Saturday, October 19, 2019

Dad died.

My dad died on his birthday. October 11th. I was lucky to be home. I was home in time to go to the hospital and say goodbye. I was able to hold his hand while he was still lucid. He didn't suffer for a long time. Watching somebody fade away from life isn't easy, but in this case it was as painless as such a thing is ever likely to be. I'm thankful for that. I'm also thankful that my sister stepped up to write the eulogy. She did a great job. A lot of people showed up to the funeral. My dad was a well-loved guy. He made a lot of people laugh. He was always joking, and he passed that down to me.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

My thoughts at the moment.

The feeling of panic won't stop. That's not true. I get little breaks here or there. If I'm talking to a friend, or riding a bicycle, or drinking - I might get a pause. Drinking isn't good though, 'cause now it can also make things worse. So I'm trying to keep that in check. I'm taking that drug, Effexor, which is supposed to kick in after taking it for weeks. But I think the bulk of this panic is situational - breakup combined with being back in Pennsylvania, as unsure about what I am doing as ever before, and now yet another year older.

I want to be a good girl for somebody. I had that. A lot of the other parts of the relationship were a mismatch, but I loved being somebody's girlfriend. I'm told that can happen again. I don't want to look for it. I can't stand this dating stuff. I get way too close way too fast. I am blinded by the positives, and I ignore the feeling in my chest that tells me it isn't a good match. I don't trust myself.

Like a classic complete idiot, I tried to text or email Chance a few times. The way it ended, it seemed like friendship might be possible. I thought we were both sad, but on the same page, acknowledging that we have differences, and it would be best to part ways. Then Chance let me have it. They texted a good solid list of everything I did wrong, and what the DSM would medically diagnose as being wrong with me. I said I would look into it, apologized, and promised not to contact them again. Borderline personality disorder? Sure, some of the symptoms have a ring of truth, but it isn't a fit. I don't torpedo relationships. For the most part, I am healthy in that regard. And I hold hate for nobody. Emotionally abusive? Probably. I don't do well under pressure, and I get defensive. When I speak precisely, I sound like an asshole, while I am only trying to select words carefully. There's no malice. I try to communicate appropriately, but I get frustrated, and I fall short. I was a total dick more than a few times. Always sorry, but still a total dick.

What I need to do is stop replaying all of these thoughts on repeat. I try to practice mindfulness, and it is nearly impossible. The thoughts keep on cycling. I can only get brief moments of peace. At least I am glad that I'm trying. I probably care way too much about what people think of me. I try hard to live by a personal code of ethics. But the fact is, people misunderstand each other, and relationships are difficult. Over the past few years, I haven't had a good track record. Three people who I've become very close with have either cut me out of their lives, or I had to stop talking to them. I don't do well when that happens. I am not doing well right now.

What I'd like to do is approach my situation systematically - focusing on one step at a time. I have the exact same goals and ideas as one year ago before I moved to Austin for the second time. I feel like I have made zero progress. I have nothing to show for it. Maybe I need to make a third attempt to reach the same goals. Maybe it will just take me years rather than months to figure out where my place is, and what my simple sustainable life might look like. I want to find that life and stop moving around so much. I want to feel happy where I am. I almost had that in Austin, and then I got into a relationship. There were some positives about that relationship, but if I'm being honest with myself, I know I should have ended it much sooner. But I let myself fall in love. I completely surrendered. I tried to let myself get swept into somebody else's life and reality at the expense of my own sense of self. I am still coming back to my own personal reality. I hope I learned something.

I know what I want. I want to find a way to make money with sewing in any capacity. I want to stop selling books, and switch to sewing. I want to find a partner who rides bicycles and laughs. I want a partner who has an adventurous spirit. I can compromise a great deal, but for once I want to make sure the fundamentals are in place before I practically get married, and then bail out, leaving massive double heartache in my wake. I'd like to quit packing up my van and running away from shit. I want to belong to community. I want to get my meds sorted out, and have good helpful therapy. I want to continue practicing mindfulness, and feel connected to the earth spiritually on a more regular basis. I want to be satisfied with where I stand in the present.

Everything I want seems simple and possible. I believe I will find my place geographically and in spirit. Above all, I simply want peace. I am a wreck.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Good things that happened since leaving Chicago.

So yeah, shit feels pretty generally fucked up right now. And I like to type all about things that make me feel fucked up, 'cause I think maybe it's relatable, or maybe I just want to write it down, so I can crumble it up into a little ball and flush it down the toilet. So my writing is infused with all sorts of negative thoughts, when in reality I'm living a pretty sweet life. Sure, I am at a particularly low point right now, but good things still happen. Ask anybody who rides a bicycle: everything isn't all bad.

So let me think of some good shit that's been happening since I packed up my van and drove away from Chicago.

First thing I was able to get myself to do is ride a bicycle. Haven't been doing that nearly enough, that's for sure. I looked up the Bike Kennett schedule on FarceBook, and decided to go on the Monday ride. I texted my friend, Diana, who goes on some of the rides, and she suggested we meet before the ride. The Monday ride is for beginners, which we are not, so we planned to ride some extra miles with hills. I met up with my Hoopty, which is my only current operational bicycle, but fuckit that's the one I love. I wore my first and favorite skirt that I got in Austin. Diana wore some flashy gold sparkle bike shorts. All told, it was pretty hot stuff.

I can't figure out what people think about me. I know some people like me, but are they interested in me? I thought I could sense interest last summer when we went on rides together, but I also couldn't be sure if Diana thought I was gay. I mean... I tried to explain myself a couple times, but I'm not sure my words translate. She knows I had a wife. But on the question of whether I was into guys or girls, I paused. The answer is girls, but it's a little more nuanced than that. And when it comes to pronouns, you can just assume that you're going to confuse people. Maybe I should have simply explained that I am a shy submissive genderqueer anal slut, who also likes traditional values and vanilla sex. Instead I left it vague.

Deciding to put aside for the moment that I can't stand gender norms, especially when it applies to dating, I determined that it would be a good idea to be a little bit more direct and just ask her out on a date. I have absolutely no business dating anybody right now - being that I am crushed inside - but I didn't let that stop me. So a couple days after that ride, I texted in the morning asking if she'd like to go to dinner with me next week. The response? "Of course!"

It's hard to misconstrue what that means. Asking somebody to dinner is a date, right? I still had my doubts. First of all, she started beginning all of her texts with "friend" and further, though polite about it, I don't think she really understands queerness, or at least my specific brand of it. Whatever. I could clarify at dinner. Secondly, and perhaps more important, Diana is way out of my league. Her family has horses, and she hangs out with people whose shirts have buttons up the front. She has a career. I can't compete with that. You'd have to reeeeeeally be into me. Which is technically possible, because I happen to be cool as fuck. But it's still a stretch.

Well, dinner got downgraded to lunch. When she sat about 75 feet away from me, I began feeling more confident that I was correctly reading vibes. That's ok, because I like Diana, and it was beneficial for me simply to get out of the house. Plus, I'd never asked anybody to dinner before, and now I have - so practice. I did still want to be direct, so when it seemed appropriate in the flow of conversation, I admitted that I had attempted to ask her on a date. For some people this might cause an awkwardness, but I am fucking awesome, so it was not a big deal. The answer, which I was already almost sure of, is that she wants to hang out as friends.

I don't want to actually date. I just crave affection. If somebody would hold me, or rub my back, it would work wonders for my emotional pain right now. On the car ride back to the house, I filled Diana in on some of the details of my recently ended relationship, just to confirm that we had absolutely no common ground other than bicycling. And maybe a little bit of mutual attraction, honestly I have no idea. But she didn't know what pegging is, so that's not a very good start.

I went hiking with my friend Rochelle. We met on a platonic friend app years ago, because 1) I was lonely, and 2) We have a lot in common. Rochelle is an important friend. She introduced me to the term genderqueer, which is important, being that it describes me, so I should know about it. We've had some deep conversations and gotten to know each other pretty well on our hikes and over long hours of texting.

There is no need for secrets, so we can really open up about our lives. There are fewer boundaries than with some of my other less open friends. I suppose I push those boundaries, since I have a general tendency toward oversharing, but I think it has been mutually beneficial. I love Rochelle like a sibling. She calls me sibs sometimes, and it makes me feel warm and connected. None of this is to mention that every time we get together, there are going to be some pretty seriously hard laughs.

I'm a failure at planning and organizing. Rochelle knows all the hikes. All I had to do was show up at her house, and she picked a place for us to go. Getting outside is medicine. We went for a long walk in the woods and talked. We got to a riverbank with tons of flat stones, and skipped them across the water. The value of this is hard to overstate. It took a difficult anxiety-ridden day, and made it livable, and even enjoyable. Then she got me pizza and showed me the crafty projects she is working on. What would I have done otherwise? I'd have sat around broken and brain-fucked. Instead, I healed a little bit. I looked up through the trees and saw light filtering down. I am alive, and I will stay that way for awhile.

Saw my ex-wife.
Kristin thinks I should cut my hair. Nobody is going to want to have sex with me if I don't clean up my look. That's what she thinks. I'm dubious. I think my winning personality actually goes a long way. But I'm willing to listen, because our brains work in a similar way, and I trust her insight. Yesterday was rough. I didn't quite manage to leave the house, and in fact I was barely able to get up off the bed. I binge watched Netflix shows, and stared off into space. I finally mustered the courage to begin a profile on FetLife, and I texted her to see if she'd friend me and tell me what I'm doing wrong. She is well equipped to tell you what you are doing wrong. She used to draw a web comic called "This is What's Wrong With You."

Kristin is doing a lot better, I think. She's dating two or three people in some polyamory deal where they all date each other and it's somehow pretty much fine. It was nice to see her again, and her tiny dog Daisy who I absolutely miss and love. We caught up. She had some sound advice about love and sex and anxiety and ADHD medications. She has experience and perspective, and I either trust her judgement, or at least am willing to consider it. When it comes to makeup, she knows her stuff, and she showed me a few ideas that might assist me in feeling and looking more comfortably femme. She also thinks my hair and clothing are an issue - I'll explore what she's talking about, and see how it makes me feel. I self-identify as kind of a bum, and she says that's going to keep me from getting laid. I don't think I have the emotional strength to think about it much right now, but I do have a great fashion ally if and when the time comes.

In conclusion.
Everything doesn't suck. I have a good support network. I'm getting up and getting outside. I'm healing. I hung out with my friends Kat and Drew. They understand kink issues, and they tell me they love me and how happy they are to see me again. Kat made dinner, and we had a good time sitting around a fire. I went to a show in Philly with Shelly, and we got to talk and catch up. It was a good show, and I saw others who I knew. The anxiety was fresh and potent that night, but I managed to wear a pink polkadot skirt on Girard Avenue, and weather the storm with music. I face-timed with Mike until 4am one night. I'm going to a birthday thing for Kyler tomorrow to see Philly bicycle friends, and I'm going to hike for ten days on the Appalachian Trail with Jonas starting on October 1st. In short, yes I am a lucky person, and yes I will survive.


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Picking gravel out of my skin.

I tried to hold on for dear life.
Eventually, it was too much, and I slipped.
I fell to the road surface, my body rolled; skidded to a stop.
Covered in cuts and bruises, I laid there for a minute.
Then I stood up and began to walk.
After a few miles, I stuck out my thumb.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Back in Pennsylvania

I still exist. I broke up with my human partner because I felt like I knew it was the right thing to do. I know it was. I am in Pennsylvania because I'm going hiking with Jonas soon, and I needed the safety net of the Harne house to crash land into. I left my person on good terms, but it was one of the saddest challenges I can remember. I was in love, and I never want to put myself through trying to date people again. I want to find my person, and I push real hard to reconcile any differences to make it work. I lost sight of myself, I lost my sense of self. I ignored my needs, my comfort, my reality.

I'm moving my health insurance shit back to Pennsylvania and never changing my official address again in my life. I'll move, but that address change shit is too much. My health insurance doesn't kick in until November 1st (also my birthday) so my wonderful mom is paying out of pocket for me to go to a new doctor and explore the options for anti-anxiety medication, which I am convinced will help, and eventually Adderall, which has helped with motivation and organization in the past. Right now? I can hardly do a single fuckin' thing. I'm broken.

I'm going to get better. The logical part of my brain recognizes the pieces of the puzzle and the path to wellness. The emotional part of my brain is falling apart, and I just keep sobbing. I found a human who knew my pronouns, and called me their girl, and loved me. They were always kind to me, and I felt like I finally had a partner who could take care of me with the things I am not good at. It wasn't enough. The move to Chicago was stressful, and I felt overwhelming panic every day. I began to hurt my partner with my words and actions, and I felt helpless to stop. Everything I said was misinterpreted, or correctly interpreted but infused with unfortunate frustration and panic. Eventually it was too much, and I had to do what I always do: load up my van and drive away.

I have a prescription for Effexor, which is an anti-depressant. I've been taking it for two days, but it's supposed to take 2-6 weeks to have an effect. My self image is not that of a depressed person, but I am at a point where I feel that I need to be open-minded about any help so I can start to feel like I am myself. I want to feel like I am operating my own body. I know that the breakup is a causal factor in how I am feeling, but also that the symptoms have existed at some level forever. I have been suffering. I know that my suffering is simple and lightweight compared to the struggles of others, and frankly I don't know how people live like that. Like this.

I will find my path, and I will soon enough be able to travel again and reach goals. Simple stuff. I am doing everything in my power to make it so. But for right now, I am only trying to hold it together. Keep it together. Mindfulness. Stop replaying every detail of the relationship which caused me discomfort and panic. Pump the brakes on the sobbing. Ride a bicycle. You've got this, Chris. You go, girl. It's going to be better than fine. Soon. Just hang in there.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

I'm moving to Chicago.

A lot has transpired, and a lot is in motion. I am back together with Chance, thank god, and we are moving to Chicago. Right now I am having a fucked up ADHD day, and I want to post an update here, but I can hardly articulate a single thing I want to say. This stuff that I say - writing here - has gone on far longer than makes any sense. I never write about the cool stuff anymore. This is a personal blog where I used to be proud to post every feeling I had. I can't do that the same way I used to. I am the same person, and life simply keeps chugging along. I don't have so many fresh epiphanies or realizations about myself or the nature of existing as a human being on Earth. I am simply doing it, and I don't have so much to say.

I am absolutely confused and overwhelmed. I am exhausted. I fail to have a sense of reality, and I feel I have always been groundless in that regard. I am a fleshy bag of guts and emotions with electrical charges shooting aimlessly through gray water. At my best times, I find this state hilarious.

Everything is as it should be. How it must be. I am not depressed, I am simply out of my mind.

At times on a bicycle, in a place that is unfamiliar, I look for the highest point and ride to it. I find a path or destination, and follow an invisible thread. That is the only thing I do. That is the only thing of which I am capable.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Breaking up with Chance.

I was seeing somebody for four months. We broke up. I broke up with them two days ago, and last night we talked calmly and the breakup really set in. Now I am back on the ocean, adrift. I feel nauseous. I feel hopeful, but mostly horrible. I keep replaying pieces of the last four months in my mind. There is no button for Stop. I am always going to be okay no matter what. There is no button for Fast Forward. (Life is evidently more complex than a VCR.)

When I arrived in Austin, I was full of hope. This is the opportunity which I created to start fresh. It still is. I can't talk about the relationship now. Another person's privacy; I can't right now anyway.

I am fighting to find a new track and stay on it. I am begging the universe.

I stayed at their apartment almost every night. Our lives got massively intertwined almost immediately. Beautifully at times. Now I am in detox. I broke up because logic told me to, not because we couldn't have been together longer. I broke up because my gut told me to find the courage to do what ought to be done. We are different people who need different things.

It feels less like pulling off a band-aid and more like creating a fresh wound.

I hope I am able to find the track. I feel like I am close. I have every single ingredient, I just need to learn how to cook.

Monday, July 1, 2019

The cavalry is coming, but they're going to be slow to arrive.

"Is that... what's happening now?"

I held my hands out; palms up and shook yes. Frustrated to a meltdown. The last crumb of smashed glass in the road, which rain so far has failed to wash away.

I walked into the therapy office in high spirits, sober again for a few days, and having ridden a bicycle like a bird in flight to get there. I changed in the bathroom upon arrival. I put on my one shirt with buttons. Sweat immediately made circles, which spread and met everywhere. Sweat is ok, I said, we all know Texas is hot.

I did a fine job of introducing myself. I was an intelligent boy with a beard - worth helping, worth medicating. An alcoholic - sure, it's in the notes, but I'm picking myself up, you can see. An optimist! A person seeking light! Hell, I went to church this week.

Fifteen minutes into the appointment, I had to admit that I wasn't sure why I was there. It had been explained to me twice at the behavioral intake appointment what the next steps were. I had asked for a slower and simpler recap of what I was supposed to do, and the kind person there went through it again patiently. I felt too embarrassed to ask for a third run-through, and I didn't ask that we write it down so we could review it with written words. I arranged an appointment before leaving - the next step - but couldn't remember what the appointment was for, or how that piece fit into the puzzle of me trying to get access to my meds again.

The therapist explained the process again, and again I felt like I understood. I was there for talk therapy. I would need to wait for a psychiatrist who can prescribe Adderall - if they feel like it. The therapist checked their computer: I had no appointment for a psychiatrist. I was supposed to get a call, but nobody had called in the week since the intake appointment. We walked to the front desk together to sort this out - by now it was becoming clear that I was a lost child and I needed some help. The next available appointment was in two months. Two months until I might get the meds which make an enormous improvement to my life. There was talk of phone calls and what sounded like badgering people, and I began to feel clouded and upset. Sensing this, or maybe responding to loud echoing cues, the therapist asked if I would like to talk about it in private instead of publicly at the front desk. I shook my head yes.

I explained that my partner had helped me move my insurance to Texas, and that they were better at knowing what I was supposed to be doing, but that I couldn't keep having crying meltdowns in front of them.

"Is that... what's happening now?"

Fuck yes that's what is happening. I should have arrived wearing a clown suit so we could cut to the chase. I had already stated as a fact for the record that my shit was all fucked up. Time was up like fifteen minutes ago, but the kindest therapist on the planet said she didn't mind because she didn't have an appointment after mine. We used her computer to sign into my account with my insurance provider. She explained a few things slowly, and wrote the important parts on a piece of pink paper which I lost.

I told myself this later: "The cavalry is coming, but they're going to be slow to arrive." I like that. You can use that if you want.

1) Try not to get drunk
2) Ride a bicycle more
3) Smoke a little weed and work slowly
4) Turn up the volume and bounce with it

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

June 18, 2019

Pro Tip: if you're going to saw up plywood to make shelves, probably do it outside. I know it's hot and there are mosquitoes on the porch now, but if you run the saw inside, you're going to get sawdust all over everything. It will be yuck.

I made some cool shelves for my room. The room is still a shitshow, but now there are some shelves. I can either paint the shelves, or just start putting stuff on them. I don't know. The shelves would look nicer if I had a router and I could bevel the front edges. Also, if I cut the dividers to the correct size, it would look a little bit straighter, but most people probably won't notice.

You know what would be cool? A workshop. I'd love to have an organized shop with a table saw and all that. I'd love to be building stuff like these shelves for a living. I don't have any college degree or anything, so if I'm not able to stay self employed, the available job situation looks kinda grim. I mean... I'd gladly work on a garbage truck if I had to, but I'd like to be in charge of my schedule if I can. I'd also like to make more money when I work harder, and less if I don't.

One step at a time. I'm trying to be accepting of my slow pace. I just don't have a lot of oomph to throw at the day. I have a few productive hours. Maybe.

I got some real progress going on having health insurance, and thus Adderall. I just gotta pay the bill, and I should theoretically then be able to make an appointment with a doctor. I've been holding onto some pills for emergency, and only using them sparingly, and never taking an adequate dosage. 20mg is good.

I took 20mg of Adderall yesterday, and that's how these shelves appeared in my room. The previous day, I took nothing, and it was a considerable struggle just to simply buy the plywood. I've got stupid anxiety coming from any direction these days. So you know what? I drank beer. It was quick and effective. That was a couple weeks ago. Yesterday, after building the shelves, I went to pick up Chance after work, which is a thing I do a lot. I've been staying at their place pretty much constantly, so it has been easy to ignore the state of my own home.

Me and Chance went out to get tacos and beer. I was still feeling the Adderall, but it was wearing off a little bit. I haven't taken a full 20mg pill in a long time, so I wasn't used to it, and I felt uncomfortable. Nothing beer couldn't fix. We had lots of beer, and I had a legitimately enjoyable time. I wish it was always that easy forever.

I took another 20mg today, so I oughta be doing something to get my room - aka sewing studio - set up and operational. Instead, I am typing this shit, 'cause I haven't written anything in a month, so it seemed like a conversational-sounding post was in order. Alright, wish me luck. Like... a lot of luck.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019


I'm on track. It can be challenging to remember my goals; short and long-term. Even with an uncomplicated life, it only takes a few items on a list to overwhelm and sink me. Chance, the adult human who I am dating, has been helping me move to Texas officially on paper. A project like that takes every bit of wherewithal I can muster. Doing it alone feels almost impossible.

Usually I feel relief only by remembering that if I do absolutely nothing for long enough, I might one day die in peace, and leave The Man empty-handed.

I got my passport renewed. I'm riding a bicycle to Mexico with a bunch of goofballs in two days, so it's a damn good thing I have a passport. I waited way too long, and still didn't even look up the renewal process. I waited long enough that I had to drive to Houston and pay for expedited service and Express Mail. Chance set up an appointment for me at the Houston passport agency, and texted me that I had to open an email and confirm the appointment. I didn't ask them to do this, but they knew it needed to be done, so they went ahead and did it for me.

I got my passport renewed, and I used my new Texas address. I switched my car insurance to Texas, which is cheap as shit, and got a real authentic Texas licence plate. Next up is a Texas driver's licence, and from there I should be able to finalize the moving of my health insurance to a plan that works in Texas. If I can manage all that, I will have access to Adderall, which feels like the most critical piece in this particular puzzle o' bullshit. Oh: back taxes. Chance is helping with that too.

What am I bringing to the table? I am happy to wash all of the dishes we could ever make dirty. I can try to never get mad. I am utterly relieved to be with somebody who has skills and wants to have a relationship that operates as a team. They said so. I can't imagine more compelling words to say to me. With the opposite powers of our weird brains combined, I think we might become stronger than the sum of our parts. I am excited to find opportunities to contribute, but the team captain has the skills which prove more useful on a daily basis. For now I show appreciation and try to help more than I get in the way.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Doing mostly great. Can't claim 100%, cause minor panic attacks here and there. Other times I'm dancing in the kitchen.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

This masterpiece who I found.

I'm in love. It's happening too quickly, but what a relief. When their kindness came into focus, my defenses crumbled. I wasn't expecting gentle and kind. I was developing feelings and butterflies, but I was holding them at bay. I was protecting myself; preparing for the stoic aftermath of probable rejection. Now I have opened myself fully to see what can happen. They say they feel lucky to be with me. I feel like they have been an underappreciated genius for too long. We're both right.

Best to not type about these things, but I can't help it. I'm not thinking about anything else, and I can't think of anything clever to say. Here is something I haven't felt in a long time. Here is something I have never seen before. I submit myself to the forces of nature. Let me show my friends this masterpiece who I found.

Friday, April 26, 2019

I'm glad I had the gall to change locations. I'm relieved that I was able to stay afloat and mobile long enough to allow such a move. It's hard to imagine that I've already been in Austin for almost four months. But I'm also not good at time.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

I stood eight feet back from a giant blank canvas. I gripped a paintbrush in my fist - the kind of brush you would use to paint a house. Pennsylvania hadn't felt like home for many years. I submerged the brush in a bucket of paint, letting the gray primer cover the bristles, the handle, my hand just past the wrist. I pulled my hand out of the bucket and watched the paint dribble and stream to the floor. Then I pitched the brush forcefully at the canvas.

Monday, April 22, 2019

That's my jam.

Loquats. Nobody has ever heard of them. They are little fruits in Texas, and we've got plenty of ripe ones in the yard. My personal genius and I picked most of a 5-gallon bucket, and proceeded to make jam. I can claim an assist, but that jam probably wasn't getting cooked up too fast if it was left up to me. It was a learning experience. Not only did I learn something about making jam, I witnessed a rational and efficient method of approaching any experimental new project. I recognized areas where I would expect to find hurdles, but was instead guided carefully around these with a certain nonchalance. Move forward with imperfection; make adjustments as needed.

The jam is delicious. There is too much sugar, predictably, because we followed a recipe. People always add way too much sugar. But still, it is delicious, and we've only made two jars. We have a huge bucket of loquats to experiment with, and the preparation is now streamlined. We figured it out. We can try reducing the sugar in subsequent small batches until we arrive at something which at least pretends to respect the flavor of loquat. Or we can let a bucket of fruit go rotten, and have more sex instead.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Tiptoe cautiously through doors.

I recently finished the book "Thinking in Pictures" by Temple Grandin. I read "Animals in Translation" years ago, and enjoyed it so much that I wanted to have more information about Temple's unique way of thinking and interpreting the world. Both books provide insight into the way people with autism think. Like a lot of non-autistic people, I am a verbal thinker, which I didn't know or understand until Temple Grandin explained the way which she organizes her thoughts and ideas like playing back a video. Her explanation of this superpower is fascinating. I had no idea that some brains work in the way that she describes. How could I? I lack a firm grasp on even my own.

Both of Temple's books serve as a reminder that humans process information in vastly different ways. It is important to remember that we can't assume what another person's thoughts or experience might be. Our processes are different, and our interpretation of inputs and variables are different. We can learn an enormous amount from listening to different types of thinkers - but as a whole, I am afraid we do not prioritize this. We value one type of thinking, and we allow one type of personality to gain and hold power over all of the rest of us. It causes suffering. We routinely ignore valuable insight from fringe thinkers because we don't focus on how to communicate better and accept new information and ideas from people who are natural experts on matters which we don't even understand the possible critical importance of. The world baffles me. I feel like I am trying to jog through waist-deep syrup. Did I put the syrup there, or is it institutional? Why do we value a money-based measure of economic health, rather than trying to maximize happiness and access to a sense of community and wellbeing? I'm glad that these questions have been asked, but I am not confident that improvement will be swiftly forthcoming.

Temple Grandin said something that I think about all the time. She describes in Thinking in Pictures how she visualizes a new chapter in life as going through a door. She will visualize a specific door which has significance to a period of her life, and imagine herself walking through this doorway to represent entering a new era, or the completion of a big project. When graduating from college, she pictured a specific door on campus that led to an area which she found peaceful.

Even as a verbal thinker, I am finding utility in using door imagery in my own life. I don't use images of specific doors like Temple does, and for me the image of passing through a door does not represent a major milestone, but rather the simple act of trying anything new. There is a measure of calculation and discomfort every time I try something new. Because of this, I tend to repeat the same activities, and go to the same places which are familiar. In spite of this tendency, I recognize the value of opening new doors - something helpful or wonderful could be behind any new door, and the risk involved to see is usually negligible. I am a horrible organizer. It would be easy for me to get stuck in a loop if I didn't make a conscious effort to force myself to sometimes open new doors. I don't explore - I do a cost-benefit analysis, and conclude that exploration would be in my best interest. I require more time to acclimate. I am a late bloomer and a slow reader.

I have been opening some new doors recently. One door was as simple as finding a new bagel and coffee place which I like. Pretty easy. New doors are not always hard to open, but it helps a lot if there is another person to walk through a door with me, who also has a catalog of tons of fun doors, and they will hold your hand as you tiptoe cautiously through.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Wait it out.

Two days ago, I was doing great. That's the date on this post. And oh what a day it was. I don't fuckin' know. Now I'm sitting around sorta bugging out, and it's been awhile. It's not even a real panic attack - it's more like a panic attack you would have if you were a giant stupid baby. I knew it would happen again, and here we are. Typing through waves of discomfort. I'm not feeling very smart. I don't have much business trying to write anything at the moment, except I said something about posting on even days, so fuckit. Puke and cry? No. Wait it out. Wait this shit out. Wait this goddamn shit right the fuck out.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Learning more about birds.

I am floating slowly to the surface of a cool lake the consistency of molten plastic. Every nerve ending is kissed and warmed with a torch. I am exposed and unafraid. My defenses are swept away like dust under an anthropologist's brush. I might be eviscerated where I sit; watching with calm detachment. It would be worth it to learn more about birds.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Posting in repose.

I am posting on even days. We'll see how long that goes. It was a beautiful weekend, spent mostly in repose.

Friday, April 12, 2019

I recommend dropping acid.

I support hallucinogenic drugs. I have experimented and found value. If you are curious, seek them out. You should have water with you, and somebody who you trust. I have a respectful relationship with such drugs - I am ready to learn, or I am equally satisfied realizing that my wisdom is currently adequate and I am simply a 36-year-old person having a flat-out good time.

I was sitting on the porch wrapping up the previous post when Evan stopped by to see if he could use my printer. An hour later we were on acid and wandering around under some bridges. It was the middle of a hot afternoon, and I felt comfortably amused to be hanging out with this dude and making a joke out of absolutely everything.

When I moved to Austin, Evan was one of the first people I met. He was renting a room at the previous house where I lived, a forty-five second walk from the porch on which I now sit. We have a similar world view. We share similar strategies for interacting with people and the world. Evan is intelligent and hilarious. He has no bank account or ID and he keeps a load of his belongings in an unregistered van with broken windows in the back yard of the house where we lived. His stories are borderline alarming, and he operates in a manner considerably more cavalier than my own. One example of that is how he has liquid acid just chilling out in a drawer.

"I'm supposed to just trust you with that?" I joked; sticking out my tongue. "Yes" he replied matter-of-factly as he carefully dropped a small dose from a little squeeze bottle. Of course I did trust him, as strange as that might sound. I make strong connections quickly. When the pieces all fit, I listen. We have a spiritual bond that many people might find hard to understand. We get to choose which humans we associate with as members of our tribe. That is how it works for me. I have a tribe. I trust myself to be guided by vibes.

Should I tell the rest of the story? I had a fundraiser event at a thrift store downtown to raise money for Bikes Across Borders, a group that I am riding to Mexico with in May. When I took the acid I thought my odds of making it to the event were about 50/50. As the trip intensified over the course of a couple hours, I was able to gauge my control and recognize that I was absolutely ready to bike. I was riding to the event with Jaguar, so I filled him in about why my pupils were saucers, and we set out for Treasure City Thrift.

The room was hot and I felt a bit uneasy. I walked into the store and felt the artificial lighting upon me and breathed in the humid air. People were drinking cups and cans of beer. Jaguar kindly helped me confirm that the hibiscus tea contained no alcohol. I put some in my bottle and returned to the safe pavement in front of the store. I sat on the ground with my back to the wall, and I looked up to outer space. As the sun set, it illuminated a long line of clouds from below. Winds at the cloud level stretched the vapor, and it looked like the clouds were being teased with a comb from below. I watched the subtle shifting of light as the sun was tucked underneath the earth where I sat. Once again, I signed life's contract, which I find dubious and had no hand in drafting. I sat on cement, an organism or a conglomeration of objects and concepts, part of an impossibly complex interconnected whole. I sat relaxed in my ignorance, and at peace with what I think I know.

One thing I knew is that I needed food. I felt qualified to obtain fuel, but I sought Jaguar's assistance to make sure the transaction went smoothly. I was experiencing lime green and turquoise, and thought Jaguar might help interpret part of the taco ordering process. He did.

Should I tell the rest of the story? I got Jaguar a couple tacos too, and we sat in front of the thrift store and ate. A bicycle-y looking girl walked over and stood above us. As we all talked about the upcoming bicycle trip, I offered half of my second taco, which brought her down to street level. We soon learned that she knew of Jaguar by his previous name, and they share several friends and acquaintances.

Our new friend said she was planning to meet up with the Thursday night social ride at the mid-point. I had planned to skip the ride, since I'd be at the fundraiser, and I hadn't felt very social on the previous week's ride. I was invited to come along, and I considered this bonus content for an acid trip gone well.

Anybody familiar with the origin story of LSD is aware that it can play well with bicycling. Some people might feel uncomfortable riding a bicycle after dropping acid, but I can report that I am well equipped and uniquely qualified to handle such a circumstance. I cruised with a handful of folks over rolling hills for a few miles, to a large park with a basketball court where hard-partying adults were riding kids bikes in a tiny criterium race. I stood on the sidelines as a friend of mine, Jay, put on a surprisingly adept performance. He later told me he knew about the race in advance and practiced at work. Bicycle mechanic perk.

I felt great. I felt calm and at peace. I floated toward home in a flock of bicycles, listening to music from multiple sound systems - speeding up or slowing down to change stations within the group.

That is the full story.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

I am a bird with one foot.

I'm going to fill in some gaps. I'm going to let thin drool escape my lips, enter my keyboard, and type for me. The goal today is twofold: I want to describe how I feel about people changing their gender pronouns, and I want to explain the manner in which I've been typing as of late.

"I feel like I'm floating." Easy enough. That's a statement people readily make. When I started writing here, this blog was a writing prompt. It still is. The pages sit here and ask me to practice. Everything I say here is true as a rule, but I have been filtering the truth through lenses of varying strength and color. I'm practicing doing something that I love; something I would like to expand and be more skillful at doing - creating a space where semi-colons and sentence fragments can roam free. I want to be a better writer, so I am experimenting with different paints. It is pretentious. It is hard to follow. I am a bird with one foot.

Hi Mom. Your kid is ok.

Non-binary! Genderqueer! Language is evolving fast enough that we can watch it happening. Now, in addition to the familiar "he/him" and "she/her" pronouns, "they/them" is coming into the mainstream. Now that I have the choice, my pronouns are "they/them." It's hard to remember and you'll mess it up every time. I'm cool with that. Change takes practice, and goofing up is a part of the process.

Last summer I was working at the bike shop. A new person who I was working with asked me directly what my pronouns were, and I was flustered. "I'm... like... just some dude" were the words which stumbled from my mouth; the words which tumbled to the floor. "He/him" my new friend offered helpfully... "my pronouns are they/them" they said. I proceeded to butcher their pronouns regularly while feeling grateful for opportunities to get it correct. I continue to blunder often, and nobody has cut off my face yet. Younger generations will be seamless.

I changed my pronouns because a new option dropped out of the sky, and it happens to describe how I feel about myself. Simple. This is an accepted and convenient way for me to dissociate from manly bullshit gender expectations. This is shorthand for my rejection of norms assigned to a gender. When I tell somebody that my pronouns are they/them, I am not making a statement about what kind of genitals I have or want. I am pointing to an area on a spectrum, and saying "my heart lies there."

I don't tell anybody what my pronouns are unless it comes up. For some people the pronoun distinction is more important, so if you care about other humans, it is worth the effort to get it right. When somebody refers to me using masculine terms, I do not feel a barb. Some people do, and it happens all of the time. It is uncomfortable to see a friend be misgendered. To do it on purpose is frankly just mean.

I choose they/them pronouns largely in deference to technical accuracy. Other people choose the same pronouns because it is important to them. I feel vastly more feminine than I appear. People who care about me know this, but most folks probably notice the beard. In practice, this has caused me more confusion than discomfort, and my shoulder muscles are strong from my propensity to shrug.

I am a queer person. This is another case where I am choosing technical accuracy over just shutting up. Queer is an umbrella term, and important parts of me stand under that umbrella. I question my decision to call myself queer, because I feel like I am not "queer enough." And there is something to that - especially considering that I have faced no struggle. I am at maximum privilege while my gay and trans friends need to concern themselves always about the possibility of violence. Think about that. Nobody will fuck with me because of the way I look. Therefore, I feel an obligation to speak in defense of the queer people who I love. It matters.

The core tenet of my personal code is that everybody should be free to do whatever they want as long as it isn't hurting other people. Respect other people. Respect everybody's differences, and seek to notice what we all have in common.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Onion's place.

The house I am in is Onion's place. Did I mention that? I've known Onion throughout my adult life. Our friendship is a testament to the value of penpals. Onion found encouraging words for me when this very blog seemed to indicate that I could use some. Ages ago. We stayed in touch, sending updates when we felt inspired, or when a van or tiny house build got particularly interesting. I visited the Walking Onion for the first time when I was traveling to the west coast with Kristin in our Ford Festiva.

It's always interesting to meet a person in real life after knowing them for so long through written words alone. I've experienced this on a handful of occasions. There is a brief period of adjustment as you recalibrate your mental image to the human standing before you. At first glance a stranger, their familiar words, now spoken, become associated with mannerisms and tone as you quickly discover that you already know this person well. Kristin and I received a warm greeting. The bright colorful lights were as evident as the tension in my body as Onion embraced us with a firm sincerity, and calmed me with his gentle smiling eyes.

The following day was gray and misty, and a Ford Festiva isn't much of a retreat. Kristin and I didn't stay long in town - we got no real hint of the essence of Austin on that trip. I was on the run as usual.

I visited Austin and Onion on other occasions after my separation, when I was once again a lone operator; rushing too soon always on spurious missions of self discovery and escape. Onion is somebody who I admire. I have met some wonderful people while wandering. When I reflect on this, my good fortune feels hard to comprehend.

Years later, I am typing this with the front door open. A bucolic spring day is filtering through the vines and flowers which envelop the front porch. I was living a block away in the house with nine of us sharing a kitchen and two bathrooms. I liked that place too. I occupied the front room, which was positioned to receive all abundantly available sunlight. I occupy the equivalent room in this house. Large old windows let in all of the sunlight there is.

This is a little old house standing in a stoic state of disrepair. Onion purchased the house nine years ago, and built auxiliary structures in the sizable backyard for living, bathing, sauna-ing, and storage. Four to five people can live here. The compound is welcoming to friends and travelers. I've parked my vans behind the gate in previous years. I've taken many showers here when headquarters was a van parked on the edge of downtown. Now I share the house with one other person, and it feels like a well-suited match. (It helps, I admit, that I am easy as fuck to get along with.)

The neighborhood has changed since the Walking Onion moved in. The old houses are being bulldozed, and large modern structures are being dropped out of the sky. Property values and taxes are fast on the rise. My good fortune at being able to call this place home has me in a near state of disbelief. For now. For the first time I can remember, I want to be precisely where I am. I hope that it stays this way long enough to catch my breath. I have been unsettled for ages, and while the trip has been blissful at times, I have often felt alone, misunderstood, and indescribably tired.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

This appears to amuse you.

Me: "Doctor, I've been feeling discomfort. I don't know what the problem could possibly be. I practice self care, and I've been getting plenty of sunlight. I have been focusing on my breathing. Yesterday, I exhaled pale pink rose petals, and they left a sweet taste as they drifted from my wide open mouth; floating away slowly on a cool breeze. I am the luckiest person alive, and I see no logical reason to explain why I become queasy and frozen and unable to move."

Doctor: "Logic is not a diagnostic tool. You are an alcoholic who has only been sober for three weeks. You have compartmentalized your mind to hold several versions of yourself, and you can't seem to remember that they are all the same person. You feed on people's pain like a vampire, and now you've begun to laugh and cry at completely inappropriate moments. None of this is yet to mention that you have a sword sticking out the middle of your chest, and confoundingly this appears to amuse you. Have you considered getting help?"

Me: "I've considered it. Do you have other advice?"

Doctor: "Make some tea, and wait for the rose petals. Once they are yellow, you can return to outer space."

Thursday, April 4, 2019

How to eat a hat.

I am looking for a reason to eat my hat. I feel hungry for hats. Surprise me. I am poised with hat in hand. Hand it to me. You've gotta.

I moved. The place I am living now is a block away from the last place. With the assistance of Jaguar and his Tacoma, I moved in less than an hour. I am renting a room without glass in one of the windows. How could I be closer to home? The sun pours in, and city buses glide past on the wide wide street. I have a new porch to sit on. A porch who wears a hat of foliage and flowers.

I can turn music up to volume. It's medicinal. Barefoot with a big espresso on a dirty porch. It's medicinal. I have quinoa and lentils for days and days. I have eggs and espresso. [Eggspresso]

I went on the latest edition of the Thursday night bicycle ride. It got me off the porch and on top of some pedals. Medicinal. I made myself talk to some folks, but mostly reprised the role of aloof goof. I sat to the side and watched the cracking and stacking of Lone Star cans. I felt like a junior high dance as I sat demure and gentle in the shadows alone. You couldn't drink this down anyway. You need to tear it into little pieces and chew slowly. I would never ask for anything different.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

My true human nature.

I am afraid to hurt people's feelings. I am afraid to inconvenience people. I am not able to decline when any person asks for help. So much is this true, that I will arrive a half hour early for any appointment. Sometimes I will park nearby and wait for a little bit so it doesn't look like I've arrived as early as I did. I don't want anybody to feel uncomfortable because they think that they've kept somebody waiting.

I like nearly everybody. Strong personalities who others won't tolerate are interesting to me. I try to find an explanation for a strange or abrasive nature, and then I befriend the person and try to learn more. I am good at it.

I put a lot of energy into being liked. If I am not liked, and there is nothing I can do about it, I try to accept the fact gracefully, but always with some regret and discomfort.

I would like to be more assertive. I would like to stop worrying that somebody will think I am not a nice person. No matter what I do, some people will not like me, and some people will be hurt by me. Some people will not see the kindness in my heart. When this happens, I wish I could shrug more and fret less.

I offer non-judgmental acceptance in the face of any horror story, oddity, shame, embarrassment, or perceived shortcoming. Sometimes I sense people becoming attached to me. Because of these aspects of my nature, they feel a bond. I have no fear of strange or damaged or broken people. If a person wants to dialog or interact with me, then I welcome them with open arms. I keep a lot of secrets, but I have none of my own. This can be a recipe for fast bonds and strong connections.

I leave myself wide open for people to feel an attachment to me, but I don't have any answers. I just want affection, and I want to be liked. I can't provide solutions or guidance for life. I am not a guardian angel or a manic pixie girl best friend. When people who think they need me find out who I really am - another human who can't help, and will ultimately disappoint them - they sometimes become hurt, and then I feel responsible, which is precisely what I never wanted in the first place.

In friendships I am safe. In dating I need to learn to grow up.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Shrooming with Batman.

Life is getting interesting again. I met Batman. I moved into the house where I actually want to live. All within 48 hours. More about the house another time...

For me personally? I decided that dating apps are not a healthy focus for people who recently quit drinking for the 1000th time - people like me who are healing; people who aren't sure of exactly what they are healing from. People who feel like an oil spill in the road after rain; drained into the gutter with decomposing plant matter and cigarette butts. We are people who see bright colorful rays of light in ourselves and each other. Dating apps are maybe not the best filter through which to see each other's light. Then I found Batman (not their real name) and found out that Tinder, like everything else, is completely fine.

We chatted for hours over text message, two days in a row. Then we made a date to get brunch, and eat psilocybin mushrooms if brunch went ok. I like people who communicate through written words. Writing makes me feel empowered. It allows us to organize our thoughts rather than regurgitate banalities back and forth, never getting a clear essence of who we are speaking with.

I am a shy person who has learned to speak up. I am a gentle person who has learned to feign toughness. I am no certain way in particular, but I want to grow and improve with age. I reject gender roles and believe we need to rethink the status quo. Batman is also a queer person along the continuum of gender norms, and we met somewhere in the middle from opposite ends. We both choose they/them pronouns. I don't know much about Batman, but I couldn't be more curious to learn.

Shrooms on a first date is bold. It's been many years, but of course I will always know shrooms. We entered that dimension together, and it was a beautiful experience. We watched the ceiling and the floor change shape. Sometimes we spoke or shared emotions.

I have been starved for affection or physical contact. My body craves it like sunlight, and I have been alone and out of reach. Aside from the brief electricity of an infrequent hug, I have been a flower in danger of wilting and drying to a husk. I asked Batman if they would feel comfortable holding me. I feel horribly awkward and afraid to initiate physical touch. Due to my physical appearance, it is assumed that I will make a first move, and I can't stand the responsibility. It is easy to be misunderstood; for there to be an assumption that I do not like to be touched. It isn't that. It's simply that in some certain ways I feel awkward as fuck.

Once my boundaries were reestablished, I could be held and recharged like a battery.

The sun set. Every song by Glass Animals continued to set the mood. The spirit of shrooms evaporated slowly like an invisible vapor, and I was invited to stay for the night. When latex gloves appeared out of the nightstand, I knew that boundaries were about to be tested in much more detail than a hug.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Wearing a frilly skirt in public.

I might as well be completely honest. I am happy. I have that comfortable feeling that I've had at times throughout my life - the feeling that I am lucky, and I am getting away with something. I have the feeling that I am trusting my instincts, and I am now in a position to reap the benefits.

I don't want much, and I have plenty of practice not having much. My expectations are low, so small wins come easily. There are nine of us living in this house in Austin. It is a perfect situation for somebody like myself who does not give a fuck about hardly anything. Somebody got home at 2:30am, and then it sounded like they were banging a hammer on the table in the common area. For awhile. No problem. Everybody does what they feel like they need to do.

I interact and socialize with the other roommates. I sit on the porch for hours every day. I am the only person here with a private entrance, and my door opens onto the front porch. I sit and read books, and sometimes cook a little pot of something. Sometimes my housemates come and sit with me. I like to hear what everybody is up to. Interesting people live in this house. Conversation has been great.

I'm using dating apps now. First time. There was a flurry of swiping at first, but now I'm pretty much over it. I'm timid about sex and I don't like putting effort into getting it. I don't have a type. I don't like trying to market myself. I'm using Tinder and Bumble to transmit radio waves and see if anybody is listening to the same frequency. If we start messaging, I pretty quickly reveal my authentic self, because I can't help it. All I can do is make jokes, and being candid is too amusing to avoid.

I've wanted to walk around wearing a skirt for years. I bought a pack of bright colorful liquid lipsticks, and never mustered the courage to wear any. I want to be the most authentic and uninhibited version of myself, but with so many variables to corral, it isn't easy to figure out who that is. I feel like a chameleon. I speak differently depending on my surroundings or who I'm talking to. I am equally comfortable talking to anybody, and I am curious about nearly everybody. I judge nobody, because look at me: who am I to judge?

Orange lipstick and a two-week beard isn't my look. It wasn't terrible. Maybe nix the beard and try light blue. Painting my nails feels normal, but I would like another pop of color on special occasions. I've saved some YouTube tutorials on sewing an easy skirt, but it was easier to find a frilly short one at a clothing swap. I met up with somebody from Tinder for brunch and a clothing swap. I think I made a friend.

I never used to wear bicycle shorts. I've recently discovered that I love them. They eliminate the problem of underwear bunching up, they hold everything in place, and the padding is comfortable. Bike shorts are also the perfect article to wear under a short frilly skirt. Especially if you are bicycling. That's how I dressed for the last Thursday social ride. It was easy, because that was one of the least weird things on that ride. Being totally sober felt way weirder than wearing a frilly skirt in public for the first time.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

You need to fight again.

Sending transmission: are you receiving this? Are you receiving this, Chris? I want you to remember this day. I need you to channel how this day felt. You need to get back to your senses.

You were once 36, Chris. You sat on a porch in east Austin and you didn't need anything else. You hadn't been drunk in six days. The worst part was over. Lizards visited from the crack in the porch next to your door. Everything felt possible.

You knew by that age there was no free will. You knew the statistical odds that you would wake up again in a hell of your own making. Still, you fought a winning battle as the sun warmed the skin over your shins. You were happy and full of resolve. You need to go back there, and you need to fight again.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Finishing my second quilt.

I'm up in Pennsylvania getting some tools and my main sewing machine. I got some Adderall prescribed, and it's been a long time since I've taken it, so it makes me feel weird. I'm in a weird place. Pretty descriptive, huh? Weird isn't very descriptive.

I'm ready to get back to Austin, and some way or another I'm going to grab some belongings, shuffle some stuff around, and get back there. One step at a time. One step at a time, I am getting closer to my improvement goals and a new normal. I'm also finishing my second quilt. It looks cool.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Code switching short circuit

I went outside and bought fabric today. I am trying to move forward with my alter ego, Pixie Morningdust, a fantastical creature with they/them pronouns. We are actually the same person right now, but Pixie is a little bit less ashamed and embarrassed. Chris Harne is also an alright guy who I love and respect. They both paint their nails, and both are too lazy for routine personal maintenance. If anything, I'd give Pixie the better odds at shaving and remembering to take a shower. I don't know what Chris is much good for, but he is at least a kind person, and a "big ideas" sort of dude. He can build stuff and make long term plans, but has never quite mastered daily short term tasks.

I went to two fabric stores, and met excellent people at both. Our hearts were so warmed by Sheldon at the big fabric and sewing machine store. They didn't make us feel at all peculiar. Neither did those at the first little store. We love those who tread lightly on our emotions.

We are a green blanket with flecks of gold. It is a warm dry cloud that we breathe. We are all long sleeves next to a campfire.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

How to meet people and conceal being a bird.

I took my bicycle out for a ride yesterday and that helped a lot. I don't know many people in Austin yet - hardly any - but I still wouldn't even think about being anywhere else. That is a brand new feeling. There is not anywhere else I would rather be. I find that fact incredible, and I hope it stays that way for awhile.

I am doing nothing all day. I can't make myself do anything. My room looks like a squat. Shitty little dirty folding mattress on the floor. A box of food shit; a box of clothing shit. I wake up late, walk down the street to get breakfast tacos, then lazy around until it seems like an acceptable time to drink wine.

Since I'm a little bit lonely here and don't know anybody, I turned to the apps Tinder and Bumble. The user interface is completely addictive. It's designed to suck you in, and it works. What doesn't seem to work as well is getting any sort of response. I've changed my bio several times, and I think I've written a couple real masterpieces. That doesn't change the fact that I am peculiar and difficult to decipher. I did meet up with one girl though.

I got a Tinder message late at night and responded. It was quickly noticed that we lived 0.3mi apart, so she suggested that it would be funny to start walking and meet in the middle. She probably didn't want to hear all about how I make bird noises at people. Upon reflection, I probably brought that up too soon. In my defense, my bio stated simply at the time "Silly hippie. New in town. Easy to talk to." So really she should have guessed that I was some type of bird.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Room with a bonsai.

I'm renting a room. It gets lots of sunlight. I'm in the front of the house, and I have my own entry door. I'm paying $599 with all utilities. I can ride a bicycle downtown in 10 minutes. Cool.

What the company renting this place does is get an old house, slap on some paint and appliances, and build out new walls dividing it into a thousand bedrooms. I think there are ten rooms for rent in this place. That's a lot. There's two fridges and two bathrooms. Four rooms are still empty, and I'm guessing when they get rented it's going to feel pretty high traffic around here.

When I got here to pick up the keys, the cloud of bacon was pretty thick. Same as yesterday. Dude here is cooking a lot of bacon, and I suspect that might be all he eats. I opened my door to introduce myself, and he just stood there with big headphones on, continuing to mess with bacon. He's like a bodybuilder or something. Who knows. Also, I guess nobody thought it was a priority to get a shower curtain. That gives me pause.

Here's how I'm looking at this: I have the best room in the house, and my own entry door. I'm looking at this as my own private studio apartment. There's wifi and electricity, and I have access to a bathroom and shower. Good enough. If something better comes along, cool, but for now I can work with this.

I opened up the front door and some windows. I got the ceiling fan going, and now that the bacon fog is out I'm feeling pretty good. I even put my little bonsai tree in the window. Open for business, baby, open for business!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Brightness and darkness and shrugging

I'm sitting in the library in Austin, utilizing the wifi / table / outlet combo to facilitate easier filling out of a rental application. Official documents of any type stress me out. Looking for a residence stresses me out. I am forging ahead, and paying the $50 fee for a background and credit check. I am hoping that my 2009 credit issues are explainable and that ten years ago is long enough to get a month-to-month situation in a house with individually leased rooms. Logically, it seems like I should be okay. I make money; they want money. I'm not a felon.

I found a room, and I filled out the digital paperwork. I want it. I want that room real bad. Partly, I just want to be done looking so I can focus on my next task, which is therapy and a doctor. Also, the room looks great. Lots of light, a private entrance, adequate size, stellar location. Another couple was checking out rooms in the same house, and I was seriously afraid they might show interest in the same room. They didn't, and I was relieved that I wouldn't need to fight them.

Easing my stress considerably is the fact that I love this city and everybody seems friendly and relaxed. It goes a long way. In a way, it makes all the difference. Austin has everything going for it. Let me get a place to live, and I believe I can make shit happen. This is a new chapter that I'm excited to write. I'm fighting for it. I don't know the future, but I am excited about the direction I am headed.

Holy fucking shit life is weird and then we die. The best we can do is get involved in some shit in the meantime and try to make our stay as pleasant and free of suffering as possible. Existence feels abstract and overwhelming and I vacillate between helpless panic and laughing out loud. I'm not even complaining. This is how it is, and there is no use ruminating about that which you cannot control. It is super fucking obvious why people drink. I completely understand why people kill themselves. Of course I won't be doing that, and I hope it isn't reckless just to admit that I get it. I'm probably going to be around at least twice this long. Holy fucking shit, I'm not even deleting this paragraph.

I am not struggling. Not by a long shot. I am often wondering how the fuck everybody is either pretending that everything is normal, or is somehow actually fooled into thinking it is so. This shit blows me right away. We are wild lobotomized animals, and I feel forced to also pretend that everything is completely normal, because the alternative would absolutely get me into hot water. I keep my head low and drink wine. Maybe it'll get better with age.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Living in Austin.

Phew. Sure wish I was updating this shit more often. I'm barely even keeping track of what I'm up to in a notebook these days. Mostly I want to keep track of this shit for myself to look back on when I'm old and bored and wondering what the hell I was doing throughout my life - seeing that I can't remember whether certain shit happened last week or a year ago most of the time. I don't know what's up with that. My mental timeline is way off, and I mostly just say everything happened "about ten years ago." I remember tons of detail about events, but have no real clue when they happened. I guess that's fine, 'cause it's gotta be. No other choice. This is what I've got.

I'm in Austin now. I got here on Friday. I'm trying to rent a room somewhere, which feels like an absolutely monumental task. I checked out a place Friday afternoon. It smelled funny, and it's a room in a shared house with individual month-to-month leases for each room. Seems like kind of a high-risk random roommate situation.

I checked out another place that blew my mind. I met with the roommates in this sorta co-op-ish situation with an absolutely giant and beautiful room. I thought the interview went well. Apparently not well enough, because I got an email saying that they didn't think I'd be a good fit. That felt kinda bad. I'm a fucking weirdo. I want people to like me, though. I'm pretty mentally invested in being well liked. I have to let some of that shit go, 'cause as it turns out I'm not for everybody. I think I'm cool. I think they didn't really get who I am or what I'm about. And I'm a fucking weirdo. Damnit. I feel fucking insane, and I really can't control that.

So I'm here in Austin. I have been mostly very happy to be here. I love Austin, and that's why I'm here. Trying to make a go of it and stay here for awhile. But I'm feeling anxiety about the unknown, and not doing a very good job at reducing alcohol consumption. Fuckit. I'll sort all my shit out in good time. Austin is a good spot to feel like a crazy person. Feels forgiving for that kind of thing.

I at least got a shower today. I needed one. I went to Barton Springs - a natural pool - and they didn't even charge me to enter. She just looked at me and said "you're good." Cool. Hot shower. Washed the stale beer out of my hair. That's another story I guess.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Spending forever in the clouds.

I was reading back through these recent nonsense posts, and we sound like a person who is going insane. That is only partially accurate. The real story is far more interesting. I am actually going insane while blossoming into a beautiful flower. I'm only kidding. I'm only partially kidding. Life is great.

I looked back deeper into these online writings, which have been going on more or less since 2006, and what I learned is that I haven't changed as much as I thought in the past twelve years. The fundamentals are about the same. The only difference is that I've simply gotten older and I've had more practice with my brand of self sufficiency. I understand stoicism better, and I'm less fearful across the board.

I've learned that less is better, and less than that might be better still. Many complications are optional if you are willing to write your own rule book or define your own normal. I'm not suggesting that everybody should imitate my nonsense, but at least I'm not stuck anywhere, or beating myself up too bad, or struggling to gain material assets, or fighting to fit in.

I'm lucky. I doubt I could do any of that stuff even if I wanted to, so it's an asset to me that I can't. Yes, that makes my beliefs suspiciously convenient. And if I felt like it, I could actually wave my lifestyle around like a flag of genius. What I do looks cool when you are up north facing a depressing winter. My superpower is that I'm willing to live with a film of grease and do most of my pooping at a Winn Dixie. I consider this trade fair if it fosters a better kind of crazy.

The truth is I am forever in the clouds. The truth is I am practically the luckiest person alive, and I feel guilty when I forget that.

Further Reading:

Music and sunshine and bicycles are the only real stuff. Those are the ingredients. Portions and purity don't matter much, and you can add other ingredients, but if you omit one of those three, you get scurvy.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Help me tie my shoes, and I will build you a house.

Living in a minivan. Life is on pause. This is all I can handle right now. This is not an exaggeration. This is all I can handle right now.

I am thinking obsessively about quilting. I have been excited about sewing for awhile now, but didn't land on any avenue within that vast wide world of fabric and thread. Now I've discovered "modern quilting" and "improv piecing" - keywords which ignite fire in my brain. I want to begin, but I have impediments in my path, both physical and self-imposed.

Making a quilt in a van isn't easy no matter what. I feel huge resistance when I perceive any lack of efficiency. This is true of everything I ever do; putting a sock on my foot entails debate. I want to recognize this handicap, and get past it. My brain tells me not to even begin something until it is possible to have an efficient flow. In reality - logically - I know there is great strength in beginning something new even if you aren't ready. You can't have momentum if you don't begin. Especially with an artistic endeavor, any forward momentum, no matter how minuscule, is vastly preferable to wheels spinning in my mind with no resistance.

My brain will always cook up reasons to postpone any action, but this "lack of efficiency" is a major one. I don't have a home, a sewing studio, Adderall... and each of those hurdles comes with a series of smaller hurdles. I feel like I need a miracle to be able to jump up and over this. A breeze is a hurricane.

Here is how I think I need to do this: Shower > Find any acceptable room in Austin TX > Find doctor, therapy, Adderall > reassemble sewing studio > adapt and normalize.

I don't feel ready to feel any cold temperatures while living in a van. It will take a little bit of time to look at places and move in somewhere. In the meantime, I will be living in a van, and cold will make that hard. I will feel lonely. It will be hard. Even though I know this, it won't feel how I expect. Failure is possible, and I am very much in need of a win. I need to maximize my likelihood of success. I desperately need help.

Let me tell you how this feels: Sometimes I see somebody changing a flat tire on their bicycle. They are fumbling around, probably using a screwdriver as a tire lever, and success doesn't look at all like a given. So I offer to help. I can assist with advice, tools, or just do the whole job. I can fix a flat with my eyes closed and underwater. It's nothing. The things I fumble with in life are so simple to the average person that it wouldn't even occur to anybody that I might need assistance. Without privilege and a strong safety net of friends and family, I would probably be actually homeless. I am fumbling trying to fix this simple little flat tire, and I desperately need help, and I am surrounded by bicycle mechanics whizzing past, but nobody will stop because nobody can see that I am quietly going fucking crazy here.

The things I am good at - and there definitely are some! - do not help me with the fundamental details of daily living. I have a lot to offer another person, and I do not need much in return. That's how I see it. Help me tie my shoes, and I will build you a house.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

My pocket was close to the earth.

I put my hand inside the left pocket on my 3XL zip-up hoodie and felt a crumpled up receipt. I took it out only to discover that it was not a receipt, but rather a strip of bacon. Eddie was like "dude, I'm glad to see that you roll around with bacon in your pocket."

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Maybe it's the crystals and the kratom.

"There Is Nothing Wrong With You"

I read this in my notebook this morning. I wrote it there last night. What an excellent statement to embrace! We spend so much time and effort measuring ourselves against some nebulous idea of what we should be. The way we wish we were. I spend so much energy identifying as a person with ADHD and confusion about gender and sexuality. Realistically though, we can drop all of that baggage, and it doesn't change a single thing. I am good enough right now. You are good enough right now. Fighting with ourselves, and being disappointed with ourselves is not productive. Let's improve our lives because we want to, not because we feel ashamed about aspects of who we are.

[I am attempting to articulate this message to myself, and anybody else who it might resonate with. I recognize that it probably sounds trite. Oh well. That's what I've got right now.]

I want to be happy. I want to feel proud of myself. Those are my goals. I haven't been giving myself enough credit. I've done some cool stuff. I'm not afraid of hardly anything. I ride bicycles. This is one of those times I feel like I've got it all sorted out. Maybe it's the crystals and the kratom. Also I'm on a tropical island with chickens everywhere, and the baby chickens are really cute.

I'm not excessively careful about van camping. I park in the same place and blow weed smoke right out the roof vent. I have about the most low-key rig on the island, so that's a plus. I don't want to run into trouble, but I'm also not wasting any energy sneaking around like a nervous ninja.

I don't have a point here, I'm just trying to write an update, and this is how it's turning out.

I have errands and ideas and some work to do. I've been a little worried with myself that I'm not able to get any of it done. Then I decided that I'm not going to do a damn thing I don't feel like doing right now. The only difference is worrying about it or not. Now I'm not. There is nothing wrong with that.

I laid back on my thin tri-fold mattress, and focused on my breathing. I didn't focus on my breathing, but I was aware of the practice, and I made an attempt at clearing my mind. I released thoughts into the sky like you might release a dove or a pigeon. I could hear crickets, and the soft sweeping of palm fronds on the roof of my van. What more could you want. What more could you want!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

I'm back in Key West. Got here on Christmas Eve.

I'm in Key West. I don't know what the hell is going on in the universe or with my life, but I am living in a minivan in Key West, and there are a lot worse places to be utterly confused and overwhelmed by life. At least it is sunny and I can wear shorts and sandals all the time.

I'm not really keeping up with any of my metrics for life improvement, but I'm not about to beat myself up about it either. I'm alive, and for right now that's going to have to be good enough.

Actually, a few things are good. I just made some real good money from selling books. I have enough money to pretty easily get a place to live in Austin, which as of now, I intend to do. My friend Luna down here is renting a place with a shower, so I've gotten to use a shower a couple times, and will probably take more showers. I got some fabric to make an experimental quilt. Ten fat quarters from the only fabric store on the island. Cool.

All I really want to do is make some quilts. I have equipment along with me, but a minivan isn't a great workspace. I don't know what I'm going to do about that. Hopefully something.

I have never felt less capable. I almost can't get myself to do anything at all. It is depressing as hell. I am getting alright at accepting reality and breathing. Being on a tropical island is definitely a help. Key West is such a total cartoon it can go a long way to mask minor personal madness.

I'm writing in a notebook again. I feel pretty open to write a lot here, but a notebook is private, so you can really scrawl whatever sort of shit, so I'm glad I got a new notebook going.

I feel like I have enormous potential. I don't feel like I am reaching any sort of potential. But I'm just going to hide out down here for awhile. I can ride a bicycle a little bit, get some coffee, feel hot and dirty, and generally just horse around for a month or whatever.