My Face for the World to See (Part II):
The Diary of Sherilyn Connelly
a fiction

April 1 - 10, 1999


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Saturday, 10 April 1999 (momentum)

Sara should be here in a few hours, and the apartment's a mess. It was messy last time she was here, but that was just for a few minutes. We'll be relaxing for a while and watching Star Trek (turns out she's a huge fan and has missed most of this season) before actually getting ready and going to Bound. That's the plan, anyway.

We did see Saving Private Ryan in Berkeley last night. She liked it, and I was surprised I found it far less harrowing the second time through. Afterwards we went to Belladonna Arcana and did some clothes shopping (didn't buy anything), then drove into SF. It was past midnight by then, and we were both quite bushed, so we gave Lilith a miss. She dropped me off and drove home.

I was sick the whole time, of course. The movie probably would have made me cry, except my nose was demanding all the attention. I'm doing a little better today, at least. I've rested, or tried to, been drinking a lot of water and even taking cold medicine. Whatever works. I even took a hot bath, The Ex's suggestion from last night. Gave me a chance to shave my legs, which I haven't gone in some time. Nobody's gotten a close look at my legs recently and isn't likely to happen any time soon, but it's nice to fight back the body hair whenver possible.

The Ex is gone until at least tomorrow if not Monday, which only really means that Sara can hang out here without here without there being any tension. (Though I suspect The Ex will like her.) I don't think anything more will come of it—even if she wanted to spend the night, and I have no reason to assume she does, I'm still under the weather.

Looks like I'm going to Fresno next weekend to see my mom. When I told Sara, it looked like her face registered just the smallest amount of disappointment. Maybe not. Seems hard to believe.

Okay. Gotta clean this place.

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Friday, 9 April 1999 (universal constant)

My body hates me.

Either that or it's my brain, and it's using my body against me.

Each theory is plausible, and both boil down to one thing: I'm getting sick.

This is only happening because of the timing involved. If I didn't seem to be getting involved with Sara, no doubt I'd still be fit as the proverbial fiddle. Instead, my throat is starting to hurt and my nose is running. And since insult always like to bring its friends along, I've got a fairly nasty— well, let's just say I've been using a lot of Orajel over the last few days, and it hurts when I chew.

Yeah, I know, this is exactly the season for this sort of thing, particularly when winter seems to be holding on as tight as it has been. But goddamnit, it's not fair. I've been getting lots of sleep and ingesting copious amounts of vitamin c and water and my usual healthy-type stuff. I'm trying my best.

And I'm marching onwards. Sara and I are in fact going to see Saving Private Ryan tonight (the first movie The Ex and I went to together was Henry V, suggesting I don't really understand the concept of the "date movie") and will probably go to Shrine afterwards if we're not catatonic by that point. Plus tickets have been bought for Bound tomorrow night, and I'm going to Fresno next weekend. No way am I backing down now.


I wish I could do more...but there are certain things I simply cannot say. Even if I mean them, they can't be spoken.

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Thursday, 8 April 1999 (no points for honesty)

Blech. Just got out of a meeting. At least it was in the morning, meaning I had a fighting chance of staying awake. That's just the way I'm wired. It makes no sense for me to be a morning person, but there it is.

Anyway, while idly flipping through the notebook I've been using for my last three jobs (I apparently don't take a lot of notes), I came across this. I scribbled this down during an equally boring meeting at another company on October 7, 1997, right around the time that Louise was getting ready to move. She hadn't actually left, but she'd already cut me off.

you don't know what you've got until you've killed it
and it breaks and dies and you cry and
  don't understand why and you get another and
  start again and that one dies too and it
  happens over and over and you keep going
  for you never learn you don't want to learn
  since if you learn you know you'll
  have to stop you'll die and you don't
  want to die you want to live but
  you don't feel alive unless you're feeding
  off someone else someone new someone
  soft someone like you wish you were but
  never can be but you just have to
  keep trying because soon you'll be
  dead whether you want to or not and
  you don't like what you see now you
  look in the mirror and what you
  see is not where you want to be.  and
  you'll never really be one of them you're
  stuck in yourself and you cry and cry
  but inside they can't find their
Guess I had some issues to work out.


So I wrote my mother.


Date: Thu, 8 Apr 1999 10:38:46 -0700 (PDT)
From: ""

The Ex is going to Fresno next weekend (4/16) for an appointment.

If I'm able to get that Friday off, I might come down with her and see you.

Would you like that? Or would this be a comparatively bad time?


I'm sure it could have been phrased better, and it's questionable why I'm even asking her at all. Maybe I'm just looking for an excuse not to go, because I'm not sure I want to. In any event, the ball's in her court.

If I do go, it raises that question which is growing more and more important all the time and is only getting harder to answer: what will I wear?

It sounds facetious, but it isn't. Do I go see her in full girl mode? No, that would be be too much. So jeans and t-shirt, at least. Possibly the blouse I've been wearing out lately; it's essentially a t-shirt, but cut sufficiently different as to emphasize curves. Which would probably be too much, as well.

So what wouldn't be? Most comforting to her would be total boi mode—no makeup at all, hair tied back in standard issue masculine back-of-the-neck ponytail, and preferably my bangs brushed back.

No. Can't do it. It wouldn't necessarily do her any favors anyhow; going easy on her is one thing, but false hopes aren't right.

Eyeliner, at the very least, is a given. Being the good little spooky kid I am, I don't even leave the house without it unless I'm going to the gym. Seriously, at this point I consider it a crucial element to my basic appearance. Even when my face was getting zapped and I couldn't have looked more horrid. "Even?" Particularly then.

Maybe but not necessarily a little foundation to smooth out my complexion. Then again, a close shave might do the trick in this case; yeah, my shadow's come back, particularly on the upper lip, but even I have to admit that it's nowhere near as bad as it was before. Seeing as how I resent its presence to begin with, naturally any visibility at all is a bad thing to me. My mother, on the other hand, if she picks up on anything is more likely to pick up on what isn't there.

(Sara commented the other night that she couldn't see it at all, and in fact never had; of course, she's only seen me made up and in dim light. *sigh* Which naturally gets me to worrying about what she'll think when she does finally see it becuase I can't be GAFfed out all the time, but I shouldn't sweat it. She knows its there, and doesn't seem to object. Even if I could manage it—and I ain't nearly that good yet—there's no subterfuge going on with her.)

Then, of course, the hair. I might have mentioned at one point or another that she doesn't like my hair in its current basic state, i.e. the picture above. The simple masculine ponytail is not an option. A ponytail at the top of my head (with what The Ex calls my "signature" strands of hair on either side of my face) is a possibility, although she once forbade me from wearing it like that when we went out. (Then there was that xmas some years ago, pre-bangs and natural haircolor, when my nieces's mother was coming to pick them up and my mom begged me to tie my hair back so the sister-in-law's redneck boyfriend wouldn't see the length. I've never forgiven myself for caving in.) She's seen it in an early version of the pigtails, before I'd really figured out how to make them work, and naturally she didn't like that one bit either.

To hell with it—I'm just going to wear it however feels comfortable at the moment, and frankly, I can never tell until the moment arrives. The past few days I've been wearing it down more often than not, and for all I know next week it'll be up in pigtails constantly. Depends on my mood.

My observation has been that her generation equates transgenderism with perversion. My generation isn't a whole hell of a lot better, but I'm still extremely glad I was born when I was.

I know she has the worst thoughts and visions in her mind about what I'm doing and what I'm becoming, based on a limited and largely skewed (pardon the word) knowledge of the subject. Surely drugs and promiscuity and AIDS and eternal hellfire for my sins can't be far behind for me. I guess I want to convince her somehow that's not the case.


She just wrote back.


Date: Thu, 08 Apr 1999 16:06:54 +0000
To: ""

I would like that very much! It would be a very good time, and of course you are more than welcome to stay here if you would like. Love,


Can't ask for a better reaction than that, now can I?

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Wednesday, 7 April 1999 (strange currencies)

Exhausted. Stayed at Roderick's until closing with Sara, and got about two hours of sleep. Long night, in other words.

For some reason, I'm attempting to expand my sphere of exhibitionism via other webrings. (I don't get it, either.) They should be up and running in a few days.


Well she dances alone in nightclubs
Every other day of the week
People look right through her
Baby doll, check your cheek

And she's kind of like a poet
Who finds it hard to speak
Poems come so slowly
Like the colors down a sheet

Sara and I didn't actually come across one another until about midnight, though we'd both been there for a while. Roderick's is the kind of place where it's quite easy to lose track of someone, and even moreso to hide if you're so inclined. Naturally, I had already started getting paranoid that she wasn't going to show at all.

We went into the bar area and she introduced me to one of her friends, another tranny. Although "drag queen" is probably a slighly more apt term, at least compared to me. In spite of the pale makeup and pigtails, my image is fairly low-key, certainly within goth terms. Sure, at 6' I'm hard to miss and there ain't a damn thing I can do about it, but I don't think I call any more attention to myself than is necessary.

So we were at the bar when she said, apropos of nothing, "I think you should know, I sort of a have a semi-boyfriend." Oh. Of course, of course, of course. Of course she does. Last time I checked, that's how the world operates.

My initial reaction to these things tends to be mild at best, along the lines of a (stereo)typical gen-x shrug and "Whatever." Even when I saw Lee and Summer together that first time, it took a couple hours for the meaning to really sink in and drag me down.

In this case, I nodded. There wasn't much else I could do. Ohwellwhatevernevermind.

Drinks in hand (long island iced tea for her, orange juice for me) we retreated to a corner where we could actually hear ourselves think, or at least speak.

In essence, we compared notes, discussing our recent relationships (she was more or less in the process of breaking up, and with very good reason), how we're both using self-expression as a means of coping with the emotions, and are trying to get out as much as possible to compensate for not having done so for so many years. And this scene was the direction we'd both chosen.

It was difficult coming up with sufficient variations on "I know how you feel," because frequently it was true; I did identify with her feelings on many levels. It was quite obvious we had a lot in common.

Except for one possibly crucial element: the need to be alone for awhile. She hinted at this strongly, even if her actions of late suggested otherwise. After all, going out the last couple times had been her idea.

In any event, it wasn't something I'd really felt at all. Indeed, I'd been craving human contact of most any form since The Ex and I broke up. Not necessarily jumping into another relationship per se (my brief delusions about Summer notwithstanding), but just someone to be with. Companionship. Perhaps even a little intimacy...something which had been lacking from my relationship with The Ex long before I even seriously considered breaking up with her (since at least as far as back when *she* was talking about the possibility of us breaking up, but there's no point in quibbling over the little details).

The person she was with before was very different from me, to put it mildly, and any further relationship that might develop would be very different from the one which came before. For both of us. If such a thing occurs, and there's no guarantee that it will.

She may not know just what she wants, which (here we go again) I can identify with. I'm frequently unsure myself. Either that, or I know what I want and I'm afraid to admit it.

We didn't actually do any dancing until about 2:30am; it was not Roderick's best night playlist-wise. We walked around a lot, exploring the still-mysterious geography of the massive club. And I did finally officially meet Fernando, who runs Shrine. Very nice guy.

It was nice to discover that politically, Sara and I are on essentially the same wavelength, particularly as it applied to the culture waiting outside the club's doors and the war its government was waging. Except for one poor girl with a brother in the Navy, I don't think I know anyone whose disgust with the whole situation hasn't caused them to tune it out entirely.

There is currently no duty more pressing in the scene than to see The Matrix, preferably twice. (Perki was shocked last Friday that I hadn't already seen it; after all, it had been open for three days by then.) Sara had naturally already seen it but was willing to see it again, so we made tentative plans to do so. Forunately I'm actually interested in the movie.

She reminded me about seeing the movie together as we said our goodbyes at her car. Enthusiasm. That's something which I'm not sure I've experienced for a while, somebody being excited about something. Or, more specifically, about doing something with me. The feeling of being wanted on some level, of my presence being desired rather than simply accepted or tolerated. And not simply as a piece of meat, which is what it boils down to at Trannyshack.

So we'll just keep ambling along, I guess. And see what happens. Probably a movie on Thursday—Saving Private Ryan rather than The Matrix (which ain't goin' anywhere too soon), since she hasn't seen it and I think I'm just about ready to again. Should be particularly interesting considering the reshuffling my emotional responses have gone through since the first time. Lilith on Friday as always (I'll definitely be there whether she is or not), Bound on Saturday...and, you know, whatever else occurs in the future.


The Ex's going to Fresno weekend after next, and I'm seriously considering going with her and seeing my mother. If there's any time for face-to-face communication, this may be it.

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Tuesday, 6 April 1999 (lookin' out forever)

It would appear to be in the "expensive toy" category. Still, though...


I'm almost certainly going to Roderick's tonight, although Sara's still undecided. She'll be calling tonight to let me know one way or the other.

The Slimming Effect. Ooooh, I like it.


When your life is changing drastically, it's hard not to look back on how you got to where you are, to try to identify those seminal events, those moments which sent you irrevocably on your current path.

Unfortunately, this can lead into nostalgia, which I've never trusted. Romanticizing the past is dangerous at best; it's never as rosy as you might remember, though I suppose it can sometimes be worse.

All the same, I think I've figured out the last time I was really happy.

It's a period my mind keeps going back to, anyway. It was all just perfect somehow. Even when things sucked, and they frequently did, it was still wonderful. Maybe it didn't seem that way at the time, but now in retrospect—or looking back in nostalgia, if you'd prefer—it was.

Maybe it's because shortly thereafter I entered a very very dark period, the worst nine months of my life, some stuff I'm still not entirely sure I recovered from. At the very least, it changed me in very profound ways. Whether it was good or bad is almost irrelevant. It happened, and if it hadn't happened I might not be where I am at this exact moment, and there's no reason to assume that I'd be in a better place now.

January through August, 1994. Just before I moved to San Francisco. The Ex and I lived together in an apartment in Fresno's Tower District, about as close to a boho area as that shitty little burg had to offer.

The Ex had been trying to get me to move in with her for at least a year by that point, and I finally gave in. (Truth be known, by that point she was already talking marriage, which I couldn't begin to consider.) In a very important way, the timing couldn't have been worse: I was moving to San Francisco in August to go to SFSU, and I needed to save money. In fact, although my mother had been charging me rent for a couple years by then—I was twenty, mind you—she was now giving me a hell a great deal. Rather than paying her rent per se, I'd instead put the money into my savings account for I'd have a grand or two when I moved to SF. Not a bad deal at all.

I realize I've made it sound like my mother has a long history of disapproving of everything I do, but in truth this was one of the first times she really seriously objected to my actions. She even accused me of thinking with my dick, the first and last time anybody's ever done that.

There was a certain empty-nest element, of course, since she was 53 and had never ever lived alone, but she raised the valid practical concerns, too. I needed to save money. Period.

And The Ex needed to live with me, at least for a short time, before I moved away from Fresno for good. There was no telling when we'd get the opportunity again, since her school plans involved staying in Fresno for at least another couple years then transferring to UC Santa Cruz. (It didn't happen that way at all.)

So, against all logic, my cat Mary and I moved in with The Ex.

I know I can't trust my memory. It's been colored by too many things, events and people and places I couldn't have even begun to suspect existed at the time but are now a part of my life forever. Perhaps like Bill Pullman's character in Lost Highway, I like to remember things my own way, not necessarily the way they happened.

As I remember it in my own way, it was perfect. If I could relive any time in my life (not to change things, but just to re-experience), that would be it.

Even in spite of all the stress, and there was a lot of it, mostly involving my imminent move to San Francisco. The Ex was taking it particularly hard; by May or June she started smoking (a habit she kicked over a year ago, then resumed recently after the breakup), and the night before I moved she seemed nearly catatonic.

All the same, I realize now it was the happiest time in my life. I think the same might hold true for The Ex as well. We were never closer, not even when she came to SF and we moved into an apartment half the size.

As these things usually are, it was completely ephemeral. What passed for my social life at the time (and, really, I wasn't doing so bad) is now gone; the video store me and my friends worked at was gobbled up by an evil chain, and I wasn't the only one who moved away from Fresno. All those elements can never again converge. My best friend at the time, whom I made the mistake of introducing to acid (I can handle it; he couldn't) has been hiding from me for the last few years because of some money he thinks he owes me.

When I indignantly write my mother and say that I'm happier now than I've ever been and my friends are amongst the best I've ever had, it's completely true. For what I know now, for how much I've grown in the five years since, I'm very happy and have never been more so.

It ain't likely to come close to that time, though.

Shortly thereafter—right about when The Ex drove back to Fresno from SF the first day, probably crying the whole way—things went bad. Extremely bad. And brought me to where I am now.

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Monday, 5 April 1999 (final hurrah)

So. Anyway. Saturday night. We ended up at Masquerade after all, the "party" being something of a bust.

...okay, fuck it, I'm going to leap straight into overthinking. The evening was about, among other things, seeing how we worked together. And I thought we did very well, more so than I ever had with Tiff. My tendency to lurk or hover wasn't nearly as pronounced; I felt very comfortable right at her side. *shrug* The height factor may have something to do with that. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is, at least as far as superficial details go.

A less superficial detail (perhaps one of the most significant) is a sense of humor. She gets mine and I get hers.

We seem to be at the "oh we should do this together sometime" phase. Which doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot, I suppose, since I went through it with both Summer and Tiff. At the moment it's mainly clubbing: Roderick's tomorrow, Bound this next Saturday (invitations hand-delivered by Athena, no less) and G-Spot the following weekend. But that's not a bad start.

Though I do realize it is just barely a start. We've known each other for eleven days now. If there's a surface it has bears only the lightest of scratches, and as always it could all come crashing down at any time.


I did go to the gym this morning as I'd promised myself. Got up at 3:30am, which wasn't so bad considering I was in by 11pm. I figure I'll try to go every morning wherein I didn't go out the night before—even I need more than an hour or two of sleep.


Sara's a techno-geek, even more than I am. Certainly more genuine than myself, since her degree is actually in programming (from MIT, no less), while mine is in film from San Francisco State University. Not quite the same. What really drove it home was when we were discussing Passion by Peter Gabriel, a mutual favorite piece of music; she said that she'd never seen The Last Temptation of Christ, for which Passion is the soundtrack. I suggested watching my laserdisc, and she was genuinely surprised that I meant laserdisc and not DVD. Which led into a discussion as to just why I don't have a DVD player, and she didn't quite believe my plea of poverty until we compared annual salaries. Suddenly it was clear why I hadn't yet sprung for one. Still, it was an important detail, something very fundamental to my personality—a love of movies, and a belief that they should be presented as correctly as possible—which we appear to have in common.

Then again, she might just consider it to be an expensive toy. Y'know what? That's okay, too.


I wrote Trent today. He should be back in the country by now, and I'd really like to see him. It's been too long. It would be perfect if we could get together with Pandora as well, but Trent will do for now.

I also dropped Tiff a note to let her know I finally saw October Sky and loved it. We'd planned on going to see it together, but alas...


Two words: more later.

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Sunday, 4 April 1999 (self-defense)

My mother has broken up with her boyfriend, whom I have never liked and has always represented what I consider to be the worst qualities of masculinity.

If there's a connection to me, I'm unaware of it as yet, though I always suspected my coming out might destroy their already fragile relationship. He's simply not capable of giving her the emotional support she needs at a time like this, and has very possibly said unkind things about me which she wouldn't stand for. Certainly he seems like he may well have kicked a few queer asses in his time.

According to my brother, one of things my mom's most upset about is how poorly I came out to her, that I did it all wrong. *sigh* The Ex felt the same way when we broke up, that she'd wished it hadn't happen so badly. I didn't do it over the phone or answering machine (when my mother's boyfriend left her a couple years back, he left her a note—such a coward), she didn't catch me in bed with someone else, we weren't yelling or screaming or throwing things. It was in person, face-to-face. Yes, it was painful and there was a lot of crying and heavy emotions involved. But I think it could have gone much much worse than it did.

Of course, I'm wrong. I screwed that up like I screw everything else up. Well, pardon the hell out of me, okay? I'd never broken up with my longtime girlfriend or come out to my mother before. Apparently these are these sorts of thing which are second nature to everyone else by the time they're my age, but as usual I'm clueless. Just wait until I actually have sex with someone other than The Ex (right around the time Satan starts handing out ice skates, probably) and see how badly I mess that up; it'll make how I handled the aforementioned life-changing events seem almost Machiavellian in their brillance.


Not thinking about it at all.

Not stressing over the little things I did wrong, the things I said which I shouldn't have.
Not considering what it would be like to start from zero once more.
Not allowing myself to ruminate on what the future might bring.
Not letting paranoia set in.
Not slipping down again.
Not panicking.
Not dying.


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Saturday, 3 April 1999 (so pure)

Comparatively stripped-down night at Lilith. A lot of people, including Summer, were in New Orleans at Convergence, the big annual goth-o-rama. Still in California but not present were Lee, Seven, Sym, Gahan, The Ex, Marion, Tiff and Sara, to name but a few.

Perki was present, however, and besides Sara and Sym he was the person I wanted to see the most—we had business to discuss. If I was going to be working on Errata then I wanted to sort out the details with him in person, not via email and not through Summer. It wasn't like he hadn't already met or anything, since he'd originally approached me a few weeks back about helping Summer edit. All the same, it was important to establish myself as a real person and autonomous from her. (Fortunately, she's long since stopped referring to me as "her friend from work.") Besides, he's a genuinely nice guy, and to be overly social conscious, having Perki as a friend can't be a bad thing.

So in addition to handling the general editing overflow (which is how he mainly described my position as he introduced me to others), I'll in fact be writing a fashion column of my own as well as editing Ask Perki!. Something tells me that my column is going to be as directly related to fashion as Joe Bob Briggs' was to movies; judging from the other columns, that won't be a problem. Besides, both Perki and Summer have a fondness for the adjective "catty," which gives me a lot of freedom. And, like any 'zine editors, just so long as I get my stuff in on time they'll be happy.

I turned down an offer to do music reviews; simply not my strong suit. I don't have the language or the diagnostic tools necessary. Oh, I know what I like, and I could probably write ten pages on why REM has been my emotional soundtrack for the last six months ("The first two lines of the third verse of How the West Was Won and Where It Got Us is perfect metaphor for that particular situation, while the third line is a more literal description of how I rationalized my actions"), but I'm mostly useless when it comes to writing about music, particularly stuff I've never heard before if it doesn't really grab me.

He liked my idea for a film section, though—it'll be so nice to finally get that going. We have slightly different ideas about what it should be, though I'm sure the details can be worked out. In any event, this'll be my baby.

Importantly, I made Perki laugh. He's bouncy enough as it is (the name is not arbitrary), and I suspect he was surprised that my sense of humor can be just as bitchy as his. My manner is extremely reserved by comparison, but I'd like to think that means I'm that much more dangerous. Still waters and all.

Now, perhaps most daunting of all, I have to come up with a picture and bio for the About us page. My immediate thought was this:

Sherilyn Connelly apologizes for any inconvenience she may have caused. It wasn't intentional. Honest. In fact, forget she even brought it up.
Oh, I don't think so. Some jokes are too inside. And putting my picture on the same page as Rain Graves? I am so doomed...


Sara should be arriving any time now.


The temptation to refer to The Ex as my roommate is very strong. While it would not be completely inaccurate, it would also be dishonest. If nothing else, there's only one bed, and the couch is clearly insufficient to use on a regular basis. (This is from experience.) The story will have to be told...eventually.

sometime after midnight

It went well. Very well. And it will be repeated.

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Friday, 2 April 1999 (joining you)

Did I say I'd be returning to the gym next week? Apparently I'm not waiting so long.


Caught the 4:30am bus, got to the gym downtown at about 5:10, was out by 7:30 and made it to work around 8. Not bad, all things considered. Just like the old days.


Oh, that was close. Real close. Way too close. Musn't go there, mustn't dive in. No good can possibly come of it.

The Ex's parents are in town this weekend, the first time they'll have seen me since xmas, before the breakup. If they see me at all. I may or may not be going out to dinner with them on Saturday. Probably not. For as willing my family has been to continue regarding The Ex one of us—and I would ask or expect no different, because despite our glaring quirks we're essentially good people—I am extremely unlikely to receive the same consideration from her family. After all, I'm the villain in this particular scenario. I'm the freak, the pariah, the faggot who broke their daughter's heart.

In any event, it's just as well because Sara and I are in fact going out later that night. Not Masquerade, but a big warehouse dance party thing in the Fillmore. (Clearly my mother was correct and I am in fact self-destructive.)

I called Astrid last night—astonishingly, the number I had actually worked. It was wonderful talking to her again after such a long time, hearing what has always been in my mind the definition of a friendly voice. She took everything in stride, as I knew she would.


In addition to whatever editing duties may be dumped upon me, apparently Perki and Summer are considering having me write a fashion column. Somehow I doubt this is their logic, but I rather think my utter lack of qualifications for such a thing is what makes it so damn perfect. If it actually happens, that is, and as with everything else, I'm not holding my breath.


I'm writing my mother. Here we go again.


Hot off the press, still dripping venom or vitriol or imbalanced hormones or whatever you care to call it.


Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 17:40:52 -0800 (PST)
From: "" 

> I have an observation or two, but I know that you don't want to hear them, so I won't make them.

  *shrug*  Whatever.  I guess we have radically different ideas about dialogue (dialogue you originally requested),
since you've both refused my offer to ask questions and clearly changed your mind about making observations (also
your request).

> >   Would you like to know more about my life?  Or was the glimpse I gave you last time too much?
> Yes, it was too much.

  Then I guess that if it was my decision to have kept things secret from you before (I said I was sick of keeping my
life a secret from you, and you replied, "That was your decision, I guess"), then it was the correct decision?  Would
you agree on that point?

> This is very very difficult for me.  I know you don't want it to be, and you want me to accept this whole-heartedly, without any
> difficulty, but I cannot.

  Oh, I never expected you to accept it wholeheartedly.  Please.  You freaked out when I got a femmey haircut, so it didn't seem
likely you'd accept my gender issues with any more warmth or respect.  In retrospect I wish I'd just come out to you then (in spite
of not yet having been to a shrink), but of course I was being respectful of the Hallmark stockholders.

  I can certainly hope, though.  Hope for the best, expect the worst.  Words I live by.

>   Curious is a way too superficial term.  If I were not your mother, maybe I would have some idle curiosity...

  ...but since you're my mother, I'd think it would go way beyond idle curiousity because you'd want to know everything there is to know
about what your child is going through, scary as it might be, because it's ceased being something that only happens to other people which
you can just pretend doesn't exist to something very real affecting your loved ones.

>  ... but at this moment, I hurt too much.  Please, please try to understand that.  You know me, you know the kind of person
>  I am.  What else would you expect?.

  That's the funny/sad thing about it: how I expect you to react--and, indeed, how you do react--is somewhat moot, because it doesn't really
  change anything.  This is my life.  This is what it is.  You could disown me, threaten to kill me, say I'm going to burn in hell, whatever
(parents  in your situation have done those things and worse), and I'd still be travelling the road I'm on.

  I wonder sometimes if you realize just how much of my life until recently has been governed by making you happy, or at the very least,
not making you upset.  How much trouble did I get into as a teenager?  Howmany times did I break the 11th Commandment, Thou Shalt Not Get
Caught? You could probably count them on one hand.  Indeed, when you were trying to shame and humiliate me into changing my hair, you
commented that I'd only given you real trouble once before, when I skipped school and stupidly tried to cover it up.  That was the worst
thing you could think of.

  Understandably, since for the longest time, my worst fear was disappointing you, you being upset or angry or otherwise unhappy with me.
That can cause a kid to spend most of their youth in their bedroom where (theoretically) they can cause the least amount of damage.  Not
that I'm inherently rambunctious anyway, but at this point it's a chicken-and-egg thing.

  I can't allow myself to be restrained by that fear anymore.  I simply cannot.  THIS DOESN'T MEAN I WANT YOU TO BE HURT.  But it's not going
to stop me, either.  Hopefully this gives you some sense of the importance of what's happening.  This is arguably selfish of me; yes,
extremely. Yet I don't see where I have a choice.  I wish there was a way to make it easier on you, but I'm simply not seeing it.  And, to be
honest, you're not giving me a lot to go on.

  The only thing I can think of is to just stop this particular correspondence until you've had a chance to work through what you need to
work through.  I'm not saying that's what I want to do, but it's the only alternative I can think of.  If this is all hurting you, and I
believe it is, then not talking to me might help.

  A question, and I'd really appreciate an answer (provided your next message isn't to the effect of, "You're right, this is hopeless, I'll
write you again sometime"): how do you suppose you'd have reacted if I'dcome out to you when I was a teenager?  If I'd tried to discuss these
things with you then?  Do you think you would have even taken me seriously?

> May is looking good. I know I initially said April, but so much is going on in April.  Don't quite know the exact date yet.  Will let you
> know as soon as I can.    Priscilla is coming with me, but she understands if you don't want to see her.   However, she is extremely
> compassionate, and has lots of questions.   She and Charlie have been doing research on the internet for me
> and have been very very good, understanding  friends to me and boy, do I need that..

  I have no objection to seeing Priscilla, and as I may have implied at one point or another, I'm always happy to answer questions in order
to fight ignorance and misinformation--and lordy, is there a lot of it out there about this subject.   The talk shows alone have
sensationalized and  trivialized it all almost beyond repair.  I'd like to think you don't waste your time will that bullshit, but if you do,
don't believe a word of it.

  Uh, isn't someone missing?  What about Stan?  I would assume he's coming along to offer moral support to the woman he loves in this very
difficult time.  And I certainly hope he's been emotionally supportive.  Yes, of course he has.  Real men are compassionate.  (So I'm told.)

  As for the need for friends, with that I can completely identify.  More often than not people in my siuation lose their friends and family
because of fear and ignorance.  I'm extremely fortunate in that regard, as many of my friends right now are amongst the best I've ever had,
because they   accept me completely and actually respect me for what I'm doing.  As difficult as that may be to believe.  I don't know where
I'd be without them.

  It just struck me that you might benefit from talking to my shrink, if only through email.  Her URL is (lots of
interesting info), and her email address is  It might help.



As always, I pushed too hard, focused too much on what I saw as her hypocrisy. Seems I'm still upset about the "It was your decision" comment, nor can I keep myself from invoking the hair discussion from last May. Getting a lot of mileage out of that one.

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Thursday, 1 April 1999 (into the night)

April Fool's Day. Yeah, whatever. Probably not a day I should be coming out to anyone.

So, naturally, I just did to my supervisor. He'd caught a glimpse of this page yesterday while I was working on it—recognized the picture as me, anyway—and I didn't want to go into it then because we were all about to head out, so I thought I'd just get it the hell out of the way. I'm already out to a number of people here anyway. I didn't go into too much detail, but enough, and I showed him the pictures from last week. Seemed like the thing to do, particularly because I don't quite feel comfortable giving him this URL (and he didn't ask). There is such a thing as TMI; eventually I'll be out to everyone, no objection to that, but I'd just as soon this page didn't become common knowledge around the office.

He did comment that during that when I was hired, it was observed that I was by far the strangest looking person there—but I was also the best person for the job, and that was what mattered. And, besides, it's San Francisco. *whew* Oh, I love this city...


Something is different. I don't know what it is. (And no, I'm not referring to the picture, or to having come out to my supervisor.) But something has changed or altered or shifted.

Probably I'm just imagining things.


There's a war going on.

I know we're bombing someone, anyway. American soldiers have been taken hostage and are being shown on TV. Whoever the Bad Guy is (not Hussein, not Khadafy, not any of the recent neo-Hitlers who've been threatening democracy or whatever), he's on the cover of Time (Newsweek?) with a bullseye over his face. Makes it seem like a war to me, at least based on my comparatively limited experience with the word. Then again, I grew up being told that the next war would be nuclear and it'd be over before I was really aware it had begun.

That didn't happen, then the Gulf War came along. Desert Fucking Storm. I didn't like that, not one bit. It all seemed very very wrong. If you opposed the war, you were unpatriotic, and man oh man, there was nothing worse than being unpatriotic. Not "supporting the troops," a phrase which had no connection to real word, was a heinous crime. So I said I supported the troops but opposed the war, something of a cop-out. There were times, though, when I wished there would be a wholesale slaughter of American soldiers in hopes that outrage would result in us getting the hell out of there. Or that the disgusting uber-patriotism which had infected would go down just a notch. But no, were restoring our national pride, we were making up for Vietnam, we were showing that Bush wasn't a wimp, we were guaranteeing that gas prices wouldn't skyrocket.

On that note: gas prices in the city are currently ~$1.80 for 87. This is allegedly becuase of the recent shutdown at the Tosco Oil Refinery after a fatal accident. Instead of accepting the losses of profit due to their negligence, the oil companies are fucking the consumer. Why? Because they can. Because we let them. Before the shutdown, gas prices topped out at $1.50 or so. Before the Gulf War, which even the government admitted was partially over oil, I seem to recall it being just under a dollar. So what had been the point of that damn war?

I am so sickened by this country and its government and the culture which allows it to continue...

But now we're bombing and sloganeering and doing god knows whatever else all over again. And it isn't even in the same direction as during the impeachment, which I'm pretty sure was Iraq. Indeed, that it isn't Iraq this time is about all I really know for certain. And I don't want to know more.

Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy. It's still a dangerous attitude because it ostensibly allows the bad people to continue doing their bad things. But they're going to be doing their bad things regardless of whether I'm a CNN junkie or completely fucking ignoring it all like I am now. I was hanging on every word during Desert Storm and it didn't make a difference, so what does it matter now? Why not, as Pete suggested, dance it away?


The Alanis show is tonight. The Ex is probably heading in that direction at this moment.

Break's over next week: I simply have to start going to the gym again. My weight's somehow stayed at about 180 lbs. for the last two months, despite having worked out very irregularly and a significantly increased appetite. My goal is 160. Not that I'm overweight, not anymore, but I'm still heavier than I want to be.

And my doctor would seem to agree, having re-upped my Meridia from 5mg back to 10mg.

Ah, Meridia. My dark little secret. I'll tell anyone who cares to know about anything else I'm ingesting, but that I tend not to be so open about. Embarrassment? In a manner of speaking, I suppose. It seems like cheating.

Basically, it's a space-age appetite suppressant. Rather than make you not hungry, it makes you feel full more quickly. Interesting approach, huh? It's one thing to eat when you're not hungry (many of us do); it's another to continue when you're full.

My doctor prescribed it when I started hormones, in September. 10mg a day. I was at 230; by January I was down to 180. And one of the most common side effects of hormones is weight gain, so losing weight is unlikely at best, particularly that much.

Was it just the Meridia? No, not hardly. That was also when I went into a fairly intense workout regimen; at least five days a week, six if possible, at least two hours a day. Hour on the treadmill, plus stairmaster, cross-trainer and a hundred crunches. Plus lots and lots of water, and nonfat milk and orange juice were just about the only other things I drank. I've been off sodas since '97 anyway, I don't care for coffee or coffee-oriented drinks, and I get no kick from champagne. I'm also quite the salad fiend, so I'd usually have a big salad (or The Big Salad, if you prefer) for dinner. Can of slim-fast for lunch, nonfat yogurt for breakfast. Bagels and granola bars for snacking purposes. When feeling the need to really cut loose, nonfat ice cream. Up until the beginning of the year I was getting stoned nearly every night, so carrots and nonfat ranch dressing were an important munchie staple. My pot intake has decreased dramatically since The Ex and I broke up because it just makes me that much more depressed—I smoke maybe every other week, and very seldom enjoy it—so that certainly helps. And I was taking the Meridia.

So when I saw my doctor in January my weight had dropped to 180. We decided to reduce the dosage from 10mg to 5mg. Two primary reasons: I figured my will, which usually serves me well, could take over (and bear in mind that while you get full faster, you're still hungry for the same kind of stuff, so it still took a degree of will to eat healthy to begin with); and I was hurting monetarily, so half the dosage should be half the price, right?

I made a lot of mistakes in January.

Even before I went from 10mg to 5mg, my appetite returned in a huge way. It was almost frightening. And I wasn't even smoking grass anymore. Even more fun, the cost for 5mg rather than 10mg? Exactly the same. Fucking goddamn money-grubbing pharmaceutical industry. Almost as bad as the oil companies.

Yet, somehow my weight managed to stay right around 180. It went up maybe five pounds during zapping, but that was mostly due to swelling and dropped back down. And who knows, I've been dancing a lot. Maybe that helps.

I didn't expect my doctor to agree to increase the dosage back to 10mg, but she was more than willing, thank you india. I don't see it as a reason to get complacent, either. Since I'll have that at full throttle, I intend to amp up the exercise, too. I want a flat stomach and to lose out my facial chunkiness. I want my mother to have no choice but to comment on my weight the next time she sees me.

And she will.

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