Looking back, looking forward

Funny how three years later, I still think about GCS (gender confirmation surgery). There’s this doctor in New York City, Dr. Jess Ting, who creates girls’ vaginas using pieces of the inner lining of their stomach so they can experience lubrication during arousal. This surgery wasn’t available four years ago when I lived in New York City. It wasn’t available to me. I gave up chasing my dream of GCS in Thailand and chose to go to grad school to study therapy. Then I left grad school to pursue my art. Now two years later, what do I have to show for it? A great deal I suppose. I’ve started a record label, music collective, and event series. I’ve honed my skills as a sound engineer (and continue to). I’ve played a number of live shows and continue to receive bookings. I feel things are moving in the right direction. But a familiar void has resurfaced in me all these years later–a yearning for a deeper physical experience of my womanhood, a closer proximity to the physical form I see in my mind’s eye.

I remember when I left New York I said I wouldn’t return unless I had a thriving creative career. Now it seems it’s headed in that direction. UN/TUCK is bound to take off. I’m quite sure. And when it does, I’m going to leave Kansas City. And begin my life once more in a place where I can seek trans inclusionary healthcare–where I do not have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on surgeries–where the very notion of calling trans related surgeries ‘cosmetic’ is seen as violent and oppressive–where the final alleviation of my dysphoria is not seen as a burden.

I am ready for whatever changes come. And for the ones I intentionally seek out. I am ready for the true flowering of my life, the true birth, to commence.

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Rediscovery

It’s taken me almost four years but I finally feel a strong sense of who I am at this point in my life. I’ve explored gender and queerness and fluidity and androgyny. And after all this time I’ve come back to find that femininity makes me the happiest–feminine is where my comfort zone lies, where I feel beautiful and sensual and in touch with my body and authentic consciousness. As part of this rediscovery I’m committing to pushing my transition along, seeking out some facial feminization surgery, an orchiectomy, and maybe that’s it, maybe not. I just know that if I don’t listen to the girl inside me, I’ll never be truly happy. I’m thankful to have come back to this part of myself.

Dear Self

Today Resistance seemed to win the battle. No art was made. Though much time was spent on your phone. I’m sorry that I feel ugly today, that I feel worthless and doomed to a life of lack and poverty. Thinking about all the people who think I should be living differently. Or maybe it’s just me. I wish I could remember what Divinity felt like. Instead I feel empty-a bare reflection of the things I’ll never have: fame, money, love, children. Today I’ve lost the battle of self love, even though I did laundry for the first time in weeks. Even though I made lunch for myself and took a shower and set up a hair appointment. I was not given any awards. No one did a write up on me for Vice Magazine. I worry that UN/TUCK will only lead to disappointment. I did not have enough will power to pull you from the misery that haunts us at all times. The misery that haunts us when no one is looking. What does it mean to love you? To nurture you? To celebrate you and take care of you? I have been on this Earth for 27.5 years and yet I still don’t know how to be a human. I still don’t know how to accept that each day is a clean slate that I only I can fill up. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m too in my head today. Maybe Alex’s voice that still lingers in my head is actually my own voice–the small self who knows only lack and failure and limitation–the small self that tells me while she’ll never come back. Here I am yearning for a love I do not know how to give myself. Here I am on my bedroom floor, crying and wishing for so much more.

Fuck Titles

Damn… residency is kicking my ass and I’ve been here a day.

If you’re looking for a place to smack a mirror right up against your face this is it. This is the place.

One day here and I’m already restless as fuck. City life is more my pace these days. But I see myself without my usual vices. I’m going to run out of weed tomorrow and then what? What happens when the internet goes out and I’m stuck with myself and my racing, distracted mind?

This is a lot. I don’t know how I did it last year. Makes me wonder if I’m even cut out for residency life—for the hard work that being an artist entails.

Nonetheless, I did a good deal of work today—I started writing a new song. Granted I have started writing many new songs this year. And how many have I finished?

Ah, but the point is I am getting closer to my sound. Each new track brings me closer to BTRFLY’s true essence. It’s wonderful to see my learning coax my aesthetic out of me. So I’m here for a week. And a long week it will be.

But I am committed to what I’ve committed to—working, playing, working, playing, creating, being, creating, being.

The black mirror of my laptop screen will continue to reveal my ugly truth to me.

Here’s hoping I can wipe it clean.

Angels

‘I got angels all around me. They keep me surrounded.’
-Chance

I woke up today to a heartbreaking text message from someone I’ve sort of been dating. I got out of bed, went upstairs, turned the shower on, climbed in, and sat there crying while the hot water fell upon me. Ta-ku was playing on my phone. I Miss You More. I cried for the first time about all of this—the details of which I will spare you. Suffice it to say, journal, it was a sad start to the day—a day I expected to spend alone.

But it didn’t go how I thought it would.

Jeanette messaged, asking if I wanted to go on a river walk—where the ice floes touched a rock outcropping in the center of the frozen Missouri current. I said yes. Actually I said, “You have no idea how much I’d like that.” I think maybe she did. So she said she’d pick me up in an hour. In the mean time I did my hair, put on some overalls, made a breakfast burrito and peppermint tea, and sat taking in the morning and my emotions.

Healing will never be a linear path. It will always be a circle.

Full circle.

Like pie.

Like pi.

Jeanette and I, no matter our struggles, love each other a great deal. We sing similar songs of the heart and soul. We howl in similar tones, and cherish too the strangeness of nature. She took me to a part of the city I’d never seen before. Funny how I’ve lived here my whole life and never gone that far east. How I hadn’t seen the river in winter time I did not know. But it was beautiful. A moving mosaic of ice and snow. A fractal of water in all its forms, caught forever between resolution and dissolution. She intended to lead me to a rock outcropping, as I said earlier. But our plans were thwarted by a steep shoreline. We only made it so far among the bramble and deer paths before realizing we’d have to turn back. As we turned to go back, I saw the pupper emerge from icy waters down on the river. He kept trying to climb out but either the water was too cold, the ice was too thin, he was too tired, or a combination of the three; he kept failing. I slid down the cliffside to try and coax him from the water, encourage him. Jeanette yelled jovially for him, saying he’s a water dog he’ll be okay. I’m sure inside she was shaking. But she didn’t show it. Finally he found his way and came running toward us at full speed. It was a beautiful and terrifying moment. Disaster was not in the cards for us today, only adventure and reconnection.

I wrote this poem earlier today after we hung out:

Follow Love on a walk by the frozen river.
Touch the dead green grass and the stunted branches that came of the Spring of November 2017.
Walk into endless bramble.
Lose your way.
See the puppy emerge from the icy water
the way your own heart is emerging from similar depths.
Smile when you’re peeing.
Laugh when you’re falling.
And when Love beckons you in its many forms, listen. Listen. Listen.

I am telling you all this for a reason. And I’m not trying to say it any particular way.

Here it is: the love that lives in friendship will forever trump the love that lives in romance. It is lasting and true. I am deeply grateful for the day I had today. I am deeply grateful that Jeanette reached out. We haven’t bonded like that in so long, and to have done so a few days before I head off to residency for a short stay… the timing was perfect. Thank you Universe for orchestrating such things. ❤

After she dropped me off, I went home to shower again and relax. Mostly cause I wanted to do my hair and I’d had it under a beanie all day. Please excuse my water waste for the sake of this blog entry. So I was in the shower and Yumi called me, asking if I wanted to get Pho. Mind you, pho is my comfort food (and ramen). And I love Yumi. It was totally unexpected and totally needed. We talked about so many things: sobriety, growing up, cherishing friendships, overcoming abandonment, caring for ourselves, standing in our authenticity and vulnerability. We shared our love for each other. I told her I wanted to nurture our friendship in 2018, to deepen something that feels true and beautiful and sweet. She agreed. The Angel. I love Yumi. I am grateful for her trust in me, her willingness to share her tough truths. Her friendship means the world to me and I am so happy to have her in my life.

(I’m not crying right now you are).

After dinner, she picked up Mazzy and dropped the two of us off at my place to go do laundry.

Then Mazzy and I spent the next couple hours working on the Octo Octa event page. We sat on my bed together, talked about our hopes and dreams for 2018, our desire to hone in on the things we’re good at, we talked about our history together, the first time we met, the many ways in which we’ve been tethered to each other ever since we met, whether we knew it or not—our destinies were tied. I read our astrology and boy was it spot on. Let me tell you something about Mazzy. She’s a Gemini. So am I. We push each other. We challenge each other. We bother each other. We inspire each other. We invoke profound artistic and philosophical sensitivities in one another. We love each other. And the blossoming vulnerability we’ve been sharing has been a true light in my life. I hope she knows that. I hope she knows how fucking proud I am of her and how passionate and excited I am to help her achieve her dreams, to let go of my belief that I know what that path looks like, and to be humbled in my ability to support and uplift her as she does me. The Angel.

Today I woke up feeling alone. Tonight I go to sleep feeling loved and held in a community of beautiful humans whom I cherish with my deepest heart and wish desperately to see their greatest dreams made real.

Thank you, Universe, for reminding me of my bounty, of all the magnificent abundance in my life—for my father, and my sweet sweet mother, for my great friends with their giant hearts. I am truly rich in love. And I have this warm bed, which I get to return to each night, to sleep, perchance to dream. To find myself waking up again… surrounded by the Angels in my life.