The spring brings the crazy, as well as the flowers and birds and the bees. I have been mostly off-the-wall. Oscillating between housebound with paranoia and feeling restlessly trapped as a caged predator, I’ve been insatiably sexual and riding the edge of a manic wave. I know too well how delicate my balancing act is right now: I could just as easily fall off the edge and dissolve into dangerous, raving lunacy. The impulses are there. Hurt me. Hurt you, in devastating, sexy ways.
I’ve been fucking strangers a lot recently. The stunningly gorgeous park ranger. The poor guy whose insulin pump I nearly tore out. The clingy one, who won’t stop texting though I’ve asked him to cut it out. He’s since been blocked for not understanding the rules of the NSA hookup. I’m not sure I’d recognize any of them if I saw them again, but I’ve got the park ranger’s number in my wallet just in case.
The sex was mediocre, but he’s local, he’s hot, and he’s looking to take a beating.
I hung out with a beautiful girl last night. I think she’s unavailable, at least from a kink point of view, but she fancies herself a slave.
I want that.
I want someone who wants to be possessed completely. I want him at my mercy. I want her unconditional trust. I want to take her input into consideration, but ultimately have the last word. I want to grab him by the hair and push him to his knees. I want her to spit and swear at me and hit back, but open her mouth because she knows what she signed up for. They had a choice once, but they gave it away.
I squinted through the heavy haze at the men under the showerhead. My friends, who had come together under the most unlikely circumstances, were beginning to get to know one another. I watched them touch each other, kissing at first carefully, then becoming more adventurous as their passions got the better of them. The steam gave the room a dreamlike softness, and the heat made me lightheaded. Smooth, slick skin glided against skin and lips met lips, hips, and hardening cocks. They swapped partners and positions, readjusted, stepped out for a drink or just to stand back and watch, as I was.
The raw, uninhibited sexuality was pure and intoxicating. Though I’ve found myself in many different situations, nothing felt quite like that. I didn’t join in until we all made our way back to someone’s hotel room, but the images from that night will stick with me for a long time.
I’m in Quebec for the weekend. It would have been a longer trip, but my roommate and I were temporarily denied at the border (worry not– that sounds a lot more dramatic than it actually is). That’s neither here nor there, and we finally reached our destination yesterday morning.
Montreal is my home away from home. I spent the summers of 2010 and 2011 at a theatre festival up here, where I forged unforgettable friendships and developed a bond with the city in a way I had never really believed possible. Now, our Montreal family welcomes us in an incredible way, and returning truly feels like coming home.
I spent most of last summer here trying to get in bed with a beautiful girl. She was tall, dreadlocked, bilingual but predominantly Francophone, and would slide back into French whenever she got too tired to think about the words coming out of her mouth. The attraction was bidirectional, and she was as much into the idea of getting together as I was, but the timing never seemed to match up. We spent the weeks making out in dark alleys and cabaret bathrooms, but couldn’t manage to spend the night together until my last weekend there.
We had some mind-blowing sex, went out for poutine at 5 AM after we finished, and I regretfully headed home.
Last night, we bumped into her on the street. We’d been planning on getting together later in the week, but this time, the timing was right and she had a few hours to kill before our event was meant to get started. We caught up, talking about my graduation and job search, how much we missed the summer and how grateful we were for the mild Montreal winter.
I asked her what she’d been doing, and she said she’d been working independently as an escort. We didn’t have much time to talk about it, though I’m sure we will later, but she loves her job, her clients, and the environment she works in. Montreal has an incredible support network for sex workers, and hearing about her experiences reinforce for me how important it is to make sex work legal and safe for clients and escorts alike.
I want the same for my city. I want to dispel the dense shroud of stigma that makes dead hooker jokes socially acceptable. I want a system of regulation and support rather than prohibition; one that sends escorts to health clinics rather than prisons. I want johns to treat the escorts they visit with the same respect they’d treat any other professional service provider. I want escorts to feel like their safety is important to society, and to feel confident that, should they find themselves in a dangerous situation, they can seek help from medical practitioners and law enforcement without fear of recourse.
I’m looking forward to getting her alone this weekend to.. uh.. talk more about this. Among other things..
If you’re interested in sex workers’ rights, check out the following links:
Stella — Montreal-based sex workers’ resource network (in English and French)
I know; shame on me.
It’s been a while. I’ll make an attempt to catch up:
- I graduated college in December, thus joining the ranks of the severely underemployed. The search continues for a job, but I know well enough that I need to be patient and aggressive. The latter part I have no problem with, but the former is quite the challenge.
- Rose returned from the Bahamas.. for about two weeks. His job contract was extended, and he flew out again at the beginning of January. He’ll be there until June, and then… who knows where he’ll go?
- I moved. Not far: I’m about a fifteen minute walk from where I was before, but I’m no longer living with Kiz. A number of friends and acquaintances have assumed that we broke up, but it was mostly a matter of practicality and realizing that we just get on better when we have more space from one another. We were right, and our relationship (and sex life) has been fantastic since parting ways. My new roommates are fantastic, and the calendar on our fridge deserves a post of its own.
- I’m about to head to Montreal for a week, to help my roommate with her show and spend time with the amazing friends I’ve made there. Though I normally try to visit every couple of months, this trip will be the first time I’ve been since June, which is to say that it’s long, long overdue.
- Things with Desa fizzled as quickly as they sparked. There’s no sense in being anything but honest about it: I was disappointed. From the start, we could both see things about ourselves that would be fundamentally incompatible. He’s monogamous and mostly straight– calling him a Kinsey 2 would be generous. A woman that he was seeing proposed that they become monogamous; he accepted. Like I’d mentioned in my last post about him, I wasn’t expecting him to commit to something like that right before he moved across the country. We’ve remained friends, with the intensity that we shared as lovers. It’s almost easier now, since he’s thousands of miles away. Face-to-face, our interactions are strained by the struggle to ignore the desire that still boils beneath the surface, especially the deeper our conversations reach. Ultimately, my guess is that we’ll share a friendship similar to what I have with The Cook.
For the most part, that brings us up to speed. I’ve got nothing profound to say this evening, but I’ll try to post sometime early next week from Montreal with something a bit more substantial.
I grew up on chaotic punk rock in dingy basements and playing rehabilitated guitars pulled from rubbish bins that could never quite stay in tune. From the beginning, my music and my politics were inextricably linked, and I was instantly drawn to punk’s fast pace and furious desperation. Each distorted chord gave the distinct impression that punk had a purpose, and that its message was so urgent there was no time to polish it up or make it sound like music. I subscribed to the punk ethic of unity, anti-oppression, and the idea that anger was a legitimate and necessary emotion in the fight for progress.
When I moved into the city for college, my life started moving in the direction I had hoped it would. Perhaps predictably, my comfort allowed the anger inside me to subside. I was surrounded by people who shared many of my viewpoints, and I grew comfortable, reassured that I was not alone. I put down my guitar, and I haven’t played in years. I stopped seeking out new music and stopped going to local shows. I grew jaded by the bureaucracy I had to deal with every day at school and work, and I started viewing the punk ideology is idealistic and unreasonable.
Now, I’m dangerously close to graduating from university, and something has changed in the world around me. I’ve been watching the Occupy protests closely, getting tangentially involved (though for me, like so many others, the very obligations that keep me away are the ones that need to be reformed), and feeling exhilarated by the energy that surrounds the movement. Occupy feels definitively punk to me. In my city, the anarchistic force in Occupy’s camp is highly organized and purely community-based and, while I’ve always believed that anarchy is unsustainable on a large scale, seeing it function beautifully here is an incredibly powerful testament to man’s ability to help, support, and sustain one another.
Occupy has energized me. I’m listening again. I’ll pick up my guitar this weekend and make noise with it. Now, I’m far more socially conscious and aware than I was at 17. I understand intersections of oppression, the country’s financial situation, the business politics that shroud academia, preventing it from doing its job. This time around, I have something to bring to the table. The anger over these issues has surged up again, and it feels like I’ve suppressed it for the sake of seeming calm and reasonable. One does not need to be calm to be rational. Anger is sometimes justified, and in a world where asking nicely has gotten us nowhere, we need to start yelling.
Here. Enjoy some of what I’m talking about.
I posted recently my first date with a wonderful guy whom I’ve called Desa. Among other things, I described him as smart, fun, and endearingly klutzy. We’ve gone on a few more dates since then, and spent a few more nights like the one on our first, and those descriptors are all true. It’s one of the things about him that I omitted that I’m going to talk about today.
Desa was in an accident three years ago that left him with a traumatic brain injury. As a result, he’s unable to remember anything from before the accident, and his ability to transfer things from his short-term memory into long-term is shoddy at best. (He also acquired an English accent, but that’s not so relevant to the post… just interesting.) On top of that, he got a concussion over the weekend and has been a disorganized, exhausted mess for the past few days.
I don’t think I realized initially how much this affects his day-to-day life and ability to form relationships. He’s just accepted a job offer that will take him to the other side of the country for six months and his roommate’s been giving him some shit about the fact that he’s been dating around lately. (NB: This is the roommate’s issue entirely– Desa hasn’t agreed to exclusivity with any of the people he’s been seeing, and there are no secrets). I mentioned that since he’s only got two months left here before he leaves for another six, it’s probably smart not to get into anything too serious. After all, there’s a good chance things will be completely different when he comes back.
“You’re right,” he said, “But I wish you weren’t.”
By what I’d said, I had meant that people change and that six months far away is a long time (especially for what would be a new relationship). For him, my words had an entirely separate meaning. We talked about it a bit, but it was clear that the topic was a painful one for him. By the end of six months, he won’t remember the things that are going on now. “I can fall completely in love with someone, but if I don’t see them for a few days, I forget why I liked them at all.”
He changed the topic back to his excitement about the new job, but when we parted ways he grabbed my hand and looked at me for a long second. “Stay in touch,” he said.
If I don’t, he’ll forget why he ever liked me.
I have a decision to make. I like Desa quite a bit, but I actively choose to fall in love, and I won’t do that until I’ve considered everything carefully. I don’t know what I’ll choose yet. On the one hand, this would be an enormous difficulty that we would struggle with for a long time. Possibly forever, since from what I can tell it seems unlikely that his memory will be restored or return to its level of functioning from before the accident. On the other hand, he really is an amazing person. He’s incredibly kind, multifaceted, and ambitious, with the work ethic to pursue those ambitions.
I don’t know yet which path I’ll choose, and I guess the point of this post was just to lay it out there. These are the dating issues for which there is no guide.
For the first time in years, I’m doing okay. I am, for the most part, caught up on my schoolwork. I’m working. I’m dating. I have a hell of a social life, and I feel mostly sane.
But the reality of life with a chronic, occasionally debilitating psychiatric illness is the very real knowledge that this state is only temporary. I’ve been without medication or any real medical intervention for a couple of years now, and have only just begun the process of going back into treatment.
My anxieties about treatment are twofold: for me, “treatment” refers to pharmacological treatment. Talk-based psychotherapy does fuck-all to manage hallucinations and delusions. I understand that it’s fantastic for folks with conditions that can be effectively managed by coping skills, but no coping skills in the world are going to make the imaginary neighbors stop arguing or the raccoons stop playing violin outside my window. In the past, medication has had some negative side-effects that, when weighted against the condition itself, I deemed not worth suffering. Namely, my memory fails and I lose a lot of my higher-level cognitive processing: my brain just feels heavy. Cloudy. I can’t work. I can’t learn. I have forgotten most of the years I was heavily medicated. That’s no coincidence, and I can’t afford for those things to happen again.
Secondly, I’ve avoided inpatient hospitalization because I’ve mostly heard horror stories from other trans folks when it comes to inpatient mental health treatment. I’d be anxious about being housed with women, and, because I’m not often read as male, I’d worry for my safety about being housed with men. Kiz agrees that this is a reasonable fear, and since he’s been the only one around to see me during the times when inpatient would have been a wise choice, he decided to take on the responsibility of looking after me rather than bringing me to the ER.
As a result, the burden on him is huge whenever I’m having a severe episode. That would be a lot for anyone to take on, but combined with the fact that Kiz has PTSD, it’s an exceptionally stressful burden for him. I need to be able to handle it on my own.
So I’m going back to treatment. I’m going to hesitantly pursue the medication route again. There were a couple, over the years, which did seem to help with minimal side-effects, but my adolescent metabolism constantly required higher doses until the levels of chemicals in my system became dangerously near-toxic. I’d have to switch to something new, and the brain fog would return.
Hopefully, this time around will be different. I can feel my good streak coming to an end: my energy level is a bit too high and I’m starting to feel agitated and wired. In the library today, I kept hearing whispering, despite being on the silent floor surrounded by people sitting alone at their tables, poring over books. It’s 2 AM and I’m wide awake. My ex called tonight and asked if I was manic. I told him I wasn’t. Just “productive.” But he’s always been able to tell what’s going on based on the tone of my voice and now I’m starting to feel the edge too.
I think the original intent of this post was to talk about the intersection of transsexuality and mental illness but hey, we’re all allowed a rambly crazy-rant once in a while, right?