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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Braids

I can’t help but think of her when I braid my hair. And the day she taught me. Or the day she read me an angry poem about how I was stealing her identity. Funny how the interweaving of hair strands could arouse in her a fear of enmeshment. Meanwhile I was desperate to braid my hair every day. To give to myself what she could not: togetherness.

Muck

Whatever could be said

Of the two of them

Would not include

The true essence

Of their bond,

Nor what tore them apart.

The only way to look back

Was with fondness,

Unabashed remorse,

And a profound, incomprehensible yearning

That swept through them

On nights

When the full moon shivered

And the clouds formed tear drops

In the autumn sky.

All they could do was weep,

Or harden their hearts,

Whatever got them through

The dirty muck

Of separation.

Avocados

I walked to the grocery store the other day 

For a bag of jumbo avocados. 

I took them home and mashed them 

Into guacamole for a birthday party.

I added lime juice,

Red onions – diced,

And tomatoes — the kind that tastes more like a vegetable than a fruit.

I added garlic salt, 

Lemon pepper 

Cayenne,

And sugar.

I tasted it every step of the way. 

I sat down at a table among friends.

We ate the finest homemade macaroni and cheese. 

We slurped up sweet zoodles,

And whole heaps of cheap wine. 

At one point a baby raccoon wandered into the yard.

We told stories on a small pink stage. 

We made s’mores with peanut butter cups. 

We sat until the embers burned 

And the partygoers left. 

We smoked cigarettes and talked about shame 

And the limitations of our power. 

We reconciled differences, 

And laughed with each other.

We looked at stars 

And fathomed at their deaths. 

When the night ended I went inside 

With a ball of fear heavy in my chest. 

I found the lovers hugging in the kitchen. 

I did dishes until the ball disappeared.

The guacamole was gone

But for the hardened, discolored remains 

In the bowl. 

I put my hand under the hot water  

And let it run. 

A voice in my head said something about a global water crisis. 

I turned the faucet off and stood there alone. 

I looked out the window into the yard, 

Where the puppy had dropped another baby raccoon

Dead in the grass.

I thought about masks falling off, 

And the smell of nag champa.

I thought about the desert,

And vision quests, 

And galaxies, 

And love. 

I thought about how some things turn bad 

Faster than avocados 

And how the things worth staying for 

Are often taken for granted. 

I looked at my reflection 

And saw the abandoned house next door. 

I saw the bushes rustle 

And the shadows dance 

I saw among the darkness something like a home. 

I fell asleep at dawn with my headphones in 

And my heart threatening to burst wide open.