jsem: stock photo:  rolling a cigarette (stuff your pipe dream)
For the sake of honest and full disclosure, I state that I am calm. Right now, in this moment, when I would like nothing more than to die, to simply stop existing, when the only being on this planet I can truly bring myself to believe would actually care for any extended period of time that I was gone is my dog, I am calm. I am the calmest that I have been in days, perhaps weeks, perhaps even months. I can't quite recall.

It will be over soon enough, of course. My mother will say something that gets under my skin. My mind will wade out into the shallows of all of the words and worries of rhyme and reason. My voice will eventually pierce the fog and I will remember what the words I'm singing actually mean, remember why it is that I have to sing them. Or perhaps I'll simply lose my shit at work tomorrow and be done.

But whatever happens, for now, I am calm. Calm and done with the real world for tonight.
jsem: stock photo:  young man in empty room (in the light of day)
It's late Thursday afternoon and I am having a conversation that I did not intend to have, not now, not today. This is not the right time. But that assumes that there will be a right time, doesn't it? I have long since decided that, when it comes to some things, no matter how important, you will always find excuses for why not to do them but they have to be done some day.

Certainly this is not the best time. )
jsem: stock photo:  young man with squirt gun (just dare me)
I keep trying to have the talk with my parents, a talk that needs very much to be had. The urge keeps coming on. My mind keeps phrasing things and rephrasing them all of its own volition. But every time I think "I'll do it. I'm going to do it." something comes up, something happens, and I put it off yet again because "now is not the time." It will happen eventually, it will happen soon, but now is not the time.

I am so tired. I am trying so hard to fix my life and move forward and the energy it takes is just ridiculous. I've finally figured out what I want to do with myself between now and the day when I can hopefully actually get somewhere with my writing. I'm even going back to school in January to further that goal, getting my AAS in Baking and Pastry Arts so I can have that experience and knowledge under my belt. I am long since done with taking shit. It is currently impossible for me to survive on what is meant to be my primary source of income, therefore it is time for me to find a new one. Just because I understand why they have to cut hours doesn't mean that I can live with it.

I am so much further along in my transition privately than I am publicly and I hate that fact. I have finally come to the point where I can look in the mirror and see what I feel rather than what I'm told to be but I know that the world and even most people in my life still see me according to social expectation. I am making the transition into the use of male pronouns. My girlfriend uses them, her friends use them, the only other friend I talk to on an almost daily basis does her best to use them. My sister is more likely these days to somewhat awkwardly refer to me as her brother, as my pets' "dad", as my girlfriend's boyfriend. I have an entire group of friends with whom I am completely stealth, though I've grown so close to some of them these days that I regularly contemplate (and inevitably chicken out of) sharing my dark secret. From my point of view, I have never once lied to them but I can't control how they would interpret the admission and that frightens me.

I am That Boy. I am J. I am Patcha. I am Otto. I am. Jsem.

I am tired of being seen as anything else.

Some day I am going to marry this girl that I have been so indescribably lucky as to have found. It will not be today. It will not be tomorrow. It will not be next week, next month or even next year. Because anyone who truly knows me can tell you that, when I set my mind to it, I am as stubborn as the earth in its determination to turn and I will not settle for anything less than what I deserve and lord knows I will not settle in this. I will not settle for stepping out in someone else's shoes to get a piece of paper that the majority of this country and this world refuses to recognize. What's the point? I don't need the paper to know what I feel. I need it to find vindication. That is not vindication I see there. But when my driver's license reads my real name and that little "f" becomes an "m" and people have no choice but to recognize my stupid, little piece of paper wherever they would recognize that same sort of stupid paper which was issued to my parents, when I can be myself without the constant reminders that, in the eyes of the majority, my claim to humanity is invalid, when only the people who knew me before ever have to know the difference? Then, for me, that will be my vindication.

To each his own and this is mine.

jsem: stock photo:  young man's lower face (Default)
"Freedom, brisk and invigorating. Not a Hallmark experience, not a therapy. Nothing trite or sentimental, nothing preachy or unctuous -- nothing so easy, safe, or formulaic. No comfort zones masquerading as truth.

I'm searching for an unpredictable, body-wrenching experience."

- Max Wolf Valerio, The Testosterone Files
jsem: stock photo:  young man in silhouette (in the dark corners)
I've acquired a twitter. As the first message says, I swore I'd never do it but I've caved due to the simple fact that one of my simple joys in life was sporadically checking the blog of one William Gibson. Alas, he appears to have now made the switch. It's the little things. I know. Point, however, is that anyone can feel free to follow me, birdscollide, though I won't necessarily follow everyone in return. I'm intending for it to be just as if not more public than my Dreamwidth and, knowing me, I'll probably use it more often than I expect.

Now I'm off to do what that first message also says, which is to paint skeletons.
jsem: stock photo:  young man with pizza (starved on the day-old)
Current Work-Out Routine
- approx. 10-minute stretch
- 1 10-set straight crunch
- 1 10-set left oblique crunch
- 1 10-set right oblique crunch
- 2 10-set rapid alternating oblique
- approx. 3-minute stretch
- 2 10-set alt. forward leg-lift
- 1 10-set left side leg-lift
- 1 10-set right side leg-lift
- 2 10-set alt. backward leg-lift
- approx. 3-minute stretch
- 20 kneeling push-ups
- 5 10-second flexed-arm hangs
- approx. 5-minute stretch

This routine is performed once a day, usually between breakfast and lunch, at least five days a week. The final group of activities is occasionally altered to include a set of toe push-ups, dips, flexed-arm crunches or upward pulls (I can't do any full pull-ups yet), depending upon how I'm feeling on any given day. Some days the routine is also supplemented by taking my dog for a walk/jog/run in the park or just playing soccer with him (i.e. kicking a ball around and chasing him as he chases it) in the backyard.

After a work-out, I'm pretty sore, kind of shakey and a little exhausted but ultimately feel better, both physically and mentally. On days when I don't work out, I tend to get more restless. As a result, I also tend to save my off-days for days when I know that I'm going to be otherwise active. Typically, my off-days fall over the weekend. If I go for more than two days in a row without working out or take a day or two off where I mostly just sit around and do nothing, I typically get a bit cranky and/or depressed. For instance, I had the flu this weekend and was pretty much laid up in bed Saturday through Tuesday. After four days of very limited activity, it was amazing what just a half-length work-out did for my mood yesterday.

Of course, all of this is also affected by whether or not I remember to take my supplements each day (maybe some day I'll actually make a list of them), as they also tend to affect my energy and mood. Having an adrenal disorder, the point of some of the supplements is to help my body in its efforts to properly process energy and how well a body processes energy also has an effect upon a person's mood. Supplements help my body to process everything properly and efficiently while exercising provides my body with more to process and more need for efficient processing. Combining the two should, eventually, allow my body to do many things on its own for which it currently needs the physical and chemical assistance. At the moment, however, neglecting one thing or the other or, heaven forbid, both results in a the sort of luckily temporary physical and mental decline that makes me the sort of person I can't really blame people for wanting to avoid.

I had no intention of this turning into any sort of medical entry. That last bit just happened to be added because I realized about halfway through writing this that I'd forgotten to take my supplements this morning. Usually I take them with breakfast but I got talking to my dad over today's plate full of protein (something else my adrenal disorder requires I consume in large doses) and they completely slipped my mind. They're in my system now, though, so we're good. And it's time I dragged my corgi's lazy behind out of the Kingdom of Naps and forced him to go run around the yard.
jsem: stock photo:  young man in empty room (in the light of day)
Both times that I have announced to family members that my best friend is now my girlfriend I have gotten the same response. "Congratulations! I didn't know she was." And both times I have wanted to look at them with a blank expression and ask, in all seriousness, "Didn't know she was what?"

The word they're looking for, of course, tends to be "gay." After all, the term "girlfriend" casts a feminine glare upon the person to whom it refers and, however masculine I may act, my family knows better than anyone that I am, biologically, female. A biological female announcing that someone is their "girlfriend," therefore, automatically equates itself to announcing that the "girlfriend" in question is gay, just like the biofem making the statement must be.

Getting things into a more accurate perspective in regards to the girlfriend's situation is the easy part. )
jsem: stock photo:  young man in silhouette (in the dark corners)
I have come to the decision that I want to avoid using real names here. I realize that this might seem somewhat contradictory to the entire concept of honesty but, realistically, the fact is that the names are not the important parts in any of this.

To a certain degree, I consider it a necessary precaution, particularly given my wishes to keep the majority of this journal unlocked to the public. I would rather not directly incriminate anyone I might mention, on the off chance that someone who reads what I've written knows them or otherwise tracks them down. For the most part, those who actually know me in any personal capacity should generally know who the people mentioned are anyway. In some cases, friends might actually find themselves being mentioned by some sort of pseudonym in order to provide them and those associated with them a certain level of anonymity. Even if you provide your actual name in some easily traceable, public forum, I will likely continue to avoid using it publicly myself. As I have pretty much already said, all a stranger reading along needs to know is what happened, not precisely who it happened with.

In regards to my own name, of course, I have no real preference for what I should be called. I answer to enough names at this point that just about anything goes. If I know that a name is directed towards me and find the name to be uninsulting, either inherently or due to the person using it, then I will most likely respond to it. Very rarely do I actually refer to myself by name so my own name confusion should have very little effect upon anything. Use whatever name you feel most comfortable using with me. I would merely ask that you currently avoid mentioning my surname, should you know it.

Thank you.
jsem: stock photo:  young couple in light (all these longing glances)
Things to be discussed in the near future:
- gender identity
- body image
- relationships

Things to be discussed as seen fit:
- health
- family
- religion

Things to be mentioned at this moment:
- As of yesterday, I have a girlfriend, which makes the relationships discussion slightly more important than previously expected but doesn't change the fact that past relationships can't really be discussed very well until we've gotten through gender and image, all of which came up in a very serious discussion with my sister last night. Yesterday was a day for progress.
- Today was the first day of my new work-out, as a result of my recent determination that a large part of becoming happier with myself is going to involve getting back into shape. On one hand, I feel just that slightest bit better already. On the other, do you have any idea how depressing it is to recall a day when you could do ten pull-ups in a row and at least thirty sit-ups in one minute when you apparently no longer have the strength to do even one of either?
- I'm about to spend the better part of my afternoon with my sickly grandfather who becomes more verbally, mentally and emotionally abusive with each passing day. It's sort of my birthday present to my grandmother, so she can go flower shopping with my mom and aunt and cousin. On the bright side, he also has physical therapy today so at least most of his bitching won't be directed at me.
jsem: stock photo:  young man's lower face (Default)
Tonight is the sort of night when I should, for all intents and purposes, be relatively happy. My life is a bit more my own for the time being. I don't have to worry about weekly work schedules anymore, keeping children entertained and unpleasant people happy. My only deadlines are those set by myself and the occasional call time set by the pavilion, whenever I'm called in to keep another concert crowd under control. My plans for the weekend require minimal permission and I now have the freedom to say that I'm really not sure how long my company will be staying - until Monday or Tuesday, who knows?

But instead of being happy I'm just sitting here, aggravated and restless, thinking too hard while the clock reads 2am. I'm looking at facts and making up plans, lining up bits of both my near and distant future, all the while thwarting myself as each goal falls lame in the face of reality. These are things that I need to do, things that are a part of finally getting down to myself, but life is so very good at standing in the way. I can't do this until that happens. I can't consider these until I've been through this. Without these, my entire self still comes up short, whatever I might do.

I call my closest friends my family because my family is my everything and the thought of losing my family is too much for me to bear. Unfortunately, so much of being true to myself involves admitting to things that will very likely or, in some cases, almost definitely lead into a dire struggle to keep whatever family I still have by that time. There are admissions to be made and actions to be taken but I'm afraid. I'm afraid to risk losing what little time I have left with the people who led me to be who and what I am but would never accept either of those things so long as they live. So here I am, making so many decisions without the balls to do a damned thing about them.

I hate to be cryptic where I've sworn to be honest but lord knows I'm too tired to make any of it make any sense. This next week, however, I'll really get down to it. It's my goal, to express all of the facts and feelings that I've worked so hard to solidify recently. Though it might take me the whole week to get it done.
jsem: stock photo:  young man's lower face (this boy not this boy)
Doing further research on certain things, specifically things to do with gender identification and levels of reassignment as I work out a few more of the kinks in my internal perspective, and trying to resist the urge to write paragraph upon paragraph of introspective rambling at going on 2am. So far the resistance is obviously proving somewhat successful, though that may simply be because I'm in serious need of some sleep, otherwise I would probably be on paragraph sixty-two by now and I definitely wouldn't be crossposting.

Honestly, you're all lucky we're not still back in my spamathon days or else this crosspost function could easily turn into my equivalent of the ridiculously overused network that is Twitter.

- Crossposted from jsem to lyotto
jsem: stock photo:  young man in empty room (in the light of day)
Today's A Softer World strikes so very close to home, though I know my "fake" diary is anything but happy. I have never once lied in my journal. I have, of course, on occasion, taken steps to hide or omit the truth but I feel as if that's no more than most people tend to do on any given day, in the presence of any given company. It's something that I rather dislike about humanity, really, the habit of softening the blow or cutting out the bits that might make someone uncomfortable or might even make you, yourself, uncomfortable as you admit it, no matter how important it might be.

I have never lied in my journal but I have not, for a very long time, told the whole truth. It's been years now since I've given most people anything but the most carefully edited version of everything. Some of my closest friends have gotten the honest answers and gory details when it's come to certain topics but, in reality, even they haven't gotten everything. In the long run, I suppose this stems from a deep-seated feeling of inadequacy that has been with me for a very long time, a feeling which itself stems from the fact that even most of those who have said that they loved me for me actually meant that they conditionally loved me for the me that they saw at that very moment and that they would turn their backs on me the instant that I became more like the me that they knew from the very beginning I felt the most comfortable while being. So why should I share the whole truth and go into every detail when there is absolutely no reason that anyone would ever even possibly care? Keep yourself to yourself, no one else thinks it matters.

Admittedly, this is a part of why I find myself making a bit of a very slow and quiet move over to Dreamwidth. I don't feel like I can be honest on my livejournal anymore because I don't feel like enough people with the ability to read it actually care about what's really going on. There are so many people on my flist who have friended me for fandom purposes - the roleplaying I used to do, the fanfics I used to write, the fanart I used to draw, etc. - none of which I have done any great deal of for some time. Then there are the people who have friended me for the sake of real-life, few of whom ever seem to pay my real-life posts any mind and none of whom I feel I am half as close to as I used to be. How many people in either of those groups would really care to read along and waste the effort on commenting at the end as I prattle on about my personal religion or issues with my gender identification? Possibly more than my habitually insecure ego would lead me to believe but how should I know? Too much of my life has been filled up with painful and otherwise uncomfortable topics for anyone to really want to follow along anymore and I'm not sure I can really blame them. I just wish that not blaming them didn't make me feel like I also had to be so very careful not to step on any toes.

Why this all bothers me so much, I have no idea. I read what other people write in their journals and I rarely see any more raw honesty there than I see in my own. People I know or have at some point in time known very personally make "tell-all" posts to their journals these days that I can see right through because they're so very watered down, made more family friendly, more palatable to the world outside. But I don't say anything to them. There is, after all, a certain level of dishonesty that is not only acceptable but expected in today's society.

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

No. Not really. I'll pretend to, though, if that makes you feel any better.

I've never lied in my journal but I always feel like I'm lying. I'm not going to claim that my Dreamwidth is going to hold in candid detail all of the facts that would be like dirty, little secrets coming from me on other blogs - hell, I'm not even going to claim that I'm going to use my Dreamwidth any more if even quite as much as I do any other blog - but I will say that there may come to be a lot of things on my Dreamwidth that you wouldn't find anywhere else. Think of it as my personal atonement. I'm making amends with myself. Because I've spent far too much of my time putting a filter on Me for the sake of avoiding the discomfort of others. I'm making myself a place where I can stop.

- Crossposted from jsem to lyotto
jsem: stock photo:  young man's lower face (this boy not this boy)
As addressed in the first few entries here, the primary purpose of this blog is to be honest. What you'll find upon reading will, for the most part, be a discussion of both daily life and some of the topics that most affect me from day to day. It will, at many times, probably sound like a bit of a talk-through. This is today's topic, this is what I think and how I feel on said topic, question and discuss as you see fit, more information to come. Many of the topics will be potentially difficult and slightly controversial because there are a lot of things about me and my life that are potentially difficult and slightly controversial. It just stands to reason.

On the flip-side, this blog is also a personal journal. You can feel free to subscribe and read along, as the vast majority of the entries will be open to the public because, as I've said, the point here is to be honest. However, the only people who will be granted access are those whom I personally know and feel I have reason to trust as friends. As honest as I might strive to be, there are still things in a person's life that do not immediately need to be shared with the world at large. The contents of a locked entry today might very well find its way into the contents of a public entry next week but, until then, it's just between me and my inner circle.

I am Jsem and, if you don't know me by any other name, you can just call me J. I am a queer, agendered, biological female, born and raised out in the country with about a half-hour drive (in decent traffic) between me and the nearest D.C. area Metro station. Having completed a Bachelor's degree in English, I am currently staying with my parents while I try to find a less than soul-crushing way to make a living. I have two younger sisters (one biological and one adopted), a dog (a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and only one of the many canines in the household) and a future roommate (who also happens to be my best friend, co-author and significant other), as well as a very close-knit, if not fully-informed, extended family and a very supportive, if rather scattered, network of friends. My favorite animals are bats (with a second-place tie between wolves and spiders, which is a little troublesome when you date an arachnophobe), my favorite color is orange (second favorite is blue) and love just about anything if it's patterned in argyle. I'm also a fan of zombies, horror movies, varied musical tastes, books, soccer and collecting strange and seemingly useless facts.

Aside from that, most major questions one might ask about me will hopefully, eventually, be addressed somewhere in this journal but if you find yourself curious about anything in particular, feel free to send me a message and I'll try to get back to you, even if my response is just something along the lines of "Writing an entry on that very topic as we speak!"

This list is meant to help others interpret my tagging system. Tags will be added and edited as necessary in order to keep the list as up-to-date as possible. Some tags listed below may not contain any entries or, particularly in the case of writing: tags, any visible entries. In order to view all entries in a certain category, please select the linked lozenge (◊) beside it.

birds collide
- sex and gender

- family

let it rock
- miscellany

monster hospital
- health and wellness

peace of mind
- personal discourse

ready when you are
- relationships

something to believe in
- faith and religion

the way we get by
- daily happenings

warning mark
- warnings/explanations

when beauty dies
- body image
little red
- partner in everything
kids in technicolor
- empty idols

near fantastica
- basement four

phantom boogie
- ghost hunters

variations on pachelbel's canon
- character specific


jsem: stock photo:  young man's lower face (Default)
this boy


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