Category Archives: destroy that tape loop

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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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.

i know i talk a lot of smack on fb. but sometimes it leads you to truly wonderful things…

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….like this. i found it on my old pal theresa’s fb page, but she got it off of leslie feinberg’s fb. i lived with theresa 11 years ago, when she read “stone butch blues” and it made her cry. this picture & this dedication almost made me cry. so fucked up and yet so amazing.

i have other things to say but they all seem irrelevant. let’s remind ourselves what we’re capable of, despite everything. let’s remember to fight back always & resist in any way we can. refusing to give in to despaid can sometimes be resistance. & most importantly, let’s take care of each other.

to learn more about cece, go here.

to learn more about leslie feinberg, go here.

 

STONE BUTCH BLUES DEDICATION
for CECE McDONALD
I have taken back my author rights
to Stone Butch Blues.
I am working on plans for a
20th-anniversary author edition
of Stone Butch Blues
for Spring 2013.
 A digital multi-media edition
 will be available free online.
A not-for-profit, at-cost print edition
will be available for order online, as well.
During our visit in jail,
I asked CeCe McDonald
if I could dedicate
Stone Butch Blues to her.
I’m thrilled to announce:
She said “Yes!”
When I saw this attached photo
for the first time, it was clear to me,
 that this is the dedication photograph!!
More information on novel publication as it develops.
Soon, I’ll also post information regarding translations.
FREE CECE!

 

my friends are so smart.

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kelsey says she wants to go to one place she’s never been every month this year. i text aaryn and tell him that the song “san francisco” keeps shuffling on my ipod and i think it’s a sign, and he texts me back, “follow the signs…take the detours…it’s time for change!!!’ he’s right, of course, and not only because he’s moving back to the bay and wants me to come, too.

at work, frank starts singing, loudly and off-key, a song about loving danger and not being afraid to die. barry sighs, “this is the best place ever.” and in that moment it feels that way.

i’m feeling confessional and so i tell arthur on the phone, in a furtive whisper: “i got a britney spears cd out of the library and i’ve been dancing around my kitchen to it! i can’t stop!” he sighs, “oh, you’re such a fag!” and i brightened because he always knows exactly what to say somehow. but that happened last winter, why am i pretending it was recently? now i dance around my kitchen to rihanna. so much has changed.

lying in bed with D i tell her that i am learning how to date people without throwing my whole life away. her face brightens up. she gasps and says, “that’s SUCH a good idea!” in a way that is so adorable that i can’t help but smooch her again. but it’s a good quest, a necessary quest. being on anti-depressants and dating multiple people and knowing that i’m leaving soon helps. loving fiercely but not overwhelmingly. it’s all a balance, right?

at work again, i tell myla that my name is actually ocean–or rather, my email address does it for me, when i send her something from my personal account. i expect her to think it’s weird. she says, “oh, that’s your nickname? my nickname is egypt!’ without missing a beat.

sharon n. (who is more of a friend of a friend than a friend) said, “when in doubt, freak ’em out!” sharon k. said, years ago, perched on my toilet lid in brooklyn: “not all happiness is punishable. you have to understand that. you have to understand that!” and, oh, this is only a little, tiny bit. only a fraction of the good things that people tell me, that i am so lucky to hear. thanks.

untitled, untittied

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yesterday,  at a work meeting, my creepiest co-worker sat too close to me. i was wearing a cute dress because i was going to sister spit after work and wanted to look cute. but, i forgot that if i look cute that’s just a fucking invitation for every creepy man in the world to try & look up my skirt. pgh  is not like new york or philly–guys will look, but not touch, or say anything. for a while, i thought that was good enough.

but not this guy. he has such bad vibes. such sexual-assaulter vibes. there are times when a man looks at me and i feel like he just thinks i am attractive. and there are other times when i can hear him raping me in his head. and yeah it’s just a feeling, not an action, but it wears on me.

the meeting went on & on. he was so close. one side was him. the other side, a lunchroom table, jammed into my ribcage. across the table was another middle-aged, possibly aspie man who was openly staring at my tits. i hunched over and crossed my legs. of course, this put me with my back to the director, who was speaking & who already thinks i’m a disrespectful young whippersnapper anyway cuz i have piercings and tattoos and don’t look like a girl. but fuck. i could not allow this man to see my thighs anymore.

the worst part was not being able to escape. surrounded on every side by men, & it’s a serious meeting so i can’t just get up and leave. and if i did, they’d just see more of my body anyway.

afterwards, i was visibly upset. my friend b. asked if i was okay and i said no. i told him a little of what happened. my friend agreed with me that he is creepy, and said, he hasn’t gotten laid in a while, everything catches his attention. i said, please don’t refer to me as a thing. my friend is a straight white dude from the sticks. sweet, but hasn’t thought about a lot of things. i’m glad i said that because i think it changed his perspective a little.

i saw my lover later that day, when i was on break. still upset. still visibly upset. he asked what was wrong and i couldn’t tell him. because he doesn’t get it. because he’s a man. i hated him for being a man in that moment, even though he’s sweet and nice and respectful. i just couldn’t talk to him. so i was quiet and fuming and weird and it was awkward. but the gap between us just felt so wide then. and i just knew he’d never understand. (note: i have since talked to him about it and he did understand, kinda).

i bummed a cigarette off a lady friend at work, because i couldn’t stop panicking. such a little thing, really, but it reverberated so deeply. i said, “thanks, r! i feel so much better!’ she said, “yeah, i think it’s the deep breathing.” i said, “i’ve been trying deep breathing all day, it’s not working.” “yeah, i guess you have to go out and hurt yourself.” we laughed bitterly. then she said, “well, it’s better than cutting yourself!” i have big self-inflicted scars all over my arms. we aren’t close enough for her to know my past. i stopped in my tracks. i didn’t know what to say.

left work early because i just couldn’t take it. went home cuz i’d forgotten to take my pillz that morning and i knew that was part of the reason for me feeling so badly. ripped the cute dress off. pulled out my binder and cutoffs. i don’t want to look nice for men anymore. i want to be a genderqueerdo again. i don’t want them to be able to see my tits. i don’t want to let them win. while i was pedaling & crying, towards the bus stop to pick up emily, a girl yelled, “hey, dykes on bikes!” at me. i couldn’t tell if she was validating me or just making fun. it really could have been either.

sister spit was fun and hilarious. pretty much all of the performers had good energy & good things to say. but i was still having some residual anxiety from my day and had to go home. breathe in, breathe out, even with lungs compressed tightly under layers of meshy cloth. breathe in, breathe in. don’t forget, people love you. people think you are sexy who don’t want to rape you. i had written “someday…” on my wrist in red ink and it looks like a cut. it was a reference to a powerful line in the sarah schulman book girls, visions and everything: “someday, i’ll kill a man.”

don’t read it and think i’m advocating murder. don’t tell me you aren’t the problem. don’t tell me i am crazy. think about what has to happen to drive someone to make that statement, what drives someone to appreciate it. think about it and then think of a solution. because i’m tired. i’m so fucking tired.

a few things i have been thoroughly enjoying lately.

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+ SPRING!!!!!

+having very vivid, nuanced and colorful dreams that don’t haunt me.

+this quote by dean spade, who i honestly normally can’t really get into, but it says so much of what i need to hear:

One of my goals in thinking about redefining the way we view relationships is to try to treat the people I date more like I treat my friends—try to be respectful and thoughtful and have boundaries and reasonable expectations—and to try to treat my friends more like my dates—to give them special attention, honor my commitments to them, be consistent, and invest deeply in our futures together. In the queer communities I’m in valuing friendship is a really big deal, often coming out of the fact that lots of us don’t have family support, and build deep supportive structures with other queers. (i originally read this on amber’s tumblr)

+this fucking adorable and beautiful and amazing comic by cindy, about learning how to finally fucking be friends with your demons!

becoming friends with my demons is something i’ve been struggling to do for over a decade, ever since axi & i had a memorable conversation on our front porch in winter 2002, when i was freaking out about a shitty email my abusive ex had sent me, and we were talking about all the bad things, the haunting things, the horrible things, and she said i need to learn how to embrace my dark side. how that’s the only way i’m ever gonna be whole. i’ve got to go there.

& cindy’s writing & art is so fucking perfect, so poignant, because she goes places so fearlessly. that drawing of her holding hands with her demons, on the right, makes my heart hurt in the best best way. i’m gonna take it to the copy place & blow it up. hang it on my bedroom wall so it’s the first thing i see every morning. so i don’t forget. this image is from the excellent book the encyclopedia of doris, which i cannot recommend heartily enough. 

+all the readings i’ve been doing as of late! karen lillis and i just read at pitt and it went swimmingly. my next one, april 22nd at hambone’s in lawrenceville (42nd & butler!). i will be reading at a special library worker reading, even though i am not a library worker. i did go with amanda from branch library to branch library a few sleepy saturdays ago, where she showed up in neighborhoods like mt. washington (douchebag central, if yr not from pgh) and brookline (depressing) and inquiring at the front desk, “are there any writers working here?!” fortunately, i’m a library lurker, which is close enough i guess.

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yeah! so many people find this blog by googling terms like “deleted facebook so happy” or “should i delete facebook.” my answer: YES!

+listening to your heart breaks, invincible, jawbreaker & the fuckin’ no alternative comp that i found at the lawrenceville goodwill for only three dollars! i was just thinking about it and i let out a shriek that terrified my shopping companion when i saw it. holy shit, it’s SO good. i especially like soul asylum’s cover of “sexual healing”. as oliver so brilliantly put it when i played this song for him, “wow, they’re taking it SO SERIOUSLY!”

talkin’ shit about a pretty sunset. blanket & opinions that i’ll probably regret soon.

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this is what the view out my kitchen window occasionally looks like.

yesterday i was bikin’ up the hill and some teen boys were like, “damn, look at her go! how does she do that?” i sincerely regret not turning around and saying, “cuz i’m a toughass motherfucker, that’s how!” but i couldn’t figure out if they were making fun of me or not. i think this will be one of the major pitfalls of my life. not knowing when peeps are makin’ fun & when they’re serious.

p.s., pittsburgh,

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if you missed the born in flames show last night, you missed the hell OUT. (madison, WI and detroit, you’ve still got the chance! go go go!) invincible & jean grae, for free! in a smoke free all ages environment! before i went i was despairing. i had an awful weekend. triggering and panicked and thinking the worst things. the worst things. monday i called off work cuz i didn’t trust myself to make it through the day without crying in public. and my head feels muddled and confused and dizzy and injured. so. was pondering calling off attending this show, pondering calling off attending the rest of my life because it all just hurts so fucking bad, but i went to the show and i am so glad i did.

beautiful people and beautiful voices, saying the truth, yelling the truth, in a way that feels accessible to everyone, everyone’s hands in the air. jean grae stopped the music to say we were boring cuz we weren’t dancing hard enough. so we danced. harder and harder. alice walker said that hard times require furious dancing, and how could i have forgotten? i almost did, i almost forgot.

i have more to say but my time on this computer is running out, and amanda already wrote a stunningly beautiful account of this evening here and i feel like i just can’t say anything beyond it.

this is amanda in the chillout room before the show. we were tired. but the music invigorated us. i love you.

i sigh angrily at computers all day.

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had a premonition i’d get severely hurt if i rode my bike to work today. so i walked. saw this graffiti as i was walking down penn avenue and even though i was gonna be late i took a picture anyway. what else is there to do. the thought one day this will not hurt so badly is mocking & useless. it does not offer sustenance or any real hope. but it is all i have to give myself and it is all anyone has to give to me. ironically, i am paid to give the exact same threadbare sympathy to people who are in situations far more desperate than i am. and it’s all i have to give. and it’s more than most people give. and it is not even approaching enough.

today on break i was complaining to j. how i have no vices left. jokingly said i need to become a pillhead because i can’t drink or smoke cigarettes and i hate weed. i had two puffs of his cigarette because i was feeling stressed out and sad and a little bit selfdestructive. i actually do have some vices left, but he doesn’t need to know about them and neither do you. immediately upon returning from break, i had a client with severe chronic bronchitis. she claimed it was from second-hand smoke. every so often she would be overcome with coughing that would wrack her whole body. i felt guilty. at the end of my interview with her she gasped, between coughs, pray you don’t ever get sick, honey. i said, i do.

in my mind i’m actually in minneapolis today. it’s summer and a lot of the bad things haven’t happened yet. debbie and i are walking around powderhorn park, barefoot and laughing. her cat is still alive and waiting for us in the zinemobile. the sun is sinking and we’re feeling okay. i don’t know where debbie is now, i think her phone was shut off. i’m in minneapolis, the vibrancy of the streets in cedar-riverside. i’m about to go swimming in the lake, but first i have to figure out the right light rail. that’s where my mind is today, not here. not here. i can’t fucking stand it.