Monthly Archives: July 2011

closure weekend/annotated heartbreak.


boarding the bus to DC, i heard the bus drivers making fun of the guy a few spaces ahead of us. “damn, look at all the scars on his arms!” “he cut himself up, ugh!” “ahh, must have fallen in a pricker bush!” and then raucous, hateful laughter. i wondered if people ever say that about me.

by the magic of fate, ray wound up sitting next to this guy. he was semi-obviously trans and his arms were covered in really thick scars. meticulous. we both wanted to reach out to him. ray thought about slipping him a note that said, “i’m trans too!” with a smiley face, because ray is stealth and totally passes. while that makes his life a lot easier, it also makes him unable to nod meaningfully at strangers. (incidentally, this guy shared a “what’s up?” nod with me. a lot of you gender-nonconformers know what i’m talking about. being genderqueer sucks in so many ways, but exchanging solidarity nods with strangers can be so sweet, sometimes.)

random bus guy seemed so sad. he got off in fredrick, MD, which also seemed kind of awful. we got off the bus too, for a ten minute smoke break. we were running around the parking lot, trying to get to the train station to exchange a kiss (because ray used to pick me up at the train station here, back when he lived in maryland) and we saw random bus guy get swooped into the arms of a tough, mouthy femme. they both looked so happy! it made us both feel kind of hopeful.

and now we are in DC, for the zinefest. we bought our bus tickets as a couple and are going together as broken-up-but-still-best-friends, as he-lets-me-cry-all-over-his-chest-after-reading-this-article-which-reminded-me-a-little-too-much-of-us. as more-than-friends-less-than-partners. as heartwrenching-but-loving. (gawd, have i used enough hyphens yet?). i don’t know what to introduce him as tomorrow. ex-boyfriend? friend? sweetheart? all of these words feel wrong. but i guess that’s the least of my problems.

dc was where things started for us, in a way, and it’s where things are ending. of course, they’d started before DC, and probably will not be over when we get home. on that magical DC trip it was bone-chillingly cold, now it’s stifilingly hot. the windchill was around 10 then, the heat index is around 107 today. nearly a hundred degrees. i always fall in love with people when it’s cold out and we break up when it’s hot. why is that. he says it’s because the cold makes you want to hold people close and the heat makes you want to push them away.

but i’m ok, i’m ok. probably moving out real soon. i can’t even think about it, really. i’m going to be traveling for 19 days in august. not all in a row, of course. i’m excited & scared. i think traveling for a long stretch is easier when you’re not looking forward to going home. when yr life is at a crossroads. so here’s to the chaos! today we went to the art museum and ate delicious food at busboys & poets. we held hands and whispered at the museum and it felt okay, like just a few degrees away from normal. i’ll take it, i guess.

your heart felt good, it was dripping pitch & made of wood.


so. last night i broke up with my live-in partner. we have been friends for over six years and partners for nearly three years. we got into an argument. he had stopped speaking or engaging with me at all about halfway through the argument, and i had stomped away but then came back. i laid down in the hammock with him and we laid there, in silence, for hours. wrapped up in each others bodies, despite the sticky heat and humidity. in the darkness we stared into each others’ eyes. he traced the contours of my face with his hand and i could tell that he was memorizing me. i could tell that he was planning on no longer having me there, an arm’s length away, a face to touch, as familiar as your own face, almost–

and at one point i squeezed my eyes shut tight, i’m sure it looked like i was holding back tears or trying to disengage from the situation. instead i was thinking about my first night in europe, in may. i was on an uncomfortable bunk on a 6-person sleeper car, heading to berlin from paris. i hadn’t slept in over 36 hours at that point but i still couldn’t sleep. i missed my sweetheart and i was acutely aware of how many thousands of miles away he was. i concentrated on the exact feeling of being in his arms, the contentment and safety, and i was able to re-create it, that exact feeling, so far away, and drifted off to sleep, happily. when i came home, that feeling was nowhere to be found. i worried that i’d left it somewhere in europe. and last night, i was concentrating on sucking it back, across the ocean, across the void. i was trying to get it back to pittsburgh, where it should be. my face scrunched, doing everything i could to remember that feeling, how i felt in his arms the night before i left. but i just couldn’t do it. i couldn’t undo it. i couldn’t bring it back.

a while later, i could hear the train whistle blowing. we live not too far from a freight train yard, and i remember at the beginning, when he was still in maryland, 250 miles away, we would talk on the phone all night. he would hear a train whistle blowing and then i’d hear one about two hours later and we’d pretend it was the same train, from his part of the country to mine. same train, same conversation. i thought about how on those phone conversations he seemed closer to me than he did right now, with my sweaty cheek on his clammy chest. i hoped that that train was bringing that feeling back. i hoped it would fly out of an open boxcar and float over us, insert itself into our bones, make his hug more sinewy & safe. but i knew it wouldn’t.

like a microfiche vacation


this summer has been, um, wild. a lot of my life has been shaken up & a lot of roads have been opened. since getting laid off on june 2nd, i’ve gone to the philly trans health conference, planned & booked a zine tour of the midwest (starting aug. 6th! hello cleveland, madison, [hopefully] chicago, milwaukee, [hopefully] minneapolis, [hopefully] detroit!).

there have been TWO instances of queer-on-queer physical violence in my community, which haven’t affected me directly but have affected people i care about, & it’s a shitty thing that shouldn’t be happening.

i went back to NY for the longest stretch of time since moving away from there in 2007. i didn’t want to leave. i got my hair cut in the middle of the NYC pride parade. i read my novel to a bunch of ladies & queers on the lower east side.

i went through a lot of relationship drama & came very close to breaking up with my partner several times. i quit drinking, again. i went swimming a lot (and got thrown out of the pool on sunday because the lifeguard disliked my bathing suit!) i had a total of 5 houseguests (& 4 zine librarians who  didn’t sleep over, but did play with some kittens on my living room floor!). i’ve had a lot of really hot sex. i got invited to lead a workshop at a women/feminist writers conference in new york!  i helped my partner celebrate his 25th birthday, and we had a really magical day, and i was full of intense love for him & our friends. that same day, i nearly got in a car accident. we were fine–i screamed & the driver of the car i was in slammed on the brakes right before that other car went careening into my door. it was one of those near-misses where nothing actually happens but you are all acutely aware of how close you came to dying. how close you were, but something stopped it.

i thought about running away a lot, and made some semi-serious plans. but i’m sticking with pittsburgh, with my home & partner & community, for now. i’ve had a lot of really sweet and beautiful moments in those times too. good moments with friends, fun dancey giggly gossipy times, a talk in the hammock with my sweetheart that changed our lives a little bit.

i had a really good bike ride in the rain with amanda and i went to troy hill for the first time, to o’ryan and radio’s new house that feels like the middle of the woods. amanda got a tattoo from o’ryan. that was july 8th. since i keep a 5-year diary i learned that on july 8, 2010, i got a tattoo from o’ryan too. it was after this really awful incident at work, where my co-worker said that he wished that women with abusive partners would be killed and everyone laughed. i got a cute tattoo from o’ryan and then went home and cried hysterically in my lover’s arms. my life is so different now. so different from that day.

i am glad that things are shaken up a bit. it’s been really difficult, but it needed to happen. it seems like everyone is having a really intense summer. the rut, blowing up. it’s a good thing, mostly. i am trying to stay strong & brave. trying to love boldly and grab life by the horns again.

the feeling isn’t fear, it’s just telling you to move


i’ve been back home for nearly a week now. and oh what a week it’s been. it’s been proof, part 239, of the truth of my favorite free will astrology column: “the most dangerous life an aries can live is a safe one. if you tolerate boredom and complacency, you are inviting the universe to come kick your ass.” and, oh. so true. it’s always true.

nothing i haven’t weathered before, of course. nothing i haven’t gotten through before. maybe something worse is hiding in the corner, i don’t know. but for now, i have to accept the beating from fate. i invited it. i got bored. i got complacent. i thought it was okay to sit in my house all day. i thought it was okay to lash out at people who love me because i feel like i got a raw deal in life. i thought a lot of things were okay that aren’t,

and now my life has made it so that it is impossible to be how i was before. who i was before. i am trying to weather the storm. trying to appreciate the roads opening for me. there’s nothing else i can do. i’m not stronger than heartbreak. i can’t outrun it. i can’t force anyone to do anything for me that they don’t want to do. all i can do is keep my head up, keep struggling, keep on fucking living.