The Magical Majestic Month of March

March 21, 2017

Something changed this month. Something changed within me and I can’t put a finger on it. ( I feel like Elphaba, “something has changed within me, something is not the same.”) I have not self harmed in 18 days. 18 sunsets have cast their shadows on the trees on my block since I have taken a knife to my delicate skin. Since I started cutting consistently on December 8, the longest I have been able to go was 7 days and on the 8th day I would always cut. I stopped smoking cigarettes and I stopped drinking like a fish. In the 21 days of march I have only drank 5 times, and each time I drank, it was to enjoy- not out of necessity.  I no longer want to get drunk, or even feel buzzed anymore. It bores me and I don’t want to put fourt the effort or money it takes me to actually get drunk. It’s like I grew up suddenly. 

I was put on a new med for a week until my face broke out into a horrendous rash. The first time since December specifically I feel like the pieces of me are starting to come together. I am starting to slowly feel stronger and more whole. 

Two really exciting things have happened this month so far. After a 8 year hiatus I took my first singing lesson with a trusted friend. I spent a long therapy session at the beginning of the month saying how lost I felt with my singing voice and how I’ve lost a huge part of myself since starting T. My once almost 4 octave range has now reduced to maybe an octave and a half? My singing teacher, Charles is so sweet and loving and supportive. He understands that this is a hard transition for me to go from singing glitter and be gay form candide to barely squeaking out an E. He made me proud of myself for literally just jumping  headfirst into to lessons after so long. We walked into the room and began vocalizing right away. Within 2 minutes of the lessons the validation that I so desperately craved was given to me and made me feel at ease. My biggest fear was that I was going to open my mouth and it would sound so bad that he wouldn’t believe that I went to one of the Midwest’s most recognized musical theatre schools. But a few simple words,  “there’s some meat there” slipped out of his mouth and I felt at home. I don’t have a job because I’m still not in the place yet where I can hold a job, but I am going to scrounge up all of my pennies to continue taking singing lessons as long as I can because whether or not I ever make it to broadway, singing needs to be in my life. I hope I can at least be in musicals in the future because singing is what makes me feel most whole and like my old, younger, innocent self. 
The next big thing that has happened so far this march is I got my first NYC acting job and my first job off of backstage.com! 3 days after creating an account and paying my $134 subscription fee I received a message from a young film student at NYU who saw my resume and reel that I submitted for the role she was casting (a young transgender male.) The message simply said, “I saw your work on your profile and would love to offer you the role, I look forward to the possibility of working with you -N” to say the least I started freaking out and crying because literally only 2 hours passed since I posted a status on Facebook bitching and moaning that nobody had hired me yet. 
I’ve never been in a film before or been the lead of anything ever. Of course I am still filled with self doubt and think maybe the only reason I got the role is because I’m trans and I’m really not talented or good. I feel guilty for the 84 people that liked my Facebook status and are supporting me, I feel like a liar and a fraud because this wasn’t a ‘feature’ film. My teacher who morphed into my mother figure told me to “SHUT. IT. DOWN” and that there are no accidents. Clearly I need to work on my self confidence and know that I, Rilen AM ENOUGH. My skill set, my look, my training– all of that is enough. I need to become my ally and not enemy. 
Now if I am completely honest, my biggest fear is that I will look obese on film. I am proud of the work that I did in this black and white silent film. I rose to the occasion and was unfiltered and messy. But I am so scared I will be so utterly disgusted with my body that I won’t want to put it on my reel, let alone show my friends and family. My eating disorder is an ever present pest and always lurking in the corners of my brain, waiting to pop out at any moment. I am constantly using the following words to describe myself and my body ” disgusting, fat, ugly, gross.” I am ashamed and embarrassed that people have to look at my fat face when they talk to me. These words hurt me, they don’t help me. I know that my body is not where I want it to be in any means. I want to lose at least 60 pounds to feel healthy. The thing is, I know that my eating disorder runs so deep that even at a healthy weight, I will still hate myself as much as I do now, which is why I have given up. I don’t see the point of busting my ass when I know no matter what I will  still hate what I see. Nevertheless, I intend on cutting back on sugary drinks and trying to get back into running. Now that I am starting to peruse acting in a professional manner now, I need to think of my body as a temple and my first impression I give to casting directors. The roles I want to play are not accessible to me right now with the way I look now (or so I say!) so I need to change. 
And lastly one final update, I am beginning to uncover my psychic abilities. Now, just typing that makes me want to cringe and throw up everything I have ever eaten but, it’s true! I have always been very sensitive to other people’s emotions and energies. I have had many paranormal experiences, one of which happened a couple of weeks ago when a hand gently touched my back as I was sleeping. I have a friend who makes a living as a psychic and we played some games last night to work on my intuition. I believe I am an empath, I am more comfortable using that works instead of “psychic.” 
I gave my first reading to a stranger on a chat website (omegle) last night. I could feel ( and I don’t know how the fuck I knew this) that this young man I was speaking with had many secrets. I knew what it was right away and I later built up the courage free reading him and him affirming that what I said was true and making him cry to confront him and ask him about the eating disorder he has been hiding. He hasn’t told anyone about his struggles and when I finally asked him about it he simply typed “h o w” And my answer at this point is bitch I don’t know!! 
So the magical, majestic month of march is upon me. My future is full of promise and I am starting at feel like the old me again that has been lost for quite some time. I’m not fixed, but I am becoming more complete everyday and every moment that passes. 

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When My Innocence Was Stolen

Monday March 6,2017  12:45am

The Loss of Innocence

I thought of writing this post 2 days ago but put it off because I was too scared. I was too scared to see what would come out of my fingers, what I would say, what would I think, but evermore, what would I remember? I want to talk about innocence and the loss of it in my life. Innocent by webster’s dictionary is defined as “lack of guile or corruption; purity.” When I think of the word corruption, I see 2 events specifically and one long term event that corrupted me and caused me to lose innocence.

The first turning point of me losing my innocence was when I was 16 and was dealing with a very sick, alcoholic mother. The memories are hidden and buried deep, and to turn them up to please the eyes of strangers that will read this and never comment seems sadistic, so I won’t say much. I will say from the age of 16 which was freshman year in high school is when my life started turning into shit. My mom was verbally and more importantly emotionally abusive for her last decade on this earth. Those that may be reading this that knew her will be shocked and maybe saddened to hear this, but I have to speak my truth. I strive to preserve her memory of the wonderful, beautiful, empathetic person she was but her disease took over and ruined her. That is the part my family refuses to talk about and acknowledge in public. But I won’t say silent. My mother would call me names, make fun of my body, swear at me, sometimes hit me, bang on my door, break my things, stand in front of my car while I was trying to escape and blame me for her problems and I was the reason why she drank. I got the brunt of it, not my dad, not my sister but little 16 year old Rilen.

I remember one of the first times I made myself sick to try to deal with the pain I was feeling was when we were in ixpapa mexico on vacation at an all inclusive resort. We went to a the fanciest restaurant on the grounds called “Don Quitoe” and I ordered the spaghetti pasta. Mom was impaired and ruined the dinner. Eventually everyone left the table before we even had our meal and I sat there alone at 17. A beautiful meal ruined. I went to the bathroom and stuck my fingers down my throat to make myself feel more balanced and better after the turmroil that unwound at the table. To this day I don’t remember what was said or done, what specifically happened, but I remember my mom leaving first, then my dad, then it was just my sister and I. But the specific moment of innocence lost was when I called the insurance company to find a rehab for my mom at 20 years old. We were trying to plan an intervention for her. My dad and sister didn’t do anything. I was in community college for communications and on a Sunday afternoon at my apartment I was on the phone with my insurance company trying to find rehab facilities for my mom. Why my dad didn’t do this still to this day bothers me. I was a mere child trying to save my mom, I thought I was her superhero, destined to save her. Because I failed, she died. She couldn’t stay sober and I feel guilt because of that even 3 years later. The logical part of my brain says, she needed to have wanted to recover, but the other part of my brain says you didn’t try hard enough.

My innocence then took another dive when my mom died when I was 23 and I discovered her dead body. You can’t recover from that or go back, that chips away at you, it forces you grow up before you were ready. You always picture your parents dying when they are old and grey, after you have given them grandkids, not when they are 56. Seeing her in bed…I can’t describe in words what that did to me or how it forced me out of my youth but it changed me greatly.

When I was sexually assaulted on September 5,2015 any semblance of innocence I had left was savagely ripped away from me. For any survivors out there that are reading this, you know as well as I you were forced to mature wise beyond your years because someone decided they had the right to your body. I thought I had seen it all and was mature and had seen enough for two lifetimes but when that happened I had reached the point of no return, I was now an adult and no longer a child. Any sense of self and security was taken from me, my body was not my own— it was tainted, used and foreign.

Do I wish these things would have never happened to me? Of course. Do I wish I wouldn’t have had to be an adult and sometimes the parent at 16 years old, sure. But there is nothing I can do to change my past. I have to accept it for what it is. I am wise beyond my years. I’ve been forced to deal with very traumatic and difficult circumstances that some people will never have to be exposed to. I guess through my stolen innocence I have learned who I am and what I am capable of. I know that I am strong, ruthless, intelligent and a fighter. So many crack and crumble and never return to who they once were. I am not 100% and haven’t totally retuned to who I was before these things happened to me and I know that even through therapy the chances of getting my childhood back will never happen. I was an adult at 16 and I am even more grown at 27.