Maybe Just a Transformation Spell

Not long before I realized I was transgender, I stumbled onto and became fascinated with transition blogs. I spent hours combing through testosterone result logs and read one tearful admission of relief after another. 

I can’t remember why I thought I was so interested before I realized how deeply in every grain of my being, I neeeeeeded that. 

I read each one with my heart pounding and a stomach full of stone. 

I may have gone on like that indefinitely, but inevitably the bubble of cognitive dissonance had to break. 

and I came tumbling down. 

Back then there was a photographer, French if I remember right, who took sexy pictures of trans men for their own empowerment at any point in their transition process…even if they were choosing not to transition at all. He had a website called XXX boys. I scoured that website for weeks. Months. An eternity.

All these pictures of beautiful men who have a small sliver of shared history with me. 

The first time I felt like there may be a place in the human race I might actually fit. 

I sat in the basement in raw amazed joy, chain smoking and writing dear john letters to the person they made me think I was. 

I was free.

or something like it. 

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Tonight I’m watching Queer Eye. It’s far from perfect.

still. time stretches…stomach in knots for more reasons than I can lay out in an easily digestible mini essay. 

watching a trans man learn to dress his new body. 

oh bitter sweet

I’ll never have that. 

watching young gay men frolic…envious. 

My twenties were spent trying to jam myself into a woman mold that would never fit. 

I’m not sure what I am feeling, regret? wistfulness? 

I don’t know, but here I am 

alive and well-ish 

with my own origin story that’s just as real 

and that will just have to do. 

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For Pride Inclusion

It’s Pride month here in the not so Shiney U.S. of A. It’s a month of celebrating who we are in the queer community. It’s also a time that highlights how many people who fall under the lgbt2qiaa umbrella are still fighting for acceptance and inclusion. 

Sometimes the othering happens because of other aspects of a person’s identity. QTPOC are excluded through racist covert and overt othering, microaggressions, appropriation, violence, and erasure. Disabled queer and trans people often have difficulty, or can’t participate at all in community events, because of lack of accessibility on many different fronts. 

Othertimes the othering is caused by more widely accepted members of the queer community. Multisexual, trans, nonbinary, intersex, asexual, and aromantic people are just some of the identities within the lgbt2qiaa communities that struggle with acceptance within our own supposed community. Erasure, denial, and dismissal wage a seemingly silent and socially violent war inside a community that should be safe for everyone. 

So it’s Pride month, but what does that mean for those of us that don’t fit so easily into the assimilation narrative of white middle class married lesbians and white cis fashion/party gays? All of us have different answers to that question. Some people skip Pride and celebrate in their own ways, some people swear it all off entirely, some of us go to the celebrations anyway feeling a mix of excitement and tension, never knowing what all might happen. 

As for my family, we are going. Usually the experience has mixed results, some moments of euphoria, some sneers and dismissive looks. It won’t feel entirely safe, it will probably feel a bit like a good day at work. Showing up and being seen, proving our existence at all times, even on a very good day, is still labor. A drain on our limited resources, rather than a reaffirming and refreshing break from reality.

We will remind people and ourselves, that there are many ways to be queer, and that our way is not only valid, but perfect for us…and dang it we will have a wonderful time. 

Don’t forget fellow humans, your way of being queer/lgbt2qiaa is perfect for you too. *love* 

Pride Month Reverie

Over the last year I have been reflecting on the ways my gender, sexuality, and neurodiversity have impacted my life paths even when I didn’t realize it. 

The way that dirty looks and whispered curses in one on one interactions translate to systemic othering, poor quality service, lackluster medical care, an assumption or implication of my sole fault always no matter how hard I tried to be accountable, honest, and fundamentally good. 

I could go on I suppose, but for this piece the details aren’t even specifically important…what I am parsing today is, I suppose… the way I internalized that systemic othering. It’s taken me forty years to learn to understand when and how I am responsible for my lived experience…and what things have impacted that self perception. 

Surprisingly (or not) learning to dismantle the lifelong lesson that I was always at fault, always wrong, and always bad™ has also taught me to be less of a coward when I am actually wrong, when I do make mistakes, when I am harmful.It has taught me to strive towards being truly accountable rather than avoiding blame.

Of course I am sometimes in the wrong, harmful, we all are sometimes and in some ways.

There are different axis of oppression and privilege that impact how we as QT people are treated. IBPOC especially are forced to carry even more assumed responsibility, more assumed guilt, more assumptions in general, that other them both systemically and personally. 

This pressure to push us to the fringes of life will inevitably impact multiply marginalized and IBPOC the most harshly. 

It’s been so important for me to learn when I am being treated unfairly due to systemic bias, and deserve to hold a boundary, when I am being treated fairly and need to hold myself accountable as well, and furthermore when I may be being treated unfairly but am being protected from the full brunt of that societal bias by the privileges that I hold in conjunction with my oppressions. 

This life seems exhausting lately, lack of stability and resources pay a toll that piles up after awhile. Many of us, in various degrees of vulnerability are feeling the weight of the world more heavily. 

Hopefully we are able to persist, thrive even…my more vulnerable loved ones, peers, community members deserve to live without fear. We all deserve to live without fear and oppression. 

This weekend we will go to Pride as a family, undoubtedly we will still get some sneers and stares as an openly and proudly trans, multisexual, neurodivergent, interracial family, but we will go, and claim our space, be visible. 

We will be love, and live

and it will be divine dammit. 

Nonbinary Mom Dysphoria

I had planned to write about being a non-passing gestational trans parent on mother’s day but then our family received some bad financial news. So I have unfortunately spent most of this week trapped in the undertow of my anxiety. 

I’m working on it. 

So here I am, several days late, talking about it anyway. Ha! 

As me, as a non passing nonbinary transmasculine person, parenthood holds a very special sort of dysphoria. 

I love my children, love having grown and fed them with my body. I would not change that if even if I could. 

However motherhood comes with an inherent gendering in our culture that I can never quite shake. Maybe if I passed easily, a scruffy beard and some hair on my chest. But I don’t, so I live in a space that both carries the same disrespect and dismissal of emotional and domestic labour that women carry, and both overt and covert misgendering. 

Yay! 

Nothing quite puts a spotlight on that particular emotional strain like mother’s day. A day in which every single person will go out of their way to cheerfully misgender me. A day in which my labor, existence, and emotional reality is under appreciated as the woman I am not, and my very existence ignored or overlooked as the nonbinary person I am.

it’s exhausting, whether I am able to make a fun day out if it, insist my people do something fun “for” me or I stay home and will the day to go away that much faster.

One way or another it is a day that is a trial to get through, much like all the other days, but amplified. 

A day to remember that no matter what my body represents to you, my body is mine, my body is masculine, my body is nonbinary. 

My body is mine and you may not define me. 

I Salem, Partially Nonverbal

Layer by Layer

My experience of being nonverbal is only my own, it may or may not be similar to other autistic and neurodivergent experiences. 

We are not a monolith.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, about the myriad ways I experience inability to use verbal language for communication. It has led me to want to peel these layers like an onion, to fully examine them. 

I’ve spent my entire life being told by most people, that I am a bad friend, lover, or family member. That because I am to flakey, because I only see them when it suits me, because I don’t know how to reciprocate love and friendship my connection is worthless. It has caused many hurt feelings and broken hearts over the years, both others and mine. 

So perhaps a manual for my self at least…and perhaps it will help others understand that we communicate as best we can, that just because we show love differently that doesn’t mean it was not or is not there. That it is ok for others to not be able to be engaged with the way we love, communicate, or connect. But if a body is able to see us, our love, affection, and companionship is like the ocean, deep, mysterious, sometimes still as glass, but absolutely always there.

1. Passive Emergent Nonverbal – 

This is my default setting more or less unless I am particularly stress free or able to self/medicate my anxiety effectively. 

in this setting, i am entirely unable to reach out to people outside of my regular routine. I usually don’t struggle with what or how to say things in this layer. this is not social anxiety, it detours away from how or what, long before I can get to self flagellation street. During these longer and longer phases I am prone to mild disassociated states which may make me socially passive with people inside the safe schedule of routine, familiarity, and family as well. I may have difficulty with the back and forth flow of conversation, get lost in words, or forget common words like elevator or that one i can’t remember right now that describes a particular feeling of unease. 

My writing will have more skips, more repeated sentiments, more echolalia wording, more awkward sentences, and sentences that eat their own tail..also more visual analogies roughly tranlated into allistic English. I  will more often miss things, am likely to struggle with brain fog as well, and lose track of my train of thought…like I just did. 

But I’m usually aware of feelings of sadness and isolation, and am receptive to verbal communication if a conversational template I understand is presented to me. 

2) Broad spectrum Nonverbal- In these instances I can not communicate at all with words, except with trusted people whom I know can speak this language of English words translated to pictures and translated back into broad stroke synonymous words. This level is often but not always triggered by autistic burnout, panic attacks, or long term high level anxiety for me. People’s response to this can exacerbate or loosen up words depending on whether it is met with understanding or confrontation. 

3) Nope No Written Words Either – This level is, for me, often but not always paired with the second level. It is fairly self explanatory and means I have the same difficulty with written communication as i do verbal. This includes receptive language like reading and auditory language understanding. 

4) Short Term Complete – For me this is usually caused by panic attacks or trauma. During these periods I may be entirely incapable of any communication, or I may only be able to communicate through limited gestures or even just nods and head shaking. Certain soothing stims or familiar trusted people and rituals (or resolution of the anxiety) will usually slowly bring my ability to communicate back at least somewhat.

5) Long Term Complete – During these times I have no words of my own. If I have to communicate with other humans it is often extremely minimal amd entirely echolalia scripted. My word bank feels asleep or in stasis rather than clamped shut. For me this can be caused by trauma, autistic burnout or conversely a soothing routine in which I do not have to communicate with people regularly.

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Now it is important to note that as a partially verbal or selectively mute autistic person i do hold a position relatively privileged. There are autistic people who are unable or unwilling to speak, or use word based communication at all and those people are 1 million percent valid too.


Just because they/we can not verify their/our feelings and connections through words, it does not mean those feelings and connections are not there. 

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cn: *eye contact*, implied nudity

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[image description: a heavily filtered sparkly but disjointed close up of me, a white nonbinary transmasculine person, in the bath, head on knee, looking at camera, during a period of being nonverbal] 

As Autism Acceptance Month Ends

I ready myself to breathe again

It’s warm spring evening in the Midwest. The sun shines as friendly and welcoming as it ever is. My youngest children are playing happily. They’re painting a box yellow, so it can be a better rocket obviously. 

 And now another April is mostly gone, summer will be here soon.   Another month in which supposed Autism Awareness campaigns have belittled, dismissed, isolated, othered, and often outright attacked those they were supposedly in Allyship with. 

Isn’t that just like a fucking self proclaimed ally too? ugh. 
Nothing excuses bad allies, and that importantly includes me…and you, and all of us. I try to remember all the harm done by self proclaimed autism warrior moms who undoubtedly love their children but still do them harm, no matter their intentions. 

Love and Good Intentions will never be enough. 

Ignorance and good intentions is not a defense when harm is done. 
My exhaustion can’t really be extracted from the substrate of my responsibility to be as accountable to others as I expect others to be to me. 

So I reserve or allot spoons for this purpose, daily, much like parenting spoon allotments. It’s important to me to do my best, to not repeat failures of the past. so I allot spoons. 

I’m still exhausted though. shit am I exhausted.

To all my autistic friends I send you my love and support, especially my multiply marginalized, and IBPOC autistic friends. Thank the powers that be we are almost done. We made it through another one, done until next year with the overwhelming flood.  *highfive* 

and here the pressure of going nonverbal looms on my brain so I don’t even have a good sign off. so Instead I will just say thank you, thank you for reading, thank you for your support, thanks for being here. Here’s a picture, for whatever that’s worth. 

[image description: me, a white, nonbinary transmasculine person in purple glasses stares off to the side of line of sight, with a neutral tired expression.]

Friday Morning Reflections

It’s 8:56 am. My children are all gathered watching the new season of Magic School Bus. The teenagers orbit around the edge of the room pretending they are less invested than they are. The sun streams warmly in the window…for now it isn’t giving me a headache. My pain levels are tolerable, what ever that means. Milton will be home soon. My social network ebbs and flows, as they do. For now I do not feel like a burden. It’s peaceful. 

Yesterday we got several pieces of bad news, two of which could have long term negative impacts on our lives. My pain is better right now but my asthma is much worse. I had every intention of writing a lot for autistic acceptance month but autistic burn out has left me struggling to frame thoughts in words at all, much less once or twice a week. I stayed up late last night worrying. My nesting partner is worried as well, depressed and frustrated. We’re both frustrated. exhausted. 

But right now these children are happy, we are fed, we have a home, and all is well. well enough. 

We don’t need or want anyone’s pity, no saucer eyed proclemations of “you’re so brave”. We work impossibly hard for these little moments. We just want to enjoy them, to have the ability to rest now and then. We want to live. It shouldn’t be this hard. 

but it is.

Rest