random love, relationshipping, trans talk

Why do you blog?

teehee
Asks a dear friend recently.

Hmm…

The why changes.
In the beginning, it was a way to deal with too many changes.

Because life, y’all:
BF, whom I thought I’d spend quite the future with, tells me he’s a cross dresser as our plans to move out of the country are finalized.  Tokyo minus 5 months and he has come out as transsexual.  Once we’re moved, visas, leases, laws, jobs— everything, basically, must be negotiated and conducted in a fairly foreign language.  Add to that hormones, transitioning, open relationship, re-identifying sexual identity— oh Jesus, this is ridiculous.

Enter blog.
There’s a certain accountability when I hit ‘Publish’ even though I feel anonymous as fuck; in the back of my mind, I know this record will remain.  So I’m forced to be more considerate, analytical, objective; these things in turn bring clarity.  And instead of simply boo-hooing (awesome readers aren’t going to stick around for a yawn pity party), the blog encourages me to laugh at myself.

Because truth:
I cry.  (A. Lot.)
And humor— it’s important.

These days I’m not conflicted about how to navigate a relationship as my partner transitions.  We are no longer together though we’re married (it helps a visa) and we’ve mostly come out the other side of a challenging breakup.  Our romantic ending has been messy and there have been many emotionally frustrating moments that I’ve documented here— cohabitation post break up, enough said.

Soon we will be living our independent lives and separate chapters will begin.
On which continent, in which country, neither of us know.
It scares me sometimes.
Her too.

And this blog?
Though it’s impossible for me to be in a relationship like I was with S, one which prompted this blog, I’ll continue to share stories about my oddball adventures.  There’s no shortage to the delightfully unique company I keep and trust that S will keep me updated about her most recent exploits en route to finding The One.

I started this as a release and coping mechanism.
I’ll continue because the share and response is another meaningful slice in this very short life.
Because it’s not real unless you share it.
And I’m a sucker for processing.

 

Standard
relationshipping

The flip-side

Truth or tactA heartbroken me walks home from a party.
It’s a long walk.  But when your heart is alternately in your throat and drag-flopping on the pavement with every step, an hour is a fast pass.

I’m still in love with my ex.  We got married a few weeks ago so I could stay in the country and tonight we’re finally going out for the first time as friends, to celebrate the marriage.  The other day she saw me getting sentimental about marriage and set me straight with, “You know this is just a visa marriage, right?”  I kept staring at the screen then, nodding, “yeah.”

Ouch.

But I’m excited; we haven’t gone out together in this new city yet and I’ve been looking forward to getting ready with her.  It’s a good way to break friendship ground.

Then she asks if it’d be cool if we meet up at the party instead because this guy that she’s been non-stop texting just asked her to dinner.  Goddammit she’s into him.  It’s been like two days since they’ve started talking but I can tell she likes him, probably more than she even knows or is willing to admit.

“If that’s what you want to do…”
“Are you sure?”
Of course I’m not sure but I’m not supposed to have to tell her that.  She’s supposed to know that we had plans to go to this thing together.

“Just…go.”

Before she’s even out the door, the tears fall fast, heavy and loud.
I try to will her to come back but with every stupid second that hollows me out I have to face that she’s gone.

***

I scan the room for her, as her friends have been asking where she is.
She’s never been one to be on time exactly but if she says she’s going to be there, she will.  Finally she comes up to me, bright smile and looking as fucking beautiful as ever.  Damn her.
…and him.  Great.  Of course he’s here.  I hate him on sight.

I get interviewed by the promoters of the club, my trusty friend helping to translate every so often.  I’m proud of myself for answering most of the questions in my non-native tongue first time out.  I scan the room in-between chatting it up with random folks here and there.  I can’t help but wonder where she is, I want to tell her about my interview.

I see her.
On. His. Lap.
Making out.

***

I’m tired of attempting to answer where the hell she disappeared to.  I have no idea but saying that is an embarrassing admittance that— that I don’t know where she is, like I used to.  She isn’t holding herself accountable to me.  I hate this realization.

I’m spent.  I’ve drunk but I’m not drunk.  I’m hurt.  I cry.  I had such expectations of this night; one of celebrating a new chapter for us, married best friends who love the hell out of each other.  This was supposed to be the most fun night yet.  We used to have such a blast going out, getting drunk, talking and laughing…god we used to laugh hard together.

Memories start to flood and the tears flood even harder to keep up with the flashback onslaught: falling in love, moving in together, knowing this is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, trave— and I have to sit because feeling the heart break can’t be done standing solo.  I sit on a curb in the early fucking morning.  I sob.

Of course I don’t hear his footsteps.  I don’t hear or notice anything until I feel the back of my head jammed forward onto some guy’s dick.  He forces my mouth open and rams it in.  If I had a gag reflex it’d be in full revolt but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to vomit.  Except I can’t because the shock, my empty emotional self, this whole fucking night has left me void.

I don’t care anymore.
I didn’t think it could get worse.
It got worse.

***

Eventually I tell her about the assault.
She’s shocked and feels absolutely terrible.  She cries for me and keeps apologizing as she feels indirectly responsible.  She asks if I need to talk to anyone, that I should talk to someone; of course she’s available but she understands if I just want to get as far away from her as possible after the hurt she’s caused.

“I’m more hurt by you and your actions than having to suck some guy off.”
“Oh.”

Yeah.

Living with the ex?
Sure, that can be a rough ride but getting over her is plenty hard enough.

Standard
relationshipping, the sex

Living with the ex

isn’t easy.

I’m out, having drinks with friends and it’s getting late.  My phone buzzes, the ex asks if it’s cool for her date to crash on the couch as she’s missed the last train.  The ex goes on to say that her date has to catch the first train (5AM hour).  Sure, I reply.  I feel for anyone who’s missed the last train (side note: it’s annoying that the trains and subways don’t run 24/7), plus the girl will be gone before I need to get ready for my day.

I approach my apartment around 2AM, anticipating the ex and date’s presence but no one’s home.  It’s a bit of a mess so I ask for an ETA and if she wants me to tidy up.  I clean up the living room, ready pillows and a blanket then crash.

Holy fuck they’re loud and so fucking drunk.  I roll over, squint at my phone…4:07.  Goddammit.  Why are they even here for less than an hour?  I try to go back to sleep but I’m annoyed so sleep is a hard sell.  Just. Sleep.  Fucking sleep.

The date’s pretty loud; my ex hushes her a few times, as successfully as a wasted person can.  Then they start making out.  There’s something so fucking distinct about make out sounds and apparently I can’t filter that shit out.  And I’m currently pissed.  WHY didn’t they stay out?  What’s 45 more minutes of hanging making out before her first train?  They can make out someplace— oh shit, please don’t have them do the sex.  I’m tired, currently cranky and simply don’t have it in me to listen to my ex doing it.

So.

Enter music library.
Select all songs, random play.
Turn the volume UP.

I hear an, “Oh shit.”
Then silence save for some CHVRCHES song.

Phew.

I’ve already witnessed one ex make the new GF orgasm, an ex-roommate fucking potential BF; I sure as hell don’t need a repeat.
The shit sparks some emotional reactions and once twice is enough.

I’m able to sleep for about two hours before I beat my alarm to a wake up.  I’m hopeful that the place will be cleared.  And by ‘cleared’, if I mean that a half-naked ex and date are strewn on the couch, then total success has happened.  They’re so passed out from many hours of drinking— god, I can smell the sweet-stale sweat reek of last night/this morning’s booze wafting off of them…hey, hooray for not worrying about tip-toeing as I get ready.  This small detail relieves me and my irritation level immediately drops; after all, I’m sincerely happy that my ex had, clearly, a successful first date with this girl.

Living with the ex: it’s not intolerable but it’s not ideal and sometimes just plain hard.

Then there’s me, my actions, the hurt they cause said ex.
But that warrants its own post.

 

 

Standard
trans talk

Standards of the Double Sort

In an effort to mix things up and maintain the original focus of this blog, Rumi and I have decided that I should be a guest-writer for every 50th blog post. Kudos to Rumi on her dedication to maintaining this blog on the regular as well as clear improvement in her writing as a result of it. Happy 100th post, Rume!*


The title of this post stems from the blooming of my awareness of all of the double standards that exist between men and women, and how much more perceivable they are on one side of the path than the other, as well as how I feel about those differences. On the one hand, everyone should be treated equal, right? Well sure…but is being treated the same the same as being treated equally? I’ve come to realize that while some of the double standards that I had an active disapproval of when living as a male, are actually some of the very things that tickle me pink and bemuse me on a regular basis.

Since transitioning, I’ve put a fair amount of thought into both the blatant and more subtle ways in which I’m treated differently by the people around me. While some of the changes are welcome, some others I’ve encountered have elicited reactions within me which range from mild surprise to outright disbelief. One thing that certainly bears mentioning is the dichotomy of treatment I received while actively and openly transitioning at the school I attended here in Tokyo as well; a sort of elective recognition of sorts, both frustrating and validating at times.

As for some of the more subtle differences, I would have to say that most have been pleasant, if not necessarily positive. People from all walks of life began to smile at me as I walked by. I started to get heckled by certain types of men. Compliments about my outfits and style from women were received. I also found that getting ready (for work/to go out/to go on a date) was no longer a chore but an adventure, and while that is more of a personal revelation, it’s worth it’s weight in typeface.

After having reached the somewhat rocky plateau of being ‘mostly’ recognized as a woman in public, it seemed that I had never before realized the divergent nature of people. Women became simultaneously more open and accessible to approach and speak to, as well as seemingly less interested in me, while being far, far more critical of my appearance. It was a strange sensation to have women smile at my approach and face me as opposed to being ‘on guard’ for harassment, undesired flirting, or fear of some form of physical ill-treatment, while watching their body language shift to the defensive and exclusionary. Men, on the other hand, became much, much more polite. When they weren’t being obscenely direct and inappropriate, that is.

Perhaps the most acute feeling I’ve experienced in regards to this has been the loss of my male privilege coupled with the major backslide into perceived hedonism and outcast status, to some. Fortunately, most, if not all of that has run its course at this point, although I have no way of knowing if that would remain the case were I to return to the West. During transition, or at least the more obvious physical portions of it, I was the subject of many a stare, gawk, and double-take. Then there were  the looks I received when I handed my ID over for various reasons, and the inevitable questions that followed. Let’s not forget the flak I received at the airport and the looks of disapproval and outright disgust from elderly people, either.

The individuals who operated my school in Tokyo, to their credit, made several successions on my behalf that they had no precedent for at the time. They allowed me to not only use my chosen name on all of my school work, but even went so far as to have a small meeting with all of the teachers to ensure that they used the proper pronouns and called me by that name only in class (this was kind of big deal as many other people requested to be called by various nicknames, but were denied, even to the point of a shortened version of their actual names). After I stopped wearing men’s clothing completely, I was allowed to use the women’s restrooms. Occasionally, some teachers attached ‘-chan’ (a suffix used for women, girls, very young boys, pets, and all things cute) to my name. Conversely, there were moments which truly made me feel left out and less-than. When I signed up for a soccer ball kicking competition, after being pressed because there weren’t enough people signing up, my name was placed on the men’s list (after leaving school in the middle of the day crying, I was later allowed to kick with the girls and was given a formal apology by the staff member who placed me there). I was told that I should join the tea ceremony class, but when I asked if they actually had a kimono(the female garments) to fit me, there were pressed lips, shared glances, and was told perhaps I shouldn’t do it after all (don’t mess with their traditions!!).

As strange as it may sound, as a transsexual woman, although I feel it is very nearly my ‘duty’ to oppose the very idea of social gender roles and expectations, I coincidentally subscribe to those very concepts. Whether this is a product of my very nature, or my desire for social validation, I can’t properly say. What I can say is that I enjoy being treated ‘like a woman’, and all that entails. I enjoy when men offer to carry something for me, or any other common chivalric behaviors. I enjoy, in a strange way, it being assumed that I am going to take forever and a day to get ready (this is actually true). I enjoy having my appearance complimented first and my skills and aptitudes second. It pleases me when other women ask me for appearance checks or fashion advice. I even find it pleasant when my general way of being loose with my affections has garnered me a reputation of being a certain level of slutty.

A thing that I can say with certainty though: While I have endured much pain, self-loathing, despair, listlessness, and a slew of other negative emotions in regards to my transsexualism, I have come to realize that I wouldn’t trade it for being cisgender. This is more of a recent revelation, although one made with conviction. I can honestly say that very few individuals in this life are given (take?) the experience of walking on two very distinct, and yet surprisingly similar at times, paths. The strange and entirely unique spin it has given my perspective is…priceless. I mean…how many people do you know that have had the opportunity to sashay into a party in a little black dress and towering stilettos and also play Offensive Tackle?

 

*Thanks S!  I appreciate your enlightening share and am curious as to how your perspective will continue to shift.  Cheers!

Standard
trans talk

You’re never going to get hotter.

It’s like this, he says:
We see you [women] and we’re attracted to you or we’re not.  The growing more physically attracted to someone, that’s only for women.  Guys don’t work like that.

He, by the way, is a damn straight-shooting, sometimes fool.  His relationships often have a touch of cray but he thoroughly gets the male versus female perspective, to an almost alarming extent.  So I believe him; his brutal truth hasn’t let me down yet.

Oh.

So the good thing is, if he thinks you’re hot, you’re hot.  The ‘more hotter’ thing doesn’t happen.

post graph

Right.

Except this makes me feel like my attractiveness has peaked.
And it is different for women.  As the general attraction grows, the more physically attractive my potential person is to me.  They get hotter, men and women.

I ask S about this.
Me: When you were a guy, you identified with the whole finding someone attractive on sight and they don’t get more attractive?
S: Pretty much…I mean, I’d like them more but if they’re beautiful, they’re always beautiful.

Me: And now, as a woman, is it different?  Do people become more physically attractive the longer you hang out with them or the more you like them?
S: …  Actually, yeah.  When I dated ***, I didn’t think he was super cute but the more we hung out, his endearing qualities made him cuter to me.

Interesting.

Me: What about with women?  Do they grow more beautiful as you get to know them?
S: Well, seeing as I’ve only been on one date with a woman, I can’t really say.  Pause.  But I don’t think so.

As S has become thoroughly female, it’s not so often that we have before-and-after-esque chats but sometimes— like today— we do and her perspective never fails to amaze me.  It’s fascinating that she can still key into a masculine point of view as her own has shifted decidedly feminine.  As she collects new experiences and continuously expands her worldview, I can’t help but think that her transition has made her a force to be reckoned with.  I keep awaiting the day I’ll be saying, “I knew her when…”

 

 

Standard
about Japan, random love

Happy Birthday!

My little blog is a happy one-year-old.

Woo!

Which means changes lie in wait, which then excites me as I wonder what the buildup of my present actions will bring.

Throughout this year, I’ve maintained that change is a constant and while that will always be a truth, I am so damn grateful for my other constant— my people.

Because I have the best people surrounding me; they burst with love, weirdness, smarts and all kinds of beauty.  And it’s so fucking awesome when my incredible friends from the States meet up with my great Tokyo peeps and they just get each other; the language barrier crumbles when people instantly see and appreciate the core of the other.  Also, a hardcore food challenge (horse sashimi? sea anemone? unnameable prehistoric baby snake-dragon lookalikes?) and delicious alcohol cuts through niceties and enables us to get real…so nice.

And you, lovely reader, thank you for stopping by and even more for following.  I started this blog as a way to process anew all of the dramatic changes the previous year had brought; all of my processing couldn’t stay in my head because…well, it just couldn’t.  What started as an outlet has become a deliberate and active sharing.  I’m automatically held more accountable by your presence which, in turn, makes me a better writer; a most sincere Thank You for that…what more can I ask for?

I don’t know what the future holds exactly.
My inner compass alerts me when it’s time to change but I don’t have a rigid plan.
This being vulnerable thing is a constant challenge but the results are usually affirming.
And when they’re not, my bitches know just what to say to calm me the fuck down.
Then I write some shit because a post-neurotic calm brings fun clarity.

So.
It’s been a year.

All I know is:
My time in Tokyo isn’t up.
My various relationships will continue to evolve in their own way.
I will continue to rely on my friends as they make life so, so much better.
And this blog will continue.

Seriously, thank y’all for reading.
∼xoxo

 

 

 

Standard
about Japan, random love

Beautiful strangers

undo me.
Every time.

I don’t mean some random hot person that conjures feelings of doing it because they look at you just so.
I mean…

Two images keep rising through my swirling, sedated thoughts:

1) a collapsed woman and her husband, helpless before her barely conscious and very drunken body.

Most keep walking, some slow their pace, still others stare or shake their heads, even.
No one stops.
Time passes.

But.
Someone does stop.
The best kind of full-brake stop that starts by demanding of the subway attendant, “what the fuck with the help that was supposedly called?”
Followed by waiting with the woman while husband goes to buy water and kleenex as she’s a snotted mess, but if anyone can be a delicate and endearing pukey mess, it’s this woman.  Finally she is coax-forced to a standing position and pull-carried up steps to street level.  (By the way, taxis can take forever to catch if you need them to pull a u-turn because that’s against the rules and lord knows Tokyoites stay cozied up to a damned rule.)  Hooray for a rogue driver!  As the beautiful stranger negotiates with the driver, the husband marvels at this incredible show of kindness; there are no kinder people in the world, he tells his pouty and apologetic wife.

2) a broken-hearted man on a train; there’s no containing the tears and snot strings that such hurt brings.

Most don’t notice his grief; he’s not a loud crier.  But every stop after the one where she bolted cements the three, five, seven minutes that will turn to hours— agonizing hours— of a sinking in…ex-girlfriend.  And with each stop, he gets more frantic; he’s beyond giving a shit about hiding his tears because he’s hit a high wall of pain.  People next to him start to look away, shift their bodies away from his sad direction.  Except the girl standing directly in front of him; she studies him, his hands dripping tears and salt-mucused sleeves.  She looks thoughtful as she turns to exit but not before tossing a mini-pack of kleenex in his lap.

Four days, three nights and counting.
Weird sleep patterns, damn strong meds and forced quiet time makes for interesting processing.

Who knew I cared so much about random acts of kindness?

It’s what floats to the surface and cuts through my sleepy, painful coughing fits of late.

As our experiences are our constant, a thread of kindness is a nice binding agent.

 

 

Standard
relationshipping

My kind of romantic

goes like this:

They don’t exchange wedding rings; they’re pretty damn poor.

There’s a wedding, a celebration with some family and great friends, the best music, tons of laughter and dancing and drinks and recreational drugs (it’s the 70’s and they’re very un-square).  It’s a fun time for all, through and through.  The honeymoon is a road trip via Harley Davidson.

She works.  So. Damn. Hard.
She is the superstrong magnet that draws everyone— especially troubled ones— and they feel safe unloading their woes; she’s their best ally.  Everyone who has at least one significant chat with her experience her wisdom and biting Southern wit, a memorable combination.  Chats are significant, not only because of content but in that moment, you believe that nothing is more important to her than spending that time with you.

He’s the life of the party.  He never holds back.  Ever.
With him, it’s a love-hate relationship.  His friends are the most loyal bunch and the hatred he inspires is equally longstanding.  Let’s just say that his fierce op-ed piece about a certain university’s racist subterfuge sure as hell has consequences along the lines of: anyone bearing his last name can forget about an acceptance letter.  He will always call you out on bullshit, which is mostly awesome but sometimes it’s exhausting but when it reaches that point, he’s the first to ask who’s got the joint: relaxed and cutting humor enters and stays for the night.  It’s a good time.

Over the years there are children, taking care of sick parents, looking after criminal and addicted siblings, building an incredibly successful business and meaningful births and deaths many times over.  They take many trips around their native United States and abroad, some are more challenging than others (Mexico with children, say) but all are memorable and what else matters as we age and reflect?

Twenty-five years of marriage pass.  They’re in France, enjoying Paris as only such devoted francophiles can.  They have incredible gastronomic adventures, study history, look at art and shop.  One night, they meet up after solo shopping and he’s sporting his big purchase, a classic Hermès leather bomber jacket— super cool and ruggedly handsome.  They exchange stories, laugh, drink.

Before the night ends, he produces a single jewelry box: Cartier.
She opens it: her wedding ring.

Absolutely perfect.
So romantic.

 

Standard
random love

Ha.

You know that feeling when you see someone you think you know but it’s totally not them?

Here’s my version:
“You’re almost at 6th?  Ten minutes?  Alright.”

A familiar black Honda Accord pulls to a stop in front of me, Rasta cap and dreads behind the wheel.  I open the door and slide into the passenger seat, cheerfully “Hey ma— oh SHITshitshitshit…you’re not him.”

My eyes are supersaucers and my shocked mouth can’t connect word-thoughts with my frozen brain.

I’ve just walked into a stranger’s car.
Off the street.

fuckfuckfuckfuck.

While I’m mentally oh-shitting myself, Rastaman with the most dazzling smile and reassuring voice says to me, to the beat of the happy-peace-chill music in the background, “Wachu want, baby?  Relaaax…I got wachu want.”  And it really doesn’t sound as skeezy as that reads.

Reality snap: I inhale the tell-tale, weedy-incense drug scent that permeates the car and what are the odds?!

Do I go for it?  He’s not a narc, right?  I mean, he’s in the exact same make and model as my regular dude and the fucking dreads and hat, for chrissakes.  These eerie similarities make me think paranoid thoughts like:
This is a set-up.
Why on earth would I be set-up?
I don’t buy serious quantity.
I don’t sell the shit.
Is this really just a fucking weird coincidence?
I just smoke a lot of dope.
I’m wholesome, c’mon.

While I’m exercising neuroticism, Rastaman asks me what I was going to buy.  And he proceeds to show me the most green shit I’ve seen in a while.  Nice.  Hmm…time to negotiate while I wonder about the moral code of switching dealers.  I always need a back-up and his shit is better than my regular dude’s— for the same price.  Speaking of, where the fuck is my regular guy?!  He’s super late at this point.  This is a no-brainer.

The deal is done.
He gives me his card— 007.

I exit the car and my heart starts to beatbeatpound.  I hope really hard that no one stops me.  I want my trusting instincts to prove me right.  I’m anxious, walking quickly but not too suspiciously quickly, fighting the urge to look behind me.  Surely no one’s behind me.  As I reach my block, I finally breath sweet relief and smile huge.

Because I just ditched Bugs Bunny for James Bond.

Standard
random love

Would I be a better person

if I had an imaginary child?

I never wanted children.
Except for a 45-day window with a boyfriend, before said boyfriend revealed he was transgender.

At age eight I remember announcing at the dinner table, “I don’t want kids and I don’t want to get married.”
No reaction from parents (duh); shit, I wouldn’t even be able to conceive for a few more years anyway.

Fast forward decades…I wander around my neighborhood on this flawlessly beautiful spring day.  I see single-digit school children in matching yellow caps (it’s a Japan thing) clambering over each other and playground slides, swingy things, geometric metal structures and hear their high-pitch screams.  Those screams make me smile as they are pure and unabashed joy.

Their happy human noises make me feel free, which is so counter to how I have often thought of life with children.

And I wonder: if I live my life wanting to lead by example whilst considering this person I have extreme influence over, how different would my choices be?  Or: could I cut through the bullshit 100 times faster because indecision is indulgent and/or a waste of time?  I reckon I’d make helluva better use of my time because— confession— there is nothing more indulgent than an alarm-less nothing-planned day for me.  I feel the indulgence because before the day is up, it never fails that my brain goes, “whywhywhy didn’t I X-Y-Z when I had so many hours?!”

Damn it.

Why?
Because peace tags along with a quiet, lazy day.
And American television is so supremely awesome right now.
That’s right, I’m witnessing cultural history.  (Ahem… The Voice and Game of Thrones).

I digress.
Kids.

This isn’t a bio-rhythmic pounding of my ovaries thing.
It’s a reaction to a tough week, one where I confront the limits of compromise without compromising myself.  It’s a combination of being a more chilled-out person (one who realizes the thought of having children will not impregnate me) and actively wanting to find a new way to pull my head out of my very emo ass.  There are always life goals and obstacles running concurrently and interference with each other but the overarching objective has and always will be evolution of the self without the self-absorption.  Children help that endeavor as with them comes unavoidable stretches of capacity of the physiological, mental and emotional variety.

Constant growth.
It’s important.
It’s my hope.

 

Standard