"'sex and the city' for the fabulous
transgendered woman." --gwen
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
A Time and Place for Everything
So here we are again, a little less than a year later. I'm feeling better now, and I miss putting my thoughts down on something. Somehow, doing it here makes my writing live in a way that I like. I just think that it's important for me to avoid the pitfalls of the past.
I hope to be just as candid at ever, but also leave room for myself. I'm a naturally open person, and I don't really have a sense of keeping a private life to myself, but I think that it's ultimately important to do that.
Important Things that Happened Since I Last Posted
* Art has been going well. Doing less photography and more installation/performance stuff, but also working on a book of photographs of past work. Getting published in a photography journal, which is exciting.
* Another serious relationship has come and gone.... Oi, I seem to be going through them at a rapid pace. I'm used to being in longer-term things so it's strange to be with someone for five months. I think I want to wait a bit before getting seriously involved again, although this doesn't seem to stop me from dating.
* Not really enjoying San Francisco, and haven't made many close friends here. Planning to move back to the East Coast after grad school.
Hmmmm.... I have an urge to write more but I really need to get going....
So I've decided not to blog anymore. I'm going through a really tough time, and I think doing it in public makes the situation more difficult. I feel like my life is spinning out of control, and I'm trying to reign it in. So I'm trying to focus on things that I can control, and it occurs to me that I've been having a difficult time dealing with the fact that this particular representation of me is out in public, and I reveal so much of myself in it.
So right now, I just want to crawl into a hole for a while. I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read this, and hope to continue to be in touch with the friends I've met here. The e-mail address above is going to work for a little while but not forever, so do e-mail me if you want to keep in touch. I'm probably going to archive the site for my personal purposes, and then prevent the rest from being publicly accessible, so if you want to keep any of it for yourself, I suggest printing it up now since it may be gone in the next couple of weeks or so.
And who knows? I may come back. I'm known for being unpredictable.
School is over and I guess I'm updating again.... though I'm seriously thinking about not blogging anymore. I'm having a hard time motivating right now and I'm trying to shrink my life into pieces that I can actually manage. I'm not sure if blogging is enough of a priority for me to keep. I'll see how I feel in a couple of weeks....
I just found out that a friend from MIT committed suicide. I hadn't talked to her since I came to San Francisco, but she's another one of those really talented people, and the thought of her being gone leaves me reeling once again...
ok, first of all this isn't a cry for help. it's simply one of my classic rambly entries that's going to go all over the place, but probably not anywhere nice or pleasant or happy.
to put it simply, life really sucks right now. there are way too many things going on at the same time that i'm having a tough time dealing with, and sometimes i feel like i'm on the verge of shutting down. i'm not really sure how this happened. i used to be this really strong person, and right now, my coping mechanisms are being stretched to their limit and i'm not sure how i'll come out the other end.
a lot of this of course has to do with joe and feelings of loneliness and guilt and mistakes i've made in handling that situation. then there's the fact that i'm in a new city without the close friends i had back when i was on the east coast. and then school is also not a particularly good place for me right now. then there's the background of the war and how depressing that is.
complain complain complain.... it all sounds so silly when put down on virtual paper... i've been in these kinds of moody period before, but i've never been so neurotic about it. like, for instance, i've always known myself to be a person who likes being with other people, having close friends around, and being in a relationship. it's kind of hard-wired i guess. but now, it's like i have those feelings but i find myself shutting down. i used to generally like people when i meet them, but now i can't help but mentally point out their deficiencies. i'm taking active measures not to engage, and i'm not really sure why i'm doing that but i am.
my snobbish tendencies are rearing their ugly head. i'm finding it impossible to engage in lengthy conversation with people who i don't think have a lot to offer in terms of ideas, and i seem to be finding a lot of people like that recently. and the people that i do meet who i find interesting and would like to pursue friendships with have so far not panned out on the whole, except for the couple of people in my program that i really like. i guess the business of being in school makes it difficult to make time for friendships, yet i'm somehow finding school really difficult right now.
ah well.... what was the point of that rant anyway.... i saw "different for girls" the other night, a movie with rupert graves (who's yummy and who i like a lot), about a post-op transsexual who finds love with a motorcycle messenger who she went to high school with. i've seen the movie before, except that when i saw it the first time i hadn't transitioned yet and had no idea that i was going to. it's funny that when i saw the movie the first time, i had no real sense of identification for the trans character, but that i now find myself in pretty much the same position as she was at the beginning of the movie: a year post-op, single, lonely. the movie ended up being pretty traumatic... i should have turned it off when i saw the first scene of her riding on the back of his motorcycle for the first time and being terrified, because joe and i spent many hours riding around on his motorcycle, which was also initially terrifying for me. but like a car crash, i couldn't avert my eyes and i ended up alternately watching and crying through the whole movie.
oh god, does this mean that i'm going to have to see a therapist? i've managed to avoid regular therapy up to this point, but it's feeling more and more inevitable at the moment. argh.
A friend asked me to contribute a short item in a zine she's publishing about digital v. analog technology. This is what I wrote:
I recently lost a man I loved, suddenly and unexpectedly. He is my first lover to have died, my first close friend. I still can't think about him for long without coming close to tears when I'm in public, and actually crying when I'm alone.
I constantly yearn for his physical presence and, when I allow myself, use objects as markers of his trace. I have some pictures, a lighter, a candle holder in the shape of a house. I wear his favorite shirt to bed sometimes, or envelop myself with his old bathrobe, pretending that the cloth is his body. I realize that this is sentimental and self-indulgent, but I do it anyway.
Yet it occurs to me that I don't own anything he wrote with his own hand. I barely even know what his writing looked like. He wrote me wonderful letters, but they were all over e-mail. He wrote me songs on his PalmPilot, which he promised to sing for me someday, but never did.
Doe "I love you" count when I'm looking at it on a computer screen? I wonder how much it matters that those words were sent by him when I can cut and paste them over and over again, when I have no original to hold on to. I remember each time he said those words to me. And the date and time are stamped on every e-mail from him in which those words appear. But I still yearn to see marks on paper that have a direct connection to his body, the body of the person I loved.
I wish that bodies didn't matter. But I think they do and will, as long as we have them.
hmmm... wrote a long post that was eaten up... oh well.... that's computers i guess... ummm, i just pulled an all nighter for the first time since undergrad, to finish a paper that kinda got away from me... it was supposed to be five pages but ended up being 15, so i had to shrink the font down all that... ah well....
moving on with life to the best of my ability... went out on a couple of dates with a guy who's not working out, so i'm going to have to have a little talk with him, maybe tonight maybe tomorrow, which i don't like to do.... maybe i'll just blow him off but i might feel even worse.... there are times when i feel like i'm going through the motions, that i'm clearly not ready.... but i seem to lack the ability to cope in any other way but to move on... i somehow feel at odds with myself.... guilty for dating again, but then also guilty when i continue to mope and do nothing....
i've been having crazy dreams.... not directly about joe but somehow related because i seem to cry in the morning right after i wake up... part of me still can't believe that he's gone, that he was in my life for such a short time... i don't regret having been with him even though it's really painful right now... at the same time, i feel this keen sense that someone has been stolen from me... i've survived more heartbreak in the last two years than i have in all the time before that. part of me feels stronger for it, and part of me hopes that things be all right for a while...
although maybe heartbreak is just a part of being in the world, of participating in its activities. i certainly dealt with far fewer people as a boy, and far fewer complications, so maybe all this pain is just a byproduct of living the way i do, being invested in people the way i am...
aimee mann's "save me" is in my head all of a sudden.....
The past few weeks since I've written have obviously been really difficult, but I'm slowly recovering and making sense of things. I want to, one of these days when it isn't too painful, write more about Joe and how he affected my life, but for now I think I'm going to write about other things.
Although again, I'm feeling a bit gratuitous because I don't know what to write about. I moved at the beginning of the month, with a couple of friends who are in school with me, and that has been quite good, although I still seem to be drowning in stuff.
I'm cutting my hair, I've decided, significantly shorter than it is now. I'm planning to take at least three inches off, but I might just be courageous enough to get it bobbed. I've never had short hair as a woman before, and I'm kinda wondering what it's like.
I don't even know how to begin. I guess I can only start with the facts and talk about the emotions later. Joe committed suicide. He was found on Friday after he had been missing for several days, after being released from the hospital where he was checked in for depression before that.
I had been visiting him in the hospital on a regular basis, where he seemed like his old self after seeing him distance himself from me. At the time, I didn't know to what extent his depression was fueling his distance... I don't think I would have broken up with him if I did. Maybe I should have told him that.... I don't know. Maybe I should have told him a lot of things. Maybe there wasn't anything else I could say. I just remember that the last time I visited him, we talked for over two hours, as if nothing had happened between us, as if those two weeks when he withdrew into his depression didn't exist. We laughed a lot, joked with each other, flirted. At one point, he mentioned that his ex-wife had visited that same day and said, "I can't believe my ex-wife and my girlfriend visited on the same day." Then I touched his arm softly and said, "Ex-girlfirend."
What I didn't tell him that my mind and my heart were torn, that I couldn't bring myself to accept that I regretted breaking up with him, and that in my gut I wanted to be with him still. I wanted to wait, not knowing that there wasn't going to be another opportunity. Before I left, the last thing I said to him was that I was glad to see the Joe I know and love. And then he hugged me and kissed me.
What is most difficult is that so much of how we connected to each other was physical, and therefore leaves no trace. I remember how he touched me, how he kissed me, how he held my hand. He is the first man I was intimate with as a woman, the first man who loved me as a woman, the first that I loved. The littlest things send me into a fit of crying.... today I was going to do a load of laundry that he left but I couldn't bring myself to do it, because his smell clung to his clothes and it was the only trace I had left of his physical presence.
I know that things will get better. But right now, I can't help but regret, ask myself what I could have done differently and realize the ways that I was selfish and irresponsible. But most of all, I just want him to hold me. And part of me still can't believe that it isn't possible for him to do that anymore.
i haven't blogged in over two weeks.... really bad of me.... life is both hectic and dramatic right now.... things are just volatile and really busy.... the good part is that i've been getting a lot of positive feedback on a photo book i'm putting together of pictures related to my gender transition, and am probably going to send the book dummy off to publishers by late spring/early summer, to see if anyone's interested....
lots and lots and lots of reading this semester.... it's going to be fun but a *lot* of work.... god, i'm being so banal... this always happens when i'm dealing with things that i don't feel comfortable talking about here... i feel like i'm just taking up space.... um, hmmmmm.....