I wish I had more to say.
It’s been so hard to get computer time for more than half hour slots, in places that aren’t so loud and chaotic that I can’t think to write. I have millions of things to write about and everything is so backed up that I don’t know where to start and my mind goes blank- I don’t know what takes priority. I wanted to be in a place in my life where I could fully document my hormone changes when I transitioned, but life hasn’t been turning out perfect- it’s been messy and beautiful and amazing and uncontrollable. Everything’s been tumbling down in my lap faster than I can contemplate it and it’s all I can do to hold on for the ride.
This city- it looks easy on the outside. You hear about all the public assistance, the resources, the wonderful transit system, the diversity of culture so vast that you’ll always find some group of people who understand or some even celebrating your marginalized way of life, and you think to yourself that there’s nowhere else in the world you’d rather live. The old people say that the city is a young man’s game, that it’s too crowded, too noisy, takes too much out of you, and you scoff and retort that they’re just stuffy creaky old coots who romanticize the country and don’t know what they’re talking about. You’ve lived in the the country all your life, you say, and it’s nothing to shout about- it’s slow, it’s boring, it’s so homogenized and closedminded that you don’t think anyone could survive there for long without withering up, selling out, fading away. It grates on you.
But without knowing it and seeing it for yourself, there’s no way to quantify what “too noisy” does to your ears, no way to feel the way that “too crowded” makes you a little crazier for every day that you can’t get away from nutso, aggressive, abrasive, psychotic people, no way to predict how much the city is going to take out of you until it takes away everything you’ve ever loved. And don’t doubt that it will take things away from you, because that’s what the city does, no matter how you try to hold onto things. The city feeds on itself. You’ll think you’ve hit bottom, that you’ve got nothing left to lose, and the city says, “Oh no, there’s this other thing that’s detachable too that you didn’t even realize you take for granted. See?” And then- it’s gone.
The city will exhaust your every resource, test your every limit, and make no mistake, you are surrounded by survivors and scavengers- if a person can take something from you to get ahead, they very much will- it’s just the nature of the game. There is no pride here, there is no honor, just getting by and you can’t resent them for that. It’s when you start to realize that if you want to survive the city, you have to start taking it back. It’s then that you become the city.
I will always love this place, its brutality is teaching me life and I have no regrets. But it is changing me. It is stripping me to my core, tearing me down to my most fundamental elements, making me throw away everything about myself that was peripheral, useless, petty, outmoded or just ignorant. Morals I thought I had, based on a life of relative luxury where moral ambiguities were just theoretical in nature, are being ripped away as I see how things work on the Outside.
But the most valuable thing is that I’m finding out who I really am. There are things the city tries to take that just STICK. They don’t go anywhere, I can’t give them up, they are the core of what I am- the very last inch of me.
Anyway, by next Tuesday I’ll be legally recognized by the State of California as Thomas Harper, male. Also I have a job interview that day that I’m sure to land, knock on wood. Let me just say that I started this transition on July 24th, 2009. I first got T on March 24th, 2012. My name change is April 24th, 2012.
24 is a good number for me.