Daily Archives: July 3, 2017

4 Days

4 days. That’s how long I went without showering. Until today and I only forced myself to do it because the humidity was stifling and causing my pancreas to sweat. These little ‘normal’ things that ‘normal’ people do, like bathing, brushing teeth, folding laundry, attending a concert….

These are the uphill battles for bipolar depression. Such small things, seemingly simple and innocuous, but so…damned…difficult. 4 days without a shower. Nasty, right? Though I did wash my hair Saturday with the shower sprayer because no amount of deodorant can make your grubby hair and itchy scalp let up.

Do I admit any of this with pride? No. It’s humiliating. But a recent comment on how refreshing (or shocking or gross, something to that ilk) my blatantly honest take on depression is reminded me…I don’t blog so people find me funny or pretty or a genius. I blog because THIS IS THE REALITY. It’s ugly and nasty and embarrassing, but this is my truth, and it is the truth for millions of us who battle the ugly beast called depression. Many people can’t find their voice or don’t have the courage to open up about how awful it is.

It is for them, as much as myself, that I speak out on these ugly things.

And while mired in ugly petty depression that makes me a shitty person raining on parades and blowing up floats…I will also be fair and include the small triumphs.

Yesterday, the park was offering free ferris wheel rides and my kid begged me to take her. I was terrified. But I sucked it up and I took her and ya know what? It wasn’t the greatest fun because, eww, other people, agoraphobia, uneasy…But it wasn’t traumatic. And she got to ride with her mom, with her church friend, with the neighbor girls…and she didn’t puke or freak.And I was reminded how much I always LOVED amusement park rides. And contrary to what my ass trash stepmonster said, my ass DID fit in the seat.

Tomorrow I have to have her an allotted spot at 9:30 a.m. so she can march in the church parade and throw candy. That makes me nervous but I spoke with the pastor (who seems like such an amazing lady, I almost wish I was religious) and they said if picking her up was too much stress for me, they could bring her home. And I am so grateful. Then tomorrow night the church is having a cookout (I declined, cos crowds) and I am dropping Spook off and they are gonna take the kids to see fireworks at the park where I haven’t been able to go in 20 years because last time I went I threw up, the traffic and people were too much for my panic disorder.

I am so glad she gets to participate and selfishly glad that I have an escape route. I am not mean or selfish, but I am neurotic and with all meds failing (aside from lamictal and xanax) I am just not to the point where I can deal right now. I haven’t given up, though. The right cocktail could be out there and next year, I might be able to handle all the crowds and noise and traffic. It could happen.

Least this year I don’t have to feel like a monster for my neuroses. My kid gets to go be a kid and have fun and that’s great. Maybe my lazy butt will dye my hair or something that lame depressed people put off because, well, they are depressed. I don’t know. I am happy my kid and I got to do something together and now she gets to celebrate a holiday I really have no interest in. Loud fireworks may be pretty but the noise…NOPE.

Today was the trauma of paying bills and realizing how little money I have what with her birthday and school clothes and shoes and supplies coming up next month. It makes me lose my breath. But we will manage, even if she has 2 new outfits for school and we have to do mix and match. Or I may have to seek out a charity to help with supplies because the school is never good enough with dollar store stuff, they need certain pencil brands and notebooks and blah fucking yada bite me.

For today, though…Bills are paid, kid has food (I’ll be living on eggs, baloney, and nacho chips for the next month) and my car, which is running like crap and acting like it’s about to give up and drop in the road…got us home from errands. Small victories, right?

SEE? I can toss in some positive with all the negative. But the anxiety and panic and depression simply are what they are and if someone wants to deem me a gloom monger for speaking the truth…

Go stab yourself with a rusty spork for lacking empathy.


Moving

So we got my middle one moved into her dorm at Mississippi State University yesterday.  I did a little lifting but mostly stayed in the room guarding and unpacking stuff.  I made up the bed, etc.  She has a very nice-looking young lady for a room mate so that was nice.  No tears, just a little sadness but a lot of excitement as to what it going on.

We went out to Harvey’s for supper and had a nice meal so as to start her off right 🙂  She says she’s not going to eat out since State has better cafeterias that her sister did at her campus.  SO we will see how that works.  I just hope by everything she doesn’t develop what I have.  She’s done well at home with us but we will see what happens when she’s challenged a little bit.

Hope everyone has a good start to the rest of the week.  It will be a little quieter from now on, but we will make it.

 

 


OK?

ok for blog


The (Third) Elephant In The Room: Yet Another Gender Q&A

One reason why I’ve really enjoyed having a blog is being able to see how my views and self-insight have changed overtime. And this is why I’ve done a question & answer about my gender almost every year now — I want to demonstrate the ways in which gender can be fluid, and affirm that our ideas around identity and transition can shift or evolve (and yes, that’s totally okay!).

I’m a little late on this one (we’re like, halfway through 2017 now, can you believe it?), but if you’re new to the blog, this is something of a check-in to see where I’m at in my transition. And as always, if you have more questions, you can tweet me!

These are essentially the same questions as the last two years, with a few new ones thrown in that I’ve been coming across in my inbox lately. Here we go!

What is your gender? What pronouns do you use?

I’ve been pretty attached to the descriptors “non-binary gay boy.” I go with he/him pronouns, but I also respond to they/them.

What do those words mean to you?

“Non-binary,” for me, means that I don’t view my gender identity as being exclusively masculine or feminine. It gives me some latitude when expressing and exploring my gender.

The additional phrasing of “gay boy” kind of helps refine what I mean (non-binary is such a broad category, I think that’s why so many of us under this umbrella use multiple descriptors).

“Gay boy,” to me, acknowledges that I’m plugged into a specific subset of queer culture here in San Francisco (sometimes gendered language helps denote community ties, you know?).

It also pinpoints the gender role in society that I’m most comfortable occupying/being read as (in a binary world) without the expectation of cisnormative masculinity the way that “guy” or “man” gives off.

Have your self-descriptors changed since last year?

Yeah, definitely. This last year has been about confronting my relationship to masculinity. I’m not very invested in traditional, normative expressions of masculinity, so I’ve shifted to using language that better reflects that.

I use “genderqueer” less often and “non-binary” more often lately, though either is fine and both are accurate.

Are your gender identity (sense of self) and your gender expression (how you express it on the outside) the same? Different?

I’d say that they’re about the same! The cool thing about the language that I use is that it gives me a lot of room to experiment. My clothes are a little more masculine than I’d like them to be, but that’s because I haven’t had the money to replace my old stuff.

How did you know you were transgender?

I’m way less interested in this question than I have been in years past (I’ve answered it a few times, it’s out there on the internet if it’s important to you). I think gender is just forward motion, and this is my trajectory, whether I could anticipate it from the start or not.

“How did you know?” sometimes becomes a way to measure the authenticity of some trans people against others, and I think it’s worth restating that all trans people are valid regardless of their timeline. So that’s what I’ll leave you with.

Are you still taking testosterone? Do you have other plans for medical transition?

I’m offering up this information because I want to, not because I’ve been asked to (Riley has a great video on why this distinction is important).

I’ve been taking testosterone for… a year and a half now? I don’t think I look super different, but here are some photos for reference:

I have a lot more body hair (which I have pretty mixed feels about), my body proportions are different (narrow hips, broader shoulders), my voice has dropped a bit, and overall I think I read as a lot more androgynous which was my big goal when I went on T. My beard is also finally coming in — I have whiskers all over the place which might look silly to some people but I think it’s totally endearing.

As for surgery, I have my first consultation on July 10th. I should be overjoyed, but instead, I’m struggling with it. My future is kind of up in the air because I haven’t been able to secure a job here (and freelance writing just isn’t enough right now), so I’m not even sure if I’m staying in the Bay Area or moving out of state. Which means that my top surgery might end up delayed (again) if I’m forced to leave here.

Top surgery is vital for me — my greatest source of dysphoria is my chest. I don’t know what I’m going to do if it gets delayed again.

(If you want to help, becoming a Patron through my Patreon is a great way to support me. Hint hint, nudge nudge. I’m less active there than I should be, but I’m circling back, I promise.)

I’m trying to stay hopeful. But I’d be lying if I said it’s not really difficult right now.

How are you feeling about your transition so far?

I’ve written some pretty contentious articles talking about the complexities of transition. My favorite one is this narrative I published last April. Overall, I feel happy with where things are headed and I don’t have any regrets (which is good!). I also think it’s okay to feel conflicted or uncertain sometimes, too, and I’ve definitely been there on more than one occasion.

How does your sexual orientation factor into all this?

I’ve really appreciated seeing the word “gay” evolve a little bit to have multiple meanings. It’s not just men who are into men. For me, I’m “gay” in that I’m attracted to (sexually and romantically) folks of similar genders. So non-binary folks, genderfluid folks, the occasional masc person.

I also identify as greysexual (on the ace spectrum), which I haven’t talked about much. But sex itself is not a big priority or drive for me, and it’s not a significant part of my life. So while I have partners, those relationships focus on emotional intimacy and companionship, and I’m perfectly happy that way.

What’s been the most difficult part of being trans for you (since you last answered these questions)?

Not having access to what I need. My top surgery was delayed over, and over, and over again. I only own one chest binder, which was sent to me by a super generous friend. Most of the clothing I own is from four or five years ago, before I really knew my own style or identity. It’s hard to feel comfortable in your own skin when you can’t alter your body or appearance to push back against the dysphoria.

Being transgender costs money and it’s a price tag that I really can’t afford at this place in my life.

It’s worth saying that this being my biggest challenge is a manifestation of privilege in some ways. For the most part, I don’t move through the world fearing for my physical safety, especially since I’m white and perceived as masculine. I want to keep that in perspective not to invalidate the dysphoria I feel, but to highlight that within the trans community, our struggles have different consequences, different realities.

How was your first pride weekend?

OVERWHELMING. I documented it over on Instagram. I’d avoided Pride up until now because huge crowds of drunk people sounded like something out of a nightmare. But I did go to Trans March! I’d never seen so many trans folks in my life, and it was empowering (and exhausting, tbh) to march alongside them.

Trans march was excellent 🌈🎉💕☀️👍🏻

A post shared by Sam Dylan Finch (@samdylanfinch) on Jun 24, 2017 at 1:05pm PDT

 

It took me like, the whole weekend in bed to recover. But it was worth it for sure.

What’s next? What do you see for yourself in the coming year?

If I can just financially stabilize, I can stay in the Bay Area, keep my apartment, and get my surgery. Finding a stable job has been my sole focus right now. I don’t know what’s next, but I do know that I’m not going to give up.

The reality is, especially under this administration, there will always be obstacles for trans people. But we’re resilient. I’m resilient. So we keep going, even when things seem uncertain and even hopeless.

I hope that by the time I answer these questions next year, I’ll have had my surgery and I’ll have the safety that I need in my life. I’m not going to stop trying until I do.

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