Category Archives: oh

farewell, lorazepamsam.

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that was your okcupid username. i use it in this post because i went on the worst okcupid date of my life with you. last march, at the end of a long and lonesome winter. i should have ended it at the very beginning, when i bought a pabst blue ribbon and you made a fucking joke about putting something in it. you apologized profusely when i called you on it & my instincts told me that you were awkward but not a threat. so it continued, down by the river with a sixpack, watching the lights on the water. i can’t remember what we talked about. it was okay, i guess, until you told me that that horrible thing had happened to our mutual friend, X. X was someone who i had known a decade ago and hadn’t talked to in years. i knew her at a very bad time in her life, and you told me something horrible that happened to her in that time, that i hadn’t known about. you mentioned this like it was just a casual anecdote to be shared on a date, a prelude before a kiss, just making conversation.

i said, “i have to go.” went home and fucking lost it. lost it. cried so hard that i thought i was gonna die. i couldn’t believe what had happened and i couldn’t believe that you’d told me like that.

this incident was a blessing in disguise. i reconnected with X, apologized for not knowing, for not supporting her more. she said it was okay. we wound up falling in love, for a brief moment, and healing each other in ways we couldn’t have imagined. throughout our affair, you were an awkward background figure. you were X’s roommate and occasional lover. you’d say hi to me when i stumbled messy-haired from X’s bed in the morning. your presence unnerved me. i didn’t feel safe around you. X kicked you out when you got into a huge, pill-fueled fight with a neighbor. the neighbor broke your nose with a punch and you threatened to kill everyone.

i didn’t think about you again. i was relieved that you were gone. i didn’t think about what happened to you, where you went, until this afternoon, ten fucking minutes before getting on BART to go to work, i looked at my phone to see a text from X, saying, “hey……i don’t know if you heard…….but [lorazepamsam] killed themselves last night……shot himself in the head…..just thought i should tell you.”

i work at a mental health crisis center. i was feeling a little crisis-y myself with this news, even though i hardly knew you, even though i didn’t like you. on BART, shaky hands, i took half a lorazepam (better known as ativan) because i thought i just would not be able to get through the day without having a fucking panic attack. i laughed a little at the irony. half a lorazepam because lorazepamsam is dead.

when i went on that date with you, i didn’t even know what lorazepam was. now i get paid to hand it out to people, write down what time they take it so they don’t take too many. now i take half of one on my way to work, to cope with the death of you. i don’t believe that spirits who die violently find rest easily. i thought about how uncomfortable it was to be next to your life for one night. i cannot imagine the raw discomfort and pain that you endured for 35+ years. i hope you are in a safer place, but i don’t believe that you are.

i thought work would be rough but it was actually mostly good. the clients were friendly and sweet, funny and happy to be there. reflective. about 6 hours into my shift, the small street became filled with cop cars. when the medical examiner’s van came, we knew that someone had died. domestic violence that had turned deadly was the rumor on the street. the clients sat outside, smoking. i was worried they’d be triggered–a lot have experienced violence at the hands of the police–but instead they grew reflective, commenting on the fragile nature of life, how at any second it can be over. how lucky we are to be here, on this side of the street, safe, alive.

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.

super moon & mayday & love & living.

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whoa, this weekend was off the CHAIN! i don’t think i’ve ever had a day like the one i had on friday. or saturday.

friday was the mayday variety show in bloomfield. i had one of those moments, sitting in a sweaty clump surrounded by friends, watching etta and suzy on stage–suzy dressed like a beautiful & strange & ethereal tree, etta draped in christmas lights. i tried to take a picture with my phone, but of course it doesn’t capture the moment at all–suzy is a mass of blinding white light (aura?). but it was one of those moments, so safe and cozy, where i realized how desperately i will miss all this, that weird magic that i’ve only found in pittsburgh. how will i live without it, & what will happen to my heart? i don’t know. but i guess i’ll find out. i guess i’ll manage.

i read marge piercy’s poem “for two women shot to death in brookline, massachusetts” which got a good response. it was the first time i’ve read that poem aloud and not cried at the last stanza, which was good because i hate crying in public, but also a little strange. i blame the anti-depressants. & it’s a relief to take a vay-cay from being over-emotional but it’s a little strange too! anyway. the guy who went after me gave marshmallows to the audience & we all threw them at him & he tried to catch them in his mouth while jumping rope. i love that these two acts can co-exist side-by-side & i love that people cheered for us both.

afterwards there was a punk show under the bridge & people got arrested. don’t want to say anything besides that here. walking back to larryville to get my bike, i ran into j. who was fleeing a hipster bar and we drunkenly played on the playground.

the next day was the mayday parade! no time for 8 hours of sleep, just go go go! oatmeal, coffee, sunscreen. sequinned gold booty shorts. bike up that damn hill, fast, that hill that used to seem so imposing and impossible. herron ave, you ain’t no thing anymore, my thighs are practically machines now, you don’t fuckin’ scare me. made it there in time, lots of good people and fabulous costumes, gorgeously decorated umbrellas, amazing vibes. i passed this along the way:

& it was so appropriate. i felt like i was living up to the urgings of this little metal doodad chained to a random polish hill fence. & then a bbq full of delicious free food. jail solidarity meeting, we decided to head down there. i went home to change out of my booty shorts, shower, and frantically cook and bake. released prisoners need food, jail solidarity people also need food. lentils and peanutbutter oatmeal cookies.

the tone was serious at the jail but the vibes were good. we commandeered a corner, set up our food and umbrellas, making each other laugh throughout this shitty circumstance. don’t forget to bring beautiful things to ugly places.

i can’t even describe how jail solidarity was, so i won’t. all you need to know is that i accidentally brought a lady bug into the jail and felt terrible. a wild bunny visited us. we all had each others’ backs. i made so many new pals! i was there for 7 hours, some people were there for 12+. waiting until everyone gets out. nobody left behind. the day felt like it had months of activity crammed into it. like we lived and laughed and cried and raged enough for it to count for at least a month.

i crapped out before everyone got out, but i was there for the first 3, and it was so good, marching towards them twirling the umbrellas, their huge smiles at seeing us. M and P and some boy i don’t know & i were all watching the supermoon from the upper corner of the parking lot. the jail almost obscured it, but it couldn’t. it couldn’t reach that high. the eerie light made the glass-y weed-y parking lot gorgeous. M said, “i’m always going to remember this,” in a way that makes you notice. makes you look around at what’s going on, makes you aware that you’re really living it.

this little poem was propped up against the light pole when i got there. i like to think that it wasn’t one of our crew who placed it there, i like to think it was a random person who believed in words and synchronicity and strangeness. who believed in the power of little, tiny things like this. because we all know it’s the little things, right?

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that i had a really good birthday party! comprised of my dad & sister, housecleaning stress, over 90 cans of beer (cuz that’s how we roll in my family, i guess), all my favorite people in pgh, this amazing cake:

(sorry, i can’t flip this photo. i feel like a dumbass for admitting it, but it’s true) (but isn’t that cake amazing?!?!?) (even more amazing: it’s gluten free. even MORE amazing, it was partially inspired by my okcupid username, which is “bravelittlonion”).

there were lots of stories and laughing hysterically and too many things to write about. like all good parties, it ended with me drunkenly drilling a xylophone onto a utility pole. i don’t have any pics of the event, but here’s a picture of my sister playing the xylophone this morning, with my dad in the background:

30, here i come. thanks to everyone who helped me get this far. ❤

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.

i have left everywhere that i have ever been. i don’t really recommend it though, not like anyone asked me.

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lately when i am riding my bike around, a phrase gets stuck in my head. it’s from a zine i read a long time ago, by fellow sassy aries ammi emergency. i don’t remember the exact quote, just the idea behind it: “my body is the only vehicle i will ever own.” i think it pedaling up hills, bumping around on potholes, the wind slicing through my coat. i thought it when i was in philly, riding matt’s light speedy road bike instead of my beloved heavy clunker, my conscious mind forgetting where things were but my body knowing exactly where to make all the turns. i know that city like i know no other, after all those ten-hour shifts delivering food. so long ago, but it’s imprinted. i don’t forget.

it’s a nice thought, that quote, but an exhausting one. a sad one. keep pedaling even though the bike’s about to fall apart. no one can fix it. no one can drive you, not even the bus. this is all i’ve got. how do any of us keep going at all?

a. read my tarot cards this weekend. the final-outcome card was the six of swords. she was excited for me. “that means you’re leaving!” she said it was a good card, a happy card, but it looked so sad to me. a woman on a boat, clutching a baby, her back to us, staring across the empty and endless sea. six swords were stuck in the hull of her boat. a leaky ship & a broad sea. that sounds about right. today at work a 22-year-old client cried about her best friend, shot to death on new years’. they’d had their babies in the same month. “i saw her the other day, i saw her. she looks just like her mom, even though she’s so young. it’s so sad.” and we looked at each other, across the desk, across the valleys of our lives. i lost my good friend when i was 22 also, but who cares. i still didn’t know what to say, except i’m sorry, except stay strong. and i know it’s not enough. how do any of us keep going at all.

since i deleted my facebook, i have nowhere else to put this useless-yet-compelling info…

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my little sister is on a fashion blog! so proud of you jill!!! thanks for the tip, arth (and commenter #4, you are boring. plz find something better to do than writing paragraph-long critiques of strangers’ outfits. thanks).

i am SO HAPPY i deleted facebook! i hate facebook, what was i thinking? less internet time is always better. and i don’t need social networking, i have the phone #s of most of the people in this city who care about me. all i need is a little heat, a pot of chili, a few gossip girl dvds and a stack of library books and a few good friends. and i can make it through the winter. that’s more than most people have. i can stay in my apartment and heal my brain and face and heart. i can get sober. i can be strong all by myself, i know i can.

the first sentence of my horoscope this week says, “you are almost free.” it resonated with me.

i had a really fun hour-long interaction with two francophone clients and google translate. they weren’t even my clients, but i wasn’t doing anything so i tried to step in. they were really sweet. i said, “je suis desolee, mon francais es mauvais!” and the lady said, “tres bien, mon soeur!” hahaha. (translation: me: i am sorry, my french is bad!” her: very good, my sister!) it was odd and sweet in a way i can’t even explain here.

are you sitting in a room that is heated or cooled to a comfortable temperature right now? if you are, please appreciate it. please.

things people have given me today: a soft pretzel, a beautiful CD, backhanded compliments about my hat, and hugs (1, from jessie).

i have to go now!

now the cities we live in, they could be distant stars

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feeling better today. woke up early and walked 2 miles to my old job to say hey to the ladies there, because i promised i would when i got a chance. now’s the chance. walking there i tiptoed down the crumbling city steps, through the trash filled woods. i thought of _________ and how much she’d like these steps, because i know her well enough to know that she likes old things, fucked up things, she likes being surrounded by woods in the city. but i don’t think she’ll ever visit me here and so i’ll never get to show her. i also thought about ******, about clambering down these steps with him at night, hand-in-hand, climbing up other steps, whispering tired secrets in the night air, getting completely lost but not caring. that was less than a month ago & now things are so different. what the fuck? how was that only a month? it was years & years & years. that self doesn’t exist anymore. how? i don’t know.

i’ve decided some force larger than myself is keeping me here. last monday i found out my job was getting cut back, but i was like, “oh, i can still do a drug study!” and…less than 72 hours later i had a concussion. no drug studies for me. fate is trying to tell me something & it’s my job to listen. so no running away. not yet.

i went to my old job, the one i hated, and got such a warm welcome. sat around for an hour or so shootin’ the shit with middle aged secretaries. it was nice. who knew. i walked back to the library the long, scenic route. i remembered the first time i walked it, after my interview, where i played “let it be” by the beatles on my ipod and felt very much on the right path, very connected, very sure. this time was nothing like that. i can’t listen to headphones because they are too much for my scrambled brain (really) so i sang to myself, which was nice in a different way. “tainted love” by soft cell and “suburban war” by arcade fire, if you’re wondering. it’s kind of nice being a daytime weirdo. library-lurker. walk-taker. everyone else in the library at mid-day is a little bit off, too. i like it.

ojos de majicos

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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.