Monthly Archives: June 2012

by the sea.

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today was my mom’s birthday, and we all went to rye playland to celebrate. it’s an old amusement park in westchester county, NY. kind of falling apart at the seams but still charming as hell. i didn’t take any pictures but i spent all day with my mom & my sibz, strolling around this strange park we haven’t seen in over 20 years. the rickety roller-coasters, the murals and displays that stubbornly and obviously haven’t changed since the 60’s or 70’s or 80’s. peeling paint and clacking carousels. it’s still beautiful,

beautiful and sad like the rest of NY is, i mean the trueNY, not what you see on movies or on TV. it’s beautiful and diverse and joyous and celebratory but with a real layer of sadness on the bottom. or maybe floating to the top.

i wish i had taken a picture of the carousel horses so i could show you. the gorgeous whittling, the roses and some odd items hanging from the saddle, like pistols & dead pigeons. but still, totally gorgeous. a work of art. S once told me that amusement parks were invented by factory owners so the workers, doing 14-hour 7 day workweeks, would have something to live for. whether that’s true or not is unclear, but it’s interesting to think about.

i had a really sweet moment just as we left. a sad-looking girl of about 11 or so was sitting on a display rollercoaster car, looking pensive. she had long, tangled brown hair and really intense blue eyes. we saw each other, we made eye contact, and we both smiled at each other so big, and so genuinely. i’d been frowned at all day for being a freaky pierced hairy-legged genderqueer person, by everyone else in the park, but her smile was all i needed.

i remember being young, & seeing weird adults out & about–not too many, because i lived in a small town, and i remember the very strong hope it gave me. the feeling of being less alone, so strong. it’s nice being on the other side of that bench…

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hi, internet,

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did you know that i’m writing a memoir? did you know there is an excerpt posted here? did you know that writing this book is absolutely killing me? did you know that i love it anyway? absolutely fucking love it. i love everything. i even love how much it hurts me.

and oh does it hurt. 23,000 words. about the worst things. some of them aren’t the worst things. but a lot of it is. a lot of it is exactly what i don’t want to write about. a lot of it is writing about the things that made me feel like my life is worthless. all the evidence i’ve received. all the things that nearly resulted in my demise.

i took a month or so off. but now i’m back at it. i’m off my pills too and remembering the misery that is actually my birthright. i don’t expect you to understand.

i’m getting there.

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this is my darling friend danny & me, at pittsburgh’s dyke/trans march on saturday.

i made this sign in a burst of inspiration on my living room floor. amanda was on the couch and buggey was on the floor with me. these are amanda’s stamps. they were  a christmas present gone awry. when she opened them, she was shocked at their size. but they’ve come in handy many times since then. the font is called “center of attention”. & isn’t that what i sometimes want to be?

i love this sign. i love this day. i’ve come so far from last year’s march. last year my sign was negative and angry. i was negative and angry and about to go through hell, already going through hell.

this year i was surrounded with so much love. laid in the grass with a bunch of rad ladies, for hours, and talked about important things. it was one of those days when i realized i was really gonna miss pgh. just this act of laying in the grass, talking. half people i’m close with, half virtual strangers. still, we can tell stories to each other. we can talk honestly. we can inspire and do all sorts of good things.

this harsh year has taught me how to love myself. taught me strength and perserverance. i don’t want to go through that again. but, i can’t deny i’ve learned a lot.

i know it’s not over. things are still hard. i am still crazy, and getting crazier by the day. the world wants to punish me for being dykey and genderweird and outlandish. i’m not so shy any more, but it flares up during the most inconvenient moments.

after the long talk, i took m. to dinner at the indian restaurant. she got an awful text and sobbed. i held her in my arms on the street, and then we went to a community garden and lay in the grass. we held each other. i was laying 2″ from a piece of dog shit, but i didn’t notice until m. put her hand in it. gross! but we kept going. on the 31st street bridge, which is mostly closed to cars these days, i took the street and she took the sidewalk. i asked, “what the hell are you doing? don’t you want to be on the street?” because we’d just talked about how great the 31st street bridge is now, in its car-free form. she screeched to a halt, hopped on the metal divider between the sidewalk and the bridge, pulled her bike over her head and heaved onto the bridge. we laughed hysterically, despite everything. despite everything.

all the arms we need!

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laying in bed with my girlfriend i run my fingertips down her arms. her bones are bumpy around her wrists. “oh, that’s because i broke this one twice and the other one three times,” she says casually. i frown at this and she breaks into a smile. “it’s okay! i mostly broke them while i was having fun!” and she’s talking excitedly about some ridiculous skateboarding accident. we are comparing feet–we both have ugly fucked-up feet. her toes are all snaggly and it’s because she broke them all, too. same thing, same luminous smile. she mostly broke them while she was having fun, so it’s okay.

and the not-so-fun bone breaks, we just don’t talk about those.

today i am sad about things that i have absolutely no control over. today i am wondering if i am just doing that classic crazy-person thing of saying, “oh, i’m fine now! i don’t need my meds!” while neglecting to remember that the reason i am fine is because i’ve been on them. wondering if i actually need them or if i just need a buffer from life. aren’t we just supposed to be sad a lot? isn’t this desire for relentless happiness so stupid and american and just generally a bad idea? doesn’t it make us bad, weak people? and don’t i not-so-secretly think i deserve to suffer?

laying in bed, my girlfriend touches my arm. i make a muscle and she whispers how sexy my strong arms are. it’s nice to have a partner who is not intimidated by my strength, both physical and emotional. who needs me to be, and stay, strong for her. my body is the strongest it’s ever been, mostly because i live up a hill. a huge one, a ridiculous one. a cliff, really, but there is a switchback road that gets one up the hill without going straight up. i’m not close with anyone who drives on a regular basis, so it’s me & my bike or me & the city steps, every day that i leave the house. i used to hate that hill so much. used to weep as i struggled up it, partially because everything made me weep when i first moved to this apartment, and partially because i just couldn’t believe that this was my life. that i gave up a sweet house on a tiny hill for this shitty apartment on this giant incline.

now i love the hill. the way the struggle makes my thighs come alive. the awe of my sweat-panted neighbors, sitting on their porch, watching me go. i love how strong it’s made me. love the way my girlfriend squeezes my muscular thighs and says that she loves them.

legacies. & it’s not that easy to pick a side….

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today as i was biking here to the library i was thinking about grandparents because i got a postcard mentioning someone’s grandma. 3/4ths of my grandparents were dead by my 2nd birthday. the only grandparent i’ve ever known was my dad’s dad, who was kind of a jerk. he died when i was 18.

some days i am worried that i am turning into him. he lived alone and was set in his ways. his house was a big pile of old newspapers, “national geographic”s and readers digest condensed books. my house is a big pile of zines and queer/feminist books and clip art and backgrounds and other stuff. i like my mess, even though (in part because) it is alienating to other people. i don’t expect anyone to understand. my grandpa was a mean person but he loved his garden & grew the most delicious stringbeans i’ve ever tasted.

he was a jerk. when i let my bad side dominate, i am a jerk too. i was thinking, “my bad side’s been in hiding for the past few months & that’s great” but then i was thinking, “is there really such a thing as a bad side?” my “bad” side is savvy, street-smart, honest, self-preserving, and tough. my “good” side is naive, silly, ridiculous and a tad lazy. when i was bad, i wasn’t all bad, and when i’m good, i’m not all good. and what is good? and am i really that good now? and was i ever really that bad? isn’t it all a matter of perception? well, duh, of course it is. but which one am i? WHICH ONE AM I?

self-reassurance//i am trying to go off my meds.

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it’s okay to be lazy after a life of hard work. it’s okay to not write every day. it’s okay to not beat yourself up thinking about how you wrote 20,000 words in four months while working fulltime but now you have all this time and you just fritter it away.

it’s okay to have 6 rolls of tape, 4 scissors and one remote control. it’s okay if you can’t find any of these things right now. they’ll turn up sometime. it’s okay that the house is messy, nobody comes over besides your lovers and best friends and they all won’t judge you. they love you. it’s okay to scrub the kitchen floor on your hands and knees but pile all your paper on the table. nobody lives here but you.

it’s okay to have three lovers and two crushes. it’s okay to not be in love with any of them. it’s okay to send your girlfriend a hysterical text message now and again, she understands. she’s on lots of meds, she’s gone off them too, she understands. she still loves you, remember? she said so.

it’s okay to sleep. to rest. it sucks that you’re not changing the world but it’s okay, you can’t do it anyway. it’s okay to breathe. shh. relax. it’s okay to breathe. it’s only not okay to stop.

i hereby release myself.

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this is what my anger & heartbreak looks like, transformed. i was cleaning out my dresser & found a caustic letter that i wrote in september and didn’t send. i re-read it and then unhesitatingly walked into the kitchen, turned on my gas burner, and threw the letter into the fire. the flames rose high, but i wasn’t afraid. i watched it burn. when it was just smoldering i picked it up with some tongs and put it in this metal bowl so it could keep burning without being dangerous.

this is what it looks like now. the words don’t exist anymore. they are gone, they’re something new now.

it feels good. moving on. changing. and now my kitchen smells pleasantly of bonfires.