Dem Feelings

The last few weeks have been so emotional for me.  So many ups and downs.  I’ve been laughing, crying, yelling, screaming, laughing, freaking out, and completely content, sometimes all at the same time.  And with all these emotions that I’m having a hard time dealing with all at once, I figured it might be a good time to write again.

As a number of you know, I’ve been trying to get into the dating scene over the last few months, with little to no success.  I’ve only managed to land four dates, all of which have ended without a second.  One actually bailed mid-date.  Two felt like they were going somewhere, and then didn’t.  And of course, every time I get a rejection of some sort, it really hurts.  I feel like everything I feel is being completely invalidated by this other person, and there’s nothing I can do about it.  Now I’m not saying I deserve more than just a first date, but considering how some of these dates have gone, I’ve felt like there was at least some bit of potential.

Now, all of these dates have been with girls.  I haven’t had a relationship with a girl since early college, and I figured with how empty the last two relationships with guys have been, I’d try again.  Plus, I always seem to find girls attractive.  Guys, not so much.

And when you’re trying to find a girl as a trans girl, things can get a little desperate.  I ran out of potential dates within an hour’s drive in the first couple weeks.  I’ve been messaging girls up to 3 hours away, and still not much interest.  It’s been a tough, lonely struggle, and several times it’s left me in tears, emotionally exhausted and fed up with all the rejection.

And don’t forget all the crazy emotions that coming out at work, getting my first bras, and dealing with drama with the fraternity have caused.

And then this weekend happened.  One of my brothers came up to visit, which for him is pretty remarkable.  He’s never really been the kind to do much of anything, let alone drive the two hours to visit someone.  I mean, I’d always gotten along with him pretty well.  We would hang out together when I was at the house, I’d platonically cuddle with him when no one else wanted to, we’d talk life from time to time.  But never did I expect he’d actually come visit.  When he got here, we just did more of the same, playing games and talking about his graduation and how he was moving back to California and how my dating experiences had sucked so much.

Then feelings happened.  I told him I felt like no one would want to be with me.  He told me he’d never thought that anyone would care about him.  He told me he felt different about me, like I was more than just his friend.  I told him I felt the same way.  He told me he didn’t know what that feeling was, but he thought maybe it was love.  I told him I think it is.  The rest of the weekend was filled with emotions and cuddling like never before, and it all just felt right.

I’ve realized at this point that he is pretty much exactly what I’ve been looking for.  Someone who accepts me for me, loves video games as much as I do, and is okay with doing our own things regularly, as long as it means cuddling until we fall asleep later.  And I think that’s all both of us have ever been looking for, someone who cares about us and accepts us for who the awkward and weird people we are.

Unfortunately, I fear we may have found this out too late.  He heads back home at the end of the week, which means he’ll be half a continent away.  And I’m terrified of what this could do to our relationship.  Will one of us think better of it with some space?  Will we be able to survive the distance?  And then of course there’s that whole problem with my in-the-moment emotions clouding how I really feel.  Is this going to wear off over time like the last two?  Will I find faults in him over time that eventually break the initial feelings I have for him?  I guess only time will tell.  Until then, I’ve got some cuddling to get to before my time runs out!

The Sound of Silence

Paul somewhat unwillingly handed over his old MP3 player to Jimmy and headed back to his standard spot for the meeting.  Why haven’t you done it yet?  Just kill her already.  It isn’t like waiting is making things any better.  The voices were starting to come back, but it wouldn’t be long before they were gone again.  He sat back, tried to relax, and waited.

“Hey everybody!  I hope the last week has been good for you.  This week, our submission comes from Paul.  It’s Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Sound of Silence.'”  Arya cued Jimmy to start up the track.

As the first few notes rang out into the room, the voices started to die down.  Paul had always had the voices in his head, chalked up to imaginary friends at a young age, diagnosed as schizophrenia when he got older.  He never truly heard silence; they were always talking, asking Paul questions, telling Paul to do things.  Sometimes they were distracting, sometimes soothing, sometimes just background noise.

Then one day they started becoming more aggressive.  More yelling, more screaming, more demanding.  And they all wanted one thing:  blood.  Everywhere he went, the voices asked for it.  Kill that guy.  Just do it.  You know you’ll like it.  Paul started carrying a knife with him everywhere he went just to somewhat appease the voices.

Once he got to college, the voices seemed to fixate on one particular person.  Paul saw her in several classes,  around the halls, everywhere he went.  She was kind of cute.   He thought maybe he would ask her out sometime.  If the voices would shut up about killing and dismembering her.

Kill her.  Kill her.  You know she wants it.  Give her the reprieve from her life.

The voices got to be too much to ignore.  He came across her in the library, and the voices began roaring.  He drew the knife.  Walked up behind her.  Raised it.  Brought it down.

But before he could reach her, she accidentally unplugged her headphones, and the melodic sounds of Simon and Garfunkel echoed though the stacks of books.  “Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk to you again…”  The girl looked up from her book, finally noticing Paul’s presence.  He quickly hid his weapon, the voices going completely silent for the first time in his life.  The girl turned around.  “Oh, hello.  I didn’t notice you there.  Do you need something?  I’m Arya, by the way.”

Paul smiled, finally free from the anger and chaos he’d lived with his whole life.  He held out his hand.  “Hi, I’m Paul.  I’ve noticed you around; we have a lot of classes together.  I was wondering if maybe you wanted to study together or something?”

Quiet reigned over the classroom.  The voices were returning, but now that he knew how to deal with them, they were easy to remove.  Jimmy brought over the MP3 player and Paul put an ear bud back in.  The melodic tones returned, and the voices dissipated.  If it wasn’t for Arya’s stroke of luck that day, Paul would have a murder charge on his hands instead of a marriage proposal.

Lacrimosa

The familiar sound of a scratchy record comforted Arya’s ears as she sat down.  Though the vinyl was getting rather worn and the quality was a bit sub-par, this was the version of Mozart’s Requiem that she was most comfortable with.  Yes, there were definitely better and higher quality performances, but each little nuance in conducting and imperfection in the vinyl brought forth unique memories.  Memories of a time much simpler, memories of her home in Chechnya, memories of her father, memories of that night, now long past, but still haunting her dreams.

Mozart’s Requiem had always been her father’s favorite piece of classical music.  He often would come home at night and put on the old vinyl he had gotten while traveling Europe when he was younger.  The vinyl was scratched and worn even then, but nonetheless, he played the record, and Arya would listen as she fell asleep.

Arya didn’t really understand what her father did until she was much older.  Sometimes she would overhear clips and phrases here and there about the Russians.  It was always Yeltsin this and Sergeyev that, names that meant nothing to a little four year old Chechen girl.  Sometimes the sounds of bombs and gunfire got a little too loud and her father would get her up and carry her into the little hidden room underneath the stairs.  Sometimes he would get a call and run out, rifle in hand.  Mother was always worried on those nights and often held Arya close until father returned dirty and a little bloody.

One night he came back a little more worse for wear.  He was covered in blood, though it didn’t appear to be his.  The fighting was still going on outside, but it didn’t sound like it was coming from the right direction.  Mother asked about it, father nodded, and mother began crying.  Father put needle to vinyl, sat in his old armchair, and instructed Arya and her mother to get into the room under the stairs.

Someone began beating on the front door.  The sound of the needle abruptly scratching across vinyl shortly followed, then the beginning notes of “Lacrimosa” sang clear into the night.  The door opened, there was some shouting, father said “Not here,” more shouting, then “they’re gone,” more shouting, and the the scuffle of shoes through the front door.  All the while Requiem could be heard intertwined with the shouting in the room and the gunfire outside.  Arya and her mother stayed in the hidden cupboard until morning, mother’s tears dripping down on Arya’s head.

The next morning Arya’s mother hastily packed.  While her mother wasn’t looking, Arya picked up the old pitted record still sitting on the player and stuffed it in between a couple dirty shirts.  An oddly marked car was waiting in the street for them, which carried them through places Arya had never seen before.  There were lots of stops; a bunch of people asked her mother questions at each one.  Sometimes they would ask Arya how she was, and she would just nod, never speaking.  Sometimes they changed cars, sometimes they hid in the trunk.  Somewhere along the line she fell asleep, and the next morning she woke up on an airplane above the Atlantic Ocean, bound for the United States.

The crackles and pops of the record subsided, and Arya snapped back into the present.  That night was fifteen years ago, but the screams, shouts, gunfire, and haunting sounds of “Lacrimosa” still sometimes woke her up at night, heart pounding fast and drenched in sweat.  And those nights, the only thing that makes her feel any better is to put the needle to vinyl, just like her father did so many years before.

The Lost, the Broken, and the Beats

Arya stood at the center of the classroom looking over the motley crew that had gathered for today’s meeting, the first of the year.  The regulars that hadn’t graduated were occupying their normal seats, and most the remainder will currently filled by new faces, mostly freshmen.  It was a good turnout for the first meeting of the year; seeing freshman faces at the first meeting was usually a rarity.

“Welcome to Music Appreciation club!  I’m this year’s president, Arya.  As a reminder, we meet here in the choir room once a week to listen to and discuss a single piece of music or album.  Suggestions are appreciated and encouraged.  Listening to something important to you is just as good or better than listening to something that some critic thinks is a classic.”

Arya turned toward the soundboard and motioned Jimmy to start the music.  “As is tradition, as president, I have chosen the song we will be listening to this evening.  Mozart’s ‘Lacrimosa.’  Sit back, relax, and listen.  You’ll always have company and good music among what we lovingly call the Lost, the Broken, and the Beats.”

The Great Hormonal Adventure: Month 6

Well, two days ago officially marked my sixth month on hormones.  A lot has been changing in the last month, and not just with appearances, so I figured it was time for an update.

So here’s a picture of me from today.

20150505_090542-1That’s from this morning, right before I headed to work.  My first day presenting female at my workplace.  (AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!)  It’s been good so far, and for the first time in a while, I actually feel pretty good at work.  I am so glad I’ve taken this step.

Last week brought another great step for me, too.  I had my six month checkup on Friday, and while there I received my doctor’s letter required to change my gender markers!  So now I just need to actually work on the paperwork to get it done…

Physically, not much has changed since my last update.  It’s mostly subtle things involving regions of my body I probably shouldn’t be talking about in public. XD

But yeah, all things considered, things are going pretty good right now.  If anything else changes, I’ll keep you guys and girls up to date.

On the Desire to Be Wanted

Well, it’s another one of those nights where I break down, do some introspection, and  come up with some way to put my emotions into words.  So here goes.

Those of you who are my friends know that I am an incredibly loyal companion, slow to purposely make enemies, and often display my affections, both romantic and platonic, in physical fashions.  And over the last nearly two years of coming to terms with being transgender, if anything, these traits have only become stronger.  I’ve always just thought that was kind of the person I am.  I just like to have close bonds with people, and the physicality stems from an innate need for tactile comfort.  But now that I think about it more, I think there might be another, deeper underlying cause.

Looking back, I can see that a lot of the actions I’ve taken and the behaviors I present toward others is due to an innate desire to be wanted in some way, shape, or form.  And, of course, I can see now that a majority of that stems from being bullied at a young age combined with subconscious gender dysphoria.

I was bullied pretty badly in elementary school.  I went to a small private school from preschool to sixth grade, and the group of kids in my class changed by no more than 2 or 3 for the entire 8 years.  So when my peers decided to use me as their new scapegoat, I suddenly had almost no one.  Out of a class of 25, I had a whopping 5 people who would even talk to me, and literally every other person in the class ranged in their behavior toward me from passive contempt to active torment.  For 5 days a week I was subjected to a group of children 4 times bigger than my group of friends that actively hated me, and for a 10 year old, that’s brutal.  I fell into a deep depression and started becoming a bit emotionally unstable, which didn’t help much, either, when I was occasionally breaking down in class.

Those 5 people I could call my friends back then are the only thing that kept me going.  They considered me their friend.  They wanted to talk to me, play with me, have fun with me.  In a world where it seemed that everyone hated me, these were the only people that actually wanted me.  So I clung to them with everything I had.

Since then, every group of friends I’ve had has been like that.  I find someone that actually wants to interact with me, and I make sure to keep that  bond.  I joined band because the environment was like a family where everyone was welcome.  I joined my fraternity solely because they were the only ones who seemed to want me. That bond is really the only thing that keeps me going back.

Of course, this same desire to hold onto anyone who expresses interest in me has really messed me up romantically.  I’m 3 for 3 with failed relationships so far, mainly because I  can’t keep myself from getting too attached too fast.  Going through so much of my life being told no one wanted to be with me has made me cling to every hope of a possible  long-term relationship, even when I know it isn’t going to work.  And in the end, either I get hurt or I hurt the other, and I’m in a worse place than I started.

And now with so many of my closest friends finding someone of their own, combined with the insecurities and anxieties that are coming with my transition, I’m becoming more and more desperate for that feeling of being wanted.  I’m pursuing every single option I have in the way of dating, even if I’m having to compromise on a lot of my standards in potential mates.  I’m clinging on to the dredges of past relationships, trying to bring back even a shadow of that relationship.  I’m trying to force  close relationships with new people to replace those that have faded  with time and distance.  I’m having trouble keeping in check the emotions and impulses that come with that desperate need for companionship. Hell, I’m even having a harder and harder time keeping myself from trying to wedge apart my friends who are in happy relationships so that I can have a chance with them.

I’m just so afraid of being alone, unwanted and unloved, and I know I’m only making things worse.  Even though I’m trying to get closer to people, I’m really only pushing everyone away.