Tag Archives: thislanemerges

Unlearning

Sometimes I forget that unlearning all the internalized oppressive crap that has been instilled in me is an ongoing process. Sometimes I get to a point where I feel like “yep, I’ve unlearned it all, I’m good to go.” And the next thing I know a thought will pop into my head or I’ll do something without thinking and afterwards I pause and go “hey wait a minute, that was really messed up… I guess I haven’t unlearned it all…” And that’s kind of a disheartening thought, realizing just how entrenched all of these messed up values are in me is really distressing. At the same time, it’s an invaluable reminder of the fact that I will never be done unlearning. I live in a society where these horrible ideas are all around me, therefore it is a constant battle to say “no, that’s not right.” But it’s a worthwhile battle because all of the racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, sexist, etc. crap that we are bombarded with on a daily basis is not ok. And I’m not just going to give in to it just because it’s hard to recognize it and unlearn it.

At the same time, I struggle with remembering that others are working on unlearning it too and it’s not my place to judge their process. It’s really important for me to remember that I hate the system that puts these ideas in place, I don’t hate the people that the ideas have been instilled in. Hating people instead of hating the system is a distraction, it is an obstacle in the way of real change. We are all struggling to unlearn the idea that we do not deserve good things and neither do others, for whatever reason. We are all worthy of love. We are all worthy of respect.

These Days

Some days I wish I had a full beard – coarse, thick hair to run fingers through and shape my face.

Some days I want to paint my nails – pinks, purples, teals, with sparkles and shimmer.

Some days I cringe every time I hear my voice because I feel like it’s just so high – I try not to talk much on these days.

Some days I want to grow my hair out long and be able to braid it and put it in a bun – beautiful and handsome, shiny, wavy tumbles of hair.

Some days I see pictures of cis men that make me crumple like a paper bag because I know I’ll never be that and that feels like the end of the world – it’s like all the air goes out of my body and my body folds in on itself, and lies in a heap on the floor.

Some days I want to bind my chest so flat that I can’t breathe – prop myself up on the tension, feeling like I’m safe in this too-small fortress.

Some days I want to wear sparkly lipstick – shine for days, every word that leaves my mouth dripping with shimmer.

Some days I feel happy when I look in the mirror – like I know the person looking back at me and I’m proud of them.

Some days I avoid the mirror at all costs – don’t show me what I already know, what I already can’t face.

Some days I wonder how on earth my partner is at all attracted to me – so insecure, so far from my truth… how can anyone be drawn to me?

Some days I just want to cry – when it feels like it’s never going to end and nothing is working in my favor.

Some days I just want to run – like somehow I can escape all of the feelings if I can just get far enough away from them.

Some days I don’t want to move – crushed underneath the weight of too much and not enough.

Some days I want to scream – to explode, to refuse to hold it all in.

Some days hormones and top surgery feel so out of reach that I want to just give up – so much paperwork and waiting to wade through, so many hoops.

Some days I feel like I’m making progress – when an inch feels like a mile, and I can fly over it all.

My thoughts and feelings can differ on a daily basis. That’s kind of hard to settle into and be ok with. Some days I’m good at it. Some days I’m not.

The Little Things

Things have been a little tough lately…

For starters, we still haven’t found a very viable place to move to (in 39 days), and that is STRESSING me out! But, I’m trying to learn to be more go-with-the-flow, and relaxed about this because… in all probability, it will work out somehow.. (at least that’s what I’m telling myself lol).

Aside from that, I had really hoped that I might have health insurance by now. I’ve been actively engaged in making phone calls, filling out forms, looking up information, and asking questions, to try and get myself enrolled in health care since March… It’s looking like I might at least be close by now, but I’m still not there. A lot in my life kind of hinges on health care right now, I have some immediate dental issues that need addressing, the legal name change process apparently will be much easier for me once I have health insurance, and I can start thinking more seriously about hormones once I have health insurance! So, as you can imagine, I’m fairly anxious to finish jumping through all of the hoops and finally be enrolled!

I’m not really out about my gender identity at work so I’ve resigned myself to constantly being misgendered there. It’s nice though to have an affirming place to come home to where everyone knows my pronouns and identity and respects them. We were hanging out with some friends the other day who are very familiar with my gender identity and pronouns, but they kept accidentally slipping up and calling me “she”. They would of course correct themselves, but it still was kind of jarring… it always is kind of jarring to hear someone who definitely knows my pronouns misgender me, it begs the questions, “do you just really see me as a cis woman and just use my pronouns when you remember to?” And often I can tell people feel bad about slipping up and they trip all over themselves to correct it, and I don’t feel angry with them or anything, because I don’t feel like they are intentionally misgendering me to make me upset. But it does make me a little sad to think that people don’t actually recognize my gender identity.. I know it might not seem like a big deal, but it kind of is… at least to me…

I guess that’s all for now. Until next time..

After the hiatus

Many things have happened… and not happened… in the past few months that have discouraged me from writing… I have been going through some changes about how I am feeling about my transition. I’m not really sure what spurred these changes, but then again the why’s and how’s about gender have never really been clear for me. I have also been working a lot and hardcore searching for a place to move to when I start grad school in the end of August (68 days away, not that I’m counting). Aside from that I’ve been working on some smaller projects, trying to destroy the long-term to-do list of things to do before moving so that I will feel less stressed (haha yea right) and just kind of feeling discouraged or down in the dumps…

HOWEVER, today is a new day, a few significant positive changes have occurred in my life recently, AND I was just reading BET’s list of Ten Transgender People You Should Know, and I am feeling inspired/motivated/encouraged, so what better time to write a new post? A few weeks ago I started seeing a counselor at the Gender Health Center and while I’m still not sure what I’m hoping to achieve by participating in these sessions, I think they’re helping me be more intentional and mindful about my thoughts and feelings as well as my relationships with others. Which, I am a fan of. So, I’m going to see where this goes. The Gender Health Center is also helping me get hooked up with medical insurance! Which is going to make it easier for me to legally change my name, explore hormone options, explore top surgery options, and in general see the doctor/dentist which is becoming more of a priority. So, that’s exciting!

Another part of trying to be intentional and mindful of myself and to help me battle the blues, I am currently following a 30 days of change exercise program. It’s kind of keeping me grounded and thinking about the present. The one day at a time aspect of the exercises is also transferring to my thought processes and moments of stress about the future, which is a wonderful benefit for me.

So, as I mentioned earlier, my thoughts/feelings about transition have been sort of changing lately. I used to not really be sure about if I was ever going to take testosterone, or get top surgery. And lately (probably for the past 3 months or so) I have had much stronger urges/yearnings to start taking testosterone. As I mentioned, I’m not really sure why these urges/yearnings have become so strong, the reasons behind my feelings on gender are never really crystal clear for me… But I think it might have something to do with the fact that I finally laid everything out about my feelings about gender to my mom, so that’s not as much of a pressure to not start testosterone, anymore. However, I also have been admitting to myself that I really want to be able to have a baby. And, the effects taking testosterone has on fertility aren’t really known, but it is a possibility that taking testosterone could make it harder or impossible for me to have a baby in the future… so that’s a new thing to grapple with… more later on that, I’m sure.

On a somewhat unrelated note, as I am preparing to move (in 68 days) I am trying to find radical/queer/non-normative children’s books to leave for the children at the daycare where I work, so even though I won’t be there to challenge the norms anymore, hopefully these books will be able to a little bit, haha. A friend pointed out this awesome article to me about that pursuit. And my two favorite books I have stumbled upon so far are A is for Activist and Meet Polkadot.

Hope you are all doing well!

Until next time…

A Few Thoughts

Wellllll, a few things have developed in the past few days! 1) I followed up with my managers at work about changing my name in the system. They were reluctant at first but when I pressed a little harder saying that they were required by law to accommodate my preferred name, somehow they instantly became more receptive. Now the only issue is that they issue my paycheck to my preferred name, which of course is not currently my legal name, making it impossible for me to cash… But I think I’ve found a sneaky way around it. It just goes to show that these bureaucratic systems are NOT set up or prepared to accommodate trans* folks, or anyone with a different preferred name than their legal name, for that matter. 2) I may have found a job I will enjoy a great deal more than the retail position I currently hold! However, it’s not full time so most likely I will have to keep both positions… But at least I’ll enjoy one of my jobs!

Now I’d like to talk about a greater development in the world. Charges have been filed against transgender teen, Jewlyes Gutierrez, after she defended herself from bullies at school, after having put up with the bullying for years. Coincidentally this is occurring at about the same time as Cece McDonald is being released from prison, where she was placed for defending herself from a transphobic attack. THIS HAS GOT TO STOP. If anyone else were defending themselves from bullying at school, the school district would deal with it. That is EXACTLY what should happen here. All students involved in the bullying and the altercation should be dealt with by the school district, in accordance with their policies on bullying and fighting. When trans* youth get no support from school administration, of course they are going to find another way to defend themselves. Any student would do that. The school administration needs to take responsibility FIRST for not supporting this student and stopping the bullies before it could reach this point and second for the violence that occurred on their campus among their students. Please sign the petition asking the DA to drop the charges against Jewlyes.

Well, I guess that’s all for now. Until next time…

[insert “new beginning” cliche here]

So, my last post was about feeling hopeful about the New Year, and thinking about all the things that may or may not happen this year. A few days after writing that post, I read Virgie Tovar’s post about feeling good about not having any new year’s resolutions. As it’s only the 7th day of the New Year, I’ve of course been bombarded with ads, articles, and people’s statuses/posts about their new year’s resolutions or lack thereof. While I do admit that starting a New Year does feel like [insert “new beginning” cliché here], I can also see the ridiculousness of New Year’s resolutions. I feel like they are mainly driven by capitalist-consumer culture. Particularly because I work in retail, it’s been easy to see how the way the store is set up, and the ads put on prominent display are geared toward customers with new year’s resolutions, i.e. the “active” section was moved to the front of the store, “healthy” cook-books were moved to the “impulse buy” section, the organizational (cabinet dividers, containers, etc.) section has expanded… and I can’t help but feel that it’s all so forced. Not only are oppressive lifestyle standards being reinforced, the sustainability of these resolutions is called into questions. It just seems to me that permanent and meaningful change is not affected by the date, it’s affected by personality, conviction, necessity etc. Now, maybe someone has reached the point in their life where they are ready to commit to a huge lifestyle change and that just happens to fall on the 1st of the year, but let’s wake up and smell the capitalist rhetoric behind mass new year’s resolutions!!

In other news, I’m getting ready to apply to grad school! When I graduated from undergrad, I was very much of never-going-to-grad-school mindset. However, since the undergrad bubble burst, I have been realizing that it’s going to be pretty hard for me to get involved in social justice, community-based, advocacy type work without a masters degree… at least I’m hoping that will be the key. So, with that as my motivation, I will be applying for grad school and hopefully starting in the fall! Here’s to working to achieve life goals.

That’s all for now, Until next time…

New Year, Familiar Thoughts

As the New Year draws ever closer, I am inevitably reminded of time passing and, as cliché as it may sound, I find myself reflecting on my goals, hopes, and dreams. I often feel like my life is sort of in pause mode and I am waiting to hit play… waiting for the medical/bureaucratic aspects of my transition to start, or waiting for a job that I actually want to be doing, or waiting for grad school, or waiting to feel more settled in home life and relationships… I am trying to find ways to live in the here and now, ways to remind myself that I don’t have a pause and a play button, it’s now or never. I know it’s kind of silly, but the New Year feels like a chance for a fresh start, a new chapter; I find myself making commitments or hoping for things like, this will be the year I start testosterone, or this will be the year I legally change my name, or this will be the year I officially come out to my family, or this will be the year I propose to my partner (more later on this), or this will be the year I start grad school, or this will be the year I lay out plans for/finish researching/find partners for my dream of starting a grassroots, community-based, social justice advocacy non-profit, or this will be the year I get hired for a job I love… Who knows if any of these things will come true, but it’s nice to dream and feel hopeful about them.

I’ve been thinking about marriage a lot lately. The concept of marriage and I have had a very unstable relationship. I used to not even question the idea I would get married, and then my parents got divorced and I kind of dismissed it as something that would never happen to me, but then as it sank in and marinated a little bit I realized I was terrified of a failed marriage and vowed to never get married, this vow was strengthened as I continued on in my educational career and learned about things like heteronormativity, homonormativity, and privilege and oppression, and then I started thinking about what if my partner or I was ever in the hospital and the hospital staff wouldn’t let the other in because we weren’t officially married, or what about if we ever wanted to have kids, how would that work? In a system that is stacked against us, it might be nice to take an ideological stand and never officially wed, but if doing so means facing fewer bureaucratic difficulties than we would otherwise, it may be a luxury our self/couple care can’t afford. While I was trying to sort out these thoughts, I stumbled upon this article about the privilege that allows someone to make the choice to not get married, and I started thinking, “yea, it’s possible to have a queer marriage, choosing to get married doesn’t make us the poster children for homonormativity.” So then I started thinking, maybe marriage wasn’t a horrible idea… I mean if I love my partner and we want to have a party with our friends and family to celebrate that fact, and it might make navigating bureaucratic situations a little bit easier – why not, right? There’s still the part about me being misgendered when/if we do have an official marriage, but the system is going to misgender me whether or not I’m married, so why should that be the deciding factor?

Anyway, besides all of those ruminations, there’s a new puppy in our lives. Baby Emma is bringing joy to me and my partner as well as her big sister, Xochìtl. Her other big sister, Frida the cat, is not so sure, but we think she’ll come around. There’s no feeling quite like having a sleeping puppy in your arms, and we know Emma is going to make a great playmate for Xochitl. Plus, my partner and I get the chance to further refine our parenting skills, bonus! We just gotta watch out for those teeth and potty accidents.

That’s all for now, until next time…