen to the words and feel the sentiments as long as I don’t stop trying. The list of people who I don’t want to ever become continues to grow. Included in it are: the “me” from the past, the “me” that could have been, as well as the “me” that could be if I let it.

I think that no effort is required to become hurtful—just carelessness and thoughtlessness. I think that the many people who do bad things, arrived not by intent, but carelessness.

I imagine that to some people; I am controversy waiting to happen. Perhaps some people from each group of people who I belong won’t care for me because I feel ties with the other. Even if, in a personal defeat, I offend everyone, perhaps as they are aligned against me, they will be together.

I have spent ten years of my life destroying my life, and the last twelve fixing it. As convoluted as it was, this was my path. I tried to show that I am a human being, the good and the bad, but a human being. The events in my life were not orchestrated for this book and I cannot allow this book’s presence orchestrate them, and so ,I feel my life seems at a stand-still until I finish it.

I didn’t transition for the social changes. I watched in myself a consistency in my wanting to change my body, when I was with other people, when I was alone when I had clothes on, and when I didn’t, in moments of intimacy, and without. There is one heavy thing that I noticed since my transition that a friend had reminded me...

Generally, almost everyone that I meet in the world as I go through my life since my transition—is nicer to me by a noticeable amount.

I don’t know if women are just generally treated better in society, or not. I don’t feel that I am or will ever be the average male or female, so I can’t really be sure. Perhaps the reason people treat me better is because I am nicer, happier more able, more free to be who I am on the inside and that extends from my body as well. I am more or less the person who I thought I would grow up into as a child. So, maybe in a way that six or seven year old child was right, maybe then, I somehow knew I would be this someday.

It has been a struggle at times to keep separate or know when to keep separate those issues in me that were of gender, abuse, sexual and development. I see myself as this innately bisexual, androgynous, transsexual person, that had sexual and drug abuse issues. I definitely will always have some cross-gendered feelings, attraction, and affect toward both—and neither.

So many things I have read, so many things I have been told, have implied that I shouldn’t believe in myself, yet I do believe in myself.

I feel different—because I am different, and that’s okay.

I never really liked those movies that never really showed you the ending. So, for some time now I wanted to find this glorious, wonderful ending for this book.

While life’s little ups and downs all seem higher now, there is not yet a fairy-tail “...and they lived happily ever after” end to my story, I relentlessly searched for an ending worthy of my struggle, to justify, to find meaning in my suffering, as if there ever is any. Someone even suggested making up one. It made me cry like I almost never have before until I realized that some truths are not as easy to admit to even oneself...

Happy or not, if my life had a happy ending, it would still be an ending. After thirty-nine years I feel I am just about on square one, like my life is ready to begin. I can look into my eyes and I am okay.

I live in a world where dreams can come true.

It’s like those instructions for chopsticks that end, “Now you can pick up anything.” Even if I can’t really pick up anything, at least now, I try.

There are goals I for which I reach. There are things I want to experience. There are people and moments I need so greatly, that life just hasn’t presented yet. I have just got to the beginning.

So, I see more potential, and with potential comes desire... (sigh)
And with desire comes,—more suffering. (Smiling, shaking my head at the irony.)

On occasion, it seems like I only live to complain, though somehow: I lived to complain.

With work, luck, timing, and skill, tomorrow or even today will be the day that ________________.

While not completely clear, I know what I am. Who am I?...

In this book, I offer few answers and an arrogant provocative question put before me. I gently pass it to you.

Who are you?

To which, I add...

What do you want to happen?


Root

Gender Rain

Small child, girl,
Believe in life-mine,
Shown very-wrong.
Birth of my falling,
Start of the chase,
For the “me,” I now long.

Difference so-blurred.
Knowledge shining through,
Harsh lessons,
Had not yet, occurred.

Battles, inside and out,
Alone or not,
Mind and body,
Still not fought.
Shame for me and my dreams,
Still, not yet taught.

I have enough can’t you see.
Dress, tease and beat me,
Shame me into shape.
Cut off my hair.
Is this how I should be?
Tears fall and fall,
So shall I, but can’t you see?

~

Take me at 12,
Tell me you love me,
Teach me a riddle,
What should feel good.
Treat me like meat,
Ensure my silence.
Add to my shame.
Your desire to touch yourself there,
Is not at all, understood.

Play out the riddle.
Touch with one or five,
No need to form a ring.
Just one need, enter me where?
Hopeless, broken, self-pity,
Growing the question.
Daily I loose hope,
But I wish I was different,
So-changed, physically.

~

Love me at 15,
First I ever felt.
Giddy feels so deep,
Tremble in my arm.
For love, play a role,
Did I give her my love, or harm?

Stop my heart,
Dare she ask me...
If I a girl, and she a boy,
I would still love you.
Would you still love me?
Or would we be through.
(I so-feared both.)

We part-of-path,
You don’t know what you have,
Until you have not.
Need will leave, but I love her.

~

Taken at 15, in grieve and weakness,
From very close, more shame stir.

~

Along the way...
Bottle lifted so-high,
So-bright, often, the glowing ember,
From leaves and hash, seen in my eye.

It’s raw, rare and sickening sweet,
Seeps from slashed flowers,
Burns for minutes,
Forgets for hours.

Melts-in-your-mouth, then spit out the paper.
On inhaled powder by the gram,
And pretty colored pills,
Of being alert, I am not a fan.

Death, daily I cheat you.
Self and destructive behavior, drug abuse,
I tease you, my life please-take.
Body and soul, there is no truce.

Looking back,
I was not alone on this ride.
I sometimes wonder if the ones I was with,
Pushed hard enough and died.

~

Two years later, again in love I fall.
Such comfort, passion, heat in our kiss,
From the moment you touched me,
But here, this time, I’m wired for this.

It’s not me, it’s not me!
Rip me apart, body and soul!
This is very normal, but not for me.
Something of the outer, not inner role.

Unbearable, bitter is the pain,
Against the river of my soul, swims my shell.
Death now, so-very-wanted,
Not yet part of this hell.

But, you have taken my arm,
Placed love, interfered my self-hate.
Stop my action, tears fall, sadness dawns,
But I feel for me, life, it’s too late.

If I have anything left to give,
If there is any love in me at all.
To give, the only thing I have left,
Forever I miss you, I set you adrift, and wait to fall.

I head for shallows, but on the way,
I could love you, even trust a he.
Romantic is this time, with this he.
Do I need more, him with me?

I saw me in his eyes want because,
I told him I was in love with him,
You want me alone, but you run away,
Leaving me alone, life gets more dim.

~

Then with her, she wanted for me,
To exist, as I could not yet.
I, her submissive little thing,
Warm love in my heart,
Lust does reach my hands.
At ends with my path being set.

Quiet dewy, clear is the night,
Stars fill the sky.
As I look up through time,
Pondered only,
The thoughts and feeling,
I so-deeply want to die.

~

Like the sun, could a ray,
Would warmth of hope find its way here?
Touch me, I do need,
So there may be another day.

Patience, my time will come.
Morning breaks, the light touches my face.
Life has an end, forget, pretend, and wait.
Nearly without a dream, but one.

Although being my-self, I never allowed,
Think, feel anything else.
Fill my days with every other thing.
Rains come, but eventually distraction does cloud.

~

A year or so later, I do fall for a friend.
In love, push away the ones I need.
I’m no good, forget me I plead!
Do I tell or is the truth harder, so we I try to end.
(Stubborn, she return)

Then, one any-day, dare-someone see me.
But I feel, you look right through.
You wake me, were you, are you?
—Storm of hope from almost none, gave by she!

Exist even beyond my wildest dreams,
Stricken with hope, I can’t ever be, not me again.
I do-now smile, life as I know it,
Quickly unraveled at the seams.

I’m sorry I can’t play my role any more.
I brought out deep fears in the one I still love.
My soul mate, I, she does now hate.
I love, I need, I miss you, and loose you like all from before.

Trust in others, I do now confide.
Fast hard growth now comes,
The pivotal fear still remains.
Is this my turning point, do I decide?

~

Soul and shell, will we meet,
May any of me reach the surface.

The same body, curse now gift,
Now blur the lie, between two truths.
Help cut a path into tomorrow,
For the once dammed.

Spices, herbs seed the end,
Of the physical male left around me.
Grow of small girl around for all to see.

Forever to sleep, some sense of feeling,
Finish me—for what you are stealing!

Pretty is me, and I am of flower.
So harsh the pain of growth,
Such the reward.

But, after twenty-eight years,
Dreams, moments, sorrow and tears.

Dare! Want!, Need!
Seven-thousand, six-hundred days,
My flower outside, has died.

Loss, I grieve so deep!
Days to follow now seem,
Like mountains so steep.

Carry so tightly, fragments of my dreams.
I hide here, lie before me to mend,
What hasn’t fell through my fingers.

The pieces get small,
More needs to bond,
Longer, warmth needs to wait,
On every fall.

Will enough still be here to take shape,
To casts a shadow,
Will it hold time,
Or will life slip through,
To lose forever, me.

But, I am on the inside,
And stronger, my hold on the outside.
If I feel safe enough,
I might become in you,
And you may also see,
What is truly...me.

~

Why did I bring you here?
And show you my meandering path.
No matter how bad life seems,
Never let go of your dreams.

Don’t leave everyone and take yourself.
Life can be filled with beauty, you never thought,
And maybe someday include, the very things you sought.

Icy mountains of today,
May hide warm valleys of tomorrow.
Keep alive your hopes,
Don’t let them be melted with your sorrow.

Take someone’s heart and mind by the hand,
Be yourself don’t matter what.
Your special, love will find you, don’t you fear.
Your more than twisted ladder-writing,
And the path that led you here.

This day’s blue may fade to orange on the horizon,
Gray clouds with silver edges may remain so still.
Light rays resting on the mountains,
May even slowly lose their will.

Though, tomorrow’s winter mountains,
Can have a lush, dewy-green valley below.
Breaking right through the hardest of stone,
Even during blinding pain,
A living thing can somehow manage to grow...

—From all of the rain.

(The End)