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Been a while...

By Una Ada, February 07, 2020

I sure do post on Twitter a lot (think 1k posts/month), but never really write about myself on my blog anymore. I’ve written “blog posts” about research or programming, but nothing about my life. Hell, recently I migrated to a new Twitter account, so there isn’t much record of what I’ve been up to. The last post was about a year and a half ago when I was talking about school stuff; this post will be a celebration of my third time dropping out of college then!

In early 2017, my brother had this idea of moving to Los Angeles. His rational isn’t really relevant here, that’s his life not mine. I’m something of a listless individual so I halfheartedly agreed. So as to be able to make a Bladerunner reference, we set the arbitrary goal of being in LA sometime before November, 2019. In an effort to accomplish this goal, I found a job at a gas station in April. I didn’t get to start on 1 April, so I never got to joke that my employment was just a prank. Missed opportunity.

I’m not sure I’ve ever said this on this site, but I’m non-binary and trans-feminine. This is something I’ve had a vague idea of since my time in university. I’ve slowly pushed forward on it. One day, while waiting in the rain for a ride home, I decided to choose a name. I wanted something short. Something containing only phonemes with high cross-linguistic frequency. And so, on that day, I picked “Una.” That job I got, last April, something like two years later, had a “preferred name” field on the application. I was Una at that job.

I got some shit for it. “Is that your real name?” Yes. If any name may be real then this is such. “Isn’t that a woman’s name?” What, are you like 100 years old or something? I wasn’t they/them, but I was Una at that job.

I started painting my nails. I painted my nails black. I only painted them black. The first time I did it, I hid my hands on the way to work. I walked to work and people knew me. I didn’t want people to see, but I wanted to look good. If it’s black, that’s normal. Right? Guys paint their nails all the time. Black isn’t even “painting your nails,” right? That’s just emo shit. I wore women’s pants, painted my nails, called myself an old Irish woman nickname, but I was just a guy working at a gas station.

By mid-October, I had a few thousand dollars. I spent money on getting teeth pulled. I could have done it myself. It was a clean pull. I didn’t use pain killers afterward anyway. I should have done it myself. By the end of October, I was in LA and I had a few thousand dollars.

I turned 22. My birthday is at the end of October. That’s partially why we chose the dates we did. So I didn’t spend another birthday in the Midwest. It was my 22nd birthday and I was in LA.

Despite having no permanent address and no income, I managed to secure an appointment at an LGBT-oriented clinic. On November 6, 2019, I went to a doctor for the first time in nearly a decade. This doctor told me the intended effects and the side effects of HRT then asked me if that’s what I wanted. I said something to the effect of “yes.” I’m not very good at giving definitive answers. I rode the Red Line with a bottle of estradiol and a bottle of spiro.

When I fist set up that appointment, I was told being under 25 meant I qualified for the youth programs. I walked to the youth center. Forms were filled out. Hands were shaken. Nothing came of it.

Another time, I walked to the youth center. Registration hasn’t gone through. Come back another time.

Registration hasn’t gone through. But we’ll let you in to get what you needed. I talked to the employment office. They do events. I never went. Education office. They recommended a general education program. I emailed them.

Registration hasn’t gone through. Come back another time.

Registration hasn’t gone through. Come back another time.

Registration hasn’t gone through. Come back another time.

I got a reply to my email. All good, just fill out this application. Accepted. Interview. Accepted. Classes start in January, “see you then.”

Registration hasn’t gone through. Come back next week. Actually, I’m going to visit my parents next week, would it work to come back after that? “Yes. If they don’t you can just refile.”

I spent a week telling my mom I’m trans by not telling her at all. Why did I move to LA? Well, my excuse is to go to school again. I’m starting in January, I told you that. Oh but the real reason is they have cheap trans healthcare. I’m kind of sort of trans. I don’t like the idea of coming out, it’s just everyone assuming I’m cis and I’m straight until I say otherwise. But I guess I should tell you. I’m non-binary, but I want to be more of a girl.

“I always knew there was something.” No you didn’t.

“I just didn’t want to come off as overbearing.” And yet.

By the way, I hate the name you gave me. It hurts me. It’s so overly masculine in both etymology and phonology. I’m going to use a different name. That’s when she started crying.

Names are so… annoying. Honestly, I could do without having a name. I could do without having pronouns. Do not speak of me. Infer if you must. But all that aside, don’t act like you have the right to brand me. You birthed me, but I’m not your property.

I didn’t tell my father. I’m going to apologize for that. It was hard enough telling my mother. I told her I was prepared to bail. That hurt her. But it was true. I started the conversation fully aware that I may never speak to my family again. But that isn’t how it ended.

I was wrong about airport terminals. I got an even shittier airline than usual and it was at a different terminal. I made it in time, somehow, well the flight was delayed. I had to go thru K-9 units. I stood in line. I got pulled aside.

It was a pat down. But they couldn’t do it. Busy as things were they needed a male to pat me down, because I’m a male. Every time. This happens every time. Just bear with it. I talked to someone in line to board. How do you end a conversation you didn’t start?

LAX is a pain in the ass. It fucking sucks. Shitty fucking place to be. There’s construction for improvements. My brother and I walked to the bus station. I hadn’t really slept. It was a long walk. Much hotter in LA than Minneapolis, shocking.

I cried a lot. First time in years. I fucking bawled when I saw where I was going to stay. Was it that bad? Who knows, maybe I was just stressed. I did just come out to my family then fly across the country.

Spent a lot of days crying. I hear this is kind of normal on HRT.

I wasn’t really crying over anything in particular at first, but one day I woke up and a single thought crossed my mind. I wouldn’t mind not being alive to deal with this anymore. Huh. That’s new. Thing’s don’t normally go like this…

See, normally it’s:

“Wow, my life really sucks right now, I can’t deal with this anymore. It would be easier if I just di—”

“‘Die?’ Were you about to say ‘die?’ You know death is a whole thing, right? Like, there’s no going back, yeah? Irrevocable void. The end.”

It’s a whole spiral from depression to panic. But this time… I just thought that death didn’t sound so bad. And then I cried. I didn’t get out of bed, I cried. This was a different spiral, I was actually killing myself. Not like the ways I thought about in bed when I was sobbing. I didn’t “slip” in the shower and hit my head on the sharp corners of tile. I didn’t wander off the sidewalk on the arterial road. I didn’t. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t even eat or sleep. I just stopped living.

School started. It sucked. Long classes about basic shit. I don’t know why I thought the community orientation of the education would make the content more interesting. The opinions of others annoy me more than anything. First night, couldn’t find the bus stop, took a different bus. Second night, overheard someone talk about the bus stop, tagged along. I had bus stop “friends.”

Registration hasn’t gone through. Come back another time.

This again?

Registration hasn’t gone through. Come back another time. Can’t I just fill out the form again? Yeah, it was last year, definitely expired. Thanks.

Oh, I’m here because I don’t know if I have a place to live. Oh? It’s too late in the day? Shit, I should get to class.

Oh, the homework? That thing that everyone thought I wrote two weeks ago? Sorry, I left it at home. I was out doing… things. I totally wrote it, I swear. I wasn’t just doubling down when I misheard someone. Lol.

I spent way too long the next morning being too shy to assert myself into the line to talk to the case manager about housing. She almost asked me for my legal name, but stopped herself. Instead, my birthday… and maybe one letter… ok, yeah, I’m not in there. Of course. Registration hasn’t gone through. Come back another time… or on Sunday, specifically, to do a housing interview.

I skipped class on Thursday.

I slept in on Sunday.

I skipped class on Tuesday.

I skipped class on… y’know what. I just stopped going. I couldn’t manage to do it anymore. Fuck it, I’ll just drop. Actually, fuck it all, I’ll just move back in with my parents.

Giving up on my hopes and dreams makes me so fucking happy. Giddy even. Maybe that’s why I can’t sleep right now, like a kid the night before a field trip. Am I just too excited? Or is it that I haven’t been sleeping before 3am anyway? Whatever. I have a flight to catch in a few hours. Who knows if I’ll even sleep.

This week itself has been… a thing. I finally saw my doctor again only to tell her I’m bailing back to Minneapolis. I had slept 2 hours. I took the bus up to Hollywood, but Hollywood Blvd. was closed between Orange and Highland so I walked several blocks in the forty degree wind. I got breakfast. I waited in the lobby. I waited in the waiting room. I waited in the examination room. I talked. Then I had to get labs done.

I nearly blacked out. Last time I thought I was fine, then I blacked out on the way to get a urine sample. A cute nurse rescued me. She was very cute and I was very woozy. I apologized, a lot. This time, though, I was prepared. As in I didn’t need to stand up to know I was gonna fucking pass out, and I told them that. They tilted my chair back, lifted my legs, and gave me juice.

See, this is how I should always be treated. Put in a comfy position and given a juice box.