zetasyanthis: (Default)
Hi there!

My name is Zeta Syanthis, and I just wanted to inquire about the status of HB 6073. I'm a transgender individual who was born in Chicago a number of years back and am in the process of updating all my documentation. (I even have my court date on February 17th!) I can update pretty much everything the way the laws are currently written, but despite being on hormone replacement therapy for nearly a year now (and in therapy for longer than that), the laws in Illinois say I need to have surgery to update my birth certificate.

Now, I'm thinking about that, but it's obviously a really big decision, and I'm really not sure right now. I know HB 6073 was introduced last year and has made it at least through the second reading, but I've not seen any progress beyond that. I know there's a lot of messy politics and stuff going on these days, but it'd really be a huge mental help if I could just get this done, forever. >.< Can you help me out and see what can be done?

If there's any additional information I can provide, or anything I can do to help the effort to pass this, please, please let me know what I can do. I don't think I can possibly communicate how much it means, but I'm pretty sure if I could, you'd be crying for a week. >.<

Thank you,
Zeta Syanthis
zetasyanthis: (Default)
All my life, I have feared the power of words, the emotions and actions they can induce. I have feared my words, what I might do if I ever got the chance to bloom and live as I desired, what secret hate could twist what I would write. I am terrified that somewhere within my heart lies violence, unchecked, an anger that would burn all it touches.

I bring this up, not to distract from the topic at hand, but to acknowledge the force that has kept, and sometimes still keeps, me from writing. I bring it up because it is necessary to speak about, to confront, and to heal, something I do not yet know how to do. And I bring it up because mercy begs me to do it, as words have power far beyond our own.

I had a pretty bad week this week, between the anxiety and crushing sadness that felt like a ten-ton weight upon my chest. Yes, I accomplished much in spite of that, but it all felt hollow, and nothing against what is coming. And so I spoke with my therapist about my pain on Thursday night, trying to understand how to cope and yet move on. This is the story of that discussion, and so much more.

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

I don't remember all the details of what we spoke of, of exactly how I felt that night. I do feel the echoes of hollowness even now, though, and I feel a need to stand in my defense. (Editors note: Not against you, but against the depression and sadness that would crush me to death.)

One of the topics we talked about was my poetry, and levels of discomfort. Zoe suggested that a 6 on a scale of 10 was about right for maximum discomfort while being kicked into action, and that too much more would reduce that effectiveness too much. (I figure I'm sitting around a 7 as I write this.) Her going in position was that too much emotional intensity, too much pain, would just cause complete collapse, and I have to admit she's right. The line between being informed and being able to function is a difficult one to walk, and I'm usually on the wrong side of that line. Empathy is *so* *important*, but it's destroying me, and I have to find a way to push it down so I can help.

Why is it destroying me? Because this current world has pain on every side, and I've known all of them. I know what it means to feel alone and abandoned, to feel as though the world is being torn asunder. I know what it means to believe, as Mike Pence does, to an absolute and uncompromising level. I know what it feels like to propagate that discrimination, something I am deeply ashamed of. And I know what it feels like to hurt, or be hurt, by those you love.

I know the pain on every side, and it is killing me.

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

How am I fighting this?

The only way I know how. I'm fighing this with words, with happiness, and butterfly wings. I learned Thursday that writing, while leaving me exhausted, actually helps me gain spoons back, and is the honest-to-goodness source of the fire that I bring into everyday life. I need to write... to live.

So let's talk about levels of discomfort, and let me ask you a question, if I may. It's the same one I asked Zoe.

On a scale of 1-10, what is the maximum emotional intensity level my writing has induced in you? And what level do you think I was at when I wrote it?

By way of explanation, I ask because I want to know where about I am. Zoe and I disagreed initially on what level is sometimes required, but I responded by referring to the actual target of my words. I seek to strike the cages around our hearts, those things that would prevent us from healing, or helping others. I seek to break them, to strike so surgically that the wound is utterly mortal. And I seek them with all the violence at my command. I seek a 10, to change the worlds of those within its resonance.

And yet, I must remember mercy.

Nightmare

Dec. 8th, 2016 12:25 am
zetasyanthis: (Default)
I promised myself I'd write this today, and having failed to do so so far, I just remembered right before going to bed.

I had a hell of a nightmare this morning, and I think I need to write it down.

I can't remember exactly why, but I apparently travelled home to may parent's house for the holidays, staying in my old room, or maybe my brother's. My parents were not open-minded. The whole situation was *extremely* tense, with awkward non-acknowledgements, tense dinner situations, and everything just as miserable as I remember it. I was absolutely terrified the entire time, freaking out about why I'd come, why I'd stayed there of all places, and what I could do to escape. I'd do anything to escape.

I remember my father raging, his hands trembling as he forcefully ate, as though the steak in front of him was the cause of his offense... as though if he buried himself in it enough, I wouldn't be there anymore. I remember that fear. That same scene played out the night I told him, the night I ran, virtually in terror, from his car back to my room. I remember my heart pounding as I slammed the deadbolt, his imagined footsteps in my heart. I remember crying. >.<

If you ever have any children of your own, please... please love them. >.< And be gentle in that love. >.<
zetasyanthis: (Default)
We enter times of darkness now,
the wounded and the shaken,
the times that would us now destroy,
if we should not awaken.
 
But still I hear dear freedom's call.
I hear its march and chime
and if you now just listen close
you'll see it still yet shines.
 
Now as one, we will stand tall,
against these men of pain,
against all those who hurt our joy,
who bring tears like the rain.
 
If I must lead, let it be now.
Let me stand strong and tall,
Let us together break these chains
Let not the darkness fall.
 
For we have beauty, dreams, and light,
and they have none they fight for.
They've only pain, a pain that binds
a pain that we seek to cure.
 
I say again, we know it's cure,
for we have dreams and light,
for we have suffered, grown more whole,
and bloomed against the night.
 
They think they know our weakness now,
and we may well be weak,
but they know not the strength within
that now, at last, must speak.
 
They know not resolve, know not strength;
they do not know our love.
But they will hear our voice at last
our hearts like shining doves.
 
But never pain we seek of them,
though pain we may yet cause,
for hearts damaged well beyond ours
there is no healing gauze.
 
Empathy, as much a blade
as any surgeon's tool
shall be our instrument of peace,
as we now fight this duel.
 
With broken hearts and tear-filled eyes
we'll weather coming storm.
And when the clouds at last do lift,
the dawn will yet be warm.
 
Today our task seems bleak, I know
but hear me now and stand.
We will not give into the hate
that strides upon this land.
 
Though we are angry, hurt, and sad,
We'll not respond in kind.
We'll stand and speak of love and life
to those with injured mind.
 
A candle bright, lit on my desk
now stands against the dark.
It will not flicker, will not dim
that shining, tiny spark.
 
This battle now, waged all in words
I shall now t'last commence.
With shining heartstrings resonant
in beauty's firm defense.
 
I ask you now to join as one
to stand against the dark
to stand with me against what comes
to hold your shimmer-spark.
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

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Zeta Syanthis

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