Monthly Archives: November 2011

just one more thing to say…


after i wrote that post, 2 days ago, i got on my bike and headed home. i passed a shitty diner/dive bar in the neighborhood next to mine. there were a whole bunch of 20-somethings, in suits and ties and dresses, drinking beers out front. since it was 2pm on a monday, i assumed that they’d just gotten back from a funeral. as i rolled by them i made eye contact with a red-faced dude-bro, but it wasn’t meaningful, and i couldn’t read the expression on his face. i had the thought, if things had gone just a little differently on thursday, those would be your friends, drinking at your funeral.

dear friends: if i die suddenly, don’t get drunk in my honor. get sober in my honor, and finish up all the work i didn’t get to while i was here.


ojos de majicos


i had to leave work. i was calling a client’s job to verify their end-of-employment date and the payroll clerk got snappy with me and i started crying, in front of the fucking client, how professional of me. “i’m sorry,” i whispered, “i have a concussion,” and then ran out to compose myself. how fucking great. how fucking professional. i got back to my desk and kept working, shakily. “you should go home,” the client said, and i wanted to say, thank you! thank you for the wonderful career advice! but then i realized she was right. and i realized i have sick time. so fuck it. i’m gone.

i’m scared. i know that i just hit my head and it’s a reaction to the trauma. but still. things feel so different. before i decided that i couldn’t make it through the day i was trying to listen to my ipod. every song i love sounds so violent. it’s too much to bear. i need something sweet right now, and even the happy songs are so sad. was it always there? did i just not notice it?

every picture i’ve seen of someone with a black eye, they look SO sad. nobody fake-smiles. mugshots & that picture of my brother i found on his computer & any other time i’ve seen someone. now that i have a black eye i know. i understand. you can’t smile, not really. there’s something holding you back. something blocking it.

i didn’t stop living after my head injury. didn’t rest. i had shit to do all weekend so i got back on my bike and did it. crossed the river at least four times a day. and i rode up and down penn avenue at least 3 times, looking for my u-lock and water bottle. wanting to know where it happened. in this city where trash sits where it’s been thrown for months, my things aren’t there. but i still keep looking for them anyway, every time i’m on that road. maybe a car just parked over them and i didn’t see last time. maybe they’re hidden in a pile of leaves. i still look, even though i know some things are just gone. you don’t get them back. no matter how badly you want them. no matter how hard you try.

a few other things.


i would also like to say HOW FUCKING DISTURBING it is how many random men have gone out of their way to say that i’m pretty now that i have BRUISES ALL OVER MY FUCKING FACE. SO DISTURBING. and so upsetting. and so….yeah, it’s only been like 3 people, but it’s also only been like 3 days.  pgh really doesn’t have a holla-at-you-on-the street kind of culture going on. and i’m not most guys’ cup of tea–which i’m fine with–so i often don’t get told that i’m pretty on the street. but now that i look like someone punched me in the face, i’m pretty…..


anyway. i am a little scared about my brain. i am so happy that nothing worse happened. so happy that i just lost my phone, my water bottle, and my weekend–not my tooth, bone, or life. and now i have a new phone.

the last time i hit my head really hard i was depressed for months afterwards. i am so scared it’ll happen again. what will i do. who will look out for me. how will i survive. i don’t know, i mean, i know there is always some way. but i’m scared. scared of a lot of things.

i have a lot more i want to say here. i’m almost done with my new zine. i thought the bay area was closed to me but i JUST got an amazing opportunity RIGHT NOW as i am typing this. so who knows. who knows. saaaaaaaaaaturn motherfuckin’ return! oh what a cruel teacher you are, but what a sweet tour guide as well.

oh mom & dad, mom & dad, let me outside. i’ve gotta catch a ride to the rest of my life.


oh my god! my life has changed so much in less than a week!


-found out that our hours are getting slashed in half at work because the program i work for is REALLY broke.

-we all knew they were broke, but didn’t know they were THIS broke.

-so that mean’s i’ll be broke again

-and that means i won’t have enough money to move to the SF bay area this summer, which is what i was planning on.

-found out that paul died. we weren’t super close & this isn’t my tragedy. it does make me sad though.

-got a new tattoo! no pictures yet. but it is SUPER cute.

tuesday was uneventful.

then wednesday, oh wednesday….

-drank for 2 hours with steph as we talked about the love and the heartbreak that is social service jobs

-went to a queer dance party, got even drunker

-made out with someone new, which was fun & hot & interesting

-lost my phone, was re-united with it.

-rode my bike home. in my memory of the night, i was at the bar at penn & main, and then the next thing i knew i was at 19th street in the strip (about 2-3 miles away for you non-pittsburghers), pushing my bike, crying. i didn’t think much of it, because i was very drunk and i often cry when i’m in that state. i staggered home, made it in around 4:15 (nearly 2 hours after i’d left the bar–i live about a 30 minute bike ride away). i looked in the mirror to take out my contacts and then i saw my face. it was all bruised and my lip was swollen. i realized, “oh my god, i got into an accident!” i have NO MEMORY of this. and because i have no memory, i think i must have lost consciousness. yes, i was drunk. but i never black out while drinking. NEVER.

was i lying unconscious on penn ave? was i lying in the middle of the fucking road? for how long? how did i fall? how did i get up? my water bottle, u-lock, and phone are all gone. my wallet, keys and bag were safe (thank goddess.) i am SO lucky it wasn’t worse. so lucky i didn’t lose a tooth or break a bone. so lucky i didn’t get run over. so lucky i don’t have a concussion. thank you, helmet. thank you, guardians.


-spent all day, until about 7pm, barfing up rum-mixed-with-bile plus anything i tried to eat

-occasionally looked at the carnage that was my face

-realized that my drinking is officially out of control and i officially need to stop

-pulled myself together & biked to eli & jessie’s thanksgiving. ate some delicious food with queers, felt sick but didn’t barf. a nurse happened to be there, she checked me out & says i don’t have a concussion. phew. a middleaged translady played the most beautiful and sad songs on the harmonica. and i felt happy and good.

today was mostly spent looking for my u lock and leaving notes in friends’ mailboxes. caught up with alyssa and pino which was good. pino took this cell phone picture of my face, so i’d remember, remember why drinking is a shitty idea, remember what happens when you go too far:

here is a slightly more accurate picture taken a day later:

i don’t know if you can see it in this shitty cell phone pic, but my eye is bruised & my lip is really swollen. keep making a lot of typos, right now, and i’m worried it’s because my brain is totally fucked.

so! wow! lots going on here.

i didn’t write about my plan to move to the bay on here–i didn’t want to jinx it. but now that it looks like it isn’t happening i can talk about it a little. i hatched it when i was feeling really bad about pgh. i hated my job passionately, thought i’d never date anyone again, thought  i had burned all my activist bridges. now, all of those things have turned out to be untrue.

i wanted to go to SF because i’m tired of the isolation. i want to be around other radical social workers. other queer writers. other bicyclists, goddamn it! i wanted to go cuz i’ve been here for so long and it doesn’t seem like i’m growing anymore. except i have been growing lately. you know?

and i still might go for an extended period of time. but i just don’t have the money to move there. maybe i can do a lucrative drug study. maybe something else will come up. i don’t know. so much changes every week.

RIP paul c., 1984-2011.


i haven’t seen you in years, but you were fucking amazing. the best cupcakes, hilarious one-liners, a perfect blend of bronx-faggot street smarts and sassy silliness. “spill that tea, girl, that shit is hot!” i hope heaven is full of fashion shows, good cookin’, and truly scandalous gossip. the world will miss you.

road full of promise, head full of doubt.


on thursday, i had a really fucking good day, light-hearted at work, sweet people left & right, and a really meaningful convo with a young trans client that i think changed both of our lives a little bit. and after that, i ran home and packed and headed out to philly in a car full of queers. i was wearing my super fun adventure hat that i liberated from target last weekend. it’s a tiny cowboy hat that sits on a headband, cocked at an unlikely angle. every day that i’ve worn it has been fun! and this was no exception. at a rest stop in nowheresville PA a suuuuper gay employee chirped, “well aren’t you cute! i love that hat!” and it made my night.

friday i rode bikes around philly with steph & danny. we ate the most delicious sweet potato fries and read in the warm comfort of giovanni’s room, my fave queer bookstore in america, i think. maybe the only one i’ve ever been to that’s still standing? i love that fucking place. and it was so cozy, reading books with two good friends, so far away from home. the day was bright and sunny and i was kinda sad because philly brings up sad things for me, but we laughed and rode around the schuykill river, on the trail, and it was super good. that night i got real drunk and ate some delicious mexican food at carey’s mom’s house, i told stories and worked shit out with someone i love. and then stayed up until 5am dancing and talking with rob & carey. i love my philly friends, we’ve been through so much together and they really feel like my family.

saturday i puked. all day. i forget i can’t drink like i used to. i felt better around 7pm and we all went out again around 10. i didn’t drink, but i did have a random man pet my red fake fur jacket and yell, “man, i want to cover my whole house with this shit! it’s like the 70’s all over again!” he also lifted his shirt to reveal his stomach tattoo that said, “BEST FUCK EVER.” i was like, “ooo….kay.” i just didn’t even know what to do, because he wasn’t even being creepy up until that point.

on sunday we went home, but not before making a brief appearance at the philly zine fest. steph, danny & i pranced from the car to the rotunda singing “party in the USA” by miley cyrus at the top of our lungs. while we were doing this, i found a checkbook smeared with blood, with a cryptic phrase written on the back (which i’ve already forgotten.) i hugged j.bee and sari and talked to them for like 5 minutes each before i hustled myself back into the car for the long drive home. i came home to peace & quiet & it was so nice. i realized that this is the first time i’ve left town in nearly 2 years where i haven’t been worrying the whole time that my partner is cheating on me & i’m gonna come home to a shitshow. it is SO NICE to just come home to exactly what i expected. it is SO NICE to not have to worry about that.

yesterday i woke up to a text from my mother saying my dad’s dead best friend had come to her in a dream and said, “someone is trying to kill you.” it startled her awake. my mom, like me, is slightly psychic–not enough to predict things with any regularity, but enough to feel kinda crazed. yesterday i shared a meaningful handshake with a heartbroken stranger and got interviewed by a canadian journalist about riot grrrl (!!).

today is still young. something happened at work that had me crying in the bathroom at 9am about the unfairness of the fucking world. and now it’s my lunch break. the urge to write is stronger than the urge to eat, sometimes.

how i live now.


i brew nettle tea to help with exhaustion & fatigue. i’m doing too much & feeling both weary and exhilarated. i haven’t turned my heat on yet because even though i am fully aware that i have the money to pay a gas bill i still have a scarcity mentality going on. still this little voice in my head that says, “no! you have to hold out until thanksgiving! we can’t pay this, we can’t pay this!” i usually draw the line at when i can see my breath inside, but i crossed that line weeks ago and i still refuse to hit that switch. playing a demented game of chicken with myself. at night i tunnel into my mummy sleeping bag and squirm around my bed like a happy little larva. i sleep in the middle of my queensized bed. it seems inconceivable that i ever shared it with anyone.

all day i see people whose heat is off, not by choice. when they say it’s not possible to stay in a house without heat i don’t want to contradict them. i get to look them in the eyes and tell them that they make too much money for our program because our funding’s been cut, and the funding of everyone who is trying to help anyone has been cut. that’s my job. explain. sugar coat. smile. apologize. who the fuck am i helping? anyone?

they cry at my desk a lot. i try not to.

i got a shot of real love on friday, a beautiful hug across my desk  from a client, after a good conversation. about asking for help & how it’s hard, especially when you’re strong. but you gotta do it sometimes. you can’t do it alone. after i had all her forms filled out and we were done speaking she asked for a hug. i hesitated but then said ok, and she swept me into her arms and held me. and, oh, it was real love. REAL LOVE. i understood so much within the confines of that hug. it changed my fucking life.

i can’t remember her name.

the house is cold but i’m writing a little bit. it’s a mess but who cares. not me. so big. so much space. i oscillate between ferocious happiness leaking out of every pore & an unspeakable sadness. trying to remember that it’s better to feel things than not. better to push yourself. on september 28th i wrote something on this blog about how i knew every day that i struggled up the hill that was taking me to my neighborhood, my legs were getting stronger. november 7th and i can make it up the hill, unless i’m drunk or really tired. i fixed my bike, that helped. but some of it came from me too. don’t forget that. don’t.

scenes from a welfare office


so. last week at work they announced that they were gonna put me on the front desk when the program i work for opened to the general public. i was kinda pissed, because it’s WAY more work & stress for no more money. i was all, “these fuckers are trying to bully me out of here! they hate me! blah, blah, blah….” but then i decided that i need to shut the fuck up, because lately everything in my life has been nudging me away from the safe&boring and into the uncomfy-but-more-exciting. the growth. the change, the change, the change. so i decided to embrace it, because i don’t have any choice anyway. might as well go for it.

so, yesterday was the first day we were open to the public, my first day up front, and it was so fucking stressful and hard and i LOVED it. it was seriously the best day i’ve ever had at that job, by leaps and bounds. the other 3 people who were up front with me were all like, “this is the WORST day ever! look at all those people! oh my goddddd” and i was just literally running around the office with a huge smile on my face, so much so that my face actually hurt at the end of the day. (i was running to the copy machine & such, not just running for exercise)

i had this moment, in the afternoon, when i was sitting with a client, trying to figure out how we were gonna get her electric bill turned on. i could tell she was gonna be awesome because she had lots of hot pink & orange fake hair braided into her cornrows & hella good energy coming off her. at one point, she said, “oh, when i lived in north carolina, i had these friends who didn’t even HAVE electricity. they lived in the country, they made their own soap, they used an outhouse. their kids didn’t know who kim khardashian is–and they were SO HAPPY!” this statement cracked me the fuck up. “not knowing who kim khardashian is? that’s a good way to see how happy you are!” and then she laughed, and it was so strange, this odd unexpected gift, to be laughing so genuinely with a beautiful stranger, in the fucking welfare office in fucking pittsburgh on the busiest day of the year. i never thought i’d get there. never thought this would be my life. i was expecting to sit in a gray cubicle for the rest of the year, processing applications in silence, listening to shitty books on tape to distract myself from my racing thoughts. i looked at it as an ordeal to be grimly endured until i get out of debt and have the money to quit.

and i know soon it won’t be so fun. soon i’ll hit a wall, soon i’ll crack under the weight of all those terrible stories. 2 days only and 3 people have cried at my desk, i had to reject someone who really needs it (he didn’t cry though, and was actually really sweet about it), a woman casually referenced her daughter’s murder. only 2 days, the first two. but, oh, give me this any time over the slow death that my life was before. how did i live half-asleep for so long? why did i think that was ok? acceptable? any way to live one’s life? i don’t know. but i’m glad i got thrown off that trajectory, cuz i’ve said it before, and i’ll say it once more: the most dangerous life an aries can live is a safe one. here’s to unsafe lives.