That Hue Of Purple

Thursday Feb 16,2017 1:28AM

That Hue of Purple

I remember the days when I had to stop drinking caffeinated mountain dew at night so I could fall asleep so I could forget your purple face and skin. I used to lie awake fearful that I would see you standing at the foot of my bed, in the same state I saw you last; dead, gone, deceased. I used to have nightmares of you hiding underneath my bed and finding you with your eyes snapped open, frozen in rigor mortis starting at me. I will never forget the amount of seconds it took for the paramedics to assess that you were dead. They walked up our blue carpet, must have seen your hue, felt that you were frozen, and made the assessment that you were gone at 56. I’ve woken from my bed, screaming, crying, fearful of the images I saw that day. The last time we spoke echoes though my head like an ear worm. The sound of your slurred words and click of me hanging up followed shortly by the ringtone on my phone with your caller ID calling me back, I press ignore. Oh, how I would have answered that call if I knew it would be our last. I would have told you so many things, about how beautiful you are, how we both hurt the same. I would I have told you you are loved, and stunning, intelligent and generous, but instead I kept shopping at walmart for a stupid sweater while ignoring your call.

Days go by, even weeks and months where you no longer haunt me. I no longer fear, that after the 3 years that have passed that I will find you at the foot of my bed, staring at me. Although that shade of purple that illuminated your skin will never, ever fade from my mind, sometimes I see you as how you were. With your sparkling green eyes, beautiful soft blonde curls, a cackled laugh, a cigarette in hand and a smile on your face. I remember when you received golden braces on my birthday. The years have passed, each one gets easier than the next. While you are not with me in every waking thought anymore, I wear your ring around my neck, the diamonds sparkle, just like your eyes once did.

So much has changed since you left us. I am no longer who I used to be, I am now Rilen. You could have had a son, my dear mother, but you left too soon. I chose my name for you, Rilen. It’s gaelic for Island Meadow. While you are not in my thoughts every second anymore, I carry you with me on my skin, with my tattoo— art on my brown skin. Now this art is framed by scars, framed by shame, guilt, sadness and hurt. Oh how I wish you could see me today. Flat chest, facial hair, square round face. I know you are with me, I feel you sometimes. I hear you when you communicate with me though music, you’re here. But theres so much I want to ask you. Are you okay with the fact that I am trans? Do you like my new name? How do I deal with my mental illness? How do I stop cutting? Why am I so sick, and alone? These questions I will continue to ask myself for years, but the one that haunts me  the most; are you proud of who I have become? Is the man that stands, broken and tall, who you wished I would be? Should I be doing more? I want your guidance, I need your love. I want to feel your skin, hear your laugh, feel your arms wrap around me once again. Even if it’s only in a dream I will take it. I will take it over these haunting, vivid memories that are so visceral and real. But most of all what I want mom, is for you to rest peacefully, knowing that you are loved by many.

Stained skin.

February 12, 1:50 am

My pain is represented by my scars. The fresh cuts on my arms and the bandages that cover them weekly demonstrate the hurt. The scars speak more loudly than words ever will as to how I feel. The scars speak to the pain, abandonment, fear and hurt that I feel that I’m unable to express in other ways. I try to speak, to impart to others why I hurt, why I hurt myself. But words don’t do justice. So I stay silent, not trying to have anyone understand. Nobody will get it, if I myself don’t understand, so I don’t try. The only way I know how to speak, is to write. To have words flow out of my fingers, thats that were unknown and un-realized thoughts and feelings surface, not revealed until typed onto my screen. My leg reads as a barcode, 20 or more dark scars stain my skin. My two tattoos on my wrist are framed by dark, self inflicted lines. I look into the mirror and I don’t see me anymore. I don’t know who this is, but it isn’t who I am. I am an actor and now I have to go into auditions with scars on my arms, my weakness and misery on display for all.

Someone tonight told me, for every cut you want to make, there are 1000 reasons not to. I am putting my career at stake with my sickness. I want my body to be pure again, clean, untouched. Instead I am tainted, dirty and soiled. Some people don’t hide their scars because they say they are sings that they are a survivor, proof that they have been through some stuff.They want the world to know they are warriors.  I don’t know that I agree, but its gotten to the point that my pain will be visible to see. Even if I wear a long sleeve shirt the pain will reflect in my eyes. Sure, my lips curve into smiles, my laugh booms out of me, but the darkness still rests within.

I’ve begun to cry more times these past 2 weeks than I have allowed myself in the past year. My eyes become blurry and fill with tears, but they refuse to fall. They sit stubbornly around my brown, sad eyes, unable to dip to my cheeks. I don’t feel a release, I feel nothing most of the time. I am hollow. I am carved out and empty. Covered in scars I did nothing to earn.

 

A Life Lead in Confusion

Tuesday February 7,2017 10:35pm

My life is lead in confusion. I am confused about my gender, my trauma history, why I drink, why I cut, why I am so mentally ill, why I have no friends, why I feel empty. I am surrounded by endless thoughts of what, why, how come? I wish I had answers to all the questions my mind asks of me, instead I walk around in a haze, stumbling around trying to find the door that holds my secrets and unsolved truths.

I want to be understood, I want to be loved, I want to once again, feel whole. I want to have people in my immediate surroundings who I can spend time with instead of seeing blurred faces through a computer screen. I long for someone to touch, to hold and be held by. I want to sit in my sweatpants and watch sappy romantic comedies with a friend while shoving our faces with popcorn. I want to feel so fulfilled and purposeful in life that I am bursting with life, unable to hold in my joy that I could get up and break into song at any moment. I want to greet my days with purpose instead of shades of grey that paint my days. It’s only been 2 months since I’ve been out of school and I feel disheartened. I wonder, will I ever make it as an actor or will this be my life forever? Living off my dad and lying around, like an amorphous blob in my bed.

When will I look in the mirror and be happy and not see double chins and fat hips? When will my legs gain their strength and tone again? Do I want to continue hrt and become looking more and more male, or do I want to slow down and stay how I am, in the middle? I don’t fit with others and I don’t fit with myself ,there is turmoil and unrest deeply settled in my soul. My withering soul that longs to spark back to life. To feel free, love, understood, apart of SOMETHING. So much, if not all of my life I have been alone and felt disconnected, I now wonder if this because of my disorder, or is that just me? Forced to walk beside my own shadow? I don’t have the answer to all of these pitiful questions and it plagues me. I want clarity, I want to take of my splattered glasses that are covered with fog and dirt and see clearly. To feel complete and needed. I make youtube videos to help others and help myself, but I wonder, who is really helping me? I have a mental health team that encourages me and understands, supports, empthathizes and sympathizes with me, but am I really interconnected with anyone? Or am I just a flag flapping alone in a field?

I don’t know what I want most in my life, if its to feel included and understood? Or to just feel whole and content within myself? I don’t have any answers at this point. I am lost.

10:46

My piano mocks me. 

My piano is mocking me. “Play me” it whispers loudly. It’s a reminder across from my bed that has become my haven that I am ill.i haven’t been able to play weeks.  Unable and unwilling to leave the house for days at a time. Nestled in my bed I lay, motionless, my mind whirring with thoughts but other times it’s as empty as a tank of gas. 

I actually had enough energy to read and write and eat today, which is an accomplishment. I’ve been sleeping until 4 pm and staying up too late, repeating a vicious cycle. My thoughts have been like tar lately, slow moving. I’ve felt like an empty vessel, disconnected from the world. Alone I sit in my dull lit room, longing to connect to strangers on the internet that might some day become my friend, or at least provide temporary relief from the empty loneliness that seems to occupy my waking hours. But mostly, I just sleep. I sleep my days away running from my depression, at least when I am not awake I cannot feel lonely or bored. It’s when I wake the unpleasant feelings return and hover over my head like a dark, rainy cloud, soaking me with negativity and ennui.

 I want to feel happy and whole again. I want to have the energy to get through a day without having to take a nap 2 hours after I’ve woken up. I want to feel the air on my face,talk with a friend. But instead, I rot in my tomb of loneliness and despair. 

Recovery is a fickle bitch.

Monday January 30, 2017 3:06 pm

Recovery, much like life is a fickle, fickle bitch. I find myself on a constant rollercoaster these days. I swing from having good days, where I feel healthy and normal. I spent my days writing, watching TV, reading and playing piano. I sit in my room and feel guilty for not working, for not being in school perusing my career at a school I love so much. I think of myself as being lazy and a bit unmotivated. I question whether my dad thinks I am being lazy for not working, that I am on vacation time, where nothing matters and the days fly by. Then I am stampeded by the bad days. The days where I sleep for 17 hours and can’t get out of bed. I leave my bed to use the bathroom, shower and eat a single meal. Besides those actions my sleeping mask shuts out the light that turns to darkness as I lay motionless in my bed. It’s the days that I feel like a slate wiped clean, and utterly empty that I am reminded that I am sick. It’s the nights when I drink alone in the darkness, and take a razor to my skin that I realize how sick I am. When I toss and wake to the morning to remember the night before because of the bandage I placed on my arm hours before is when reality comes crashing down, I am ill.

I am in week 2 of therapy with a new caring therapist. She is beautiful, nurturing and competent. I see her on Tuesdays at 12 and Wednesdays at 2. I see my psychiatrist on Fridays at 1. I am getting a lot of help, but we are beginning even at this early stage to wonder if it is enough for me. There is talk of beginning a day program 5 days a week to help me get the coping mechanisms I need to function in the world. The nights are just so hard for me. When the darkness settles, a switch turns in my brain to self destruct mode. I feel lonely and barren of connection and emotion and coping skills. I have been sober for 2 days and haven’t cut in 3. These may seem small but especially the drinking is a very big deal, especially considering I have a full bottle in the fridge. I am trying to get better. I was triggered by some unseen childhood trauma that I am not ready to face as my brain has blocked the memories the other night and called helpline after helpline to avoid cutting myself. I finally reached someone who listened to me and was empathetic, I felt heard and understood. They applauded me for reaching out and trying so hard to get help when I was struggling so much. I ended up cutting anyway, but I am trying. I am clawing my way out of this hellish hole that is all consuming.

I know I made the right decision by not being in school, I am a delicate flower as I call myself, and I wouldn’t be able to handle that stress. So I suppose I will just have to hang tight and cling to dear life and try to stay afloat, but most importantly, alive.

I don’t fit in a box, I’m not a fucking pizza!

January 24,2017 9:11pm

It’s been 2 years since I came out as trans. 565 days on testosterone. The oily liquid that I pump into my thigh via a long needle once every Thursday has changed my features, lowered my voice, made me hairy, horny and happy. It’s funny that as of yesterday, the actual anniversary I seem to have come full circle to where I am in discovering my gender identity.

When I first came out this time 2 years ago I was a lost 24 year girl, who was awakened to the reality that I was trans. I lived my life happily as female, enjoying makeup, looking pretty, getting ready and dressing up. Sure, my idea of dressing up was an adidas track jacket and spandex skirt paired with adidas sambas or converse, but I still liked it to a degree. When I first came out, I knew I was trans but not in what sense, I didn’t know if I was gender fluid or ftm ( female to male.) It took 7 months of intensive therapy to uncover that I no longer connected with my birth name, my female pronouns didn’t suit me, and over a year to realize I didn’t want boobs anymore. I thought in the beginning that I was gender fluid, meaning some days I felt feminine and some other days I felt masculine. But the overall feeling of my identity was mostly male. As time has gone on I have begun to occasionally, and now seriously, question if the label of FTM that I adapted fits me anymore.

When I first started this blog my first entires were about how I hated my name and how I wasn’t sure who I was. Now that I am on testosterone  for a year and 6 months and had surgery I have a clear sense of who I am, but that doesn’t mean that some days haven’t been hazy. The haze seems to have settled back in the forefront of my vision. I now wonder if I am truly just gender fluid and mainly on the trasmasculine spectrum. The problem is I still like feel feminine and “like a girl” sometimes. In the middle of my gender journey ( which is ongoing) I felt eventually identified as  100% male but the problem then, and the problem now still is I am not seen as who I am. I am misgenreded every day, never being seen by the public as the man that I have so identified myself to be. See, even when I type that “the man” doesn’t feel quite right.

I know I am not a girl, that ship has sailed. Somedays I love my masculine face and the clothes I wear, I feel confident and at home. But other days, I love wearing leggings and a comfy sweatshirt and a snapback. I like the way my eyes look when I wear black eyeliner, something I have only done maybe 5 times in the past 2 years. I miss wearing makeup, a lot. I miss wearing foundation and blush and eyeshadow. I was good at makeup and it was fun to paint my face and give off different vibes based on how I felt that day.

I think what I need to figure out is how far I am willing to go to express myself through my gender presentation and expression. I have a nose ring, both ears pierced, a high voice and freshly dyed pink hair. I always wanted to have pink streaks in my hair. From the time I was in a 6th grade art class I said “ I’m going to move to New York and be an actress and have pink streaks in my hair!” I’ve experimented with red and blue streaks, but I’ve never dyed my whole head. But last night at 1:30am I decided after a week or so of debating, to just do it. So I went out in the rain, took the train and bought a pink splat hair color kit. Now that I got my hair cut in addition to my hair being pink and my bangs blue, I resemble an egg, because I am basically bald, with magenta hair. I was always afraid to dye my whole head a certain color because I didn’t want to look like a freak. And since coming out as trans I didn’t want to dye my hair or do streaks because I didn’t want to be perceived as “gay.” Apparently, I have no fucks to give because my hair basically glows in the dark.

2 years later and I am circling around creating myself and becoming who I want to be again. Do I want to say I solely identify as male? Or do I want to allow myself to be and say I am gender fluid and express my feminine and male sides when they come out without judgment on either end? I guess the good thing that plays in my favor is this: I am still perceived as female by the public that does not know me. So  say, I wanted to wear a full face of makeup I would just be perceived as a very androgynous alt girl. The people who know and love me might be confused AF as to what’s going on. I don’t want people thinking I “changed my mind and am going back.” I still identify as male but I think it’s time to move forward and embrace my femininity and stop trying to fight it. Dying my hair pink I think is a good step on my journey to becoming me. I hope that someday I will have the confidence to wear makeup and a dress again. I don’t want society to tell me who I have to be. I don’t like that because I said I identified as male, there was another set of rules I had to embrace and now the things I did before are now off limits. Thats not fair, I don’t fit in a box, I’m not a fucking pizza! I’m a person, who has multiples facets to them. If it weren’t for society telling everyone who they can and need to be I wouldn’t even be writing this because I would wear my dresses and eyeliner and nobody would care.

So I guess, what I am realizing is, while I look and sound the way I do, it’s time to experiment. I will face more ridicule if I have a beard and am wearing a dress and lipstick. Better have fun now before the time comes that I will be tied down to one gender. When it comes to that point, having a beard and low voice, I will have a clearer picture of who I am. I want to be seen as male, I want my voice to drop, I want to be called he and him, because thats how I identify. But whether or not that paints the whole picture of me…? I’m thinking not so much anymore. I’m too creative and messy to be just one gender, so I will just continue doing me and being me and see where it takes me. I am sick of feeling like I have to fit what it means to be the perfect man, I just want to be MY version of what a man is, and if that means matte lipstick and pink hair, then so be it!

Hospitalization: I want to live.

I’ve fallen into a hole and haven’t been able to climb out of it. My fingernails are covered in dirt as I struggle to get out of this pit of despair I have fallen into. I am a fighter. I am fighting for my life every day I have walked this earth, more recently the last year, and even more specifically the last 2 months.

The week started off pretty bad. I was triggered by my sexual assault. A book I was reading about a young trans teen was sexually assaulted for the same reason that I was, because some fuckers were trying to figure out what anatomy they had. I ended up cutting myself over 30 times that night, on my forearms, wrists and thigh. I scared myself because for the first time I cut vertically, I say it was because I wanted to see more blood, but if I am honest with myself I know part of the reason I did that was because I had a severe case of the “fuck it’s” and didn’t care if I accidentally bled out. So to say the least the week didn’t start off well. I then spent the entirety of Wednesday contemplating suicide and decided whether I wanted to go, to press harder that night and eventually reach my half formed goal of bleeding out. I decided against it, because I realized I still had some fight in me. I think I just ended up cutting instead. I went 4 days without cutting, the longest I’ve gone in over a month. Then Saturday based on a chain of events, partly due to money, I cut vertically again with the half intention of not caring if I bleed out on my queen sized bed in my Brooklyn apartment.

There is a difference I realized between the fuck it’s and actually wanting to die and intentionally trying to die. I was concerned enough that I would try to hurt myself even more than the night before so on Sunday January 22, I checked myself in The Brooklyn Hospital. I checked in around 1:20pm and was promptly placed in the ER on a 1 to 1, which is suicide watch where a nurse sits with you every second to make sure you don’t try to hurt yourself. The nurses were amazing, I felt taken care of and a sense of protection. I did however, feel like I was being babysat and felt like a failure for being a 26 year old man having people watch my every move. Around 5:42 pm I was transferred to my own room. I requested a private room because of my transgender status. I wasn’t comfortable sharing a room with a male or female as I look androgynous at this point in my transition and honestly, don’t feel like I fit clearly in either box at this point. I got dinner, and made conversation with my favorite nurse, Adolph. A young 30 something african american woman. We laughed and made jokes, talking about pizza, grilled cheese, hurricane sandy and other things. All my nurses with the exception of 2, one of which fell asleep, snoring while I was laying in my bed were incredible. My room was a freezer, probably about 30 degrees, my nurse was wrapped in a blanket like a nun and I had 2 blankets on. I was woken around 4am to the caring hands of a nurse tucking me into my third blanket.

The thing about being placed on suicide watch is everyone tells you how much life is worth living, they spout knowledge and hope saying, you’re too young and pretty to want to do this to yourself. They told me that I wasn’t crazy which lead me to semi believe them and form the new opinion that while yes, I do have many diagonseses, I am in a somewhat healthy spot. I always laugh when they ask me if I hear voices or see things that aren’t there, and scoff when I am asked if I am homicidal. Which is kind of a dick move because there are people that feel that way. So I guess one of the biggest lessons I learned what is that I’m not crazy. I was able to laugh and joke and carry on coherent conversations. Which given the horror stories of nurses being spit on, chairs thrown or piss cans being thrown on them, I would say I was doing pretty well.

I realized I have too much to live for. About a month ago I made a 3 and a half page list taking note of all the reasons I shouldn’t kill myself. My list varies from a few people that I know would be devastated, to cupcakes, pizza, the opportunity to not be able to help others, playing piano, hot showers and rainy days litter my list in colorful colors by my felt tip pens.

For those of that have depression will be able to understand this statement, there is a clear cut difference between actually wanting to die and imagining it and reaching a point of carelessness if that were in fact to happen. What is referred to as suicidal ideation litters my mind. What if I jumped in front of that train? Ran into traffic, slit my wrists so that I bled out, jumped out of the 31st floor of building I am inhabiting? These are fully formed thoughts but with lack of intention.

I am glad I went to the hospital, because for one night I was safe from my mind. I wasn’t transferred to a psych facility because I wasn’t a threat to myself. My psychiatrist said he wasn’t concerned that I was going to go home and slit my wrists with the exacto knife that sits in the pringle cup next to bed.

I guess the 25 hours I spent being continually watched gave me perspective that I want to live. I was going to fight it if they made me go to a psych facility. You see, I have this bandaid theory about the hospital situations I’ve been in, as this is the second time I’ve voluntarily checked in for my mental health and sucicidal ideation. I look as hospitals as a band aid that cover the safety part of my recovery, I can’t hurt myself, which is great. But that isn’t the bigger problem. The bigger problem needs to be discovered through therapy, to find out why I am hurting myself, was I assaulted as a kid? How has my moms unfortunate death and sexual assault shaped me into who I am? Thats where the healing has to be, not under some 24 hour lock down facility with cardboard veggie burgers and small juice cups that are gone in 3 sips.

I am a fighter, I am covered in blood, I have soot on my face, my body is broken and bruised, but I continue to stand tall in the face of mental illness and trauma.