Killing Time

killingtime

Twelve more days until I move. The windows are wide open, my air purifier roaring, I´m sitting on my bed – behind my provisional desk – my feet cold as ice. The temperature outside is around -1 C (30 F), but a pervasive smell of dead animals, stale alcohol, and moldy food flows in through the cracks in the door.

Now that more people have moved in, and have taken to cooking in the middle of the night, I am really getting acquainted with the  horrors of this house. Whereas I thought dead mice on the floor, and heroine-addicts in an adjacent room with dark and sunken eye-sockets were disturbing, this smell is worse than anything.

I´ve been coming home late, taking the last train home – today and yesterday I spent in the library, reading Don Quijote to practice my Spanish – and afterwards I took to a place called “Credible” (cracks me up) to have a bite to eat. I never cook here anymore. The dead vermin and lack of ventilation give me a gag reflex anytime I do.

Tomorrow I´m meeting a friend for a walk in a nearby city, on Saturday I´m having drinks with a different friend, on Sunday church and a birthday, Monday I´ll be cooking for another friend. You get the idea – meet as many people as possible, only to return here for the most basic of things – sleep.

As soon as I get the keys, about ten days from now, I´m bringing my inflatable bed and a bunch of covers to my new place. Although I haven´t moved anything yet (due to surgery I heavily depend on others to move things for me), I´ll end up moving there immediately and thanking God I won´t have to put up with the stench anymore.

 

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Moving Back!

movingout

Something happened that made me incredibly happy. I am moving back! Not moving back to my prior house, but moving back into the same city. Thank Jesus, thank Buddha, thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The past three months were a nightmare, in the sense of not having a real “home”.

My house in Mill Corner, aside from being in a terrible state and having a huge pile of garbage next to it (think old furniture, moldy mattresses, assorted trash), did not feel “home” in any way.  I feel foolish for thinking I could make it work – that´s that boundless optimism* I have sometimes – severely miscalculating a situation.

After the yelling that I did not belong here and that I should get my ass out of here – this happened in the first week – it became apparent that my dream was not going to manifest itself in a former heroin den. And so I fled, I fled to my grandmother´s until after surgery, postponing the inevitable – having to actually live in this place.

I was rescued by a freaking miracle. You could call it that. Prior to finding this hole in the middle of nowhere, I had been looking for ages. I looked at everything – rooms, apartments, communal sharing. Nothing. Every time I went to look, to meet people, they said “it´s been lovely meeting you, but we´ve found someone else“.

Last Tuesday, I went to see the first place since I came back after surgery. It was huge. An old, monumental house, in the style that I used to live in – except bigger, with an ample pebble yard and rows of trees. The house´s occupants varied from students to working people, all in all about thirty to forty people.

It impressed me. I saw myself walking through these corridors, getting lost. I saw a barbecue set outside. In the room, there was lots of light, smallish but big enough to live in decently. When I left, the agent said: “just call tomorrow if you want it“. And that was that. I signed the papers today.

Top surgery was a big deal, but it wasn´t nearly as big as deal as this. To move back to a place that I can call my home. I can´t wait to get settled in.

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*Boundless optimism, from me, might surprise you, considering the amount of posts in which I focus on the difficult and the negative. However, I can really be incredibly positive – to the point where I forget to be realistic. This sometimes is incredibly nice – but as you can see also has a downside. 

Where to Start?

dandelion

Hey everybody, dear readers, awesome followers; it´s been a while, a long long while. It started with the move; from the center of the city to a town nearby; and it ended with the discovery that somebody died here from a heroine overdose. In the first week alone, I had a confrontation with the landlord, and it went downhill from there.

In the first weeks, I got yelled at to pack my things and leave; fellow house mates “borrowed” my couch and trashed it before I could sell it; and my landlord has entered the premises several times without my permission while I was away. It was so freaking awful, I ended up calling my grandma to see if I could stay with her before surgery.

In the week before surgery I stayed at my grandmothers´ partner´s house; from there to my grandma´s house, and then the night before surgery at an extremely awesome hotel in Amsterdam. It´s not going to suffice to write one post about it; I´ll have to dedicate several to the whole experience and to the whirlwind of different emotions.

I was operated 15 January. On the 17th of January I had a hematoma on the right side, and was rushed back to the hospital. My right side was operated again and the blood drained, after which I stayed in the hospital four nights – to make sure everything was okay. I had mild fever (38.5 to 39 C) for a few days.

The wound oozed for the first week, the wound opened along the incision line and my nipple looked like it was about to fall off. It was incredibly freaky and very, very scary. I had several incidents or little confrontations with my grandmother, partly due to stress and partly due to our opposing personalities. So to sum up, it wasn´t easy.

My wound is healing now. It still looks freaky but now I can trust that everything is going to end up well – the scar might be a little bit bigger at first, but I don´t think it will be a problem later on. At this moment, I have yet another priority in life – which is to move out of my room and find a new place as soon as possible.

Turning 30 & More

milestone

Today marks the start of my thirty-first year on Earth. I´ve got to say, I´m taking it pretty well. Despite the mini-crisis I had concerning my age a while ago, I am now completely fine with it and not worried about it, either. The only thing that might be strange, is still getting read as 21 at the age of 30.

Nevertheless, turning thirty still feels like quite a big deal. If only because it´s the first birthday without my grandmother – she used to still always send mail. I miss my own mother on this date as well. Having to shun her because of the PTSD feels awful. What if I never get over PTSD?

At the same time, this week marks my signing a contract with a new landlord – something which I will tell you more about soon – as well as finally getting a date for surgery:  January 15 2018. It´s starting to look as though my future – which used to be vague and distant – is finally taking shape.

Not feeling your age will always remain true, but in some ways I feel as though I have matured more in this year, than the last three combined. Whether it´s fortunate or really unfortunate, pain and patience have a way of changing you – they teach you to remain sane in the most insane of times.

My role in life seems to be shifting – from looking towards elders to guide me, to becoming the young elder who is guiding others. Young people approach me more often for help and I find people depending on what I say. I´m not a parent, but I imagine having kids marks a similar type of transition.

Anyway. Today I´m going to chill here – one of my last weeks in this place – and in the evening I´m having beers with a few friends. I will be back soon to tell you about the move, about my new roommates, and – last but not least – about my preparations for surgery and recovery.

Overcoming Myself

tightlid

It´d be difficult to describe my state of mind in a polite way. The inoffensive version would be to state that I´m wrapped on tighter than the lid on a vacuum sealed jar. The other way of stating it (more offensive, but also more fun) would be to state than I´m wound so tight you couldn´t remove a needle from my ass with pliers.

This condition – which reveals itself in general nervousness, sleeplessness trembling hands, stiff knees and a locked jaw – exacerbates the emotional tendency to control everything and get angry at absolutely everything I dislike. Which is a lot. If I were to make a list, I´d have to sit here and write until the morning.

Physical dysphoria has really been getting the best of me. Just removing the tape from my chest now requires calming medication, and I´m currently involved in a fruitless fight with my misplaced genitals. My whole body is covered in hair, I´m all bones and muscle, and I´m having top surgery in two months.

And yet it´s been a challenge to focus on these positive points. Instead, I waste my time zeroing in on my feeling of emasculation. I´m having to remind myself that diving into my own misery won´t help much in regaining some of that much-needed feeling of virility and confidence. I´m having to “unscrew” myself.

Rather than wallowing in everything that I can´t do, I find that cliché male activities, such as doing push-ups while listening to military cadences, and even tired sayings, such as “man up” are actually helping me get a grip on the way I handle my emotions. They may not be politically correct, but they are pretty helpful.

Sometimes – specially when I´m stuck at a particular unhelpful state of mind – all I need is to give myself a bit of a “shove” and remind myself that life is pretty cool, as long as I´m able to stand wide and hold my head up high. Cliché masculine behavior, compensatory or not, is helping me get over myself and move on.

Update: Tired AF

stay in bed

Being tired “AF” is one of those abbreviations I know that suggest I´m keeping up with the times, when in reality I am just becoming a fossil (who had no idea what “TL;DR” meant until today). But I am tired AF though. Since the whole affair with my mother, and PTSD being triggered, things have just been exhausting.

With my mental  health down the crapper, and my brain going bonkers under the slightest amount of pressure, I canceled all my appointments. I canceled the appointment with the psychiatrist that would finally get me a referral for (legal) testosterone. I canceled the skype conversations I still had to have with the gender therapist this month.

I even canceled my own birthday party. It´s not my birthday yet, but my family is getting a get together for the four of us, me and my three cousins. Instead I think I will be celebrating my birthday after I´ve had top surgery (which is now scheduled for January, I still need to get an actual date).

Rather than big, scary involvements (like transition) that will potentially drive me to the brink, I am sticking to small tasks, like looking for a different apartment (not really a small task) and getting a haircut. Which was interesting. I merely got a short haircut, but the barber kept admiring his own work, saying: “nice, nice…”

I made the mistake of going to the big mall afterwards, I should never have done that. The supermarket in it has an enormous amount of products and is usually really crowded, but I kind of  forgot that and it was nearby the barber shop. I got in and people immediately started to brush by me which kind of set off my built-in alarm.

By the time I got home, I was ready to scream at and beat people up. My pants kept falling down and I had difficulty fastening my bike to a post, all while hyperventilating and attempting to “stay with” my own awareness of myself. I think I will avoid crowded places from now on. I really should have known better.

Pain & Choices II

alone2

In Pain & Choices I, I described to you how the crude and subsequent nice messages from my mother made me recall some childhood memories. Back when I would never quite know whether I was a good child who had a loving mother, or a piece of shit that deserved only abuse.

Traumatic flashbacks and PTSD have subsided over the years. But it´s not gone. And as I held the letter in my hand, feeling pain over the nicety of it – a switch went off in my brain and before I could stop it, there I was screaming and punching myself in the head, in the stomach, in the legs, as hard as I could.

I´m a piece of shit. I deserve abuse. In a panic, I searched for my medication and downed two. I hate childhood trauma, I hate it. I hate these fucking mind-games. I hate the fact that she thinks she knows what I´m going through. And I hate even more that she has no idea what her writing does to me.

I called my aunt. Gradually – as my medication set in – I began to calm down. My aunt asked me questions and I explained, feeling a bit better. She said not to blame myself for reacting the way I did. She asked me whether I wanted this kind of thing in my life, and I said no. But it hurts. Because I have to reject her.

I have to reject her, because I cannot have this in my life. I can´t go through life wondering if another trigger will go off in my head, causing me to hurt myself, or worse – commit suicide. She has never understood this. She thinks that we don´t ever talk because I´m angry. Because I hold a grudge.

The opposite is true. I am not holding a grudge – but that just makes it worse. I know how messed up she used to be. I know that she´s okay now, and that she is trying, and she cares. But for my own sake, I can´t receive any of it. Because no matter how helpful, she will never be able to fix my PTSD.