05/31/2012

i’m quitting my job so that i can become.

it’s a privilege, this quitting, yes absolutely–but it also feels like “oh boy, i have the privilege of jumping off a cliff!”

is the water deep enough to catch my tangled limbs, rippling with muscle and hope and fear?

there are sharp rocks below the water line.

what i hope to find: going by my boi name full-time (and whatever else this transition holds for me), a few adventures, a path to go back to school.

i want. want. want want want.

in the kitchen or paused on my bike in traffic, sometimes even when i’m peeing, i find myself saying it, i want.

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excerpt from journal entry

hella: missing the company of dating ladies but every time i think about it more than “hey pretty lady!” i think about all the times i have been used as the “lez sexperiment” date and i get really skittish really fast. also still super-burnt from ending things with A. (:/)

*subset of that feeling: is that internalized misogyny, assuming that all ladies will fuck me over? yes. yes, i think it is. don’t date ladies for a while, RD, until you can trust yourself not to take that shit out on them. wakka wakka.

i like this whole having crushes but not pursuing them thing. having friends who i have never ever slept with, would probably never. i feel like sometimes having a crush on someone is a way of distancing myself from actually trying to be friends with them, and somehow that feels more risky because i don’t know why but it does. yay boundaries!

None shall pass

05/29/2012

a thing i have begun doing fairly recently (within the last year or so) is explaining my background in a way that both acknowledges my mixed race heritage and (more importantly, i feel) acknowledges that i experience “hella white privilege.” a conversation with W. recently made me want to better explore my motivations for revealing* my identity in this matter.

so let’s go back in time for a bit. as a child i tried to come up with words for what i am so that it would make better sense to the uninitiated. chicano came closest, but i find most non-Californians don’t know the word–or have negative associations with it. colloquialisms about race become loaded quickly. finally in my teens i settled on using “humorous”** adaptations like whitezican and mexi-fry. i hoped the implicit sarcasm of these words would both acknowledge the complexity of race (just because it’s a social construct doesn’t mean it doesn’t deeply affect peoples lives, y’all) and ward off racist bullshit. if i served as a visible representation of the “other” so feared and hated by white folks, maybe they would let go of the racism they harbored, not tell that beaner joke, or look at someone with browner skin than both of ours more closely, as a human being rather than a grievance. i know you’re wondering, “well, did it work?” yes and no, but mostly: no. the effect was so low as to be mostly imperceptible, and if anything at times my attempt at humor appeared to open up the floodgates for other peoples’ racist jokes: anti-racist fail, anyone?

what did work, what does work, is to hold people accountable: name the behavior, state the narrative, explain how it makes you feel. sometimes my background comes into play in those explanations, as in, “…it particularly makes me feel that way because racism is not just abstract to me–it is something that affects my family deeply, and that has repercussions in my own life/personal politic,” but i find that’s not always necessary. accountability feels like the most effective tool i have in working against individual acts that perpetuate white supremacy, but i will be the first to confess it’s all a work in progress. there are times when i swallow my tongue out of fear or anxiety. and i am still theorizing on how to fight against the broader ways in which oppression plays out, tho i feel like prison abolition is an important part (and oh god, how to do that?)

what are my other motivations for identifying myself as mixed race when i could otherwise “pass”? i feel like when people make assumptions about my race , they are whitewashing the complex legacy of colonialism, even tho it still affects my life and the lives of my family members on the daily. we are divided by the border, U.S. policy, institutional violence, white imperialism, and other legacies of violence. it is not as simple narratives about skin, although brownness is still treated as unequal to whiteness in the world. i want people (white and otherwise) to understand that i am both an “us” and a “them”, and that the fact that i feel the need to say anything like that is part of why the social construct of race is so shitty.

is it effective to essentially other myself in order to make this experience more visible? well dude, i dunno. how shall we gauge for efficacy, a scale of 1 to 10? the range of frequency with which i have to choose between holding someone accountable or weathering their racist shit? i don’t know. all i know is, fighting white supremacy culture is important–and i am deeply invested in doing so, despite or because of the ways in which it terrifies and challenges me. i will remain vigilant. i will remain critical. i will remain accountable. i will remain engaged, with a constant eye for new tools and sharpening existing ones.

More reading:

 

*vs. “passing,” a term i find super loaded and assumptive, but also pretty well explains my experience if i don’t speak up.

**oh, how my sense of humor has changed over time. geez. i am still embarrassed about this! don’t ever call me those names. evarrr.

Mild trigger warning for transphobic/clueless/inconsiderate crap, all caps style ranting. xo, RD

me: “Actually, I go by [my preferred name] now.”

clueless: “Yeah, but I can never remember that! so I just call you ‘the artist formerly known as ____!”

me: “I really don’t like that.”

clueless: “I just never remember! I always say ____ and people correct me and I go, ‘oh, you know who I mean!'”

clueless continues by calling me by the wrong pronouns without any space for me to interject, etc.

me: “okay, uh, bye! uh, nice running into you!” <<<this is a lie. i wish we’d run into someone else :(

clueless and their friend depart.

me: “[sweetheart], can i rant for a minute?”

sweetheart: “yes!”

me: “OH MY GOSH, IT MUST BE SO HARD FOR YOU THAT MY NAME HAS CHANGED! JUST AS HARD AS IT WAS FOR ME, GETTING CALLED BY THE WRONG NAME FOR YEARS! OHHH I’M SOOO SORRRY! HOW INCONSIDERATE OF ME, CHANGING MY NAME ON YOU LIKE THIS!”

sweetheart: “feel better?”

me: “MUCH. much better.”

[adorableness+handholding+kissin+squeeing recommence]

 

yeh, it’ll probably make you cry, too:

On my fourth date with Andrew, the confessional moment came between sips of red wine and the casual, cautious touching of my elbow. We were two people trying each other on for size, and the fact that I’d written an essay about my deformed body didn’t automatically mean I don’t fit. Andrew couldn’t have known what it felt like to hear a man say he’d read my essay and see him stay — and not only stay, but ask me out again. For me, he was the antidote to the trauma of Ely. Dating is traumatic enough without worrying that your date will lash out at you for disappointing him. To have my body taken off the table as a deal breaker was an unspeakably amazing thing. It meant that if Andrew and I don’t end up together, it won’t be because I’m not perfect but because we have no chemistry or I don’t know enough about art or he doesn’t get my sense of humor or because it just doesn’t. It will be for any of the reasons people sometimes just don’t work out. And that matters. For me it matters the absolute most.

from here.

trigger warning for sexual assault, rape “jokes”, nightmares, PTSD stuff, getting triggered.

she thought it was funny. apparently the whole internet thought the video of a puppy trying to rape a chicken was hi-lar-i-ous.

except for me. call it my shitty sense of humor, call it being a rape survivor, call it the nightmares i’ve been having about rape and sexual assault that leave me wondering if someone is sneaking into my bedroom and doing things to me (the physical sensations are so real!). call me suspicious, call me crazy. call it feminist oversharing. call it being bored by talking about rape. whatever the fuck you want to call it.

she turned it off as soon as she saw that i had gone to stone and i said, “can we turn it off now, please?”

i think she really hoped to make me laugh, is the sad thing. she kept apologizing but every time she apologized she would mention the contents of the video (“a puppy trying to sexually assault a chicken”).

the whole thing was violent and graphic and it reminded me too much of places i’ve been. god, it made me feel crazy to be able to anthropomorphize the whole situation, but it’s too close for comfort, too recent even to events now years and years gone.

it’s not my sense of humor, it’s that rape jokes aren’t funny. i’ve got a good sense of humor. i gotta remind myself of that. pull up out of my pocket the time when M. looked at me, blue eyes so blue and said “you’re silly,” as if out of wonderment or joy or both. oh, look at the absurdity we had found in eachother.

ughhhhhhhhhhhhh.

cut the string

05/21/2012

we went down to the lake in the twilight, telling stories, comparing notes on loves and friendships gone awry, gone missing. i’d spent nearly the whole afternoon writing and writing, pages upon pages of letters to grief, people who are still in my heart but the mutual injuries i need to let go of. they add up and become leaden–a school of gray-dappled sorrows drawing me into the muck. there’s life there, too, but if i don’t surface i will suffocate.
so i cut the string and set them adrift to the bottom. it will take some time yet for them to settle, become a part of the landscape of waving fronds and scaled bodies, splintered wood slathered soft in algae.
maybe you’d be surprised at how much heat a paper fire can generate (maybe not).
and yet. how slow it takes a cord to sever.

 

confidential to F.: IT’S WORKING.

05/20/2012

what a strange and exciting time.

ps. listen to this and this and get back to me.

god and damn:

you feel this constant hovering cloud of failure, don’t you?

  i am here to tell you the cloud is a lie
  the cloud is one big mean lie
  what matters is that you were there and creating a place safe and mindful enough that ___ could make the comment at all
  which is a rare situation
  because we are friends
  the threshold for success is actually very low, since we’re all figuring it out as we go along
ugh, lady, sometimes you’re like a punch to the gut. in the best way.

the stalled van

05/16/2012

free-write about sex, PTSD, relationships.

this morning i watched a minivan stall in the middle of a busy arterial at rush hour after stopping abruptly to avoid a cyclist riding thru a crosswalk. i feel like this a lot lately, the stalled van in rush hour traffic.

P. is hard to bring into front and center focus sometimes, instead he installs himself at the sides of rooms, a tall, quite presence, warm and now almost-familiar shape. i am not so good at being present in those rooms. i find myself made nervous by his calm quietude, like i should be doing something every minute we spend together to appease him, or else i will be a disappointment to the date we have been looking forwards to for a week or few. my anxiety feels misplaced most of the time. if i slow down to look at him he nearly always looks pleased simply to be sharing my company. he is a person of few words, but physically fairly expressive, particularly of pleasure.

on our most recent date we met in the late afternoon. ordinarily i attempt not to stack dates on top of one another, but sometimes schedules collude against this guideline (i frequently don’t see either of my steadies for a couple of weeks) and so i had a date with J. the night before. when i fail to stagger my dates i have to make at least a few hours somewhere to decompress, balance NRE (New Relationship Energy for you more monogamish folks) and my own needs (cooking, cleaning, practicing, writing, etc) against the staidness of P and i’s longer term sexual friendship. we are lovers but not partners. he is married to his partner of around a decade, and sometimes we double date with her and her other lover(s). our dalliances often involve bikes, the passion we most have in common (tho nearby are combining these exploits with good food and beer), although when my inflammation stuff precludes cycling we fall back on quiet working-on-stuff/reading time. i hate thinking of how many dates i’ve had to cancel or plans altered to accommodate my sick body and overwrought brain: stress-cold after stress-cold, bouts of inflammation brought on by continual overextension and anxiety, trips i have missed to cope with self-blame and grief. often now, i stutter and stop at any kind of sexual encounter, even kissing, especially when i can feel his eagerness immediately–suddenly i will realize i can’t feel anything below my waist, or uncertain of whether i will be able to have sex ‘to completion’ this time (what does that even mean?!), or my body hurts too much to be in it but i get so embarrassed of having to say that aloud–especially after i’ve had to reschedule and re-plan dates for weeks to even make it in the same room as him physically. my desire is doused by my inability to exist in the same room as P., faithful and kind creature who seems to only want the best for all parties, swallows his disappointment over and over again, even when i imagine it must vex his patience.

i am a van stuck in the middle of an intersection, stalled just before slamming into a cyclist. the cyclist waves me on but my hands are shaking too much to turn the key in the ignition properly, the engine sputters and sputters before finally spluttering to life. i roll on, disappointed at being given so much that i can not take. it’s like being starving at a banquet but with one’s jaw wired shut. i know he’d touch me, if i could tell him how. has. he has. will again? that’s the question, always, not just with him but anyone i date.

okay, but. so i have this plan: the next time the van stalls in the middle of the intersection, i’m gonna get out of the van and take a walk around the block. i don’t need to get thru that intersection until i’m ready, and it’s okay to take another route entirely. my sexuality is not really beholden to anyone, no matter how fucking tolerant they have been of my trauma shit and other quirks. my gender socialization is such that i am like the fight-or-flight hostess, constantly hustling to immediately alleviate conflicts where other peoples’ needs aren’t being met. but i lose track of my own.

what do i want? what do i need? simple questions, but i don’t trust anyone anymore, don’t trust myself. will i ever stop chastising myself for the way things ended with A.? will i ever stop being angry? not at her–just at what happened, how. shit with the manarchist, leaving ~e (goddammit, that was two fucking years ago!), so on. it’s like there’s a backlog of processing, and now all these new things are happening. and i’m tired of being strung out on processing relationships–i want to do the work of my life, writing, playing music, go back to school without getting distracted by emotional turbulence. i keep thinking that maybe polyamory is too much for me, especially the way i’ve done it in the past. no new dates policy is painful at times, but it also feels so fucking wise. i like the way that the relationships i’m in right now are taking shape. furthermore, i like the way that my friendships are deepening, as well.

i guess i need to take more walks, to start with. HORFFF.