dariaphoebe: (redhead)
"We were supposed to be airborne 90 minutes ago," I thought, as we pivoted onto the end of the runway. The sign we'd just passed pointed the way to 34R.

I closed the e-book I'd been reading, and directed my focus to the window. My mind was elsewhere, reeling with the memories, and had been all morning. A number rolled by outside as we accelerated along the runway.


I'd arrived in Seattle by rail, 4 days prior. I'd been working from the train, but took a break to get myself and my stuff to the flat I'd be sharing before continuing. After a bit more work, I met a friend for dinner before getting some flowers and heading to the airport.

Distracted by the window, I watched another number flash past outside.


The first of my companions arrived. The flowers weren't for her, but she half-suspected I'd surprise her at the airport. We hoofed it to the light rail and got a small bite one stop over before returning to the airport to wait. Our time was a mix of light chatter, heavier conversation, and flirting.


We arrived back at the airport just as our other companion landed. Zie was quite late, but it was a small wonder zie made it at all. Hir connecting flight had been cancelled that morning, and it was only by the other two of us nudging hard and coughing up some miles that zie got there at all. When zie entered the concourse, we popped out to surprise hir, with the flowers, but also simply by being there. Shortly, we'd summoned a ride and were heading back to the flat. Before sleeping, we collapsed into a pile of cuddles. The day had been stressful, but moreover we'd been apart a while, and that period had been rife with its own stresses.


After too little sleep, we arrived for the first day of the conference. Unlike most other tech conferences I'd been to, this one was much more about people than the technology itself. The focus was divided between taking care of the people building the technology, and ensuring those affected by it were also carefully considered by those doing the building. The first day covered a range from bringing rehabilitation back to prisons, to bringing diversity and inclusivity to a workplace with outward-facing functions, to expanding how we empathize. An ice cream social followed dinner, with the sprouts of a new relationship showing for one of us as the other two looked on, before the day ended as the previous one did: a moment of shared emotional intimacy and vulnerability amongst the three of us, before we collapsed to sleep.


The second day was no less deep than the first, as we heard about human factors in complex systems, ethical concerns in the the world where all our devices are connected, and so many aspects of bringing empathy into your work.

Dinner followed, then hanging at a coffeeshop. At the conclusion of the evening, we parted company. Upon returning again to our flat, we first unwound together before collectively collapsing in a tired, snuggly heap on the bed. In many ways it felt for me not just like coming home, but coming home to people who loved me. It was a luxury 2016 had not been especially forthcoming with.

The numbers were flicking past rather quickly now.


Unlike the previous days, Sunday morning would be unrushed. We awoke without an alarm, in that same heap. A trip south toward the center of the city followed, with a lovely bookstore, an elegant brunch, a leisurely stroll, a ferry ride, and dinner with a longtime friend of one of my companions, as all the while in the background the budding relationship that had started the weekend began to bloom around us.

The evening ended again with we three together, with the comedown from a fantastic conference washing across us amongst a sea of other emotions. In a continually changing series of awkward poses on the floor, we took turns listening and holding each other up -- literally and figuratively -- before collapsing on the bed for one final night.

Outside my window, we took to the air, finally, lifting slowly away from the ground.


Cleaning up the flat was quick work, and we shortly headed to the airport. Our flights were spaced such that we'd see off one person, then I'd go, then the last of us would board hir delayed plane last. There was plenty of time for emotional goodbyes at each step, though we expected to see each other again in weeks instead of months. Still, each of us climbed aboard our planes carrying our own emotional weight. I wondered if I'd make it off the ground before I cried. Thanks to the 90 minute delay, I didn't.

The numbers, the runway, the land, peeled slowly away below me, count ended short. Once again I had no home. Most of the width of the continent stood between me and my next itinerant stop.
dariaphoebe: (Default)
I'd excused myself after the meal for a moment, telling her I'd be back after dealing with my biological imperative. Stepping around the corner, I was rebuffed as one of the staff held the door to the women's room open for her colleague as he tried to clean. "It's pretty bad in there," she explained as she asked me to wait.

After a few moments where I was awkwardly pressed against the wall to stay out of the way of the staff passing in the narrow hallway, they conspired amongst themselves to confirm the men's room was empty. "I'll guard the door for you," she told me. Two others repeated the offer.

I might have been tempted to decline were my need not so urgent. I knew what to expect. Indeed, I left the busser outside the door to step inside, and found that it hadn't changed since I last saw it in 2013. Slipping into the stall as I always had before, I took care of my need, washed my hands, and walked back out, thanking him as I passed.

Perhaps it's an overcompensation: even when faced with a single-occupant restroom, a colloquial "one-holer", I reliably bypass the ones marked men unless there's obvious signage explaining why there's no other option. After being forced in the moment to contemplate my reasons, I wondered if perhaps I could afford to be pragmatic even as I contemplated my peers for whom it wasn't and might never be true.

As countless friends had pointed out, I'd gone from being scared of who I might be perceived as to being unapologetically myself. It's a gift I hope others can find in themselves, and if I can figure out how to help them find it, I owe it to them to do that.
dariaphoebe: (Default)
I'd placed the video call while sitting in the car atop a remote hill. The state park campground hosted my tent as well as a dozen friends, and tho I'd be staying only one night, I was anxious for the respite.

As we chatted, zie told me my stream had become choppy. "I'll drive out to the road for better signal," I told hir. Slipping out one earbud and tossing the screen aside, I started the car and headed toward the entrance.

Partway out, a car appeared ahead of me as I exited a hairpin turn. It moved aside, then pulled in tight behind me. I knew what was coming.

Sure enough, when shortly after exiting the campground I turned off, the car pulled in behind me and turned on its flashing lights. I rolled down the window, shut off the car, and made a show of tossing the car keys on the roof above me.

Zie chatted with me between moments with the officer. He verified my information and that I was allowed to be at the campground, and let me go on my way. When zie commented that it had gone smoothly, I could only reply that of course it had. "I'm white."

I can't indict every official involved in law enforcement, but more critically I can't excuse a system which ignores, or worse excuses, the culpability of individuals who show themselves to be undeserving stewards of the trust we have placed on them to pursue the peace in the guise of the whole public.

Being unable, or more likely unwilling, to protect all of us means you cannot be trusted to protect any of us. And that these failings are allowed to continue without any effort to understand how to ameliorate the issue let alone hold accountable those who have abdicated their duty to us means the entire system must be treated as unworkable. Its failure is our failure, and the lack of change is our shame.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
What if everyone is wrong about me?

Periodically, I ask myself this very question. It comes to mind the most after offers of praise, whether it be for reasons emotional, empathetic, or physical.

I'm actually more scared they're right. At least if they're wrong, every little bit of pain and anguish makes sense.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
I sat facing the wall, a window to my left. The desk in front of me held a laptop, which I occasionally gazed on at. Through the closed door, my colleague was asleep. 48 hours earlier, I was surrounded by folks whose experiences I knew intimately well. The dramatic change in circumstance, almost completely to my detriment, did not suit me at all.

Rationally, I knew it would be fine, but the flame, the passion for life that burned inside me felt like it was dimming. The silent hotel room offered no comfort. I had no inkling where to turn, what to do at 1am.

Even in the midst of executing a plan for life which I felt assured would set me on a level course toward the support I needed, here was my reminder that I didn't have all the answers, that I was still fragile. I suspected rest might bring me stability, so I took the only action that seemed likely to fix it: I did my best to set my vulnerability aside and sleep, despite the lack of anyone to hold me or even whisper that it'd all be fine.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
As I skimmed along the freeway though the rift valley of the well-known fault line alongside, the first evidence of morning sun shone over the hill to my right. How fitting, I thought, and shortly diverted to the bayshore to watch the sun rise as I concluded my morning journey to the airport.

Monday seemed simultaneously an instant and an age ago. My solstice began with sunrise near one ocean, and peaked watching it set over another. If it were to be the longest day of the year, it was an excellent day to have lengthened with a transcontinental flight: the evening included an utterly delightful date, my first steps in the other ocean 61 hours after the first, and a chance encounter with Morris dancers as we watched the sun drop over the sea. Those experiences were but an ellipsis on a night whose terminal punctuation was an equally magical moment.

Thus begun, the week included days accomplishing the tasks I had been dispatched for, and evenings catching up with old friends and making new ones, til Friday. The confluence of circumstance allowed me the indulgence of the Trans March -- culmination of Pride festivities -- as the lead-in to a weekend that would be just as magical as the way the week had started.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
We paused for a moment as our bus dropped the poles that had given us power as we moved quietly underground, and the diesel engine started. The operator opened the doors while doing so, and I was momentarily whisked from my train of thought. The cool breeze! The scenery! The lovely scent of the trees outside! I sighed softly, sad to be leaving. I looked at the water to my left, knowing we'd shortly turn into the tunnel that would connect under the harbor through to the airport, and my impending flight to the other coast.

Ocean to ocean, it would be. I recalled again the conversation from the previous day. As I sat in a coffeeshop, I closed my laptop on my work for a bit and made a call. With his greeting, it was evident he knew who was calling. I wished him a happy Father's Day, and we proceeded to gab for a bit. Knowing I'd be at the other ocean soon, I said as much. He then recounted a story I'd forgotten.

New Jersey, he said. He'd been cast into the ocean and told that it was time to swim.

I remembered my own childhood: too many years of swimming lessons in the local high school's pool. I passed, after a while, but a placid pool is hardly a match for anything you'd find in the world. Regardless, I hadn't drowned in the intervening years. That was something, at least.

We learn the lessons of the generation before us, what we feel they might have done better, and hopefully carry it forward. At least, that's our hope. It seems rather unlikely I've have an opportunity to do better at passing on water skills, or anything else. But I'm still going to observe, remember, and learn.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
It was just over 90 minutes since I'd clambered aboard the borrowed bicycle for a morning ride. I knew the end of the trail was unpaved, but it wasn't clear where the trail ended. When the ever-narrowing dirt rut I was following ended, I looked at a map, and realized how far I'd gone. Might as well spend a couple more minutes, I told myself: I was so close, even though it would change my return travel plans.

As I called her, the brief stop was still on my mind. After negotiating a large, multi-lane traffic circle, I locked the bicycle to a sign, snapped a picture, and walked east a very short distance, until the land ran out.

I'd thought, as I looked at the picture of the water beneath my feet, that maybe I should have called from the beach. That moment had been my first steps in the ocean. I wondered when hers had been. Now we were chatting, and I mentioned where I'd been. She volunteered an answer before I could ask the question.

"I won't make it back for dinner for your birthday," I told her. "I'm still in Massachusetts." All week I'd been musing to myself and others that I wish I lived here already, but as we talked, I realized the impending move wouldn't be without a different set of burdens.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
As I strode into the terminal, I yawned. It wasn't yet 5 am, but I'd be departing soon from the airport that saw the most takeoffs and landings of any in the world. I wouldn't likely be done with the combination of air and ground travel for another 5 hours.

As I stepped onto the escalator, a voice screeched loudly in distress. Instantly, I was awake and alert. The escalator carried me on, but I listened intently. Nothing of note followed.

I might not have given it a second thought last week. Now, though, I was worried. I feared what I might find waiting for me as I was carried into the ticketing hall below. In the end, it was just a child. Who could blame them for being cranky: it was an inhumane hour to be awake.

I am unashamed, indeed proud, of who I am. My blue hair is a beacon, calling out to the world that I will not be cowed. The reminders keep coming, though: I am still hated -- we are still hated -- by people who know nothing of us. We are in the cross-hairs of groups which believe us to be unworthy of our lives.

I don't believe in respectability politics. Everyone is different, and I will not devalue the way anyone else manages to be themselves. If you want to hate me for who I am, though, know that you hate a loving, caring, nurturing person. You hate someone who strives to lift those surrounding them. My life is not a wild orgy; it's holding people close and trying to feel safe, secure, and fulfilled.

If you want to hate me for who I love, know that you hate me for loving people who have worked hard to understand who they are, and live that life as themselves as best they can, against incredibly steep odds and many hardships.

If these are values you hate, we have nothing in common, not even our humanity.

At the same time, I see many offering hatred based on the religion of others. It is saddening to see what justifications for hatred are cherry-picked in moments of convenience to hold up one's own prejudices. I won't condone that, either. Just the opposite.

You shouldn't have to understand someone to respect them, to celebrate that they are living their life as the best person they are able and understand themselves to be. Not even if they're not doing it the way you would.

Actually, especially not then.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
A couple hundred meters from the turnpike, I rested. After ordering a small lunch, I committed the very political act my #IllGoWithYou button prominently advertised, and settled in to catch up on work as I ate.

The morning began with an early alarm. I threw on the dress I'd been wearing the night before and grabbed my camera. Twilight was rising fast, After several flights of stairs, I emerged to be greeted by the vast urban amphitheater encircling me below.

There were a few photos off the northern edge of the building, capturing the hill I'd climbed the previous day as well as the hospital I'd come home from just over 43 years prior. Then, though, I moved to the eastern edge and waited.

5:49 came and went. Shortly, though, the sun peaked slowly over the ridge that made the lip of the bowl around me. Just as the sun appeared to, I knew it was a climb I had made.

The shutter clicked several times, as the bright ball hazed pink on the horizon moved visibly upward. Then, it was done.

I put the camera away, returning to my laptop for some work before a brief nap, some cuddles, and then my escape. The emotional burden was as yet there for me to face, but this wouldn't be the day -- even over a few hundred kilometers alone. Perhaps, indeed, especially not then.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
"Slow down," she told me. "You sound really excited!" As we chatted, I barely noticed the sting in my ear. Instead, I concentrated on the calendar in front of me. "January 17th," I repeated back as I blocked it out. Another click: All day. A blue block appeared on the grid to remind me.

Hours earlier, I'd spent a few minutes having some marks made, and then a needle driven, through my ear. Once, then again. He advised me to take deep breaths as he penetrated it. I deadpanned, "I'm wearing a corset. There is no such thing as a deep breath," which caused him to pause and chuckle. As he slid the tiny bars through the newly-formed holes, I acknowledged what I knew: "This body is finally mine to inhabit."

The corset arrived in Pittsburgh while I was away. I'd worn it nearly daily since that time -- even to bicycle -- thus pinching my waist to an even fiercer hourglass than the one exercise and hormones had graced me with. Seeing the person in the mirror slowly take a form I could acknowledge as myself was uplifting, even in the moments where life was otherwise crushing. I pushed hard, doing all I could to make the vessel ensconcing my consciousness into a home. I needed a place to be mine, and the only space totally within my control was the one ending at the exposed surface of my flesh.

The course I was plotting for myself, combined with my marginally-improved fortunes, gave me a little leeway. There would still be much to accomplish before the coverage which would pay my way was ready, but I knew I'd get there. If today my body was mine, it was time to do what I wanted with it. As I worked, the phone rang. After the customary greeting, I offered a succinct summary of the question I'd emailed. Her answer cleared the path ahead, and I assented. She replied, "We do the vaginoplasties on Tuesday. How about the 17th?"
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
I sat quietly on the bed, working. To one side were the clothes waiting to go into my suitcase; To the other, the various electronic gadgets that needed to get tossed into my purse before I left.

I was vaguely aware of the passage of time, knowing that the Attorney General would be speaking presently on an issue of great importance to me. And so, when a message flicked past indicating that go time was in a minute, I stopped what I was doing briefly, and opened the Department of Justice's website to watch the speech.

A square, perhaps 4 inches diagonal, sprung to life. In front of me, at a podium, was Loretta Lynch. Even before she'd gotten to the meat of the topic at hand, her voice offered comfort. She spoke eloquently and with authority. It was no farce: she had the legal mechanisms of the nation at her disposal. Her authority was real.

And so, when as she spoke, she addressed me and folks like me, I held perfectly still.

"We see you." A shiver ran up my spine as her words washed over me.

"We stand with you." The tears welled in my eyes.

"We will do everything we can to protect you."

I could but hope that this was a pivotal moment, a turning point for the nation so we could be what we have been right along: just people.

On such an auspicious day, I found myself with the privilege of handling a rotating Twitter account that passed between interested LGBT individuals. I found a transcript, excerpted the passage that had spoke so deeply to me, and shared. I can still hear it in AG Lynch's voice in my head when I read it.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
I pushed the bicycle back toward the city through the darkness after a short but stiff rain. The steep ascent to the ridge-top road that carried the name of the adjacent county's seat of government actually represented less of a climb than what was required to stay the path along it to the inner-ring suburb that separated my parents' community from denser urban settings. However, the placid calm of the night offered more than a brief moment to recall the evening.

I'd recognized the glint in my brother's eye as he spoke. It was one people told me of recognizing in me, just before I was a smart ass. Little surprise, then, his comment: "So you joined a cult?" I had to pause and consider before answering. The summary offered later by a friend felt so much more apt than what I'd been able to form in my head at the moment: "Not so much a cult as a network of awesome, inspiring people."

I'd spent a sizeable hunk of the previous day in the company of my ex, an experience that I can express without reservation to have enjoyed in spite of the work that needed to be accomplished in the moment. As we talked about our respective life plans, it was apparent that the person I'd morphed into was in many ways a much more suitable life partner for her than had been the case previously. Almost completely, in fact, save the one absolutely critical part.

So, as I explained to my family that I was again dating, it was tempered by the shared knowledge that I had twice failed at the traditional narrative. The folks in my life are scattered across several cities. It's hard knowing that sometimes months will separate a shared presence beyond what can be done with video chat. But each person occupies a unique part of my heart, and I can but hope the feeling is mutual.

"No," I'd finally answered. It's complicated, especially on the nights where I'd sooner not end the day alone. But it feels like a future I'm supposed to have: existing somewhere in the midst of a densely-connected group of people keeping each other standing, moving ahead, and sharing what rewards we reap of the lives we've each sown.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
The trip back down the hill was chilly, but I had no time to think about how cold I was. It took all my concentration to pay attention to the underlit road that led back into the river valley from my brother's house. A strategic error in judgement, I joked: the sun had gone down hours before, and I found myself needing to bike 9 miles to the hill overlooking the valley of the other river in a sundress and sandals as the temperature hovered less than 20 degrees above freezing.

The respite from the wave of feelings was welcome, and I quickly forgot the idea of doing an abbreviated ride to toss the bike on a bus for half the trip. I'd visited friends en route the other direction, and we mused, among other things, about how we'd not seen much of each other recently. Both of them, upon catching up with my life, offered whatever help they could muster, but I was sure as was invariably true that I could make a go of things myself.

Upon arriving for my nephew's birthday after the long slow slog uphill from the river, I chatted with my brother's father-in-law, who groused that I hadn't acknowledged him a month prior while bicycling inbound from the far-flung east suburbs as he drove the other way. I told him how often a horn from a passing motorist was harassment instead of a greeting, and he seemed surprised.

The hours since then had included countless other emotional moments as well. Someone pulled a book off the shelf that my brother had written and illustrated as a grade school assignment. From the front fell a picture of me, the day before my 18th birthday, with my girlfriend on our way to my prom. The convertible which -- as cars went -- would probably always be the ideal I aspired to reposed behind us. I thought about my impending birthday and realized the significance: 25 years ago!

As it came upon time to start heading south, a cool breeze through an open window led to a bit of panic. My sister lent me her light cardigan. My soon-to-be sister-in-law asked if I could use a pair of pants. But nothing comes with quite the unique set of feelings as when a man offers you his flannel shirt, and that man is your father. I never got, and never will get to be, daddy's little girl. I put the feelings aside in the moment and offered a pragmatic take.

"I'm a size 10. I'd be swimming in it."

After the climb over the river crossing positioned at the high end of the numbered grid of the city, I turned away at the traffic light from the most beautiful steel bridge of 1961 to warm myself by pushing at the ascent to the peninsular plateau. The only feeling I had time for as I pushed on was unabashedly positive: I could finish this ride, however cold, because I was a bad-ass.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
I bet I seem pretty boring these days. I know I feel it sometimes. Remember when you'd find me at a concert, or when I went out to take train pictures? Not all that long ago, was it...

I'm still the same person I was. I still like the same things I did before. And I still do them, when I can. So why is it you always only ever see me talking about gender anymore?

I mused about this very thing even as I biked under the railroad tracks and the adjacent buses-only highway upon starting my journey back into the city after my appointment. Even as I wished a train might come by, i knew I had naught but a cellphone on my person to snap a photo, and no ability to follow it.

I always talk about gender because I don't have the luxury of not thinking about it. Take those train pictures, for instance. The car went with the marriage that ended because I had to, and did, face the issues I had with my own gender. I can push my bike -- one that's not very fast -- to maybe 15 mph. That means I get one shot. There's no following along. It also means I need to haul whatever photography gear I wish on my person.

The car was hardly the only thing. The other vectors of instability in my life couldn't be laid fully at the feet of simply being myself, but at the same time I couldn't discount that it was a factor. Then there was the appointment I'd come from, preparatory work for the surgery I worked hard to get myself in line for before discovering I had no way to actually pay for it. I didn't have the ability to simply put it out of my mind. So, despite what the day had wrought, I continued moving feebly along the path to that treatment.

No train appeared, and I had a wee bit of relief knowing I wouldn't have reason to kick myself for the picture I missed. Perhaps another day soon, I told myself. Maybe I'd even be lucky enough find someone to join me for an afternoon of it.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
We sat in the car, hir driving and me in the passenger seat, on our way across town. The plan had been to bicycle, but the spring weather had brought continuous rain, and so we'd opted for a drier conveyance. We mused about the previous night, and zie asked how I'd slept. The memory was one I cherished, curled into a strange pose though I'd been.

Zie admonished me to enjoy the memory, as schedules meant it would be a while before we again had time together. While a pang of emotion washed over me, my mind shortly moved on the particulars of the memory, and more generally of my memories.

Several times over the previous days, I'd recounted instances from my own history, replete with full and vivid details. When I was younger, I had no inkling that not everyone was able to do so. An article a friend shared recently hammered home the extent to which a deep episodic recall is unusual. "I'll remember it forever," I said, knowing zie would understand precisely what I meant.

In the moment, I realized just how badly such detailed memory could hurt when your life was full of pain. Today, though, in spite of the ache of impending parting, I realize the gift it is to be living a life decorated by joyful, wonderful, exciting moments with loving and caring folks that I am able to savor repeatedly.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
As she joined me at the table, I picked up bits of the conversation she was having on the phone. I wasn't sure, at first, but it quickly became clear it was an interview. My guess as to the topic was quickly confirmed as she continued to talk.

Three days earlier, I stood with her parents and two mutual friends, tucked into the loud corner of a nightclub. The evening represented the culmination of the girls rock camp she'd participated in. Nine groups, 9 numbers. As we came to the last, I set my phone to record video, and tried to hold steady as I watched.

It was hard to not get into the music. Her music. The song was one she'd written, and she poured every ounce of her own passion into it as she sang. When it ended, I kept still, even as the crowd applauded, cheered, and burst into high-fives. Keep the camera rolling, I thought. I suppose it shouldn't have been a surprise that what I saw when I looked to her parents was pride. She'd brought the house down.

We'd planned to all grab a bite shortly thereafter, a wise plan given she hadn't eaten since half a day earlier. So, after offering my kudos, I stood quietly and watched as so many other continued to. I understood the anxiety she'd brought with her. In addition to her worries about her performance, there was the overhead of other issues with which I was intimately acquainted. But it was plain as I continued watching that the fear was unfounded. Today, she was a star.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
My day had started 14 hours before, in another city. My ex delivered me to the airport, and I worked while having a modest breakfast before boarding for the first leg. Hours later, as the second air hop ended, I found myself looking out over the oldest city park in the country before touching down for a slightly rough landing on runway 4 right.

Just before arriving in the church where I now sat, we'd tromped across that very same park. We'd been a few minutes later than had been intended, but our seats together midway back in the center were certainly fine, and the acoustics and layout had worked very well for the first half of the concert.

As the lights were about to drop, I opened the program and looked over the numbers we'd hear for the final half. The show was the inaugural public performance of only the second transgender choir in the country, one featuring voices more often scorned than celebrated.

One of the performers stepped up, having felt they were off a bit at an earlier solo, and nailed it on the second go. The explanation from the director was one noting that how you hear yourself can be skewed over a testosterone-fed voice change. The problem was all too familiar: the gender biography I shared with my therapist had indeed called out that very point in my own history as a rough one.

No emotional respite followed as we rejoined the program for the next number. My feelings flowed just as the words did, like endless rain into a paper cup, as the chorus put their all into their rendition of the song. When they hit the refrain, I softly whispered along. The irony of the line I'd sung so often while trying to redevelop the voice I missed was that in spite of what protestation I found myself vocalizing, my world had, and seemed bound to continue, changing. Perhaps nothing else was doing it. Maybe it was me, right along.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
We sat in the same pub we'd had dinner in a few hours earlier. Separating those moments, we'd walked a bit over 4 miles around the small town in which we sat. Punctuating our walk were a college's grounds and the courthouse of the county that cleaved to the southwest flank of my own. Our party of 8 had shrunk to just 3: my ex and another friend who played the same game we did sat across from me.

We waited, at first, to see if someone would come by to take our order. Finally, the owner came by and queried as to what we wanted. As I spoke, I asked myself what was passing through his mind. Maybe he hadn't known I was transgender before I opened my mouth. It was certainly possible. I was quite certain he would after hearing me talk, though.

As they chatted, I passed to and from the conversation as I checked my phone compulsively. The world was changing around us as we sat there, and unlike them, I didn't have the privilege to ignore it.

I tried to stay engaged in the moment. There was nothing I could do, anyway. Still, as the musing continued, I finished my drink, and then the water in front of me. A 45 minute ride back to the city would follow, and one of my medications is a diuretic. Even though I knew what I needed to do, the burden had increased.

Finally, though, I steeled my resolve and walked away to void my bladder. I still had that option.

The state of North Carolina last evening passed HB2 of 2015, an act which in addition to some collateral damage of minimum wage and anti-discrimination laws would make it illegal for me to use the proper lavatory facilities in any state or school facility in their borders. More broadly, though, the local anti-discrimination laws which were struck would have also protected my ability to use the correct bathrooms in other public places.

The laws codify the gender on a birth certificate, so my Pennsylvania birth means that the surgery I plan to have when I figure out which rock I left the money under will entitle me again to the right facilities there. In that vein, my privilege shows again: I'm rather certain I'll eventually find a way to pay.

But the trend is now evident, and it points at an ugly future. It beckons the way to a world where I am expected to put myself in harm's way, in the path of people who would molest me because I am, and have been forced to be, accessible to them in moments where they might not otherwise be controlling their urges and impulses. It's not unique to me, either: a conservative estimate places the transgender population of just this country at over a million people.

Two interstates and a simple path of surface roads separated me from the bed I planned to end the night in, but the truth of the world weighed on me far more during the ride than the full bladder I'd traded for it had.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
The route I was taking was one which I often cycled while crossing the city. Today, though, I was just riding in a circle, albeit one chosen to maximize the hills I'd need to climb. 35 minutes on, I felt as though I hadn't worked hard enough. My body yearned to be pushed harder. "It's a dynamo," I thought, "screaming to be spun up to full power." I'd just spent a while struggling to get some software I was developing to do what I wanted, and while it still didn't, my mental processes were every bit as engaged as I rode as my physical ones.

I turned the corner and climbed the slight upgrade several blocks before stopping at a traffic light. The ride was gravy, an unexpected bonus on a day where I expected no break in the weather. The remaining portion of my circle was not long, but I knew what I needed to do.

As the light changed, I pulled away, and after crossing the intersection pushed myself relentlessly at the hill. 10 meters. 20. 40. I'd climbed over 50 in the couple blocks the hill traversed, watching them tick off in the eyepiece of my goggles. When I reached the crest, I tapered off my effort, and let the breathlessness wash over me.

How do I bottle this up? How do I, in other moments where I am struggling to simply keep up with my load, tap this? Most importantly, I wondered as I coasted to the next light, how do I help others get here?


dariaphoebe: (Default)

May 2017

 123 456


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 25th, 2017 07:57 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios