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Hello England!

Hello,

This message is for the recent anonymous commenter on my 9-year-old journal entries. Could you please let me know who you are and why you're reading my journal? I assume I must know you/you must know who I am? How did you find my journal? I've traced your IP address back to England. Are you a relative of mine? Please contact me as it's unnerving having anonymous comments on memories I've long forgotten. If you want to catch up, we can talk through e-mail if you'd like.

Thanks,

Owen

Summer has come to an end

Texas bound

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More travel stories of our adventures in Tennessee and and New Orleans and everywhere in between to come. For now, we're heading to Texas and we're looking for a place to stay in Austin for a night for the four of us. We come with sleeping bags and cuddles. Any takers? On that same note, anyone have suggestions for places to stay long-term in Arizona? Also what are some fun things to do and see in Austin? Send me a message if you have any suggestions or offers <3

Journey of a Lifetime


Caught our first bus using our handmade counterfeit bus passes out of Philadelphia yesterday. Our bus was an hour late, stranding us in Pittsburg overnight. The four of us pulled out our sleeping bags and set up camp on the bus station floor. We slept with a rope slung through all our luggage and tied to my wrist; a knife sitting ready in my hand. Though the situation wasn't ideal, we slept so much better on that cold dirty floor than we had been on the hot cramped bus we had ridden in on. With our faces hidden, no one was brave enough to come near us or disturb our sleep. If we did show any sign of being awake however, we'd quickly be offered weed for sale, among other such appealing offers.

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I suppose I should explain why I found myself stranded with three other adorable queers on a bus station floor at 3am in Pittsburg. I'm headed to Arizona for my final surgery on the 31st. I'm traveling with Shay, one of my best friends from home, Scotty, our awesome Australian friend, and Art, my past lover. I don't think I could possibly be going through this with three better people. We all met up along the way as planned, Shay and I connecting with Scotty in New York City after they're trip to Montreal, and collecting Art in Pennsylvania. We've chosen to travel in our true hobo-style fashion because it wouldn't make for an adventure without a little chaos, spontaneity, and uncertainty. This journey is about more than just surgery, it's an exploration about heart, soul, friends, love, and belief in one's self. 

Our stay in New York City lasted longer than originally intended. Scotty, Shay, and I stayed at my adorable friend Ellis' in Brooklyn, with his equally adorable boyfriend, Paul. Scotty, Shay, and I went to a gay art gallery where Amos Mac had some work featured. The crowd was mixed but a large majority of people were trans men or queer/masculine appearing/identified, female-bodied people. The whole place was packed and we were so overwhelmed, Shay and I especially. It was the first real time that either of us were around so many people that looked like "us." It was the first time we really felt visible as people, like we existed as a valid gender other than male or female. It was really powerful. Other than that every night was spent hopping from gay bar to gay bar and dancing our excited little butts off.

So far this trip has been about making friends, kissing beautiful boys, and trying all the local beer I can get my hands on. I spoke very briefly with an old acquaintance yesterday who lives in rural Pennsylvania that believes that I'm just further mutilating my body. Completely unphased, probably to her disappointment, I've spent this trip pretty free from thinking about the impending 'going under of the knife.' I had one panic attack after crossing the border where I questioned what I was doing and everything I've done. A quick nap stretched over two bus seats sorted out those feelings. Last night, I couldn't help but think about it again though, only this time I wasn't scared or doubtful, just excited. I'm looking forward to beginning the steps towards my final physical process. In the not so distant horizon, I will be able to say that I'm complete and finally at peace with my body. I'll be able to move on and just live my life and be happy.

My friend Mat had his surgery today. I know him only because we're having the same surgery with the same surgeon in such close proximity to each other's date. I won't be in town till mid next week but I look forward to meeting him in person. We've been talking about our fears and concerns about phalloplasty with our dates drawing near, and it's been such a comfort to not feel alone through this process. I wish I had had a way to contact him before he went in today to wish him luck, but I had neither phone or Internet access at the time. I thought about him all day though.

The sun is bright in our eyes in the early morning light. There's mist rising off the tops of snow blanketed, nude tree covered hills. We're Tennessee bound, heading in the direction of a queer farm commune in a hidden location outside of Nashville. Past that we're spending the weekend in New Orleans, stopping in Austin, Texas, before arriving in Phoenix, Arizona which will become my home for the next three months. The fog-hidden landscape of Kentucky is so serene in its damp, monochrome colour scheme. The snow has all melted here but the water is still frozen over with ice stained the same colour as the winter grass. The cows are walking with hooves in mud and I imagine there must be precipitation beads clinging to the long hairs on their noses as their breath is made visible in the cold. The trees are short and plump like green cotton candy on a stick. The old barns and silos look as if they were placed in a miniature model train world. We're all feeling a bit fed up with riding buses and take the melting snow as a sign of hope in our future attempts to hitch hike. I look for deer on the sun-setting horizon as I think of places to stay when we arrive in Nashville in a couple of hours. I wonder what the people we'll meet will be like and how their accents will sound; will they like us? I wonder what their beer will taste like, and how good the music we'll hear and if it will warm our young worn hearts. But mostly I wonder, what will my dick look like?

Midnight showing

From hanaurimusume. If you read this, you're tagged! Take a picture of you in your current state, no changing your clothes or quickly putting on makeup. NO PHOTOSHOP. Show your friendlist the real you!

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lol do I even have a friendlist that still reads my journal? Anyways here are a couple ugly snapshots of me just getting back from the Atlantic Film Festival. As soon as I got home and parked my bike in the hall, I stripped off all of my clothes as per my usual routine. Then as the instructions above implied, I felt that I wasn't allowed to put my clothes back on. Plus I'm lazy and going to bed.

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So there you have it. Me in my naked, unshaven glory in a dark room.

That panda teddy in the background is about to get CUDDLED.

Good night!
There was a flash of brick and then I saw the side streets. I ran to them, down them, twisted my way through them like a labyrinth. I didn't want to be followed. I screamed for help at the dark-lit houses around me. I wailed at them pleadingly with no response. My mind was so filled with fear I didn't even know what help meant. I made it out of the quiet side streets and arrived at an intersection. This wasn't a part of town that I was familiar with at the time. I was so scared and confused, but I was so tired. There was a patch of grass next to the traffic light that looked oh-so-inviting. I lay down, curled up with my knees hugged tightly against my body. A voice of reason managed to make itself heard within the chaotic walls of my brain. "I can't stay here." Even if he didn't find me, I'd die anyways from freezing to death. It was the middle of winter and I barely had any clothes on. No shoes, no coat.

I stood up and walked into the middle of the road. I was stumbling over myself, as my trousers hung loosely below my waist. I noticed I wasn't wearing any underwear as the chill winds whipped at my bare skin. I was crying and howling as I walked, until I heard a car horn behind me. It was a taxi cab. The driver pulled up next to me and lowered his window and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was "walking down the middle of the street" and I continued walking. He politely asked if I needed a ride. Furious, I shouted at him that I had no money and turned away. Once again he very calmly and politely asked me if I needed a ride, and once again I yelled at him. Then he explained that he wasn't looking for my money, but that he just simply thought I looked like I might want a drive home. Puzzled, I crawled inside his warm vehicle. I didn't have a home at the time, so I gave him my friend's address that I'd been staying at. He began to drive and I soaked in the warmth of the car. He pointed out the funny hat he was wearing and talked about silly nonsense things to take my mind off of whatever had happened that he knew better than to mention. He made me feel safe for those few minutes in the car till he stopped in front of my friend's apartment. I thanked him, not to the depths I would have had I truly been aware of his kindness, and I made my way to the door.

I didn't know what to say. It was late in the middle of the night. In fact, I had no idea what time it was at all. We'd all gone out to the bar together that night, our usual Saturday night posse. I was scared I would wake them and that they would be mad at me, but I pushed the buzzer. In no time at all the door opened and I scrambled down the stairs to their apartment. They were all awake, standing there as if they'd just been scared themselves, wondering where I was. It was looking at their faces looking at my body that made me realize just what had happened to me that night. I opened my mouth and tried to explain but the words fell out as a series of sounds splashing to the floor as I broke into tears. They rushed to me as I cried and cried. They didn't need me to tell them what happened, it was written all over me. I looked  down and it was only then that I noticed that I wasn't wearing my own shirt. It was a man's shirt. It was his shirt. I shrieked and ripped it off of me as quickly as I could. My friends coaxed me into going to the hospital. I must have been lead back into a room in the emergency centre because I had crawled up onto a counter and gone to sleep. The next thing I remembered was the nurses gently nudging me awake. I could hear their voices in the distance whispering things like "the poor dear" and "should we wake her?"

I told them I wanted to have a rape kit done. They both looked at me sympathetically as they explained a multitude of reasons why I might not want to do that. I didn't understand that they were trying to talk me out of it. As I took off my clothes and put them in plastic bags for further tests to be done, I saw that my chest binder had been sliced open and then I remembered that I had brought a knife with me that night. I reached into the pocket of my trousers to search for it and instead I pulled out a set of Allen keys. I screamed and dropped them to the floor. It scared me so much because it made no sense. Those keys weren't mine, I'd never seen them before, and I had no recollection of how they came into my possession. They were physical, tangible proof of the night that I could hold in my hand.

I laid down naked on the examination table. They shone the black light over my body and I yelped in fear as I saw the bite marks and fluid stains on my body. There were teeth marks all over my breasts. The nurses were being very kind to me, and even calling me by Patrick and using male pronouns, instead of using my birth name. Next they gave me some pills and sent me into the bathroom to give them a urine sample. I panicked when I saw the blood coming from between my legs. Before I left the examination room, one of the nurses gave me a business card to the women's sexual assault clinic. She explained however, in a most delicate way, that they probably wouldn't want to to help me; that they wouldn't want to help 'people like me.' Confused by her words and holding this little card, I was lead out to the waiting room where I fell asleep, covered in clothes far too large for me to wear that had been donated to me by the hospital. To this day, I've never sought therapy for my assault because of her words, despite the still recurring nightmares and panic attacks it causes me; the flashbacks and the instant impulse to vomit and rip all my skin off at once.

My friends shook me awake when the police officer came to ask me questions. I was so tired and unable to comprehend much of anything anymore. I wanted it to be over. I wanted to sleep forever so that this wouldn't be real. I described to him as much as I could remember, which wasn't much at all. It was all vague and abstract like a true nightmare is. There was a lot of shouting and arguing in the apartment. That's what I remembered most clearly. I remembered furiously yelling that I was a boy, and the man screaming lesbian slurs back at me. I remember that we'd been in a car previous to that moment. I don't know if the car had been in motion with someone else driving or if we'd been parked. I just remember being in the back seat with him as he forced my head down on his exposed genitals. I blacked out all the parts in between. I remember making my escape when his phone rang and he was yelling at the other person on the line. Who would be calling him at this time in the night? Could it have been the person that drove us to his apartment? Was someone else involved in this and knew what was happening to me? I couldn't describe the physical appearance of the man to the police officer very well. Older, taller, white, dirty blonde hair, english-speaking.

The next day I had to call my mother and tell her what happened; every mother's most dreaded words. She cried and begged for me to come home but I didn't want to. I felt too much shame. Days would pass and I wouldn't hear from the police. An officer came once to take photos of the bruises and marks on my body. She had looked at me so pitifully which made me angry. My feet were blistered from running on the road barefoot. My hands and mouth were all cut up. My face and ribs felt like I'd been punched. I had a headache for days and was a shaking, jumpy mess. I met with the detective that was investigating my case. He didn't seem to really want to help me, like it was too much of a bother to do. He pretty much refused to use proper pronouns. I'd been sat in a room by myself with a video camera as he questioned me further at the station. I felt like I was the one in trouble here.

The detective drove me to the apartment building where I'd been taken to. We had managed to pinpoint the exact building from my description of the area. Bricks. There was only one brick apartment building in the area, and the apartment I'd fled from was right next to it. My description of the apartment perfectly matched the layout of those apartments. We tracked my escape route down the side streets and he pointed out that I had run right past a police station. We saw the intersection I had slept at and the street I walked down the middle of. It seemed so much less epic in the day time, when I saw I'd only made it a few blocks down the road. I thought we had him. We had the address, and even a good idea of the exact floor and room. That's when the detective stopped. He talked about warrants and other such things. And just like that when I thought we'd nearly caught him, my case was closed.

I returned to the emergency room the next month after I tried to kill myself in my friend's apartment while my cat watched. The nurses weren't kind to me this time, as they stuck the needles into me to make me hurt, like I deserved it. They didn't know. They didn't know that I'd just been there and why I would have done this to myself. To them I was just a despicable waste of their time.

It's been three years and I'm still scared when I see Allen keys.

Tags:

That's what friends are for

FUCK :

Is the extremely immature and unintelligible word I would like to say right now in large font similar to this, but it's not really my style.

However I really do feel the need to express how I have no way of expressing myself the way I need to. I can't talk about my feelings to friends, to family, to here or anywhere else. I have no one who I can just sit with and have listen to me; someone that can understand what I'm saying without the need to explain every little thing in detail; someone who would not judge me for what I'm saying or someone who would entitle me to my feelings without humiliation. I can't be as open with family, or with friends I sadly don't know as well as I'd like to. I just don't have energy to explain every little aspect of my current life situation, including all of my philosophies and outlooks, just so that they can understand where I'm coming from when simply express one little feeling I'm having at the time.

I can't cry to my close friends because they don't live here anymore. They're off living their own lives, in other places, with other people. And I support all of them in those journeys. But after all of the celebrations of their brave 'bon voyages' are over with; when I look around and see that all my friends have left - who can I cry to about that? I don't want to make anyone feel guilty for leaving, as there is absolutely no reason for them to feel guilt. That's not even the point. They're awe-inspiring for going out and pursuing their goals, and I would do the same if I were them. My actual point is that I can't just go to another friend to simply share my grief of "losing" my other friends, because there are no friends left to go to. There is no 'someone' to express my feelings or thoughts to in either words or actions. All I can do is bottle it up. Alternatively I could talk to my cat who probably wouldn't even give me the satisfaction of looking at me for the whole conversation, or I could talk to a wall or some kind of inanimate object. But that's not actually expressing anything. That's equivalent to keeping things bottled up within myself because it is just me to whom I'm essentially expressing myself to. Whether I verbalize aloud or within my mind, it's just me and my thoughts. 

If I share my thoughts or feelings with friends here that I'm not as close to, then I can't feel they will understand me or that I can trust that they won't judge me for it. I don't want to go out and grab one of my friends and say "u r gunna b my nu best frend nao kthx!" as that's not genuine or respectful. That's using them as a friend - worse! As a replacement friend! Nobody likes to be a rebound. Yes, new friendships can be formed and yes existing friendships can be strengthened or rekindled. But without a history of intimacy prevailing the much needed conversation I require now, I am being unfair. I would be thrusting my worst self upon them and expecting them to just take it all at once and know how to help me with no past experience. A friendship is built on trust and kinship over time, and can't be begged for on the spot. I realize I need to reach out if I'm going to receive any help or companionship at all, but this isn't how I want to do it. Friends use each other, for if we didn't use each other it would mean we had no need for one another. But for better or worse, people as social creatures are not self-sufficient in that way. We need to verbalize and communicate; to speak and to be heard; to ask and to be answered.

If I were to go to someone I don't know well, to vent my anger about an event that has nothing to do with them, I risk both offending them as well as receiving judgment from them that I am an "asshole" or similar negative juxtaposition of identity. Furthermore if I went to whine about a subject I was sad about, I could be considered a "cry baby" or a similarly pathetic form of being. Any emotion I express could be taken as my general demeanor, by a person that doesn't know me well enough to recognize my identity through all displays of emotion. Only a close friend would really know who I am behind my blinding emotions, and one can only become a close friend when they have gained that knowledge.

So in my cowardly manner, I will not reach out. In my pride I will not beg. In my integrity I will not ask of someone what I have not yet earned. Instead I will leave myself open to all of you and simply bitch, whine, and moan on my public online journal with this one entire sentence: I miss my friends.

Pale ass glory


You know those dreams where you suddenly realize you're completely naked in public? Well it was sort of like that. Actually, it was exactly like that. Minus the dream part.

It's as if I'd woken from sleep walking, I opened my eyes and suddenly I'm standing in a hallway in all my pale assed glory. "Hmm this is odd. Where am I and why am I naked?" Flashbacks of memories from earlier in the night come to me as I continue walking:

That's right, I'm in a student apartment building my friend is staying in over winter break. But that doesn't explain why I'm walking around the halls of the building naked, past sleeping resident's doors. There had been beer; lots of it. Several games of beer pong had happened. The stereo had been brought into the kitchen of the common room to show the foreign students how to party Martime-style. Nothing says a party like a kitchen party.

Then we'd retired for the night. My friend knew of an unoccupied bedroom that had an unlocked patio door. Another friend of mine and I hopped a wall onto the balcony and slipped in for the night. There had been sex. The details were getting a bit hazy. While I couldn't say what exactly happened, I can at least say that it did. This explains the naked part at least.

Well regardless of why, what do I do now? I walk in circles. I don't know the layout of this place at all. I know that there is a room I'm supposed to be in, but I had no idea where it is. I'm on my tippy toes and my hands are doing their best to give me some modesty. I stumble my way into the common room. There's the ping pong table. There's the kitchen. There's the stereo. And there is my friend's door.

Well this is quite the predicament. I could keep wandering around aimlessly trying to find my mystery room until I'm inevitably caught or end up sleeping in a bathroom and wait until morning, to still be inevitably caught. Or I could knock on my friend's door and never hear the end of this. The former sounds more welcoming at that moment. Here I am standing there buck naked with my hands shielding the view of my crotch like some cartoon character and I can't help but find this whole situation hilarious and almost unbelievable. Giving up, I sigh and knock on his door. Twice.

When I woke up in the morning, light was coming in from the window. I wonder if it was all a dream, but I know I'm more wishing it had been more than wondering. I've slept in and am supposed to be at work in half an hour. I gather all of my things, which I'm surprised are all there, even if it's spread all over the place like the room had been hit by an explosion. I can't find my shirt, but that's ok because I have to go.

My boss has never laughed so hard when hearing my excuse for why I was late for work.

Why can't I be more like Julie McEachern?

I can't believe I saw Julie McEachern tonight. I can't believe a lot of tonight, but that especially. I don't like to go to the club on Saturdays. Or Fridays. Not since the incident a few years ago. But after a series of events I somehow I ended up there tonight. I'm not saying it was a bad thing, I had a decent time. But at one point I was standing outside the local gay bar just chatting to friends. There was a blonde girl standing alone on the sidewalk a few feet away. I was looking at every other person past her, to simply see who was in the line up to get in. But then she caught my eye. Before I knew it I was saying, "Julie McEachern?"

This was the girl my father always wanted me to be. This was the girl I could never be. She was intelligent and the prettiest thing you'd ever see. My dad would often say to me, "why can't you be more like Julie McEachern?" These words came to haunt me. Although she was my friend, I couldn't help but resent her for all of the perfect qualities that I lacked. "Why can't you be more like Julie McEachern?"

Since graduating and moving on with my life, she'd faded from my mind almost entirely. Until tonight. Unti she recognized me before I recognized her. With a full beard she saw me and smiled and was happy to see me. It makes me wonder who else knows about me and how I've changed. How different I look, yet both unrecognizable and easily recognizable at the same time.

The other day at work I looked up from the cash register at the next person in line. A strike of fear hit me as I realized who he was. "Dan?" I said. He looked at me completely stunned and puzzled. He asked me who I was but I didn't know what to say. The moment of "should I say something and should I pretend not to know him" had passed. I'd opened my mouth and had been met by a situation I wasn't prepared for. With a line up of people behind him and my unaware coworkers beside me, all I could say was "We were friends in high school and played Dungeons & Dragons together every Sunday." Still he was completely confused and baffled. You don't forget who you played D&D with. When I offered no more information he asked me if I was going to tell him who I was, but I shook my head. That was all I could give. I didn't need him to remember, not then and there. Or ever really. I hadn't particularly liked the guy.

It reminds me if the piece I read at the Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony I hosted this year. It's a piece I've read every year from Transmissions, a book that I helped write a few years ago by trans youth, for trans youth. Except I didn't write anything for it. I just submitted my old journal entries, both from this journal and my private journal. I continue to read it each year because despite it being written prior to medical transition, a lot of it still holds true today.

"I saw several people from high school yesterday. Some recognized me, some didn't. I feel scared when I see them, like they're going to be cruel and hate me. But truth is they probably haven't noticed I changed at all. Maybe some of them have. I think they're used to me looking weird all the time that they've learned not to ask questions.

I'm not fair when I say that I'm scared of them. I don't know what feel. I guess it's different depending on who it is and what my relationship with them was like. I tend to feel awkward, unsure if I should try to talk to them or not. Then if I do talk to them, what do I say? I feel like I left that world behind, and to see them again makes me scared that I'll somehow be brought back. Of course, that couldn't happen. There is still something upsetting about it though.

Maybe if I wasn't transitioning things would be different? That I wouldn't mind catching up with them because there would be no fear of them catching up with me. It'd just be great to see them and we could reminisce about old times and get all nostalgic.

I bet they all still think I'm a lesbian.
"

Julie was genuinely happy to see me, and my level of surprise didn't have a chance to kick in before I went up to her and gave her a hug to say hello. It was her, the model I was supposed to embody. She still looked perfect. "Why can't I be more like Julie McEachern?"

Because I'm not Julie McEachern.

Three years today