zetasyanthis: (Default)
The torch is lit
the gauntlet thrown
the steel glints in darkness
and now it comes to us at last
to defend 'gainst this harshness.

The trumpet blasts,
the arrows fall,
but we will not be shaken
for within us dragons' blood flows,
"These lives will not be taken."

So listen now ye sheltered folk,
ye trembling in darkness,
and listen now yet hearts gone cold,
ye broken, and ye heartless.

We'll not become that which we fight,
but fight we ever shall,
for each kind heart,
our cherished art,
and freedom's shining sail.

You would not do
to judge to quick
those who now stand to face you.
We are not those you ought to fear;
in love, we will embrace you.

We seek your hearts
to join with ours
to build a better world
a kinder, gentler, novel place,
where fear's banners stay furled.

It won't be quick;
it won't be light,
this burden we now don,
but we accept and raise our lights
to watch until the dawn.
zetasyanthis: (Default)
This is basically a dump of my philosophy, goals, and what I'm planning in the near future. Suggestions more than welcome!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Actions to Take
===============

 - Attend local Democratic party meetings, town halls.
 - Write Illinois state reps about gender change on birth certificates. (Currently surgery is required.)
 - Write and call local politicians often. Volunteer with them, maybe.
 - Start weepwith.us
   - Only truth. No agenda. Only stories.
   - "I'm here to cry with you."
 - Find ways to *encourage* personal expression.

Philosophy
==========

 - Kindness above all. Respect whenever possible.
 - Fear is the only true enemy.
 - We are all linked. Suffering in one part of the world echoes across all, eventually.
 - We must restore and preserve natural beauty for future generations as well as provide for the possible evolution of other species who have not yet appeared.
 - "If you build it, they will come" approach -> create a better society and let people see what it can do for them...

Philosophy, Applied
===================

 - Individual freedom is the foundation of everything I seek to accomplish.
   - This must apply to all sentients, a category that is to be more inclusive if there is to be error.
 - Mutual respect between individuals, groups, and nations.
 - Empathy with conflicting viewpoints.
 - Support for basic living standards
    - It is not ethical to have any job pay so little that working full time at that wage, you could not safely live.
      (We have built a country in which people may live, but their dreams may die.)
   - THIS IS DEMANDED BY THE RIGHT TO PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
   - Food, water, electricty / gas, unfiltered internet, healthcare.
   - SAFETY
 - Revamped K-12 education
   - Much more focus on civics *and recent history.*
 - Promotion of a sense of awe at the beauty of the natural world.  Only by respecting it can we hope to preserve it.
 - End the following
   - War on Drugs
   - War on Terror
 - Government actions must be founded primarily on consent wherever possible, else they will run into resistance.

Challenges
==========

 - How do you kindle peace in the heart of someone who knows not what it is?  Everything requires background!
   - We need diversity, others, difference, to not be alone. Animals help this too.
 - How do you unite people in the absence of an external enemy?  Culture?
 - How do we handle the concept of honor?
 - Institutionalized racism / sexism.

Dangers
=======

 - Corrupt liberal and center vs. right wing.  Right wing wins *every time*. (Includes perceived corruption!)
 - Ethical myopia
 - Mindsets trapped within frameworks designed to keep them surpressed.  Realization of frameworks frees your mind.  How the hell do we do this?
 - Do not forget those who need help, or they will be your downfall.

Completely Random Ideas
=======================

 - Pursuit of new frontier (Case for Mars) to revitalize western civilization.
 - Have news agencies create textbooks for education. Gives them a reliable source of income and improves student knowledge.
 - What do we do if we can't educate people enough? What about while we're working on improving it?

Source documents
================

 - Bill of Rights
 - UN Declaration of Human Rights
zetasyanthis: (Default)
Hi there! You don't remember me, but you might remember little Suki from all those years ago (2011). She and I have moved all the way to California since the last time you saw her, and she couldn't be doing better. On top of that, I've come out as transgender, and have changed my name, though she's still kept hers. :)

I still remember the day I adopted her, how she fell asleep in my arms as I stood around for nearly an hour until I realized she was coming home with me. I still remember how protective you guys were of her. (When I tell friends the story, I liken it to someone threatening to take out my kneecaps. :P)

Just wanted you to know she's doing well, and purring away. She's gotten even sweeter than she was, if you can believe it. I don't know how such a small creature can have so much love in her, but you should know that I reply in kind, daily. There's a good chance this little one saved my life, and I wanted you to know that. Depression and anxiety have been pretty hard on me the last couple years, but she's been there, with her soft little purrs and even softer touches.

Enclosed is a relatively small contribution, on account of an unfortunate spate of medical bills this last year. I hope you guys keep up the good work, and know you helped save more than just a kitty.

Much love,
Zeta and Suki
zetasyanthis: (Default)
I just wrote and sent this email to the electors, with the subject "I'm scared too. >.<". 

I hope this letter finds you well, and that your days have been happier and less stressful than mine.

My name is Zeta Syanthis, and I am writing to you in the hope that you will read my story. I'm writing because I'm scared, and because my friends are being hurt. And because I know it's probably only a matter of time before I, myself, am.

Ever since President-Elect Donald Trump won the electoral college on November 8th, hate crimes against minorities have spiked to an unbelievable degree. I myself am a transgender citizen living in California, though I've only been here for two short years. (I moved here hoping against hope that I would be safe. >.<) Originally from Illinois, I went to school in Terre Haute, Indiana (downstate) and then lived in Arizona for almost 5 years, working as a cleared defense contractor during that time. I have no illusions about the threats we face, or about the need for a strong hand in government, but for the first time in my life I no longer feel safe in my own home. I no longer know if those I wish to serve want me here, or if those that do outnumber those who wish me dead. I hope you are one of the former. >.<

I do not know if you have ever felt as I do, whether here or abroad, but I can tell you it is a deep and terrible feeling, one that scarcely lets me get up each day. It as though a spike has been driven through my heart and chained to some dark place, and I do not know how to remove it. >.<

Already, we have lost folks, to that same depression which I battle daily. We have lost 9 that I know of to suicide, kind and gentle folks who lost hope upon seeing their hoped-for futures snatched away. Others are being killed, or chased down with hatchets, while all the while the KKK celebrates day after day. In our neighborhoods, pride flags are being burned while still attached to houses, black churches are being torched, and women's cars vandalized for even looking as though they might be Muslim. And that's to say nothing of the hateful words and symbols painted and etched into our lives.

I know you alone cannot stop this. And I do not put that responsibility at your feet. How could I? But I am asking, as one human to another, "*Please* do not do this to us." We have shed far too many tears already, and my heart cannot bear many more. >.<

Link summary:
http://www.wsoctv.com/news/local/transgender-woman-chased-attacked-with-hatchet-at-charlotte-park/467181395
http://www.washingtonblade.com/2016/06/16/rainbow-flag-burned-outside-adams-morgan-restaurant/
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2016/11/10/gay-pride-rainbow-flags-burned/93583280/
http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2016/11/16/hiker-targeted-with-car-vandalism-racist-note-over-head-scarf/
http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/10/14/leaked-video-shows-santa-clara-students-drawing-swastika-with-blood/
http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/09/21/swastikas-hateful-language-discovered-at-sjsu-residence-halls/
https://twitter.com/trashhalo/status/742386487937892353/photo/1
http://abc7news.com/news/church-womans-car-vandalized-with-swastikas-in-south-bay/1610855/
http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/02/us/mississippi-black-church-vandalized-vote-trump/

Tired

Nov. 13th, 2016 01:58 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
As you might guess from the title, I've not really recovered from the last week, or even the weeks leading up to it. It still feels like a dream I don't know how to wake up from, a knife lodged deep within my heart.

I don't know how it came to this.

Intellectually, I do, but emotionally, it hurts too much to think about. To think of those we've already lost, those we will lose, and all the pain and suffering this has already caused. The price we pay for this mistake is not just in property. Not even just in lives. The price we will pay is the heart-breaking of an entire generation.

My heart is already broken. I don't know what to do. I know what I should do, what avenues there are to help comfort and fight against what is and white will be, but it hurts so much I can't even move, hurts so much I can barely get out of bed in the mornings. It is as though I have an anchor chained to a bolt embedded in my heart, and I have not the strength to remove it.

I keep trying to piece it back together,
how such a terrible thing could be,
but my heart just keeps on bleeding,
hope draining out of me.

I know I need to fight this.
I know I need to stand,
but I'm not sure if I could cry
without a helping hand.

This heart-pain is the deepest
that I have ever felt
that dark and cold and terrible
pain that will not let me rest.

Broken

Sep. 25th, 2016 04:26 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
For Makyo.

Today my heart broke for a friend
for one I care for deeply
one who struggles with bitter curse
one that would end her cheaply.

My heart, thus broken, sang and wept
for deep depression's mire
for manic impulse, shattered mind,
that seeks the garrote wire.

But this I know, and this I seek
the heart behind the pain,
that brilliant shining wondrous light
that crystal without stain.

For in her heart, and in her mind
there lives a greater beauty
than all the world itself yet knows
though her pain keens acutely.

I know not future, know not past,
yet this, at last I know.
This fox with shining purple hair,
she must not ever go.

For in this world there are too few
too few hearts yet so fine
and it would break my heart and yours
if hers no longer shined. >.<
zetasyanthis: (Default)
Finally cried last night, and boy did I cry a lot. I know I've talked about tears before, after Kubo, and after a few other small moments here and there. Up until now, though, I haven't cried tears for me. I've cried situationally, cried for what I saw and what it made me feel, but never for myself. Never.

Last night, I cried, and it hit my like a truck. Wandering though files on my server, I found first AMV Hell, and then the Read or Die OVA, something I've watched many times before. Last night, though, it finally cracked me.

I've seen it before and laughed at the exploits of "The Paper!" and the trouble the rest of the crew goes to to keep her alive. I've watched a story of pain and seen the terrifying power of kindness, a story that breaks the world. And yet, I never saw it, never felt, never saw my heartstrings. I never saw them cut before, and never fell while dreaming.

There are yet more tears to come,
but these ones I will cherish.
They gave me back the life I lost,
and without I would perish.

Because if I am honest now,
if I can really feel it,
I did not know I breath today,
and I cannot believe it.

A resonance of pain and blood,
of love and horrid sadness,
has broken my heart open now,
and I weep tears of gladness.

I don't know how I'm going to live.
I don't know how I'll now heal.
But this I know, and this I cry,
"I'll not follow death's peal!"

More words will come,
words that explain,
words that I'll try to speak,
but now, today, and for a while,
I'll lie here, hurt and weak.
zetasyanthis: (Default)
This is another rough one, I'm afraid. Not sure exactly where it's going, but can just tell. Maybe the little girl crying next to me in the coffee shop as I write this is influencing me, or maybe she's just reminding me of the little one in me who's also suffering. (Poor little thing is struggling mightily with her math homework and her dad's trying his best to help.)

It's been another week, and maybe not a good one. I slept a whole lot, and did make a bunch of progress, both at work and at home, but I'm still as tired as ever. I keep hoping that'll change, and sometimes it does for brief moments, but they are far too few in between. (Yesterday was mostly okay, thankfully.)

So let's deal with the elephant in the room. Therapy was brutal this week, another deep session to try and work through some of the things that have been killing me over the last little while. As opposed to previously, where I'd made contact with some memories at the age of around four, this time I was faced with memories and emotions from around the age of six. And holy crap did they hurt. >.<

[Author's note: This one hurts. A lot.]

You see, my brother's always been a destructive force in my life, even from the time I was little. In this particular memory, though, destructive isn't quite the word, as he was too young (5 to my 6) to impact me directly. Instead, his impact was felt in the extra time and care he needed from my parents... time I never got.

Between his ADHD, school troubles, and many other issues, most of which I won't go into here, Andy always needed more. The problem is that I needed more too, and the giant hole where that love should have been ripped me apart. >.<

You see, Zoe (my therapist) says that when you're that age, the only way you can interpret that kind of thing is in terms of love. Attention, time spent, and emotional support translate directly into a child's perception of how much their parent cares for them. And she's right. At the age of six, and maybe even well after that, I had no other way to process that, even if I didn't understand how it was hurting me at the time.

A momentary aside: I know *why* my brother needed needed more help than I appeared to, and knew at least a little bit even then. I've talked in the past about being the 'golden kid' in the family, and I'm realizing more and more that I put myself in that spot in trying to take a load off my already overburdened parents. I pulled the stoic-little-kid-who'd-soldier-through routine, trying to make them proud, burying my hurt as deeply as possible, and trying to find some way to stand out in the hopes that they would see me.

I still struggle with that today. >.<

"I couldn't feel that they loved me. I still needed them... but I wasn't important."

And so I slipped away. >.<

[Author's note: There will probably be more posts in this series, but I don't have the heart to go on today. >.<]
zetasyanthis: (Default)
Man, it's been a year.

Early for retrospectives, I know, but *sheer sigh of exhaustion* holy moly. This hasn't been an easy one. It's been 20 months since I moved from Arizona and started this whole crazy adventure, and I'm pretty lucky to have done it when I did. I say that because I honestly don't think I have the strength to  do it again. If time reversed and I found myself back in Arizona with all the memories and knowledge I now have, but having to go back through all the hard times I've been through since, I'm pretty sure I'd kill myself. A lot of days I wonder how I never did. >.<

As much as I'm improving, and as much progress as I've made, this is still hard... every single day. Crushing pressure the likes of which not even the oceans can summon has given way to the kindling of a soul, but one who has been horribly mauled in the intervening years. Shards of self, like pieces of a broken crystal, have been slowly reassembled, but their glow still hurts to look at, the pain obvious in the broken light they cast.

I'm still here, and I'm still trying; but the body-blows have been devastating. I feel like one often does after a hard day of physical work: beaten, sore, and exhausted. Always, always tired. I know what this is, and I know I have to fight it, because I am improving, but there are days I'm still not sure if it's going to win. There are times (like now), where I would give anything to just stop hurting, to stop being afraid. All I want to do is shake myself apart, to scream and cry... but those tears still aren't coming. Some have, but there are many more to come. >.<

I didn't really mean for this journal to go in this direction, but I guess it had to be said. I'm still hurting, and I'm still hurting a lot. Maybe it's just that I can see it finally, but I'm a fucking mess at the moment and could really use some help. >.< I just want the pain to stop. >.<

(And yes, I am seeking medical help... just still feel like shit. >.<)

Hurting

Aug. 20th, 2016 05:43 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
I'm not exactly sure where I'm going to go with this one yet, but I feel compelled to write, if only to try and make sense of what I'm going through at the moment.

As a caution, I'm going to try and connect as deeply as I can while writing this, so this is liable to get pretty dark and upsetting. If you're in a bad head space yourself, this might not be the post for you. >.<

--------------------

Anxiety has been killing me the last few days. >.< It's been orders of magnitude higher than... well, I want to say "ever", but that's probably not 100% accurate. This is terrifyingly reminiscent of what I went through in my sixth grade year, the memories of which I'm still pushing away. (Some, because it's subconscious, and some, because I apparently can't face them quite yet. >.<)

With that said, I'm going to continue discussing this as though it is the worst, because those seem to be the words I need to use to connect with this and validate my feelings...

The last two weeks have been the worst two weeks of my entire life. I've made so much progress, connected so much better than ever before, but there is always more pain. Visceral fear and terror, the likes of which should make me cry and shake until I feel better, if only the tears would come. But they will not, and it is killing me. >.<

I know I'm getting closer. I know I'm getting better, and that this is the dark before the dawn... but this darkness is so vast that I do not know how to navigate it, the pain so deep that I absolutely cannot cope. >.< I'm doing what I can to remain functional, to go to work and come home again, to do all those things that life demands of us, no matter our condition, but I feel like I'm failing. There is a hole in my heart, and all beauty seems to drown in it. >.<

My tremors have been getting worse. They encompass most of my upper body now, especially my neck and head, and I'm sorry, but I've been hiding them. >.< I'm as scared of them as I am of the things that are causing them, and the pain that will not cease. How much longer I can go without them being noticed at work, I'm not sure, but I'm in a pretty bad way.

I am still broken. >.<

I am healing, but it hurts. So much. >.<

This pain has always been here. But I pushed it away, hurting myself even worse in the process as I kept myself apart from whatever I have been. I am trying, desperately trying, to just be myself, but it is terrifying, and I hurt so much. >.<

*Her* pain (a fragment of myself, aged about four) to *my* pain is a *massive* breakthrough, even if it's killing me. >.<

I might yet end up in the hospital here, and the thing that scares me most is that *I have to be okay with that* in order to get through this. I'm not yet there, but I made it half an inch yesterday. >.<

*curls into a ball with her kitty* >.<
zetasyanthis: (Default)
Progress, and Coming Out

This Thursday marked 10 weeks since I started HRT. It's been a little rocky (my anxiety in particular increasing with all the rest of my emotional content), but overall, it's been a shocking improvement. Even my therapist has been surprised, and that's to say nothing for the what the additional connection as allowed me to accomplish *in* therapy itself.

I'm going to talk about that more at some point here, maybe even in the next few days, but for now, I'm out. Speaking quietly to a coworker on Tuesday, I was met with such a depth of empathy and trust that I can still barely believe it happened. He was sad, though, as he was retiring Friday, and didn't expect to meet the actual me before he left. So... I changed that. I wasn't really planning it, didn't really think it through as much as I could have, but I took the leap. I'm Zeta now, really. The paperwork hasn't caught up yet, but it will in time, and that's what matters.

As for the rest, I leave you with some trimmed tweets from the last few weeks, including some from my private feed. I love you all, and I could never have done this without you. <3

Jun 11:

Found something tonight. Something wonderful... and something terrible.

I may have just felt (and recognized) love directed at me for the first time.

I... don't have words for that.

June 16:

I know I may just be growing breasts, but it feels like I'm growing wings.

July 20:

I swear... I probably have the best chance I've ever had of becoming a safe, functioning human being. HRT is doing *so much* towards that.

And I'm not even talking physically right now, just emotionally. This is unbelievable beyond even my best hopes. >.<

So much love. <3

Thank you. For everything. <3
zetasyanthis: (Default)
Dear members of the Blue Cross Blue Shield appeals committee,

I have been trying to write this letter for about six weeks now, but I was unsure how to approach writing you. In those six weeks, though, I've learned a lot about myself, and about why I need the care I now seek from you. And so, I will not tell you how I struggle every month to pay rent, even though I could. I will not quote statistics or legalisms in an effort to compel you to make a decision. I will, however, ask for your compassion. (Should those items prove of more interest to the committee, however, I have provided relevant documentation in this appeals packet.)

I am hereby appealing the denial of coverage of necessary blood tests (including risk factor testing) as prescribed by my provider, Bessa Makoni, NP, for the purposes of hormone replacement therapy, something I desperately need. <number> and <number2> are the affected claim numbers.

Today marks the completion of my tenth week on hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which I am on, not as a precursor to any kind of surgery, but entirely for mental health reasons, something that is covered by the Jabil Circuit BCBS plan. The blood tests detailed in the denied claims cover my initial risk-factor testing, as well as the ongoing monitoring of my hormone levels, which is vitally necessary in order for my treatments to be safe and effective.

I do not know if I can possibly explain to you the difference HRT has made in my life, even in these short weeks, but if I could, you would weep as I have. I have never in my life felt as I do now. I have never had this much hope, and I am terrified at what would happen if I was unable to continue down this path.

In my short 29 years on this planet, I have lived as a terribly broken creature. My mind, from as early as I can remember, has been filled with fear and anger, terror and rage that no child should ever feel. But even more so, it has been filled with darkness, depression so deep that I could not even recognize the depths of what I was missing. I felt shattered, so broken that even tears were impossible, no weight or action sufficient to make things right.

And so, I ask for your compassion as I make my case to you. HRT has changed my life, but I cannot long afford it without the assistance that heath insurance provides. Already, I have had to cancel dozens of therapy sessions for want of funds, just so I could still cover this while meeting rent.

I do not know if any of you have ever met someone who is transgender. I do not know if you support trans rights in your own communities. I know not if you regard us with disgust, or pity, or do not think of us at all. I know only that I, like you, am a living, breathing person, and I badly need your help.

If there is anything I can do to provide further information, or even if a member of the committee would just like to speak to me, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time of day.

Thank you,
Zeta Syanthis
zetasyanthis: (Default)
If I had written this last night, I might have ranted, might have detailed all the terrible things that my last employer did to me. I might have spoken of panic attacks and anger looking back, and as I write this, I know those things may still come up. Today, though, I want to talk about changing the way we look at things. I want to talk about re-evaluating how we interact with each other, with a specific look at a working environment.

Today, I want to talk about kindness.

Let's start by forming a mental picture of a traditional office setting. It's enough to say that people are busy, at their desks or talking to other coworkers. Meetings buzz with activity as people move in and out, projector screens extending and retracting as the crowds wax and wane. Some are lucky enough to have offices, while others sit in cubicles or open desks, laid out in rows or hexagons by someone with at least as much OCD as the engineers themselves.

In this setting, there are reports to file, emails to respond to, and much work to get done. People run to labs and factory floors, to airports and distant countries, all to keep the machine moving. The one rule is this: the machine must keep moving. If it stops, if there's a kink in the smooth functioning of business, schedules are missed, customers are upset, and the jobs of everyone at the office are in jeopardy. The spice must flow.

But everyone who's worked a day in their life knows that not every day is smooth. There are problems, problems of design or management, of human error or machine malfunction. Solving these problems, and keeping the machine going, is why we have our jobs in the first place, and we can lose them if we solve them to slowly or find ourselves unable to do so at all, even if the problem lies beyond our control.

Some business have fewer bumps, some businesses have more. It depends on the quality of the people, and the processes in place to keep the machine moving, and not all are equal to the task, as much as we wish they were. The key, though, is to keep the machine going *without* burning out your people through frustration or long hours, working them until they can work no more. And that's not just a business calculation, as much as people talk about it in those terms. Employees are real people, with real needs, and real feelings, and those need to be taken into account.

When they're not, people get hurt.

Emotionally, and physically, people can only take so much. And when they start to become overwhelmed, as many of my coworkers currently are, they start to make even more mistakes, creating yet more bumps in the road. If this process is not arrested, if changes are not made, and made *quickly*, this can spiral out of control. Assigning ownership of ongoing problems and hammering them down one step at a time is the only way to move forward, even if it's slow.

I've seen a few different ways of handling these kinds of situations. Some managers dig in with the troops, coming in on weekends when they're required to spruce up morale. Some go further, being flexible schedules and trying to ensure that employees have enough time to rest on off-peak days. Some, though, add to the problems, and that is not okay. If a manager is more intent on assigning blame than taking ownership of the solution to a problem, they're no good. Whether they just sit and do nothing, letting the problem linger, or outright yell and abuse employees under them, it just makes things even worse.

So I have had a thought. What do you do, as a co-worker, when you see another co-worker, under a different manager, stressing out? Right out the gate, let's assume you are busy as well, as is common in a somewhat chaotic environment. You can't take on any of their work, not just because that responsibility isn't yours, and you can't really address overload with their manager, as that's between the two of them. Even if the manager is abusive, you can't necessarily report it without possibly getting your coworker in even more trouble, and if you do it without their knowledge or consent, they may consider it a breach of trust.

I've run into this situation a few times recently, and I'm starting to develop a strategy I recommend. Listen. Be kind. If they're having a bad day, maybe surprise them with something coming back from lunch. Maybe ask that coworker who hasn't gone out in months and pulls his hair out daily *to* lunch. In a million little ways, you can remind them that it's not always as bad as things seem, and that there's more to life than work.

So reach out. You won't believe your eyes. <3

Hiraeth

Jul. 2nd, 2016 04:59 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
Hiraeth (pronounced here) is one of the most important words I've ever come across. I discovered it recently in reference to the Brexit referendum here and I felt I needed to talk about it.

See, we all experience hiraeth. We all call back to times when things were better because we all have low points in which we wish things weren't the way they are. We pine for justice, for love, for hope, for so many other things. Hiraeth is what drives us, and that notion that things were better and can be again is an extraordinarily powerful one.

But like all things, hiraeth is also dangerous. Because the past it calls back to (in most cases) never really was, it can be, and has been, abused by many. From Nigel Farage of UKIP to Donald Trump, we've seen leaders use the notion of a better past to drive us towards regressive policies, centralization of power, and the allure of a strongman-in-charge. Yes, there are many things that need fixing today. The global balance of trade has helped, and harmed, many, and I don't pretend to have answers there. I only know hiraeth is not one.

Remember hiraeth when they speak or when any of us speak, and ask yourself what power those words are intended to carry.

Anger

Jun. 26th, 2016 02:33 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
Apparently this is my week for controversial journals.

First off, I want to say that I went to San Francisco's Transmarch yesterday and had an amazing time. Seeing city hall lit up in the colors of the trans flag, myself, in person... was astonishing. I could have hugged the goddamned pillars that held up that roof.

Sadly, this journal is not about that. It's not about the first public image of myself ever posted to the internet. It's not about the fun I had with a friend, or the exhaustion of a march that was maybe a wee bit longer than I expected it to be.

This journal is about the flag.

Milling around a few minutes after the end of the march, my friend and I were trying to figure out what to do next. Out of nowhere, we smelled burning, and though we didn't know what it was, we figured it was a good idea to stay away. And it was. In front of news crews from NBC, a group of marchers set light to, and burned, the American flag.

I don't know exactly why they did it. I wasn't close enough to see faces, wasn't sure what was even on fire at the time. Had I known, I *would* have pushed through the crowd to try and put it out.

I know burning the flag is legal. I think it *should* be legal. I can't really imagine a situation in which I would do it myself, but I can understand frustration and symbolism just fine. What I don't get is how this makes any kind of sense.

As I see it, this was a hell of a step backwards. The *very same day* that the President of these United States named the Stonewall Inn a national monument, these people burned the flag of that same nation. This, after numerous executive orders protecting transgender individuals, and after the attorney general, Loretta Lynch, stood up for us, publicly, on national TV. After she spoke *directly to us*, telling us we would not be alone going forward. I'm not saying things aren't still pretty fucking broken, but is this how we respond to those that would call us friend? Is this how we treat our allies? If so, we don't fucking deserve them.

The videos of the incident (and there are several) are not going to disappear. They're going to spread, and those who hate us will have even more excuses to hate than they already do. This is not the way.

I'm pissed.
zetasyanthis: (Default)
Forgive the rambling start. I haven't had my coffee yet today, and for some reason my brain won't quite switch on.

I've been trying to write this journal for the better part of six months. I *originally* wrote it, or at least most of it, in early January, but for some reason it's never quite come together. I guess that's okay, though, because it'd been a long six months, and I've made a lot of progress in that time. Hopefully, I'll be able to make more sense this time.

Brains are mean, and gender... is hard. It's a hard concept to grasp, a harder one yet to explore, and so intrinsically tied to identity that even talking about it sometimes raises arguments to fever level. To be honest? I just want to be myself. >.<

Today I'm going to use a challenging word. I'm going to use a word that has, in many hearts, an ugly history, one filled with misunderstanding and pain. And before I begin, I want you to know that I will never, ever disrespect that. I know pain's face far too well to ever wish more upon another.

I guess I should just say it then.

Zeta (my 'sona) is a hermaphrodite.

She always has been, ever since I first created her. Or ever since she kind of... existed. I'm not really sure if the broken parts of me that had rejected her had much say in that. I think she (a crucial part of me, remember) kind of forced herself into meaningful existence, even while the rest of me was running as far as possible in the opposite direction.

Sidenote: I'm honestly not sure how you talk about shards of identity coalescing, and I sure as hell don't know how to do it without sounding kinda nuts. I'm going to do it anyways.

I don't know why I find myself where I am today. I don't know who the damaged child I was even is anymore, that broken shell pretending to be whole. I can't even separate external sources from internal ones entirely, but I surely suspect that not all of my problems come from the outside. Being trans sure as hell doesn't, and I guess we'll see what else comes up as I continue to progress through my therapy.

Zeta popped into existence around the middle of 2012. I don't remember exactly why she did, why I felt compelled at that moment to finally construct an image of a portion of myself. To add to the strangeness, I'd never even had a dragon character before, despite diving head-first into the furry RP scene a few years before. For some reason, though, it just seemed right. The imagery of legends, of power tempered by wisdom, may have had something to do with it.

At the time, I'd been away from the RP scene for the better part of 5 years, abruptly disappearing for what was actually the third(?) time during yet another cycle of religiously-motivated self-flagellation. Those years were crucial ones, though, as going from "This gets me off." to "This might actually be me." took a very long time to percolate. I've acknowledged this before, but it's important to note at this point that I primarily played hermaphroditic characters, as well as some female ones, but never had a male one. Funny how I never even realized that at the time. O.o;

2012 is four years in the past now as I write this, and I've changed a lot since those days. The road has absolutely fucking sucked for the most part, with more pain that I ever could have imagined. But I'm still here. And I'm still not male. I'm a woman stuck in a male body for the moment, though HRT is starting to change that day by day.

So why both, then? Why not just have a female 'sona? I don't know. I used to, but things have changed since then. It used to be a symbol, combining my physical self with my mental one, a tool I could use to balance out my mind and body. In imagining her and then in role-playing as her, I could make sense of my mis-wired brain, allowing the physical sensations of my body to make sense in a mental context that didn't quite match up.

Today, I'm not so sure. I've been leaning quite a bit more female these days, though there is still something I value in the blending. Something about being able to be both, being able to sheath yourself in your partner and *take* them, and to be able to carry their child too, is really, really special. It's a balance, and something that could be beautiful, if we let it. I'm not sure how we can, given the tension all around it, but I'm going to at least try.

So yeah. That came out a bit less structured than the first one, but maybe, just maybe, my heart spoke more directly today.

I love you all,
Zeta

Orlando

Jun. 18th, 2016 08:07 pm
zetasyanthis: (Default)
[TW: Frank talk of religion-induced depression and tragic empathy with the shooter. If that puts you off, stop reading now rather than hating me later.]

I didn't want to write this, and I certainly never wanted to have to write this, but apparently I must. So many people just don't seem to understand what this means, or are missing it in the flurry of stories coming out right now.

The Orlando shooter was gay.

And that is really important.

It makes this a double tragedy.

Why? It makes all the difference in the world.

Self-hate is a powerful thing. Self-hate because you believe you are *damned* for something you cannot control or erase from yourself no matter what you do? That is a poison that will kill you. It's a poison that will twist your joy until you hate even more for daring to love those moments where you're really yourself. And it's a poison that I know all too well. I know it in myself, and I know it in my father; and I'm here to tell you the terrible depth of our mistake. I'm here to tell you that we failed.

I have been many dark places in my life, many places that I hope never to venture to again. The place Omar Mateen found himself in is one of them. Tragically, he was unable to escape.

I have no doubt that he had moments of joy in his life, as well as moments of sadness. All of us do. Even knowing his final act, I have no doubt that he likely found some solace at Pulse in his many visits there, clinging to a hope that this could be normal and safe, but never safe in his own mind. I know what it's like to feel unable to stop being *wrong*, to give in for a while, and to finally relapse back, hating yourself all the more. The force of religion, of true belief, can be put aside for a while. You can, with effort, push it away and be yourself for a little while, but you pay for it dearly later.

Faith vs. self is a cycle that repeats. It cycles again and again until something breaks. More often than not in America, it's faith, but not all are so lucky. The fact that many believe and continue to teach those in this vulnerable, pained state just exacerbates and already deadly conflict. Whether it's gay conversion therapy, or just everyday discrimination and abuse, it reinforces the despair you feel at never being good enough, never being able to be what God wants you to be. You feel like a failure when you give in, and more and more worthless every time you are forced to lie to others to protect yourself, to protect your job, to not be ostracized by your family. This internal struggle has many signs, most of them subtle or misunderstood, and *many* take their own lives when they break down from the stress.

Omar lost his battle late last week, and 49 others lost it with him.

Again, I know what this pain feels like. I know how deep it goes, how the very core of what you believe to be yourself rebels against the world, against other parts of yourself, against your beliefs and everything you have ever been taught. And I know what it feels like to lose that fight. I lost it 4 times that I can remember growing up, falling deeper into a depression I never understood I had. I remember the sweat, the late nights hiding at my computer, locking my door so that no one could see. I remember even using my own brother as a scapegoat, turning him in to avoid drawing suspicion that I might be looking at pornography myself. I still bare that shame. >.< I remember too, formatting my computer time after time, as though deleting everything and starting from a clean slate would work this time, that I would be stronger, better, that *I* would make God proud. And I remember failing, again and again.

I don't know how I survived that, and I certainly don't know what happened to push Omar over the edge, to turn his self-destructive tendencies outward on the community that *I have no doubt* would have loved to help him, any way they could. Many of us have fought through similar experiences, and I would not even be surprised if some of the others who died that night share my, and his story, albeit with different ends.

But he couldn't. He wouldn't. I have no doubt his hands shook as he made his final decisions, only to transition into that alarming, deliberative calm many settle into when facing certain death. I have no doubt that before that moment, he felt he had utterly failed. And I have no doubt that he hoped that his God might even even forgive him if he tried to make things right. His poison, the same poison that we stream onto televisions and teach in religious schools all across the country, won. And so he went to his favorite nightclub, and died. And 49 others died with him.

The police say that there were few signs of faith-based radicalization, though his abusive, angry behavior was something that raised a red flag with many. Though I don't *think* I ever reacted in that way, I know someone else who did, someone who hates himself for a whole variety of reasons. I know my dad. I know he lashed out at me because he cannot contain the anger and the despair he feels, the depression that overwhelms him daily and has for more years than I have known him. And I know he, much like Omar, suffers in silence, not seeking help, because he believes himself to be the failure.

I never thought, in a million years, I'd see a shade of myself in a mass shooter, but I have. I wish I could unsee what I have seen.
zetasyanthis: (Default)
With broken hearts we hold the line
With broken hearts we tremble
With broken hearts and broken minds
we shall forev'r assemble.

That hateful deed,
the blood thus spilled,
in name of rage and hate,
it shall not be forgotten
and time will make us great.

And though we stagger
and though we fall
and though with bright blood flashing
the hearts of those we leave behind
another world will fash'n.

No longer quiet, no longer mild,
their anger and their sadness,
will change the world we left for good.
Their love will halt this madness.

The fight for peace,
the fight for love,
the fight for understanding,
these are the things we wept and cried
and now have died for, dancing.

Though we now rest,
you must fight on;
you must not let them break you.
Rebuild the world we left behind
and make us proud; we love you.
zetasyanthis: (Default)
This was originally going to be a Twitter rant, but I thought better of it. I have too much data and too many thoughts for that format. And I know this is considered a... sensitive topic, so I'm not sure exactly how to approach it, but I'm giving it my best shot.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Today, I want to talk about cash. Cold, hard cash. I want to talk rent, and medical expenses, and everything else. Fundamentally, I need to point out just how broken the Bay Area really is. And it's pretty broken, even if it has a lot of other things going for it (LGBT safety, among other things).

You see, I'm an engineer. I make a decent chunk of change, more than most folks in the US and elsewhere. Hell, I was doing really well making nearly 25% less than what I make now in Arizona... but here, nothing seems to be enough. Let's take some numbers from an apartment complex down the street, as an exemplar. These numbers are from Archstone, and are far cheaper than most areas in the Bay, especially down near Mountain View or north near San Francisco. They're modern units with washer/dryer, etc... but not really that special otherwise.

Here's some bullets with a price breakdown of what Archstone has on offer as of today. Listed are the min and max prices for each type of apartment with a basic 12 month lease (no pet rent):
  • 1 Bedroom Apartment
    • $2338/mo: 768 sqft
    • $2726/mo: 1050 sqft (including loft)
  • 2 Bedroom Apartment
    • $2831/mo: 1039 sqft
    • $2967/mo: 1184 sqft
  • 3 Bedroom Apartment
    • $3746/mo: 1421 sqft
    • $4227/mo: 1771 sqft (Exact price unavailable at time of writing, but generated from trend line...)
This is completely fucking insane.

We took a look at Archstone when we were looking to move out here, as well as several other places (10 total, I think) during a whirlwind housing trip, and these are indeed comparable pricing to most other options in the area. We actually lucked out in some ways compared to this, as we were able to snag a ~900 sqft place nearby with no A/C and some seriously electrical problems for only $2200/mo! What a steal!?! I mean, the single pane windows and lack of any serious insulation kick the electricity bill up to a nigh on $300 spike during the winter and you absolutely melt during the summer, but what's not to love? You never wanted a place of your own, did you? Never mind that most folks wished they made $2200/mo, let alone could spend it on rent! The whole mindset is nuts!

So here's the thing. CA is great. The Bay Area is great. I've made progress I could not have made anywhere else, and it probably saved my life in the process. But there is one thing here that is ruining so many other things, a cause of anxiety that I cannot make go away. I'm utterly financially stagnant. My net income for the last 12 months is a grand total of $400. I don't have enough in the bank to pay a single month of rent, let alone living expenses, and I'm not sure how I get there. I have to chose constantly between medical care and living expenses, and basically wouldn't be able to afford the former were it not for the salary bump I got switching from my last job.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How about those medical expenses? How can that possibly cost? What does insurance cover?

Well, here's a quick breakdown since the start of last year (2015).
  • Current costs:
    • Sperm storage prior to transition: $2,078.30
    • Visits to psychiatrist: $350.00 (7x $50 copay)
    • Visits to (out of network) therapist: $7,111.00 (Insurance covered maybe $400 of that.)
    • Visits to Palo Alto Medical Center (general and allergy care, some blood-work): $447.50
    • Dental visit for three fillings (copay): $109.80
    • Prescription drug copays: ~$120.00 so far.
  • Expected costs:
    • ~$1100 for start-of-HRT blood-work, since insurance is saying they won't cover anything under the Gender Identity Disorder diagnosis codes. (I'm appealing, but they're BCBS of Florida, so I may be screwed.)
    • Transvision copays: $100 + future visits
    • Future blood-work. (Hopefully cheaper.)
    • Future therapy, psychiatric visits, and medication. (Bonus points: My new insurance will pay a max of $50 for a max of one hour of therapy. It costs me $180 for 90 minutes.)
    • More dental work.
Just in already known direct medical costs, that's $11416.60. Holy fuck.

(In theory, I could even toss my "prescription" to Wicked Grounds in (Yes, my therapist actually assigned me to go journal there, and it's actually been pretty fucking vital.) for another $1188.62 while I'm at it... That'd push the total to $12605.22.)

And yeah, before anyone asks, I've been using my flexible spending accounts. I started the year with $2000 in my flexible spending account, and it was gone pretty much instantly...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So yeah. I'm angry. I'm frustrated. This gives me horrible fucking anxiety, and I really wish it would stop. I don't know how to help it, though. >.< I fucking have to get out of this hole, though. >.<

More than anything, I wish I saw a way to do it while still living here. >.<

Bonus: And oh yeah, my car needs a paint job, which was quoted at $2400 for the two parts that are actively peeling and $6000-8000 for the whole car by the dealership. I'm seeking additional quotes. At this point the car's only worth about $4,000, so I may be in new car territory too... I need to make a call before it starts to rust, which is only a matter of time. >.<
zetasyanthis: (Default)
It's been a week. Boy, has it been a week. Anxiety about my appointment on Thursday wrecked the hell out of me pretty much all of it (and I probably underestimated its impact the previous week in Memphis...), but I'm here now.

I'm really here.

I started hormones on Thursday.

I still can't believe it.

I can't believe it's real.

But it is. And I have never been so happy.

I don't know how long it takes to have a significant impact on mental state, but I have had two amazing days since then. I know it's probably a combination of placebo effect and relief from finally getting what I desperately need, but I don't care. I just cry for happiness.

There's a long road to go, but I've finally started walking it. And I could not have done it without the support of so many. >.< Dakota, Solei, M, Kori, Metonymy, Kawaburd, Resolute, Zanz, Moonstar, Occam, Monophylos, OftheWilds, Alice, more... So many I can't even remember. And artists too, from the furries who first got me to wonder about my gender, to the stories and webcomics that broke my heart... You have all mattered. And you have saved a life, whether you know it, or whether you don't.

There are not enough thanks in the universe for the support you have given me, no treasure in brilliant sun large enough to repay the debt I owe. All I can do is honor you... by moving forward and becoming who I was meant to be. I hope I make you proud.

Yesterday, M told me, "Welcome to the sisterhood." *I* have never been so proud. <3

IMG_20160515_133615
My flag. <3

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Zeta Syanthis

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