31 January 2010

the words i can't speak

what if the more boy you become, the less i have of myself?

i don't want to become just the partner who sees somebody through a transition. i don't want my identity to be secondary to somebody else's. i am queer, and i am proud of it and comfortable in it. i'm not interested in being read as straight.

i never wanted this to be easy, but i wasn't expecting it to be this kind of hard.


i need a haircut. and a reinterpretation of my whole identity.
have i written about my hair before? because i really should. it's more important than it ought to be. there's just so much wrapped up in it. oh well. fodder for later, i suppose.

28 January 2010

project idea:

i'm tired and meandering around the internet, and i landed on etsy.com at the shop of Sophie Blackall. having no attention span, i didn't bother to read in any detail about her Missed Connections project, but it appears she took craigslist missed connections posts and illustrated them.

and i thought, gee, i wish you could do that with writing.

illustrators can take a word or a phrase or a story and turn it into visual art. why can't i take an image and turn it into a story? a picture is worth a thousand words, after all.

and then the idea struck: go to google images, find any random picture, and write a sketch on it.

by "sketch" i mean "a short piece," mostly because i'm in that part of winter where my creative energy is, well, gone, and i'm looking for things to jumpstart it and make me write something. anything. also, the aforementioned short/absent attention span.

so here's what i need from you:
post a comment containing any word (or words, if you're feeling spicy) that you want to see me image search and subsequently sketch. the more abstract, the better.

no promises, just good (?) intentions.

22 January 2010


this is not My Thing to blog about. (not to be confused with My Thing to Blog About.) it doesn't belong to me, and i kinda feel bad writing about it as if my perspective and my experience and my frustrations are important. but then, part of this does belong to me, and the fact that it's different and arguably secondary doesn't make it less real.

i guess that was the disclaimer.

fridays are counterproductive. i think it might be that they immediately follow thursdays, and by the time thursday is over, i definitely need a break. so it makes sense that i've done nothing today except sit in front of the computer, chat on IM, play first person tetris, and run shuttle service to persad. (i did make a flier for something...but i have yet to put them up.)

i don't know what i'm supposed to do at this point. a lot of it on my end is waiting. and we all know by now that i am not the most patient person on the planet. amendment: i have a lot of patience for people who need it. and honestly, i think this is the sort of thing i'd rather happen slowly, so as not to thoroughly shock the system. [but i just can't do anything. i just can't do anything.]

my current pet distraction: http://symphonyofscience.com

i have questions, too. i don't even know what they all are yet, or where to begin asking them, or who to ask who can draw out the ones that are still forming.

i'm not complaining. i am so excited for this, and i'm so glad that things are moving. but as i worded it earlier, "i just want to be involved through every step of this process, but i know i can't be." the answer to "why not?": "because ultimately, it's not me."

furthermore, if you don't have to go through this alone (and instead have to not go through it alone), why should i?

this is disorganized, but it's a fair representation.

18 January 2010

27 december 2009

i am sitting in the backseat of my parents' new car, covered in stuff, with my computer presently functioning as a very large ipod, headphones in, driving past/through/around new york city.

my fondest memory of the city is almost certainly from the summer i turned 21. not the night of our fancy dinner--that was nice, but it was a different kind of nice. it was like we got all dressed up and played the parts of other people.

the memory comes as a flash: times square, or very close to it. i am drunk. all the lights are one big blur because i am moving. a big black man tries to hand us tickets to a free comedy show: "yo, you better take a ticket. you look like you 'bouta kill a muthafucker." my first and only cab ride in the city. all i remember is yellow and a tv screen and the driver who didn't care enough to think less of me. it is july and it is the sweet sticky city hot of midsummer. i spent all day on the train crossing pennsylvania, and alex is wearing the toe shoes. i still think of him every time i see c* in them.

my cousins are all growing up and going to college and getting married. i could stay 21 forever, taking weekend trips to new york and obsessing over this girl and having summer jobs that mean nothing but which i may pretend do. at least i know i will marry young this way.

the planes fly everywhere, even though there is talk of terrorism on the radio. you cannot stop us from moving.

manhattan to my right. lovely for a visit, but if i were to live there i would shrivel from lack of sun.

for a moment, i forgot it was december. [even the first time i type that sentence, the freudian typo says "summer."] i flip back to this document and the date greets me at the top of the screen. it is almost a new year--but we all know the new year starts in september.

the lirr crosses overhead. i almost threw up in the train station. "are you sure you're ok to drive home?" "oh yeah." and what you really meant was, i've driven this road drunk so many times it doesn't matter.

i will bring mine here someday, and we will wander manhattan, drunk on whatever seems appropriate, and the lights will be a blur because we will be moving, and the memories will occur as flashes, and we will look back and say, what a summer.

12 January 2010

self-realization in progress

i'm describing this as a "semi-existential process." it's not a crisis, just a reorganization of thought. and it's not really existential at all.

it started with a comment the professor made in my afternoon class: "don't tell my colleagues...but i'm a speech therapist."

there is some controversy in my profession over how important it is to correct/adjust the perception of ourselves as "speech therapists" among the general public. this is how we've been known for decades, but in recent years many have come to assert that we should encourage others to know us as we know ourselves. in our graduate programs and professional organizations, we are speech-language pathologists (or SLPs, because even those of us who live for speech still like to abbreviate). the idea is that we do a lot more than therapy--and a lot more than speech, for that matter. we evaluate, diagnose, and treat all sorts of communication disorders, both speech- and language-based, and we also evaluate and treat swallowing disorders. for this reason, many SLPs, believe that "speech-language pathologist" is a more accurate and less stereotyped description of the members of our profession.

i don't really care. i believe that my goal is to help people communicate more effectively, so if i can use fewer syllables to more easily convey what i'm going to do for a living, that shouldn't be a problem. you speak to people in the language they understand.

my professor this afternoon spent a lot of time talking about how the disruptions to speech are not foremost for people who stutter--the experience of stuttering is. there is no cure for stuttering: a person who stutters will always be a person who stutters, more or less often. our role as SLPs, then, is not [only] to treat the dysfluency, but to act as a coach, a counselor, a therapist, who helps the person cope with their stuttering. this kind of treatment is not medical so much as it is psychological, and it is very, very human.

it was about this time i started thinking about what i really want to do with my life. i still haven't decided exactly what kind of SLP i want to be when i grow up, but i've got a pretty good idea. i got into the field because i wanted to work with youth who have autism. i'm also very interested in aphasia. in the first half-hour of my fluency class, i knew it was something i was going to care deeply about and want to get more involved in. i've never been terribly interested in traditional articulation therapy, where you meet a kid who can't say /s/ or /r/ and help them learn the sound. i've said for a few years that i want to experience a hospice setting, where i know all my clients are going to die. then my diagnostic brain kicked in: what's the pattern here?

i am interested in treating the people you can't cure. i am interested in treating the people you help to cope.

i'm curious to see where this line of thinking leads me. learning what you want to do is way more fun than learning what you don't want to do.

06 January 2010

and acceptance

this has been bothering me a lot since a few days after Christmas.

in November 2008, a very close friend of mine killed himself. i never wrote about it--at least not here. my hard drive is home to any number of angry letters to him; i'm sure my paper journals have their say as well.

the thing about most suicides--and i would go so far as to say, most stories in which a person does nothing to prevent their own death--is that nobody wants to talk about it. nobody has ever said out loud to me, "he killed himself." i got left at, "we're waiting for the results" of whatever they do when someone dies. many of the people who were close to this person believe his death was an accident. that was how my mother framed it to me the night she called. i am certain that my mother still believes this, and that's probably better for her. the most i got in the days following his death was a, "you know he was really depressed, right?" from a person who was closer to him than i was.

i'm having the kind of day where i question how close to him i really was to begin with. actually, that's been happening for over a year.
i'd had no idea.

how can we possibly come to grips with suicide if we won't even acknowledge that it's suicide? how can we properly grieve?

the friend with whom i shared him most--the same one who told me about his depression--essentially stopped talking to me for several months. we'd been calling each other weekly for months before that. and i know we associate each other with him, and i won't fault him for it. but i still can't help thinking that we should have been helping each other instead of avoiding each other, whether we were doing it consciously or not.

the fact of the matter is, suicide is something that affects real people. it's something real people do, and it's something that causes real people to suffer. i'm never going to stop missing him. i still get pissed off sometimes that he never saw me graduate from college, never even heard where i got accepted for grad school, never met Dylan, and is never going to see me get excited about a real job, or meet my children. there is shit i'm going through now that i would love his advice on more than anyone else's. i am still hurt that although he knew more of me than almost anyone, he didn't feel he could tell me about such an important part of himself. and i am both sad and fortunate that i don't even have a voicemail from him.

suicide is not taking your life into your own hands. i've heard arguments that it is the greatest act of agency. but what could be more literally self-effacing? giving up your life is not a way to assert control over it--it is surrendering all control.

maybe i only feel this way because i believe that life is the greatest and most precious opportunity we are given. you can make literally anything of a human life. it displays far more courage and agency to make something from nothing than nothing from something.

if you or anyone you know is considering suicide, please be aware that there is a 24-hour helpline at 1-800-SUICIDE and resources available at www.hopeline.com. depression is real, and just like any other disease, it is treatable. there are tons of people out there who want to help you....please let us in.

i'm not trying to be an after-school special. i'm trying to be a real person who is honest about my hurt.

found - Huffington Post on Amanda Simpson

Religious Right Goes Nots Over Transgender Appointee Amanda Simpson

....i'm speechless.
the response of these conservatives is...priceless. just read it yourself.

05 January 2010

new beginnings

new semester starts tomorrow! time to re-start a big to-do list, the kind that's so big you don't even write it down because you don't have the time because you always have something to do.


i am the nerdiest kid you will ever meet, and i love school because i love being busy. (and, y'know, that whole learning-new-stuff thing is pretty cool too.) i recognize the need for a break now and then and appreciate them fully when i take them, but i work best when i'm put under pressure. i like not having the time to think about what i need to do, and being able to just do it.

especially in the winter when it's all grey and efficient. it's so much easier [and more enjoyable] to be lazy in the summer.

02 January 2010


a year in review is not required, and looking at the archives it isn't even a tradition for this blog, but i feel like writing at least a semblance of one anyway.

2009 was one of those years that pretty much fucked everyone over.

i should probably amend that. the last part of 2009 really sucked. the first part, for me at least, wasn't too damn bad. i enjoyed the hell out of my last semester of college. i was accepted to multiple graduate schools, and despite serious consideration of my options, i knew where i was going as soon as i opened that envelope. by year's end, i am only more convinced that i made the right choice. i defended a thesis that i'd put two years of hard work into.
i organized [and performed in] a freaking drag show that drew hundreds of people and raised over a thousand dollars for our charity. i studied, i slept very little, i had adventures, at more and less appropriate times. i solidified the best friendships i've ever had in my life. and then i graduated--yay!

the summer was amazing. i don't necessarily remember very much of it. it was a much-needed break for me, and i took it, for all it was worth.

then the fall happened. between school and jobs and G20 and the swine flu and new coming-out processes, i think it sucked for most of the people i know. grad school is hard, and that excites me, but there have already been times when i seriously questioned the benefit of completing this program on a full-time basis, if at all. my thoughts on the G20 and its effect on pittsburgh are already recorded elsewhere. i'm still pissed off that nobody has bothered to pay any real attention to the abuses of power that occurred here. i did get H1N1 in october--i never got tested, but i have no reason to suspect it was anything else--and it knocked me out of commission for a full week, which is a LONG TIME for me. and then there's the ongoing saga of "my boyfriend's a tranny" and all associated drama (mostly tangential, for me). i think the best thing that happened to me this fall was realizing just how awesome my family really is, even if it had to happen by comparison to some others that definitely aren't, at least in the ways i would need/expect them to be.

so on thursday night i was all too happy to watch the ball drop, toast the new year with ginger ale, and kiss someone i am still desperately in love with. here's to 2010: may i be less sad to see you go than your predecessor.

also, here's to living in the future, where we have both wireless internet AND pirates on the high seas!