Balance

Having an internet presence is a constant balancing act.

I love having this blog. I love that it makes me slow down long enough to write every week, often about things I might not otherwise take the time to think about.

But it’s always a balancing act. How much do I put out into the vast expanse of the internet? How much of my life am I willing to share with friends and strangers? When can I let myself vent about specific people or situations, and to what extent, and when do I need to just keep quiet?

I’ve been dealing with some pretty major emotional stuff lately, and I haven’t known how much to share here. But I think I need to say something, because I have a feeling it’ll come up on its own sooner rather than later, and I want to give some context before it does.

I haven’t spoken to my family of origin since March.

I just wrote 1000 words of explanation, but I am not going to post them, because this is part of the balancing act: I do not want to contribute to further drama. Suffice it to say that right when things seemed to be getting a little better, they turned around and got a whole lot worse, and I had to cut ties in order to maintain my sanity.

I don’t regret the decision to establish some distance. (Boundaries are a thing I’ve always struggled with, and it’s become very clear that I came by that honestly.) But it hasn’t been easy.

I’ve also recently realized that I’ve been avoiding dealing with how I relate to my body. Dysphoria, for me, has mostly manifested in me being very detached from my body…of course, once I realized this, remaining detached got harder, and now I’m painfully aware of my discomfort with my body.

Starting next month, I’ll be on an insurance plan that will make it a lot easier for me to see a therapist, so that’s my plan at this point, because I have a lot of feelings about family and about my body that I need to process, and my partner shouldn’t have to be the only person in the world to listen to me blather as I try to work through those things.

So that’s where I’m at: seeking balance. Whether I achieve it is still hit or miss, but I think I’m getting there. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

 

Gratitude and Grace

May has been an interesting month so far. This week has been particularly full of surprises:

  • I woke up feeling pretty miserable last Thursday; when I tried to say I’d work from home the second half of the day, my boss convinced me to take it easy and actually rest so I could recover. I wound up taking Friday off, too, and by Saturday I finally felt like a human being again. I made good use of my convalescence, and got a ton of knitting done for our friends’ baby who’s due to join us in this great wide world in about a week.
  • Sunday night we wound up at a concert at a super Irish pub (by which I mean probably 80% of the patrons were from Ireland, as were the folks behind the bar).
    • Somewhere along the line my partner got to talking with a woman at the bar who informed him that her kid had just recently come out as trans. We didn’t hear much of the concert (both because it was loud in the bar and because we were distracted), but spent the whole evening talking with this woman and her friend (a rather drunk Irishman who laughed a lot), who bought us several rounds. (I think I had more to drink Sunday night than I’ve had in the past two months put together…)
    • I can be a pretty cynical person a lot of the time, but I found myself telling this woman repeatedly that her kid was going to be okay, because progress is happening everywhere. And this kid is just going off to college – just imagine how much farther along we could be by the time they’re done!
    • Rather remarkably, I woke up feeling pretty great on Monday.
  • Tuesday night after songwriting class, I was invited out for wings and drinks by some of the other guys in the class. It was the first time in my life I had the experience of just being “one of the guys” in a non-queer context. It was a little weird, and pretty wonderful.

Which is all to say that life is good, and I have a lot to think about and a lot to be grateful for. I’m a seriously lucky guy.

Learning

It’s been a week full of lessons.

My grand plans to get up early and exercise didn’t see much follow-through beyond the first week (in part because I got slammed with a cold the second week and never got back into the habit, in part because I just didn’t have the energy in the long-term). I tried not to beat myself up about it too much – now that the weather is (kind of, sort of, maybe) getting nicer, I’m going to be more inclined to go for longer walks and generally be more active anyway. I did find, though, that I missed something about the way getting up early allowed me to ease into my day. I’ve often found myself rolling out of bed and running out the door in the space of about fifteen minutes. Last week, I was late to work almost every single day…only by about five minutes, but it still bothered me that I couldn’t seem to get myself going in the morning anymore.

Over the weekend, after poking around at various online resources, I signed up for The Alternative Tarot Course, because it seemed like a good way to get myself back into the business of meditation and reflection. One of the exercises for the course is to draw and meditate on a single card first thing every morning, as a way to get more familiar with the deck and the symbolism of various cards (whether intended by the artist or interpreted by you). I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it, given last week’s track record with over-sleeping, but I wanted to try, and so far…it seems to be working. (Turns out it’s a lot easier to get out of bed to go quietly meditate and breathe and mentally prepare for my day than it is to get out of bed to go force my body to do things it doesn’t want to. Imagine that.) And the timing couldn’t have been better: that return to meditative practice has definitely helped keep my overactive brain from running wild this week…

…which it was especially tempted to do on Monday, when I heard a coworker misgender me to another coworker. This was not the person who I’d had an issue with earlier this year, but it was someone who has done this pretty consistently since I started at my job a year and a half ago. Usually, I just sort of shut down, but this time…this time, I got angry.

I waited until I was able to compose myself enough to be mostly civil, and then I sent him an email, the gist of which was:

I want to be very clear on something: I have never, in the entire time I have worked here, been a “she”. Referring to a coworker by the wrong pronouns is both unprofessional and enormously disrespectful. When it occurs persistently, it can also be classified as harassment. If this continues, I will not hesitate to call in HR – not because I have any desire to “tattle” on you, but because I believe everyone, including myself, has the right to feel safe and respected in their workplace.

It was hard to hit send, but I did it (though, admittedly, I waited to send it until just before I left, because I wanted some more space before I had to deal with any further interaction with this coworker). I received a fairly prompt response insisting that there was no malice behind his actions, that it was a totally unconscious thing, and he didn’t know why he did it. I figured that was probably the best I was going to get, and resolved to continue to advocate for myself if the issue came up again.

And then Tuesday rolled around, and he swung by my office in the morning requesting a meeting for that afternoon. I didn’t want to, but I said yes. And you know what?

I went to the meeting.

I remained aware of my body language and retained an external appearance of calm.

I made eye contact, even when he didn’t.

I didn’t explode when he talked about how his behavior was annoying to him, how, “it’s like a tic, really.” (I wanted to explode. I wanted to tell him to a) not use someone else’s disability as a false defense to hide behind and b) take some goddamn responsibility for his actions. But I did not.)

I was not aggressive, but I explained that I wanted to be sure he was aware that this was problematic behavior.

I thanked him for his apology.

I did not say the words, “It’s okay.”

It was obvious that he expected me to say them. He kept looking at me like he was waiting for more. And my first, socially conditioned response would have been to say exactly that.

But it’s not okay. It’s never okay. And I’m not going to pretend that it is. I am not going to sacrifice my comfort for the comfort of someone else when that person clearly isn’t interested in doing the same kindness to me.

It was kind of a revelation.

I can thank someone for their apology without saying that the shitty behavior that necessitated the apology in the first place was okay. I can be gracious, but that doesn’t mean I have to shut up and pretend the hurt never happened.

So I’m learning.

I’m learning to center and to ground myself in the midst of mental chaos.

I am learning how to get angry on my own behalf. Defending others is a wonderful thing to do, but self-defense is equally important.

I’m learning that self-advocacy is still hard, but if I remain grounded and centered, it’s possible to do it. It is even possible to look aggressors in the eye and maintain control of the conversation, if I stay focused.

I’m learning that I don’t owe absolution of guilt to anyone who isn’t motivated to change their behavior (and that a true change in behavior eliminates the need for absolution anyway).

I’m learning. And as I learn, I grow, and evolve, and slowly (ever so slowly), I am becoming the man I want to be.

On Visibility and Being Seen

This past Tuesday, March 31, was Trans Day of Visibility. I posted this on my Facebook Tuesday evening:

I have mixed feelings about Trans Day of Visibility: mostly, I think safety should come first and no one should feel pressure to be more out than they want to/can safely be. I am a white trans man; this means that it is safer for me to be visibly trans than it is for my trans sisters, and particularly for my trans sisters of color.

I also believe that it is important for those of us who can make the choice to safely be visible to do so, though: to show the world that we exist, but more specifically to show the ones who are still hiding that they’re not alone. I feel particularly driven to be visibly trans as a trans adult: trans kids need to know there’s a future out there for them. So often our stories end in tragedy. We need more examples of trans folks who are not only surviving (which is super important on its own), but also thriving.

Besides this, as a white trans man, I have found myself landing in a world of privilege. The way the world works, white male voices are heard when many others aren’t. It is my responsibility to speak up and clear the stage for those whose voices are too often shouted down, and to use my voice for good when it’s the only one someone will listen to.

I didn’t fit it into the Facebook post, but something I’ve been thinking a lot about since then is the importance, not necessarily of visibility, but of being seen.

I remember the first time a stranger read me as male. I was picking up lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings with my then-roommate. She finished relaying her order to the man behind the counter, and he turned to me and said, “And for you, sir?” I felt my chest swell involuntarily; I squared my shoulders and widened my stance.

I did not identify as a man then, or even as genderqueer. I identified as queer and as “a gentleman, just maybe not so much the man part,” but that was as far as I’d gotten in exploring my gender identity. And I’m certain that the man behind the counter was simply responding to the contrast between my femme roommate and me, in my baggy sweatshirt with the hood up. But that “sir” called out to a part of me that hadn’t yet been recognized elsewhere.

About a year later, two months into my relationship with my partner and a few months away from coming out as genderqueer, I was in Costa Rica visiting my aunt and uncle. My aunt took me along on one of her regular visits to a local nursing home. When she introduced me to one of the residents, the conversation went something like this:

Es su nieto? (Is this your grandson?)

No, es mi sobrina. (No, this is my niece.)

Ah, su sobrino! (Oh, your nephew!)

I just smiled and nodded.

Now, nearly sixteen months into testosterone therapy, I am read as male quite consistently (the sideburns are likely a major contributing factor to this). It’s not a given, though I sometimes forget this – just this week someone called me “she” out of the blue (and somehow, the less frequently it happens, the more it stings when it does) – and I still find that being called “sir” causes that unconscious squaring of shoulders. Because being seen for what we really are is empowering, particularly in a world where people (sometimes even people who are supposed to be on our side) insist that we do not exist.

As a dude who knits and wears a lot of purple, I would likely be read as queer by the world at large even if I wasn’t. And I’m out and proud in many areas of my life – I was so visibly “other” for a while that I reached a point where I could either live in constant shame or be loud and proud, and I went with the latter. But being visible so often amounts to being seen as “other,” as some sort of departure from the “acceptable” norms of society. And while it’s true that I do live outside those boundaries, and that I like it better out here anyway, being regarded by the world at large as a freak is tiring.

Being seen, on the other hand…validation is so important. It’s not that I need the validation of others to know who I am – I get to define that for myself and ultimately my validation of myself is what matters most. But where the pressure of visibility is exhausting, being seen is a relief from that pressure. It’s energizing and empowering and encouraging. And that’s something that we could all use more of, particularly those of us who belong to marginalized groups – and if this is true for me, who experiences oppression on a very small scale that is counterbalanced by a whole lot of privilege, it is even more true for those who don’t have those oft-unrecognized free passes that privilege offers.

Being told you don’t exist is an incredibly painful experience. Having your existence recognized and validated doesn’t make the pain go away, but the more frequently it happens, the easier it becomes to let go of those painful moments. If we started treating each person as the expert on their own identity, this world would be a much gentler place.

Ink

I very nearly forgot to write a post for this week: I was home sick yesterday, which threw off my routine enough that blogging almost slipped my mind (plus, you know, I was sick, and therefore pretty unmotivated). This week has been a bit of a bummer in the health department. However, there is some excitement in my near future, so I’m going to focus on that. 

Next Friday, after work, I am getting a tattoo. 

I currently have only one tattoo. It’s a trinity knot on my right forearm that I got done five years ago, as a reminder of the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit and of the fact that I was a complete person: a reminder I very much needed at a time when I’d been feeling pretty fractured. 

This new tattoo follows a similar theme of body, mind, and spirit. Last summer, I began using tarot cards as a means of meditation. I’m not using them to make any sort of attempt at clairvoyance, but I find that the meanings behind the cards can be an excellent mirror for the subconscious. Typically, when I meditate, I’ll draw three cards, and look at the meanings of the cards individually and as a whole, and what I find in those meanings helps bring my mind into focus. The tattoo I’m getting next Friday is based on three cards from my favorite deck, which each correspond to one of the aforementioned aspects of body, mind, and spirit. 

First, there’s the 9 of Pentacles, which is a card that’s all about a sense of home. As I’ve been dealing more with dysphoria, I love the idea of a reminder on my skin that I carry my home with me — that my body is home. 

Then, there’s the Hermit, a card that deals with solitude (which appeals to my introverted self) and the pursuit of Truth (which appeals to the part of me that never stops asking questions). The Hermit also lights the way to Truth for those who come after him, which is a really great reminder that as my mind has opened and learned new things, I can lead others by example to the same. 

Finally, there’s the Ace of Wands, which is full of creative energy. As a writer, a knitter, and a musician, the urge to create is an integral part of my spirit, and I am most fully myself when I am being creative. 

I am incredibly excited about this tattoo (the cards will be in a ring around my left forearm). A little nervous, too — it’s been a while since my last one, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this tattoo causes some drama with my family. Ultimately, though, I’m looking forward to it. In the end, it’s just another step in molding this body of mine to match my internal vision of myself, which, along with a beard (which is steadily filling in on my face now), has a number of tattoos. I’m making this body a home I want to live in. And that’s important. 

Transition, Present Tense

I was struggling to find a topic for the blog today, and then I remembered a conversation I had with a friend a couple of weeks ago that I had thought would be a great topic for a post. (Thanks, KW!)

My friend asked me if I thought of “transition” as a past tense verb for myself, here in this stage when I have the ability to grow awesome sideburns and am read more and more frequently as male. The immediate answer was a resounding, “No!” There are still things I’m waiting for, like the arrival of a full beard, and concrete steps I still want to take in terms of physical transition at some point in the future, like top surgery. I am still very much “transitioning” – present progressive tense, dynamic and ever-evolving.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized…I don’t believe that “transition” will ever be a past tense verb for me. I think I will always be evolving and learning, shifting and growing. What allows me to feel comfortable in my body today might not tomorrow, or next month, or next year, or five or ten years from now. I am transgender, and queer, and those things won’t change…but precisely what those words mean to me just might.

It’s entirely possible that this outlook is a product of where I’m at in life. The six years that have passed since I took my first tentative steps out of the closet have been packed with change. Every six months or so has brought with it another world-shattering revelation. Every time I think things have slowed down and I have achieved equilibrium, something else comes up. It’s been quite a wild ride, though in retrospect I wouldn’t give up those big revelations for the world – I’m so much happier now. Still, it’s hard, from my current vantage point, to believe that things will ever really slow down. I could very well be wrong. This is another thing the past six years have taught me – I do not know everything about anything, including myself. There’s always something more to learn.

In any case, this is where I am for the moment – in transition, present tense.

March Mayhem

I am, at the core, a homebody. Given the choice, I could spend days on end in my house, curled up with books, movies, and knitting (although if I’m forced to stay in my house due to illness, injury, or inclement weather, I do go a little stir crazy). There are a number of other personality traits at play here – I am an introvert, and have a tendency toward laziness. But mostly, I just really love being in my own space.

This aspect of who I am is often at war with another part of me – the one that wants to do ALL THE THINGS. This month, this latter part appears to be winning.

As of this week, aside from my usual 37.5 hours of work, I will have, on a weekly basis:

  • Guitar classes Monday evenings, and an approximate 10:45pm return home,
  • Songwriting classes Tuesday evenings, arriving home around 11pm,
  • My volunteer gig at the Old Town School of Folk Music‘s Resource Center Wednesday evenings, arriving home around 10:30pm, and
  • Knit Night at Windy Knitty Thursday evenings, arriving home anywhere between 9:15 and 10pm.

On top of all of this, I decided this week to start getting up at 5:30am each morning and attempt to do some sort of home workout – Pilates, weights, stretches, that sort of thing. I fully believe that “health” is a pretty nebulous concept, and it’s absolutely not my goal to hit some arbitrary numeric value that a doctor will deem “healthy”. However, I am increasingly frustrated with how quickly I tire out, how hard it is for me to keep up with people, and how frequently my back goes out due to a lack of core strength. I also know from past experience that being more physically active is better for my mental health. So, I’m easing into increased activity.

I also need to work practicing guitar and writing a song into each week. Plus the things that need to get done around the house.

I will be honest: last week I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it, in light of the battle I was having with DepressedBrain. I ended up needing to leave the office early on Friday to avoid having a total meltdown at work. Thankfully, Friday evening brought with it the arrival of a new binder, which helped to mitigate some of the dysphoria that was making a significant contribution to DepressedBrain. (The binder, by the way, was ordered from these guys and is amazing – equivalent binding power to an Underworks 997, but replacing the fear of permanent ribcage damage (which was the reason I had to switch to the much less effective 982 a while back) with something so comfortable I almost forget I’m wearing it – and may warrant an extra blog post for a review at some point in the near future.)

I was feeling rather better Monday morning, but I have to admit, I still didn’t really believe I was going to be able to handle this schedule until shortly before I started writing this post yesterday afternoon. I was absolutely exhausted by the time I got home Monday and Tuesday, and yesterday I had a hell of a time getting myself out of bed. As the day wore on, I was pretty sleepy, but I think I hit the point where I started to remember how to work through the fatigue. I am convinced that, eventually, being more active will mean that I will have more energy. I just need to stick with it long enough.

Part of me continues to wonder what on earth I’ve gotten myself into. But mostly, I’m feeling optimistic. And that’s a nice change from the past few weeks.

Never Saw It Coming

I’ve known that I was Bipolar for close to six years now. In those six years, my cycles have typically followed a fairly predictable pattern. I’ve rarely jumped with no warning from one end of emotion to the other: usually, there’s a ramping up or a sliding down that happens and warns me of what’s coming.

I don’t know if it’s because there were sad things that happened while I was manic, which made things weird, or if it really was just very sudden, but that wasn’t how this most recent turn to DepressedBrain went. There was no easing my way down into darkness. I didn’t see it coming. It hid just out of sight and jumped out at me from behind a corner and suddenly, out of what felt like nowhere, I’ve found myself at one of the lowest points I’ve hit in the past year or more.

I wrote last week about the fact that I’ve recently started battling with body-related dysphoria for the first time. I’ve spent the past week trying to deconstruct what that means for me, what it feels like, why it’s so hard for me to figure out how to work around it. I don’t have any easy answers, but these are the best words I’ve found for it so far: after I started on testosterone and my body started changing, I experienced a period of time where I felt more comfortable than I ever had before in my skin – like I fit in my body for the first time that I could remember. There was this sense of wholeness, and rightness, to it. But now dysphoria has swooped in, and I’m back to feeling fractured: it’s not so much that I hate my body, but that it doesn’t feel like it belongs to me. It doesn’t fit me anymore. And that’s maddening and heart-wrenching, particularly after having experienced something better for a while. I don’t really know what to do with it.

I wonder if, maybe, the best thing I can do is take my focus off myself and onto other people. My sister was in town last weekend. (We don’t share any genetic material, but many years of shared experiences. Her family of origin treats her in ways no person should ever be treated, and I’ve had my own frustrations with my family of origin, so we’ve pieced together families of our own, and they include each other.) Neither she nor I nor my partner felt particularly up to venturing out of the apartment and into the cold (or for a host of other reasons), so the weekend consisted of a lot of me cooking a lot of good food and all of us sitting in the same space reading books and reminiscing. I was reminded how fulfilling it is for me when I am able to create a safe space for someone I love. Being a host stresses me out to some extent, because I always worry that I’m not being entertaining enough. But knowing that I am creating a space where we can all be ourselves mitigates that stress to some extent, particularly when I’m taking care of someone who I know has too few safe spaces in their life elsewhere.

I may not know how to take good care of myself in this moment, but at least I can still take care of other people. It’s not a long-term solution (or, really, even a solution at all), but it feels like it’s helping.

My Brain is Unpredictable

My brain is unpredictable. This is nothing new. I am Bipolar, and have been aware of that fact for almost six years. I have navigating my way through unexpected brainspace down to a fine science.

In the past week, though, my brain threw me for a loop: this week, I was unexpectedly visited by the dysphoria monster.

I should have known it was coming. I mean, I’m a trans guy. It had to happen eventually.

It’s not the first time I’ve dealt with dysphoria. Not entirely. But my whole previous experience with dysphoria was centered around my voice, and how uncomfortable that made me, and with the introduction of testosterone into my system, that faded into the background.

No, this is a new experience. I knew I was incredibly lucky, up to this point, to not have experienced a great deal of body-related dysphoria. I’ve seen many people near and dear to me go through it, and was grateful to have dodged that bullet. It seems, though, that my relationship with my body is changing.

On the one hand, I’ve reached a point where, for the first time in my life, I actually like myself. I’ve gone from loathing to tolerating to feeling benevolently indifferent to actually liking who I am as a person the majority of the time.

On the other hand, I’m finding myself increasingly anxious about how I’m perceived by the rest of the world, particularly because of certain realities about my anatomy.

I bind my chest pretty much every day (unless I’m not leaving the house, and even then, I might). But I can’t wear binders that are especially tight, because I have an enormous ribcage, and the tighter the binder, the more my ribs hurt, and the more I’m at risk for causing myself some serious medical problems. Lately, I’ve felt like the binder I have that I was satisfied with a couple of months ago just isn’t cutting it anymore: every day I’m more conscious of the fact that I often look like a butch lesbian with sideburns. (Which is not to say anything against butch lesbians – I think they’re delightful – I’m just not one of them. I’m not a lesbian at all. I’m a [very] queer man.)

Before I started pursuing HRT, I went over the course of about a month from being reasonably okay with the fact that the world was insisting on seeing me as a woman to having daily panic attacks because I was terrified that no one would ever see me as anything else. I haven’t gotten back to the point of panic attacks, but I’m worried that it could be lurking right around the corner.

My brain hasn’t been too bad a place to live in for a while now. I don’t love that I’m going to have to relearn some coping mechanisms that I’ve let slide since the last time I had to wrestle regularly with myself. But I guess that’s all part of life in transition.

Confessions of a Storyteller

I’ve always loved books.

There is a video, somewhere, of me at age two, sitting on the floor, surrounded by what was probably the majority of the books that usually lived on my bookshelf, holding one upside down in my chubby little hands as I looked at the camera and declared (in the present tense), “I read!” several times before launching into a story that I’m certain made sense in my head but was entirely incomprehensible out of it.

I still remember the moment when I actually did read for the first time. I was three years old, in my parents’ bathroom, studying the pages of Green Eggs and Ham, and as I looked at the book, suddenly the sound of the word in my head (I had the book memorized) connected with the letters on the page, and I realized I was reading. It was magic, and I was hooked.

I was the child who broke the heart of more than one teacher who was forced to tell me to stop reading, because I was also the child who would inexpertly try to hide whatever book I was currently reading behind the textbook I was supposed to be studying in an effort to get through a few more pages during class. I never had a huge number of friends at school, but that rarely bothered me. I had a huge, active imagination, and books were the catalyst through which I could visit exciting new worlds.

Really, I’ve just always loved stories.

I knew, even as a child, that stories had the power to make otherwise inscrutable concepts accessible, to create a shift in perspective, to bring laughter into dark and dismal places. As an adult, I am even more impressed by the power that stories have to effect change. Particularly as a queer, transgender adult whose life doesn’t fit nicely into the generally accepted queer, transgender narratives (“I knew I was gay in kindergarten!” or “I knew I was trans when I was three years old!” – not to say that there is anything inherently wrong with these narratives)…I am increasingly convinced that it is imperative that those of us whose stories differ from the “mainstream” of queer culture tell those stories, because as more of us claim our own narratives, fewer of us feel alone.

I’ve been telling my story in bits and pieces for years – I took my first fumbling steps out of the closet almost six years ago, and have used storytelling as a means to process my personal evolution. However, last week I received a request from a family member for a narrative of my journey from straight, cisgender woman to queer, transgender man, and I realized for the first time that I have never actually written it all down in one place. (Granted, the story is ever-changing, and there will never be one complete account. But it had never crossed my mind that I’ve been working exclusively in vignettes, capturing a moment here and there, and never a longer story arc.)

So over the weekend and into the beginning of this week I’ve been writing it all down. As I am writing this Wednesday morning, I have more than 3,200 words…and while I have the bulk of the major events of the past six years down, it is still far from complete. It doesn’t include many of the vignettes I’m sure I’ve written down before – like coming out to my best friend from college when I had the world’s biggest crush on her, or how I started identifying as a gentleman years before I ever identified as transgender or genderqueer, or what it felt like the first time a stranger called me “sir” (which also happened well before I identified as anything other than cisgender).

I’m an inveterate storyteller with a story so full of plot twists that I’m having trouble telling it in a way that is both coherent and complete. I suppose, if I have to pick one over the other, I’ll go with coherence. (Choosing coherence over completeness will also increase my chances of getting this sent out within the week, like I promised.) Still, now I feel like, at some point in the near future, I need to at least try to get a (mostly) complete narrative down as well, even if it’s only for me. Particularly as I move into the strange new world of male privilege, I don’t ever want to forget where I’ve come from.