Saturday, January 14, 2017

Dear Public Diary,

So it's been a long while since I've posted anything of merit to this blog and honestly, that's because I'm extraordinarily lazy and like to say that I'm busy instead of actually taking responsibility for my laziness. Okay, so that's only partly true, but still.

At this point in my life there have been many changes. I started this blog whenever I was living in Pennsylvania, "maintained" it - for lack of a better word - some while living in West Virginia, and then ignored it almost completely once that whole "moving out" plan backfired and I was sent running back to PA with my tail between my legs. Since that fiasco I've moved to Washington state and have continued to mostly ignore keeping up with this blog. There have been one or two posts here or there, but it's been almost a year since my last post. Before that, it was about two years.

I've grown a lot in the past three years. For the last year and a half I've been living on the west coast and working with dogs as a bather/groomer and, honestly, I don't know if I've ever been this happy yet so depressed at the same time. Ever. And that's simultaneously amazing and terrifying.

Before I moved out here, I was living in PA with my brother and mother in a house and was horrifyingly depressed, anxious, dysphoric, and agoraphobic. The only times I ever left the house was to go to work or to go to the store to get copious amounts of food so that I could stay home without leaving my room for even longer amounts of time. I didn't really have a plan for my life (not that I ever did, really, but still) and so I didn't really push myself to do anything outside of my comfort zone. In fact, said comfort zone shrunk because of my lack of social outings and the general..."I'm going to stay in my room all day and never come out" thing.

My job at the time was an evening/night-shift one where I worked at a newspaper place in the back and placed inserts inside of newspapers and put the pages of the newspapers together. My average shift was going in anywhere between 6pm and 9pm, and staying until (most of the time) no later than midnight or 1am. Though there was a time I went in at 6pm and didn't get to leave until 7am the next morning, and that was New Years. But I digress.

So basically, most of the time I'd leave work, go to Sheetz, grab some food, head home, sit in front of my computer, eat, shower, go back to my computer, and stay up until 6 or 7am. Then I'd sleep until 3pm or later, get up, and do the whole thing over again. On my days off I just stayed in my room. There were very few times that I actually left my house to do anything. I don't think my friends really knew how bad my anxiety and depression were. Shit - I didn't even know how bad they were. The most social situation I would ever be in was being at work with the whole six or seven other people who worked there, or being in a group chat on Skype with numerous people who I didn't know. And I didn't talk in either situation.

In a nutshell I was a shell of a person. Just a lonely husk. Going where the wind took me and not really putting any fight into anything at all because really, what was the point? I had no plan for the rest of my life, couldn't be assed to come up with one, and didn't really care either. Everything at that point in my life seemed to be...impossible. Waking up was a chore and going throughout the day was exhausting to the point where I think that if I was forced into a social situation I'd probably full-on shut down.

Needless to say the year I was living with my mom and younger brother was not good. It was one of the worst years of my life so far. I had just gotten out of a situation that was toxic and dare I say abusive and was being contacted repeatedly by someone after I told them not to contact me anymore. Every day was a waking nightmare. When I wasn't being harassed via text and missed phone calls and emails and IMs, I was being threatened and harassed by my younger brother. This only escalated once my mother moved out and into her then-fiance-now-husband's home.

During my stay at this house with my brother, I lived upstairs. There were two windows; one at the top of the stairs and the other in the half bathroom. There were no windows in the bedrooms. So, even during the day when I was awake and not at work, I never got to see the sunlight because there were no windows in my room and if I were to go downstairs, I would be harassed and threatened and beat.

Effectively, when I moved out of an apartment and into this house, it was an "out of the frying pan and into the fire" situation.

It all came to a head when my now-SO was staying with us (and paying rent mind you so it was cheaper for everyone involved) and they and I went out to do some shopping, since at this point my brother wasn't buying anything and was just eating everything I'd bring home for myself and so I started hoarding cans of food in my room because otherwise I wouldn't be able to eat. We were gone for a few hours, the most I'd been gone from the house in MONTHS other than for my job. We pull out and my mom was there. We walked inside and she started screaming at me for having dishes left in the sink - dishes that were not mine, that I did not use. I was living in my room, eating things out of paper bowls with plastic utensils, and the plates that I did use were ones from my apartment that were a specific style and of a specific decor - those were the only ones I ever used.

My brother got in my face. Screaming. Yelling at me. Telling me I should just kill myself because what good is someone who can't do the dishes? What good am I if I can't be the maid for every little thing? What good am I if I don't keep the house spotless, even though it isn't my mess? What good is someone who's anxious, someone who's depressed, someone who is so terrified of the world? I was only terrified of the outside world because numerous people had treated me this way and so I did not trust anyone.

I went outside. My SO and mother followed. My SO went back in to get something out of the bedroom - I can't remember what it was. I don't remember many details. My brother shoved my SO out of the doorway, got in my SO's face, and said he could kill both of us if he wanted. Then he grabbed his gun, walked outside, and put it up to my face as I was having a panic attack, unable to breathe, and having to lean against my mom for support because I was falling over. He then put his finger on the trigger.

Then he hit me with the gun as he walked away. He continued screaming at me as he did so.

It was at that point I decided to move. Just to leave. I didn't care where, really, so long as my brother didn't know where it was and couldn't follow or find me for as LONG as possible. I had to get out of that town.

That's when I moved to Washington state.

Since then, it hasn't been easy. My life has been full of stress and uncertainty, but at least it is no longer full of emotional and physical abuse, and threats of murder. I never called the cops. I should have - but I didn't. I was too scared of any repercussions at that point because my brother is fucking insane and probably would have actually murdered me. It was another few weeks before I was able to leave completely. He was attempting to get into/was accepted into the military, and was just waiting on a date for...something I can't remember. I could've called his higher-ups and he would've been denied or gotten into trouble. Both, more than likely. But until you're in that situation you don't know how terrifying and gut-wrenching it is. I was uncomfortable in my own home before that - afterwards, I was absolutely panicked whenever I was home. I had no doors on my bedroom or office and there was no door to the upstairs. Had he wanted he could've waltzed up and done anything he wanted to and I would've been unable to stop him.

He definitely would've done so had he figured out that I'm a couple of things that he hates - non-straight and transgender. I kept it under wraps as much as possible while living there, as my mom was not aware of my trans status at the time, and my brother would speak of horrific things he wishes he could do to trans people, non-straight people, non-white people, and generally non-men. How anyone who isn't a white, straight, cis man is unfit to be in the population and should be killed off unless they have "good useful skills". So not only is he a racist, homophobic, generally nasty bigot, but he's also a eugenicist. And I tick off some of those boxes of his.

Honestly, thinking about and reliving this is almost enough to cause me substantial anxiety on its own, so that's where I'll stop with that.

Though, I haven't talked to my brother since. And I don't plan to. My family says things like, "oh, he's your brother, he loves you" and I'm sitting here, thinking - I told you he pointed a gun in my face and put his finger on the trigger. He used to beat me. He harassed me. He told me to kill myself, that I was worthless. And you're sitting there saying I should forgive him because he's family, and that someday I'll regret this?

No. I'll never regret this.

For what it's worth, I don't consider him my brother. I know he is - but he isn't. He isn't worthy of the title of family.

Ah, forgot to mention - he knocked up a much-younger teenage girl soon after I left and he was charged and sent to serve time for it. So there's that, as well.


Since being out here I've been able to discover more about myself and generally be myself more because I was completely unable to do that in PA. I was living in a town that, prior moving to WV, I had lived in for about ten years consecutively. I attended fifth grade through senior year, stuck around for another year and a half or so, and then moved down to WV. So in order to "be myself", I had to be somewhere that people didn't know me, where people didn't recognize me, and where, if people judged me, it wasn't such a big deal.

So when I moved out west, I moved in with a friend. Speeding things up a little here, I started going by a different name in person (only exception is at work where no one yet knew about my trans status), bought a binder, bought a packer, and have been in the process of redoing my wardrobe, because since I was about 8 or 9 all I've been living in have been graphic tees and jeans.

I moved out of my friend's house and into my own apartment in March 2016.

I'm currently on the look out for therapists who are taking new patients, and endocrinologists who can help me with my horomone-filled journey. Not to mention surgeons - though that's a bit more of a future-scope kind of thing.

I've cut my hair. On September 24, 2016, I shaved off the ass-length hair that had been growing since I was younger than 5. It felt great.

That's been my journey over the past couple of years. It's been a bumpy ride and a hell of a journey, but I'm still here. If there's anyone out there reading, I can only hope that you'll check back in and join me by reading about my travels and my pursuit of happiness.

Until next time.

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