31 December 2018

2018 in key dates

January 21: attended second Women's March

January 23: got on the jumbotron at a Penguins game

January 28: saw Wicked

January 29: got my official acceptance letter in the mail

February 5: concussion

February 14: the Parkland shooting

April 4: my cat died

April 17: hurt my thumb

missed six weeks of work on short-term disability, which included the final weeks of my last school year at the place I worked for 5 years

April 30: hand surgery (first surgery; first joint repair)

May 19: officially moved into Co-Lez's apartment

June 1: Dylan won Mr. Pittsburgh Pride Drag King!

June 19 (this sounds too early to be true): last appointment with my therapist of five years

June 29: got my Pittsburgh three rivers tattoo

July: turned 31

July 19: Foo Fighters concert!!!

July 26: last day at my clinical job

July 27: paid off the credit card debt left over from my four-years-ago marriage

July 28: Alec won Mr. Steel City Softball back!

August 1: moved to the middle of nowhere

August 22: started Ph.D school!

September: started asking for they/them pronouns in my new professional setting

September 17: my abusive ex's partner after me reached out

October 27: the terrible thing happened in Pittsburgh

October 29: committed to a mitzvah to forgive a grudge (still working on it)

October 31: officially out of my abusive relationship for longer than I was in it

November 6: voted a straight-party Democrat ticket

November 22: cooked my first Thanksgiving meal

November 27: met Frank Warren from PostSecret

December 7: finished my first semester of Ph.D school

December 20ish: found out I got A's!

29 November 2018

Time is a monster, part [X]

yesterday was one year since i found out i had been accepted to my phd program.

how did all of this happen so fast?!

26 October 2018


this has been buzzing around in my head for a few weeks now,
and i started to think
"maybe it's not prose.
maybe poetry will work"
so let's give it a try, i suppose.

something happened recently that hasn't happened since I was about 15.
I had to buy all new bras because
I gained a cup size.
my modest B turned full-up C.
my 17-year-old self rejoiced,
and my 31-year-old  self lamented.
above what this means about changes in my weight
and the steady downward march of my metabolism,
there is a gendered layer.
sometimes, I don't want any there at all.

I meet only fleeting dysphoria,
and I'm not concerned enough to change my body.
sometimes, it's still only right to go tits-out
(Rocky Horror comes to mind;
we are all called home from time to time).

I know I read woman.
if my chest doesn't give me away,
my voice will soon enough,
and my face probably already has.
I only ever pass as femme.
Part of what I have loved about this body
is that it provides such a supportive
structure for androgyny.
slight female.
there's so much room to build on that.
Did I just become
less androgynous?

I wore my binder to work today
for the first time.
No one bats an eyelash at my requests for "they,"
unless it is in shock that I didn't feel safe sooner.
I like to know where I am first.

18 September 2018


His partner after me reached out to me last night.
We had a few exchanges that ended after
I told them, "Trust yourself."

I hope it was what they needed to hear.

The whole time,

I remembered sitting on the floor

in the spare bedroom, back against the door,
listening to him scream on the other side
and waiting for him to give up,
texting one, two, three people
trying to make sure that I was sane and this was wrong.
That was the day I finally realized,
I deserve better.

It still took me three days to leave.

You got this.
You deserve better.
You know exactly what's happening.
Trust yourself.

13 September 2018

week 4

this week is better.

the seminar that shook me up last week was much less stressful. instead of discussing research and current practices in ways that made me feel defensive about what i've been doing clinically for the last 7 years, we talked about the peer review process and what it's like to participate. from all sides. the assignment was a mock review of an article we all agreed had unfortunately been accepted.

this week, I step more deeply into two big projects! one is part of the same seminar, where I'm working with a classmate, and the other is with my advisor. it was so exciting to see the lightbulbs going on over each of our heads in turn when we discussed the direction we are developing.

I get to spend time reading and writing about things that interest me!

oh, and i'm pretty sure i passed my first statistics exam.

05 September 2018

week 3

today was my day.
the day everyone told me was coming.
the first two weeks of my phd program were great.
i felt like i had a handle on things,
which of course made me feel a sense of impending doom.

today was my day
to wonder,
what the fuck have i gotten myself into?
why would anyone do this?

the theme today was
All the Science is Bad,
And We Know Nothing!!!
tearing apart the knowledge i thought i had.

critical analysis.

why would anyone do this?

why am i signing up to be
a Researcher,
to publish papers I think are great
for other people to tear apart?

what have i gotten myself into.

I am going to do my best,
and I am going to do it
with my whole self.

04 August 2018

New home

I live somewhere else now.

I cooked dinner on the stove tonight, which helped me feel more normal. It's the fourth day of living here. Dinner was nothing fancy--sausage and peppers--but it meant that I have done enough unpacking and organizing to use a pan, a cutting board, a knife, a big spoon, some countertop, and the stovetop. (My original approach to unpacking cookware was to stack it all on the stove so I could see it and figure out what to do with it. That lasted about two days. Combining two full sets of kitchen stuff into one tiny kitchen is a process.)

Oh yeah, that's the other part. I officially live with a partner again. We've been living together for about three months already, depending on how you count, but now we are in the same place, with all our stuff in the apartment (instead of mine stored in the garage), with both our names on the lease. This is only the second partner I've ever lived with, and given how the first one turned out, I've been understandably apprehensive. I'm not nervous about this one--they're good. They're a good person, and they're good for me. But when you've been tricked, goodness doesn't seem as genuine. I'm still rebuilding that trust, and I kind of expect that I always will be.

The view from my front window used to be a brick wall, and now it's trees. The row has a backyard with bunnies in it. There are no tall buildings, and there are mountains everywhere. I'm so disoriented. On day 1, it was an enormous relief to walk into Target: basically the same everywhere.

Every successful drive without GPS feels like a victory.

My partner had to go back to Pittsburgh for another week to finish their job, so I'm alone with both our cats in an apartment full of boxes, and no one expects me to be anywhere until the middle of the month. There is a heady freedom in that, and also the knowledge that two weeks without structure and routine will probably be the most that I can handle. Boxes and furniture and checklists. 

I cried when I came through the Fort Pitt Tunnel for what could be the last time.

I am about to be a doctoral student. What an exciting, scary adventure.

17 June 2018

on or about the 5th anniversary of my wedding

spending the weekend in my parents' house.
i almost pulled out the computer at 12:30 a.m. when i couldn't sleep,
thinking of you.
i want to pour a work-in-progress, stream-of-consciousness mess
into this text field
and let it simmer,
let it throw steam until it burns to the pan,
that kind of sticky damage that can never be undone,
no matter how you soak, how you scrub.

there is too much i could want to say.
the echo of my younger voice
is screaming against my realization that
more often than not,
my comment does not matter.
my voice is not necessary.

but sometimes it is.

sometimes it is,
and i have been shamed into silence
 by those who should know better.
by "advocates."
by "friends."

i tried to save her.
i am still trying to save her.
but how can you rescue
someone whose mind has been poisoned against you?
i remember that, too.

save roux.

save the one after, and the one after, and the one after me.

all i want
is to make the world a better place.
lock him up,
take the alcohol from his veins
and fix the serotonin in his brain,
and any of the other chemicals
whose pathways have been overgrown.
take the monster out of him.
he is just a human being...
isn't he?

in spite of it all, love.

i grapple with a question of "choice."
what does it mean to choose behavior?
when are we capable?
what does it mean when we act without capably choosing our behavior?
how long ago did it stop becoming a choice?
when one no longer knows the truth, one can't help lying.

love is big,
and much bigger than my misled affection.
my love needs to know,

How can I warn every woman, everywhere?
How can I tell them, Don't!
If You See This Man, Run.
Don't let him charm you.
regardless of gender, regardless of age,
he is still the same.

some people do not change.

04 March 2018

Labeling boxes, 2018

I'm getting ready for big change. That's scary. This is more like a series of changes, culminating in relocation and a completely new life and career path. It's not the farthest move I've ever made, but it is certainly among the most significant.

Packing up this apartment is going to be incredibly strange. I've lived here for three years now. That's the longest time I've ever lived in an apartment. This is the first place that was ever just mine, and I arrived here at such a critical moment. I feel like the entire time I've been here has been one huge purging process, and it's time to begin the final stage. There are pieces of my life I want to lose, pieces I want to destroy, and pieces I can't let go yet. Yesterday, I brought a trunkload to goodwill, and I can only hope that some young drag king loses his breath over Christopher Crash's very first pair of shitkicker boots. It stings to cull my keepsakes to What I Want to Carry Again.

There are different ground rules at every move. This time,
1. If it doesn't fit me, it will fit someone else.
2. I never want to see his handwriting again.
3. If I don't know why I have it, I don't need it.
4. "It once belonged to Peter" is no longer sufficient.

This time, I get to move twice instead of once. I can't stay in my apartment for as long as I need to be in town, so I'm moving in with my person for two months of the summer. I'm excited to live together, and I hope they find a job that will let them join me in my new place this fall. It's becoming less and less surprising to remember that our relationship is healthy. I want this supportive relationship in the next part of my life.

What can I live without for the summer? What can I live without? What do I need for a temporary place to feel like home? What will I need to find immediately once I get where I'm ultimately going?

Lists, calendars, and countdowns.

22 January 2018


Peter and I used to have conversations through music, and occasionally, we still do.

"Under Pressure" is playing on the turntable in my living room.
in my mind, i tell him, "i'm sorry i didn't get your record player."
in my mind, he answers, "you got out. that's all that matters."